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The Holy Nativity 2006

Written by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV   

mardinkhaiv.jpgPatriarchal Epistle

The Holy Nativity — 2006

 

Our beloved Brothers in the Lord, The Honorable Prelates; our spiritual sons, the elected priests and pure deacons, the sons and daughters of the Holy Church and the Assyrian nation together with all our brothers and sisters in Christ:

 

Prayers and blessing receive:

 

We have gathered this day as the sons and daughters of One Household in Christ, celebrating this Holy Feast of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, in all joy and happiness, offering our thanksgiving unto our God Heavenly Father on behalf of His paternal love and kindness toward humankind by sending His Only Son, the Savior of the World, who is The Light of the World; and that whosoever believes in Him will not be left in darkness.

 

We are learning from the Holy Book of the Gospel of St Luke, that as of this day the Angel of God came to the shepherds who were watching their flocks by night "and lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and the were sore afraid, and the angel said unto them ‘fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day, in the City of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord, and this shall be a sign unto you, you shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger;’ and suddenly there with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Hosts praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace and good will toward man.’" (Luke 2:8—14)

We believe Jesus Christ is the messenger of peace! By His birth He brought to humankind, peace, hope, and good-will. This is a great and divine mystery in which the Word of the Father has been revealed incarnate, in a body taken by the Power of the Holy Spirit in the virginal womb of the Blessed Mother, St Mary. Jesus the Son of the Ever-living God is born, true man and true God; neither His God head is from the nature of the Mother, nor is His humanity of the Father; both natures are preserved in qnumê in The One Person of the One Sonship, Son of God and son of Mary.

As the Glory of God had shone upon the shepherds on that day of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we pray after the same manner, may His glory shine also in the hearts and thoughts of all Christians who are celebrating this Holy Feast. This day is a blessed and joyful day for all the faithful Christians, it is for this reason we say to you all the sons and daughters of our Holy Church, the Assyrian nation, to all of those of the Christian brotherhood, may this Feast of the Birth of Jesus Christ be abundantly blessed unto you.

The Lord Jesus refers to His Holy Church as the Assembly of the Believers, which is Holy Body. It written: " . . I Am the vine, you are the branches, and he that abides in ME, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; without ME, you can do nothing; and if a man does not abide in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; men gather them and casts them into the fire and they are burned; if you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you may, and it shall be done unto you." (John 15:5-7) Of course, when we are baptized we become the members of The Church of Christ, for it is written: " . . . except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. ." (John 3:5) It is here we learn that Holy Baptism is the spiritual mother, because it is the Holy Womb of The Holy Church; and, now, therefore, all Christians are brothers and sisters united in The One Body, which is The Church of Christ. As Christ is Holy, so too, must the Christians as members of His body must be holy.

Jesus has directed through these written words: " . . .for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the Truth . ." (John 17:19) It is for this reason, therefore, that as a believer, we are to be alert in our Christian walk, in order for us to fulfill the commandments of God, which had been spoken unto us through the lips of the Holy Mouth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the descent of the Apostolic Succession this comes to us through the Priesthood of The Holy Church. It is our Lord Jesus Christ who teaches us to be humble, kind, merciful, pure, truthful, a peacemaker, loving one another and respecting each other, so that we might be sanctified to do good deeds.

The Grace of Holiness is from God! It is He who offers this gift to the faithful who are free from sin. In order to be pure in heart, we are to fast, praying in faith, remaining close to the breast of Christ Jesus, read and obey the Holy Commandments. We are to be simple believers in Christ Jesus to accept the wonders of the Gift of Grace. As faithful we are to remain loyal to, and do His commandments, for He will reward us with eternal life within the Heavenly Kingdom. It is through this hope we live!

! It is He who offers this gift to the faithful who are free from sin. In order to be pure in heart, we are to fast, praying in faith, remaining close to the breast of Christ Jesus, read and obey the Holy Commandments. We are to be simple believers in Christ Jesus to accept the wonders of the Gift of Grace. As faithful we are to remain loyal to, and do His commandments, for He will reward us with eternal life within the Heavenly Kingdom. It is through this hope we live!

Life in this temporal world will end; we, therefore, are to believe and keep the commandments of Christ, the Son of God. We know that as The Children of God we will obey and do His commandments. Let us glorify God and say, "Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth, peace, and good-will to mankind." The Heavenly Hosts glorified God, when they had seen that God had sent peace and a good hope to mankind through His Only Son, Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem. Jesus is The Messenger of Peace, for it is written: ". . . peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives, give I unto you. . ." (John 13:47)

It is our hope that the peace which our Lord God had sent to humankind, through His only Son bring all of us closer together, for we Christians, from whatever church we come, are obligated to work and help to maintain The Church, the Body of Christ as One in Glory!

