Ecclesiastical Politics are not so new!
(Modern day Ecumenism at its worse)
Inter-church politics is similar to playing Chess, Poker, and/or Fencing. The use of secular politics’ techniques and games are not foreign to the historic sacramental churches and its leadership (Popes, Patriarchs, Autocephalous Metropolitans or Archbishops, Metropolitans, Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops).
Some of these games include but are not limited to: use of half truths, vague statements, intimidation, guilt by association, guilt by innuendo, to outright lies and deceptions. As His Eminence, Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J. of blessed memory, the former Prefect for the Congregation of Christian Unity, under Pope John XXIII in the Vatican once stated: “If a church statesman were ever to speak the truth, it is either a slip of the tongue or an accident.” His Eminence, Cardinal Bea also informed us of the basis of Jesuit politics: “Seldom affirm, Never deny, Always distinguish.” Quite frequently these validity games, utilised by unscrupulous church politicians has been and is to utilise quilt by innuendo and/or outright denial of the true facts regarding the smaller jurisdiction’s Apostolic Succession.
In order to fully comprehend what we are about to demonstrate, allow us to remind you of the following: In 1972, as we entered the Charismatic Renewal, we had our St. Paul’s Damascus experience. As a consequence we made a vow unto the Lord Jesus Christ that we would hence forth stop being a church politician and to always speak the truth, even if we embarrassed ourself. On the 6th January 1974, we were consecrated an Archimandrite for the Order of Saint Anthony and the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (Knights of Malta) for the East German Grand Priory in Exile, which is one of the 15 major branches (langues) of the Knights of Malta which still exist today. Originally there were only eight langues symbolic of the eight points of the Maltese cross. With the fall of Malta due to the Emperor Napoleon of France, the Knights were welcomed by the Czar of Russia (the Russian Orthodox Church). As the Order grew, so new langues were added to the Order. The political games of the Order of St. John are similar to church and civil politics, however, their politics are more sophisticated since the players are members of the old titled aristocracy. On 30th June 1974, we, Metropolitan Dr. Mar Mikhael of Edessa, O.S.J. was consecrated as the Coadjutor Metropolitan with the Right of Succession to Metropolitan Dr. Mar Apriam of Edessa, O.S.A., under the title of Coadjutor Metropolitan Dr. Mar Mikhael of Eritrea, O.S.J. During our 36+ years as the Metropolitan we have outlived two Coadjutor Metropolitans with the Right of Succession.
Historical Facts concerning this jurisdiction’s our Apostolic Succession:
The Apostolic Succession of the Chaldean-Syrian Church (our Eastern Catholic Metropolia also known as the Holy Apostolic-Catholic Church of the East (Chaldean-Syrian)) had been verified by three Patriarchs (2 from the Patriarchal See, one from the Catholic Chaldean Patriarch under Rome, by our mother church in India on three separate occasions as well as by one of the most ardent pro-Roman Catholic authors (Pre-Vatican II mentality) who was also known to question the validity of the Eastern Orthodox Churches (Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Antiochian, Serbian, etc.), Peter F. Anson.
This church, as well as the Assyrian Churches and the Chaldean-Syrian Churches were founded by the Holy Apostles: St. Peter (1 Peter 5:13), St. Thomas, and St. Jude Thaddeus. St. Thomas brought the faith to India in 52 A.D. and was martyred in India in 72 A.D. “In 484 A.D. The Council of Lapat approved the marriage of Bishops. In 486 A.D. the Fourth General Synod at Acacius in Seleucia-Ctesiphon in Persia affirms the right of all Christians to marry including priests and bishops to marry. In 550 A.D. the Church of the East recognised the Church in India has an independent and apostolic origin. In 628 A.D., Catholics-Patriarch Yeshuyab II of the Persian Church of the East established the Metropolitan for the Church in India, thus giving India its independence from the Persian Church” (“A Time Line of Eastern Church History” by Dr. Kathryn Tsai 2004).
