Diocesan Theology Courses

Diocesan Theology Courses

St. Peter Diocesan Theology Course 2014:
Ecclesiology: The Theology of the Church

Wednesday; November 19, 2014


The Bishop and the Diocese

Lecture by Fr. Andrew Younan




Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

- Matthew 28:16-20



Ecclesiastical History, Book III


Chapter 1. The Parts of the World in which the Apostles preached Christ.


1. Such was the condition of the Jews. Meanwhile the holy apostles and disciples of our Saviour were dispersed throughout the world. Parthia, according to tradition, was allotted to Thomas as his field of labor, Scythia to Andrew, and Asia to John, who, after he had lived some time there, died at Ephesus.


2. Peter appears to have preached in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia to the Jews of the dispersion. And at last, having come to Rome, he was crucified head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer in this way. What do we need to say concerning Paul, who preached the Gospel of Christ from Jerusalem to Illyricum, and afterwards suffered martyrdom in Rome under Nero? These facts are related by Origen in the third volume of his Commentary on Genesis.



Immar Ly ‘Edta

Tell me, O church, where do you wish me to build you?

Shall I build you upon the sun?

No, no, for it is said in the Scriptures,

“The rays of the sun are darkened.” (Joel 2:10)


Tell me, O church, where do you wish me to build you?

Shall I build you upon the moon?

No, no, for it is said in the Scriptures,

“The moon does not show forth its light.” (Isaiah 13:10)


Tell me, O church, where do you wish me to build you?

Shall I build you upon the stars?

No, no, for it is said in the Scriptures,

“The stars fall like leaves.” (Isaiah 34:4)


Tell me, O church, where do you wish me to build you?

Shall I build you upon the mountains?

No, no, for it is said in the Scriptures,

“The mountains melt like wax.” (Psalms 97:5)


Tell me, O church, where do you wish me to build you?

Shall I build you upon the rock?

Yes, yes, for it is said in the Scriptures,

“Upon the rock I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16:18)


Catechism of the Catholic Church:


883 "The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head." As such, this college has "supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff."


886 "The individual bishops are the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular Churches." As such, they "exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to them," assisted by priests and deacons. But, as a member of the episcopal college, each bishop shares in the concern for all the Churches. The bishops exercise this care first "by ruling well their own Churches as portions of the universal Church," and so contributing "to the welfare of the whole Mystical Body, which, from another point of view, is a corporate body of Churches." They extend it especially to the poor, to those persecuted for the faith, as well as to missionaries who are working throughout the world.


894 "The bishops, as vicars and legates of Christ, govern the particular Churches assigned to them by their counsels, exhortations, and example, but over and above that also by the authority and sacred power" which indeed they ought to exercise so as to edify, in the spirit of service which is that of their Master.


895 "The power which they exercise personally in the name of Christ, is proper, ordinary, and immediate, although its exercise is ultimately controlled by the supreme authority of the Church." But the bishops should not be thought of as vicars of the Pope. His ordinary and immediate authority over the whole Church does not annul, but on the contrary confirms and defends that of the bishops. Their authority must be exercised in communion with the whole Church under the guidance of the Pope.


Let all follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ follows his Father, and the college of presbyters as the apostles; respect the deacons as you do God's law. Let no one do anything concerning the Church in separation from the bishop. (St. Ignatius of Antioch)



Eastern Code of Canon Law:


Canon 177 - §1. An eparchy is a portion of the people of God which is entrusted for pastoral care to a bishop with the cooperation of the presbyterate so that, adhering to its pastor and gathered by him in the Holy Spirit through the Gospel and the Eucharist, it constitutes a particular Church in which the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative.


Canon 178 - The eparchial bishop, as a vicar and legate of Christ, governs in his own name the eparchy entrusted to him for shepherding. This power, which he exercises personally in the name of Christ, is proper, ordinary, and immediate, although its exercise is ultimately regulated by the Supreme Authority of the Church and can be defined with certain limits should the usefulness of the Church or the Christian faithful require it.


Canon 191 - §1. The eparchial bishop governs the eparchy entrusted to him with legislative, executive and judicial power.


Canon 199 - §1. The eparchial bishop, as the moderator, promoter and guardian of the entire liturgical life in the eparchy committed to him, must be vigilant that it be fostered as much as possible and ordered according to the prescriptions and legitimate customs of his own Church sui iuris.


