Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal

Theme: Bread of Eternal Life, Road to Emmaus

Volume 5 No. 283 May 1, 2015

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SCOOCH Midwest Regional Conference April 25, 2015 Cleveland, Ohio
SCOOCH Midwest Regional Con-Celebration of Holy Liturgy and Conference
Cleveland, Ohio, April 25, 2015

Entrance Procession of the Clergy Representing All The Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Standing Conference of Orthodox Churches.

Photo by Robin Roy, St. Basil's Syriac Orthodox Church, Cleveland, Ohio

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I. This Sunday in Church

1. Bible Readings for This Sunday (May 3)

2. Sermons for This Sunday (May 3)

Sermons for the Third Sunday after New Sunday

II. Reflections on This Sunday's Bible Reading: Jesus - The Bread of Life

3. Jesus Invites Us to a Life of Joy

In inviting us to feed on his "flesh" and drink his "blood," Jesus invites us to change our view and attitude – to embrace the life of his Father: the life that finds joy in humble service to others, the life that is centered in unconditional, total, sacrificial love; the life that seeks fulfillment not in the conventional wisdom of this world, but in the holiness of the next. ...

4. I Am the Bread of Life

If you want to be sure of your eternal salvation, then take and eat of God's beloved manna. There is not a man or a woman on earth who can satisfy your needs like Jesus. Will you receive the true bread from heaven? ...

5. 'I am' Statements of Jesus - Confirming Signs in The Gospel of John

Jesus Christ's seven unique "I am" metaphorical statements about himself in the Gospel of John have corresponding details in the circumstances of his birth, and corresponding "signs" (miracles). ...

III. This Week's Features

6. The Road To Emmaus: Gospel Reading and Commentary

This is an episode exclusive to St. Luke, who describes it in a masterly way. It shows our Lord's zeal for souls. "As He is walking along, Christ meets two men who have nearly lost all hope. They are beginning to feel that life has no meaning for them. Christ understands their sorrow; He sees into their heart and communicates to them some of the life He carries within Himself." ...

7. The Economy of Resurrection

Cleopas and his friend had high hopes about Jesus. "We had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel." (Luke 24:21) The Messiah, it was thought, would come and drive out the Romans, and all the other oppressors in a great victory and justice would reign.

But Jesus was dead. He didn't even fight back. (Luke 23:47-53) It's not as if his followers were unwilling to fight; he refused. He insisted they not resist! ...

8. On Jesus and Reunions and Forgiveness of Sins

What does it mean to stay put and wait as Jesus told his followers to do so long ago? ...

9. From Malankara World Journal Archives

Malankara World Journals with the Theme: Road to Emmaus

Volume 4 No 219: May 16, 2014
Road to Emmaus

Volume 3 No 139: April 25 2013
Focus: Emmaus Experience

IV. Christian Persecution

10. The Assyrian Genocide As Part of the Christian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire

Achieving the global remembrance of the genocide against the Armenians seems to have downplayed the fate of all other Christian minority groups in the Ottoman Empire such as Assyrians that suffered from ethnic cleansing and mass murder at the hands of the Sultan Abdul Hamid II and Young Turks. ...

11. Question: Is The Correct Spelling SAIFO, SAYFO or SANFO

We seek reader's comments on the question posed by Hon. V.T. John. ...

V. Regular Features

12. Health: Three Reasons A Fitness and Wellness Regimen Can Empower Women

Celebrity Trainer Holly Perkins Says Women Should Look Great To Please Themselves, Not Others ...

13. Recipe: Mixed Berry Crepes

Filled with fresh ricotta cheese and topped with a variety of fresh, juicy berries, these crepes are easy to make and perfect for a weekend brunch. ...

14. Family Special: Parenting - Consistently Inconsistent

I didn't relish what I was willing to let happen if my son had willed it. But let it happen I would have. And so will our Father, if his children - who are by nature completely inconsistent - insist on their own way.

Jesus was marvelously, amazingly consistent. No wonder He is the model, He is the way, He is life, and the only hope we have to avoid a hellish eternity. ...

15. About Malankara World

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (May 3)

Sermons for This Sunday (May 3)

This Sunday's Bible Reading: 'Jesus - The Bread of Life'

Jesus Invites Us to a Life of Joy
Gospel: Jn. 6:51-58

In inviting us to feed on his "flesh" and drink his "blood," Jesus invites us to change our view and attitude – to embrace the life of his Father: the life that finds joy in humble service to others, the life that is centered in unconditional, total, sacrificial love; the life that seeks fulfillment not in the conventional wisdom of this world, but in the holiness of the next.

