Talk:Assyrian Church of the East

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new emblem[edit]

I added a more vivid version of the emblem of the church, it has a bigger resolution, and more detail. 66.92.128.140 (talk) 02:23, 2 May 2010 (UTC) user:Assyrio

Unification[edit]

There was a meeting with Mar Addai (Ancient Church of the East) about reuniting the two churches with Mar Dinkha as patriarch of the West, and Mar Addai as the Patriarch of Iraq ... I haven't heard anything more on this detail ... If anyone has more information on this it would be very helpful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Malik Danno (talkcontribs) 07:09, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Should Wigram be referenced?[edit]

I'm just wading into this topic, but I was surprised that Wigram is not used or referenced:

http://www.aina.org/books/itthotac/itthotac.htm

It seems to be cited quite a bit by other sources. How reliable is it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jonathan.robie (talkcontribs) 20:27, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Bias[edit]

This article is obviously bias towards the Assyrian Church. Now I'm not against the evidence presented in the article, but some of this is narrated in first person plural, which is unacceptable. That can be easily changed. I'm not saying some counter-argument needs to be presented, but some of this needs to be put in a 3rd person perspective, like "The Assyrian Church Believes this..." rather than "We believe this..." —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.234.189.3 (talk) 23:28, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Possible work group[edit]

There is currently discussion regarding the creation of a work group specifically to deal with articles dealing with the Eastern Catholic Churches, among others, here. Any parties interested in working in such a group are welcome to indicate their interest there. Thank you. John Carter (talk) 16:33, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

ASE navigation template[edit]

I am in the process of trying to create navigation templates for each of the core articles of the Christianity WikiProject. One such template has recently been created for this topic at Template:Assyrian Church of the East. If anyone has any suggestions for how to change the template, they are more than welcome. I personally think they would most easily be seen if added below the link to the template at Wikipedia:WikiProject Christianity/Core topics work group/Templates, and would request that the comments be made on that page below the template. Please feel free to make any comments you see fit on any of the other templates on that page as well. Thank you. John Carter (talk) 17:57, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Error in apostolicity[edit]

It is not in fact true that the Assyrian Church of the East is the direct continuation of the main branch of the Church of the East. Rather what happened was this:

16th century:

Church of the East (non-Roman) + Chaldean Church (Roman allegiance)

Then, 19th century:

Church of the East --> Chaldean Catholic Church of the East + Chaldean Church --> Church of the East, later adding Assyrian in 1976 by Mar Dinkha.

The following book:


The Church of the East, an Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity by Christoph Baumer, proves this claim, which is endorsed by Mar Dinkha himself. This article erroneously claims that the Assyrian Church of the East is the one that remained non-Roman all along, when neither did. 199.164.160.4 (talk) 22:45, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Century Name 1 Name 2
16th Chaldean Catholic Church Church of the East
19th Church of the East Chaldean Catholic Church of the East
1976 Assyrian Church of the East Chaldean Catholic Church of the East

This is what is meant. Gabr-el 23:04, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


Assyrian Neo-Aramaic[edit]

As a Chinese and Syriac scholar and the author of the book The Ecclesiastical History of the Church of the East, 1318-1918, I have always been under the impression that the Xian Tablet (AD 781), whose text I have studied in detail, was written in Chinese and Syriac. Surely the term 'Assyrian Neo-Aramaic' is incorrect in this context?

A second point: I'm pretty sure that Bar Sawma (the monk who went from Beijing to Rome) wasn't Chinese. I think he was an Ongut from Central Asia and would have counted as a 'Turk' in contemporary eyes, like his friend the patriarch Yaballaha III, who was described as 'Yahballaha the Fifth, the Turk' in the colophon to an East Syrian manuscript of 1301 written in India.

Incidentally, I've always been puzzled by that reference to him as Yaballaha V. I can only count two previous Yaballahas in the standard lists of East Syrian patriarchs. Does anyone have a plausible explanation for who the other two might be?

