Assyrian Medical Centre
Another program, which the Assyrian Church of the East in Sydney is striving towards, is the establishment of a medical centre for our Church and community members in Sydney. Consisting of a large number of Assyrian Physicians in all fields of medicine committed to assist their community members, requiring medical assistance.
This centre will be known as ASSYRIAN MEDICAL CENTRE. With the help of our Lord and community members, we are hopeful that one day, the Church in Australia will expand this centre to a well known Private Hospital in this country.
We pray that the Lord assist our Church in Australia under the leadership of His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia and all the faithful of our community, so that we may succeed with this good and exalted aim for the advancement of our Church and Community.
Assisting our senior community members
Over the past five years, the Assyrian Church of the East in Sydney has been researching and attempting to find a suitable solution for the needs of the disadvantaged members of our community and the elderly. Above is a picture of the proposed site (rear of St. Mary’s Church), for the construction of the Nursing home.
Consultations have been conducted with relevant government organisations to discover the most adequate way for the Church to establish a retirement village and nursing home.
Many meetings have also taken place with the elderly, so that the Church is fully satisfied that its plans meet their requirements and thoughts towards the nursing home.
Finally it was decided that the future, 12 to 15 appropriate houses will be erected at the rear of St Mary’s Church and these houses will be rented out to the elderly. Our goal is to organise and improve the lives of the elders in our community.
The centre was opened on the 27th of June 2010 by H.B Mar Meelis Zaia and is located on Polding Street in Bossley Park. The childcare facilitates for approximately 30-40 infants and provides them with an advanced environment for learning social skills and values.
The aim and purpose of the childcare called ‘Hope’ was established to make ready these infants for their commencement of primary school, enabling a smooth transition into their schooling years. Teaching faith, hope and heritage is essential in setting a strong foundation for a bright Assyrian Australian future.
8 Kyabram St. Coolaroo Melbourne.
Purchased in 2001 and opened by H.B Mar Meelis Zaia 2002.
Ishtar reception halls were purchased for the value of A$1.8 million. These three halls are currently being utilised as Church Hall and Reception Centre to be hired for private functions. In the future, it is anticipated that one of these halls will be reconstructed, and utilised for Church spiritual services.
Although the parish is small in size, nevertheless, an amount of A$250,000.00 was pledged by faithfuls, at a meeting called by the Diocesan Bishop. The Church currently has an additional amount of A$320,000.00 in bank accounts and the Sydney Parish will also provide assistance. It may also be necessary for the Church to acquire a bank loan for the completion of this tremendous project.
St. Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School
St Hurmizd’s Assyrian Primary School, which is run by the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, opened at the start of the 2002 school year with two Kindergarten, one Year 1 and one Year 2 classes with plans to add a new class each succeeding year. By the year 2007 the school will be a fully operational primary school with two classes in each year from Kindergarten to Year 6.
Every nation is recognised by its history, customs, literature and intellect. Similarly, every Church is recognised by its Christian doctrines. This places an immense responsibility upon every generation to strive in preserving their culture, heritage and religious heritage. Failure to do so may result in the deterioration of that culture’s ancestral and historical faith. Among its descendants its language will die. Such a generation will be guilty of great negligence for breaking the long chain of its natural history and would be severely judged by its succeeding generations. Thus, we the Assyrians in general and the Assyrian Church of the East in particular, accept the responsibility to shoulder and safeguard our priceless heritage. We will endeavour to work together to nurture and preserve a generation rich in Christian faith and national consciousness, so that those who follow us will have pride in their diligent forefathers, history and faith of their beloved nation. This way, we will be safeguarding our language, culture, heritage, literature and faith from dispersion and dissolution.
5 – 9 Greenfield Rd, Greenfield Park New South Wales
Edessa Hall was officially opened in 1999, by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia and Councilor Anwar Khoshaba, Fairfield City Mayor. The hall is registered with the relevant statutory bodies. Being the magnificent building that it is, it has gained the commendation and praise of not only all Assyrians, but also members of other communities at large.
The directors are responsible for the hiring of the hall for wedding functions, and providing catering services for other social and church functions. The hall encompasses over 25 staff members, who provide impeccable service to all guests.
Edessa Hall generates monetary profits for the Church, expended towards the building of
St. Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School, and in addition, the conducting of other Church programs in Australia and New Zealand. Edessa Hall is also legally permitted to cater for functions outside of the Hall.
At present, it is also utilized by the school students.
St. Mary Church, Auckland, New Zealand
An official opening of the new Church (St Mary’s) in Auckland New Zealand was held on Saturday 31st May. It was opened by our metropolitan His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon, our patriarch’s representative. There were a number of our priests and deacons in attendance, as well as other church priests, their local MP (Louisa Wall) and NZ government representative Melissa Lee, the Parliamentary Private Secretary for Ethnic Affairs, who spoke on behalf of the Minister for Ethnic Affairs, Judith Collins, Angela Dalton from Manurewa board, plus all the contractors and visitors from Sydney, Melbourne and Wellington.
It was a great day for our community in Auckland after long waiting over 22 years. The community was very thankful for the effort and contribution of parish priest Reverend Toma K Toma and Glen Mouchi who worked under the guidance of His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM.