Canon 201 - §1. Since he is obliged to safeguard the unity of the entire Church, the eparchial bishop is to promote the common discipline of the Church as well as to urge the observance of all ecclesiastical laws and legitimate customs.


§2. The eparchial bishop is to be vigilant lest abuses creep into ecclesiastical discipline, especially concerning the ministry of the word of God, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and the saints and the execution out of pious wills.


St. Peter Diocesan Theology Course 2014:
Ecclesiology: The Theology of the Church

Wednesday; November 12, 2014


The Chaldean Church and the See of Babylon

Lecture by Bishop Sarhad Yawsip Jammo



The Apostle Mari in Babylonia


            The Acts of Mar Mari the Apostle is a book written in Chaldean, exposing the mission of the apostle Mari in upper Mesopotamia, descending toward Arbela, then to Babylonia, where he founded the first church, up to the Persian Sea. A scholar analysis can show different historic layers of the narrative reaching some data that are reflective of the sixth century; but also, through the same analysis, we can identify elements that point to a historic core that describes the factual apostolate of Mar Mari with data which must be considered an authentic witness.  The description of the city of Seleucia, with its particular civil assemblies, where Mar Mari will make his first disciples, is in consistent continuity with the Babylonian/Akkadian city assemblies, therefore indicating the authentic historicity of that data (See Amir Harrak, The Acts of Mar Mari the Apostle, Introduction, pp. xxii-xxvi).


             Being able to show that the See of Babylon is established by one of the apostles directly, it makes this church Apostolic in the full sense, which implies that the See of Babylon is not dependant of Antioch, or any other apostolic see, but equal to them in dignity,  and autonomous in canonicity, since the beginning of the Church. Furthermore, it has to be clarified that Thomas had his leadership role in the evangelization of peoples east of Euphrates, Thaddeus headed the missionary station in Edessa in support of the penetration in depth of Mesopotamia to its heart in Babylon. The apostle Mari effectively crowned the apostolic effort by establishing the church with its center in Kokhe, Babylonia, with all of its required equipments, including priestly ministry and liturgical rituals.

According to the Acts,  and to many other references, Mar Mari died in a the city he made his headquarters, AD 82,  and was buried in Beth Qoni, which became a monastery and Patriarchal cemetery. His achievement is of immense and perpetual value for the Chaldean Church of the East.  

            The Assembly of the elders:  "They came down to the city of Seleucia, which was located on the Tigris. Because Christianity did not exist in the region, nor could they find anyone who would receive them in his house for God's sake, the blessed one and those who were with him rented a house and settled in it. The people of Seleucia were evil pagans. Mar Mari passed through the whole of Seleucia, but no one followed him. He realized that they had no concern other than eating, drinking, and getting drunk. As soon as the wine of the day before lost its effects, they hastened to drink the wine of the following day. He could not tell them God's word because they were found drunken at all times."

            "When he realized that no one followed him, he wrote a letter and sent it to the city of Edessa in Mesopotamia, to his colleagues the apostles. Thus he wrote: "The land to which you have sent me is evil and full of thorns. Its people are arrogant and hard. I am not able to work them and sow in them. And now if you order me, I would come to you or I would go to another place." The apostles took counsel among themselves and made the right decision, concerned about the lives of (Seleucia's) citizens, lest they perish. They wrote letter to the holy Mar Mari, which contained the following: "You have no right to come here or to go elsewhere before you go up the summits of those mountains and the top of high places, breaking them up, tilling them, and sowing them to bring plentiful yield!" When the blessed Mar Mari realized that he had nowhere to go, he pondered about what he would do."

            "Now there were three assemblies in Seleucia, one the elders, one for the young people, and one for the children, for this is how they organized their assemblies. The blessed one thought to stir up controversy at the assembly of the elders: if it would be possible, I would hunt their souls starting from this place! He went to them, and they placed him below all of them, for they were saying: this man is a foreigner. And he joined them in singing and in merriment every day."

            "After a time, came Mar Mari's turn among them to do his (banquet) service, and those who had converted said to him: "It is your service now, and therefore you should take care of the food and of the wine." For there was a custom in Seleucia according to which the one who did the service had to bring food, wine, perfume, and musicians from his house. So give the food and the wine now, and we will provide and musicians and the perfume." ... So he wrote a letter to the apostles, his colleagues, which he sent to the city of Edessa... they rejoiced and sent him gold as he requested from them, along with fragrant herbs, tambourines, harps, cymbals, and all kinds of instruments that had no equal in Seleucia, and they reached Mar Mari in Babylonia." (Amir Harrak, Ibid, Sections 19 & 22).