Djwilms (talk) 08:33, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

There is a strong Assyrian nationalist element, which I was a part of before, which is why the name "Assyrian-Neo-Aramaic" is used, which is in fact not true because the word "Assyrian" was not used as a nationalistic identity until the 19th century, compared to "Chaldean" which was used in the Church's prayer for the martyrs, Friday evening prayer, written in 340 AD. Please check it out, since you are a Syriac scholar.
About the Yabhallaha, I don't know exactly, I'll ask my Priest, he should know of it. Gabr-el 04:28, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Actually, there WAS an Assyrian national identity prior to the 19th century. Tatian described himself as Assyrian in the 2nd Century, the god Ashur was still being worshipped in the 3rd and 4th centuries, names such as Sargon and Sennacherib are attested in the 7th century, the medieval Arabs referred to the christians of northern Mesopotamia as Ashuriyun, and the Armenians and Persians used the term Assouri in the same period. Likewise, many ancient and still extant Assyrian tribes have distinctly ancient Assyrian names such as; Bit Shamasha, Bit Eshtarzin, Bit Tiyari etc. Its not useful for Assyrians to over state the breadth of identity, HOWEVER, it should not be discounted either. The Christians of Upper Mesopotamia were and are predominantly Assyrians. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.106.116.120 (talk) 23:26, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

Eastern expansion[edit]

I'm doing a major rewrite of the Eastern expansion section, which is one of my specialities, and will shortly be integrating the existing material on China and Tibet with the new paragraphs that precede it. There's a certain amount of repetition at present, and I intend to remove it.

On the wider issue of the collapse of the 'exterior provinces' of the Church of the East, I do not subscribe to the view that Timur was to blame for smashing the Central Asian communities, and I will demonstrate why if I am given time. In the meantime, I will be providing citations for all this new stuff over the next few days, so please don't plaster it with tags yet.

Djwilms (talk) 07:14, 3 August 2009 (UTC)


The Saint Thomas Christians[edit]

The tradition that Saint Thomas founded the church in India is a claim. It cannot be verified, even if it is true. I have therefore carefully used the word 'claim' in the relevant sentence.

The date of the arrival of Christianity in India cannot be fixed with any certainty. Recently the ancient tradition that Saint Thomas the Apostle visited India has received more respect than it once used to, though the surviving literature on the exploits of St Thomas in India must be treated with great caution. Many of the stories told about the saint are obviously legendary, and where they have the ring of truth we can not always be sure that the passages in question refer to India proper. Classical authors often used the term India to denote the East in general, and it is occasionally used to refer even to Arabia or Ethiopia. It is also possible that after some centuries a confusion arose between Saint Thomas the Apostle and Thomas of Jerusalem (Thomas Cannaneo), who quite probably visited south-west India in the fourth century. Memories of the work of Thomas of Jerusalem may well be interwoven in the stories associated with Thomas the Apostle, and some of these stories must be entirely discounted.

Goods and art objects from Roman Alexandria and Syria were certainly reaching the Indus River and its upper reaches in the reign of Gundophar, mentioned in the Thomas legend. Traders tended to land on the Malabar coast of India, and carry goods overland to the east coast. Interestingly, the tradition has Thomas follow a similar pattern, landing on the west coast then moving east to Mailapur. The Malabar coast also had a settled colony of Jews and this, more than any other single factor, may have encouraged early Christian missionary work in India. As elsewhere, the first Christian converts were made from Jewish communities. It is therefore quite credible that Christian missionaries, if not Thomas himself, came to India very early, and that there were Christians in various parts of India before the end of the first century.

