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A couple of questions regarding Assyrian Church of the East

Discussion in 'The Voice In The Desert - Oriental Orthodox' started by tall73, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. Christ's_Warrior

    Christ's_Warrior Newbie

    Next part -

    In praising several of the Church of the East Patriarchs Gevargis writes:
    "Mar Mari the Assyrian (Aturaya) from the race of Illustrious name" was born in central Assyria and was a Patriarch 967 - 1000. "Odishu the Assyrian from a noble race." Odishu II (Bar Ars) Aturaya Born in Nineveh was bishop
    of Nissivin before serving as Patriarch 1072 - 1090. (13 ) "Makikha the zealous a blessed and just man who was leader in Assyria". Makikha I (Bar Shlemon) (1092 - 1109)

    "The Triumphant Elia, grew up among the educators in Assyria and was a vast source of knowledge". Elia II born in Mosul previously was a Bishop of Nineveh and Arbil before serving as Patriarch 1111 - 1132. (14)
    The 14th century Odisho (d. 1318) wrote; 'Patriarch Papa (fl. 325) was the first patriarch to established the Metropolitans of Assyria [central Mesopotamia], Nissivin [northern Meso-potamia], Maishan [southern Mesopotamia] and Elam [the bet Khozayee region included Jundi Shapur in Persia presently known as Khozestan].'(15) In this case Metropolitan of Central Assyria included Arbil and Kirkuk and towns in between where Assyrians still live. Other references to Assyrians pertained not only to the inhabitants of central Assyria but to most of the Mesopotamia.After the 7th century Arab conquest the new rulers through heavy taxation , legal inequities, oppression, humiliation, and intimidation forced none-moslem subjects into Islam who by virtue of their new faith adopted the Arabic language and called themselves Arabs. Consequently religion became an important part of national identity in addition to language, ancestry, and culture. Due to the new reality it was natural for the Christian Assyrians to emphasis their differences in religion and language which set them apart from their moslem neighbors especially those who previously belonged to their faith.

    The terms Suryaya and Suryoyo were better suited to express such sentiments but that did not diminish their being Assyrians. This is attested to by their continued identification as such by themselves and others. It was the increased contacts with the west during the 19th century which awakened the modern sense of nationalism not only among the Assyrians but also the rest of the people in the Middle East.The most gulling Joseph's claim is that the Armenian 'Asori' which Christians of Mesopotamia have been known by means 'Syrian' and according to him the correct Armenian name for Assyrian is 'Asorestantji'. This contradicts the classical, also contemporary Armenian documents and dictionaries where the ancient and present Assyrians are identified as 'Asori' or 'Asore'. The sixteenth century Armenian version of the story of Ahigar is a good example where transliteration of Assyria is termed 'Asorestan' but ancient Assyrians are called Asore.(16) 'Asore' a varied spelling of 'Asori' is the most important part of 'Asore-stantji' which Joseph claims to mean Assyrian. How is it that as part of 'Asore-stantji' it means Assyrian but by itself it does not? The terms, 'stan', 'estan', or 'ostan' in the Indo-European languages including the Armenian means land or province. The name of most countries in these tongues begin with the nationality of the people of the land. For example Pakistan is the homeland of the Paki, Hindustan is the country of the Hindu, or Hendi and Afghanistan is the country of the Afgans or Afgani. John Joseph's claim that Asori means Syrian and not Assyrian contradicts this logic. Though Armenians call their country Hyestan they refer to themselves as Hy. Asori has been used by the Persians and the Kurds for the contemporary and ancient Assyrians also.

    Despite all the references equating Syrian, suryaya, Suryoye to Assyrians Joseph writes: "The Syriac documents which Wilmshurst had consulted refer to "Suraye Madenhaye" which he translates as 'East Syrians,' meaning Arameans [Joseph's interpretation] a usage established as far back as the third century B.C. when the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek, and almost 1,000 years later, into Syriac." Contrary to Joseph's claim the term Syrian as a substitute for Assyrian had been in use since the 6th century B.C.. Because Christians of Mesopotamia could not read the Greek Old Testament it could not have mattered to them what was written in it. One can also argue that Greek's lack of mention of the Arameans may have been because the name was not in popular use.

    Christian of Mesopotamia had access to the Jewish Bible which went out of its way to promote the Aramean name even when it did not apply. For instance it claims 'A wandering Aramean' was the father of the Jewish faith (17) Popularly interpreted to mean that Abraham and his family were Arameans yet such a people did not exist at that time and the first mention of Arameans in history was seven hundred years later. In addition it is well known that Jesus spoke the Aramaic language which would have been inspiring for the christians to call themselves by that name but it did not happen in Mesopotamia.

    The idea that Assyrians vanished from the face of the earth after their famous defeat is a misunderstanding of what is written in the Old Testament. Even the early Assyrialogists because of such influence presumed that ancient Assyrians no longer existed which is evident form their use of Biblical quotations to support such conclusion, but later historical and archaeological discoveries have proven them wrong. Even Naham who rejoiced about the destruction of Nineveh conceded that Assyrian inhabitants of Nineveh were not wiped out instead they were 'scattered on the mountain'.
    He writes:
    "Your shepherds are asleep. O king of Assyria, your nobles slumber. Your people are scattered on the mountain with none to gather them." (18)
    Most Christian zealot chose to ignore the last part of the statement. It was more comforting to believe that God had destroyed the mighty Assyrians for not obeying him. One needs only listen to the Christian's fire and brimstone preachers to realize how they revel in preaching Nahum's accounts of the destruction of Nineveh. Even now the wars in Iraq are interpreted by some as signs that the Bible prophecies are coming true.