On 17 December 1862, Patriarch Ruwil (Reuben) Shimun XX consecrated Mar Abdisho (Abd-Ishu of India) was also known by his family name as the Most Reverend Anthony Thondanatt) as a Metropolitan (abbreviated: Metran). As the Metropolitan of India, Metropolitan Mar Abdisho wanted to bring the history and traditions of the Chaldean-Syrian Church, founded by St. Thomas the Apostle into the West (Europe). At this time in its history, India was part of the British Empire. On 24 Juli 1899 in the Trichur Cathedral, he consecrated as his successor: Metropolitan Mar Basilius. Upon the death of Metropolitan Mar Abdisho, Metropolitan Mar Basilius of India and Ceylon, fulfilled the vision of his predecessor, on the 30 November 1902 consecrated Metropolitan Mar Jacobus of London (The Most Reverend Ulric Vernon Herford) in Church of the Epiphany in Pallithanam, to bring the church into the West. These consecrations were and are documented facts. (See (1) “The Letter of Introduction” by Metropolitan Dr. Mar Aprem dated 18 February 1971 (presented to us by Metran Dr. Mar Yokhannan of the Syro-Chaldean Archdiocese of North America when we entered into Intercommunion on the 9th January 1977), (2) The Voice of the East (official publication of the Church of the East in India) published by Mar Narsai Press, under Metran Dr. Mar Aprem, “Special Edition 1973 of the Voice of the East,” (3) the book “Chaldean-Syrian Church of the East” by Metropolitan Dr. Mar Aprem the Metropolitan of Malabar and All India ( in 1977, Metran Dr. Mar Aprem was still under the Patriarch Mar Addai II) published by Mar Narsai Press, and (4) 1964 book by Peter F. Anson, “Bishops at Large.” All of these sources document the validity of the consecration of Metropolitan Mar Jacobus as well as his first coadjutor (Swiss-German Province) and Metropolitan (abbreviated: Metran) Mar Jacobus’ bishop he consecrated in English Province. It further documents the establishment of the Third Canonical Branch of the Church of the East in the 20th Century.
India was apart of the British Empire during this part of its history. It was the Anglican Missionaries, under the Archbishop of Canterbury which brought news of this Aramaic Branch to the Church of England. AMS Press, a British publishing company printed the historic Liturgy of the Church in bound book form.
Upon his return to England, the ecclesiastical politics/games by the historic churches in England (the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church) began by casting doubts upon his validity of his consecration as well as the validity of his Apostolic Succession as a Metropolitan. Metran Mar Jacobus (Ulric Vernon Herford) sent a letter on the 25th August 1913 to His Holiness, Patriarch Mar Benjamin Shimun XXI, the Patriarch of the Church of the East. His Holiness, Patriarch Mar Benjamin Shimun XXI responded on the 17th December 1913: “To the Right Reverend Mar Yaqueb (Jacobus), Bishop peace and blessing of our Lord Christ. Your letter on the 25th August (of the Westerns) 1913, was received by us on the 3rd December (of the Easterns) 1913. Concerning the questions which you asked us to answer about the manner of the consecration of the late eminent Mar Abd-Ishu, Metropolitan of India and Ceylon, as it is known to us we will write to Your Lordship. The late eminent Mar Abd-Ishu of India was ordained and consecrated Bishop and full Metropolitan of His Holiness, my late uncle Mar Shimun Reuben XX, Patriarch, in the Holy Church of Mar Saba in Upper Tiari. In the year of Christ 1862, on the Third Sunday in Advent, the 17th December (of the Easterns) the consecration occurred. The Metropolitan Mar Abd-Ishu had full power and authority, by the consecration which he received from the Patriarch, to bind and to loose and to ordain and consecrate Bishops and Priests and other clergy as he might find necessary for the work of the Church. We hope that what we have written will be sufficient for your purpose. Written in Qudshanis in the Patriarchal Cell, on the 17th December in the year of Christ 1913. By the Grace of God Benjamin Shimun, Patriarch of the East” (His Holiness, Patriarch Mar Benjamin Shimun XXI). This letter of His Holiness, Patriarch Benjamin Shimun XXI to Metropolitan Mar Jacobus confirming the validity of the historic episcopate and Apostolic Succession given to Metran Mar Jacobus, was printed in the Oxford Times on the 7th March 1914. In spite of this documentation the ecclesiastical politics continued.
