iraqian church

sorry to offend anyone, but im curious to ask if anyone knows about the iraqian church and if its a real church. i recently took communion (or what i thought was communion there) and now i dont know if it was real or i committed a mortal sinned.

i tried to look it up but i havent had much luck, however i read a bit about eastern catholics. are you guys real catholic (ie under the pope?) or do you call yourselves catholics? does anyone know if iraqis are also eastern catholics?

thanks!!

I’m going to go out on a limb and say you mean the Assyrian Church, which has been historically based in Iraq.

You are most likely either referring to the Assyrian Orthodox Church, the Assyrian Church of the East, or the Chaldean Rite of the Catholic Church. All have a valid Eucharist, and it is acceptable for a Catholic to receive the Eucharist in their services, at least according to what I understand. However, for further clarification, I suggest a talk with your confessor and/or parish priest.
May the peace of Christ be with you,
James

I would read further on this church if I were you. I’ve seen some links that say this church is not in communion with any other Church: Roman Catholic or any other rite.

From our Catechism:

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

Did you take with full knowledge and consent? Yes, mortal sin
Did you take not sure? Much less of a mortal sin and possibly only venial.
Did you take and did not give this a thought because you didn’t consider it? I would say no sin beyond venial.

Remember if in any doubt, there is no shame in not partaking, only taking unworthily or incorrectly. I will pray for you brother. I have to admit I have committed this sin many times in the past. I resolve to not do it again with Christ’s help and our Mother’s prayers. Please pray for me too.

:signofcross:

The vast majority of Iraqi Christians are Chaldean Catholic or Assyrian Church of the East. If you remember the location and name of the Church it would help. You can rightfully receive the Eucharist in any Catholic Church, and because of intercommunion agreements, with the Church of the East.

Sadly, James, the average Roman priest is extremely ignorant of the Eastern Churches. Many are ignorant of the existence of the Unia, many more simply ignorant of the canons that make it not matter for reception in the Catholic Church whether one is Catholic or Orthodox or ACE…

If they commemorated the pope, odds are they’re Chaldean.
If not, it’s most likely that they are Assyrian Church of the east.

I have a feeling most people who regularly post on this board already know this, but just for the benefit of the OP and anyone else who might be new to this topic, the above described church…um…isn’t a thing. There is no “Assyrian Orthodox Church”, either as a formal name or in terms of communion, as neither the Oriental Orthodox (non-Chalcedonians) or the Eastern Orthodox (Chalcedonians) recognize the Assyrians/East Syriacs to be Orthodox. There are a small number of ethnic Assyrians who came into union with the Russian Orthodox back in the 1800s sometime following the Treaty of Turkmenchay in 1848, as many Assyrians suddenly found themselves living within Russia (this is how, for instance, the Assyrian nationalist martyr and poet Dr. Freydoon Atouraya, born in Urmia, found himself hanged for his activities in Tblisi, Georgia in 1926, as he had been sent to live with an uncle who was part of the established Assyrian community there). Other than that group, no Assyrians are Orthodox, and certainly the Assyrian Church of the East/East Syriac church is not Orthodox.

The West Syrians, with the exception of the Maronites and the Oriental Catholic churches that were carved out of preexisting West Syriac churches (the Syriac Catholics and the Syro-Malankara Catholics), are Orthodox of the non-Chalcedonian/Oriental Orthodox persuasion – i.e., they are in communion with the Coptic, Armenian, and Tewahedo (Ethiopian and Eritrean) Orthodox churches, but not with the Eastern Orthodox (the Byzantine Chalcedonians in Antioch, Palestine, the Slavic lands, Romania, etc.). If you hear of Syrian/Syriac Orthodox Christians or the Syrian/Syriac Orthodox Church, it is referring to this Oriental Orthodox Church traditionally located in Syria, or perhaps its Syriac daughter churches in India, the Malankara Orthodox (Syrian) Church. The Eastern Orthodox/Chalcedonians are a bit different in nomenclature and of course also in practice, as they are referred to most often in English as “Antiochian Orthodox” (after the Patriarchate of Antioch founded by St. Peter and St. Paul and claimed by OO and EO alike), rather than Syriac Orthodox since they have from about the 13th century been Arabized and given up their earlier West Syriac language which the Syriac Orthodox still maintain in worship (together with the Syriac Catholics; the East Syrians like the Chaldeans, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Syro-Malabar use a different dialect of the same language in worship, and some of them use the modern “Neo-Aramaic” dialects as everyday languages, as do some Syriac Orthodox…but that’s a different dialect than their Eastern friends.)

