Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
ܥܕܬܐ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ ܕܐܬܘܖ̈ܝܐ
(Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East)
Emblem of the Assyrian Church of the East
|Founder||Traces origins to Saints Thomas (Mar Toma), Bartholomew (Mar Bar Tulmay), Thaddeus (Addai) and Mari.|
|Recognition||First Council of Ephesus|
|Primate||Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Gewargis III, Patriarch-elect|
|Territory||Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, India, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Georgia, Armenia, Oceania.|
The Assyrian Church of the East (Syriac: ܥܕܬܐ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ ܕܐܬܘܖ̈ܝܐ ʻIttā d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East (Syriac: ܥܕܬܐ ܩܕܝܫܬܐ ܘܫܠܝܚܝܬܐ ܩܬܘܠܝܩܝ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ ܕܐܬܘܖ̈ܝܐ, ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centred in Assyria, northern Mesopotamia, an area which is today encompassed by northern Iraq, north eastern Syria, south eastern Turkey and the north western fringes of Iran. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical Patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon – the Church of the East. Unlike most other churches that trace their origins to antiquity, the modern Assyrian Church of the East is not in communion with any other churches, either Orthodox, Coptic, Roman Catholic or Protestant.
Theologically, the church is associated with the doctrine of Nestorianism, leading to the church, also being known as a "Nestorian Church", though church leadership has at times rejected the Nestorian label, and it was already existing in Assyria some four centuries prior to Nestorius.
The church employs the Syriac dialect of the Aramaic language which evolved in Assyria during the 5th century BC in its liturgy, the East Syrian Rite, which includes three anaphoras, attributed to Saints Addai and Mari, Theodore of Mopsuestia and Nestorius.
The Church of the East developed between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD from the early Assyrian Christian communities in the Athura/Assuristan province (Parthian ruled Assyria) of the Parthian Empire and semi-independent Neo-Assyrian kingdoms in the region such as Assur, Adiabene, Osroene and Beth Nuhadra. and at its height had spread from its heartland in Upper Mesopotamia to as far afield as China, Mongolia, Central Asia and India.
A dispute over patriarchal succession led to the Schism of 1552, resulting in there being two rival Patriarchs. One of the factions that eventually emerged from this split became known as the Assyrian Church of the East, while another formed the church now known as the Chaldean Catholic Church by AD 1830, originally called The Church of Athura (Assyria) and Mosul, which eventually entered communion with the Latin See of Rome.
A more recent schism in the church resulted from the adoption of the Assyrian Church of the East of the Gregorian calendar rather than maintaining the traditional Julian calendar. The opponents to the reforms introduced formed in 1964 the Ancient Church of the East headquartered in Baghdad and headed since 1968 by a separate Catholicos-Patriarch.
The Assyrian Church of the East is headed by the Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, who, after the church hierarchy fled Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War, has resided in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Below the Catholicos-Patriarch are a number of metropolitan bishops, diocesan bishops, priests, and deacons who serve dioceses and parishes throughout the Middle East, India, North America, Oceania, and Europe (including the Caucasus and Russia).
- 1 History
- 1.1 Early years of the Church of the East
- 1.2 Eastern expansion
- 1.3 Schism and the establishment of the Chaldean Church
- 1.4 Sees in Qochanis, Amid, and Alqosh (17th century)
- 1.5 Josephite line of Amid
- 1.6 20th century
- 2 Assyrian Church of the East and Nestorianism
- 3 Ecumenical relations
- 4 Structure
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
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Early years of the Church of the East
The Church of the East originally developed among the Assyrians during the 1st century AD in the Mesopotamian Eastern Aramaic speaking regions of Assyria and northwestern Persia (today's northern Iraq, southeast Turkey, northeast Syria and north western Iran), to the east of the Roman-Byzantine empire. It is an Apostolic church, established by the apostles St Thomas (Mar Toma), St Thaddeus (Mar Addai), and St Bartholomew (Mar Bar Tulmay). St Peter (Mar Shimun Keapa), the chief of the apostles added his blessing to the Church of the East at the time of his visit to the See at Babylon, in the earliest days of the church when stating, "The elect church which is in Babylon, salutes you; and Mark, my son (1 Peter 5:13).
