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Ancient Church of the East

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ancient Church of the East
Church Church of the Virgin Mary in Baghdad.jpg
Cathedral of the Virgin Mary
Baghdad, Iraq
ClassificationEastern Christianity
OrientationSyriac Christianity
Catholicos-PatriarchMar Yacob III Daniel
LiturgyEast Syriac Rite
HeadquartersBaghdad, Iraq
Separated fromAssyrian Church of the East
Members70,000 in 1968;[1] approx. 75 000, of which 45 000 in Iraq and 20 000 in India (1999)[2]

The Ancient Church of the East is an Eastern Christian denomination. It branched from the Assyrian Church of the East in 1964, under the leadership of Mar Thoma Darmo (d. 1969). It is one of three Assyrian Churches that claim continuity with the historical Church of the East (the ancient Patriarchal Province of Seleucia-Ctesiphon), the others being the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Church. The Ancient Church of the East is headquartered in Baghdad, Iraq.

From 1972 until his death in February 2022,[3] The Church was headed by Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Addai II Giwargis.[4][5]


The Ancient Church of the East began when in 1968 some members of the Assyrian Church of the East, then led by Shimun XXIII Eshai, left it and consecrated their own patriarch, Thoma Darmo. Darmo was strongly opposed to the system of hereditary succession of the position of patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, as well as its adoption of the Gregorian calendar "and other modernizing measures". Darmo was also joined by "various other groups opposed to Mar Shimun."[2]


Mass in Church of the Virgin Mary in Baghdad.
Mass in Church of the Virgin Mary in Baghdad.

The see of the Mar Addai II, from 1969 to 2022 of the Ancient Church of the East, was in Baghdad.[2]

Mar Yacob III Daniel, was elected as new patriarch in June 2022, the consecration of the Patriarch-elect will take place in Baghdad, on the Feast of Transfiguration (19 August 2022).[6]

Holy Synod

The Holy Synod is as follow:

  • Yacob Daniel, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand (seat in Sydney, Australia)
  • Zaia Khoshaba, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Canada and the United States (seat in Toronto, Canada)
  • Gewargis Younan, Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago Illinois and Secretary of the Holy Synod (seat in Chicago, USA)
  • Petros Ashor Tamras,[7] Bishop of the Diocese of Western United States of America (seat in Modesto, California. USA)
  • Shimun Daniel Alkhoury,[8] Bishop of Iraq.

List of catholicos-patriarchs

Prior to 1964

Since 1968

Celebration of Christmas

Prior to a certain decree, there were already a few parishes in the diaspora that celebrated Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar date. After a popular vote was conducted in several parishes, the decree was accepted and enacted by the Addai II Giwargis in June 2010 to take effect for Christmas 2010. All of the parishes worldwide accepted this decree. Since then, the Ancient Church of the East officially conducts the entire liturgical year, feasts and commemorations according to the Julian calendar, except for Christmas day. Despite the fact that a number of the separatist parishes have emerged from the Ancient Church of the East since 2011, all of them continue to adhere to the decree of June 2010 which regulated the celebration of Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar date. Currently, there are no current or previous separatist parishes that emerged as a reaction to the decision of June 2010, despite claims made by several websites and sources.[9]

Relationship with the Assyrian Church of the East

Under the tenure of Addai II, the Ancient Church of the East has made several gestures towards reunification with the Assyrian Church of the East. The most prominent of these is undoubtedly the declaration made in June 2010 stating that the Ancient Church of the East would now celebrate Christmas in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. Previously, the church used the traditional Julian date for the Christmas Day (December 25 of the Julian calendar currently corresponds to January 7 of the Gregorian Calendar), as the Church of the East had throughout its history. The decision was to be implemented later that year, on December 25, 2010.[10]

Dialogue for reunification

Following the death (March 2015) of Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East,[11] dialogue of unification continued between the churches.