I know it’s all terribly confusing (probably), but the take home point is: There are no Assyrian Orthodox. There are just…Assyrians. Of course, there is a growing movement to move beyond these various divisions, and I (a non-Syriac) will gladly refer to all collectively as “Syriac people”, since ethnically/culturally/linguistically they are, but anyway…that’s the situation as it stands today.

West Syriac churches (Syriac Orthodox in the Middle East and India);

Syriac Orthodox Qurbono in India (“Qurbono” = West Syriac for “sacrifice/offering”, used to mean liturgy/mass)

Syriac Orthodox prayer in Deir el-Za’faran (Saffron Monastery) in Mardin, Turkey

(I don’t know where good videos are for the Catholic-aligned West Syrians, except for this awesome video of a Syro-Malankara Catholic Qurbono: youtube.com/watch?v=wEAaAUWd0Jk – the language used here is not Syriac but Malayalam, one of the Dravidian languages of South India that is native to Kerala, where most of the native Indian Syriac Christians of all denominations live…still, what a voice achen has! :eek:)

East Syriac churches (these are exclusively non-Orthodox, either Assyrian Church of the East or of the various RC-affiliated East Syriac churches in the Middle East and India):

Mart Mariam Chaldean Catholic Church opens in Chicago, IL. (the Chaldean Catholic Church, which was created in the 16th century in Iraq following a schism within the Assyrian Church of the East, is the largest single church in terms of members remaining in Iraq)

Syro-Malabar Qurbana (East Syriac Catholics of India…you might want to make sure you’re wearing sunglasses before viewing this…I have no idea what is going on with the background, or why this is so much worse than the Syro-Malankara Qurbono above; sorry, but I don’t really know this church, and this is the first thing that came up)

Assyrian Church of the East celebrates Christmas liturgy in Holland

OremusInPace,

You probably encountered either the Chaldean Catholic Church of the East, or the Assyrian Church of the East. The former is Eastern Catholic, in full communion with the Catholic Church, but the latter is not.

Despite the present lack of full unity between these two churches, they are, nevertheless, considered sister churches to one another. They share the basics of the same tradition, and share a common original church, known as the Church of the East, which was founded by St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Addai, St. Mari, and St. Aggai. The traditional homeland of this ancient and apostolic church is present day Iraq, but throughout her early history, she was able expand greatly.

I am a member of the Chaldean Church, and so yes, we are real Catholics! We recently received some members of the Assyrian Church, who chose to enter into full unity with us, but the majority of the Assyrian Church continues to be separated from us, and out of full communion with the Catholic Church in general.

Here is the website of my diocese: kaldu.org

God bless,

Rony

Really? That’s a shame. I can’t say that I know much about the Eastern canons myself, but I have visited many Eastern Catholic and Orthodox churches in Ukraine, and the statues, paintings, and architecture there were just beautiful. I will probably look further into the Eastern Rites when I get older. Who knows, my story might turn out like yours! :thumbsup:

This is embarrassing… My bad! I hope I didn’t offend any Eastern Christians! My deepest apologies to them.

There was a parish of the Assyrian Church of the East where I lived, and I visited once for vespers. Those people were full fledged Nestorians period. The priest after the vespers became quite upset saying that our Lady is Christotokos only (mother of Jesus, but not mother of God). He divided Christ into two people the human Jesus and the divine Jesus.

Other things that caught my attention were there was no iconography only elaborate plain crosses. There was a heavy curtain across the altar. The men had to stand on the gospel side and the women on the epistle side.

They had bread that supposedly came from the original last supper which they baked a tiny piece into the bread consecrated for the present liturgy. And water supposedly from the Baptism of Our Lord that was mixed into the water for more baptisms.

Personally I don’t understand how they can be in communion with the Catholic church while still being Nestorian. :confused:

The parish you visited, wasn’t in communion with the Catholic Church. The Chaldean Catholics are in the Catholic Communion, not the Assyrian Church of the East.

I’m sorry. I meant it to be informative, not embarrassing. :frowning: It can be confusing because these churches all share a common well-spring in the Syriac culture that predominated in the Middle East before the invention of Islam, but now they are divided due to subsequent schisms (following Ephesus, following Chalcedon, etc.), so you have one people speaking a handful of broadly defined dialects of the same language (except for the Indian Syriacs and the modern Maronites, who don’t speak any form of the language natively), but called by a bunch of different names. It’s quite a situation.