The first certain reference to Christians in India comes from Pantaenus, who went there as a missionary in 180 AD. He found Christians there, who claimed their descent not from Saint Thomas, significantly, but from Saint Bartholemew. This suggests to me, as it has to other serious historians of the Church of the East, that the Thomas tradition was a later invention. The fourth and fifth centuries AD saw the development of the Mari, Addai and Thomas legends, as the Church of the East filled in the blanks in its history and insisted on apostolic foundations wherever it could do so.

The term 'claim' does not necessary imply that I disbelieve the Thomas tradition. It merely implies that this tradition is not susceptible of proof. I will continue to revert edits that assert that 'Christianity in India was founded by Saint Thomas'.

Djwilms (talk) 04:18, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

I am well aware of the content of the Acts of Saint Thomas and all the other traditions mentioned in the website given as a source for the alleged foundation of Christianity in India by St Thomas. These are no more than claims. Modern scholars, rightly, are sceptical of them. Robin Lane Fox, in his classic study Pagans and Christians, believes that the legend was invented in the second century to explain the origin of Christian communities in the Punjab. Baum and Winkler, in their 2003 book The Church of the East: A Concise History, point out that 'the earliest written verification of this legend [i.e. the Thomas legend] dates from the sixteenth century' (p. 51). I myself am the author of an important book on the Church of the East (not just 'a person in the discussion page', as you disparagingly put it), and I can assure you that the scholarly consensus is that the Thomas legend is a legend. I am perfectly willing to accept phrases like 'the Saint Thomas Christians, who traced their origin back to the apostle Thomas', if you don't like the term 'claim', but no serious scholar can accept the formulation 'Christianity in India was founded by Saint Thomas.'
Djwilms (talk) 01:38, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

It is just your personal opinion. Many scholars have accepted and confirmed that the Christianity in India was founded by Saint Thomas and rightly so. And several Popes have asserted the origin of south Indian Christianity from the Apostle Thomas. Above all it is well known that Saint Thomas is regarded as the Apostle of India. And who are these so called "modern scholars"! Majority of the scholars do agree that Saint Thomas landed in India. It is not at all a legend. Christianity in India was founded by none other than the aposlte Saint Thomas.User:Rahuljohnson4u (talk) 17:00, 9 December 2009 (UTC) I am modifying the sentence to 'the Saint Thomas Christians, believed to be founded by the apostle Thomas'.User:Rahuljohnson4u (talk) 17:30, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

I have no objection whatsoever to your formulation, though I personally prefer my own phrase 'traced the origins of their church back to', which comes to the same thing, because it reads better in English. So long as we accept the logical distinction between a claim and a statement of fact.
I appreciate that Christians like to believe these traditions, but just because they are often repeated, by popes or whoever, doesn't necessarily make them true. As it happens, I have a scholarly interest in the process of self-definition of the Church of the East. The development of the traditions attached to Addai, Mari and Thomas took place in the fourth century. We are supposed, for example, to believe that Addai converted king Abgar the Black of Edessa shortly after the death of Jesus. Yet Ephrem the Syrian, who lived in Edessa at the beginning of the fourth century, seems never to have heard of Addai. The legends developed later in the fourth century. I could refer you to a key article by Sebastian Brock that reconstructs this process, but you probably wouldn't accept his authority.
I will be publishing a major new book on the Church of the East in April 2011, in which I discuss the Parthian and Sassanian periods in some detail. I will deal with the historicity of the Thomas tradition in that book. I'll let you know when it comes out, so that you can read it if you are interested.
Djwilms (talk) 02:38, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Of course, I'm interested in reading the book.User:Rahuljohnson4u (talk) 07:00, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Merge[edit]

There seems to be a lot of duplicated information in Assyrian Church of the East's Holy Synod, so I have suggested merging any remaining information from the Synod article, into this one. Thoughts? --Elonka 19:10, 31 January 2010 (UTC)


Removal of Eastern Expansion Section[edit]

Dear Elonka,

I was surprised to see that you have removed, without any prior discussion, the section on Eastern Expansion, which I have tried in recent months to edit into a sober and factually-accurate paragraph.

