Assyrian Church of the East Council meeting in Arbel, Iraq.(AINA) — A special council of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East (ACE), which convened in Arbel, North Iraq this week to elect a new Patriarch, has rescheduled the election to September 16. According to the statement, the election of a new Patriarch was postponed to allow the reconciliation talks between ACE and the Ancient Assyrian Church of the East (AACE) to conclude.
The Ancient church of the East, despite its name, is a relatively new church which splintered from ACE in the mid 1960s over the Gregorian Calendar issue. ACE switched from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar in the mid 1960s, but some members of the church, supported and funded by the Iraq government, refused to accept the new calendar and splintered from the church, establishing the Ancient Assyrian Church of the East.
In recent months the two churches have held substantive dialog on reunification. It is expected that this will be finalized before the new Patriarch is elected on September 16. It is also expected that the Bishops of the Ancient Assyrian Church of the East will be eligible for the position and will vote in the election.
The Council also:
• Acknowledged the difficult situation of the people of Iraq and Syria, particularly Assyrians and other minitories
• Condemned war and violence
• Highlighted the humanitarian disaster in Iraq and Syria and thanked the government of Lebanon and the Kurdish Regional Government in north Iraq for assistance in dealing with the crisis
• Offered prayers for kidnapped Assyrians in Syria and called for the immediate release
The full statement is available in Assyrian, English and Arabic.
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