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Author Topic: New Assyrian Church of the East Blog  (Read 2576 times) Average Rating: 0
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PresbyEphraim
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« on: September 21, 2012, 10:23:19 PM »

Greetings!

In the interest of providing the Orthodox world with a basic introduction to the Assyrian Church of the East (AKA "Nestorian Church") I started a blog: http://eastmeetseastblog.blogspot.com/

I'm just taking snippets from various church fathers of the Syriac tradition and from the Assyrian Church's own canonical writings and translating them, with some commentary. Hopefully, this can help us have an English repository of the texts needed for a basic understanding of this tradition. I also have an eye to informing the Assyrian Church world about Orthodoxy.

If it's interesting, please follow by email (I update about every 12 days, so I wont be flooding your box, promise) and comment on the blog itself. It's been great going to a dozen different places to see what people are writing but I have 10 comments on the blog and around 12 times that elsewhere.

http://eastmeetseastblog.blogspot.com/

Thanks,

Ephraim, unworthy priest
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 03:25:14 AM by Salpy » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 10:57:58 PM »

Father, from a quick reading of your blog you seem to have fairly positive or at least non-polemical view of the Assyrian church despite the fact that you switched from the Assyrian church to the EO Church. Care to tell us why did you became an EO?
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PresbyEphraim
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2012, 07:20:37 PM »

Father, my interest is simply in collecting material on the Church of the East, reading through it, and then posting quotations that are helpful in understanding the Assyrian Church of the East honestly. There is mountain of good stuff out there, but it requires knowledge of Syriac (beyond basic Syriac) and of the language of the Syriac fathers. I'm trying to provide as many links to English translations that are free as possible. To what extent the Church of the East is Orthodox is up to the Church to decide. I'm just trying to provide a means to aquaint ourselves.

For example, Chalcedon is accepted by the Assyrian Church but they equate Hypostasis with nature (for more info visit: http://eastmeetseastblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/kyana-and-qnuma-nature-of-natures.html)  and so the Assyrian version of Chalcedon uses two natures, two qnume and one parsupa. Read the above post and you'll see why the Church of the East uses that formula. Indeed, I'm not sure that our version of Chalcedon would be unacceptable to the Church of the East. Two qnuma was merely used, as a future entry will suggest, to prohibit the idea that the natures are just theoretical (see the quote by St Ephraim in the above link). This is not a discussion of Chalcedon but of the general language of the Church of the East and why it was used the way it was used. To see the actual words of the Church of the East on the person of Christ see: http://eastmeetseastblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/who-do-you-say-that-i-am-part-1.html

That'll give you some idea of the blog's purpose, which is to provide the tools for understanding and not actual ecumenism, etc. It is an exploration of a tradition that has not yet really begun to re-express itself in the modern age and that has rich soil to be tilled today, both for a member of the Church of the East and also for us Orthodox. It is good to know the past and to know it well.

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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2012, 08:17:13 PM »

Father- A very unique and important project you're embarking on!

I do share Alpo's question about why you switched.
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2012, 06:53:02 PM »

Some new articles have appeared.  There is the first of a series on icons in the Assyrian Church:

http://eastmeetseastblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/assyrian-churchs-theology-of-icons-part.html


Also, the Assyrian Church and Chalcedon:

http://eastmeetseastblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/who-do-you-say-that-i-am-part-ii.html
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2012, 09:04:58 AM »

Re icons in the Assyrian Church:

The "Nestorian" church in Famagusta, Cyprus, has  medieval wall paintings with Syriac inscriptions

http://famagustawalledcity.org/wall-painting



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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2012, 02:06:18 PM »

Re icons in the Assyrian Church:

The "Nestorian" church in Famagusta, Cyprus, has  medieval wall paintings with Syriac inscriptions

http://famagustawalledcity.org/wall-painting





Impressive pictures.

Welcome to the board.  Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2012, 07:46:04 PM »

I was under the impression that the Assyrian Church did not really make use of icons aside from the Cross. Were these murals added later by the Orthodox?
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2012, 08:11:04 PM »

The Syriac inscriptions seem to indicate that it was the Assyrians.  Syriac is their liturgical language.
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2012, 09:07:31 PM »

There's  a pretty large amount of literary and archaeological evidence that the Church of the East used icons prior to the Mongol conquest of the Middle East in the 13th century. Two scholarly sources that deal with this are:

H. Teule, “The Veneration of Images in the East Syriac Tradition” in Die Welt der Götterbilder, ed. B. Groneberg and H. Spieckermann (Berlin: De Gruyter 2007), 324-346

K. Parry, "Images in the Church of the East : The evidence from Central Asia and China" in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 78.3 (1996), 143-162
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« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2012, 03:43:44 AM »

H. Teule's article is awesome. I haven't read Parry, but thank you for the reference. There is a small arabic-language book on the topic need translation very badly. Perhaps some dear reader of Arabic might be interested in reading and sharing some insightful bits from the title. If so, I might be able to land a copy.
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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2012, 04:38:41 AM »

Father, from a quick reading of your blog you seem to have fairly positive or at least non-polemical view of the Assyrian church despite the fact that you switched from the Assyrian church to the EO Church. Care to tell us why did you became an EO?
Father, when you have some time, would you kindly please answer this question?

