Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I am an Assyrian Catholic. I have some points to make concerning Assyria and the Assyrians:

  • God’s Words to Isaiah, “Assyria, the work of my hands” (Isa 19:25) were said thousands of years before Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Why do you call us gentiles?

  • The book of Nahum was just a poem celebrating the fall of Nineveh. Why do you keep on referring to it?

  • "On judgment day, the people of Nineveh will stand up and accuse you" (Mt 12:41). This is God’s decision to bless us

  • Why are you Egyptians full of hatred towards us?

  • Why didn’t Pope Shenouda meet Pope John when he visited Cairo?

  • Abraham the patriarch was Assyrian.

  • Jesus Christ spoke Aramaic and not Hebrew.

  • Isaiah was a prophet. A prophet is one who speaks by divine inspiration of things to come. When Isaiah said "the work of My hands" it was not thousands of years before our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. The book of Isaiah was written between the years 700-680 B.C.

  • Assyrians and all the other nations of the world who are not Jews are referred to as Gentiles

  • The holy book of Nahum is not a poem celebrating the fall of Nineveh. It is a prophecy and a warning message from God to the people of Nineveh. This book was written in the seventh century B.C. around the year 612 B.C. just before the destruction of Nineveh in the year 609 B.C.

  • Our Lord does not ignore things. The message of our Lord here was to make a comparison between the people of Nineveh who accepted the invitation for repentance from Jonah and the Jews who refused our Lord Himself disregarding His miracles and all the signs He had shown them. In other words, our Lord was as if telling the Jews: the repentance of the people of Nineveh, as a result of Jonahs preaching to them, shall condemn this generation. They, the pagans, repented when threatened by Jonah with temporal punishment; while you, Jews, professing to be enlightened, though threatened by the Son of God (a far greater entity than Jonah) with eternal punishment for your great wickedness did not repent, and must therefore meet a far heavier condemnation.

  • The word "hatred" is a strong word that is not part of our Church or  Christianity. We do not hate the Assyrian people or the Assyrian Church, but we do not accept the faith of the Assyrian (Nestorian) Church. This however does not prevent meetings among our Churches. The Coptic Orthodox Church participated in the theological dialogue with the Assyrian Church of the East decided by the Fourth general assembly of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) in Cyprus 1986. The long process of this dialogue continued until the Sixth (6th) General Assembly of the Council in November 1994. His Holiness Pope Shenouda III agreed to invite a delegation from the Assyrian Church of the East to attend a theological dialogue with the Coptic Orthodox Church in which he himself  lead the Coptic members, and with representatives from the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and the MECC. The meeting was held in Saint Bishoy Monastery, Egypt. in January 1995, with Metropolitans Mar Narsai de Baz and Mar Bawai Soro delegated by Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV to represent the Assyrian Church of the East, Metropolitan Mar Theophilis George Saliba representing the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and Father (now Metropolitan) Paul Sayah representing the MEEC. You can read the details of this dialogue at
I would like you to read the following prophecy of Isaiah having in mind that we do not hate the Assyrians, on the contrary, as Egyptians we share a long history and together, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have been  blessed being of the Gentiles to be accepted as His people.

"In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria; a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, "Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance." (Isa 19:24-25)

This is a prophecy of Isaiah about the acceptance of the Gentiles to the true faith and their admission to Christianity. "Even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As He says also in Hosea: "I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved." And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' There they shall be called sons of the living God" (Rom 9:24-26).

The special designation of Israel, as the elect people, is applied to Egypt and Assyria.

The Gentile nations shall not only unite with each other under Christ the great shepherd, but they shall all be united with the Jews. When Egypt and Assyria become partners in serving God, Israel shall make a third with them (Isa 19:24). United, they shall be a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless (Isa 19:24,25).

Israel shall be a blessing to them all, because of them,  Christ came in the flesh, and they were the natural branches of the good olive, to whom did originally pertain its root and fatness, and the Gentiles were but grafted in among them, (Rom. 11:17). Israel lay between Egypt and Assyria, and was a blessing to them both by bringing them to meet in that word of the Lord, which went forth from Jerusalem, and that church which was first set up in the land of Israel.

They shall all be a blessing to the world: so the Christian church is made up of Jews and Gentiles. They shall all be blessed of the Lord and they shall all be His own. Though Egypt was formerly a house of bondage to the people of God, and Assyria an unjust invader of them, all this shall now be forgiven and forgotten, and they shall be as welcome to God as Israel. They are formed by him, for they are the work of his hands; not only as a people, but as His people.

  • I am wondering if you as a Catholic know the difference between the beliefs of your Church and that of the Assyrian church. The Assyrian Church refused the canons of the ecumenical council of Ephesus and adopted the beliefs of Nestorius, which the Catholic and Orthodox Churches consider a heresy. Nestorius believed that the Logos assumed a man at the same moment when that man was formed in the womb of the Virgin Saint Mary. Our Church as well as all the Orthodox and Catholic churches rejected this heresy because it would mean that the Logos did not become incarnate nor God was manifested in the flesh, but that man became God in Jesus Christ. The Word of God did not assume a man with a human prosopon (person) but He became man by assuming perfect humanity and uniting it to Himself from the very moment of incarnation.

  • Our Pope, Shenouda III, welcomed Pope John Paul at his residence in Cairo and they had a very amiable meeting. Pope Shenouda, on a TV broadcast, explained that it was following shear protocol among the heads of the Churches that he did not meet Pope John Paul at the airport. Pope John Paul himself did not see anything wrong with that. Why are some people trying to make an issue out of it?

  • Aramaic was the language of our Lord and the common language used in Palestine along with the Hebrew and the Greek but this does not change the fact that the Greek language was the language of the intellect. Although Jesus spoke Aramaic, the Gospels were written in Greek, with a few Aramaic words. Christians in Palestine eventually rendered portions of Christian Scripture into their dialect of Aramaic. These translations and related writings constitute "Christian Palestinian Aramaic".
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