            Another major argument, with a convincing evidence for the historicity of Mar Mari's mission to Babylonia and his establishment of the first church in it, is provided by a book called "Book of the Tower", written in Arabic, exposing the list of the Patriarchs of the Church of the East with their biography up to the middle of the twelve century; this list begins with Mar Addai, followed by Mar Mari. The author, Mari Ben Suleiman, is evidently knowledgeable of the Book of the Acts of Mar Mari, but he furnish us some extra details not found in the text of the Acts available today to us. The detail concerns the location of the property given to Mar Mari by the City Assembly on which he built a church. The detail indicates that: 1) Both cities, Seleucia and Ctesiphon were close to each other, separated by Tigris river and united by a bridge, to become known as the Twin-cities, Seleucia to the east, Ctesiphon to the west. 2) Kokhe, the huts, where Mar Mari built a church, was in the proximity of Ctesiphon.

            The relevance of this information is based on the fact that since 79 AD Tigris changed the bed of its course in the vicinity of the Twin-cities, causing a different regional typography, where Kokhe will sit in the vicinity of Seleucia, not anymore on the side Ctesiphon. Thus, a text describing the location of Kokhe in the proximity of Ctesiphon must belong to an era prior to the year 79 AD; this specific description is what we find in the text of the Book of the Tower, as you may observe:

            Building a church on the bank of Tigris: "Mar Mari the apostle... one of the Seventy... Christianized the people in Babylonia, Ahwaz, and the towns around Tigris, Pharis, Kashkar, and Rizaya... He went to Seleucia, which is to the east of the Twin-cities while Ctesiphon is to the west... He descended to the plain of Mayshan up to the Persian Sea... The reason why the church of the Twin-cities is called Kokhe is because it was huts of the workers of Mardinshah, the chief of Ctesiphon; when Mar Mari healed his daughter, he (Mardinshah) endowed it to him..." (Liber Turris, Arabic text, pp. 3 & 4).


St. Peter Diocesan Theology Course 2014:
Ecclesiology: The Theology of the Church

Wednesday; November 5, 2014


Papal Primacy

Lecture by Bishop Bawai Soro



An Outline


Part I

- Definition & Implication of Papal Primacy & Infallibility

- The Orthodox Reception

- The Protestant Objection

- The Assyrian Church Modern Position


Part II

- The Teaching of the Chaldean Catholic Church Tradition on Papal Primacy

- Scriptural Evidence

- Historical Evidence

- Canonical Evidence

- Patristic Evidence

- Liturgical Evidence


Part III

- Recent Application of Papal Primacy in the Life of St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Diocese

The Chaldean Institute for Mesopotamian Studies
Annual Session of Theological Studies On

The Chaldean Renaissance:
Flowing from the Altar



Every Wednesday
from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Starting November 06, 2013
Ending November 20, 2013

Lecture Title Presenter Audio
Week 1: November 6, 7-9 PM 
Chaldean National and Ecclesial Identity Mar Sarhad Y. Jammo Download  
Week 2: November 13, 7-9 PM

Applying Chaldean Ecclesial Identity within the Church Today

Fr. Andrew Younan Download
Week 3: November 20, 7-9 PM

The Soul of Ecclesiastic Renewal

Mar Sarhad Y. Jammo Download

Previous Courses:
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

St. Peter Diocesan Theology Course 2013:
The Chaldean Renaissance: Flowing from the Altar

Week 3: Wednesday, November 20, 2013; 7-9 PM

By Bishop Sarhad Y. Jammo



The whole life of the Church must have a core, a soul from which it draws its energy and vitality; this core is known in Theology to be the Qurbana of the Church, and by extension, the entirety of the life of the Sacraments, Liturgical Seasons and Daily Prayer. This is the heart of the ecclesial body that pumps spiritual blood of life to everyone and every organ in the Church, both as a community and as organization. A bishop must provide and organize, in the best manner, the requirements for its confection, offering and consumption. "Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sin...." (Heb 5: 1).


The subject of this lecture is to study and present the ecclesial meaning of this core, its centrality in the Christian life of faith, with its impact as an irreplaceable catalyst; looking carefully at its scriptural origin, as well as the modalities of its embodiment in our liturgies, in our devotions, ecclesial connections, and pastoral application.


