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Author Topic: Questions about the “Assyrian Church of the East”  (Read 9648 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 20, 2008, 10:22:03 PM »

I have been reading online about the “Assyrian Church of the East,” but I still remain pretty confused about them.

Does anyone know if there are any OO or EO in communion them?
If not, are there any hopeful relations currently going on (as with OO/EO)?

I have read that there are at least two groups of “Assyrian Christians”
1) The Assyrian Church of the East (not in communion with Rome)
2) The Chaldean Catholic Church (in communion with Rome)

Also, even if neither of these are in communion with any OO or EO, are there any Persian/Assyrian/Iranian/Iraqi Orthodox churches?

Thanks to anyone who can help with this.
God bless
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2008, 10:43:44 PM »

Does anyone know if there are any OO or EO in communion them?

There are not.

Quote
If not, are there any hopeful relations currently going on (as with OO/EO)?

Nothing that could be described as hopeful.

Quote
I have read that there are at least two groups of “Assyrian Christians”
1) The Assyrian Church of the East (not in communion with Rome)
2) The Chaldean Catholic Church (in communion with Rome)

The Assyrian Church of the East is itself divided, into a new calendar branch and an old calendar/traditionalist branch. The schism happened when the then Patriarch decided to take a wife and get married - a practice not unprecedented in the Assyrian Church, but which nonetheless caused enough outrage for him to be assassinated - and other modernist reforms.

Lamentably, the Church of the East has all but been wiped out in its traditional Iraqi homeland following the American invasion, which has led to a surge in Islamic extremism and removed the relative protection the group previously had under Saddam. So, except for its continued presence in India, the Church of the East is now pretty much confined to diaspora communities in America, Sweden, Germany, and elsewhere.

Quote
Also, even if neither of these are in communion with any OO or EO, are there any Persian/Assyrian/Iranian/Iraqi Orthodox churches?

There was a reference to a ROCOR Church in Iran, where the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is done in Syriac, elsewhere on this forum.
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2008, 10:45:18 PM »

The Assyrians are not in communion with anyone. They are a completely separate Church that only accepts 2 ecumenical councils.

Yes there are Iraqi Orthodox under the Patriarchate of Antioch.
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2008, 10:54:22 PM »



Lamentably, the Church of the East has all but been wiped out in its traditional Iraqi homeland following the American invasion, which has led to a surge in Islamic extremism and removed the relative protection the group previously had under Saddam. So, except for its continued presence in India, the Church of the East is now pretty much confined to diaspora communities in America, Sweden, Germany, and elsewhere.


Protection under Saddam? Even though you qualified it with relative, I am not so sure. It was being persecuted under him because while as a secularist he allowed some religious freedom to Christians, it was to Arab Christians, or those Assyrians who would self-identify as Arab, such as Tariq Aziz (who was an atheist anyway). People were emigrating a lot under him--the situation was pretty bad, bad enough that some Assyrian bishops were supporting the US invasion of Iraq in the hopes of getting assistance in this.

Post-war, things are worse, and I am not denying that the exodus has sped up since 2003, but they have been dwindling in increasing numbers for a very long time now. Saddam, Islamic extremists, have all contributed in various ways to producing the mass exodus of these poor people.
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2008, 05:13:48 PM »

Thank you everyone for your informative replies.  They are a great help.   Smiley

A couple more questions:

The Assyrians are not in communion with anyone. They are a completely separate Church that only accepts 2 ecumenical councils.

So, are there any other groups like the Assyrian church?  I have heard that the Assyrians are Nestorians (and therefore obviously heretical, both from an OO and EO perspective).  Are there, for instance, any Arian groups still in existence?  I guess this is the main factor about the Assyrians that initially confused me: that a non-Orthodox (neither OO nor EO) group still continued to exist for 2,000 years. 

Just to clarify both for myself and whoever reads this, of all the current Christian groups in the word, they can all be categorized as one of the following:
Oriental Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
Roman Catholic
Protestant
Assyrian Church of the East

Is this list complete, or are there even more (besides Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons)?  If this list is complete, then it drives the point even further as to why I have been so interested in who exactly the Assyrian church is.  It just seems so, well, “interesting” that they have continually remained in existence for 2,000 years as the only completely isolated “fringe” group of ancient Christianity.  Please understand I’m not trying to justify Assyrian/Nestorian theology, I just want to make sure I’m understanding the whole picture here.