His Grace, Metropolitan Dr. Mar Aprem of India stated in his book “The Chaldean-Syrian Church of the East:” “Patriarch Mar Joseph Audo (of the Catholic Chaldean Church in union with Rome)” the letter dated 1863 “also reveals that in consultation with the people there (Monsul) Anthony Thondanatta went to Mar Shimun Patriarch of the East residing in the mountains… The letter states that Mar Abdisho’s consecration is real and valid . This is a very unusual situation in that a Catholic Chaldean Patriarch had recognized the consecration of Mar Abdisho by the Patriarch of the Church of the East though the priest Anthony Thondanatta was long associated with the Catholic Chaldean Patriarch. It can be argued, as has already been done in the court cases, that (Mar) Abdisho’s appointment was from the Catholic Chaldean Patriarch and only consecration from the Nestorian Patriarch. But that too is not correct, because the Nestorian Patriarch gave appointment too in addition to the consecration to Abdisho Metropolitan” under the Patriarch of the Church of the East”. Metropolitan Dr. Mar Aprem documents two terms of office of Mar Abdisho: 1864 to1874. “But his second term, which is more important to us, began in 1882 to 1900 A.D. after an interval of about eight years. His second term, which is important to us, began in 1892.” (Note: Emphasis added), since this was the second term under the Patriarch of the Church of the East.
“When Abdisho arrived from Elamthottam in 1882 A.D. Mar Mellus…jumped from his seat and embraced the old and tired priest in torn clothes. He had not the chain with cross or the robe of a Metropolitan. Hence, Mar Mellows took his own chain and put it on Mar Abdisho. Mellus encouraged him, comforted him and expressed indignation against the Carmelites who reduced him to the status of an ordinary parish priest of Elamthottam. Mellus requested Abdisho to take his place in Trichur and to save the Church from the Roman Catholics. One action of Mar Abdisho at Trichur in 1899 A.D. had far reaching consequences. It was an attempt to consecrate a Bishop for outside Malabar dioceses. (Mar) Abdisho wanted to extend the influence of this small community in Trichur to regions beyond the kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin. He must have envisaged the rebuilding of the old Nestorian Church to extend to all parts of India and abroad.
Mar Abdisho was too old to undertake such missionary work. But he found an ex-Catholic from Dindigal who came to Trichur to be consecrated by Mar Abdisho Metropolitan. Mar Basilius Soares is the first Indian to be consecrated in Trichur or any where in India in the Church of the East. Thus an Indian was consecrated in the Indian Soil. Luis Marian Soares (or Suarez) was consecrated by Mar Abdisho Metropolitan in 1899 by the name Mar Basilius….. Mar Basilius started a new line of bishops ( The Third Canonical Branch of the Church of the East) by consecrating Vernon Herford. “Ulric Vernon Herford was consecrated a
Bishop with the title of Mar Jacobus, Bishop of Mercia and Middlesex (including the County of London). His priestly ordination took place in the Church of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows at Dindigal on November 21 and 23, 1902 and Episcopal consecration….Vernon Herford began to rule as the Metran of the Indian Church after the death of his consecrator Mar Basilius. Thus the plan of Mar Basilius to make the Chaldean Syrian Church an international church by the consecration of Vernon Herford…ordained others and extended the influence of the Chaldean-Syrian Church of Trichur where Mar Basilius was first consecrated.”
Summary: Metropolitan Mar Abdisho of India was recognised and appointed by Patriarch Mar Benjamin Shimun XXI, the Patriarchate of the Church of the East and by the Roman Catholic Chaldean Patriarch Joseph Audo who also had issued Mar Abdisho a letter of appointment in 1863. Further, Patriarch Joseph Audo recognised the consecration by the Nestorian Patriarch to be valid. This was unusual to have the Roman Catholic Chaldean Patriarch to recognise the consecration of a Nestorian Patriarchal Metropolitan, especially in 1863. Metropolitan Dr. Mar Aprem in his book “The Chaldean-Syrian Church of the East” documented that not only was Metran Mar Abdisho consecrated by the Nestorian Patriarch Ruwil (Reuben) Shimun XX but also appointed him as the Metropolitan for India.