    Nonetheless documents dating back to early Christianity corroborate that "Assyrian" was the identity of the people of Mesopotamia. The fourth century Eusbius of Caesarea, about Teachings of Addai the Apostle concerning the spread of Christianity in Mesopotamia wrote:
    " People of the east, in the guise of merchants, passed over into the territory of the Romans, ( so that) they might see the signs which Addaeus did. And ( became) disciples, received from him ordination to priesthood, and in their own country of the Assyrians they instructed the people of their nation."
    A Homily about the town of Antioch underscores the same:
    "To Simon was allotted Rome, and to John Ephesus; to Thomas India, and to Addaeus the country of the Assyrians." (19) [in footnotes "The text actually reads among the Assyrians"].
    Other historical and archaeological evidences attest to the survival of the Assyrians not only on the mountains but in many Assyrian cities towns and villages. Nabunid's mother, who died at the ripe age of 104 in 546 B.C. left behind an inscription in which she mentions the Assyrian kings whom she had served as priestess of the temple of Ishtar and writes about their descendants and officials who lived in Harran after the defeat.

    [/SIZE][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]She writes:
    " None of their children, none of their families and of their officials to whom- when they had been put in office, they had (were) given rich gifts, performed actually as much as a fumigation-offering (to their graves), whereas I brought monthly, without interruption-in my best garments offering to their souls, fat lambs, bread, fine beer, wine, oil, honey and all kinds of garden fruits, and established as perpetual offerings abundant fumigation (yielding) sweet smells for them." (20)
    If the children of the Assyrian royalties and their official were still alive decades after the fall of Assyria there is no reason to believe that the ordinary assyrians of Harran and other cities were wiped out as some want to claim.
  2. Christ's_Warrior

    Christ's_Warrior Newbie

    The most incontrovertible documents attesting to the survival of Assyria and Assyrians after their defeat comes from the Persian records. The Behistun inscription of Darius (512-486) in the beginning of his rule lists 23 countries as part of his empire including: "Persis, Huza (Elam), Babiru (Babylon), Athura (Assyria)...." which corroborates Herodotus statement that Assyria was a tributary of the persian empire and the Assyrian troops were part of the empire's military . (21)The Nagshe Rostam inscription by Darius lists Assyrians as a national types of the Persian Empire. A reference to them reads as: "Iyam Asuryah", "this is an Assyrian" which is very similar to the term "Suryah" a name christian Assyrians have identified themselves by. (22)An inscription by his son Xerexes underscores the same fact:
    "Proclaims Xerexes, the king: "By the favor of Ahura Meazda; these are the people/countries of which I was king of....Persia, Media, Elam, Armenia, Drangiana, parthia, Aria, Bacteria, Sogdia, Choresmia, Babylonia, ASSYRIA, Sttagydia, Lydia, Egypt......"

    Even during the early Sassanian period Mesopotamia was known as Asorestan or Assyria. In a persian inscription Shapur I, (226-651 A.D.) lists Asorestan as part of his empire which included "Fars [Persia], Pahlav [Parthia], Kuzistan, Meshan,[southern Babylon near the Persian Gulf] Asorestan [Mesopotamia] and Nod-Ardakhshiragan [Adiabene or Central Assyria] ........." 23 The name Adiabene [between two rivers] was given to the central Assyria by the Parthians. Nod-Ardakhshiragan meant it was ruled by Ardskhshir the son of Shapur I. The name Iraq was given to the land by the Arabs but as attested to by the Syriac documents the natives continued to call their country Assyria and identified themselves as Assyrians, side by side with Suraya and Suryoyo and Syrian which are variations of the same.
    When the 2nd century Lucian of Samostosa north of Harran in his "Goddess of Syria" wrote : "I that write [this] am "Assourius" [Assyrian]" and his contemporary Tatian wrote: "I come from the land of the Assyrians" They did so based on historical knowledge and the reality of the time.

    Contrary to the classical writers the resettled Nineveh according to the Assyrialogist Joan Orates was a considerable town during the Parthian and the Sassanian period. Syriac writers indicate that it played an important role in the lives of the Christian Assyrians. Ammianus Marcellinus and Tacitus attest to the existence of Nineveh as a settled city during the Parthian and Sassanian period. Stephanie Dally states that Hitzig (1881, p. 174-6) believed that Nineveh existed at the fourth century B.C. when the book of Jonah of the Old Testament was written to explain the contradiction between the presence of Nineveh and Nahum's prophecy that it had been completely destroyed and put to waste according to the will of God. Archaeological discoveries by the Edinburgh University at Eski Mosul Dam Basin in 1983 unearthed solid evidences of heavy ancient Assyrian presence in the region at the third century B.C.. Assyrian communities in the cities of Ashur and Hatra had temples for their favorite deity 'Ashur' until the third century A.D. and were still calling their children by the ancient Assyrian names. It is important to note that Ashur was not the primary god of all Assyrian cities as each town had its own deity. In Nineveh it was Ishtar as was also in Arbil, in Harran it was the moon god Sein. The above are only a fraction of historical evidences attesting to the Assyrian ancestry of the contemporary Assyrians. Throughout the balance of this article more will be cited but by no means all.
  3. Christ's_Warrior

    Christ's_Warrior Newbie

    The Assyrian Heritage of the Chaldean Church
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    Though Joseph is well aware of the events which led to the formation of the Chaldean Church he pretends that those who established the Chaldean Church and joined it were not ethnically Assyrians. Due to a conflict over whether the Patriarch should be elected or inherit his post a faction of clergies in the Church of the East elected John Sulagga as their leader and sent him to Rome to form union with the Catholic Church.

