Historic Milestone: Diocese of Western Europe Acquires First Church in Zeist, Netherlands

Zeist, Netherlands – January 4, 2024

In a momentous occasion for the Assyrian Church of the East Diocese of Western Europe, His Grace Mar Awraham Youkhanis, Diocesan Bishop, announced the successful acquisition of the first-ever church in Zeist, Netherlands. The newly acquired property, named Mar Benyamin Shimun’s Church, stands as a testament to the resilience and dedication of the Assyrian community in the country.

The Diocesan Bishop expressed his gratitude to Rev Fr Shamoun Shamoun, the board of trustees, the church committee, and the generous community members in the Netherlands who played a pivotal role in making this significant purchase possible. Their unwavering support, donations, and contributions underscored the unity and commitment of the Assyrian Church of the East in Western Europe.

The Assyrian community’s migration to the Netherlands has a rich and diverse history, dating back to the late 19th century. The first wave of Assyrian immigrants arrived in the Netherlands seeking refuge from the tumultuous events in their homeland. The Assyrian diaspora in the Netherlands grew significantly during the latter half of the 20th century due to geopolitical challenges and conflicts in the Middle East.

Over the decades, the Assyrian community in the Netherlands has thrived and contributed greatly to the country. Despite facing challenges and displacement, the community has preserved its unique heritage, language, and traditions. Mar Benyamin Shimun’s Church now stands as a symbol of continuity and the Assyrian community’s enduring spirit in the heart of the Netherlands.

In October 2023, His Grace Mar Awraham Youkhanis celebrated the first-ever Holy Raza in the newly acquired church, marking a historic moment in the Assyrian Church of the East’s presence in Zeist. This sacred event laid the spiritual foundation for the community’s journey in their new spiritual home.

Following the Holy Raza, the church committee, alongside dedicated labourers and volunteers, embarked on a meticulous renovation phase to prepare for the consecration and official opening scheduled for 2024. The renovation aims to enhance the church to better serve the needs of the congregation.

As the renovation progresses, anticipation builds within the community for the consecration and official opening, which is expected to be a grand and joyous occasion. Mar Benyamin Shimun’s Church is set to become not only a place of worship but a vibrant centre for cultural activities, community engagement, and the preservation of the Assyrian heritage in the heart of the Netherlands. The Assyrian Church of the East looks forward to a future filled with spiritual growth and communal unity in their new spiritual haven.

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