In the "bread" he gives us to eat, we become the body of Christ with and for one another, in his "blood" of the new covenant, his life of compassion, justice and selflessness flows within us, and we become what we have received: the sacrament of unity, peace and reconciliation. What a beautiful thought, if we accept it.

For us, food and drink are essential. Not only do they have an enormous symbolic value in terms of our community or family life. Can you imagine a birthday, a wedding, or a fiesta celebration without any food? Nowadays, many important business deals and social agreements are struck over a dinner or luncheon.

"Eat better and live longer." Immortality, it was believed in many ancient legends and myths, could be found somewhere. In the ancient Roman mythology, it was believed that the gods were kept from dying because they were fed a marvelous food called ambrosia and were given to drink a magical potion named nectar. Truly, for them, they became what they ate, their food made them what they were – immortals.

Now, that is precisely the whole point of Jesus' words in today's Gospel reading. On the occasion when Jesus was teaching in the synagogue of Capernaum, he says something very strange indeed. He says in effect that all those myths and legends about food and drink capable of producing immortality were not just empty dreams, but that in fact there were indications, preparations, anticipations, pointing to what would one day be fulfilled with his coming. For indeed, Jesus has come to offer the marvelous food and the supremely potent liquid that will ensure your immortality – and that food and drink are nothing else than his flesh and blood. This is what Jesus is in effect telling us.

Of course, he is not speaking of mere physical immortality as the ancient pagans understood it: a prolongation natural life as we know it now. He is speaking of something much better. He is referring to a sharing in the very life of God, a life which begins now invisibly but very truly in our hearts – a life so powerful that eventually, after we will have experienced the physical death like a mere falling asleep, we will be brought back to life, but this time to a life of total joy and happiness, filled forever by the infinite love of God.

Jesus slept the sleep of death for only three days, and then rose again gloriously alive forever. When we partake of the Eucharist, it is not a dead Christ that we eat. It is his resurrected body, the glorious Christ we receive. How can we not be changed by it one day, since we become what we eat? With other food, for example, when we eat a piece of meat or cake, that meat or cake get assimilated and become part of us. Not so when we receive the Risen Lord in the Eucharist, we become part of his Risen Life.

For some of us this may sound too good to be true. And so, we might be tempted to react like some of Jesus' listeners in the synagogue ofCapernaum- with skepticism. But we are in a better position than they were in judging the truth of Jesus' words. They only saw a man of flesh and blood before their eyes. But by the grace of God, we know better. We know that Jesus is risen from the dead, forever alive with the life of his Father. And that changes everything. When Jesus promises that whoever receives the Eucharist, he will raise up the person on the last day, we know that he can do it and that he will do it.

We do not need ambrosia and nectar. We have Jesus Christ, the bread from heaven. In him humankind's wildest dreams are far surpassed. Do you believe his words?

Source: Food For Thought

"I Am the Bread of Life"

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Jesus offers each of us a sure way to experience peace, contentment, and complete satisfaction. In John He tells us:

I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. ... All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:35, 37)

Jesus embraces us with an unconditional love - one that will never cease. Just when we think there is no hope, understanding, or way out of our predicament, our loving Lord speaks words of affirmation and encouragement to our hearts.

In times of extreme difficulty, it is important to trust Him and to not faint with weariness. Remember, whatever God does in our lives will end up being for our good and for His praise and glory. Are you prepared for the battle? Are you spiritually nourished? Are you partaking of the true Bread of Life - the One who will sustain you through times of victory and disappointment?

If you are eating from the bowl of the world's expectations and dreams, then you will be sorely disappointed, and unfit for victory in your spiritual and emotional life. You can spend your lifetime trying to gain wealth and prominence, but no amount of money is sufficient to purchase the gift that God offers you through the life of His Son.

If you want to be sure of your eternal salvation, then take and eat of God's beloved manna. There is not a man or a woman on earth who can satisfy your needs like Jesus. Will you receive the true bread from heaven?

Prayer: Father, please forgive me for trying to receive nourishment and contentment from this world. Thank You for Jesus, the Bread of Life, who perfectly nourishes me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven" (John 6:32).