    Sulagga was proclaimed patriarch of "Mosul and Athur" (Assyria) on Feb. 20, 1553 by Pope Julius III.(24) Roman documents also refer to Sulagga as the elected patriarch of "the Assyrian Nation".(25) Since as we have seen Christians of Mesopotamia identified themselves as Assyrians this should not surprise us. The Chronicle of the Carmelites states that Sulagga was proclaimed "Patriarch of the Eastern Assyrians" but on April 19, 1553 he was redefined as the "Patriarch of the Chaldeans". (26) Perhaps the change of mind was intended to distinguish between the clergies and members of the new church compared to those who still belonged to the old church. Or maybe for bureaucratic reasons it was deemed necessary to link the new Catholics with the Nestorians of Cyprus who were labeled Chaldeans by Pope Eugene IV on August 7, 1445 when they joined the Roman Catholic church.

    The inspiration for calling the new denomination Chaldean undoubtedly came from the Biblical claim that the founder of the Jewish religion and consequently Christianity came from the so-called Ur of Chaldee in Mesopotamia which means the term Chaldean was used in a religious context and not nationality because neither the Nestorians of Cyprus nor those of Mesopotamia had identified themselves as Chaldeans before becoming Catholics. Unfortunately later this name was paraded as ethnic identity by the Roman and Chaldean church. This resulted partly from Turkey's Sultan Mohammed II policy whereby Christians subjects of the empire were organized according to their religious denomination at 1453 . "The Porte recognized each sect as an artificial nation (millet) so that each of these sects became a Christian-millet, and internal antagonism the supreme law, with disastrous sequences to the [Assyrian] nation." (27)
    This system made it easier for the central government to administer the affairs of its various faith based communities. The Patriarch of each millet was responsible for the collection of taxes and to resolve conflicts within his own faction. In December of 1553 Sulagga petitioned in Allepo to be recognized as the head of a religious 'millet' by the Sultan which was granted. (28) All references to the Chaldean Nation from this point on is a throw back to the Ottoman Empire's official division of religious sects into independent entities.

    It took some time before the name Chaldean was used as substitute for Assyrian. After Sulagga's death there was an attempt to unite the two factions of the Church. Mar Odisho Bar Yohanan Bet Maron of Jezireh succeeded Sulagga. He was unable to travel to Rome until 1561. In the following year he was confirmed. On February 19, 1562, Cardinal Amolis in a codex to the committee of the cardinals in Tredando introduced Sulagga's successor Patriarch Odisho Bar Yohanan Bet Maron (1555 -1570) as "..The Patriarch of the Assyrians who has been elected by the clergies and approved by their people". (29)

    Odisho unlike Sulagga resided in Sarit. In letters from India to the Pope Mar Abraham a bishop of the newly formed Chaldean faction in that country continued to refer to Odisho as the "Patriarch of the Assyrians" or "Patriarch of Assyria" . (Venerabili Fratri Abdisu Patriarchae Assyriorum sive de Muzal Pius Papa Quartus (1)". and "Abdisu Patriarca d' Assiria".) (30)

    For awhile there was hope that the entire Church of the East would join the Catholic rite to unite the feuding factions. Unfortunately plans fell apart when the next Patriarch Eilya VI bar Giwargis, (1558-1591) of the Church of the East sent a letter of confession to the pope Gregory (1572 - 1585) but by the time it arrived the pontiff had died. The new Pope Sixtus V (1585 -1590) declared the letter full of heresy and rejected the proposed union. Had the Roman Catholic Church been receptive to the Church of the East overtures it would have spared our people more than 400 years of conflicts which have undermined our survival as a united people and have scattered us around the world. Instead the Roman Church incited brothers against each other. Three bishops sent by the Patriarch of the church of the East to India to shepherd the flock were arrested by the Portuguese and sent for inquisition, first to Lisbon and later to Rome where two died in custody. From then on no representative of the Church of the East was allowed to enter India.
  4. Christ's_Warrior

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    Tactics of Cultural and Ethnic Cleansing
    Adhering to the doctrine of divide and conquer the Roman Church separated and segregated from their previous community not only religiously also ethnically those who had become Catholic . Rassam a member of a prominent Chaldean Church family confirms the Roman Church hatred for other denominations. He writes: "the Roman Catholics are ready to sow the seed of discord wherever they go, and never lose an opportunity of persecuting those who do not agree with them in matters of faith ".(31)
    The 19th century Eli Smith wrote: Due to the Roman Church teachings "the Roman Catholic Greeks of Archipelago considered it an insult to be called Greek and convert Armenians exhibited bitter enmity toward their Armenian neighbors and they preferred to be called "Franks'..(32) The hatred of the Chaldean church and members for their Assyrian heritage can be attributed to the such spiteful teachings by the Roman Catholic Church.A decree at a Catholic Synod in India warned that anyone who mentions the name of "Patriarch of Babylon", the head of the Church of the East , 'shall be declared excommunicate', and will be held as schismatic and heretic, and shall be punished as such, according to the Holy Canons. ...and whereas the Patriarchs of Babylon, to whom this Church [previously] was subject, are Nestorians, the heads of that cursed sect and schismatic out of the obedience of the Holy Roman Church, and aliens from our Holy Catholic faith, and are for that reason excommunicated and accursed: " (33)

