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Director of Hong Kong based Jingjiao Fellowship Received by Catholicos-Patriarch

In the afternoon of Friday, July 4, 2014, His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, received in audience at the patriarchate Mr. David Tam, director of the Jingjiao Fellowship, who was accompanied by Mr. Faust Chan, a research student on Christianity in China. Also in attendance of the audience were: Their Graces Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California, President of CIRED and Secretary of the Holy Synod, and Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern USA. Mr. Tam apprised His Holiness of the developments of Jingjiao since he first wrote to His Holiness in May 2009, expressing the wish to establish contact with the Church and return to communion. The highlights of events in these few years were His Grace Mar Awa’s visits to Hong Kong in 2010, and to Xian and Hong Kong in 2012. During these visits, His Grace celebrated liturgy the first times in many centuries on Chinese soil, gave seminars on history and sacraments, spoke to seminarians and scholars, and met with prelates of the various Christian Churches in the country. These visits helped raise the awareness of the Church of the East and Jingjiao, and their success …

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Inaugural Jerusalem Pilgrimage for the Metropolitan See of Sydney

On the 30th June 2014 180 Sydney and Melbourne parishioners departed Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport and travelled to the Holy Land of Jerusalem, accompanied by Rev’d Fr Narsai Youkhanis and Rev’d Fr Ninos Elya and numerous deacons. The pilgrimage took approximately ten months to organise, with the 180 attendees divided into six groups of thirty pilgrims: red, yellow, green, blue, purple and orange. Each group with its own tour guide and air-conditioned coach busses from the St Thomas Church Touring Services in different languages; English (red, blue, orange and purple) and Arabic (yellow and blue). The pilgrims were accommodated at the Ritz Hotel in Jerusalem where a full buffet was served for breakfast and dinner, and lunch was provided at different restaurants depending on the locations of the day’s schedule – all three meals’ cost covered. Aside from meals, chilled bottles of water were provided for each pilgrim throughout the day. The ten-day tour began with a free day on Tuesday the 1st July – allowing time for check-in to the hotel, relaxing and unwinding after a 30 or so hour flight from Sydney via Bangkook, Thailand. On the following day the tour schedule commenced visiting sites such as …

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New Church Consecrated in Auckland, New Zealand

Courtesy – Manukau Courier A new church is helping forge cultural roots for a small community. The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East opened its doors in Manurewa on Saturday. Father Toma K Toma, who came to New Zealand from Iran in 1992, acknowledges the church has come a long way from its early beginnings and is happy to see it thrive in South Auckland – “it’s a dream come true”, he says. People in the neighbourhood are very impressed with the new building and ask many questions, and he’s proud to share his religion and culture, he says. When he first arrived in the country only 10 families attended his services which he would run using Anglican church facilities. Now he has a congregation of more than 200 families. The Church of the East began during the early Christian missionary activity in the middle of the first century. It established itself through the regions of Mesopotamia which included areas of modern-day Iraq and Syria. The Assyrian people are the major ethnic community within the church but Father Toma says its doors are open to everyone. He hopes its facilities will be available for community events and weddings. …

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Catholicos-Patriarch Meets with Russian Orthodox Hierarch Metropolitan Hilarion in Moscow

Courtesy – Department of External Relations, Russian Orthodox Church On May 27, 2014, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, met with the Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV, who is on a visit to Russia at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. During a warm talk, His Eminence Hilarion told the high guest about the recent celebrations marking the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’ and the changes which have taken place in the Russian Orthodox Church since the previous millennial celebrations which Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV attended. The Primate of the Assyrian Church expressed deep satisfaction at the successes of church renewal in the historical Rus’, noting that Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church constitute a spiritual and moral guideline for many traditional Christian communities in the world. He wished the Russian Orthodox Church further thriving in its service of its millions-strong flock. Special attention was given to the situation of Christians in the Middle East. His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV expressed heartfelt gratitude to Russia and personally President Vladimir Putin for his efforts to help Christians in the Middle East. He said that the stand taken by Russia …

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US Bishops of the Assyrian Church of the East Visit New Syriac Orthodox Patriarch

