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The Holy Apostolic and Catholic Assyrian Church of the East is a Christian church that traces its origins to the See of Babylon, said to be founded by Saint Thomas the Apostle. In India, it is known as the Chaldean Syrian Church. In the West it is often known, inaccurately, as the Nestorian Church. The Assyrian Church is the original Christian church in what was once Parthia; today Iraq and western Iran. Geographically it stretched in the medieval period to China and India: a monument found in Xi'an (Hsi-an), the Tang-period capital of China (originally Chang'an), in Chinese and Syriac described the activities of the church in the 7th and 8th century, while half a millennium later the Chinese monk Rabban Bar Sauma went from Beijing to Paris and Rome to call for a crusade with the Mongols against the Mamelukes. Prior to the Portuguese arrival in India in 1498, it provided "East Syrian" bishops to the Saint Thomas Christians.
Current Synod members
Mar Dinkha IV
Mar Dinkha IV (Born September 15, 1935), is the present Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East. He was born in Darbandoki and baptized in the church of Mar Qaryaqos. Later on he was ordained a deacon by Metropolitan Mar Yosip Khnanisho in the church of Mar Youkhana in Harir. He then became the bishop of Tehran, Iran where he brought many changes to the Assyrians of Iran. At a conference in London in 1976 he was chosen as Patriarch.
In 1994 he agreed to a Joint Christological Declaration with the Vatican. In 1996 he signed an agreement of cooperation with Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, Raphael I Bidawid, in Southfield, Michigan. In 1997 he entered into negotiations with the Syrian Orthodox Church and the two stopped anathemizing each other. Mar Dinkha currently lives near Chicago, which is now generally the center of the Assyrian Church of the East.
Mar Narsai D'Baz
Mar Narsai D'Baz, is the Metropolitan of all Europe, Lebanon and Syria.
Mar Aprem Mooken
Mar Aprem Mooken, is the Assyrian Church of the East Metropolitan of India. Mar Aprem (formerly George Mooken) was born in Trichur, Kerala, India, in June 1940. Educated in India, England and America, he specialised in Church History. He was the President of the Church History Association of India in 1976-1982.
He holds two master's degrees in Church History, one from the United Theological College, Bangalore (M. Th, of Serampore, 1966) and the other from the Union Theological Seminary, New York (S.T.M. degree, 1967). He was a candidate for Doctor of Theology (Th. D) degree at Princeton Theological Seminary, U.S.A., when he was consecrated Bishop in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968. Later he earned his D.Th. degree from Serampore University, near Calcutta. Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam granted a Ph. D degree in Syriac Studies to him in 2002.
Ordained a deacon on June 25, 1961, he became a priest on the day he completed twenty five years of age on 13 June, 1965. He was consecrated Bishop on 21 September, 1968 and promoted as a Metropolitan eight days later in Baghdad. In 1995 he was instrumental in healing the rift that had developed in the church over the question of hereditary appointments since the 1960s. He is the author of several books on church history, theology, social issues, and even humor.
Mar Gewargis Sliwa
Mar Gewargis Sliwa, is the Metropolitan of all Iraq and Russia.
Mar Sargis Yosip
Mar Sargis Yousip, is the Bishop of Baghdad, Iraq.
Mar Aprim Khamis
Mar Aprim Khamis, of Western United States.
Mar Emmanuel Yosip
Mar Emmanuel Yosip is an Assyrian, who was born in the Baghdad suburb of Dora, and is currently the Assyrian Church of the East's Bishop of Canada. He was raised by a very religious Christian family in Iraq, Who have since moved to the USA. He became a Deacon in 1981 and a priest in 1984 at Mar Gewargis, Assyrian Church in Chicago. Mar Emmanuel was ordinated as a Bishop in 1990 on June 3. He has an Master of Divinity and he graduated from the University of Toronto with a Masters Degree in "Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations".
Mar Odisho Oraham
Mar Odisho Oraham, is the Bishop of Europe with residence in Sweden.
Mar Iskhaq Yosip
Mar Iskhaq Yosip, is the Bishop of the Northern Iraq and Russia.
Mar Awa Royel
Mar Awa Royel, is the Bishop of California. Formerly known as Rev. Cor-Bishop and Archdeacon David Royel, received his doctorate degree on June 8, 2007 in Rome. Consecrated as Mar Awa on November 30, 2008. He is the first Assyrian bishop born in the United States.
Previous Synod members
Mar Benyamin Shimon XXI
Mar Benyamin Shimon XXI, was at one time the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. He was assassinated by a Kurdish Leader named Simko. After his murder in 1915 the Kurdish people stripped and dragged his dead body in the village streets.
Mar Benyamain was ordained Metropolis by his uncle the then Patriarch, Mar Rowil (Ruben) Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch, XX. Upon Mar Rowil's death, Mar Benyamin was ordained the twenty first Patriarch by Mar Yousip Khnanisho, Bishop of Rustaqa and Mar Zaia Sargis, Bishop of Jilu. He was murdered in 1918 by an ambush of Simco and his men when Simco invited His Holiness Mar Benyamin under false pretenses of a peace accord. The Rab Khaila Dawid d'Mar Shimun, Mar Benyamin's brother accompanied him and survived the onslaught of Kurdish gun fire.
Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII
Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII, sometimes known as Mar Shimun XXI Ishaya, Catholicos Patriarch of the Church of the East from 1920 until his assassination on November 6, 1975. (The difference in regnal numbers depends on which members of the Shimun family one counts as Patriarchs; Mar Eshai himself came to use the regnal number XXIII.)
Born into the patriarchal family in Qudshanis in 1908, Mar Eshai was chosen as patriarch on the death of his uncle. He was educated in Britain and was the translator or author of several books on the theology and history of the Church of the East. The uncertainties caused in 1933 by the independence of Iraq from colonial rule forced the patriarch's relocation to Cyprus and then, in 1940, to Chicago. Mar Eshai became an American citizen about 1949 and settled in the San Francisco area in 1954.
Mar Yosip Khnanisho
Mar Yosip Khnanisho, who was the spiritual leader of the Shamizdin Assyrians and he was Metropolitan of the Assyrian Church of the East, who, in the old days was styled as the Metropolitan of Rustaqa. His Diocese in 1914 included Shamizdin, Tergawar, and Margawar. Under him were bishop Mar Dinkha IV 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 Tergawar, and after 1914 his own nephew bishop Mar Yousip who was ordained on the eve of WWI in Qochanis by Patriarch Mar Benyamin Shimon XXI.