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Delegation of the Assyrian Church of the East Visits Russia and Armenia

His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California, Secretary of the Holy Synod and President of CIRED led an ecumenical visit to Russia and Armenia. The Very Rev. Archdeacon William Toma and Very Rev. Cor-bishop George Toma were prevented from attending, as planned, by travel difficulties. The delegation of the Assyrian Church of the East visited the Assyrian community in Moscow and the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate (DECR) on Tuesday, July 21, 2015. His Grace Mar Awa was received by Very Rev. Cor-bishop Samano Odisho (Rector of Holy Virgin Mary Church, Moscow) together with the local Assyrian Church of the East community and a representative of the DECR. His Grace, together with Cor-Bishop Samano Odisho, visited the DECR where they were received by Very Rev. Archimandrite Philaret (Secretary), Hieromonk Stephan, and Mr. Sergei Alferov of the DECR. Meeting on July 21, 2015, the delegation of the Church of the East met with members of the DECR in discussion of bilateral dialogue. This meeting was a direct result of the historic visit of the late His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, of blessed memory, to His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, in May-June of 2014. The Assyrian Church …

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Australia and New Zealand’s Youth Associations #ServeHim at the Auckland’s 3rd Archdiocesan Youth Conference

Youth Associations of the Archdiocese met in Auckland, New Zealand on Wednesday the 1st July. His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM Metropolitan, Rev’d Fr Narsai Youkhanis (Sydney), Rev’d Fr Ninos Elya (Sydney), Rev’d Fr Antwan Mikhail (Melbourne), Syriac Scholar Prof Rifat Ebied (Sydney) and members of the youth from Sydney, Melbourne and Wellington were welcomed by the Auckland Youth Committee, parish priest Rev’d Fr Toma Kanoon and the Church committee. The clergymen and conference speakers and attendees checked into Auckland Mercure Hotel in the heart of the city. The 2015 youth conference officially began with a warm and traditional welcome by a Maori entertaining group performing the Haka in honour of the guests followed by prayers in St Mary’s Church Manurewa led by His Beatitude. Following the prayers, welcoming speeches were presented in Mar Narsai DeBaz Hall (rear of the Church) by MC Deacon Oliver Sliwa, Rev’d Fr Narsai Youkhanis Youth Chaplain, Rev’d Fr Toma Kanon Parish Priest and His Beatitude Mar Meelis. The second day of the conference comprised of seminars at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) where Rev’d Mark Beale of the Anglican Church spoke about Serving God in Body and Spirit, Rev’d Fr Narsai Youkhanis spoke …

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His Grace Mar Emmanuel Yosip Awarded Doctorate in Canada

His Grace Mar Emmanuel Yosip, Bishop of Canada has received the award for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Syriac Studies from the University of Toronto after many years of diligent study. His Grace’s dissertation is entitled ‘The Book of Resh Melle by Yohannan Bar Penkaye: An Introduction to the Text and Study of its Literary Genres’. It was defended in a Final Oral Examination at the University of Toronto’s School of Graduate Studies on May 28, 2015. The examination committee for His Grace’s defence was comprised of:  1. Professor A. Harrak (Supervisor) 2. Professor P.A. Beaulieu 3. Professor A.K. Ali 4. Professor A Becker (External Examiner) 5. Professor V. Li (Exam Chair) In addition to his undergraduate studies, His Grace also holds a Master’s Degree in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto. Assyrian Church News offers its congratulations to His Grace on this significant achievement, praying for his continued success as shepherd of the Assyrian Church of the East in Canada.   

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Inaugural ACERO Benefit Dinner Held In Sydney, Australia

On 1 February 2015 ACERO Australia in association with NSW Ecumenical Council were proud hosts of the Inaugural ACERO Benefit Dinner held in Sydney, Australia. The blessed evening was presided over by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon. The inaugural ACERO benefit dinner was held with two key aims which were focused on raising awareness of the plight of Assyrian and Christian minority groups across the Middle East in addition to raising much needed vital funds for ACERO’s life giving relief works across this region. The occasion was a resounding success and saw in excess of 500 guests across Sydney’s local and wider community gather to offer their collective support to the Middle East’s Christian communities. Guests were treated to informative presentations on the subject of Christianity and plight of Christians across the Middle East from the following esteemed individuals; – His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon – The Very Reverend Father Shenouda Mansour, General Secretary of the NSW Ecumenical Council; – Sr Elizabeth Delaney, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Australia; – Reverend the Honourable Fred Nile MLC, of the Christian Democratic …

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NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES USA MEETS WITH THE ASSYRIAN CHURCH OF THE EAST’S CIRED

