The Assyrian National Council in Illinois, USA has held a dinner in honor of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East to mark the 25 year anniversary of the Assyrian National Council.
The dinner, held on 22 January, celebrated the founding of the Assyrian National Council, which was established according to the recommendations of His Holiness in 1985.
His Holiness, accompanied by a number of priests and deacons, arrived at the Council’s headquarters where he was greeted with applause and received by members.
Also among the guests was His Grace Mar Nursai Thomas, Archbishop of Kirkuk for the Ancient Church of the East, and a number of priests.
Following His Holiness’ entrance, both the Assyrian national anthem and the national anthem of the USA were played. Assyrian poet and master of ceremonies, Ninos Nirari, gave a welcome speech for distinguished guests including:
His Grace Mar Nursai Thomas, Archdeacon Shlemon Hasqiel, Archdeacon Aoiqam Bithyo, Chor-Bishop Othanases Joseph, Chor-Bishop Kewarkis Thomas, Reverend Antoine Agen, Reverend Alfred (Evangelical Church), Reverend Khoshaba Bouza, Reverend William Thomas, Reverend Paul Benjamin, and Reverend Charbel (Church Syriac Orthodox).
More than 57 national institution, political and civil organizations were acknowledged for their participation.
His Holiness inaugurated the dinner with a prayer, while His Beatitude Mar Nursai Thomas led a prayer after dinner.
Chairman of the Assyrian National Council Assyrian Mr Sheba Mando thanked His Holiness for his paternalism and values, without which the Council would not be established.
Mr Mando highlighted the efforts by His Holiness to unite all ranks of the Assyrian people by picking the fruit that is together shared by all parties, organizations and churches united under the ceiling one of the nation Assyria.
His Holiness addressed attendees, recounting the establishment of the Assyrian National Council:
“In one of our visits to this country in 1981, we met one of the state officials who had accompanied Mr Jean-Greece, where he told us that there is government aid, many offered to every new arrivals to this country we do not know and honestly with any institution Assyrian deal in this regard, here came to us the idea of founding the Assyrian National Council in the state of Illinois, which includes in its membership all Assyrians regardless of its belonging to the canonical or the political. And after four years of numerous meetings, which were held mostly in the Chicago’s St George Church hall, it was on 18 May in 1985 and at seven pm, the opening of the establishment session of this Council and we prayed, asking the Lord to provide the assembled with wisdom and looking over them with love for progress and success of what is good for all the Assyrians in this state,” said His Holiness.
Giving thanks for all the efforts made to establish the Council, His Holiness asked the members to work hard to establish a home for the elderly and hospital for the needy and elementary and secondary schools of our Assyrian people in the state.
His Holiness also added: ”that although we as Christians give ourselves three names and are composed of the Chaldean Church, Syrian Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church, we nationally are one people and one nation and as Christians also we are all brothers in Christ because we are born to a mother and recognize one spiritual baptism.
“For this are not three but one bishop and nationally, it should be recognized in the legislative acts of the Government of Iraq as one nation. All archaeological excavations in Mesopotamia scream and confirm we are today’s Assyrians people of Nineveh and Babylon, from Assyria. We are not strangers, but children, indigenous and true to our country, Iraq is not entitled to any people or religion of those who live today in Iraq to consider us strangers, and trying in various ways and means expulsion and displacement of the sons of our nation, to keep them away from their home and the country of their ancestors.
“Therefore, we renew our prayers and prayers for the unity of our political parties and our nation for a goal in favor of our strengths and the way that we can claim our national rights through self-governing or province for the children, our people, because we do not want to immigrate, but to live and stay safely in their country Iraq.”
In conclusion, His Holiness blessed the congregation before dinner with a prayer:
“Our Father who art in heaven: God the Merciful for the common good: We ask you to open the coffers of mercy: and to preserve and bless our Assyrian nation and the sons of your church, Christians: those who have been displaced and expelled from the country of their ancestors through involuntarily storms and political cyclones: we ask that you do not leave the Assyrian people to be an outcast among peoples. God the Merciful save our people, the Assyrian Christians. Dear Lord: We ask that you bless and keep leading church workers and nationalists to work together with great faith and obedience, sincerity and purity of heart for the advancement of the Church of Christ and the Assyrian nation. For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.”[nggallery id=157]