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In Nochiya, there was at least 6 Christian monasteries and more than 40 churches. The Nochiyaye were best known for their adherence to the Nestorian faith, religious customs such as lent and prayer were strictly observed. The Mar Ishu Monastery in the village of Mar Ishu was a theological school for priests and was run by the Metropolitans of Shamizdin, who would not tolerate any changes to the church's canon laws.
An Englishman visiting the Nochiya Region in the late 1800’s a noted that "there is perhaps no Assyrian district where simple piety and loyal devotion to the church of their fathers is more beautifully seen than Nochiya". Nochiyayeh were and are still today most famous for their Christian faith and for being the guardians of the Assyrian Church of the East's canon laws, which they have faithfully preserved.
There were other important religious figures in the tribe, including two bishops, four archdeacons, twelve priests and a large number of deacons distributed among the clans. To this day, the majority of the priests and deacons within the Assyrian Church belong to the Nochiya Tribe, including the current patriarch Mar Dinkha IV.
Matran Family of Shamizdin
Mar Iskhaq Khnanisho IX
Mar Iskhaq Khnanisho, was the spiritual leader of the Shamizdin Assyrians and Metropolitan of the Assyrian Church of the East. In the old days, he was styled as the Metropolitan of Rustaqa. His Diocese in 1914 grew to included Shamizdin, Targawar, and Margawar. In his diocese were bishop Mar Dinkha in the village of Tis, an ancestor of the present Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV; bishop Mar Youkhana of the village of Tulaki in Targawar, and after 1914 his own nephew Mar Yosip Khnanisho X who was ordained a Bishop on the eve of WWI in Qochanis by Patriarch Mar Benyamin Shimon XXI.
Saint Mar Yosip Khnanisho X
The tenth and the last of the Metropolitans the Matran family donated to the Church was Mar Yosip Khnanisho, who died Saturday the third of July, 1977, in the city of Baghdad, Iraq. At an early age, while a young boy he was aware for what sublime position he was dedicated, thus he had learned by heart the complete Eucharistic rites, performed in the church by a deacon or priest. He was tutored adequately by a learned scholar, Rehana, his father's uncle, who was well versed in the Aramaic, Russian and Turkish languages and an Authority in Eastern theology. Rehana was the head of the Seminary in Mar Ishu Monastery and he taught classes to a number of students studying for the priesthood. From this Seminary many graduated to become bishops and priests in various dioceses and parishes.
At age twelve, Mar Yosip was ordained a deacon. By 1912 Mar Yosip had already acquired a thorough knowledge of theology therefore he was found to be well suited to be ordained a priest. In the year 1914, at the beginning of World War I, he was sent as a delegate, representing the Metropolitan Mar Iskhaq Khnanisho, to participate in a most important meeting called by Mar Benyamin Shimon XXI, the Catholicos Patriarch at the patriarchal cell in Qudchanis, Turkey, to discuss the effects of the World War on the Church and the nation and prepare for the changes that were expected to take place. While there he was consecrated a Bishop on August 10, 1914, by His Holiness and was appointed as assistant to the Patriarch.
He remained in Qudchanis until 1916 when the Assyrians had to leave their homeland and all their worldly possessions in consequence of the Great War. After the treacherous assassination of the Patriarch Mar Benyamin Shimon XXI in 1918, Mar Yosip assumed to a great extent, the leadership of the nation, until the Assyrians arrived in the refugee camps, set up by the Red Cross and League of Nations, at Baqubah, Iraq in 1918. In December 1918 he was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan in Baghdad, by Patriarch Mar Paulos Shimon XX.
When Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII, the Catholicos Patriarch, was exiled in 1933 by the puppet monarchial regime of Iraq, Mar Yosip Khnanisho was entrusted with the Church administration in Iraq and the Middle East.
In 1973 when Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII resigned his position as the Catholicos Patriarch, Mar Yosip Khnanisho was vested with responsibilities of administering the Church of the East throughout the world. At the same time the Iraqi government issued a Republican decree appointing Mar Yosip Khnanisho as the Supreme Head of all the Assyrians in Iraq.
On Sunday the 3rd of July 1977, at 1:10 PM. Saint Mar Yosip Khnanisho X died in Baghdad, Iraq. His death coincides with the feast celebrated every year in memory of Mar Tooma Shlikha (St. Thomas the Apostle).
Churches and Monasteries
- The names of all the churches and monasteries within the Nochiya Region are yet to be determined, some date back to 400 AD, the following is a partial list:
|Church / Monastery||Town / Village||Sub-District (Clan)|
|Mar Ishu||Mar Ishu||Rustaqa|
|Mar Yukhanan Mamdana||Baidaiweh||Rustaqa|
|Mar Bishu||Mar Bishu||Dairaneh|
|Mar Gewargis||Hbash Kobeh||Margawar|