Again, the Christians are all united in One Body, which is The Church of Christ. It is HE who is the Head and Ruler, thus, we therefore ask of each of you who are the sons and daughters of The Church not to forget that our Lord Jesus was sent as The Messenger of peace for our sakes. We encourage you as the members of the One Church to labor together in faith, love and peace so that you will produce good fruits to offer unto HIM, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Be truthful, merciful and a forgiver as faithful Christians, to conquer the evil with that which is good, for humankind is weak and does make mistakes, but we have a good and wise physician who has the spiritual medicine for all sin sickness, for whosoever commits sin let that soul come close to our Lord Jesus Christ and confess their sin, repenting, seeking restoration; He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It is written: "  . . I Am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me." (John 14:6) Those of us who will walk in this path must be free from sin, it is for this reason you must be close to our Lord Jesus and The Holy Church, for whosoever isolates himself from The Church is separating himself from Christ, for it is written: ". . . if a man does not abide in Me he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered . . . men gather them into the fire and they are burned . ." (John 15:6) We pray that you all will build your precious faith upon Jesus Christ, and not upon persons, so that the building of your faith will remain strong and not collapse (fall-down).

The Church needs the support of all the faithful sons and daughters; requiring each member

to fulfill his obligation toward The Church. The obligation required of the faithful is not just the annual tithe/membership, but the most important obligation of any member is his faith, and obedience towards the canons, liturgy in worship, and the Holy Sacraments of The Church. It is important that the members be present in The Church at all worship services to hear the readings of the Sacred Scriptures and the sermons of the clergy; participating in the classes of the Messianic Teachings bringing their children to the schools and youth association and the voice of the Church in the Choir. The end result or purpose of this is to strengthen the upbuilding of your most precious faith, for the Scriptures teach: " . . . faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. . ." (Rom 10:17)

 

Beloved sons and daughters of The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, we the clergy and the laity are responsible to work without being exhausted in our trusting faith; in truthfulness, honestly and for the progress of The Holy Church. Those who are chosen and elected, from among the children of the Holy Church to work in service to the various councils and committees of the Church are to note the importance of a viable faith in love, obedience, humility, honor, patience, with a good name among his peers worthy of the calling into which they have been set. All of the beloved sons and daughters of The Holy Church are to be awakened to the calling of maintaining the peace and tranquility within The Church.

 

The chosen who are elected or appointed to work in the Church are to be far from jealousy, selfishness, strife, and vain pride; why? It is because these things bring conflict and hatred, and serious division to the whole of The Church. The responsibilities of guiding the Universal Church is in the hands of prelates (the members of the Holy Synod) under the headship of the Catholicos Patriarch; together with the help of the Priests, Deacons and the members of the various councils and committees. All of these must offer counsel and advice for the benefit of the Holy Church in our present age.

 

All decisions will be must considered by the majority of the membership; and the minority voice must be submitted to the majority for the sôle purpose of up-building The Church; there is to be no selfishness, nor personal aggrandizement, for we are first responsible toward the members of the whole church, working for them in faithful service, truthfully and in faith, maintaining both love and respect for all of the Christian brothers, for we believe and confess, one baptism, which is the spiritual mother of all Christians, therefore, we are brothers and sisters and we must love, respect each other, especially we of the Oriental Apostolic Church.

 

We are one nation, language, history working together in love and respect, in the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He (our Lord Jesus) will be with us; if we are true to one another. Within the Middle East, we need true and faithful ecclesial and national unity.

 

We ask of the sons and daughters of The Holy Church and of the Assyrian Nation regardless of your village, city, or the nation where you may reside, or earn your livelihood, to be in love and peace with your neighbors, respecting them, always; regardless of their faith or background.

 

Jesus taught us: " . . love your neighbor as yourself." As Christian believers, through your beautiful deeds and sweet fruitful words show a beautiful example of our Lord Jesus Christ, to your unbelieving neighbors. Jesus said: " . . let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." (Matt 5:16)

 

As a citizen of the nation in which you reside, we instruct you to be faithful to the laws of that nation; be obedient to those who are set over you, so that in turn you will be loved and respected; you will then be able to live in peace and tranquillity. As believers in The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, you are obligated to keep your Holy Faith, your liturgy, Sacraments, Apostolic Tradition, and Synodical Canons of The Church; and where ever you dwell upon this earth, be proud to be a Christian, be not ashamed to let your light so shine before men. And as a national group, you must have a pride and honor in your national identity (as Assyrians), always maintaining your mother tongue, history, worship, etc. You will maintain a love and unity which is based upon the truth.

Concluding, and repeating, The Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed unto you all, together with the New Year 2007. We pray for the peace and tranquillity within the distressed regions and for the unity of the whole Christian Church and within our Holy Church and the Assyrian National group in particular.

Grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, forever and ever: Amen

 

 

Khanania Mardinkha IV

By Grace

Catholicos Patriarch

The Holy Apostolic Catholic

Assyrian Church of the East

 

Written in our Patriarchal Cell

Morton Grove, Illinois

The 25th day of December 2006

 

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Holy Qurbana
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Parish Adult Bible Study