Assyrian Church of the East

The Assyrian Church of the East,[lower-alpha 3] officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East,[18][lower-alpha 4] is an Eastern Christian Church that follows the traditional Christology and ecclesiology of the historical Church of the East.[20] It belongs to the eastern branch of Syriac Christianity, and employs the Divine Liturgy of Saints Addai and Mari belonging to the East Syriac Rite. Its main liturgical language is Classical Syriac, a dialect of Eastern Aramaic, and the majority of its adherents are ethnic Assyrians.


Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East
ܥܕܬܐ ܩܕܝܫܬܐ ܘܫܠܝܚܝܬܐ ܩܬܘܠܝܩܝ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ ܕܐܬܘܪ̈ܝܐ
Residence of the Patriarch in Qudshanis, Ottoman Empire (1692–1918).
AbbreviationACOE
ClassificationEastern Christian
OrientationSyriac Christian
TheologyNestorianism[lower-alpha 1][lower-alpha 2][10][11][12]
Catholicos-PatriarchMar Awa III[13][14]
RegionCentral Middle East, India; diaspora
LanguageSyriac,[15] Aramaic
LiturgyEast Syriac Rite
HeadquartersAnkawa, Erbil, Iraq
OriginApostolic Era
AbsorbedChaldean Syrian Church (1870s)
SeparationsChaldean Catholic Church (1830) (Eliya Line)
Ancient Church of the East (1968)
Members400,000+ (2021)[16]
Official websiteOfficial website

The Church also has an archdiocese based in India, known as the Chaldean Syrian Church of India. The Assyrian Church of the East is officially headquartered in the city of Erbil, in northern Iraq; its original area also spread into southeastern Turkey, northeastern Syria and northwestern Iran, corresponding roughly to ancient Assyria. As of September 2021, the Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East is Mar Awa III.

The Assyrian Church of the East claims continuity with the historical Church of the East, and it is not in communion with either the Oriental Orthodox Churches or the Eastern Orthodox Church. The faction of the Church of the East that came to be in full communion with the Holy See of Rome is the Chaldean Catholic Church. After the the Common Christological Declaration in 1994 between the Church of the East and the Catholic Church, and a 2001 theological dialogue between the Churches, they drew up guidelines for faithful to have mutual admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East.[21]

The Assyrian Church of the East has a traditional episcopal structure, headed by the Catholicos-Patriarch. Its hierarchy is composed of metropolitan bishops and diocesan bishops, while lower clergy consists of priests and deacons, who serve in dioceses (eparchies) and parishes throughout the Middle East, India, North America, Oceania, and Europe (including the Caucasus and Russia).[22]