Assyrian Church synod to discuss dialogue with the Vatican

The Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East (COE), one of earliest Christian congregations which has adherents in many countries, including India, will be held in Chicago from Thursday to discuss topics such as resumption of dialogue with the Catholic Church.

Three prelates from India will attend the eight-day meeting of 15 metropolitans of the Church from different continents.

Mar Aprem, Metropolitan of the Church in India, and the Bishops Mar Yuhannan and Mar Augin from the country would attend the synod.

The Assyrian Church, which flourished in West Asia and whose adherents scattered over different countries over the centuries, now has its headquarters in Chicago.

Mar Aprem, who is also the Church’s Patriarchal Delegate to India, said here that the synod would take up the key issue of resumption of the theological dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church.

The dialogue began in 1985 to iron out theological and liturgical differences between them. The “Christological Declaration” was signed by the head of the Assyrian Church, Mar Dinkha IV, and the late Pope John Paul II in 1994. Mar Aprem, who is the co-chairman of the Dialogue Committee, said the schism in the Church occurred at the Council of Phesus (Greece) in AD 431, mainly on the vexed issue of Theotokos (Mother of God or Bearer of God) and Christokos (Mother of Christ or Bearer of Christ).

The Anaphora (Liturgy) of the Assyrian Church was approved by the Catholic Church, especially by the Syro-Malabar Church and the Chaldean Catholic Church, which was earlier opposed by large sections of the Roman Catholic clergy on the ground that it was “Chaldeanisation” of the Catholic Church.

Mar Aprem expressed the hope that prelates from countries such as Australia, Canada, the U.S., Iran, Iraq, Sweden and India would support the resumption of the dialogue. — PTI