    Another document in the Vatican Library shows the success of the Roman Catholic Church in fermenting hatred among members of the Chaldean Church toward their former denomination and brethren. When two Tibetians arrived from India in 1606 they introduced themselves as Syro-Chaldean. They described their religion by stating that they are the disciples of St. Thomas and have always been Catholics. When they were told that the christians of Mylapore [Malabar] India were at one time Nestorians and "had a Nestorian Bishop appointed for them by the 'Patriarch of Babylon' and it was not possible to believe that they were [always] Catholics", the two replied: "The Nestorians are very much abhorred by the Chaldeans on account of heresy as excommunicated...." (34) Such ongoing indoctrinations were undoubtedly part of the teachings in the Chaldean Church of Mesopotamia also which accounts for the rejection of their Assyrian heritage by the clergies and members fo that church.

    To further alienate members of the Chaldean church from their former heritage the Roman Catholic church also promoted the name "Chaldean" and "Chaldiac" for the language they spoke which was known as Syrian [Assyrian] and Syriac. In a decree by the Catholic Church in India "the Syrian Mass" by the bishops of the "schismatic and Nestorian heretics" was condemned because they contained "impious and heretical errors" therefore;
    " all the {Syriac] missals of this bishopric [the previous Nestorian denomination taken over by the Roman Catholic church] ought to be burned, as also for there having been of Nestorian use compiled by Nestorian heretics: but being there are no other at present, they are tolerated, until such time as our Lord the Pope shall take some order therein, and there shall be missals sent by him printed in the Chaldiac tongue which is what this Synod humbly and earnestly desires may be done".(35)
    Eventually thousands of books published by the Church of the East available in India were burned.

    The term Chaldic promoted by the Roman Catholic Chruch owes its origin to the name Jews gave to the Aramaic language during their exile in Babylon by Nebukhednassir who was of Chaldean heritage. The language used by the Chaldean Church was and continues to be the same as that of the Church of the East which has been historically known as suraya, Surit and Syriac. The use of Chaldic and Chaldean was intended to provide the new Church with not only a different religious identity but to separate its members from their true ethnic and linguistic heritage. The term "Chaldean Language" was promoted heavily by the Latin missionaries and the French diplomats as substitute for Syriac, Surit and Suraya. Ironically according to Badger even by mid 19th century the name Suraya was still being used by the members of the oldest Chaldean Church in Diarbeker, to identify themselves with. (36) Members of the Chaldean Church still refer to themselves as Suryaye.

    Rassam states that followers of the Church of the East were often forced to join the Chaldean rite through coercion. In one instance he writes:
    "It is extraordinary to state that the delegates of the Roman Church have not succeeded in converting the Nestorians of Shaikh to their dogmas, though so near a Turkish town, where former possess so much power under the protection of the French Government".The Roman Church often used the influence of the French government to encourage the Ottoman and the Kurds to terrorize those who refused to join the Chaldean church. Rassam adds: "..the Nestorians of Shakh told me that the Chaldean Catholics of Jezeerah, who were their co-religionist, had always tried through their influence with the local authorities to bully them into submission to the Pope".(37)

    The late Patriarch of the Chaldean Church Mar Rafaeil BeDaweed (1989-2003) on several occasion has correctly attested to the Assyrian heritage of the Chaldean Church. In a 1974 interview with the Assyrian Star he stated :
    " ... Personally, my family became Chaldean only some 100 years ago, my grandfather Daweed was a Nestorian priest, and the same is true with all the rest of us ...we need to differentiate between nationality and Church, between church and politics ... the Chaldean title for us does not mean ethnicity or nationality, historically there is not an Assyrian religion. True Assyrianism is an ethnicity and we all are Assyrian. We could be Assyrian ethnically, but we are Chaldeans religiously. We can not have our Church associated with ethnicity or nationality". (38)In another interview on the Lebanon Radio Station on Feb 2001 he said: "
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    The Catholic church gave us the name 'Chaldean' with respect to those wise-men who went from Mesopotamia to Bethlehem. [who were called Chaldean or magi which meant astronomers]..My ethnicity is Assyrian but my sect is Chaldean, we shouldn't mix ethnicity with the church."
    [/FONT] [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]

    In his commentary in Zinda Joseph implies that Assyrians should call themselves Arameans which shows his usual contempt for the name Assyrian. The name Aramean was adopted by the Syrian Orthodox Church in 1952 primarily due to the efforts of the Patriarch Aprim Barsum because of religious politics. Before that date clergies and members of that church had proudly identified themselves as Assyrians. Joseph's first book where he disputes the Assyrian identity of our people was published nine years later.

