Consecration of the St. Mary Syriac Orthodox Church in Montfermeil,France
To view the pictures of the Consecration please visit:http://www.aacf.asso.fr/galerie/index.asp?rub=47(there
are 116 photos available)
Producer of the Assyro-Chaldean Voice
Translated into English by Linda Karatay
The Assyro-Chaldeans, called by France 's people, "the builder people", have just inaugurated a new church. Sunday, July 4 th, 2004, was a great day for the Assyro-Chaldean people of France: a portion of the members of this community celebrated Saint Thomas in the Chaldean church which is dedicated to him (consacrated on February 7th of this year) in Sarcelles, and another group participated in the consecration of a new Syriac Orthodox church in Montfermeil. Within only thirty years of presence in France, our people inaugurated three churches : Notre Dame de Chald+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬e in Paris (1992), the Saint Thomas Apostle church in Sarcelles (2004) and the new church, Saint Mary Mother of God in Montfermeil (2004).
This church was built on the initiative of a Syriac Orthodox priest of the community settled in Clichy-Sous-Bois and in its neighborhood, Qashisho Yakup Aydin. This one made everything for the realization of the prediction of Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka 1st Iwas, who had said ten years ago : "one day, the small herd of France will have its own church". Qashisho Yakup Aydin began with nothing: he realized all the works he could make himself (dig, build, decorate, collect money by very numerous visits in the European countries). When the collected sums were not enough to complete the building works, he did not hesitate to go in various countries or to visit various organizations to gather new capital. It is for this courage and this dedication that the patriarch decorated him with a very beautiful cross.
After several years of waiting (quite as the Saint Thomas Apostle church in Sarcelles), the Syriac Orthodox church opened its doors to the Assyro-Chaldean community, of Syriac Orthodox confession, dependent on Moran Mor Zakka Iwas's jurisdiction. The day of its opening, July 4th, 2004 , about 700 to 800 persons were present: several Assyro-Chaldean delegations came from different European
countries ( Sweden , Germany , Holland , Belgium ) participated in this big event with their priests and bishops, notably Mor Julius Jeshu Cicek, Syriac Orthodox Church's Archbishop of Central Europe. Political, civil and religious personalities did not miss to be present, as the consul of Syria in Belgium, the representative of the Syrian consul in France, the military attach+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ of the embassy of Syria in France. The municipal people in charge of the city of Montfermeil, among whom the mayor, the people in charge of the various Christian confessions in France (Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic), the leaders
of non-governmental organizations as Aide +ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¡ l'Eglise en D+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬tresse (Help to the Church in Distress) and Oeuvre d'Orient (the Work of East), etc., greeted this community and this beautiful realization.
Among the presents, we could count also Mgr. Petrus Yousif, patriarchal vicar of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Paris, who showed, by his readings and his presence, the religious unity between the Chaldean Catholic and the Syriac Orthodox Churches. Besides, Joseph Yacoub, interrogated at the end of the ceremony by the biggest channels of French television covering this event, made the trip between Lyon and Paris not to miss this occasion. S+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬bastien de Courtois, young researcher and author of a book about the forgotten genocide against our people in 1915, was also present. The Association of the Assyro-Chaldeans of France as well as the Union of the Assyro-Chaldeans of France and the representatives of some Assyro-Chaldean political parties had sent delegations to show their support for the Syriac Orthodox community. The Assyro-Chaldean Voice covered this event. The Assyro-Chaldean community of France, which did not miss to support the project, so morally as materially by donations, was scattered in the church and in its garden, where was placed a
The absence of the Turkish authorities and the Turkish media, not invited to this celebration, was noticed by this community mainly native of the southeast of Turkey . Indeed, the Assyro-Chaldeans of Syriac Orthodox confession are from the villages of Tour Abdin and its neighborhood. Syria is the second country of origin of the Syriac Orthodox. The Syrian authorities were present and it was a brand of respect to Moran Mor Zakka Iwas, who came from Damascus , specially
for the inauguration of the new church.
This church could not have been realized if the architects, that Qashisho Yakup Aydin qualified as "the hand of God", had not realized the architectural plans voluntarily. And they managed of the bet to realize a very beautiful church surmounted by a bell tower hidden in a magnificent dome of Syriac tradition.
The consecration of the church Saint Mary Mother of God was made by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka 1st Iwas, whose speech was very positive concerning the situation of our people in Syria . At the end of the ceremony, the city hall of Montfermeil had given to the Syriac church all its infrastructures (room, local police, etc.). The patriarch participated in the meal offered in his honor and did not hesitate to bless families, couples and children. The members of our community crowded to be photographed with the patriarch. The meal was offered to about 700 to 800 persons.