In a “Letter of Introduction” dated 18 February 1971, Metran Dr. Mar Aprem of India documented the consecration of Metropolitan Mar Yokhannan (Dr. John M. Stanley) of the English House (Apostolic Lines of Metran Mar Jacobus) who resided in the State of Washington in United States; similar documentation is found in Metran Dr. Mar Aprem’s entry in his Special Edition of the Voice of the East and in his 1977 book. Once again, this document was presented to us by Metropolitan Dr. Mar Yokhannan upon the establishment of Intercommunion between the Syro-Chaldean Archdiocese of North America and this jurisdiction on the 9th January 1977). The Metran Dr. Mar Aprem of India documented, without comment, the consecration of Metran Mar Abdisho to Metran Mar Basilius (1899) to the consecration of Metran Mar Jacobus in 1902. He further documented a “new branch” of the Chaldean-Syrian Church was started. All of these events occurred under the Patriarchal Church of the East. (Hence, there are now three canonical branches of the Church of the East).
The two centres of the Chaldean-Syrian Church of the East in Europe:
Metropolitan Mar Jacobus created two autocephalous provinces upon his return to Europe: the Swiss-German and the British. Once again, Peter F. Anson in his 1964 book “Bishops at Large” documents that in 1904, Metran already had consecrated his first Coadjutor with Right of Succession. (Metropolitan Mar Johann of the Swiss-German Province) and English Province.
The Swiss-German Province, concerned about the pending war in Europe, Metropolitan Mar Johann consecrated His Grace, Bishop Dr. Mar David (Seine Durchlaucht, Prinz Stanislaus, Graf von Czernowitz) as the Metropolitan for the new Province of the Americas and the Far East. He was consecrated as the Metropolitan and Primate (Chief Hierarch) and his province was declared autocephalous in 1934. The current (fourth) Metropolitan of this Province is His Beatitude, Metropolitan Dr. Mar Mikhael of Edessa, O.S.J. At the end of World War II, due to the ravages of the war, the Swiss-German Province merged with the American Province under Metropolitan Dr. Mar David of Edessa, O.H.S, after World War II had ended. Metran Dr. Mar David translated the historic Liturgy of Mar Addai and Mar Mari into English in 1936. In 1952, it was mandated that the primary language of the Holy Liturgy would be English (the vernacular of the people) and Aramaic during Holy Week. Further, starting with World War II, Metran Dr. Mar David opened the church doors to other historic sacramental Christians such as Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and other peoples who did not have their own priests in the United States. When their respective priests did arrive, Metran Dr. Mar David immediately released these parishioners back to their own respective church traditions. In 1968, Metran Dr. Mar David and the Synod of Bishops recognised Patriarch Mar Thoma as their Titular Patriarch.
Throughout his 38 years as the Metropolitan, numerous American born peoples from all ethnic backgrounds from Canada to Mexico became members of our church. His successor was His Beatitude, Metropolitan Dr. Mar Apriam; he caused our jurisdiction to join in the confederation of orthodox churches known as “The American Orthodox Catholic Church” (A.O.C.C.) founded by Metropolitan Propheta in New York, originally from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Metran Dr. Mar Apriam was elevated and enthroned as our Metropolitan by our own Synod and the A.O.C.C. Synod of Bishops. During these joint ceremonies, the two branches of Metropolitan Mar Jacobus (the English and the Swiss-German) were consolidated. This Metropolitan resigned/retired as our Metropolitan on 29th Dezember 1974 when he was elected a patriarch of the A.O.C.C. in Nigeria, Africa.
Coadjutor Metran with Right of Succession Metropolitan Dr. Mar Mikhael, O.S.J. assumed the Office of Metropolitan on the 29th Dezember 1974. The recognition of Patriarch Mar Addai II as our titular patriarch continued. On 27th March 2007, Metran Dr. Mar Mikhael finally met His Holiness, Patriarch Mar Addai II in Phoenix, Arizona. His Holiness, the Patriarch was overjoyed at meeting and recognising the spiritual sons of Metran Mar Abdisho. Further, His Holiness, the Patriarch was and is open to bring all nationalities into the Church of the East. At the request of His Holiness, Patriarch Mar Addai II, Metran Mar Mikhael submitted proposals for cooperation between our two respective Synod of Bishops and jurisdictions.
