Sunday, May 07, 2006

"44 Years a Prelate"

The below editorial appeared in the ‘Voice of the East’ magazine, No.53/March-April 2006/Nos. 3 & 4. Voice of the East (Qala Min Madenkha) is a socio-religious bi-monthly magazine which is issued by the Archdiocese of India. His Grace Dr. Mar Aprem is the Metropolitan of the Church of the East in India and is the Patron of the Voice of the East magazine]


"44 Years a Prelate"
Catholicos Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV completed 44 years of service to the Assyrian Church of the East as a prelate on 11 February 2006. It was on Sunday 11 February 1962 Qasha Khnanya became the Bishop in Iran. His consecration was from Catholicos Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun (died on 6 November 1975). In 1976 October 17 Bishop of Iran, Mar Dinkha became Catholicos Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV. Although His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV is only No.4 as a Patriarch by that name. His family had 17 bishops by the same name Bishop Mar Dinkha until the last one was shot in February 1915 in Iran, during the first World War.

Only two prelates associated with him had longer periods as prelates. His consecrator His Holiness Mar Eshai Shimun had ruled the church as Patriarch for 53 years (from the age of 12 till 65 when he resigned in August 1973. He was shot dead on November 6, 1975). The prelate who ordained him deacon and priest was Mar Yosip Khnanisho Metropolitan who served the church for 5 years as Bishop and 58 years as Metropolitan till he died on July 3, 1977 in Baghdad.
His Holiness is completing 30 years of his Patriarchate on 17 October 2006. Before that on 15 September 2006 he will be completing 71 years of age. He had completed 41 years of age when he was elected in the Holy Synod in England to become the Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. His Holiness was consecrated in the St. Barnabas Church, Ealing near London, as the Assyrians had not owned any church at that time.

His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV maintained good ecumenical relations with the Catholic, Orthodox and the Protestants. Pope John Paul II, Patriarch of Moscow, Archbishops of Canterbury and others are among the religious dignitaries he had met during his busy schedule. He had met the President of Lebanon, President of Syria, President of Iran, President of Iraq (Saddam Hussein), secular leaders of the USA, India, Australia and many others.

His Holiness sent clergy for education in foreign Universities. So there is a middle level of educated clergy. Choirs, Youth groups were encouraged to be obedient to Christ and the church on earth. Many churches were built, schools were established in India, Australia and California. Many clergy were ordained. Bishops for Australia, California, Canada, North Iraq, Syria, Sweden etc were consecrated. Metropolitan for Iraq Mar Gewargis Sliwa was consecrated in Chicago by His Holiness.

By holding Holy Synods of prelates from all over the globe His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV restored democratic system in the Church administration. During the past 29 years he held 10 Holy Synods in England, Australia, Australia, Baghdad and Chicago. This provides opportunity for prelates to share the concerns of their respective diocese with the Supreme leaders united with a common goal for the progress of our suffering Church.

Honouring graduates in Chicago every year brought many young educated people close to The Church. Many Assyrians feel that they have to be proud of the heritage of their parents. Yes, Church needs young people to be close to God and the faith and tradition of our faith, preserved by our forefathers in adverse circumstances in 1842 (attacks of Bedr Khan Beg), 1914-18 (World War I), 1933 (Semele in North Iraq), 1939-45 (second World War), 1980-88 (Iraq-Iran war), Gulf War in January 1991. etc.

We wish more peaceful days for our Church and its supreme Head.

Mar Aprem

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