Old Church of the East

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The Old Church of the East ( Syriac-Aramaic : ܥܕܬܐ ܥܬܝܩܬܐ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ, full name: Old Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East ) is an autocephalous church of the East Syrian Rite . Its spiritual head is entitled: Catholicos Patriarch of the Old Church of the East and has his seat in Baghdad . The incumbent has been His Holiness Mar Addai II since 1972. Her liturgy and mother tongue is Syriac-Aramaic .

History and present

Like the rival Assyrian Church of the East , the Old Church of the East invokes the tradition of the Christian community in Edessa founded by the Apostle Thaddaeus (Aramaic: Mar Addai) .

It came about through a schism within the Assyrian Church in 1968. Its founder, Mar Thomas Darmo , Metropolitan of the "Church of the East" in India, did not accept the 1964 introduction of the Gregorian calendar and stuck to the Julian calendar . His then by Patriarch Shimun XXIII. He also did not accept the decree of impeachment. Other reasons for the split were the Assyrian Church's adherence to the inheritance of the patriarchal office (from uncle to nephew) and the desire for the patriarch to return to the Orient from the USA. In 1968 Darmo ordained three new bishops in Baghdad, who then formed a synod and elected him their patriarch. Shortly after General Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr became president of Iraq through a coup on July 17, 1968, he sent police units in Baghdad to occupy several Assyrian churches in the city - against the violent protests of the Assyrian Church of the East - and them the Old Church of the East to be handed over, including the Mar-Zaya Cathedral in Karradat Maryam , which has now become the patriarchal seat of the Old Church of the East. Thomas Darmo died the following year and was buried in the Mar-Zaya Cathedral. Mar Addai II , the bishop of Baghdad, was elected his successor in 1970 but was not consecrated until 1972. The new premises of the Patriarchate of the Old Church of the East in the east of the Karrada district opened in 1970, and in 1984 the new Patriarchal Cathedral of the Virgin Mary was consecrated in the same place.

The church has between 70,000 and 100,000 believers. In addition to the patriarchal diocese of Baghdad, it has archdioceses in Kirkuk , Niniveh , Syria , Australia and New Zealand , Europe, and a diocese in North America ( USA and Canada ). The seat of the European archdiocese is Mainz-Kastel , the incumbent is Mar Timotheus Shalita . Most of the members of the Church are members of the Tiyari tribe , who lived in the area of ​​the diocese of the Assyrian Patriarch in Qudjanis until the Assyrians were expelled from Hakkari during the First World War . His relatives therefore did not obtain episcopal ordination. According to its own self-image, however, the church is not a “tribal church”.

Since 1994, the “Old Church of the East” has been participating in the Syriac Dialogue , an ecumenical series of discussions that was launched by the Pro Oriente Foundation , an institution of the Catholic Diocese of Vienna. Other participants in this dialogue are the other churches of the West Syrian and East Syrian rites, the churches united with Rome as well as the Maronites, which are also Catholic .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Mar Aprem: The history of the Assyrian church of the east in the twentieth century with special reference to the Syriac literature in Kerala. Mahatma Gandhi University, October 20, 2000, uploaded August 12, 2010. Chapter V. Period of sufferings 1933-1975 - From the period of exile of Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun in Cyprus till his assassination in 1975 , p. 222, The Split Of 1968 .
  2. ^ Mar Aprem: From Baghdad to Chicago. Mar Narsai Press, Trichur (Kerala) 1985 (Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute), p. 25.
  3. Pascal Meguesyan: The patriarcal cathedral of the Virgin Mary in Baghdad. Mesopotamia Heritage, April 2017.
  4. ^ Christoph Baumer : The Church of the East. An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity . London, p. 272, ISBN 1-84511-115-X .