The English Province was created by Metropolitan Mar Jacobus directly; he consecrated His Grace, Bishop Mar Paulus, Bishop of Kent (William Stanley McBean Knight) in 1931. Metropolitan Georgius I of Glastonbury consecrated Metropolitan Dr. Mar Yokhannon (The Most Reverend John M. Stanley) for the United States in 1963. The last Metropolitan of the English Province was His Beatitude, Metropolitan Seraphim of Glastonbury. He brought his jurisdiction under the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of His Holiness, Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria.
American Intrigues against Metropolitan Dr. Mar David:
In spite of two Church of the East Patriarchs (Mar Addai and Mar Dinkha) and the Catholic Chaldean Patriarch, and the Metropolitan of India were all received by Pope John Paul II in the Vatican. Only the Patriarch Mar Dinkha’s jurisdiction, his bishops, and 3-4 Roman Catholic bishops have used intimidation which continues to occur against this jurisdiction today.
During his lifetime, Metropolitan Dr. Mar David met His Holiness, Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII who was the last hereditary Patriarch. The hereditary patriarchate had been created in 1450 A.D. and resided within the Shimun family) Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII was consecrated the next patriarch by his uncle at 12 years of age. Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun, with end of the British mandate in 1933, the Iraqi government stripped this Assyrian Patriarch of his citizenship and expelled him. He went into exile finally residing in San Francisco, California. During the visits Patriarch Mar Shimun and Metran Dr. Mar David, the Patriarch wanted Metran Mar David to bring his autocephalous jurisdiction under the direct control of his Patriarchal See. This would increase the Patriarch’s number of followers as well as have all of Metran Mar David’s church property under his direct patriarchal control. When Metran Dr. Mar David refused to do so, the slander and libel attacks began and this political game is still utilised by the Assyrian Church of the East (under Mar Dinkha IV).
In 1961, when Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII was invited to India to attend the World Council of Churches in 1961, he was the first Church of the East Patriarch to ever visit India. The Patriarch attempted to force Metran Mar Thoma of India to surrender his autocephalous status and come under direct patriarchal control. When Metran Mar Thoma refused, the Patriarch began a series of lawsuits in order to obtain the church properties in India. The patriarch eventually lost all his law suits. As a result, the Church of India reorganised itself legally as the “Chaldean-Syrian Church of the East,” no longer referring to itself as the Holy Apostolic-Catholic Church of the East (Chaldean-Syrian).
Previously, in 1964, Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII began to change some of the traditions of the Church of the East. He adopted the Gregorian (Western) date for determining Holy Pascha (Easter). Disputes arose within the Patriarchal Church, including the continuing of a hereditary patriarch (Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun having been was consecrated the patriarch at 12 years of age and needing a patriarchal reagent to govern the church until he became of legal age).
In 1968 A.D., Metran Mar Thoma was elected and consecrated as the Patriarch in Baghdad. Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII resigned as Patriarch in order to marry and continue the Shimun Royal family. He was assassinated on the 6th November 1975 in San Jose, California and buried from Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco, California. A second Patriarchal Election (schism) occurred; Metran Mar Dinkha of Tehran was elected a Patriarch in England, not Baghdad. As a result, the Church of the East now has two Patriarchs.
Metran Dr. Mar David, O.H.S. recognised the Patriarchate of Mar Thoma who died after one year in office, then the Patriarchate Mar Addai II of Baghdad. This jurisdiction continues to recognise His Holiness, Patriarch Mar Addai II of the Ancient Church of the East as its titular patriarch in the Holy Liturgies and Prayer Services.
The American Intrigues against Metropolitan Dr. Mar Mikhael:
Under the leadership of Metran Dr. Mar Mikhael of Edessa, O.S.J., there have been five episodes by the Assyrian Church of the East (1978, 1985, 1992, and 1996. Now, the most recent slander/libellous has been by the Roman Catholic Church beginning in 2006 when the Metran Dr. Mar Mikhael created the Missionary Diocese of the Philippines.
In 1978, two Assyrian Church of the East priests representing Patriarch Mar Dinkha, visited Metran Dr. Mar Mikhael. One of the priest’s claimed to be a former Antiochian Archimandrite (The Antiochian Metropolitan denied this claim of this priest). Their purpose was to coerce the Metran Mar Mikhael to bring his autocephalous jurisdiction under their Patriarch Mar Dinkha. In return, this Metran would be reduced in office to the rank of Chor-episcopa (second rank of the priests)—not received into the ranks of the episcopate. When the Metropolitan refused, these priests threatened the Metran with on-going slander and libel attacks, to force him to surrender to Patriarch Mar Dinkha.