Central worship in the Scriptures: 

The basic requirements of Worship are: Priesthood, Sacrifice, Temple; the peak of all is expressed in the Passover Offering. Jesus does not destroy the temple needed for worship, but he constructs a new one, which is his body. He is also the new High Priest, and his crucified Body is the Sacrifice. There are 2 basic moments: altar and banquet; a) Presentation and offering, in the temple. b) breaking and consuming in family homes. It is paramount to expose how the Sacramental founding act of Christ in the Last Supper corresponds to and replaces the Jewish Passover.


The Jewish Passover Practice: The day of April 14, in the afternoon, a lamb for each family ought to have been slain and offered in the temple of Jerusalem. Then the representatives of the family would take the rest of the offered lamb to their family, to be consumed by them in the evening, according to Passover prescriptions.


Christ's Passover: Jesus was crucified on the same day, called "of the preparation", dying on the cross in the corresponding hour when lambs were slain in the temple. Then, his body was taken from the cross to a nearby new tomb, where he was buried; Sunday early morning he was not anymore in the tomb but found risen. That is the Christian Passover in its first moment; the difference between the Jewish and the Christian Passover is that this Lamb of God, Jesus, is not slain as a final status of existence, but after being slain and buried, he is risen.


For the second moment, the consumption of the lamb, though the Jews wondered at the seeming absurdity of Jesus' plan in making himself a true nourishment of eternal life, the bread of life: "how can this man give us his body to eat?" Thus, the Lord Jesus established the sacrament of the Eucharist in which bread and wine will become, by the consecration, his body and blood; therefore the Qurbana of the church, through the consecrated elements of bread and wine, is to be consumed by the faithful.

Therefore, in the Mass: the first Eucharistic segment (the presentation of the gifts and their offering) makes present for us what happened on Golgotha, the offering to the Father of Jesus' self, to become our own Qurbana; in the second Eucharistic segment, we prepare for communion by the fraction of the Body of Christ and its signing with his Blood, followed by the communion itself.



Collecting the basic Christian Passover data:

* The temple, where there was an altar facing the Holy of the Holies, there the slain lambs were offered; on Holy Friday Jesus becomes the Lamb of God, Golgotha and the tomb become the Christian Holy of the Holies; Mother Mary with John the Beloved, and few devoted ladies stood in front of the Cross and, afterword with Peter, in front of the tomb. These are the most important features of the new Christian temple, built as the body of Christ.

* The banquet is the second principal segment of the Eucharistic celebration, therefore, while the altar serves the presentation of the offering and their consecration and offering to the Father, the Banquet serves the breaking and signing followed by the communion. This section, according to the founding act of the Lord, in substitution to the Jewish Passover, is properly organized to face the people.

* The heart of Jesus as the ultimate sanctuary and refuge of our souls: The two scenes of the Gospel of John, one describing the piercing of the side of the Lord, the other the touching by hand of Thomas of that opening is for me the most powerful historic and theological reference, both for the liturgy, as well as for personal and community devotion.


Thus:  a) A cross, without the icon of the crucifix (with the bloody mark in his side), is a drastically diminished representation of Golgotha, inaccurately attributed to ancient Fathers of the Chaldean Church; those leaders who promote the iconoclastic doctrine of a Nestorian current within the Church of the East, were more in the business of pleasing their Islamic rulers than fulfilling the implications of Christian dogma.


b) The opening of Jesus' Heart is represented eloquently and dramatically by the opening of the veil in our churches, giving us access to the divine throne of mercy.



Pursuing a course of spiritual renewal in our diocese 11 years ago: Where to start, what is the ultimate reference?

IT IS: Organizing our Holy of Holies, the Qanke, according to the scriptural requirements, and living in continuity and harmony with it, was since the beginning of my episcopal mandate, and remains as long as I am the shepherd of this eparchy, the solid spiritual core of our diocesan renewal.


BECAUSE the fundamental principal is the following: authenticity, truth, and bearing faithfully our responsibility is to be expressed first of all in front of the altar; otherwise, nothing else could be seriously authentic. This is where everything noble and serious begins and ends --obedience to the call of God, human dignity, concrete charity, redemption of self and of humankind, sacramental ministry, restored grace and paradise-- everything pertaining to eternal life is nothing but a consequence and application of the Paschal events and celebration. 