On May 22, 2015, a meeting involving prelates of both Holy Councils took place in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, in the library of St. Andrew's Assyrian Church of the East. Present were Yacoub Daniel, Zaia Khoshaba, and Gewargis Younan representing the Ancient Church of the East, and Gewargis Sliwa, Awa Royel, and Iskhaq Yousif representing the Assyrian Church of the East. Archdeacon William Toma served as the meeting's common secretary. Yacoub Daniel flew in from Australia for the meeting, and Zaia traveled from Canada.[12]

On June 1, 2015, the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East met in Erbil, Iraq, to discuss the future of the church. The date had previously been arranged for the election of the new Catholicos-Patriarch. Awa Royel issued a statement on the same day, notifying the public that a response to the Ancient Church of the East's recommendations for reunification had been delivered to their prelates. The letter requested a prompt response to the terms, and the election of the new Patriarch was suspended until the following week, on June 8, 2015.[13]

On June 5, 2015, Aprem Mooken issued a formal statement announcing that the election of the next Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East was suspended until September (2015), pending the unification of the churches.[14]

It turned out that unification was not achievable. On 18 September, Assyrian Church of the East elected Gewargis III as the new head of the Church, and he was consecrated and enthroned as Catholicos-Patriarch on 27 September 2015.[15]

In spite of the fact that unification was not achieved, leaders of both Churches have continued to promote various forms of mutual cooperation.[16]

After the death of Mar Addai II, reunification failed in May 2022 and the election of a new patriarch was therefore launched.[17][6]

See also


  1. ^ Baumer 2006, p. 272.
  2. ^ a b c Parry, Ken; Melling, David J.; Brady, Dimitri; Griffith, Sidney H.; Healey, John F., eds. (2017-09-01) [1999]. "Church of the East". The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. pp. 122–3. doi:10.1002/9781405166584. ISBN 978-1-4051-6658-4.
  3. ^ "ASIA/IRAQ - Farewell to Mar Addai II, Patriarch of the Ancient Church of the East - Agenzia Fides".
  4. ^ Roberson, Ronald (2008). The Eastern Christian Churches: A Brief Survey (7th ed.). University Press of the Pontifical Oriental Institut. ISBN 978-8872103593. Retrieved 2021-06-20 – via CNEWA.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Baum & Winkler 2003, p. 148-149, 154.
  6. ^ a b "New patriarch elected for the Ancient Church of the East". SyriacPress. 2022-06-04. Retrieved 2022-06-04.
  7. ^ ""Thou art Peter (Pétros), and upon this rock (Pétra) I will build my church." (Matthew 16:18 KJV)". 23 June 2021.
  8. ^ "رئيس الديوان يحضر مراسيم تكريس الاب دانيال الخوري طيماثيوس أسقفا على ايبارشية العراق للكنيسة الشرقية القديمة". Retrieved 2022-01-13.
  9. ^ The Quest for Orthodox–Assyrian Alliance
  10. ^ The Assyrian: Ancient Church of the East moves to change calendar Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Decree of the Holy Synod". Assyrian Church News. 14 April 2015. Archived from the original on 2017-01-16. Retrieved 2022-01-13.
  12. ^ "PRESS RELEASE". Assyrian Church News. Retrieved 2022-01-13.
  13. ^ "Press Release from the holy Council of Bishops of the Assyrian Church of the East". Assyrian Church News. Retrieved 2022-01-13.
  14. ^ Statement of the Council of Hierarchs of the Assyrian Church of the East (2015)
  15. ^ Royel, Mar Awa. "Biography of His Holiness Mar Gewargis III". Holy Catholic Apostolic Assyrian Church of the East Official News Website. Assyrian Church of the East. Archived from the original on 2 October 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  16. ^ "Chicago Commemorates the 100th Martyrdom Anniversary of Mar Benyamin Shimun XXI". Assyrian Church News. Retrieved 2022-01-13.
  17. ^ "Ancient Church of the East picks new patriarch, puts brakes on reunification". AsiaNews. 4 June 2022.


Further reading

This page was last edited on 19 July 2022, at 05:49
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