Monday, May 12, 2008

Union with Rome

Tip of the hat to

Monday, May 12, 2008

3,000 Assyrians Received into the Catholic Church

The Chaldean Catholic Diocese of St. Peter and Paul has formally received into its fold, those members of the Assyrian Catholic Apostolic Diocese who, under the leadership of Mar Bawai Soro (pictured above), had asked to be reconciled with the Catholic Church last January 17, 2008.

One bishop (Mar Bawai himself), six priests, 30+ deacons and subdeacons and an estimated 3,000 faithful were received into full communion during liturgical celebrations for the Feast of Pentecost. The announcement by the Chaldean Catholic Church can be found here.The Black Cordelias blog has an earlier article here.Mar Bawai Soro has long advocated the Primacy of the See of Rome. On November 2, 2005, he presented to the Synod of Bishops of the Assyrian Church of the East (of which he was a bishop at that time) a paper entitled "The Position of the Church of the East Theological Tradition on the Questions of Church Unity and Full Communion " in which, among other things, he stated that

"The Church of the East attributes a prominent role to Saint Peter and asignificant place for the Church of Rome in her liturgical, canonical andPatristic thoughts. There are more than 50 liturgical, canonical and Patristiccitations that explicitly express such a conviction. The question before ustherefore is, why there must be a primacy attributed to Saint Peter in theChurch? If there is no primacy in the universal church, we shall not be able tolegitimize a primacy of all the Catholicos-Patriarchs in the other apostolicchurches. If the patriarchs of the apostolic churches have legitimate authorityover their own respective bishops it is so because there is a principle ofprimacy in the universal Church. If the principle of primacy is valid for alocal Church (for example, the Assyrian Church of the East), it is so because itis already valid for the universal church. If there is no Peter for theuniversal church there could not be Peter for the local Church. If all theapostles are equal in authority by virtue of the gift of the Spirit, and if thebishops are the successors of the Apostles, based on what then one of thesebishops (i.e., the Catholicos-Patriarchs) has authority over the otherbishops?The Church of the East possesses a theological, liturgical andcanonical tradition in which she clearly values the primacy of Peter among therest of the Apostles and their churches and the relationship Peter has with hissuccessors in the Church of Rome. The official organ of our Church of the East,Mar Abdisho of Soba, the last theologian in our Church before its fall, basedhimself on such an understanding when he collected his famous Nomocanon in whichhe clearly states the following: “To the Great Rome [authority] was givenbecause the two pillars are laid [in the grave] there, Peter, I say, the head ofthe Apostles, and Paul, the teacher of the nations. [Rome] is the first see andthe head of the patriarchs.” (Memra 9; Risha 1) Furthermore, Abdisho asserts “.. . . And as the patriarch has authority to do all he wishes in a fitting mannerin such things as are beneath his authority, so the patriarch of Rome hasauthority over all patriarchs, like the blessed Peter over all the community,for he who is in Rome also keeps the office of Peter in all the church. He whotransgresses against these things the ecumenical synod places under anathema.”(Memra 9; Risha 8). I would like to ask here the following: who among us woulddare to think that he or she is more learned than Abdisho of Soba, or that theyare more sincere to the church of our forefather than Mar Abdisho himself? This is true especially since we the members of the Holy Synod have in 2004 affirmedMar Abdisho’s List of Seven Sacraments as the official list of the AssyrianChurch of the East. How much more then we ought to consider examining andreceiving Abdisho’s Synodical legislation in his Nomocanon?

Five days later, Mar Bawai was suspended by the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church. The story behind this, as well as the full text of the paper on papal primacy that Mar Bawai had presented to the Synod, can be found here.Following upon his suspension, Mar Bawai and the clergy and faithful who had remained loyal to him formed the Assyrian Catholic Apostolic Diocese, then proceeded to draw ever closer to the Catholic Church through the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate. How fitting that they finally came home on Pentecost Sunday. Deo Gratias!

posted by Carlos Antonio Palad via


ProtegeAA said...

What a great story! This is great news for these 3000 souls and the Church.

Marc said...

I know, I knew I had to repeat it as we dont hear enough now days of this going on. In the secular media we only hear of how many leave the flock and not how many join it.