St. Peter Diocesan Theology Course 2013:
The Chaldean Renaissance: Flowing from the Altar

Week 2 - Wednesday, November 13, 2013; 7-9 PM 

Applying Chaldean Ecclesial Identity within the Catholic Church Today
By Bishop Sarhad Y. Jammo

What are the authentic features of the Chaldean Catholic Church, as formally recognized by the most authoritative reference of the Catholic Church, The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches?  Are the Chaldeans recognized as a distinct people, with specific culture and history, with liturgical, theological, spiritual, and disciplinary patrimony? What does the Catholic Church teach us about the importance of cultural and national identity?

chalcrossThere may be, indeed, confusion among our Chaldean people regarding the relevance of nationality and culture. Is it, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, a divisive and harmful thing to understand and appreciate our own nationality and culture? Or, on the contrary, does the Church ask us to be proud of who we are and preserve our heritage, rather than dilute ourselves and our patrimony in other cultures or practices? Here are some helpful canonical guidelines and leads:

Eastern Code of Canon Law, 1990:

Canon 28 -  §2. The rites treated in this code, unless otherwise stated, are those which arise from the Alexandrian, Antiochene, Armenian, Chaldean and Constantinopolitan traditions.

§1. A rite is the liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony, culture and circumstances of history of a distinct people, by which its own manner of living the faith is manifested in each Church sui iuris.

Canon 39 - The rites of the Eastern Churches, as the patrimony of the entire Church of Christ, in which there is clearly evident the tradition which has come from the Apostles through the Fathers and which affirm the divine unity in diversity of the Catholic faith, are to be religiously preserved and fostered.


What does the Church teach us about keeping our own particular Eastern traditions?

Does the Church want us to take on the practices of the Latin Church, or does she encourage us to resist Latinization and keep our own particular traditions? Does she have no preference whether Chaldeans go to Latin or other Churches, or does she prefer Chaldeans to attend and participate in their own Chaldean Church?

Eastern Code of Canon Law, 1990:

Canon 40 - §1. Hierarchs who preside over Churches sui iuris and all other hierarchs are to see most carefully to the faithful protection and accurate observance of their own rite, and not admit changes in it except by reason of its organic progress, keeping in mind, however, mutual goodwill and the unity of Christians.

§2. Other clerics and members of institutes of consecrated life are bound to observe their own rite faithfully and daily to acquire a greater understanding and a more perfect practice of it.

§3. Other Christian faithful are also to foster an understanding and appreciation of their own rite, and are held to observe it everywhere unless something is excused by the law.

The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Catholic Eastern Churches, 1964:

§ 4. Finally, each and every Catholic, as also the baptized members of any non-Catholic church or community who come to the fullness of Catholic communion, must retain each his own rite wherever he is, and follow it to the best of his ability, without prejudice to the right of appealing to the Apostolic See in special cases affecting persons, communities or districts.


What does the Church teach us about imitating the practices of other particular churches?

Are we directed, as Chaldean Catholics, to maintain our originality vis-a-vis other Eastern Rites, such as the Maronite or Syriac, or to borrow from them as though it is better to be similar? Or, on the contrary, does the Church want us to retain and guard our own distinct traditions, as a treasure to be kept for the whole Catholic Church?

The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Catholic Eastern Churches, 1964:

§ 5. All members of the Eastern Churches should be firmly convinced that they can and ought always to preserve their own legitimate liturgical rites and ways of life, and that changes are to be introduced only to forward their own organic development. They themselves are to carry out all these prescriptions with the greatest fidelity. They are to aim always at a more perfect knowledge and practice of their rites, and if they have fallen away due to circumstances of times or persons, they are to strive to return to their ancestral traditions. (See details in the Holy See’s document Instruction for the Application of the Liturgical Prescriptions in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, 1996).

§ 10. Desiring that these treasures flourish and contribute ever more efficiently to the evangelization of the world, OrientaliumEcclesiarum affirms, as do successive documents, that the members of Eastern Churches have the right and the duty to preserve them, to know them, and to live them. Such affirmation contains a clear condemnation of any attempt to distance the Eastern faithful from their Churches, whether in an explicit and irreversible manner, with its juridical consequences, inducing them to pass from one Church sui iuris to another, or whether in a less explicit manner, favoring the acquisition of forms of thought, spirituality, and devotions that are not coherent with their own ecclesial heritage, and thus contrary to the indications so often emphasized by Roman Pontiffs and expressed, with particular force, already in the Apostolic Letter OrientaliumDignitas of Leo XIII.