Although having been established in the 1st century, official recognition was first granted to the Christian faith in the 4th century with the accession of Yazdegerd I to the throne of the Sassanid Empire. In 410, the Synod of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, held at the Sassanid capital, allowed the Church's leading bishops to elect a formal Catholicos, or leader. The Catholicos, Mar Isaac, was required both to lead the Assyrian Christian community, and to answer on its behalf to the Sassanid Emperor.
Under pressure from the Sassanid Emperor, the Church of the East sought increasingly to distance itself from the western (Roman Empire) Catholic Church. In 424, the bishops of the Sassanid Empire met in council under the leadership of Catholicos Mar Dadisho I (421–456) and determined that they would not, henceforth, refer disciplinary or theological problems to any external power, and especially not to any bishop or Church Council in the Roman Empire.
As such, the Mesopotamian and Assyrian Churches were not represented at the various Church Councils attended by representatives of the Western Church. Accordingly, the leaders of the Church of the East did not feel bound by any decisions of what came to be regarded as Roman Imperial Councils. Despite this, the Creed and Canons of the first Council of Nicea (325); affirming the full divinity of Christ; were formally accepted at the Synod of Seleucia-Ctesiphon. The Church's understanding of the term 'hypostasis' differs from the definition of the term offered at the Council of Chalcedon. For this reason, the Assyrian Church has never approved the Chalcedonian definition.
The theological controversy that followed the First Council of Ephesus, in 431, proved a turning point in the Church's history. The Council condemned as heretical the Christology of Nestorius, whose reluctance to accord the Virgin Mary the title 'Theotokos' ('God-bearer' or 'Mother of God') was taken as evidence that he believed two separate persons (as opposed to two united natures) to be present within Christ. (For the theological issues at stake, see Assyrian Church of the East and Nestorianism.)
The Sassanid Emperor, hostile to the Roman Empire, saw the opportunity to ensure the loyalty of his Assyrian Christian subjects and lent support to the Nestorian schism. The Sassanid Emperor took steps to cement the primacy of the Nestorian party within the Church of the East, granting its members his protection, and executing the pro-Roman Catholicos Babowai, replacing him with the Nestorian Bishop of Nisibis, Barsauma. The Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Babai I (497–503) confirmed the association of the Assyrian Church with Nestorianism.
During the medieval period the geographical horizons of the Church of the East extended well beyond its heartland in present-day northern Iraq, north east Syria and south east Turkey. Communities sprang up throughout Central Asia, and missionaries from Assyria and Mesopotamia took the Christian faith as far as China. The Saint Thomas Christians of Malabar Coast of India, who were believed by tradition to have been converted by St Thomas, were in communion with the Church of the East in the medieval period.
Schism and the establishment of the Chaldean Church
The massacres of Assyrian Christians by Tamerlane (1336–1405) destroyed many bishoprics, including the ancient Assyrian city of Ashur. The Church of the East, which had previously extended as far as China, was largely reduced to an Eastern Aramaic speaking Assyrian remnant living in its original heartland in Upper Mesopotamia (what had been Assyria). The Assyrian jurisdiction was from this point up until the Assyrian Genocide a triangular area in between Amid to the west, Salmas to the east, and Mosul to the south. The See was moved to the Assyrian town of Alqosh in the Mosul region, and Mar Shimun IV Basidi (1437–1493) was appointed Patriarch, establishing a new, hereditary, line of succession.
Growing dissent in the church's hierarchy over hereditary succession came to a head in 1552, when a group of bishops from the Northern regions of Amid and Salmas elected Mar Yohannan Sulaqa as a rival Patriarch. Seeking consecration as Patriarch by a Bishop of Metropolitan rank, Sulaqa traveled to Rome in 1553, and entered into communion with the Roman Catholic Church. On being appointed Patriarch, Sulaqa took the name Mar Shimun VIII and was granted the title of "Patriarch of Mosul and Athur (Assyria)". Later this title became "Patriarch of the Chaldeans", despite none of its adherents being from the long disappeared Chaldean tribe, or from what had long ago been Chaldea in the far south east of Mesopotamia.
