Ancient Church of the East
|Ancient Church of the East|
|Founder||Historically 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.|
|Territory||Iraq, Syria, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, Sweden, Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark|
|Language||Syriac (liturgical language)|
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) was established 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.
The Ancient Church of the East was established as a result of a schism within the Assyrian Church of the East, and became an independent church. The Ancient Church of the East was distinguished by its opposition to a reforms introduced in the Assyrian Church of the East of using the Gregorian Calendar rather than maintaining the traditional Julian calendar that is off by 13 days. The Ancient Church of the East became headquartered in Baghdad and headed by a separate Catholicos-Patriarch. Mar Thoma Darmo became the Church's first Catholicos-Patriarch (1968–1969). The present head of the church is Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Addai II Giwargis since 1970. It is considered the most traditionalist in the Eastern Rite churches.
The position of Catholicos-Patriarch of the Ancient Church of the East remained vacant for the initial four years of the Church (1964-1967). In 1968, the followers of the newly established church 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.
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. H.H. 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 2008, the Church expanded into the Philippines when Mar Levi Bar Kepha was visited by Rev. Fr. Khoshaba and Rev. Deacon Georges, who came to the Philippines as representatives of His Holiness Mar Addai II, for the Ancient Church of the East. They visited the mission areas of Mar Levi. After the visit, he signed a document drawn up by the visitators. The document clearly stated the "oath of obedience to H.H. Mar Addai II..." and his appointment as Metropolitan-Archbishop for the Philippines. He is still the head of the Ancient Apostolic Catholic Church of the East in the Philippines. He has not retired as claimed by some unscrupulous higher clergy nor was he replaced by Mar Yokhannan bar Thoma. His Vicar General at present is Mar Shimun-Artemus Bar Kepha who serves with him in Metro Manila and the Philippine jurisdiction. Mar Shimun-Artemus Bar Kepha, is no longer a member of the Council of Bishops of the ECC since June this year, 2013 when he was accepted back into the A-ACCE under Mar Levi Bar Kepha. Therefore, assignments and functions entrusted to him by the Council are expunged. It should be noted that the Eastern Catholic Church in the Philippines, headed by Mar Yokhannan bar Thoma is not connected in any manner with the Ancient Apostolic Catholic Church of the East under the leadership of Mar Levi Bar Kepha nor is it under the Ancient Church of the East headed by H.H. Mar Addai II. It is a separate jurisdiction.
In July 2005, Mar Yacoub Daniel was transferred from Syria to serve in Australia and New Zealand.
In April 2009, H.H. 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. 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.
- Patriarchal Archdiocese of Baghdad and Basra
- Archdiocese of Kirkuk
- Archdiocese of Mosul and Northern Iraq
- Archdiocese of Syria
- Diocese of Europe
- Diocese of Australia and New Zealand
- Diocese of North America
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
Prior to 1964
The Ancient Church of the East acknowledges the traditional lineage of the Patriarchs of the Church of the East from Thoma Shlikha, (Saint Thomas) (c. 33-c. 77) 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 establishment of the Ancient Church of the East. The seat of the new 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.
- Vacant (1964–1967) – first period of the schism
- Mar Thoma Darmo (1968–1969)
- Vacant (1969-1972)
- Mar Addai II (1972–present)
- Church of the East
- Assyrian Church of the East
- East Syrian Rite
- List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East
- Chaldean Syrian Church in India (also known as Assyrian Church of the East in India)
- Chaldean Catholic Church
- Assyrian people
- 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.
- Karoz / Karozota website
- St Zaia Cathedral, Diocese of Australia
- The Holy Eastern Catholic Church in the Philippines