With the blessing of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, the bishops of the Diocese of California and the Diocese of Eastern USA paid a cordial visit to Patriarch-Elect of the Syriac Orthodox Church, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Ephrem II Karim. The cordial encounter took place on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at St. Mark’s Syriac Orthodox Cathedral in Teaneck, New Jersey. The Patriarch-Elect was attended by Rev. Dayraya Augeen Alkass, the Rev. Malfono Dr. George Kiraz, President and Founder of Beth Mardutho. His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod, and His Grace Mar Paulus Benyamin the Bishop of Chicago and Eastern USA were accompanied by Rev. Addai Francis, priest of Mar Mari Parish of the Assyrian Church of the East in Yonkers, New York, and Mr. Zia Givargizade. The same Mar Mari parish committee (motwa) had kindly hosted the bishops for the whole duration of their stay. During the visit of the Bishops of the Assyrian Church to the Patriarch-Elect, the official letter of felicitation and greeting by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV was handed to the new patriarch. In this letter, His Holiness also expressed …

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Grand Opening and Consecration of St Abdisho’s Church in Victoria, Australia

In a weekend of joy and adulation, the Assyrian Church of the East in Victoria, Australia has celebrated the grand opening and consecration of St Abdisho’s Church in the suburb of Coolaroo. Both events, on 3 and 4 May 2014 respectively, saw thousands of Assyrians and faithful of sister churches join the festivities for the long-awaited milestone in the life of Victoria’s Assyrian community.

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3rd Annual Rejoice Resurrection Festival Attracts Thousands in Sydney

This year’s annual Rejoice Resurrection Festival of the Assyrian Church of the East Youth Association Sydney (ACEYAS) was held on Easter Monday, 21 April 2014, with the event attracting thousands of faithful and members of the local surrounding community. In coming together to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, 2014’s festival found a new home, the grounds of Saint Hurmizd’s Cathedral and Saint Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School, with the new location proving a resounding success. The day was filled with fun rides and amusements, appearances by movie characters such as Captain America, Superman and the festival’s famous friendly clown. Later in the evening, well known Assyrian singers and entertainers, including Helen Isaac, Flora Simon and Ben Barkho, took to the stage and performed for hours, leaving everyone to dance the night away. A rendition of Disney’s ‘Up’ house was built with a large number of balloons hung to it as a centrepiece; this was used as a donation box with all proceeds going to the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO). ACERO also provided attendees with a chance to make a difference to the lives of children and families in the Middle East by …

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Scholar Dr Erica C.D. Hunter Visits Assyrian Communities in Australia

In a visit to Australia the distinguished Syriac Studies scholar Dr Erica C.D. Hunter has visited Assyrian Church of the East communities in Victoria and New South Wales. During her visit Dr Hunter gave two lectures ‘The Christian Library from Turfan Project’. The lectures, held on 14 March 2014 at Ishtar Reception Centre in Victoria and on 22 March 2014 at Edessa Hall in New South Wales were very well attended by members of the Assyrian community and individuals from other communities. Dr Hunter’s lecture in both states was entitled ‘The Christian Library from Turfan: New Discoveries and New Dimensions for the Church of the East’. Special guests at the Melbourne lecture on 14 March 2014 were Ms Beryl Turner, Researcher and Editorial Assistant of the Syriac Language Research Centre, Whitley College at the University of Melbourne along with Syriac Studies scholar Dr Nicholas Al-Jeelo. The Sydney lecture of 22 March 2014 was graced with the presence of His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon and the parish priests of New South Wales. Also present was the longstanding friend of the Assyrian community Professor Rifaat Ebied of the University of Sydney. ‘The Christian Library …

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India’s Voice of the East Now Available on ACN

Assyrian Church News, the official news website of the Assyrian Church of the East is pleased to announce that the Voice of the East periodical is now available on Assyrian Church News. Voice of the East is a socio-religious bi-monthly magazine published by the Assyrian Church of the East, Archdiocese of India. The present patron and publisher of the Voice of the East is His Beatitude Dr Mar Aprem, Metropolitan of Malabar and All India. The magazine was first published by the Youth Association of the Church of the East in India in October 1954 and has been published continuously since. In October 2014, it will mark its 60th anniversary. The founding editor was Mr M.P. Inasu (then General-Secretary of the Youth Association) and the first publisher was Mr Jose Davis Mooken (elder brother of the current Metropolitan of Malabar and All India). In its early years of publication, the Voice of the East also included articles in the Assyrian language. However, this has not been the case in recent years with the contents now solely in English. Assyrian Church News has made all back-issues of Voice of the East since 2010 available here for unrestricted viewing and for free …

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Metropolitan of Iraq Meets Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk in Moscow

On 20 February 2014, His Beatitude Mar Gewargis Sliwa, Metropolitan of Iraq, Russia and Jordan met with His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Russian Orthodox Church’s (Moscow Patriarchate) Department for External Church Relations. The meeting took place at the DECR premises. The hierarchs discussed the situation in Iraq after the events occurred in 2003, as well as the situation of Christians in the country and prospects for overcoming the crisis. Among the issues raised at the meeting was the social and political situation in Syria. Metropolitan Hilarion discussed the initiatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, aimed at defending Christian minorities in the Middle East. Also taking part in the meeting were Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations; Rev’d Alexander Vasiutin, a DECR staff member; and Rev’d Fr Samano Odisho, parish priest of St Mary’s Church, Assyrian Church of the East in Moscow.