Mar Shimun VIII Yohannan Sulaqa returned to the Near East the same year, establishing his seat in Amid. Before being put to death by partisans of the Patriarch of Alqosh, he ordained five metropolitan bishops, thus establishing a new ecclesiastical hierarchy, a line of patriarchal descent known as the Shimun line.
Sees in Qochanis, Amid, and Alqosh (17th century)
Relations with Rome weakened under Shimun VIII's successors, all of whom took the name Shimun. The last of this line of Patriarchs to be formally recognized by the Pope died in the early 17th century. Hereditary accession to the office of Patriarch was reintroduced, and by 1660 the Assyrian Church of the East had become divided into two Patriarchates; the Eliya line, based in Alqosh (comprising that portion of the faithful which had never entered into Communion with Rome), and the Shimun line.
In 1672 the Patriarch of the Shimun line, Mar Shimun XIII Denha, moved his seat to the Assyrian village of Qochanis in the mountains of Hakkari. In 1692, the Patriarch formally broke communion with Rome and allegedly resumed relations with the line at Alqosh, though retaining the independent structure and jurisdiction of his line of succession.
The so-called Chaldean Patriarchate was revived in 1672 when Mar Joseph I, then the Assyrian Church of the East metropolitan of Amid (modern Diyarbakir), entered into communion with Rome, thus separating from the Patriarchal See of Alqosh. In 1681, the Holy See granted Mar Joseph the title of "Patriarch of the Chaldeans deprived of its Patriarch", thus forming the third Patriarchate of the Assyrian Church of the East. It was this third Patriarchate that was to become known as the Chaldean Catholic Church in 1830.
Josephite line of Amid
Each of Joseph I's successors took the name Joseph. The life of this Patriarchate was difficult; stricken early on with internal dissent, the Patriarchiate later struggled with financial difficulties due to the tax burden imposed by the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Despite these difficulties, the influence of the Patriarchate expanded from its original homeland of Amid and Mardin towards the areas of Mosul, where ultimately the See was relocated.
Mar Yohannan VIII Hormizd, the last of the Eliya hereditary line of the Assyrian Church of the East in Alqosh, made a Catholic profession of faith in 1780. Though entering full communion with the Roman See in 1804, he was not recognized as Patriarch by the Pope until 1830. This move merged the majority of the Patriarchate of Alqosh with the Josephite line of Amid, thus forming the modern Chaldean Catholic Church.
The Shimun line of Patriarchs, based in Qochanis, remained within the Assyrian Church of the East, and refused to enter communion with Rome and join the so-called Chaldean Church. The Patriarchate of the present-day Assyrian Church of the East, with its see in Chicago, forms the continuation of this line.
In 1915 the Assyrian Church see at Qochanis see was completely destroyed by the Ottoman Turkish Empire in the context of the Assyrian Genocide, Assyrian war of independence and Armenian Genocide. Assyrians of all denominations entered into an Assyrian war of independence, and allied themselves with Britain, Russia and the Armenians, against the Ottoman Empire and their allied Kurdish, Iranian and Arab militias. Despite the odds the Assyrians fought successfully against the Ottomans and their allies throughout south eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, north western Iran and north eastern Syria until they were abandoned by Russia following the Russian Revolution and Armenian resistance broke, leaving them vastly outnumbered, surrounded and cut off from supplies of ammunition and food. In 1918, after the murder of Mar Shimun XXI Benyamin and 150 of his followers, and fearing further massacres at the hands of the Turks and Kurds, many of the survivors fled from Iran into what was to become Iraq, seeking protection under the British mandate there, and joining ancient indigenous existing Assyrian communities of both Eastern Rite, Orthodox and Catholic persuasions in the north of that country.
The British administration employed Assyrian troops (Assyrian Levies) to put down Arab and Kurdish rebellions in the aftermath of World War I. In consequence, Assyrians of all Christian denominations endured persecution under the Hashemite monarchy, culminating in the Simele massacres in 1933, leading many to flee to the West, in particular to the United States, where Chicago became the centre of the diaspora community.
However, the Assyrians continued to work alongside the British, playing a major role in bringing down the pro-Nazi Iraqi forces during World War II, and remaining attached to British forces until 1955.
Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII
During this period the British-educated Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII, born into the line of Patriarchs at Qochanis, agitated for an independent Assyrian state. Following the end of the British mandate in 1933 and a massacre of Assyrian civilians at Simele by the Iraqi Army, the Patriarch was forced to take refuge in Cyprus. There, Shimun petitioned the League of Nations regarding his peoples' fate, but to little avail, and he was consequently barred from entering Syria and Iraq. He travelled through Europe before moving to Chicago in 1940 to join the growing Assyrian diaspora community there.
The Church and the Assyrian community in general faced considerable fragmentation and upheaval as a result of the conflicts of the 20th century, and Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII was forced to reorganize the church's structure in the United States. He transferred his residence to San Francisco, California in 1954, and was able to travel to Iran, Lebanon, Kuwait, and India, where he worked to strengthen the church.
In 1964 he decreed a number of changes to the church, including liturgical reform, the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, and the shortening of Lent. These changes, combined with Shimun's long absence from Iraq, caused a rift in the community which led to another schism. In 1968 traditionalists within the church elected Mar Thoma Darmo as a rival patriarch to Shimun XXIII Eshai, creating the Ancient Church of the East.
In 1972, Shimun decided to step down as Patriarch, and the following year, he married, in contravention to longstanding church custom. This led to a synod in 1973 in which further reforms were introduced, most significantly including the permanent abolition of hereditary succession a practice introduced in the middle of the fifteenth century by the patriarch Shemʿon IV Basidi who had died in 1497); however, it was decided that Shimun should be reinstated. This matter was to be settled at additional synods in 1975, however Shimun was assassinated by an estranged relative before this could take place.
Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV
In 1976, Mar Dinkha IV was elected as Shimun XXIII Eshai's successor. The 33-year-old Dinkha had previously been Metropolitan of Tehran, and operated his see there until the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–1988. Thereafter, Mar Dinkha IV went into exile in the United States, and transferred the patriarchal see to Chicago. Much of his patriarchate had been concerned with tending to the Assyrian diaspora community and with ecumenical efforts to strengthen relations with other churches. On 26 March 2015, Mar Dinkha IV passed away in the United States, leaving the Assyrian Church of the East in a period of sede vacante until 18 September 2015, during which Mar Aprem Mooken served as the custodian of the Patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon.
Patriarch Mar Gewargis III
On 18 September 2015, the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East, elected His Beatitude Mar Gewargis Sliwa, the Metropolitan of Iraq, Jordan and Russia, as Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East to succeed the late His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, as Catholicos-Patriarch of the Church. On 27 September 2015, he was consecrated as Catholicos-Patriarch in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist, in Erbil. Upon his consecration, he assumed the ecclesiastical name Mar Gewargis III.
Assyrian Church of the East and Nestorianism
The Nestorian nature of Assyrian Christianity remains a matter of contention. Elements of the Nestorian doctrine were explicitly repudiated by Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV on the occasion of his accession in 1976.
The Christology of the Church of the East has its roots in the Antiochene theological tradition of the early Church. The founders of Assyrian theology are Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia, both of whom taught at Antioch. 'Antiochene' is a modern designation given to the style of theology associated with the early Church at Antioch, as contrasted with the theology of the church of Alexandria.
Antiochene theology emphasised Christ's humanity and the reality of the moral choices he faced. In order to preserve the impassibility of Christ's Divine Nature, the unity of His person was defined in a looser fashion than in the Alexandrian tradition. The normative Christology of the Assyrian church was written by Babai the Great (551–628) during the controversy that followed the First Council of Ephesus (431). Babai held that within Christ there exist two qnome (essences, or hypostases), unmingled, but everlastingly united in the one prosopon(personality).