I agree that this article is a complete mess at present and urgently needs the services of a professional editor, but it would have been more polite if you had signalled your intentions before making such a sweeping deletion. I'm not going to take this further at present, because it's not worth fighting over until someone comes forward with a sensible structure for this article; but it seems to me that a paragraph devoted to the eastward missionary expansion of the Church of the East is entirely appropriate in an article of this kind, and should not have been reduced to a bare sentence.

Djwilms (talk) 03:47, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Hi Djwilms! I've seen the wonderful work that you've been doing with the Diocese articles, and I'm happy to work with you.  :) I am in agreement that this article needs work, as do many others that are referring to the history of this branch of Christianity! All through Wikipedia, I've seen many cases where there appears to be an enormous amount of original research regarding the Assyrian Church of the East, or even worse, article sections which say quite different things than what their apparently referenced sources do. So I've been working with a couple other editors to get things straightened out, and am happy to have your help as well! The "Eastern expansion" information here was merged over to Nestorianism, since that's the term that the sources tended to use. If you have sources which specifically refer to the Assyrian Church of the East though, by all means feel free to add the information back in. You are also welcome (and encouraged!) to participate in the rewrite at Nestorianism, and List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East, to get things straightened out. Best, --Elonka 03:57, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Hi Elonka,
Apologies for being hasty. I hadn't even realised that there was an article called Nestorianism!
I think what I would like to do is sit down and compose a possible structure for the article Assyrian Church of the East, post it on the article's discussion page, and see what people think. If they like it, I might rewrite the entire article, take a deep breath, paste it over the existing article, and wait for the reaction. Thinking aloud, the article should certainly contain four or five paragraphs of history, a section on what the church believes and how it has been misinterpreted in the past, a section on its organisation and current diocesan structure (perhaps prefaced by a brief history of how they got there, with links to my diocese articles), and a section on the historical legacy of the church (contribution to Syriac and Arabic literature, for example). Other things will doubtless occur to me once I get going.
This might take some time, though, as I am presently working against the clock to complete my second book on the Church of the East ('The Martyred Church') by October 2010, for publication next April, so I haven't been able to contribute to Wikipedia recently as much as I used to do. I still try to do at least one edit a day, but they tend to be incremental nowadays.
Anyway, I'm glad to know that the incoherence of the Assyrian articles has been recognised. In the longer term, I would be delighted to help you get to grips with the problem, but it will have to wait for a few months.
Djwilms (talk) 04:13, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
I look forward to the new outline. :) --Elonka 05:53, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Edits 30/3/10[edit]

I've rewritten the first part of the article. Somebody had to. Where possible I've tried to make revisions to the existing text, rather than simply starting from scratch. I've tried to remain aloof as to the political controversies outlined in the article and on the discussion page. I made a point of not deleting any text, save for reasons of clarity. The section on the Council of Ephesus and the section titled Is the Assyrian Church Nestorian? should probably be merged. The article is still a little awkward. I hope to make further revisions, time permitting. Daniel. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.172.26.49 (talk) 13:05, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Relations with the Catholic Church[edit]

I recently removed this material from the Church of the East article. That really wasn't the place for it; this article would be better. While much of it looks good, I didn't move it over because none of it is sourced, and I didn't want to add even more unsourced material to the article.--Cúchullain t/c 12:24, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Intro edits[edit]

This source, recently added by an anonymous editor to cite the number of members of the church, is probably not the best source to use for population data, but it will do for now. There is also some contention over the wording: the church doesn't claim "descent" from the Church of the East, it claims to be the Church of the East. There's a huge difference there, which is why I think "continuity" is the better phrasing here. Finally, we don't need to list the name of the church in various languages, especially not in the intro. One might be suitable, but three? Perhaps we can move it into its own separate section, but it does not need to be in the intro.--Cúchullain t/c 12:53, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Intro, again[edit]

