Ancient Church of the East

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Ancient Church of the East
TimothausLogo2.jpg
Founder Historically St. Peter, St. Thomas, St. Thaddeus and his disciple Mar Mari. Split from the Assyrian Church of the East during the mid-late 60s
Independence 1968 split from the Assyrian Church of the East
Primate Mar Addai II, Catholicos-Patriarch of the East.
Headquarters Baghdad, Iraq
Territory Iraq, Syria, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, Sweden, Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark
Possessions
Language Syriac (liturgical language)
Members 100,000
Website http://www.stzaiacathedral.org.au/

The Ancient Church of the East (Syriac: ܥܕܬܐ ܥܬܝܩܬܐ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ ʿĒtā ʿAttīqtā d'Maḏnəḥā, Arabic: كنيسة المشرق القديمة‎), officially the Ancient Holy Apostolic Catholic Church of the East (ܗܝ ܥܕܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ ܕܐܫܬܬܐܣܬ ܒܫܢܬܐ) distinguished itself from the Assyrian Church of the East in 1964. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical Patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon – the Church of the East, one of the oldest Christian churches in Mesopotamia.[1]

The Ancient Church of the East was established as the result of a schism within the Assyrian Church of the East, distinguishing itself by opposition to introduction into the Assyrian Church of the East of the modern Gregorian Calendar in place of the traditional Julian calendar (which differs from the Gregorian by a widening number of days, currently thirteen). The Ancient Church of the East seated itself in Baghdad, headed by a separate Catholicos-Patriarch. Mar Thoma Darmo (1968–1969), was succeeded as Catholicos-Patriarch by Mar Addai II Giwargis in 1970.

History[edit]

The position of Catholicos-Patriarch of the Ancient Church of the East remained vacant from 1964-1967. In 1968, the adherents to the Julian calendar elected a rival catholicos-patriarch Mar Thoma Darmo while Mar Shimun XXIII continued as the official head of the Assyrian Church of the East. The elected catholicos-patriarch Mar Thoma Darmo was a native of Mesopotamia, a former Metropolitan of the Assyrian Church of the East in India from 1952 to 1968 based at Thrissur, India. He became the head of the Ancient Church of the East in October 1968 and relocated to Baghdad.

Following Patriarch Mar Thoma Darmo's death in 1969, Mar Addai II was elected to head the Ancient Church of the East in February 1970.

The head of the church is the Patriarch of the Church of the East, who also bears the title of Catholicos, presently Mar Addai II. The Ancient Church of the East has an ordained clergy divided into the three traditional orders of deacon, priest (or presbyter), and bishop. It also has an episcopal polity, meaning it is organized into dioceses, each headed by a bishop and made up of several individual parish communities overseen by priests. Dioceses are organized into provinces under the authority of a metropolitan bishop.

Hierarchy

In September 1968 Mar Addai Giwargis was consecrated Metropolitan of Iraq, Mar Aprem Mooken was consecrated Metropolitan of India, and Mar Poulose Poulose was consecrated Bishop of India. These prelates in turn consecrated Mar Thoma Darmo Catholicos-Patriarch of the Ancient Church of the East during the first week of October 1968. Mar Thoma Darmo died in September 1969, and Mar Addai Giwargis became Acting Patriarch. Mar Addai Giwargis consecrated two Metropolitans in December 1969, Mar Narsai Toma for Kirkuk, and Mar Toma Eramia for Mosul and Northern Iraq. Mar Addai's jurisdiction now was Baghdad.

In February 1972, Mar Narsai Toma of Kirkuk and Mar Toma Giwargis of Nineveh consecrated Mar Addai Giwargis as Catholicos-Patriarch.

Mar Daniel Yakob, Bishop of Kirkuk for the Assyrian Church of the East was accepted in the Ancient Church of the East, in 1985, to head the North American parishes. In July 1992, Mar Yacoub Daniel was consecrated Bishop for Syria and in June 1993 Mar Emmanuel Elia as Bishop for the Patriarchate of Baghdad. In 1994, Mar Emmanuel Elia shifted his residence and became Bishop of North America (USA and Canada).