    [SIZE=-5]1-John Joseph, "The Nestorians and their Muslim Neighbors, A Study of Western Influence on their Relations", Princeton University 1961 p.13.)
    2- (Ibid p.15)
    3- (Ibid p.12)
    4- (Odisho Malko, "Levakh Eila Min Dohma Atouraya", JAAS, Vol. XIV, no. 1., 2000.)
    5- (Henry Burgess, The Repentance of Nineveh, Sampson Low: Son and Co., London 1853, p. 36n.)
    6- (Stephanie Dalley, Nineveh after 612 B.C., Alt-Orientanlishce Forshchungen #20, 1993, p .134).
    7- 8- (Malko Ibid)
    9- (Sabro Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch the Western Archdiocesan Bulletin, Vol. 2 Oct., Nov., Dec. 2000 issue 7.)
    10- (Philip Scott-Moncrieff's "The Book of Consolations, or The Pastoral Epistales of Mar Isho-Yahbh of Kuphlana in Adiabene" Part I,
    the Syriac Text, Published in London in 1904.)
    11- (Malko ibid)
    12- (Percy Badger, "Nestorians and the (Their Rituals" A mission to Mesopotamia and Coordistan in 1842-1844, Vol. II republished in
    1969 by Gregg International Publishers Limited page 139 )
    13- 14- (Malko ibid)
    15 - (William Young, "Patriarch, Shah and Caliph", Christian Stury Center, Rawalpindi, Pakistan 1974 p. 42)
    16- Conybeare, edit, The Story of Ahikar, Cambridge University press 1913, pp.25-55
    See also William Saroyan's "Human Tragedy" and the "Seventy Thousands Assyrians". the contemporary Armenian writer Vahahn
    Karapetian refers to both the ancient and the contemporary Assyrians as 'Asori'. in his "Historical Relations between Armenians and
    Assyrians", published in Los Angeles, California in 2002,
    (17)- (Deuteronomy 26)
    18- (Nahum iii, 18.)
    19- (Eusebius of Caesarea, Ed. Alexander Roberts, Ancient Syriac Documents, Book 1 Chap. XIII, p.25) see also: doctrine of ADDAI in W.CURETON ( ed , and tr), Ancient Syriac Documents, London and Edinburg 1864 , pp. 15=16,
    20-(James B. Pritchard, Ed. "Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to Old Testament", Princeton University Press 1950 p. 312)
    21- (Andrew Robert Burn, "Persia and the Greeks", Minerva Press1962 p. 109)
    22- ( Sukumar Sen, "Old Persian Inscriptions of the Achaemenian Emperors", University of Calcutta, 1941 p. 107)
    23- (Josepf Wiesehofer translated by Azizeh Asod, "Ancient Persia from 550 BC to 650 AD, I. B. Tauris Publisher, 1996 p. 184.)
    (24)-( Rabban, "Chaldean Rite", Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, Vol. III, pp.427-428)
    (25) (Xavier Koodapuzha, "Faith and Communion in the Indian Church of Saint Thomas Christians, Oriental Institute of Religious
    Studies, Kerala, India, p.59)
    26- (George V. Yana (Bebla), "Myth vs. Reality" JAA Studies, Vol. XIV, No. 1, 2000 p. 80)
    (27) ( David Barsum Perley in Yosuf Malik's, "British Betrayal of the Assyrians", Self Published 1936, Chapt. VII.)
    (28)(R. Rabban/EDS, "Chaldean Catholic Church (Eastern Catholic)", New Catholic Encyclopedia, second edition Vol. 3, Thomson/Gale,
    (29- (Dr. Sarhad Jammo, "The Two Branches of Eastern Church," Bayn-Al-Nahrayn 95/96, Baghdad 1996 p. 196.)
    30- (Sequens expositio excerpta est ex Archivio Vaticano, Archivio de Castello, Armad VII, cap. 5. N, IX)
    also (Ex Archivio Vaticano Secreto, Archiv. de Castello, Armad. VII, Caps. V. N. 9).
    (31) (Hormuzd Rassam, "Asshur and the Land of Nimrod", Cincinnati: Curtis & Jennings, New york 1897 p.86)
    (32) (Eli Smith, "Researches of the Re. E. Smith and Rev. H.G. Dawight in Armenia" ,Crocker and Brewster, Boston, 1833, p.68)
    (33) ( actions 21 of the Synod of Diamper, Session III, Decree VIII (Hough Vol. II. p. 538.)
    34-(Vide Giamil p. 11.) Translated from the Italian narration taken from the Vatican Archives by Giamil p. 102-103.)
    (35- (James Hough, "history of 'the Christianity in India" Vol. II. p. 583.) Session v. Decree I.)
    (36- (Hormuzd Rassam pp. 173-174)
    (37- (Rassam, p.389)
    38- (Assyrian Star interview;/ No. 5, September-October issue 1974)
  5. Christ's_Warrior

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    Assyrian after Assyria

    by Dr. Simo Parpola, University of Helsinki
    The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project (State Archives of Assyria)

    Presented at The Assyrian National Convention in Los Angeles, September 4, 1999
    Published in the Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies, Vol. XIII No. 2, 1999