Two of our charismatic parishes chose to enter Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV’s jurisdiction. Metran Dr. Mar Mikhael warned them that within 2-3 years, the American born pastors would be replaced by an Assyrian priest and within a total of 5 years, there would no longer be any parishioners and Mar Dinkha would sell their church property. These events occurred as prophesied by Metran Dr. Mar Mikhael. The same two priests eventually left the Holy Priesthood.
On the 5th Oktober 1992, the Patriarchal Deacon to Patriarch Mar Dinkha, Deacon David Royel (now Bishop Dr. Mar Awa) wrote a letter to this Metran to make inquiry concerning our jurisdiction and to attempt to have us bring our jurisdiction under his Patriarch. In 1996, Bishop Dr. Mar Bawai Soro, the Ecumenical Officer of Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV to the Vatican for several years already, began the last major slander and libellous attach against us and our jurisdiction. Bishop Dr. Mar Bawai Soro quoted the original work with all of its errors and falsehoods by Dr. Gordon Melton (Pruter & Melton). When confronted with all of his errors and the damages he inflicted upon our jurisdiction, Dr. Melton Gordon responded immediately with a formal letter of apology in which he documented that he (Dr. Melton) had never contacted us for information concerning our jurisdiction and that he had confused us with another bishop who had changed the spelling of his name to our own (Mikhael from Mikhail). Dr. Melton agreed to an erratum which has been continuously published first in the early 1980s and in all of his further updated editions of “The American Encyclopaedia of American Religions, including his current 8th Edition (Gale Publishing Company.)
However, Bishop Dr. Mar Bawai Soro never quoted the errata of Dr. Melton, which already has been in existence for over 13+ years, when he began his open attacks against us. In fact, he continued to ignore the Errata in his on-going slander campaigns against this jurisdiction, even in Rome. Bishop Dr. Mar Bawai Soro NEVER printed Dr. Melton’s errata.
In 2005, Bishop Dr. Mar Bawai Soro was excommunicated and deposed by Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV and his Synod of Bishops. This occurred due to the intrigues between the Congregation of Christian Unity (Roman Catholic Bishop Brian Farrell, L.C., the Secretary of the Congregation for Christian Unity in Rome) and Bishop Dr. Mar Bawai Soro to force Mar Dinkha to surrender his jurisdiction and bring it under the Pope of Rome. Further, Bishop Bawai Soro had openly accused several of his fellow Assyrian Bishops of public immorality, and attempting to split the Assyrian Seminarians and priests studying in Rome to join him in his intrigues.
Although Bishop Dr. Bawai Soro had been excommunicated by his own patriarch, Mar Dinkha, the Roman Catholic Church ignored these Decrees and continued to receive Bishop Dr. Bawai Soro as a “valid and canonical” Bishop, at public gatherings in Austria and Rome; he even met Pope Benedict XVI in his excommunicated status. Bishop Dr. Bawai Soro in 2007 created a schism and could only break off three parishes from Patriarch Mar Dinkha to follow him into the Roman Catholic Church: Chaldean Catholic Rite in San Diego. Bishop Dr. Bawai Soro was received as a bishop. This was in direct violation of the Apostolic Canons of the Undivided Church, which even Rome agreed to follow (during the period of time referred to as the Undivided Church or before the Great Schism of 1054 A.D.).
