Monday, May 21, 2007

Court Case Update

A hearing was held on May 18, 20o7 for an amended motion for a Preliminary Injunction/Temporary Restraining Order against the former bishop Ashur Bawai Soro before the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois . The Assyrian Church of the East is seeking relief from the defendant for making use of the name of the Assyrian Church of the East and its derivatives, especially in regards to the solicitation of funds for the former bishop's personal legal campaign. The opposing party has 14 days to respond to the Church’s amended complaint, therefore, another hearing is scheduled to take place on June 1, 2007. Then, the Church will have another 14 days to respond before a Case Management Conference is set up.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

H.H. Mar Dinkha's Letter to the President of the United States of America

His Holiness Mar Dinkha's letter, dated May 9th, 2007 is regarding the current situation of the Christians in Iraq. In this letter His Holiness is pleading for serious protection of the Christians of Iraq.

For the Original Letter, the following link is provided:

May 9, 2007

The President of the United States of America
The Honorable Mr. George W. Bush
The White House1600 Pennsylvania AvenueWashington, DC
The Honorable Mr. George W. Bush,

In the name of God, may I begin with my sincere greetings to you and to the other members of your government.

As the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, I feel that it is my obligation to inform you of the currently bleak situation of the Christians of Iraq.

I acknowledge that this is a difficult phase for all Iraqi people and I pray that this struggle will ultimately result in a fair and successful democratic system. However, in this process, Iraq will suffer a significant loss if added protection is not given to the tiny Christian minority of Iraq.

Iraqi Christians are not members of any insurgency groups; they are not violent; they live in peace and brotherhood with others; they are loyal and honest. Their desire is to coexist peacefully with their Muslim brothers, be it Sunnies or Shiites.

Throughout the ages, Christians have defended the soil and integrity of the country and they have played a key role in building the civilization of Iraq.

Today, a small Christian minority is subjected to the most terrifying, intimidating and threatening circumstances; our church receives alarming daily reports of such atrocities brought upon Christians by some Islamic extremist groups. Such reports are countless, but for the purpose of this plea I provide you with general overview, presuming with confidence that you will have been briefed with details of such atrocities.

Christian families, in all regions that they reside, including Dora, Baghdad and Mosul are being forced to leave Iraq or convert to Islam or pay the Jizya (a protection tax imposed on non-Muslims), otherwise they face death or deportation from their homes.

Furthermore, pamphlets are distributed in all such regions; threaten the killing of Christians if they do not abandon their homes and towns, at times, within 24 hours. Some are abducted and murdered without reason; properties are confiscated and families are thrown into displacement.

Additionally, the Christian minority are victim to religious intimidation and atrocities. Churches are being bombed and destroyed; priests have been found decapitated. Christians are, by the issuing of a Fatwa, forbidden to wear crosses; crosses of churches are being destroyed; Christian women are being persecuted, at times in form of a rape and beheading, for not wearing the Hijab.

For Iraq and its Christian minority, this is a humanitarian crisis. Christians have little or no protection of such abuses by Islamic extremist factions; the inevitable result of which is the mass exodus of our community from Iraq. Never before in the history of Iraq has such a refugee crisis arisen against the Christian minority of Iraq. If this critical situation is not effectively addressed, then the unfortunate consequences will be the elimination of Christianity from Iraq and the destruction of a cradle of civilization, in recent years famous for its mosaic of cultural, civil and religious variety and coexistence.

I trust that you will consider the seriousness of my pleas; and I pray that you will assume a more active and responsible role in implementing mechanisms and programs which will provide added and essential protection and security for Christians, such that all Iraqis, can live together in harmony and peace; and so that Christians are not driven into force migration from their homes and country, thereby creating a phenomenal refugee problem for your government and the international community.

May God enhance your leadership with wisdom and good judgment.

Yours Faithfully,
Khanania Mar Dinkha IV
Catholicos PatriarchAssyrian Church of the East

This letter was also addressed to the following members:

H.H Pope Benedict XVI
The Roman Catholic Church

The Honorable General Secretary Ban Ki-moon
The United Nations Organization

Dr. Javier Solana
The European Union

Dr. Konrad Fraser
The Secretary General
The World Counsels of Churches

The Most Rev'd Rowan Williams
The Archbishop of Canterbury

The Honorable President Putin
The President of Russia

The Honorable Mr. Tony Blair
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

The Honorable Mr. Dominique de VILLEPIN
The Prime Minister of the Republic of France

The Honorable Mr. Stephan Harper
The Prime Minister of Canada

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kalou Soulaga 2007 in the Bay Area

This year's Kalou Soulaga was a massive success. It was held by Mar Yosip Parish in San Jose in the beautiful Vasona Lake County Park. Over 500 Assyrians attended this event. There were games organized for adults and children with live music, entertainment and great food. It was amazing to see our fellow Assyrians enjoying their relaxing time with their family and friends and all strongly linked together through our Holy church.

God bless our Holy Assyrian Churh of the East for always bringing us together. Many thanks to all those who helped in this successful event.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


The Feast of the Ascension of our Savior Jesus Christ is celebrated each year on the fortieth day after the Great and Holy Feast of Easter. The Feast itself commemorates when, on the fortieth day after His Resurrection, Jesus led His disciples to the Mount of Olives, and after blessing them and asking them to wait for the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit, He ascended into heaven.

The story of the Ascension of our Lord, celebrated as one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church, is found in the book of the Acts of the Apostles 1:3-11. It is also mentioned in the Gospels of Mark (16:19) and Luke (24:50-53). The moment of the Ascension is told in one sentence: "He was lifted up before their eyes in a cloud which took Him from their sight" (Acts 1:9).

Christ made His last appearance on earth, forty days after His Resurrection from the dead. The Acts of the Apostles states that the disciples were in Jerusalem. Jesus appeared before them and commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the "Promise of the Father". He stated, "You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:5).

After Jesus gave these instructions, He led the disciples to the Mount of Olives. Here, He commissioned them to be His witnesses "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). It is also at this time that the disciples were directed by Christ to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Jesus also told them that He would be with them always, "even to the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20).

As the disciples watched, Jesus lifted up His hands, blessed them, and then was taken up out of their sight (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9). Two angels appeared to them and asked them why they were gazing into heaven. Then one of the angels said, "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him going into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

Scripture readings for the Feast are the following: At Vespers: Isaiah 2:2-3, 62:10-63:9; Zechariah 14:1,4,8-11. At the Orthros (Matins) Mark 16:9-20; At the Divine Liturgy: Acts 1:1-12; Luke 24:36-53.