    In 612 BC, after a prolonged civil war, Assyria's two former vassals, the Babylonians and the Medes, conquered and destroyed Nineveh, the capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The great city went up in flames, never to regain its former status. Three years later the same rebels razed Assyria's Western metropolis, Harran, crushing the last-ditch resistance of Assyria's last king,Ashur-uballit II. This event sealed the fate of the Assyrian Empire, and that is where the story of Assyria usually ends in history books.
    What happened to the Assyrians after the fall of Assyria? This is a question that is not easy to answer for two reasons. Firstly, the issue has hardly been touched by Assyriologists. Most of them seem to tacitly agree with the idea of a more or less total wipe-out, as suggested by Sidney Smith in 1925: "The disappearance of the Assyrian people will always remain a unique and striking phenomenon in ancient history. Other, similar kingdoms and empires have indeed passed away but the people have lived on... No other land seems to have been sacked and pillaged so completely as was Assyria."
    Secondly, in contrast to the abundance of information from the imperial period, information on post-empire Assyria and Assyrians is scanty and scattered. The near-total lack of information from Assyria itself would seem to support the idea of a genocide, which also seems to be supported by ancient eye-witness testimonies. When the Greek historian Xenophon 200 years after Nineveh's fall passed through the Assyrian heartland and visited the sites of two great Assyrian cities, he found nothing but ruin and could not retrieve much about them from the nearby villagers. The territory where these deserted cities lay was now Median, and the Greeks assumed that their former inhabitants had likewise been Medes.
    Yet it is clear that no such thing as a wholesale massacre of all Assyrians ever happened. It is true that some of the great cities of Assyria were utterly destroyed and looted -- archaeology confirms this --, some deportations were certainly carried out, and a good part of the Assyrian aristocracy was probably massacred by the conquerors. However, Assyria was a vast and densely populated country, and outside the few destroyed urban centers life went on as usual. This is proved by a recently discovered post-imperial archive from the Assyrian provincial capital Dur-Katlimmu, on the Chabur river, which contains business documents drawn up in Assyrian cuneiform more than a decade after the fall of Nineveh. Apart from the fact that these documents are dated by the regal years of a Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar II, nothing in their formulation or external appearance would suggest that they were not written under the Assyrian Empire. Another small archive discovered in Assur, written in a previously unknown, presumably Mannean variety of cuneiform, proves that Assyrian goldsmiths still worked in the city in post-empire times, though now under Median command.
    Moreover, over a hundred Assyrians with distinctively Assyrian names have recently been identified in economic documents from many Babylonian sites dated between 625 and 404 BC, and many more Assyrians undoubtedly remain to be identified in such documents. We do not know whether these people were deportees or immigrants from Assyria; their families may have settled in Babylonia already under the Assyrian rule. In any case, they unequivocally prove the survival of many Assyrians after the empire and the continuity of Assyrian identity, religion and culture in post-empire times. Many of these names contain the divine name Ashur, and some of the individuals concerned occupied quite high positions: one Pan-Ashur-lumur was the secretary of the crown prince Cambyses under Cyrus II in 530 BC.
    Distinctively Assyrians names are also found in later Aramaic and Greek texts from Assur, Hatra, Dura-Europus and Palmyra, and continue to be attested until the beginning of the Sasanian period. These names are recognizable from the Assyrian divine names invoked in them; but whereas earlier the other name elements were predominantly Akkadian, they now are exclusively Aramaic. This coupled with the Aramaic script and language of the texts shows that the Assyrians of these later times no longer spoke Akkadian as their mother tongue. In all other respects, however, they continued the traditions of the imperial period. The gods Ashur, Sherua, Istar, Nanaya, Bel, Nabu and Nergal continued to be worshiped in Assur at least until the early third century AD; the local cultic calendar was that of the imperial period; the temple of Ashur was restored in the second century AD; and the stelae of the local rulers resemble those of Assyrian kings in the imperial period. It is also worth pointing out that many of the Aramaic names occurring in the post-empire inscriptions and graffiti from Assur are already attested in imperial texts from the same site that are 800 years older.
    Assur was by no means the only city where Assyrian religion and cults survived the fall of the empire. The temple of Sin, the great moon god of Harran, was restored by the Babylonian king Nabonidus in the mid-sixth century BC, and the Persian king Cyrus claims to have returned Ishtar of Nineveh to her temple in Nineveh. Classical sources attest to the continuity of Assyrian cults in other Syrian cities until late antiquity; in Harran, the cults of Sin, Nikkal, Bel, Nabu, Tammuz and other Assyrian gods persisted until the 10th century AD and are still referred to in Islamic sources. Typically Assyrian priests with their distinctive long conical hats and tunics are depicted on several Graeco-Roman monuments from Northern Syria and East Anatolia.
    We know little of the political status of Assyria in the decades following its fall, but it seems that the western part of the Empire as far as the Tigris fell into the hands of the Babylonians, while the eastern Transtigridian areas, including the Assyrian heartland north of Assur, came under Median rule. Under the Achaemenid Empire, the western areas annexed to Babylonia formed a satrapy called Athura (a loanword from Imperial Aramaic Athur, "Assyria"), while the Assyrian heartland remained incorporated in the satrapy of Mada (Old Persian for "Media"). Both satrapies paid yearly tribute and contributed men for the military campaigns and building projects of the Persian kings. Assyrian soldiers participated in the expedition of Xerxes against Greece (480 BC) according to Herodotus, and Assyrians from both Athura and Mada participated in the construction of the palace of Darius at Susa (500-490 BC).
    Interestingly, it was the "Median" Assyrians who executed the gold works and glazing of this palace, whereas the Assyrians from the satrapy of Athura provided the timber for the palace from Mt. Lebanon. In the Babylonian version of the Persian inscription, the name Athura is at this point rendered Eber nari, "land beyond the river (Euphrates)." This shows that the Western, originally Aramean, half of the Assyrian Empire was already at this time firmly identified with Assyria proper, an important issue to which we shall return later on.
    We thus see that by Achaemenid times, Assyria, though split in two, had re-emerged as a political entity of considerable military and economic strength. In 520 BC, both Athura and Mada joined the revolt against Darius, trying to regain their independence. This revolt was a failure, but in a sense the Assyrian Empire had already been re-established long ago. Actually, in the final analysis, it had never been destroyed at all but had just changed ownership: first to Babylonian and Median dynasties, and then to a Persian one.
    Contemporaries and later Greek historians did not make a big distinction between the Assyrian Empire and its successors: in their eyes, the "monarchy" or "universal hegemony" first held by the Assyrians had simply passed to or been usurped by other nations. For example, Ctesias of Cnidus writes: "It was under [Sardanapallos] that the empire (hegemonia) of the Assyrians fell to the Medes, after it had lasted more than thirteen hundred years. "
    The Babylonian king Nabonidus, who reigned sixty years after the fall of Nineveh and actually originated from an Assyrian city, Harran, refers to Ashurbanipal and Esarhaddon as his "royal forefathers." His predecessor Nebuchadnezzar and the Persian kings Cyrus and Artaxerxes are correspondingly referred to as "Kings of Assyria" in Greek historical tradition and in the Bible. Strabo, writing at the time of the birth of Christ, tells us that "the customs of the Persians are like those of the Assyrians," and calls Babylon a "metropolis of Assyria" (which it, of course, in fact was too, having been completely destroyed and rebuilt by the Assyrians in the early seventh century BC).
    The Babylonian, Median and Persian empires should thus be seen (as they were seen in antiquity) as successive versions of the same multinational power structure, each resulting from an internal power struggle within this structure. In other words, the Empire was each time reborn under a new leadership, with political power shifting from one nation to another.
    Of course, the Empire changed with each change of leadership. On the whole, however, the changes were relatively slight, one could almost say cosmetic only. The language of the ruling elite changed, of course, first from Assyrian to Babylonian, Median, and Persian, and finally to Greek. In its dress the elite likewise followed its national customs, and it naturally venerated its own gods, from whom its power derived. Thus Ashur was replaced as imperial god first by the Babylonian Marduk, and then by the Iranian Ahura Mazda, Greek.
  6. Zechariah Peelipose