On 29th Dezember 2009, Metropolitan Dr. Mar Mikhael received a letter from His Grace, Bishop Dr. Mar Awa (Royel), the new Ecumenical Officer of the Mar Dinkha jurisdiction. In this letter, Bishop Dr. Mar Awa attempted to deny the validity of the Metropolitan Mar Abdisho’s consecration as well as assist us to join the jurisdiction of Patriarch Mar Dinkha. How can you deny the validity of this 3rd Canonical Branch of the Church of the East, of the Patriarch Mar Ruwil (Reuben) Shimun XX consecration of Metran Mar Abdisho, and the documentation of Patriarch Mar Benjamin Shimun XXI of the Church of the East regarding the validity of the consecration of Metran Mar Abdisho--- over 111 + years later--- and at the same time claiming your jurisdiction is the only valid successor to these same patriarchs? How can you ignore the scholarly works of one your own Metropolitans, Metran Dr. Mar Aprem of India who documented the validity of Metropolitan Mar Abdisho on three separate occasions? In 1995-96, Metran Dr. Mar Aprem was forced to switch Patriarchs, since he could no longer afford the legal expenses to protect the church properties in India from the lawsuits of Patriarch Mar Dinkha. (Voice of the East Magazine)
In May 2006, Metropolitan Dr. Mar Mikhael was invited to travel to the Philippines to formerly establish and incorporate the Missionary Diocese of the Philippines. He was invited to attend the enthronement of the new Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro. In spite of all of the confusion by the Roman Catholic Chancery staff, who obviously did not know the Decrees of Vatican II on Ecumenism, they even invited this Metropolitan to concelebrate at the enthronement Mass. The Metropolitan had to explain that his would not be possible since this jurisdiction was never apart of the Roman Church.
Once it became clear that our priests could marry, this new information increased the fear that with so many ex-Roman priests residing in Cagayan de Oro who married or even current Roman Catholic priests who desire to marry (we received 3 such active priests who thought they could leave Rome one day and become an Eastern Catholic priest the next day), the attacks against our clergy in the Philippines began). We discovered that the local Roman bishops were issuing their own documents of laicisation to their priests—rather then follow the mandated rule of sending requests for laicisation to Rome. Only Rome could/would grant such a dispensation (laicisation from the priesthood) ---not the local bishop. Bishop Brian Farrell, L.C., the Secretary to the Congregation for Christian Unity wrote the Roman Catholic Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, S.J. (obviously based upon the information given to him by Bishop Dr. Bawai Soro) implying we were independent (which is what autocephalous canonically means) and implied by innuendo we were similar to “Old Catholics”. If these two Roman bishops had kept the doors of communication open, they would have discovered that we have rarely accept former Roman Catholic priest (laicised) into our jurisdiction and there is a 1½ year retraining requirement before any such priest would receive priestly faculties.
At the request of our friend, His Eminence, Pio Cardinal Laghi, of blessed memory, the former Apostolic Delegate and first Papal Nuncio to the United States (1980-2000) and later Prefect of the Congregation of Catholic Education in the Vatican, we sent two identical international certified return receipt packet (2005) of information concerning our jurisdiction with photocopies of the all documents mentioned previously in this article as well as photocopies of both Assyrian Patriarchs and the Metropolitan of India (at that time under Patriarch Mar Addai II) being received by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II in the Vatican, 1980s onwards). Rome eventually chose to recognise Patriarch Mar Dinkha in order to have formal dealings. Both Mar Dinkha and Mar Addai had been consecrated by Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII.
In spite of having all the legal documentation, this Roman Catholic Bishop continues to ignore the truth and slander and libel our clergy and our jurisdiction.
Intellectual Honesty does not appear to be in the repertoire of the modern day church politicians. Denying the historical facts does not lead to true ecumenism and/or unity among the various branches of the Church of the East, nor with the Roman Catholic Church. One of the current games is still in misuse: “The Annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” held in January of each year. This is the opportunity for the local Roman Bishops to show who is in their favour or who is in their disfavour. We used to be invited to such events and many of our bishops are still invited to participate in this weekly prayer service. Obviously, there is no logic or consistency.
If we were called upon to document all of our formal cordial interactions with the other historical sacramental churches (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches), it would take at least three fully typed pages, single spaced, to document all of the “ecumenical firsts” which we have participated in ( i.e. the first Holy Liturgy in Lourdes Basilica, celebrating our Holy Liturgies in numerous Roman Churches and Cathedrals in Europe, to ordaining our priests in various Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches ( i.e.: Fr. Aleksy, the first native born Hawaiian priest) was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in the Honourary Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Sts. Helen and Constantine in Honolulu, Hawaii, with the kind permission of His Eminence, Metropolitan Anthony of San Francisco, of blessed memory, by attending the Episcopal consecrations and installations in three continents, etc. It would even include the communiqués of Roman Catholic Archbishops and Bishops sending their clergy, letters informing them of our priests and our new parishes in their Archdiocese/Dioceses and that our priests were validly ordained and the Holy Sacraments are also valid in order to foster cordial relations and avoid confusion, etc.