Yes there are Iraqi Orthodox under the Patriarchate of Antioch.

Praise God!  Do you know of any links or other ways to find more information about Iraqi and Iranian Orthodoxy? 

Part of what prompted my current research was a conversation with a man from my parish who said he is of Persian ancestry, and that he has heard of “Persian Orthodox” Christians.  I know he would be very interested to know more about this subject.


Once again, thanks everyone for sharing.  God bless
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2008, 05:55:37 PM »

Are there, for instance, any Arian groups still in existence? 

Yes, but they have not had continous organizational existence for 2000 years...
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2008, 06:03:08 PM »

It just seems so, well, “interesting” that they have continually remained in existence for 2,000 years as the only completely isolated “fringe” group of ancient Christianity. 

I don't really see what makes this so unique. The Church of the East was Orthodox for the first five centuries A.D. Why is the survival of the Nestorian church for 1,500 years post-schism any more remarkable than the survival of the Latin church 1,000 years post-schism?

It should also be noted that the Church of the East, to which St. Isaac the Syrian belonged, was by no means an isolated or insignificant "fringe group". As the Byzantine Empire was collapsing, the Nestorian Patriarch of Baghdad had a diocese that extended as far east as China. I'm not sure about the numbers, but certainly in terms of territory the Church of the East was as big as any other.
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2008, 06:12:17 PM »

They had millions of people at one point. One of their patriarchs was even Chinese!
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2008, 06:17:56 PM »

Thank you everyone for your informative replies.  They are a great help.   Smiley

A couple more questions:

So, are there any other groups like the Assyrian church?  I have heard that the Assyrians are Nestorians (and therefore obviously heretical, both from an OO and EO perspective).  Are there, for instance, any Arian groups still in existence?  I guess this is the main factor about the Assyrians that initially confused me: that a non-Orthodox (neither OO nor EO) group still continued to exist for 2,000 years. 

Just to clarify both for myself and whoever reads this, of all the current Christian groups in the word, they can all be categorized as one of the following:
Oriental Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
Roman Catholic
Protestant
Assyrian Church of the East

Is this list complete, or are there even more (besides Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons)?  If this list is complete, then it drives the point even further as to why I have been so interested in who exactly the Assyrian church is.  It just seems so, well, “interesting” that they have continually remained in existence for 2,000 years as the only completely isolated “fringe” group of ancient Christianity.  Please understand I’m not trying to justify Assyrian/Nestorian theology, I just want to make sure I’m understanding the whole picture here.

Actually, their theology is not pure Nestorianism: after the Fifth Ecumenical Council their father Babai the Great brought their theology more in line with Orthodoxy.


Quote
Praise God!  Do you know of any links or other ways to find more information about Iraqi and Iranian Orthodoxy? 

Part of what prompted my current research was a conversation with a man from my parish who said he is of Persian ancestry, and that he has heard of “Persian Orthodox” Christians.  I know he would be very interested to know more about this subject.

EP Demetrius was a time was the Greek bishop of Tehran.

Many emigree groups from Russia ended up there, as did many of the Assyrians who reunited with the Orthodox Church. There are also a lot of Armenian Orthodox there, as always.

In Iraq, there are a number of Arab Orthodox under Antioch.
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2008, 11:23:41 PM »

Yes, but they [current-day Arian groups] have not had continous organizational existence for 2000 years...


Do you happen to know any titles these groups go by?  Are you referring to Gnostics or Essenes?  I mention these two groups in particular because I have personally encountered people who claim to be Gnostics or Essenes who are studying with masters that can trace their lineage back to Christ (of course they have absolutely no tangible historic evidence to support this claim).
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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2008, 11:36:33 PM »

They had millions of people at one point. One of their patriarchs was even Chinese!