    Zechariah Peelipose zechariah

    Oriental Orthodox
    Thanks brother for the detailed and interesting info.

    The Saint Thomas Christians(over 4 million scattered in various denominations) in Kerala are aware that they had a Nestorian past before 16th century(portuguese arrival) and that the church here reported to the Patriarch of Babylon once.

    However Christianity in Kerala at that age was often syncretic, people held many syncretic beliefs from hinduism such as karma, re-incarnation, warrior's heaven etc.
    Purity of faith was reserved to few in the priestly section and syncretism ended probably only after the Portuguese catholic inqusitions and after the arrival of the Syriac Orthodox bishops and Patriarchs--many of whom lived and died here.

    The Roman Catholic Church conducted an Inqusition in India in which many Nestorian as well as Syriac Orthodox priests were killed.

    Including one Mar Ahattalah who arrived in 1653, who was never seen again after being arrested by the portuguese-jesuit combine. He was probably burned alive at the inquisition chambers in Goa or taken to Lisbon.

    The various churches in Kerala have different claims about this Mar/Mor Ahattalah.

    The Syriac Orthodox historians in Kerala say that it is none other than one Patriarch of Antioch named Mor Ignatius Hidayatallah.

    The Indian Orthodox historians say it was most probably a Coptic Orthodox or Nestorian/Assyrian bishop. A letter send by the Mor ahattallah prior to his death, claimed that he was send by a "Pope".

    It was certainly not the RC Pope. Maybe he was referring to the Alexandrian Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church. I dont know if they used the title Pope in the 17th century.

    I would like to ask the Coptics in this forum, if they know anything about this.

    Would it be likely that a bishop was send to South India in the 17th century by the Pope of Alexandria at the request of the Indian Church leaders?

    He is remembered as Mar Ahattallah. It was his martyrdom at the hand of the Jesuits in 1653 that prompted the Revolt among the Nasranis of Kerala and to the sowing of the Syriac Orthodox Faith in Kerala, as an alternative to the oppressive Roman Catholic regime ruling at that time.

    While Nestorianism was impossible at the time, due to various political reasons. The Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem(Mar Gregorios) arrived in Kerala in 1665 on our request via a Dutch ship we hired and send to West Asia. He consecrated a bishop for the Indian Church and our community became Oriental Orthodox after this.

    But until 1800s, our church still had many Assyrian feautures and liturgy at many places was East Syriac Assyrian and we completely made it Syriac Orthodox St. James liturgy(West Syriac) only after 1800s.

    The Nestorian bishops could return only around 1700 AD, and they found their flock in the Roman Catholic and Syriac Orthodox Churches already, and few willing to return to the faith prior to 16th century.

    Very few returned to the Assyrian Church, most of who returned to Nestorianism was from the RC converts.

    For that reason, the Nestorians in Kerala,India still call themselves "CHALDEANS".

    Here, "Chaldean" means non-catholic Assyrians/Nestorians.

    Even Patriarch Dinkha was confused during a visit here. But he was explained that the term chaldean is used here to mean Assyrians.

