The Assyrian Church of the East ( ''ʻIttā d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē''), officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East〔An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches, By John Binns, page 28 ()〕 (, ''ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē''), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Assyria, northern Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical Patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon – the Church of the East. Unlike most other churches that trace their origins to antiquity, the modern Assyrian Church of the East is not in communion with any other churches, either Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, or Catholic.
Theologically, the church is associated with the doctrine of Nestorianism, leading to the church, also being known as a "Nestorian Church", though church leadership has at times rejected the Nestorian label, and it was already existing in Assyria some four centuries prior to Nestorius.
The church employs the Syriac dialect of the Aramaic language which evolved in Assyria during the 5th century BC in its liturgy, the East Syrian Rite, which includes three anaphoras, attributed to Saints Addai and Mari, Theodore of Mopsuestia and Nestorius.〔Cuross, F. L. & Livingstone E.A. (eds), Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, 1997, p.351-352〕
The Church of the East developed between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD from the early Assyrian Christian communities in the Assuristan province (Parthian ruled Assyria) of the Parthian Empire, and at its height had spread from its Upper Mesopotamian heartland to as far as China, Mongolia, Central Asia and India.
A dispute over patriarchal succession led to the Schism of 1552, resulting in there being two rival Patriarchs. One of the factions that eventually emerged from this split became the Assyrian Church of the East, while another became the church now known as the Chaldean Catholic Church, originally called ''The Church of Athura (Assyria) and Mosul'', which eventually entered into communion with the Catholic Church, both in continuation from the Church of the East.
A more recent schism in the church resulted from the adoption of the Assyrian Church of the East of the Gregorian Calendar rather than maintaining the traditional Julian calendar. The opponents to the reforms introduced formed in 1964 the Ancient Church of the East headquartered in Baghdad and headed since 1968 by a separate Catholicos-Patriarch.
The Assyrian Church of the East is headed by the Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, who, after the church hierarchy fled Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War, has resided in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Below the Catholicos-Patriarch are a number of metropolitan bishops, diocesan bishops, priests, and deacons who serve dioceses and parishes throughout the Middle East, India, North America, Oceania, and Europe (including the Caucasus and Russia).
In September 2015 the seat of the Assyrian Church was relocated to Erbil in Iraq.〔https://twitter.com/masoud_barzani/status/648488727799549952〕
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