Yes, I was reading about the Assyrian church's presence in China.  There are Gospel manuscripts and stone sculptures/carvings of crosses from the Assyrian Christians in China that date back to as early as the 7th century.
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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2008, 11:37:01 PM »

Do you happen to know any titles these groups go by? 

http://arian-catholic.org/

This is one of the groups. Notice how the icon of Arius (see the Introduction to Arian Catholicism section) is actually an icon of St. Spyridon. Stupidity knows no bounds...
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2008, 11:43:22 PM »

Actually, their theology is not pure Nestorianism: after the Fifth Ecumenical Council their father Babai the Great brought their theology more in line with Orthodoxy.


I also read a little about this... how the Assyrian church is not "Nestorian" in the classic OO/EO understanding of the word.

So I assume father Babai the Great's efforts were not sufficient to bring the Assyrian church close enough to Orthodoxy to allow for even remotely hopeful interactions with OO or EO?... even in today's world of inter-global communication?


Many emigree groups from Russia ended up there, as did many of the Assyrians who reunited with the Orthodox Church. There are also a lot of Armenian Orthodox there, as always.


So is there any talk of these Assyrians becoming their own indigenous Orthodox branch?... or has the diaspora been too severe for that to be a feasible option?
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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2008, 11:47:40 PM »

The Assyrian Church of the East is the predominant christian church of Iraq and Iran. The Assyrian church while labeled 'nestorian' are not not neccesarily nestorian. They do count Nestorius as one of their own but their  christology is not based on his heresy of 2 hypostasis of Christ. There christology is very similar to that of Chalcedon. Since their church was never within the boundaries of the Roman Empire they gradually were forgotten.

The Assyrian Church was indeed at one time Orthodox. The Orthodox Church counts Jacob Aphraates, bishop of a province in Persia as a Church Father who wrote around 345 a.d.  The followers of Nestorius under persecution eventually emigrated to Iraq and were absorbed into the Assyrian church where some influence did indeed take place. St Isaac the Syrian ( of Nineveh) was a bishop and theologian of the Assyrian (nestorian) Church around 700 a.d. Ironically St Isaac is a glorified Saint of the Eastern Orthodox church.  

The chaldeans are basically Assyrian Eastern Catholics. In America a large number of them are concentrated in San Diego and Detroit. The Chaldeans speak a slightly different aramaic dialect from the Assyrians.



Edited to replace the "U" word with "Eastern Catholics."


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« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2008, 11:55:11 PM »

Just if anyone is interested or wants to google for more info, the head of the Assyrian Church is Catholicos- Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV
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« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2008, 12:03:28 AM »

Thank you everyone for your informative replies.  They are a great help.   Smiley

A couple more questions:

So, are there any other groups like the Assyrian church?  I have heard that the Assyrians are Nestorians (and therefore obviously heretical, both from an OO and EO perspective).  Are there, for instance, any Arian groups still in existence?  I guess this is the main factor about the Assyrians that initially confused me: that a non-Orthodox (neither OO nor EO) group still continued to exist for 2,000 years. 

Just to clarify both for myself and whoever reads this, of all the current Christian groups in the word, they can all be categorized as one of the following:
Oriental Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
Roman Catholic
Protestant
Assyrian Church of the East

Is this list complete, or are there even more (besides Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons)?  If this list is complete, then it drives the point even further as to why I have been so interested in who exactly the Assyrian church is.  It just seems so, well, “interesting” that they have continually remained in


The Maronites united under the bishop of Rome and predominant in Lebanon and scattered around that area including a community in Cyprus were originally a seperate church and most likely at one time monotheletes.
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« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2008, 12:03:46 AM »

I don't really see what makes this so unique. The Church of the East was Orthodox for the first five centuries A.D. Why is the survival of the Nestorian church for 1,500 years post-schism any more remarkable than the survival of the Latin church 1,000 years post-schism?

Good point.  The comparison is indeed legit.  I suppose my issue is that I have always seen Rome as always being in the right place at the right time, at least in regards to earthly/political power and success.
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« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2008, 12:07:33 AM »

http://arian-catholic.org/
This is one of the groups.

Thanks, I didn't realize there are actually groups today that are 100% openly Arian (as opposed to Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons who don't even know they're Arian!).