    The Assyrian(chaldean non-catholic) community here is limited to 2-3 villages in Kerala and they come to about 20,000-30,000 believers.

    It maybe co-incidental, but today's newspaper had a news that this church here was going to ordinate 2 new bishops, which is a big news for the church which has only very few bishops.

    Nonetheless the bishop of the Assyrian Church here is very famous- Mar Aprem. He has authored some books, especially one on social humour is well-known here.

    Glad to have met a non-Indian Assyrian online. We are proud of the Assyrian Church.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010
  7. Zechariah Peelipose

    Zechariah Peelipose zechariah

    Oriental Orthodox
    Though the Church in India received a West Syriac(Orthodox) heritage after 1665, we have still many remnants of the old East Syriac(Assyrian/Nestorian) past.

    Mostly in our language and some traditions. Many words we use in malayalam are derived from East Syriac.

    eg: malaakha (angel), koodaasha(sacrament), mamoodesa(baptism), Eesho(Jesus), Qurbana(Eucharist), Mar(holy man etc)

    In West Syriac language of the Syriac Orthodox Church, it should be Qurbono for Eucharist and Mor as title for bishop.

    But despite our strong Syriac Orthodox influence post 1665 AD, we still call our bishops "Mar" and call our Eucharist as "Qurbana" in the old east syriac style.
    We give away our east syriac assyrian past unknowlingly thus through our language.

    @Christ's warrior,

    How can you say that you are "Assyrians" or completely?

    I have heard that most of the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom were captured by the Assyrians and taken in captivity to Iraq-Iran region and they NEVER RETURNED.

    According to the prophecies of the Bible, the Gospel must have already been preached to the descendants of these Israeli tribes who lived in the Iraq-Iran region.
    The children of many of these people might be christian in Iraq, belonging to Assyrian and Syriac Orthodox and various catholic rites there.
  8. Zechariah Peelipose

    Zechariah Peelipose zechariah

    Oriental Orthodox
    Personally im averse to such race-culture mapping by laymen to forge emotional unities among its people.

    A common faith and liturgy should be greater unifiers of people, than a common race or culture.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  9. Christ's_Warrior

    Christ's_Warrior Newbie


    Hi Zac,

    Not quite sure what you are asking form me?
  10. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    Oriental Orthodox
    Thankful for the thread :)
  11. Soji John

    Soji John New Member

    1) Are those who belong to the Assyrian Church of the East included in this congregational forum?

    2) Can anyone confirm or deny that the Assyrian Church of the East does not accept images/icons, and refused to use the term theotokos?

    3) Does anyone know what the ACE's view is on Mary in general?

    Thank you, and if I have the wrong section, I apologize.

    (Mar Nestorius was Archbishop of Constantinople(East Roman Empire) from 10 April 428 until August 431, when the emperor Theodosius II confirmed his condemnation by the Council of Ephesus on 22 June. Mar Nestorius have no connection with Assyrian Christians. Nestorian way is the word created by his enemy in East Rome(Constantinople) to over threw him from the power, Mar Nestorius has strictly abandoned theories of western romans teachings in his church. this made enemies in west roman church, so they supported Cyril and provided Theotokos theory to remove Mar Nestorius from the Archbishop position.Actually Christokos was not a theory invented by Mar Nestorius, it was the original ideology from the Bible itself. west romans translated the German version bible to latin which was originally a Greek translation. Fact is that the Bible written by his Disciples was in Aramaic(language spoken by Jesus). So roman version is completely corrupted by its mis-translation or wrong translation due to the lack of the ability of the European languages or Greek languages to absorb the Aramaic words in its pure form. We also know that the name of the Jesus is Iso/Yesu written in Middle East Languages.
    So lack of ability of any languages or any culture will not affect the name of Messiah and his belief.)

    Assyrian Church of the East does not support images/idols/icons and theotokos.
    images/idols are not supported in any Abrahamic religions(Jews,Christian,Islam) as it all have the same root.

    Exodus 20:3-6
    “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments

    Micah 5:13
    And I will cut off your carved images and your pillars from among you, and you shall bow down no more to the work of your hands;

    Daniel 5:23
    But you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

    Habakkuk 2:18
    “What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols!

    Acts 17:29
    Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.

    Micah 6:7
    Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

    Jeremiah 16:20
    Can man make for himself gods? Such are not gods!”

    Isaiah 42:17
    They are turned back and utterly put to shame, who trust in carved idols, who say to metal images, “You are our gods.”

    Jesus was the first born of our lord, Through Jesus, lord had created everything, this is the reason why Jesus is Son of Lord and King of the Universe. Jesus is the one who can remove our sin and so he is our Saviour/ Messiah

    John 1:1-5
    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    Hebrews 4:12-15
    12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

    Acts 11:1
    Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.

    Assyrian Church of the east support “Mother of Jesus/Yesu in earth”.

    Matthew 12:48-50
    48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

    Luke 11:27-28
    27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.

    Titus 3:5
    5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
  12. rubisha shama

    rubisha shama New Member

    I . If that helps
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  13. Basil the Great

    Basil the Great Well-Known Member Supporter

    Very informative thread. Perhaps Christian Forums needs top add a forum for the Assyrian Church of the East?
  14. Zachariah2017

    Zachariah2017 New Member

    Shouldnt there be a section for the Assyrian Christians in this forum?
  15. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

    Oriental Orthodox
    There probably aren't enough of them here.