The precise Christological teachings of Nestorius are shrouded in obscurity. Wary of monophysitism, Nestorius rejected Cyril's theory of a hypostatic union, proposing instead a union of will. Nestorianism has come to mean dyaphysitism, in which Christ's dual natures are eternally separate, though it is doubtful whether Nestorius ever taught such a doctrine. Nestorius' rejection of the term Theotokos ('God-bearer', or 'Mother of God') has traditionally been held as evidence that he asserted the existence of two persons – not merely two natures – in Jesus Christ, but there exists no evidence that Nestorius denied Christ's oneness. In the controversy that followed the Council of Ephesus, the term 'Nestorian' was applied to all upholding a strictly Antiochene Christology. In consequence the Church of the East was labelled 'Nestorian', though its theology is not dyophysite.
Pope John XXIII invited many other Christian denominations, including the Assyrian Church of the East, to send "observers" to the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965). These observers, graciously received and seated as honored guests right in front of the podium on the floor of the council chamber, did not formally take part in the Council's debate, but they mingled freely with the Catholic bishops and theologians who constituted the council, and with the other observers as well, in the break area during the council sessions. There, cordial conversations began a rapproachment that has blossomed into expanding relations among the Catholic Church, the Churches of the Orthodox Communion led by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and the ancient churches of the East.
On November 11, 1994, a historic meeting between Mar Dinkha IV and Pope John Paul II took place in Rome. The two patriarchs signed a document titled "Common Christological Declaration between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East". One side effect of this meeting was that the Assyrian Church's relationship to the fellow Chaldean Catholic Church began to improve.
In 1996, Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV signed an agreement of cooperation with the Chaldean Catholic Church Patriarch of Baghdad, Raphael I Bidawid, in Southfield, Michigan, Bidawid himself being keen to heal theological divisions among Assyrians of all denominations. In 1997, he entered into negotiations with the Syriac Orthodox Church and the two churches ceased anathematizing each other.
The lack of a coherent institution narrative in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, which dates to apostolic times, has caused many Western Christians, and especially Roman Catholics, to doubt the validity of this anaphora, used extensively by the Assyrian Church of the East, as a prayer of consecration of the eucharistic elements. In 2001, after a study of this issue, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith promulgated a declaration approved by Pope John Paul II stating that this is a valid anaphora. This declaration opened the door to a joint synodal decree officially implementing the present Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East which the synods of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church signed and promulgated on 20 July 2001.
This joint synodal decree provides that:
- Assyrian faithful may participate and receive Holy Communion in a Chaldean celebration of the Holy Eucharist
- Chaldean catholic faithful may participate and receive Holy Communion in an Assyrian Church celebration of the Holy Eucharist, even if celebrated using the Anaphora of Addai and Mari in its original form
- Assyrian clergy are invited (but not obliged) to insert the institution narrative into the Anaphora of Addai and Mari when Chaldean faithful are present.
Far from expressing a relationship of full communion between these churches, however, the joint synodal decree actually identifies several issues that require resolution to permit a relationship of full communion.
From a Catholic canonical point of view, provisions of the joint synodal decree are fully consistent with the provisions of canon 671 of the 1991 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, which states: "If necessity requires it or genuine spiritual advantage suggests it and provided that the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, it is permitted for Catholic Christian faithful, for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, to receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers, in whose Churches these sacraments are valid. 3. Likewise Catholic ministers licitly administer the Sacraments of Penance, the Eucharist and Anointing of the Sick to Christian faithful of Eastern Churches, who do not have full communion with the Catholic Church, if they ask for them on their own and are properly disposed." Canons 843 and 844 of the Code of Canon Law make similar provisions for the Latin Church. The Assyrian Church of the East follows an Open Communion approach allowing any baptized Christian to receive its Eucharist, so there is also no alteration of Assyrian practice. Nonetheless, from an ecumenical perspective, the joint synodal decree marks a major step toward full mutual collaboration of both churches in the pastoral care of their members.
The Church is governed by an episcopal polity, which is the same as other Catholic churches. The church maintains a system of geographical parishes organized into dioceses and archdioceses. The Catholicos-Patriarch is head of the church. The Synod comprises Bishops who oversee individual dioceses, and Metropolitans who oversee episcopal dioceses in there territorial jurisdiction.
The Chaldean Syrian Church in India and the Persian Gulf is the largest diocese of the church. Its story goes back to the Church of the East that established presence in Kerala. Connection between the Malabar church and the Church of the East was sporadic for a long period till the arrival of the Portuguese. The church is represented by the Assyrian Church of the East and is in communion with it.