Notice how the icon of Arius (see the Introduction to Arian Catholicism section) is actually an icon of St. Spyridon. Stupidity knows no bounds...

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« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2008, 12:18:05 AM »

The Assyrian church while labeled 'nestorian' are not not neccesarily nestorian.

So why do they remain outside of communion with both OO and EO?

They do count Nestorius as one of their own but their  christology is not based on his heresy of 2 hypostasis of Christ. There christology is very similar to that of Chalcedon. Since their church was never within the boundaries of the Roman Empire they gradually were forgotten.

This is very interesting.  Do you know of any literature available on the subject?

The Assyrian Church was indeed at one time Orthodox. The Orthodox Church counts Jacob Aphraates, bishop of a province in Persia as a Church Father who wrote around 345 a.d... St Isaac the Syrian ( of Nineveh) was a bishop and theologian of the Assyrian (nestorian) Church around 700 a.d. Ironically St Isaac is a glorified Saint of the Eastern Orthodox church. 

Very interesting indeed.


The chaldeans are basically Assyrian uniates.... The Chaldeans speak a slightly different aramaic dialect from the Assyrians.

So are the Assyrians basically Orthodox then?  Wink 
It makes me curious as to what Rome's criteria was in accepting the Chaldean's theology (of course this is indeed a tricky subject considering Rome itself is not exactly theologically sound).


Once again, everyone, thank you for your input... and I hope I'm not the only one here learning something new.
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« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2008, 02:20:50 AM »

Babai the Great worked to synthesize the Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia (Nestorius' teacher) with more Orthodox sounding language.  However, Babai continued to deny the Theopaschite formula ("One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh") and he never accepted the Third Ecumenical Council.  The Church of the East to this day rejects the Theopaschite formula and the Third Council.  This keeps them from being Orthodox, at least from an OO perspective. 

They historically have accepted the language of Leo's Tome and the formula of Chalcedon, but I think it can be said that they give them a different interpretation than the EO's did after Constantinople II.  In other words, they may speak of two natures and one person, but they attribute different actions to the two natures as if they were persons.  To this day they venerate Theodore and Nestorius as saints.

Then of course there is the thing they are probably most known for, which is denying that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of God, ("Theotokos.")  This is similar to the refusal to say that One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh.  It shows they believe in less of a union of Christ's divinity and humanity than the OO's and post-Constantinople II EO's.
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« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2008, 02:27:30 AM »

So why do they remain outside of communion with both OO and EO?

I believe its because they refuse to anathemnatize Nestorius, although they may not tacitly approve of his heresy, by refusing to condemn him, its just as bad...
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« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2008, 02:43:04 AM »

The Assyrian Church of the East is the predominant christian church of Iraq and Iran.


Actually, the Armenians are the largest Christian group in Iran.  The Assyrians are the largest Christian ethnic group in Iraq, but I'm not sure if the Chaldeans or the Church of the East is the bigger group.

One of the things that decimated the number of Assyrians was the Genocide of 1915.  It's often remembered as the Armenian Genocide, but many Assyrians were killed also.  The Turks' goal was really to eliminate non-Muslims from the Eastern part of their Empire and the Assyrians were there along with the Armenians.  They suffered greatly during that time. 

I've pointed out in other threads that it is not uncommon for Armenians and Assyrians to intermarry.  The two groups have been neighbors for so many centuries and recently have suffered so much persecution together, it should not be a surprise.  My grandfather's cousin married an Assyrian girl after coming to America, after the Genocide.  I therefore have cousins who are part Assyrian, but they are Armenian Orthodox.
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« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2008, 03:00:13 AM »

Very interesting.  I do believe the Chaldeans outnumber the Assyrians but im not 100 percent sure . Thats ironic that you bring up the intermarriage between Armenians and Assyrians. I know of an Assyrian girl straight out of Iraq who does have some armenian heritage. 
Since i brought up the Maronites, we should not forget that 50,000 of them were slaughtered in Turkey and in Lebanon between 1840-1860 by the Ottomons who allied themselves with the Druze sect to rid this tiny community.   
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« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2008, 11:59:05 PM »

I believe its because they refuse to anathemnatize Nestorius, although they may not tacitly approve of his heresy, by refusing to condemn him, its just as bad...