When we assumed the jurisdiction of this Metropolia, we had only 55,000 members and a debt of US $750,000 (in 1974 dollars), after 36+ years as the Metropolia, the God Lord has had our jurisdiction grow to over 2.9 million souls in three continents. We believe the truth is on our side. We also have photostats, photocopies and the originals of the consecration documents of our predecessors as well as the Decree of Autocephaly.
Intimidation, guilt by innuendo, outright lies and deceptions, as well as half truths did not work in 1978 and still does not work in 2010. Neither have two assassination attempts (similar to what the Right Reverend Msgr. A. Najor of the Chaldean Catholic Church endured) have not worked. By God’s grace, our jurisdiction is larger than the Chaldean Catholic Church under Rome, the two patriarchal jurisdictions (The Ancient Church of the East and the Assyrian Church of the East) combined.
When asked, how we attribute our church growth, since we have become so much larger, we have two responses. For those who believe in the American mega churches “secret” theory of church growth, we remind them of a book written in the 1950s entitled “The Hidden Persuaders” which documented how modern secular advertisement worked on the subconscious to cause people to buy their products. For those who are serious, we stipulate the Traditional Church Growth mentioned in the 1928 book “The Nestorian Missionary Enterprise—The Church on Fire by the Rev. Dr. John Stewart: Teaching the historic faith and morals, providing the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments), by living the Holy Scriptures, following the Oral and Sacred Traditions of the early Church, participating in the Charismatic Renewal, and by word of mouth publicity, and our laity, deacons, priests, and bishops maintain the Missionary Spirit for Souls. We continue to care for Christ’s poor, sick, needy disenfranchised, and dying. As a result, our Holy Liturgy is now celebrated in English, French, German, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish dialects. The majority of our members are the poorest of the poor; in the Philippines and in Brazil, they are ignored by the Roman clergy (who consider the Christians to be outcasts), since they cannot pay the stipulated fees for the priest’s services. Once again, Vance Packard’s “The Hidden Persuaders (1957) in motivational research, “word of mouth” is the best form of dissemination of information. Therefore, our jurisdiction has grown and increased by doing the Ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, not using secular publicity, nor engaging in church politics, nor engaging in slander and libellous attacks against other churches. Our Lord Jesus Christ stipulated to His holy apostles, in Holy Writ, “If they are not against you, they are for you.”
We pray Our Lord, God, and Saviour to bless all of the bishops involved. If they only knew how much confusion they are causing within the Body of Christ and how their actions set back the Unity in the Body of Christ, this Unity which Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed for the night before He was crucified, perhaps this would prompt them to seek True Unity. In spite of these Church politics and church gamesmanship, we Eastern Catholics (Metropolia of the Americas and the Far East) shall continue to care for Christ’s poor, sick, needy, disenfranchised, and dying souls. We have offered both patriarchal churches our assistance and cooperation in bringing the Aramaic Church tradition to all Christians and shall continue to do so. We have made the same offer to all the other historic sacramental branches of the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, established by Our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Holy Scripture instructs us “to do good to those who are of the household of the faith….to do to others as you would have them do unto you, and to love one another as I have loved you”. This we shall continue to do with Christian love. We shall continue to let the Lord our God be the judge of our actions. We shall keep the doors of communication and cooperation open. We shall continue to pray and to work for Christian Unity, especially first and foremost among the historic sacramental churches of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic church of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We shall continue to be “politically incorrect” and to speak the truth in love, in order to allow the Holy Spirit to change us all into the living image and likeness of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. God bless you!
© 2005, 2010 The Eastern Catholic Metropolia (Chaldean-Syrian)
In 1947, His Beatitude, Metran Dr. Mar David of Edessa, O.H.S. began to utilise the reference of “Eastern Catholic”
one of the historic references of the Church for our jurisdiction, to insure there would be no confusion with the Holy Apostolic -Assyrian Catholic Church of the East (the Patriarchal Church) under His Holiness, Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII. The Roman Catholic Uniate Churches were called Byzantine Rites or in Vatican Council II, the Catholic Eastern Churches, not “Eastern Catholic”.