Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Baouta’d Ninevaye or the Rogation of the Ninevites

Baouta’d Ninevaye or the Rogation of the Ninevites ܒܥܘܬܐ ܕܢܝܢܘܐ which means 'Nineveh's Wish' commemorates the repentance of the people of Nineveh at the preaching of Jonah, the Prophet.

God instruct Jonah to go to Nineveh and condemn Assyrians for their “wickedness”, and to preach faith in His unity and virtuous conduct. But the people jeered at him and paid no heed to his call. Jonah was so disgusted with the attitude of his people that he decided to leave his town and take to the sea.

When his ship was in deep waters, it was rocked by storm and Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a big fish. As he lay in the belly of the fish, Jonah wondered why he was being punished when God had chosen him to be His messenger; where had he gone wrong? He then realized that he should not have acted in anger, because God wished that he be patient and more persuasive.

He prayed for forgiveness and for another opportunity to prove himself. Thus did his Lord choose him and make him of the company of the righteous. [68:50]

After three days in the belly of the fish, God listened to his prayers and miraculously took him out of the belly of the fish and cast him, albeit in a sickly condition, upon a deserted shore. Having recovered in the shadow of a gourd-tree, he went to Ninveh, where he pursued his mission, this time with greater persuasion and forbearance and despite all the jeers of the people, continuing with his work to bring them to the right path.

God told Jonah: Had your Lord so wished, all people everywhere would have been believers. But that is not His way, hence do not force anyone to take to Our path unless they do so willingly. No one can believe except by the will of God; only those who are skeptics do not understand His message. [10:99-100]

The Ninevites repent and declared a public fast. God then relented and did not inflict on them the punishment he had threatened. This shows God's universal love and mercy which extend to all human beings.

For Assyrians the Rogation of Ninevite has a nationalistic and a spiritual significance: In this way Assyrians were always reminded of Nineveh throughout the history until the ruins of Nineveh were discovered in early half of the 19th Century. Assyrians were also reminded of their importance in the history of the Church and spiritual development of Judeo-Christian tradition, for the Ninevites symbolized the longing of all humans for a universal God. The God who is so gracious and compassionate, the God who watches over His people and protects them from their evil ways.

During the three days of Baouta (fasting) people abstain from all food and water in their plea for forgiveness. Traditionally, at the end of the fasting period those that have fasted would partake of three handfuls of parched barley, mixed with a like amount of salt, and then sleep. Assyrians have different recipe's for such salty mixture or "pookhon" as it's called.

Baouta d’Ninevaye or the Rogation of Ninevites is an important Assyrian tradition which must be noted for its historic and spiritual significance.

Monday, January 29, 2007

It's Our Honor

H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, The Queen of United Kingdom and Head of the Anglican Church of the England recognises Australians who have provided direct support or service of a close personal nature through honors and awards within her own personal gift.

It is an honor to make the following announcement:

On January 26, 2007, His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia, Bishop of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East and General-Secretary of the Holy Synod was included in the honor roll and was made a Member of the Order of Australia. Australian honors recognise and celebrate ordinary Australians who show courage, self-sacrifice, dedication, love and service to their community and humanity. Their stories help shape the country’s enduring qualities in the present and the future.

For more information, please refer to the following link:

Congradulations H.G. Mar Meelis for such major award and accomplishment. You are one of the living treasures of our Assyrian Church of the East. We are so proud of you not only for being our Assyrian Church of the East Bishop, but also as our model Assyrian citizen. God bless you.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Assyrian Flag

  • Golden Circle at the center represents the sun (Shamash), which gives life to all things on earth.
  • The four pointed star surrounding the sun symbolizes the land; and its light blue color represents happiness and tranquility.
  • The wavy stripes extending from the center to the four corners of the flag symbolize the three major rivers flowing through the land of Assyria.
  • The dark blue stand for the Assyrian word 'Prat' meaning "Peruta" (abundance).
  • The red stripes stand for courage, glory and pride.
  • The white lines in between stand for tranquility and peace.
  • Above the blue star is a representation of the image of God Ashur, the ancient Assyrian supreme deity. The emblem of Ashur features the deity standing in a circle with two eagle wings spanning and over stretching its length on two sides. Ashur has drawn a bow and his arrow is ready to fly. His image represents an Assyrian guardian who is looking after the the country, the flag, and the nation it represents.
  • On top of the flagstaff is the standard of King Sargon I, who established the first Assyrian empire, signifying the might and great civilization achieved.