There was a parish of the Assyrian Church of the East where I lived, and I visited once for vespers. Those people were full fledged Nestorians period. The priest after the vespers became quite upset saying that our Lady is Christotokos only (mother of Jesus, but not mother of God). He divided Christ into two people the human Jesus and the divine Jesus.

andrewstx,

The Assyrian Church of the East (ACoE) is not Nestorian. Whatever you may have understood or misunderstood about that parish, the official position of this church is clarified in the Common Christological Declaration that was signed between the Assyrian Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV and Pope John Paul II. With respect to St. Mary, they both affirmed the following:

================================
Christ therefore is not an " ordinary man" whom God adopted in order to reside in him and inspire him, as in the righteous ones and the prophets. But the same God the Word, begotten of his Father before all worlds without beginning according to his divinity, was born of a mother without a father in the last times according to his humanity. The humanity to which the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth always was that of the Son of God himself. That is the reason why the Assyrian Church of the East is praying the Virgin Mary as “the Mother of Christ our God and Saviour”. In the light of this same faith the Catholic tradition addresses the Virgin Mary as “the Mother of God” and also as “the Mother of Christ”. We both recognize the legitimacy and rightness of these expressions of the same faith and we both respect the preference of each Church in her liturgical life and piety.

Other things that caught my attention were there was no iconography only elaborate plain crosses.

Our eparchy for Catholic Assyrians and Chaldeans put out a Pastoral Letter, in which the above practice of the ACoE was addressed as follows:

=======================
e) Iconography: With the heavy influence of the Old Testament and the Moslem cultural surrounding, most churches and monasteries of the Church of the East were deprived of Icons, in opposition to dogmatic definitions overwhelmingly prevailing in East and West, Catholic and Orthodox, against popular and enriched piety, against faith expressions in Christian art, and in contrast with the ancient and official heritage of the Church of the East itself. This rejection of holy icons remains until today the belief practice of the Assyrian Church of the East.

The chief icon in the ACoE is the Holy Cross (plain cross of St. Thomas), so much so, that it is considered one of their Holy Mysteries, or Sacraments. Also, historically, there have been other icons, the famous one being the icon associated with King Abgar V. Here is another icon, a medieval one, called Molada (Birth):

There was a heavy curtain across the altar.

This is done in imitation of the veil of the temple of Jerusalem. It is opened and closed during certain times in the liturgy.

The men had to stand on the gospel side and the women on the epistle side.

The men standing on one side, while the women on the other side, is an ancient practice, which is generally observed, but not strictly enforced. Apparently, the Eastern Orthodox do it as well, at least, according to this article:

=======================
The nave is where most of the congregation stand during services. Traditionally, men stand on the right and women on the left. This is for a number of reasons: (1) Considering the family unit of past centuries the husband was dominant; thus, standing the same distance from the altar, equality is emphasised. (2) The idea of separating the sexes was inherited from the Jewish tradition of doing so within synagogues (3) Separation of sexes also followed the practice of choirs in which different levels of voice are placed in groups to facilitate harmony.

They had bread that supposedly came from the original last supper which they baked a tiny piece into the bread consecrated for the present liturgy. And water supposedly from the Baptism of Our Lord that was mixed into the water for more baptisms.

Again, from the Pastoral Letter in regards this practice of the ACoE:

========================

  • The Holy Leaven or Malka is a Church of the East legend whose origins are traced to the twelfth century AD. It alleges that remnants of the Qurbana distributed to the disciples by the Lord were preserved by one of the disciples and then annually renewed, in order to be mingled with the flour used to prepare the leavened bread (host) before the celebration of every Qurbana. For us as Catholic theologians applying the Sacred Scriptures and Catholic dogma, Malka has no consecrational value, but may function as a visible sign of historical continuity connecting the celebration of Qurbana with the Last Supper.
    =========================

Personally I don’t understand how they can be in communion with the Catholic church while still being Nestorian. :confused:

They are an independent Church, not in full communion with the Catholic Church. There is a Catholic counterpart to the Assyrian Church of the East, and that’s my Chaldean Catholic Church of the East, which serves both Chaldean Catholics and Assyrian Catholics.

God bless,

Rony

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