Assyrian Church Customs and the Assasination of Mar Shimun

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ASSYRIAN CHURCH CUSTOMSAND THE

MURDER OF MAR SHIMUNBy SURMA D'BAIT MAR SHIMUN

with an introduction by His Grace the ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY Edited, with a Glossary by W.A. WIGRAM, D.D.Published 1920 A.D. Copyright 1983 Mar Shimun Memorial Fund ISBN 0-931428-02-5 Assyrian International News Agency Books Online www.aina.org

CONTENTSPREFACE ............................................................................................................................................................ 4 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................................................ 5 Chapter I............................................................................................................................................................... 6 The Assyrian Nation......................................................................................................................................... 6 Chapter II ............................................................................................................................................................. 8 Baptism, the Churches and their Ornaments .................................................................................................... 8 The Churches ............................................................................................................................................... 8 Vestments..................................................................................................................................................... 9 Ornaments of the Churches .......................................................................................................................... 9 Bells ........................................................................................................................................................... 10 Daily Services ............................................................................................................................................ 10 The Cross ................................................................................................................................................... 10 Service Books............................................................................................................................................. 11 CHAPTER III .................................................................................................................................................... 12 Fasts and their Customs.................................................................................................................................. 12 Customs of the Laity During the Fast......................................................................................................... 12 Certain Traditional Observances ................................................................................................................ 13 CHAPTER IV .................................................................................................................................................... 14 Easter and the Eucharist: How We Keep the Resurrection ............................................................................ 14 How the Holy Communion is Celebrated .................................................................................................. 14 Offerings .................................................................................................................................................... 15 Taksa of Absolution ................................................................................................................................... 15 CHAPTER V...................................................................................................................................................... 16 Festivals, Pilgrimages, Monks and Nuns ....................................................................................................... 16 Pilgrimages................................................................................................................................................. 16 Monks and Nuns ........................................................................................................................................ 17 CHAPTER VI .................................................................................................................................................... 18 Magic Arts, Marriages, Funerals.................................................................................................................... 18 Marriage ..................................................................................................................................................... 18 Burial of the Departed ................................................................................................................................ 19 CHAPTER VII................................................................................................................................................... 20 The Nine Degrees of the Clergy and the Seven Sacraments .......................................................................... 20 The Seven Razi of the Church.................................................................................................................... 21 CHAPTER VIII.................................................................................................................................................. 23 Ordinary Dress, Handicrafts, Laws ................................................................................................................ 23 Handicrafts and Trades............................................................................................................................... 23 Mines.......................................................................................................................................................... 24 Headship and Laws of the Nation .............................................................................................................. 24 Our Laws.................................................................................................................................................... 24 Roads and Ways ......................................................................................................................................... 24 CHAPTER IX .................................................................................................................................................... 25 The Patriarch and the Nation.......................................................................................................................... 25 The Divan of the Patriarch ......................................................................................................................... 25 Relations with the Turks ............................................................................................................................ 25 Our Relations with the Kurds..................................................................................................................... 26 The Firman of the Prophet Mahommed, Granted to the Patriarchal House ............................................... 27 CHAPTER X...................................................................................................................................................... 29 The Great War................................................................................................................................................ 29 The Murder of Mar Shimun ....................................................................................................................... 34 GLOSSARY OF SYRIAC TERMS USED ....................................................................................................... 39 FOOTNOTES .................................................................................................................................................... 41

Lady Surma d'Bait Mar Shimun, the author of this book was born in Qudshanis, Hakkiari, Eastern Turkey on January 27, 1883. She died in Turlock, California on December 7, 1975.

PREFACEBY HIS GRACE THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY This remarkable little book has for me, and will have for many others, a peculiar and a vivid interest. It gives an outline picture of the daily life and the story of a Church and nation about which most of us have known very little; and it gives the picture from their side, not from ours. For more than thirty years the "Mission of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the `Assyrian' Church" has had a place in the thoughts and prayers of a limited circle of friends, but it has not been largely under the public eye. The purpose and work of the Mission are described succinctly by Surma Khanim herself in her narrative, and I will not anticipate her pointed and appreciative words. During these thirty years, the remarkable series of devoted men who have been our missionaries (or, as the Assyrians call them, our "Apostles"), have reported constantly to Lambeth, and there have been few reports which have not made reference to the steadily Browning influence and authority of the gracious and capable lady who has now, in her thirty-fifth year, given us this book. Herself a member of the ruling family, niece of the Patriarch Reuil Mar Shimun, and sister of his two successors, Benyamin and Paulus Mar Shimun, Surma Khanim-who is technically set apart as a "religious"-has been in close touch from her childhood with matters national and ecclesiastical, and has grown by degrees to be our trusted counsellor and friend. She owes to one of our most devoted mission priests ("Rabbi Doctor Browne