They venerate Nestorius as a "Saint" and "Doctor." They approve of his Christology. They reject the name "Nestorian" because they primarily follow Theodore of Mopsuestia. Well, that doesn't help matters. Theodore's Christology is, if anything, far worse than Nestorius'.
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« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2008, 04:12:12 PM »

By the way, Australia seems to a have a sizeable Assyrian Church of the East community, or at least well organized. They have an online forum, and from there I have chatted with a few members on MSN and Facebook.
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« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2008, 04:50:08 PM »

I split off a tangent about the Chaldean Church and put it in the Orthodox/Catholic Discussion folder, in the hope that our Eastern Catholic friends would be better able to answer the questions presented.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15188.msg216584.html#msg216584
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« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2008, 08:04:53 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUUzkFu8GDo&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3kzhTOvZrQ&feature=related

The videos show the reception of the new Metropolitan of the Assyrians in Russia, Mar Giwargis, in a Moscow Assyrian church, possibly his cathedral.

If you watch the second video, at 5'25'', you will see how the faithful purify their hands and faces with smoke from a censer and then go to the bishop to receive Communion (?) in their hands. There seems to be another priest holding the chalice further away.

I would have some questions, in case there are any members of the Assyrian Church reading the forum:

1. Does the ACOE use leavened or unleavened bread for the Eucharist? What about the Chaldean Catholics, the Syrian (Jacobite) Church and the other OO Churches?
2. Are the people in these videos communing or maybe just receiving something like the consecrated antidora of the EO Church?
3. Has this always been the customary way to receive communion in the Church of the East (first the bread in the hand, then the wine)? Could this be the ancient universal practice (preserved in the Orthodox Church in the Divine Liturgy of St. James, where both the faithful and the clergy receive Communion in the same way), or perhaps an innovation borrowed from modern day Roman Catholics?

I asked whether the Syrian Jacobite, the Coptic and the Ethiopian Church use unleavened bread for the Eucharist (as I know the Armenian Church does), since Saint Ephrem the Syrian, who is universally revered in these Churches, has several authentic hymns (De azymis), in which he fervently condemns this practice.
 
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« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2008, 08:52:34 PM »

Among the OO's, the Armenian Church is the only Church to use unleavened bread.  The tradition is ancient and has its roots in the belief that leaven represents sin.  This has been discussed elsewhere.  If I can find the other threads, I'll link them.

I have no idea what the Church of the East uses.  Unfortunately, we don't have any posters from that Church here.

We do have at least one Chaldean here, though.  You may want to repost some of your questions about the Chaldeans in the Orthodox-Catholic forum.  He also may know the practices of the Church of the East.
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« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2008, 09:02:05 PM »

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10855.0.html

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13141.0.html#top

Above are a couple of threads where Armenian communion was discussed before.
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« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2008, 09:25:49 PM »

To me, the bread in the second video looked leavened.  Another interesting thing I saw was that the people were crossing themselves right to left, like the EO's.  OO's go from left to right.

Again, your best bet of learning more is to ask our Chaldean friend Rony.  You may want to revive this thread over there:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15188.msg216584.html#top

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« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2008, 11:12:22 PM »

1. Does the ACOE use leavened or unleavened bread for the Eucharist? What about the Chaldean Catholics, the Syrian (Jacobite) Church and the other OO Churches?

The Assyrians use leaven.  In fact, they use 'Holy Leaven'.  They save a portion of raw dough from each preparation and use it to leaven the following weeks dough.  You've got it - sourdough.  They believe that the original leaven came from the Last Supper and consider it to be a Divine Mystery/Sacrament (they also consider the Sign of the Cross to be one as well).
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« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2008, 11:15:50 PM »

http://arian-catholic.org/

This is one of the groups. Notice how the icon of Arius (see the Introduction to Arian Catholicism section) is actually an icon of St. Spyridon. Stupidity knows no bounds...