On Friday, January 16, 2015 the Ecclesial Relations Committee of the National Council of Churches USA met with representatives of the Assyrian Church of the East. The cordial, all-day meeting took place at the rectory on the campus of St. Mary’s church, in Roselle, Illinois. The Assyrian Church of the East was represented by His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and the President of CIRED (Commission on Inter-Church Relations and Educational Development), and His Grace Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern USA. The National Council of Churches was represented by Jim Winkler, the General Secretary and President of the NCC-USA, Dr. Tony Kireopoulos, the Associate General Secretary of the NCC-USA, and other members of the Ecclesial Relations Committee. ​The meeting began with a general overview of the goals, mission and mandate of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, founded in 1950 in the US in order to foster ecumenical cooperation among the various member Churches and to address social issues and concerns in the United States. There are 37 member Churches or communions who are members of the NCC-USA thus far, which include the various Orthodox, Protestant and Historical African …

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Californian Youth Retreat a Spiritual Success

This past weekend, from Friday January 9th to Sunday January 11th, youth from across the Diocese of California convened upon Mount Hermon near Santa Cruz, California, for the Diocese’s 2015 Winter Youth Retreat. With the blessing and guidance of His Grace Mar Awa Royel, this year’s retreat, was themed “Built by Him and for Him,” and was dedicated to meditating upon the life and teachings of Mar Aphrahat the Persian Sage (born c. 270 AD) who was a member of the bney qyama (or Sons of the Covenant) and also an important teacher and defender of the true faith in the early Eastern Church. The focus of the retreat was centered around three Bible Study sessions, based upon the Demonstrations of Mar Aphrahat himself; on faith, deeds, and communion with God. The sessions were taught by various deacons of the Diocese and invited the youth to imagine themselves as each being a dwelling for God, with their foundation in Our Lord Jesus Christ, and their walls built sturdily from righteous internal (such as prayer and fasting) and external (such as charity toward the needy) deeds. With a strong foundation and edifice, according to Mar Aphrahat, and through continual effort and …

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U.S. Bishops Hold First Episcopal Conference

The bishops of the dioceses of the Assyrian Church of the East in the United States held their first episcopal conference from October 30th to the 31st, in San Diego, California. The conference, blessed by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch, was attended by: His Grace Mar Aprim Khamis, Bishop of the Western United States, the chair of the episcopal conference, His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod & President of CIRED, and His Grace Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of the Diocese of the Eastern USA and President of ACERO USA. The bishops were also in San Diego to take part in the rite of the consecration of the altar of the Rabban Hermizd Parish, which took place after morning prayers on the First Sunday of the Hallowing of the Church, November 2, 2014. His Grace Mar Yosip Sargis, bishop emeritus, was also present for the consecration rite. ​The meeting of the bishops’ conference was held at the offices of St. Rabban Hermizd Parish in San Diego, and was hosted by His Grace Mar Aprim Khamis. The items on the agenda for discussion and implantation in the United States dioceses included, among others: …

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Bishop of Europe Attends Swedish Heads of Churches Meeting

His Grace Mar Odisho Oraham, Bishop of Europe, attended a heads of churches meeting in the Swedish capital Stockholm on 29 and 30 September 2014. As part of the meeting agenda several topics were discussed including relations between Swedish churches and the current situation of Christians in the Middle East with particular regard to their persecution and displacement. His Grace provided the delegates with copies of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV’s two letters to the United Nations and European Union explaining the tragedy facing Assyrian and other Christian groups in the Middle East and the systematic human rights abuses perpetrated against them. Churches participating in the meeting included the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Sweden, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Salvation Army along with a number of Evangelical churches. It is noteworthy that the Assyrian Church of the East is a member church of the Christian Council of Sweden, an ecumenical group of 26 member churches founded in 1992. The Swedish Ecumenical Council is the predecessor of the current body and was formed in 1932.

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Inaugural Indian Youth Conference A Resounding Success

The Youth Conference of the Archdiocese of India was held in Thrissur, Kerala between 3 and 7 September 2014 under the theme ‘Life In Its Abundance (John 10:10)’. In particular, the theme was considered with respect to its multifaceted implications in the religio-political and social life. The inaugural Youth Conference of the Church of the East in India was staged with the imprimatur of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East and under the patronage of His Beatitude Dr Mar Aprem, Metropolitan of Malabar and India. His Grace Mar Awgin Kuriakose, Auxiliary Bishop of India gave leadership to the organising committee with the support of The Rev’d Dr Sr Jincy Otthotil. The conference’s opening day commenced with more than 200 Indian youth participants registering. Joining the Indian delegates were 5 Assyrian participants visiting from abroad; 2 from the United Kingdom, 2 from Australia and 1 from Latvia. A large number of attendees were expected to be present but were prevented from attending owing to the ongoing crisis facing the Assyrian community in Iraq. Regrettably, a number of delegates from the United States were also unable to attend having been refused visas by the Indian …