Liturgical Renewal 

What does the Church teach us about how to respect and develop our traditions “organically”?

dtcstpeterDoes authentic renewal mean adding elements from outside our tradition, for example from the Latin tradition? Or does it mean allowing the Chaldean tradition to grow from within, and expand in its own way? Which form of “renewal” is correct in the Chaldean Church: the Latinization that occurred due to a misunderstanding of the Second Vatican Council, or the Reformed Chaldean Mass of 2006?

Eastern Code of Canon Law, 1990:

Canon 40 - §1. Hierarchs who preside over Churches sui iuris and all other hierarchs are to see most carefully to the faithful protection and accurate observance of their own rite, and not admit changes in it except by reason of its organic progress, keeping in mind, however, mutual goodwill and the unity of Christians.

The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Catholic Eastern Churches, 1964:

§ 12. The Council specifies that changes in the rites and disciplines of these Churches are not admitted except by reason of their own organic progress and adds that whenever they have fallen short, due to circumstances of time or persons, they are to strive to return to their ancestral traditions.

What does the Church teach us about the particularities of our Eastern church-buildings?

Is the Sanctuary meant to be open to the public or kept as a holy place? Are the elements of the Bema and Veil to be abandoned as old-fashioned or re-established?

The Holy See’s document Instruction for the Application of the Liturgical Prescriptions in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, 1996:

§ 104. The sanctuary is separated from the nave by a veil, gate or iconostasis, because it is the most sacred place: it contains the altar on which the Divine Liturgy is celebrated and the Oblation is offered. Only those who are entrusted with the sacred ministry can enter the sanctuary to complete the sacred acts...Therefore, it is important that in restoring old churches or constructing new ones, those responsible should attentively study the symbology expressed in them, while taking into account and foreseeing the possibility of re-establishing the usage in conformity to their proper tradition.

St. Peter Diocesan Theology Course 2013:
The Chaldean Renaissance: Flowing from the Altar

Week 1: Wednesday, November 6, 2013; 7-9 PM 

Chaldean National and Ecclesial Identity
By Bishop Sarhad Y. Jammo

I - Who are the Contemporary Chaldeans?
Contemporary Chaldeans are: a) the descendants and main remnant of the ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia: the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, and most of all the Chaldeans. b) Their language is the Chaldean, i.e. the vernacular, Aramaic of Mesopotamia, being in continuous use for the past 3000 years until the present time. c) They are the heirs of successive Mesopotamian civilizations, particularly of its spiritual heritage, as represented by the Patriarch Abraham of Ur of the Chaldeans, and as frequently referred to in the Holy Scriptures both the Old and the New Testament, as embodied as well, in regard to Christian heritage, in the Chaldean Catholic Church of the East.

The authenticity of the Chaldean nomenclature and its substance are based on the following historic facts:

a) The Aramaic linguistic form, used commonly by the Chaldeans up to date, and only by them, was until modern times a spoken but unrecorded dialect, i.e. a grammatical vernacular taught solely by parents to children. While the ancient Assyrian language is the Akkadian dialect of the Nineveh region, which ceased to exist, the Chaldean, ancient and recent, is not the Akkadian of Babylon that disappeared, but the Aramaic vernacular of Mesopotamia which constitutes the cultural continuity and the vital core of national identity up to our day.

b) The Chaldean Empire is the last and most glorious indigenous state that ruled over all Mesopotamia (612 BC to 538 BC), before it fell under the successive invading foreign powers. With that 74-year rule, Nineveh gradually became deserted ruins and Assyria became a region within the Chaldean Empire. This historic and documentable fact means for the following history that Assyria, with its great heritage, was absorbed by the succeeding Chaldean nationality and culture.

c) The City of Babylon, famous capital of the Chaldeans, was the historic core and international center of Mesopotamia through the millennia, where after the Chaldean rule, Qurish the Persian reigned, where Alexander the Great died, in whose vicinity the Parthians had their imperial court, etc., ending with Baghdad as the splendid capital of the Abbasids, and continuing to be the central city of Twin-River-Land for many centuries until modern-day Iraq. Even the ecclesiastic center of the Church of the East settled on the Patriarchal title of Babylon.

d) Commonly and Constantly through the centuries, before Christianity and after, the Chaldean name has been the ethnic and cultural expression used by historians to indicate national identity of indigenous Mesopotamians; thus did the liturgical Hudhra, the Greek writers, the Arab hagiographers, the European travelers, and the Christian hierarchy of the Church of the East in all of its branches, including the last Patriarch Shimun XXIII of Qochanis, as shown by his inherited patriarchal seal.