It was a very proud moment for Glen Mouchi to stand and talk about this project as he is the lead designer and project manager for the project. Glen is a professional senior project manager with multi awards in the construction management field.
It was not an easy task; they had a lot of financial constraints, time, resources and other internal issues.
The construction of the church was commenced on November 2013 and was completed on 30th May 2014. The building is designed in a way to reflect our Assyrian heritage and identity as shown in the exterior elevations with beautiful patterns were used over 6000 years ago.
Inside the building they kept the influence of our church history and tradition but with a touch of modern finishing giving it a nice mixture and warm feeling of church and a powerful feeling of God.
They kept the altar as high as possible and the three arches represent the trinity and all the three arches contained in one large arch with sun rays at the top represent the glory of God.
The writing on the main arch is in ARAMAIC our language which Jesus Christ spoke. The meaning of this writing is (UPON THE HOLY ALTAR LET THERE BE A MEMORIAL OF THE VIRGIN MARY, THE MOTHER OF CHRIST).
At the right hand side is the Baptism Room. The design is a hex- conic shape which represents the Bee cell, which symbolizes the start of life. The hex cone cell is one of the strongest and most beautiful structures that God created which is why a lot of engineers and architects admire it.
At the left hand side is our church logo worldwide on the top and ST Mary’s prayer below which was written in the fourth century in Aramaic, and Estrangelo script.
They have used different materials and products in good harmony and in a very careful way to achieve the look that we believe the church deserves. God bless all the people who have been involved in this project.
Since the establishment of the Diocese in Australia, in 1985, and until 1994, the Church in Australia did not facilitate for the residency of the Bishop.
The Church had been paying rent for a number of years totaling up to A$10,000.00 per annum.
With the wise decision of the trustees committee and the Bishop, the Church was able to purchase a block of land in 1994, to the value of A$90,000.00 and construct a Bishop’s residence for A$220,000.00.
The Bishopric is registered under the title of “Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East”.
St. Hurmizd’s Cathedral, Sydney
St. Hurmizd’s Cathedral, registered as the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, was officially opened and consecrated in December 1990, by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV Catholicos Patriarch. The architect of this magnificent building was Mr. Jack Elia, to whom we also extend our sincere gratitude.
This Cathedral has a seating capacity of 1000, and every Sunday, attendance exceeds the total capacity. With a completion cost of A$1.5 million, approximately A$1 million was donated by the Church and community faithful. Furthermore, A loan of A$500,000.00 was acquired from the bank, which was repaid within a period of approximately 18 months.
The Cathedral contains four offices, designated for use by the Parish Priest, administrative staff, and preservation of religious and other reading materials for the Church faithful. Sound system, air conditioning and chandeliers (donated by Mr. Fraidon Darmo, from London), are of high quality, providing both spiritual and physical comfort to the faithful.
The Cathedral’s altar has been erected on a stone collected from the ancient monastery of St. Hurmizd in Mosul (Nineveh) Iraq. In addition, this Saint’s relic (bone) was placed in a shrine, erected in his memory during a most joyous and auspicious ceremony. From this shrine, the Church faithful Collect Holy Water as blessings.
Recently, the entrance gate to the car park of the Cathedral was restored, costing the Church A$9,000.00 for materials (metal). Mr. Aziz Jammu generously contributed towards labour and material (bricks and cement), granting the Church a substantial saving. Situated at the forefront of the Cathedral is a statue of St. Hurmizd, (pictured above right), kindly donated by the famous Assyrian Artist, Mr. Lewis Petros. Moreover, coloured lead lighting were etched onto the Cathedral’s windows by Mr. Gewargis Hablo Shamoon.
The Arch-Diocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon would like to extend its appreciation to all those who donated money, material, time and effort for the building of this Cathedral. May the Lord Bless and grant them joyous lives.
St. George’s Church, Melbourne
St. George’s Church was purchased in 1979, and was consecrated by His Grace Bishop Mar Aprim Khamis. At that time, the Parish Priest was the late Archdeacon Younan Towana, who passed away in 1980.
Upon purchase of the Church, refurbishments were completed on the premises to accommodate the requirements of conducting Church services. Currently the Church has a seating capacity of 200.
In the forefront of the premises, a three-bedroom house is situated, which is utilized by St. George Assyrian Language School and the Church Sunday School. In addition, two portable classrooms also cater for the teaching of Faith and Language.
Recently, 14 computers were contributed by Marsh (computer company), through Mr. Sami Kamber (Church faithful). These computers have been networked by Mr. Kamber and are manipulated by the school students, enabling them to learn the Assyrian Language and simultaneously, gain computer literacy.
At present the Parish Priest is Rev. Fr. Gewargis Toma who attends to the daily spiritual requirements of the Church and Community members.
St. Mary’s Church, Sydney
Currently, the Parish Priest is Rev. Fr. Gewargis Atto who arrived to Australia in 1997 from Syria.
The Church had been the main centre of worship for the members of the Assyrian Church of the East for over 16 years, offering every spiritual service of the Church to its faithful.
The Church hall, which was opened in 1975, is situated behind the main Church building, and caters for up to 350 persons. This hall had also been utilised for many social and commemerable events of the community.
Presently, the Church is utilised by faithful who reside locally, attending Church services and other activities. Extensive improvements and additions were completed on the Church and hall, to the total cost of A$300,000.