On Sunday, October 15, 2017, Assyrian Bishop of the Western United States, Mar Aprim Khamis, ordained two priests in the Syrian Orthodox Church of Saint Mark in Jerusalem.

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In a very moving ceremony, presided by Bishop Khamis, assisted by three of his priests and a deacon, and accompanied by a group of pilgrims, two married men were ordained priests. The ceremony, celebrated in Syriac, took about two and a half hours, and began with a procession from the Church of the Resurrection (the Holy Sepulcher) to the Church of Saint Mark. In an ecumenical gesture, the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, Swerios Melki Mourad, gave permission to the Assyrians to use the church for the ordination, the first to take place in Jerusalem since the Assyrians lost their foothold in Jerusalem sometime in the 16th century.

The Assyrian Church of the East is an ancient Syriac language Church whose homeland is in what is today Iraq and Iran. The origin of the Church is in the theological controversies surrounding the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431. From the 16th century onwards, most Assyrian Christians entered into communion with the Catholic Church and they are known as Chaldean Catholics. The Assyrian Church is sadly divided today but a large number of faithful live in the United States of America, where they maintain three dioceses.

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