II - What is the Chaldean particularity among the nations?

The comprehensive history of humanity might be traced back hundreds of millennia and to different regions of the earth. Nevertheless, the philosophical and theological birth and early formation of that history is traced to Mesopotamia proper, the cradle of civilization. As narrated in the Book of Genesis, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, in the archaeological records of the cities of Ur, Uruk, and Babel, located in middle and south Mesopotamia, the foundation of human civilization was pioneered remarkably in that region, including the description of a primordial paradise, the audacious attempt to reach heaven by the Tower of Babylon, the awareness of evil in human life, the yearning for immortality, the formation of moral conscience, and the belief in one God, creator of the universe and master of history, as reported in the call of Abraham to become the vehicle for universal divine favor and salvation.

This entire endeavor has been accomplished by the dwellers of South Mesopotamia, whose legacy was inherited by the Chaldeans, who themselves dwelt and ruled the same land. Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham, is the fulfilling core of that Providence or Plan of God for redemption. Contemporary Chaldeans must be aware of their permanent connection to that divine call and its actual implications. Obviously, any noble prince, shying away from the obligations of his status, will end up losing it. Contemporary Chaldeans are able, if sensitized, to recognize the divine call addressed to their forefathers, and therefore to their nation, then claim it, accept it, and be enriched by it, making it a blessing for many.

III - What is the goal of the Chaldeans and how to reach it? 

1) The goal of the Chaldeans is to survive and thrive while preserving their identity and growing in it civilly, culturally and spiritually:

a) Civilly, by claiming and pursuing the recognition of their national rights in their homeland, lraq, and everywhere in the world, in order to grow in it.

b) Culturally, by promoting their Chaldean language and art, adapting them to modern times, using them as the international communication medium and joint among all Chaldean communities.

c) Spiritually, by accepting the divine call to minister a pivotal role in the history of divine salvation as entrusted to Abraham, their national hero and vocational symbol. Thus, to claim the perennial Scriptural and Apostolic heritage of the Church of the East, make it a powerful legacy, and share it with many thirsty souls.

2) How do we Reach that Goal in Today's Situation?

By enacting a process of Chaldean Renaissance, through a fresh response to the historic divine call; Let us build a new Babylon (Bab'el):

1) By relying basically on their inner conviction, free and noble Chaldeans, wherever they are in the world, do and shall reclaim their Chaldean national identity with all of its civil rights and duties. This reclaim is the Chaldeans' historic right and native prerogative.

2) By nourishing awareness of the Chaldean cultural and spiritual components of identity, particularly of the call to respond to the divine plan of salvation, revealed and made known in the Holy Scriptures, following the example of Patriarch Abraham.

3) By appreciating our Mesopotamian Chaldean language in both of its forms the Classic and the Vernacular --which is neither Syrian nor Syriac-- liberating its grammar and pronunciation from foreign distorting applications, then teaching and adopting them for all sectors of life.

4) By establishing free media to proclaim genuine Chaldean identity and culture.


The Chaldean Institute for Mesopotamian Studies
Annual Session of Theological Studies On

The Year of Faith


Download Registration Form

Every Wednesday
from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Starting November 07, 2012
Ending November 28, 2012

Lecture Title Presenter Documents Audio
Week 1: Introduction on Faith 
November 7, 7-9 PM - at St. Peter Cathedral

Lecture 1: We Believe in One God Mar Sarhad Y. Jammo Full Notes Download 
Lecture 2: The Church believes in the Holy Trinity Mar Sarhad Y. Jammo Full Notes Download 
Week 2: The Family Living the Faith
November 14, 7-9 PM - at St. Peter Cathedral
Lecture 1: The Family as Created by God Fr. Andrew Younan Full Notes Download
Lecture 2: The Family as Sacrament of Love Shamasha Alen Glina Full Notes Download 
Week 3: Parish Community as Family of Faith
November 21, 7-9 PM - at St. Michael Church
Lecture 1: We Believe in One Church Fr. Noel Gorgis   Download
Lecture 2: The Parish as the Local Living Church and Family of Faith Fr. Michael Bazzi   Download 
Week 4: Diocese as Embodiment of Apostolic Church & Chaldean Heritage
November 28, 7-9 PM - at St. Michael Church
Lecture 1: The Bishop and Priests Mar Bawai Soro   Download
Lecture 2: Vital Diocesan Institutions Archdeacon Sabri Kejbo   Download