© 2013 Leading The Way

Featured: 'I am' Statements of Jesus - Confirming Signs in The Gospel of John

by Arlene Sheldon

"I am" sayings of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John

Jesus Christ's seven unique "I am" metaphorical statements about himself in the Gospel of John have corresponding details in the circumstances of his birth, and corresponding "signs" (miracles).

There are eight such statements if "I am" with no metaphorical object is included.

Seven "I am" metaphorical statements of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John:

1. "I am the bread of life." John 6:35, 41, 48-51

2. "I am the light of the world." John 8:12, 9:5

3. "I am the door of the sheep." John 10:7, 9

4. "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." John 10:11, 14

5. "I am the resurrection, and the life." John 11:25

6. "I am the way, the truth, and the life." John 14:6

7. "I am the true vine." John 15:1, 5

Eighth "I am" statement of Jesus if "I am" with no object is included:

It is I; be not afraid [In Greek, same as "I am; be not afraid"]. John 6:16-21

Details in the circumstances of Jesus Christ's birth which correspond to the seven "I am" sayings:

1. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which means "house of bread." Luke 2:4-6

2. He was born under the light of the Star of Bethlehem. Matthew 2:1-12

3. He was unable to enter the inn, but able to enter a stable. Luke 2:7

4. He was sought by shepherds who were looking for a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes [sometimes used for burial], and lying in a manger. Luke 2:8-20

5. He survived King Herod's attempt to kill him. Matthew 2:13-16

6. Wise men supernaturally found their way to him, supernaturally knew the truth about him, and supernaturally survived King Herod's evil plot even though they defied him. Matthew 2:1-12

7. He was born in Bethlehem Ephrathah, which means "fruitful." Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:5, 6

Eighth detail in the circumstances of Jesus' birth if "I am" with no object is included:

The angels announced "Fear not,...for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord". Luke 2:10-11

But the witness which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father hath given me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. John 5:36

"Signs" in the works (miracles) which Jesus Christ did which correspond to the seven "I am" sayings:

1. The multiplication of bread confirms that Jesus is the bread of life. John 6:1-13

2. Enabling a blind man to see the light confirms that Jesus is the light of the world. John 9:1-11

3. The healing of a paralyzed man by Jerusalem's Sheep Gate confirms that Jesus is the door of the sheepfold. John 5:2-9

4. Entering a room when the doors are shut (switching roles with a thief), confirms that Jesus is the good shepherd who gave his life for the sheep. Compare with Judah offering to take Benjamin's place when Benjamin is accused of stealing the silver cup. Genesis 43-44, John 10:1-18. John 20:19-31

5. The raising of Lazarus confirms that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. John 11:1-45

6. The healing of the nobleman's son confirms that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

While the nobleman was on his way, his servants confirmed the truth of Jesus words, "Your son will live." John 4:46-54

7. The water turning to wine confirms that Jesus is the True Vine. John 2:1-11

Eighth "sign" which Jesus did in the Gospel of John if "I am" with no object is included:

When Jesus said, "I am; be not afraid," he was walking on the water. Job 9:1-8, John 6:16-21

And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks... Rev. 1:12

Menorah structure of the "I am" sayings of Jesus:

To see how the "I am" statements of Jesus, the corresponding details of his birth, and the confirming "signs" form a menorah structure, see the menorah page.

Bible stories that reflect the "I am" sayings of Jesus:

The following Bible stories reflect the "I am" sayings of Jesus. To see how each Bible story reflects the "I am" sayings of Jesus, click on the respective links:

• Joseph Revealing Himself to His Brothers

• Peter's Escape From Prison

• Rachel's Death

• Road to Emmaus


The Word of God is Bread for me,
His Life the Light by which I see,
The Door through which I enter in,
To join the sheep inside the pen.
The Shepherd gave His life for me,
That I might resurrected be.
The Way, the Truth, the Life, the Vine,
Now I am his, and He is mine.

Copyright 2007-2019 Arlene Sheldon All rights reserved

This Week's Features

The Road To Emmaus: Gospel Reading and Commentary
Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

[13] That very day two of them (disciples) were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, [14] and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. [15] While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. [16] But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. [17] And He said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad. [18] Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered Him, "Are You the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" [19] And He said to them, "What things?" And they said to Him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word be- fore God and all the people, [20] and how our chief priests and rulers delivered Him up to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. [21] But we had hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. [22] Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning [23] and did not find His body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive. [24] Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see." [25] And He said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! [26] Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?" [27] And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

[28] So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, [29] but they constrained Him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So He went in to stay with them. [30] When He was at table with them, He took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. [31] And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished out of their sight. [32] They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?" [33] And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the Eleven gathered together and those who were with them, [34] who said, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" [35] Then they told what had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.


