Unaffected by yet another conspiracy against the Assyrian Church of the East and its Patriarchal Seat, hundreds of members of the church attended mass at Mar Zaia Church in Modesto, California on Sunday, November 20th, 2005. During the Sermon, His Lordship Mar Narsai, Metropolitan of Lebanon and Europe Dioceses offered wise words of healing to the parishioners.
After the Service, the large crowd gathered at the church hall. His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia, Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East of Australia, New Zealand, and Secretary of the Holy Synod delivered the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East Synod’s decision regarding His Grace Mar Bawai Soro, the rebellious Bishop of the Western Diocese of California Assyrian Church of the East.
The Synodical decision which was unanimously approved by all the members of the Synod on Saturday, November 5, 2005, found H.G Mar Bawai Soro’s disobedience of the Church Cannons (Liturgy, Doctrines, Laws), and His antagonistic stand against His Holiness Patriarch, Mar Dinkha IV, very distasteful and offensive. Among a number of documented misconducts, mischief, and embezzlement charges, H.G Mar Bawai had told His Holiness and the members of the Synod that he does not recognize the Patriarchal Seat of the Assyrian Church of the East, or any other Christian denomination except the Roman Catholic’s Pope!
H.G Mar Bawai Soro spent the last years of his education in the Vatican and returned to his forefather’s church, the Assyrian Church of the East with a premeditated plan with a hidden agenda to destroy this church from within and convince His Holiness, the Patriarch to submit to Vatican and merely become a Cardinal to the Pope.
One must understand the history of the Assyrian Church of the East to comprehend the absurdity of the anarchistic Bishop’s suggestion. Assyrians were the first nation who accepted Christianity. The first bible was written in Aramaic (ancient Assyrian) language, not in Latin. St. Peter (Mar Shimun) was the first to hold the Patriarchal Seat of the Assyrian Church of the East which is now occupied by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV. St. Peter wrote his epistle from Babylon (an Assyrian city), “The chosen Church which is in Babylon and Mark my son salutes you” (Peter 5:13). Jesus spoke in Aramaic language, the same language the Assyrian people speak today. Due to continuous massacres and genocides against the Christian Assyrians, the Patriarchal Seat was moved to different locations several times. But, the Assyrian Church of the East remains to this day as the national church of the Assyrians. This church has been labeled by many scholars as the “Martyr’s Church”.
No nation has offered more martyrs for their Christian faith as the Assyrian people have. At one time, the Assyrian church numbered 80,000,000 members and now the entire Assyrian nation is estimated around four million worldwide! His Grace Mar Bawai’s suggestion to dissolve this Holy Church is not only disrespectful but an ultimate betrayal of millions of Assyrians, slaughtered for 2000 years because of their Christian faith and Assyrian identity.
Throughout the reading of the Synodical decision, the people at the church hall did not contain their disgust with H.G Mar Bawai’s disgraceful conduct. The Synod has offered Bishop Soro three options. He could either accept a transfer to preside as the Bishop over Iran and Russia’s Dioceses, be suspended for two years from his church responsibilities, or submit his resignation from the Assyrian Church of the East.
H.G Mar Bawai Soro has rejected all three options as a few paragraphs of his letter were read to the congregation by His Grace Mar Meelis. Among many other insults to the Assyrian people and the Assyrian Church of the East, the turbulent Bishop in his rejection letter has issued the following threat, “for the benefit of all hierarchy members whoever they may be, the priests, deacons, or individual, I wish to inform you do not dare to come to Mar Yousip parish or other properties that are under my administration in the hope of possessing these churches and their properties. They shall be refused entry by the city police and the FBI agents any day and any service that may take place in the parish.”
True to his word, H.G Mar Bawai Soro, has refused entry of the members of his congregation who oppose his aggression, to the churches under his control for the past two Sundays. Members of these churches report that a group of bold gang members all dressed in black guard the churches during the service, intimidate and harass members who had built those churches with the sweat of their brow. The only people allowed in the Church are the Bishop’s friends which two third of them are from out of the area. All the Assyrian Churches of the East are built by member’s donations and hard work. The Assyrian Church of the East has maintained its independence throughout its long history. These churches may not resemble the exaggerated Cathedrals of the Roman Catholic churches, but numerous of them, especially the ones in Assyria (today’s Iraq) are important archeological sites.
Special message from His Holiness Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV, delivered by His Grace Mar Meelis indicated that every Assyrian Church of the East and its properties are under the title of the Assyrian Church of the East and belong to the members of the congregation. The Assyrian Church of the East is taking legal action to reclaim these stolen churches and properties. H.G Mar Bawai Soro is free to resign from the Assyrian Church of the East, but he will not be allowed to take our churches with him. His Grace’s slogans of unity, as he preaches will not earn him legitimacy. No man of God would behave as Bishop Soro has been, and no man of God would surround himself with a group of gangs to intimidate his congregation.
Following His Grace Mar Meelis’ delivering of the Synod decision, His Lordship Mar Narsai, delivered a very uplifting, nationalistic speech which earned him many standing ovations and rounds of applause. His Lordship declared that the Assyrian Church of the East recognizes the Holiness of every Christian denomination and their Leadership. He reminded the congregation that the friendly meetings the church had started with Its sister, the Roman Catholic Church were suspended only after a letter received from the “Pontifical Council for Promoting Christianity” indicated that signing agreements of the phase two of these meetings would automatically mean that the Assyrian Church of the East must give up its ancient Patriarchal Seat and dissolve in the Roman Catholic faith and under His Holiness Pope’s authority.
His Lordship proclaimed that throughout its long history, the Assyrian Church of the East has maintained independency. This Church has never refused Baptism, wedding ceremony, or funeral services for any Christian regardless of their denomination. This church has never pulled anyone from the pew because they were not members of the church. No Christian in the Assyrian Church of the East has been refused the Holy Communion because they were not members of the church, and no one has ever been forced to be baptized again in order to be approved as a member.
His Lordship asserted the Assyrian Church of the East has been established from the time of Jesus Christ Himself, and we will maintain our native Holy faith in this church until the Return of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Synod’s decision and H.G Mar Bawai’s letter of rejection and threats were read at every Assyrian Church of the East around the world this past Sunday. The church is going to distribute thousands of recorded DVDs to the Assyrian communities worldwide so that the Assyrian nation is aware of the current events.
On Sunday evening, during a special program, Dr. Sargon Dadesho, President of the Assyrian National Congress (ANC), and founder of AssyriaSat (the global Assyrian national television network) which reaches every Assyrian family in all continents, read the Synod letter, and H.G Mar Bawai’s reply in details. Dr. Dadesho has vowed that AssyriaSat, ANC, and Bet-Nahrain organization will stand by the Assyrian Church of the East, the mother church of all the Christian churches around the world.