I just read through this site. These guys are nut cases. I could understand if there was actually some from of historical connection but these guys can be lumped under the rest of the Restorationists. In short it's Jehovah's witness with Saints and Sacraments.
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« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2008, 11:18:41 PM »

The Assyrians use leaven.  In fact, they use 'Holy Leaven'.  They save a portion of raw dough from each preparation and use it to leaven the following weeks dough.  You've got it - sourdough.  They believe that the original leaven came from the Last Supper and consider it to be a Divine Mystery/Sacrament (they also consider the Sign of the Cross to be one as well).
.

Thank you.  This rang a bell in my head as I seemed to recall that this is one of their sacraments.  I found this:

http://www.assyrianchurch.com.au/sacraments.htm
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« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2008, 03:12:06 AM »

Also, even if neither of these are in communion with any OO or EO, are there any Persian/Assyrian/Iranian/Iraqi Orthodox churches?

Seraphim,

See my post in this thread for some info about the Assyrian Orthodox Church, which entered into union with ROCOR, but, afaik, is no longer a distinguishable ecclesial entity.

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2008, 03:32:16 AM »

  There was a group from the Assyrian Church of the East that converted to the Orthodox Church in 1898. "In the mid 1890's, Abun Mar Yonan, the Nestorian Bishop of Urmia, petitioned the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church that he and his flock be received into the Russian Church. Mar Yonan traveled to Saint Petersburg in 1898, where he and several of his clergy accepted Orthodoxy. They were received into the Russian Orthodox Church by confession of faith and vesting on the Feast of the Annunciation at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra. The services were presided over by Metropolitan Pallady (Raev) of Saint Petersburg ... Also in 1898, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church established the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Urmia, in order to aid Mar Yonan in the conversion and education of his flock." http://www.roca.org/bishop_john.htm

  Along with Bishop Yonan, Archimandrite Elia (Abraham) converted to Orthodoxy in 1898; after the death of Bishop Yonan, he was consecrated to the Episcopate and succeeded Bishop Yonan. After the Russian Revolution, Bishop Elia could no longer communicate with Patriarch Tikhon in Moscow, and joined the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Bishop Elia died in 1928, and he was succeeded by Bishop John (Gewarigis) who was consecrated to the Epicopate in Belgrade in 1931 by Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) and Archbishop Germogen (Maximov).
   
   "In 1918, he was part of the exodus of Christians- Orthodox, Armenians, Uniates, and Protestants alike-from northern Persia due to renewed persecution by the Moslems. Over 100,000 Christians fled northern Persia heading south to Iraq; untold numbers were massacred along the way. The Orthodox Assyrians eventually ended up in Baghdad. The future Bishop John almost immediately returned to Urmia, to attend to those Orthodox Assyrians who had stayed behind.

   Bishop John resided in Baghdad where most of his flock lived. He retired due to old age in 1945, and eventually made his way to the U.S., where he lived with his son in Chicago. In the early 1950's, Bishop Nikon (Rklitsky, later Archbishop of Washington and Florida), while visiting Chicago, "had a wonderful meeting with Bishop John of Urmia and Salma, the eldest member of our Council of Bishops, and spiritual head of the Orthodox Assyrians." Vladika Nikon noted that Bishop John spoke the same language as that spoken by Christ the Savior, and had been the translator at the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Urmia. After moving to Chicago to live in retirement, he found there were several thousand of his fellow Orthodox Assyrians, who were spiritually undernourished, living in the Chicago area. When Vladika Nikon visited Bishop John, he found him "surrounded by Americans of Assyrian origin," to whom Bishop John was reading the Bible in their native language. The Synod of Bishops, through Archbishop Gregory (Borishkevitch) of Chicago and Cleveland (later of Chicago, Detroit and Midwest America), Protopresbyter Arkadii Tsepuro, Protopresbyter George Grabbe (later Bishop Gregory of Washington & Florida), and Protopresbyter Adrian Rymarenko (later Archbishop Andrei of Novo Diveyevo) arranged for Bishop John to live in retirement at the Novo Diveyevo Convent in Spring Valley, New York. He reposed at Novo Diveyevo in 1960 at the age of 105, and is buried in the cemetery located there." http://www.roca.org/bishop_john.htm "Bishop John (Gevargizov) of Urmia & Salma, 1855-1960"