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NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell Visits Assyrian Primary School in Sydney

On Thursday the 13th February 2014, St Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School (SHAPS) along with St Narsai Assyrian Christian College (SNACC) warmly welcomed The Honourable Barry O’Farrell MP, Premier of the State of New South Wales to a special reception held at the Assyrian Church of the East’s Edessa Hall in Greenfield Park, New South Wales, Australia. Premier O’Farrell was received by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon accompanied by reverend priests, SHAPS Principal Mr Sargis Makko, SNACC Principal Mr John Haskal, church trustees, members of the Assyrian Schools Board and a large congregation of students, staff and parents. The program commenced with the performance of the Australian National Anthem, Assyrian Church Anthem and the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the Aramaic language by the school choir, followed with a welcoming speech given by Mr Makko. In his remarks Mr Makko noted that the growing size of both schools and growing population of the Assyrian community in Australia was cause for both joy and happiness. Mr Makko went on to thank the Australian government for the significant contribution it has made in making the existence of the Assyrian Schools possible …

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Assyrian Church of the East Hosts Major Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Event in Beirut

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 The Assyrian Church of the East in Lebanon has hosted an ecumenical celebration marking the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The event, on 26 January 2014, was held at St George Cathedral of the Assyrian Church of the East in the Beirut suburb of Sed el-Bouchriyeh. The ecumenical gathering, the largest of its kind ever held in Lebanon, saw representatives of 10 churches come together to celebrate the important event. These churches were: – Antiochian Orthodox Church – Armenian Orthodox Church – Assyrian Church of the East – Chaldean Catholic Church – Coptic Orthodox Church – Maronite Catholic Church – Melkite Catholic Church – National Evangelical Church of Lebanon – Syriac Catholic Church – Syrian Orthodox Church Senior prelates and clergy from the noted churches were represented at the event. The ecumenical prayer event commenced with the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic, followed by an address from The Rev’d Fr Michel Jalakh, Secretary-General of the Middle East Council of Churches. The Secretary-General welcomed all prelates and distinguished guests present stressing that the spirit of ecumenism should be the …

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Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon Calls on Chaldean Catholic Archbishop in Sydney

His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon has called upon His Excellency Mar Jibrail Kassab, Archbishop of the Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle for Chaldeans and Assyrians of the Chaldean Catholic Church for Australia and New Zealand. The Metropolitan called upon the Archbishop on 30 December 2013 offering the fraternal greetings of the Assyrian Church of the East on the occasion of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ and the New Year. The Assyrian Church of the East delegation was received by a number of clergy of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy and church administrative committee members. During the meeting His Beatitude offered his congratulations to the sister Chaldean Catholic Church and His Beatitude Mar Louis I Raphael Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church on the occasion of the holy season. A colloquium was held on the circumstances facing the Christian communities in both Iraq and Syria, with both prelates praying that the faithful of all churches living in these countries may be protected from various dangers facing them at the present time. The delegation of the Assyrian Church of the East included the Rev’d Cor-bishop Ashoor Lazar, the …

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‘The Martyred Church’: Archdiocesan Youth Conference Held in Melbourne, Australia

The 2nd Youth Conference of the Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon convened in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia between 12 – 15 December 2013. The four-day conference brought together 120 young faithful of the Assyrian Church of the East from Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto (Canada), Auckland (New Zealand) and Beirut (Lebanon) under the theme ‘The Martyred Church’. The conference theme, based upon the text of the same name by Dr David Wilmshurt (of the Chinese University of Hong Kong) inspired the proceedings of the Conference. His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon was guest of honour for the entire duration of the Conference and was accompanied by 6 parish priests from Victoria and New South Wales; being Rev’d Fr Narsai Youkhanis, Rev’d Fr John Kushaba and Rev’d Fr Ninos Elya of New South Wales and Rev’d Fr Korkis Toma, Rev’d Fr Hurmizd Jarjeis and Rev’d Fr Antawan Mikhail of Victoria. Also in attendance were Professor Rifaat Ebied of the University of Sydney and Mr Konstantinos (Dean) Kalymnios as guest academic lecturers at the Conference. The youth attendees arrived in Melbourne on Thursday 12 December from their respective cities. On the evening of the same day …

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