Several changes occurred in the church hierarchy during November–December 1995. Mar Aprem Mooken, Mar Pouluse Poulose and the Church in India united with the Assyrian Church of the East. Timothaus Mar Shallita was accepted into the Holy Synod and appointed Metropolitan of Europe, and Mar Yacoub Daniel was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan.

In July 2005, Mar Yacoub Daniel was transferred from Syria to serve in Australia and New Zealand.

In April 2009 Mar Addai II consecrated Mar Zaia Khoshaba, Bishop for Baghdad, and Mar Aprem Daweed, Bishop of Duhok. 2011 saw the resignation of two bishops, namely Mar Emmanuel Eliya and Mar Aprem Daweed. In August 2011, Mar Yacoub Daniel along with Mar Zaia Khoshaba consecrated Mar Mari Emmanuel as Bishop for Australia and New Zealand, assisting the Metropolitan.


Calendar issues

In June 2010, the Ancient Church of the East Synod officially declared that the church will begin starting 2010 to celebrate Christmas on the 25 December of each year according to the Gregorian calendar. From its establishment, the church had continued to celebrate Christmas on January 7 of each year. This move will mean that both the Ancient Church of the East and the Assyrian Church of the East will follow the same calendar. The calendar issue was one of the main reasons the Church of the East had split.[2] Easter will continue to be celebrated according to the Julian calendar.

This latest move by the Ancient Church of the East comes as a reconciliatory gesture to encourage efforts for talks for reunification. A joint holy synod between the two churches was postponed and is expected to be held at some future date.

Organisation[edit]

Dioceses

Holy Synod of the church is made up of:

  • Mar Addai II, Catholicos-Patriarch of the East residing in Patriarchal Palace, Hay al-Riyadh, Baghdad (Iraq)
  • Mar Narsai Toma: Metropolitan of Kirkuk
  • Mar Toma Giwargis: Metropolitan of Mosul and Northern Iraq
  • Mar Yacoub Daniel: Metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand
  • Mar Timothaus Shallita: Metropolitan of Europe
  • Mar Zaia Khoshaba: Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad and Care-taker Bishop of Syria & North America
  • Mar Mari Emmanuel: Auxiliary Bishop of Australia and New Zealand
  • Mar Daniel Yakob: Bishop of California
  • vacant: Bishop of Syria

List of Catholicoi-Patriarchs of the Ancient Church of the East[edit]

Prior to 1964[edit]

The Ancient Church of the East acknowledges the traditional lineage of the Patriarchs of the Church of the East in Babylon from Shimun Keepa[3] until the schism 1964-1967 and considers itself a true continuation of this lineage.

During the reign of Mar Shimun XXIII, in 1964, a schism appeared in the Assyrian Church of the East causing the Ancient Church of the East to distinguish itself. The seat of the church remained vacant for three years before Mar Thoma Darmo was assigned as Patriarch of the Ancient Church of the East, while Mar Shimun XXIII continued as the official head of the Assyrian Church of the East.

1964–present[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Mar Aprem Mooken, The Assyrian Church of the East in the Twentieth Century. Mōrān ’Eth’ō, 18. (Kottayam: St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute, 2003).
  • Bishop James Hess, Nestorian Apostolic Bishop, "Bishops at Large", by Bishop Alan Bain published in the UK. 1985
  • Most Rev James H Hess, "A Directory of Autocephalous Bishops" by Bishop Karl Pruter, St Willibrord Press, USA, 1985
  • Rev George Badger (Anglican priest and protégé of the Archbishop of Canterbury), "Nestorians and Their Rituals", published by Oxford University c. 1860.
  • The Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, as published in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, Cambridge University Press, 1968
  • "The Pearl (Marganitha), On The Truth of Christianity" Written in 1298 AD by Mar Odisho, Metropolitan of Suwa and Armenia. Translated and published in English by the late Patriarch, Shimun (Simon) XXIII, in 1964.

External links[edit]