For the complete story of the conversion of the Orthodox Assyrians in 1898, see:
Abramtsov, Father David
'The Assyrians of Persia and the Russian Orthodox Church'
One Church
No. 6, 1960

Also interesting, concerning the Assyrians:
Coakley, J.F.
The Church of the East and the Church of England: A History the Archbishop of Canterbury's Assyrian Mission
Clarendon Press
Oxford, England 1992

Brief descriptions:
Bolshakoff, Serge
The Foreign Missions of the Russian Orthodox Church
SPCK
London, England 1943

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« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2008, 06:10:39 AM »

They had millions of people at one point. One of their patriarchs was even Chinese!
An article about the quite unique missionary work of the Church of the East along the trade routes to China..
 
 "By Foot to China"  
http://www.aina.org/books/bftc/bftc.htm
 
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« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2008, 08:17:05 AM »

Thank you all for your answers.

Here's another video, showing Assyrians from the same church in Moscow communing from the chalice (5'45''), as well. So this is indeed the way they receive Communion - both species separately:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v2ehtxz9Q4&feature=related

The consecration of an Assyrian church (the former parish of Mar Bawai Soro reconsecrated?). Beautiful chant!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oquLxgLHN7E
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« Reply #37 on: June 18, 2008, 01:59:53 PM »

Seraphim,
See my post in this thread for some info about the Assyrian Orthodox Church...


Awesome!  Thanks for sharing.  Smiley
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« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2008, 02:01:03 PM »

There was a group from the Assyrian Church of the East that converted to the Orthodox Church in 1898...


Very interesting indeed... thanks for the info!  Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: June 18, 2008, 02:04:27 PM »

An article about the quite unique missionary work of the Church of the East along the trade routes to China...

Very thorough article.  Thank you!  Smiley
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« Reply #40 on: June 18, 2008, 02:09:07 PM »

The consecration of an Assyrian church (the former parish of Mar Bawai Soro reconsecrated?). Beautiful chant!

Does anyone know if this building being reconsecrated as an Orthodox (under ecclesiastical hierarchy) parish?

Thank you, Romaios, for sharing... and welcome to the forum.  Smiley
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« Reply #41 on: June 22, 2008, 09:50:51 AM »

http://arian-catholic.org/

This is one of the groups. Notice how the icon of Arius (see the Introduction to Arian Catholicism section) is actually an icon of St. Spyridon. Stupidity knows no bounds...

Forgive me if I'm misinformed please but I believe you will find that that website is run by disenchanted Catholics who embrace Arianism yet are too aware of Church history to become JWs.
~~~

There are Coptic and Syrian Churches in the areas which you asked about. (They may not always opperate above ground but that's not a first in Christianity either.)

I can't recall what it's called right now but our local mission has a book in its bookstore which I've read bits of about the modern state of the Assyrians and it basically says they are still just as heretical as ever. They still divide Christ and do not believe that He was God when born of St. Mary.

Their history has been chequered and I've heard (can anyone confirm please) that there was a period when they recanted their false teaches and accepted the Eastern Orthodox stance (which may be about the time of St. Isaac?). Can anyone confirm or deny this please?

Thank you.
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« Reply #42 on: July 22, 2008, 03:32:15 AM »

People on an Assyrian forum I went to told me that the Assyrian Church of the East accepts all baptized Christians to communion. In my opinion, this is because the Church is so small and pressured by the rest of Christendom, especially Catholicism, to be more inclusive.
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« Reply #43 on: July 22, 2008, 03:20:51 PM »

People on an Assyrian forum I went to told me that the Assyrian Church of the East accepts all baptized Christians to communion.

This is my understanding also.  It is not surprising, when you think about how isolated and persecuted the Church of the East is.  They are in communion with no one and they are one of the most persecuted Churches of the 20th and 21st centuries.  It's during times of persecution that you really realize how valuable unity with others can be.   
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« Reply #44 on: August 06, 2008, 02:46:17 PM »

Yes, but they have not had continous organizational existence for 2000 years...

I think Jehovah’s Witnesses would fall under the category of Arianism.
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