The current hierarchy and dioceses is as follows. The Patriarchate of the Church of the East was located for centuries in the cathedral church of Mar Shallita, in the village of Qudshanis in the Hakkari mountains, Ottoman Empire. After the exodus in 1915, the Patriarchs temporarily resided between Urmia and Salmas, and from 1918 the patriarchs resided in Mosul, Iraq. After the Simele massacre of 1933, the then Patriarch Shimun XXIII Eshai was exiled to Cyprus. In 1940 he was welcomed to the United States where he set up his residence in Chicago, Illinois, and administrated the United States and Canada as his Patriarchal province. The patriarchate was moved to Modesto, California, in 1954, and finally to San Francisco, California, in 1958 due to health issues. After the assassination of the Patriarch and the election of Mar Dinkha IV in 1976, the patriarchate was temporarily located in Tehran, Iran, where the patriarch already resided. Since 1980, the Patriarchate again returned to Chicago, Illinois, where it currently remains. The Diocese of Eastern United States served as the patriarch's province from 1994 until 2012.
Due to the unstable political, religious and economic situation in the church's historical homeland of the Middle East, many of the church members now reside in Western countries. Churches and dioceses have been established throughout Europe, America and Oceania. The largest expatriate concentration of church members is in the United States, mainly situated in Illinois and California.
- Archdiosese of India Chaldean Syrian Church – it remains in communion and is the biggest province of the Church with close to 30 active churches, primary and secondary schools, hospitals etc.
- Archdiocese of Iraq and Russia – covers the indigenous territory of the church in Iraq. The archdiocese's territory includes the cities and surroundings of Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk, and Mosul.
- Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon – Established in October 1984.
- Diocese of Syria – jurisdiction lies throughout all Syria, particularly in the Al-Hasakah governorate, where most of the community reside in Al-Hasakah, Qamishli and the 35 villages along the Khabur river. There are also small communities in Damascus and Aleppo
- Diocese of Iran – territory includes the capital Tehran, the Urmia and Salmas plains
- Diocese of Nohadra and Russia – established in 1999 with jurisdiction include the indigenous communities of Dohuk and Arbil, along with Russia and ex-Soviet states such as Armenia and Georgia.
- Diocese of Europe – its territory lies in western Europe and includes close to 10 sovereign states: Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Austria, Finland, Norway and Greece.
- Diocese of Eastern USA – formerly the Patriarchal Archdiocese from 1994 until 2012 . The territory includes the large Illinois community, along with smaller parishes in Michigan, New England and New York.
- Diocese of Western USA-North – jurisdiction includes parishes in Western USA and northern California. Some of the parishes are San Francisco, San Jose, Modesto, Turlock, Ceres, Seattle, and Sacramento.
- Diocese of Western USA-South – jurisdiction includes parishes in Arizona and southern California.
- Diocese of Canada – includes the territory of Toronto, Windsor, Hamilton and all Canada
Structure: archdioceses and dioceses
- Archdiocese of India – covers India.
- Archdiocese of Iraq, Iran, and Russia – covers the indigenous territory of the church in Iraq except Northern areas. The archdiocese's territory includes the cities and surroundings of Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk, and Mosul.
- Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and Lebanon – covers Australia and New Zealand
- Diocese of Syria – covers Syria and Lebanon.
- Diocese of Europe – its territory lies in western Europe and includes close to 10 sovereign states: Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Austria, Finland, Norway and Greece.
- Diocese of Eastern USA – formerly the Patriarchal Archdiocese from 1994 until 2012 . The territory includes the large Illinois community, along with smaller parishes in Michigan, New England and New York.