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H.B. Mar Gewargis Sliwa Calls on New Iraqi President in Baghdad

On 10 September 2014 His Beatitude Mar Gewargis Sliwa, Metropolitan of Iraq and Russia called on His Excellency Dr Fuad Massum, the newly appointed President of the Republic of Iraq. Opening the meeting, the President discussed the situation affecting displaced peoples in the Nineveh Governorate and other areas controlled by ISIS describing what has occurred in the areas a disaster. His Excellency stressed that his entire efforts are being directed to protect Christians, Yazidis, Sabaeans and other minority groups and to facilitate their return to their homes. His Beatitude thanked the President for his role in aiding the suffering Christian community during the present difficult circumstances. During the colloquium, His Beatitude conveyed to His Excellency the felicitations and best wishes of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East on the occasion of His Excellency’s ascension to the high presidential office. Also presented to His Excellency during the meeting was a personal message of congratulations from His Holiness the Catholicos-Patriarch.

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H.G. Mar Paulus Benjamin Testifies at US Senate Human Rights Caucus

On 10 September 2014, His Grace Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of Eastern USA testified before the United States Senate Human Rights Caucus. The said caucus included an inaugural discussion on the Islamic State (IS), which has driven 200,000 Assyrians from their homes. The Caucus was launched by Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.). Testimony was given by the following persons: • Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor • Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom • Pascale Warda with the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization • Manal Omar from the United States Institute of Peace • His Grace Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East • Sarah Margon from Human Rights Watch The full text of His Grace’s testimony is below: Senator Mark Kirk, Senator Chris Coons, Brothers and sisters, honored guests, friends: I come before you today to tell you of the horrors and difficulties my people, the Christians of Iraq, are undergoing. We are an ancient people and we have suffered much. Whether we are called Assyrian, Chaldean, or Syriacs, we are one. We are a Christian people that still speak and …

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H.G. Mar Awa Royel Addresses Washington D.C. ‘In Defence of Christians’ Summit

On 11 September 2014, His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod addressed the ‘In Defence of Christians’ summit held in Washington D.C. between 9-11 September 2014. According to ‘In Defence of Christians’, “The primary purpose of the Summit is to bring all members of the Diaspora together in a newfound sense of unity. Whether Orthodox or Catholic; Evangelical, Coptic or Maronite; Syriac, Lebanese, Chaldean or Assyrian – all Middle Eastern Christians will be called on to join together in solidarity. “This solidarity will strengthen advocacy efforts with policy makers and elected officials and make more palatable grassroots outreach to the American public. Thus united, Middle Eastern Christians will invite all people of good will to join the cause to defend the defenseless, to be a voice for those who are voiceless. “The survival of these historic Christian communities is not merely a moral imperative; it is in the interests of all nations and peoples of the West and the Middle East.” This is the text of His Grace’s speech: Your Holinesses, Your Beatitudes, Your Excellencies and Graces, Reverend Fathers, Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is a great honor and privilege to be …

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U.S. Bishops Visit Office of the National Council of Churches USA

While attending the In Defense of Christians (IDC) Summit in Washington D.C., His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California, Secretary of the Holy Synod and President of CIRED, along with His Grace Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of Chicago and the Eastern USA, visited the headquarters of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) on Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 11:00 am. ​The two bishops were received by Mr. Jim Winkler, the President and General Secretary of the NCC USA. The purpose of the visit was a courtesy call, and an exchange of information regarding the plight of the Christians in Iraq and the Middle East at large. For their part, the NCC president apprised the bishops of the work of the Council among the various Churches in the US. The NCC just moved into their headquarters on Maryland Avenue in Washington D.C. ​The NCC USA was first founded in 1908 as the ‘Federal Council of Churches’, and then reorganized into the ‘National Council of Churches’ in the 1950’s. Some 40 different Churches and denominations are members of the NCC in the United States. The membership of the Assyrian Church of the East in the …

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Catholicos-Patriarch Calls 3-Day Rogation for Christians of Iraq

His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, has sent an epistle imploring all members of the church and the Assyrian nation to hold a 3 day fast (Rogation) beginning Monday the 1st of September. The purpose of this rogation is to beseech the mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ upon our Assyrian nation and all who are being persecuted in the Middle East, in particular Northern Iraq. May God accept our rogation just as He accepted the rogation of our forefathers the Ninevites.

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