The recent changes take for granted that the current Assyrian Church of the East is continuity of the historical Church of the East, to the exclusion of the others (particularly the Chaldean Catholic Church). This is not acceptable; both churches claim continuity with the historical church, and Wikipedia can't take sides. This needs to change.--Cúchullain t/c 19:41, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

It is also silly that the link to Church of the East has been removed from the intro. That needs to be replaced.--Cúchullain t/c 19:43, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
After several days with no response I have removed some of the problematic wording. Future changes need to be discussed here on the talk page before reverting.--Cúchullain t/c 14:42, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

July 2011 proposed merge of Church of the East with Assyrian Church of the East [edit]

  • Oppose: please note that Article Church of the East deals with all the historical branches of the East Syriac Christianity, now split in three different bodies: ACoE, Chaldean Church, Ancient Church of East. Even before the splits, the body now known as ACoE was only one of the branches of the Church, known as Qochanis Patriarchate. So a merge would be very POV and historically incorrect. A ntv (talk) 10:42, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This article deals with the modern church, which is one of three churches that claim continuity with the historical body. As I've said elsewhere, Wikipedia can't pick sides as to which one is right.--Cúchullain t/c 12:29, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The Assyrian Church of the East, the Chaldean Church and the Ancient Church of the East are all successor churches to the historic Church of the East. I agree entirely with the points made by A ntv and Cúchullain. Djwilms (talk) 03:12, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

After three oppose and no support I consider this proposal as rejected and I'll remove the templates from the articles.A ntv (talk) 13:15, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Merge with Church of the East[edit]

I am reproposing that the articles be merged. The "Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East", "Assyrian Church of the East", "Chaldean Syrian Church", "Nestorian Church" and "Church of the East" are all referring to the exact same Church. The Chaldean Catholic Church and Ancient Church of the East were a part of the Church of the East, but broke off. The Chaldean Catholic Church, Ancient Church of the East and Church of the East, all fall under the category of East Syrian Rite. It is widely accepted that the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East is the Church of the East. The title "Church of the East" was formally changed to "Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East" in 1976 by Patriarch Dinkha IV of the Assyrian Church of the East [1][2] A2raya07 (talk) 17:36, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