In Christ,
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2012, 09:45:46 AM »

I read Arabic and would be happy to take a look at it if a copy can be located.
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2013, 05:55:23 PM »

I was under the impression that the Assyrian Church did not really make use of icons aside from the Cross. Were these murals added later by the Orthodox?

The Assyrians used to use icons more often. Indeed, their own rules still say that the icon of Christ must be present for the liturgy to be celebrated. In India, they not only have icons but statues also. If you like I can upload some pictures I've downloaded for reference. The Assyrians only do not commonly use icons as the persecutions of the Mongols, the Persians, the Arabs and iconoclastic sects of Islam in general caused the practice to die out amongst them. After all, who wants to be an iconographer when you could be killed for it? Good on the martyrs but it's kind of hard to pass on an art when everyone who practices it is swiftly killed. This is why the modern Assyrians don't have icons. The Chaldean Catholics are trying to revive the art.
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2013, 06:32:58 PM »

The Syriac inscriptions seem to indicate that it was the Assyrians.  Syriac is their liturgical language.
The Maronites, and of course the Syriac Orthodox, use it as well, and it used to be more used among the Antiochian Orthodox.  In fact, Ma'lula, where Aramaic is still spoken, is Melkite (in the Chalcedonian sense).  They use Arabic now in Church there, however.
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« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2013, 04:09:56 PM »

Excellent blog! Looking forward to more posts!
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« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2013, 06:57:41 PM »

Father, from a quick reading of your blog you seem to have fairly positive or at least non-polemical view of the Assyrian church despite the fact that you switched from the Assyrian church to the EO Church. Care to tell us why did you became an EO?
Father, when you have some time, would you kindly please answer this question?

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Perhaps, it's better if His Reverence is ready, he'll share his conversion on his blog.
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« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2013, 10:46:53 PM »

See http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,52932.0.html
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« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2013, 08:56:43 PM »

I'm not sure Father Ephraim "converted" to the EO, or was simply accepted by the Antiochians. It seems to me the borders of the Eastern churches are porous, with the possible exception for anyone in a Roman camp.
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« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2013, 07:06:15 AM »

Greetings!

In the interest of providing the Orthodox world with a basic introduction to the Assyrian Church of the East (AKA "Nestorian Church") I started a blog: http://eastmeetseastblog.blogspot.com/

I'm just taking snippets from various church fathers of the Syriac tradition and from the Assyrian Church's own canonical writings and translating them, with some commentary. Hopefully, this can help us have an English repository of the texts needed for a basic understanding of this tradition. I also have an eye to informing the Assyrian Church world about Orthodoxy.

If it's interesting, please follow by email (I update about every 12 days, so I wont be flooding your box, promise) and comment on the blog itself. It's been great going to a dozen different places to see what people are writing but I have 10 comments on the blog and around 12 times that elsewhere.

http://eastmeetseastblog.blogspot.com/

Thanks,

Ephraim, unworthy priest

Best of luck with your endevor!

I don't know if this is mentioned in any of your blog-posts (I haven't actually read any of them yet, just their titles) but the discussion here, about your move from the ACoE to the Eastern Orthodox Church, reminds me of something I recently learned. Namely, that a group of Assyrians became EO in 1898:

Quote
In the mid 1890's, Abun Mar Yonan, the Nestorian Bishop of Urmia, petitionedthe 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.
...
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 con- version and education of his flock.

http://www.roca.org/bishop_john.htm

That article goes on to describe later events related to the group (including how they became part of the ROCA) but it never says whether the Assyrian Orthodox churches kept their traditional (Persian / East Syrian) liturgy. Does anyone here know?
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« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2013, 09:56:06 PM »

Another ACoE question. (A pretty small one, so it seems better to tack it on here, rather than start another thread.)

So, the split between the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East was largely about the calendar (New vs Old). What I'm wondering is, is the Ancient Church of the East also more conservative theologically (more "Nestorian" so to speak)?
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« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2013, 12:25:59 PM »

Two questions about this article. Firstly, why does it make it seem as if Fr. Ephraim was never a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, despite the fact that he describes himself as such on the blog and specifically mentions being out of communion with the Church of the East? I'm not actually sure how anyone here would answer it, but it's odd enough that I wanted to mention it.
Secondly, I'm no expert on Oriental vesture, but it looks to me like Fr. Ephraim is wearing Syrian vestments, instead of Assyrian like the bishop who ordained him. What's up with that?
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« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2013, 01:16:37 PM »

Firstly, why does it make it seem as if Fr. Ephraim was never a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, despite the fact that he describes himself as such on the blog and specifically mentions being out of communion with the Church of the East? I'm not actually sure how anyone here would answer it, but it's odd enough that I wanted to mention it.

My guess is that they omitted details so as not to call more attention than necessary to the fact that he left the ACoE for a time before returning. 

Quote
Secondly, I'm no expert on Oriental vesture, but it looks to me like Fr. Ephraim is wearing Syrian vestments, instead of Assyrian like the bishop who ordained him. What's up with that?

There's no significant difference.  The Assyrians tend to keep the traditional form of the priestly stole, which is the deacon's stole wrapped around the neck, while the Syrians tend to stitch the priest's stole so that it is one piece hanging straight down.  But that's just style.  When a priest is ordained in the Syrian tradition, the stole, hanging from the left shoulder, is wrapped around the neck by the bishop, and then the other vestments are given to him (though it's not uncommon to see the deacon's stole removed after this and substituted with the one piece priest's stole).

Examples from ordinations:







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