Previous Courses:
2013 Diocesan Course
2012 Diocesan Course
2011 Diocesan Course

2010 Diocesan Course
2009 Diocesan Course
2008 Diocesan Course
2007 Diocesan Course


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Week 2: The Family Living the Faith
Second Hour:
 The Family as Sacrament of Love 
November 14, 2012

Alen Giliana

Lecture Summary

  1. God takes the love that a couple brings to him and He elevates, magnifies and infuses it with the divine love in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
  2. The love found in the Trinity is both creative and redemptive.
  3. During the precious time on the cross, Christ shows us the depth and loftiness of marriage.
  4. It is not something within the spouces that keeps a marriage bound together but a holy marriage keeps the spouses together.
  5. It is the parents that must first prepare the way of God within their children.
  6. A holy family is sent out to the heart of society to evangelize by its existence.

Lecture Notes 

All of the sacrament flow out of God's love to us so that we may be worthy to receive his grace

  • so when one of those sacraments translates the divine love into human love a bridge is built
  • God gave us a way to make visible His invisible divine love. ****

The only Sacrament that two persons are required to enter

  • all the other sacraments a person enters, marriage two enter
  • God has chosen this sacrament to mimic the trinity on earth
  • its given two because its not static love, like the Trinity
  • He takes the love that a couple brings to him and elevates magnifies and infuses it with the divine love, the love that is at the core of the Holy Trinity

Trinitarian love is two part

  • Creative love
    • it is in the cyclical love of the Father to the Son and from the Son to the Father that the Holy Spirit is begotten
    • God could have chosen any method to bring life in this world, but he chose through lovewhen a husband loves his wife and the wife in return loves her husband they give the themselves fully that's when window is open to life
      • trees grow fruit
  • Redemptive love
    • it is the loving submission of the son to the father's will humanity has redemption
      • John 3:16
      • Luke 22:42 ESV - "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done."
    • in a home where the father and the mother live in complete dedication to one another and keeping God's will first before their own they open the biggest window to the children to God's saving grace
      • we say this during the mass "Lord, grant us peace and serenity that we may confess your Trinity"
      • Peace and serenity are prerequisites
    • starts with one and gives to the other
    • must come from inside and given to the other

Love of Christ to Church is the prime image of family;

  • Chaldean liturgy
    • This theological reality is not overlooked in the Chaldean liturgy
    • liturgical calendar-after the season of the cross is the crowning of the church
    • church hymn and marriage rite -Church, O betrothed of Jesus Christ who save you by his precious Blood; gave you his body (living Food which wicked man had sacrificed), who placed in your hands his redeeming Cup (his most precious Blood that flowed from his side when they stabbed him by the spear)
  • A holy and successful marriage
    • is in love with God. Not just internally or individually, but externally and collectively.
    • does not melt within society. We are not married because we are not religious. We are sent as a religious couple in the world. Zero exceptions or excuses.


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Week 2: The Family Living the Faith
First Hour:
 The Family as Created by God 
November 14, 2012

Fr. Andrew Younan

Biblical Texts:

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery." The disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry." But he said to them, "Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it." Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." And he laid his hands on them and went away.

           - Matthew 19:3-15

  • Being in society is something that is part of our nature. This is especially true in marriage.
    • The society does not end in the husband and wife, it ends in children.
  • Those who are called to virginity are not against nature, they supersede nature.
    • Children are also in the context of consecrated life. The element of taking care of others and being responsible for


Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

           - Genesis 1:26-31


Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.

           - Genesis 2:18-24

  • God did not create man alone. Even at creation, he did not create male and female alone.
  • The family is not an isolated unit on its own, this too is unnatural. A family is meant to interact with the world and make it a better place.
  • Even God the creator is not alone, it overflows into the human being and the family.
    • Therefore, the family too must overflow into society.
  • Human nature as we have inherited it is fallen and stained with sin.
    • It is because of this fall that we have people desiring things that are against nature.
  • Creation was not “very good” until man and woman were created. 

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), "that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth." Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

           - Ephesians 5:21-6:4

  • Parents must be the first example of obedience before they expect their children to obey them.
  • The father is the father of his child because of Christ. Parents are stewards of the family, not the creators or gods of their children. 



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