13-35. In the course of their conversation with Jesus, the disciples' mood changes from sadness to joy; they begin to hope again, and feel the need to share their joy with others, thus becoming heralds and witnesses of the risen Christ.

This is an episode exclusive to St. Luke, who describes it in a masterly way. It shows our Lord's zeal for souls. "As He is walking along, Christ meets two men who have nearly lost all hope. They are beginning to feel that life has no meaning for them. Christ understands their sorrow; He sees into their heart and communicates to them some of the life He carries within Himself."

"When they draw near the village, He makes as if to go on, but the two disciples stop Him and practically force Him to stay with them. They recognize Him later when He breaks the bread. The Lord, they exclaimed, has been with us! 'And they said to each other: "Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?"' (Luke 24:32). Every Christian should make Christ present among men. He ought to act in such a way that those who know Him sense 'the aroma of Christ' (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:15). Men should be able to recognize the Master in His disciples" (St. J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 105).

13-27. Jesus' conversation with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus gives us a very good idea of the disillusionment felt by His disciples after His apparent total failure. Cleopas' words summarize Christ's life and mission (verse 19), His passion and death (verse 20), the despair felt by His disciples (verse 21), and the events of that Sunday morning (verse 22).

Earlier, Jesus had said to the Jews: "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to Me" (John 5:39). In saying this He indicated the best way for us to get to know Him. Pope Paul VI points out that today also frequent reading of and devotion to Holy Scripture is a clear inspiration of the Holy Spirit: "The progress made in biblical studies, the increasing dissemination of the Sacred Scriptures, and above all the example of tradition and the interior action of the Holy Spirit are tending to cause the modern Christian to use the Bible ever increasingly as the basic prayer book and to draw from it genuine inspiration and unsurpassable examples" Paul VI, "Marialis Cultus", 30).

Because the disciples are so downhearted, Jesus patiently opens for them the meaning of all the Scriptural passages concerning the Messiah. "Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?": with these words He disabuses them of the notion of an earthly and political Messiah and shows them that Christ's mission is a supernatural one - to save all mankind.

Sacred Scripture contained the prophecy that God would bring about salvation through the redemptive passion and death of the Messiah. The Cross does not mean failure: it is the route chosen by God for Christ to achieve definitive victory over sin and death (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24). Many of our Lord's contemporaries failed to understand His supernatural mission because they misinterpreted the Old Testament texts. No one knew the meaning of Sacred Scripture like Jesus. And, after Him, only the Church has the mission and responsibility of conserving Scripture and interpreting it correctly: "All that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 12).

28-35. The Master's presence and words restore the disciples' spirits and give them new and lasting hope. "There were two disciples on their way to Emmaus. They were walking along at a normal pace, like so many other travelers on that road. And there, without any fuss, Jesus appears to them, and walks with them, His conversation helping to alleviate their tiredness. I can well imagine the scene, just as dusk is falling. A gentle breeze is blowing. All around are fields ripe with wheat, and venerable olive trees, their branches shimmering in the soft glowing light.

"Jesus joins them as they go along their way. Lord, how great you are, in everything! But You move me even more when You come down to our level, to follow us and to seek us in the hustle and bustle of each day. Lord, grant us a childlike spirit, pure eyes and a clear mind so that we may recognize You when You come without any outward sign of Your glory.

"The journey ends when they reach the village. The two disciples who, without realizing it, have been deeply stirred by the words and love shown by God made man, are sorry to see Him leaving. For Jesus 'appeared to be going further' (Luke 24:28). This Lord of ours never forces Himself on us. He wants us to turn to Him freely, when we begin to grasp the purity of His Love which He has placed in our souls. We have to hold Him back ('they constrained Him') and beg Him: 'Stay with us, for it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent' (Luke 24:29).

"That's just like us-always short on daring, perhaps because we are insincere, or because we feel embarrassed. Deep down, what we are really thinking is: 'Stay with us, because our souls are shrouded in darkness and You alone are the light. You alone can satisfy this longing that consumes us.' For 'we know full well which among all things fair and honorable is the best-to possess God for ever' (St. Gregory Nazianzen, "Epistolae", 212).

"And Jesus stays. Our eyes are opened, as were those of Cleopas and his companion, when Christ breaks the bread; and, though He vanishes once more from sight, we too will find strength to start out once more - though night is falling - to tell the others about Him, because so much joy cannot be kept in one heart alone.

