Ancient Church of the East
|Ancient Holy Apostolic Catholic Church of the East
ܥܕܬܐ ܥܬܝܩܬܐ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ
|Founder||Toma Darmo, Yousif Khoshaba |
|Primate||Catholicos-Patriarch of the East, Mar Addai II|
|Territory||Iraq, Syria, United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, Canada, India, Jordan, Philippines.|
The Ancient Church of the East (Syriac: ܥܕܬܐ ܥܬܝܩܬܐ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ ʿĒtā ʿAttīqtā d'Maḏnəḥā, Arabic: كنيسة المشرق القديمة) was established in 1964. It follows the traditions of one of the oldest Christian churches, the Church of the East, whose origins trace back to the See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in central Mesopotamia. But as a result of the schism, it became independent of the Assyrian Church of the East.
Baghdad is the seat of the Ancient Church of the East. After the position of Catholicos-Patriarch, the head of the church remained vacant for 4 years, 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 Ancient Church of the East was established in opposition to a reform introduced in the Assyrian Church of the East of using the Gregorian Calendar rather than using the traditional Julian calendar that is off by 13 days. The schism arose in the Assyrian Church of the East in 1964 in resistance to these changes made to the church traditions, thereby causing a separate Ancient Church of the East to be established and headquartered in Baghdad.
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 by H.H. Mar Addai II. Also in June 1993, H.H. Mar Addai II consecrated Mar Emmanuel Elia Bishop for the Patriarchate of Baghdad. In 1994, Mar Emmanuel Elia shifted his residence and became Bishop of USA and Canada, while Mar Daniel Yakob became Bishop of California due to his illness.
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 1994, the Church was a very active missionary force and expanded into the Philippines when Mar Levi Bar Tau'ma was consecrated and appointed by His Holiness Mar Addai II as Metropolitan-Archbishop of Manila. Upon his retirement in 2006, the Ancient Church of the East in the Philippines had been locally recognized as The Eastern Catholic Church Metropolitan See of the Philippines and All Asia. It dramatically developed and grew under the pastoral administration of His Grace Metropolitan Mar Yokhannan Bar Tau'ma and currently composed of 8 eparchiae (dioceses) and more than 50 oikoi (parishes) spread throughout Manila, Las Piñas, Bulacan, Pangasinan, Cavite, Laguna, Mindoro, Surigao Sur, South Cotabato and other parts of the country.
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 cosnecrated 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 (vacant)
- Archdiocese of Europe
- Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand
- Diocese of North America (vacant)
- Head: Mar Addai II (born 1948, elected 1972)
- Title: Catholicos-Patriarch of the East
- Residence: 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 Bishop of Syria & North America
- Mar Mari Emmanuel: Auxiliary Bishop of Australia and New Zealand
- Mar Daniel Yakob: Bishop of California
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)
See also 
- 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