Press Release: Assyrian Church of the East

7/8/2007 10:32:00 PM

Recently, few Internet news websites have published reports of a demonstration held by Assyrian community in Chicago on Thursday June 28th 2007, were a speech was given by the suspended bishop Ashur Bawai Soro.

Firstly, the said suspended bishop, Ashur Bawai Soro, since November 2005 is not considered a bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East. The Holy Synod of the Church which was convened under the Chairmanship of H.H. Mar Dinkha IV Catholicos Patriarch and with the unanimous approval of all members of the Synod have decided to defrock him of all his ecclesial authority, diocesan power and the membership of the Holy Synod of the Church. In fact, the Church has taken legal actions against the suspended bishop for illegally controlling the properties of the Church and also is running an investigation and auditing of his different financial activities including some financial mismanagement of funds and income of the Church and her faithful.

Secondly, based on the above, the suspended bishop has no right to speak on behalf of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Church bear no responsibility whatsoever for his statements or stance. Furthermore, the Assyrian Church was not one of the organizers of the said demonstration, nor did participate in it.

Thirdly, The Assyrian Church of the East, the owner of a rich civilized humanitarian heritage, that was founded, nurtured and developed in the land of Bet-Nahrain, and lived in the chapters of the 2000 years history of that land, remained an existing living component of the historical heritage and identity of that country, feels much deeply about the suffering of the Iraqi people, whether in the centre or the south of the country, of the daily violence on one hand and the degradation of the standards of living and the necessities of life on the other hand. The Church shares this suffering and feels much hurt for their pain, and hopes for a near end of this tragedy.

With the rise of targeting of the Iraqi Christian community in the last few months, the Assyrian Church of the East has sent a letter, through H.H. Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch, to all involving parties and responsible governmental agencies, stating ACOE’s deep concerns and anguish regarding the present tragic situation, calling upon them to take charge of their task and responsibilities of protecting the security, safety, peace, and tranquility of our beloved Iraq.

Fourth, The Assyrian Church of the East has always called for the spread of the spirit of love, brotherhood, and fellowship among the Iraqi sons and daughters regardless of their faith, nationalistic, or religious affiliations. Without this sincere spirit of brotherhood and fellowship, the country cannot stand on its own and no better future can be built. The Assyrian Church of the East fully shares the future aspirations of the Iraqi people, and their objectives of seeing an Iraq that is based on equality and justice for all, that guarantees for them their self ruling and to freely express themselves and their aspirations, identity, and individualism side by side with their Arab, Kurds and Turkmen brothers and sisters.

Fifth, The Assyrian Church of the East calls upon the Iraqi Government and neighboring countries and the whole international community to carry their humanitarian responsibility of assisting Iraqi refugees and those who were forced due to the present difficult circumstances to leave their homes and country, seeking shelter and peace in other countries, to assist them in every possible humanitarian mean. This indeed is an emergency humanitarian necessity.

In conclusion, The Assyrian Church of the East, and the Holy Synod, priests and all the faithful, are people who carry the message of peace and love. They continue to pray in complete faith to their Lord, that He may shower the meadow of Iraq with His blessings, harmony and peace, that the Iraqi people may rejoice and participate all and fully in building their prosperous future for their own sake and the sake of the future generations. May they be able to leap over their present troubles, and may Iraq and its citizens recover their historical and humanitarian role in building a civilized world, as Iraq’s passed achievements are still witnessed in the libraries and museums of the world.

The Assyrian People historically is an integral part of the fabric of the Iraqi people and belongs to Iraq in the past, present, future and will continuously look forward to a future that is based on a spirit of love, brotherhood, fellowship and respect to all.

May the Lord bless Iraq and the Iraqi people.

Mar Meelis zaia
Bishop, Diocese of Australia and New Zealand
Secretary of the Synod
Secretary of CIRED
Assyrian Church of the East
7th July 2007