This proposal has been raised many times, the consensus each time was against the merger.--Rafy talk
Quite right. The mind boggles at the thought of an article that yokes Assyrians and Chaldeans together. But it sounds as though the first two items in the list should be merged, if they both refer to the post-1551 Church of the East.
Djwilms (talk) 03:09, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
The article is titled "Church of the East", not "Church of the East Prior to 1551". By keeping them separated your showing them as two different entities. Also, if you look at other Wikipedia articles in different languages, there is no distinction between these titles. This separation only appears in the English language. Again, the "Assyrian Church of the East, short for "Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East", is the formal name of the "Church of the East" since 1976. [3]
A2raya07 (talk) 23:55, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
A merger would be a bad idea. Church of the East covers the historical church and all its successors in the modern era. This article covers one of those particular successors. There's obviously going to be overlap, but a merger isn't going to work.Cúchullain t/c 03:21, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
The Chaldean Church and Ancient Church of the East broke off the Church of the East for whatever reason they had. They are no longer part of the Church of the East. The Chaldean Catholic Church was founded by a Bishop of the Church of the East that broke off and joined the Roman Catholic Church. The Ancient Church of the East was established in 1964. The title of the "Church of the East" was formally changed in 1976 to Assyrian Church of the East (short for "Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East"). The "Assyrian" title was added in that year by the Patriarch, not to distinguish it from the Church of the East, but to pull away from the "Nestorian" title that scholars were using when referring to the Church of the East. Again, by separating these to articles, you are showing that these are two distinct entities.
A2raya07 (talk) 18:51, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
That's one way to interpret it, but it's not necessarily the consensus of historians. The Chaldean Church didn't "break off"; there was a series of splits that resulted in rival patriarchs, and ultimately two churches who claim continuity with the historical body. The Church of the East discusses the whole history and all the successors.Cúchullain t/c 20:03, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Your right! The Chaldean Church didn't break off, it was established in 1552 by the Pope of Rome when a few Bishops of the Church of the East left the Church and started their own Church that was in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Again, there is no difference between the Church of the East and the Assyrian Church of the East. They are the same thing. The United States and the United States of America are not two different entities. This titling is no different.[4] A2raya07 (talk) 01:34, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
That may be the opinion of some in the Assyrian Church of the East, but it's not the view of the historians, let alone the Chaldean Church. Your history is also off; the Chaldean Church actually has its origins in the Eliya patriarchate of Alqosh, which was the faction that did not enter communion with the Catholic Church in 1552. Again, it's not Wikipedia's place to say which side is right.Cúchullain t/c 02:41, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
I oppose the merge. Both the Assyrian Church and the Chaldean Church (and the Old Assyrian Church) claim to be in continuity of the Church of East. Wikipedia cannot decide which claim is right, and any merge would be a POV. Off topic, historically the body supported be the pope in 1552 developed in what now is known as Assyrian Church of East, while the remaining portion who opposed the pope in 1152 developed in what now is known as Chaldean Church. In any case this don't matter, any support of any claim is a POV. A ntv (talk) 08:49, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
  • The continuity debate is comparable to cases of other uniate Churches whose history only start in the 16th and 17th centuries. Syriac (like myself) and Greek Catholic Christians can only claim that their ancestors belonged to the their Orthodox counterparts, why should the Chaldean church be an exception?--Rafy talk 13:08, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Melkite Catholics and Syrian Catholics claim that their church is the "old" Melkite/Syrian Church that at a certain point of history re-entered in communion with Rome (for ecumenism this claim is not often stressed today). This claim, or the opposite claim, are POVs and Wiki shall not take position. Article Melkite Church is open to both the claims. The same for Syriac church that redirects to Syriac Christianity open to all the claims. So also article Church of East shall remain open to all the claims. A ntv (talk) 14:28, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't think Melkites and Syriac Christianity were meant to describe the Greek and Syriac Patriarchates of Antioch prior to the Catholic split. The term "Melkite" was never officially adopted by the Greek Church and the Syriac Miaphysites described themselves as "Orthodox" since Chalcedon afaik.--Rafy talk 14:36, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
We are off topic, but I may suggest you some readings such as Skaff, Elias (1993). The place of the Patriarchs of Antioch in Church History. Sophia Press (on Melkites) or Frazee, Charles A. (2006). Catholics and Sultans: The Church and the Ottoman Empire 1453–1923. A ntv (talk) 18:32, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
I have actually read the last book you mentioned, in it the term Syriac Orthodox is used for the non-Catholic faction before and after the "union" of the Syriac Catholics, same pattern is observed with Greeks and Armenian Orthodox churches.--Rafy talk 22:30, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

The Assyrian Church is only part of the Church of the East and does not comprise the whole of the Church of the East which has many Episcopi vagantes sometimes in and sometimes out of communion with various Catholicoi of Baghdad. Even today there are two distinct Catholicoi for Eastern Aramaic rite "Church of the East" Assyrian Christians, namely Addai II Giwargis and Dinkha IV. To merge would be an example of Illicit conversion, a logical fallacy. Isn't there a Wiki policy against adjusting the Encyclopaedia in ways which are logically fallacious? F.Tromble (talk) 10:58, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ http://www.cnewa.org/default.aspx?ID=1&pagetypeID=9&sitecode=US&pageno=1
  2. ^ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/409819/Nestorian
  3. ^ http://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches/regions/north-america/united-states-of-america/holy-apostolic-catholic-assyrian-church-of-the-east.html
  4. ^ http://www.jaas.org/edocs/v13n2/missick.pdf