The Nestorian Church

I am reading a biography of a Medical MIssionary to the Nestorians of Northern Iraq in the 19th century (MIssionary was a Presbyterian)

I was stunned to find that up to 300-400 years ago they were still extant and apparently had a thriving Church community and were present around 1850

Can anyone shed some light on how they survivied so long and are there remnants today ?-there must be

This is absolutely no help to you, but I was surprised to learn there are still Samaritans practicing animal sacrifice.


While Nestorian is the term popular amongst the West, it is actually considered a pejorative term amongst Assyrians (a bit like calling Catholics Papists). Anyway, the Assyrian Church of the East has existed since the beginning and tradition says it was established by the Apostle Thomas. The Assyrian Church is still extant today and it additionally has an Eastern Catholic counterpart sui iuris Church (the Chaldeans).

The Assyrian Church is an East Syriac Church (I am, for example, from a West Syriac Church established in Syria, but the East Syriacs are from the Mesopotamian area). Both the West and East Syriacs have essentially lived under Islamic reign since the Islamic invasions (both under the Caliphate then the West Syriacs were later under the Ottoman Turks and the East Syriacs under Persian rule). In its heydays it had churches stretching from modern day Iraq all the way to China and India (where there are still remnants - the Syro-Malabars). Although it has been an arduous trial God sustains us. It truly is a miracle we still exist, although nowadays we’re staggering.

The Assyrian Church does indeed have descendants til this day. It has about 500k adherents, is headquartered in Chicago and has churches around the US and the world. Christianity in the Middle East, especially Iraq, is on the brink of extinction sadly… Especially thanks to a certain American president’s war.

Edit: I should make it clear that the term Nestorian is a misnomer because Assyrians, despite venerating Nestorius as a saint, do not believe in the heresy ascribed to him by the West.

No offense, but you should look at existing threads on a topic before starting a new one. If you had, you would have seen that the ACoE (Assyrian Church of the East) does not practice the “Nestorian” heresy. :o

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the Nestorian Church has continued to exist throughout the region from Syria all the way to India.

There aren’t really any in Syria because Syria is West Syriac territory. Assyrians are more from the areas traditionally known as Mesopotamia and Persia (but yes, India is correct).

True, although rather few. As I recall, India has about 15,000 of the ACoE (compare with 3+ million Syro-Malabarese Catholics).

And even those few are the result of rather recent activity.


Not too long ago, while thinking about all that, I got to wondering whether those 15,000 or so ACoE-in-India (the Chaldean-Syrian Church if anyone reading this is a stickler for names ;)) might “merge back into” the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church … but then I put the idea aside as unecumenical. :slight_smile: (I suppose might ask “If it’s unecumenical, why even bring it up?”)

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