- Diocese of Western USA – jurisdiction includes parishes in Western USA other than California. The states are: Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
- Diocese of California – jurisdiction includes parishes in California, Oregon and Washington. Some of the parishes are San Francisco, San Jose, Modesto, Turlock, Ceres, and Sacramento
- Diocese of Canada – includes the territory of Toronto, Windsor, Hamilton and all Canada
Members of the Holy Synod
Mar Gewargis Sliwa Patriarch-elect
- Mar Aprem Mooken: Metropolitan of Malabar and India
- Mar Meelis Zaia: Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon
- Mar Sargis Yosip: Bishop Emeritus of Baghdad (residing in Modesto, California)
- Mar Isaac Yousif: Bishop of Dohuk-Erbil and Russia
- Mar Aprem Nathniel: Bishop of Syria
- Mar Narsai Benyamin: Bishop of Iran
- Mar Aprim Khamis: Bishop of Western United States
- Mar Emmanuel Yosip: Bishop of Canada
- Mar Odisho Oraham: Bishop of Europe
- Mar Awa Royel: Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod
- Mar Paulus Benjamin: Bishop of Eastern United States
- Mar Yohannan Joseph: Auxiliary Bishop of India
- Mar Awgin Kuriakose: Auxiliary Bishop of India
- Chaldean Syrian Church in India (also known as Assyrian Church of the East in India)
- List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East
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- Cross, F.L. & Livingstone E.A. (eds), Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 351
- Leonard M Outerbridge, The Lost Churches of China, (Westminster Press, USA, 1952)
- "NSC NETWORK – Early references about the Apostolate of Saint Thomas in India, Records about the Indian tradition, Saint Thomas Christians & Statements by Indian Statesmen". Nasrani.net. Archived from the original on 3 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
- Charles A. Frazee, Catholics and Sultans: The Church and the Ottoman Empire 1453–1923, Cambridge University Press, 2006 ISBN 0-521-02700-4
- Chaldean Catholic Church (Eastern Catholic), The new Catholic Encyclopedia, The Catholic University of America, Vol. 3, 2003 p. 366.
- George V. Yana (Bebla), "Myth vs. Reality" JAA Studies, Vol. XIV, No. 1, 2000 p. 80
- Murre-van den Berg, Heleen H.L. (1999). "The Patriarchs of the Church of the East from the Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries" (PDF). Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies (Beth Mardutho) 2 (2): 235–264. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- Cross, F. L. & Livingstone E.A. (eds), Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, 1997, p.351
- Baum, Wilhelm Baum; Dietmar W. Winkler (2003). The Church of the East: A Concise History. Routledge. p. 144. ISBN 0-415-29770-2. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
- Baum, Wilhelm Baum; Dietmar W. Winkler (2003). The Church of the East: A Concise History. Routledge. pp. 147–148. ISBN 0-415-29770-2. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
- Baum, Wilhelm Baum; Dietmar W. Winkler (2003). The Church of the East: A Concise History. Routledge. pp. 148–149. ISBN 0-415-29770-2. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
- Baum, Wilhelm Baum; Dietmar W. Winkler (2003). The Church of the East: A Concise History. Routledge. p. 149. ISBN 0-415-29770-2. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
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- "Holy Synod Announcement - Passing of Catholicos-Patriarch". Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East. Retrieved 2015-09-18.
- "Notice from the Locum Tenens". Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East. Retrieved 2015-09-18.
- Henry Hill, Light from the East, (Toronto Canada: Anglican Book Centre, 1988) p107.
- Cross, F.L. & Livingstone E.A. (eds), Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, 1997, p.78
- Cross, F.L. & Livingstone E.A. (eds), Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, 1997, p.1339
- Mar Aprem Mooken, p.18
- "see for example". Churchoftheeastflint.org. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
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- Official website
- Assyrian Church of the East at DMOZ
- An Unofficial Website on the Church of the East – An informational site
- Article on the Assyrian Church of the East by Ronald Roberson on the CNEWA website
- Documentary film 'The last Assyrians', a history of Aramaic speaking Christians
- Qambel Maran- Syriac chants from South India- a review and liturgical music tradition of Syriac Christians revisited
- Traditions and rituals among the Syrian Christians of Kerala
- Guidelines for Chaldean Catholics receiving the Eucharist in Assyrian Churches
- Statement of the Holy Synod Of The Coptic Orthodox Church regarding the Dialogue between the Syrian and Assyrian Churches at the Wayback Machine (archived August 7, 2004)
- Khader Khano, the first native-born Assyrian to be ordained priest in Jerusalem in over 100 years
- Common Christological Declaration Between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, 1994