"The road to Emmaus-our God has filled this name with sweetness. Now the entire world has become an Emmaus, for the Lord has opened up all the divine paths of the earth" (St. J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 313f).

32. If you were an apostle, these words of the disciples of Emmaus should rise spontaneously to the lips of your professional companions when they meet you along the way of their lives" ("The Way", 917).

33-35. The disciples now feel the need to return to Jerusalem immediately; there they find the Apostles and some other disciples gathered together with Peter, to whom Jesus has appeared.

In sacred history, Jerusalem was the place where God chose to be praised in a very special way and where the prophets carried out their main ministry. God willed that Christ should suffer, die and rise again in Jerusalem, and from there the Kingdom of God begins to spread (cf. Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). In the New Testament the Church of Christ is described as "the Jerusalem above" (Galatians 4:26), "the Heavenly Jerusalem" (Hebrews 12:22) and the "new Jerusalem" (Revelation 21:2).

The Church began in the Holy City. Later on, St. Peter, not without a special intervention of Providence, moved to Rome, thereby making that city the center of the Church. Just as Peter strengthened these first disciples in the faith, so too Christians of all generations have recourse to the See of Peter to strengthen their faith and thereby build up the unity of the Church: "Take away the Pope and the Catholic Church would no longer be catholic. Moreover, without the supreme, effective and authoritative pastoral office of Peter the unity of Christ's Church would collapse. It would be vain to look for other principles of unity in place of the true one established by Christ Himself [...]. We would add that this cardinal principle of holy Church is not a supremacy of spiritual pride and a de- sire to dominate mankind, but a primacy of service, ministration and love. It is no vapid rhetoric which confers on Christ's vicar the title: 'Servant of the servants of God'" (Paul VI, "Ecclesiam Suam", 83).

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

The Economy of Resurrection

by Andrew Prior

Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

Cleopas and his friend had high hopes about Jesus. "We had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel." (Luke 24:21) The Messiah, it was thought, would come and drive out the Romans, and all the other oppressors in a great victory and justice would reign.

But Jesus was dead. He didn't even fight back. (Luke 23:47-53) It's not as if his followers were unwilling to fight; he refused. He insisted they not resist!

NT Wright says

The crucifixion of Jesus was ... the complete and final devastation of their hope. Crucifixion is what happens to people who think they are going to liberate Israel and find out, too late, that they are mistaken. It is not simply that Jesus' followers knew from Deuteronomy that a crucified person was under God's curse. Nor was it simply that they had not yet worked out a theology of Jesus' atoning death. The crucifixion already had, for them, a perfectly clear theological as well as political meaning: It meant that the exile was still continuing, that God had not forgiven Israel's sins, and that pagans were still ruling the world. Their thirst for redemption for God's light and truth to come and lead them had still not been satisfied.

So they are walking away from the City of God in despair. The City of God remains in the hands of the unjust and the evil. The Promised Land is far distant. They are exiles in their own land.

Things are as they always were. The rich rule. The Tony Abbot of the day has kept the peace, and the country is still safe in the care of Rome. And the poor? Who cares... it's their fault, after all; God blesses those who are righteous.

In their despair Jesus approaches them and is unrecognized. "Are you the only one who doesn't know what has happened?" they ask. (Luke 24:18) The irony is, of course, that he is the only one who does know what has happened.

It is here that the Good News of resurrection is preached.

25 Then he said to them, 'Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?' 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. (Luke 24)

"It is the suffering Christ, the suffering God by which Scripture is to be interpreted." (Preaching Peace)

[He] begins to make of the story of his life and death a way of opening the imagination of his disciples, offering a new interpretation of texts which they already knew, so that they, not yet dead, might begin to live... James Alison

The new imagination sees the scripture they already knew with new eyes, with eyes which were opened. In that imagination they see the scriptures from a completely different point of view, inside a new paradigm; they see Promised Land, Messiah, and Kingdom of God, in a whole new way.

Of course, Cleopas was not familiar with paradigm shifts! That is our language. But his companion is unnamed, and can stand in for anyone of us, as we walk our road of despair at the state of the world, seeing only defeat and oppression. The Good News to which our eyes is opened will be re-expressed by each generation, in its own language.

The trouble is that we too often scarcely open our eyes. The church becomes the oppressor.

Girard says that "myth" is written from the perspective ... of the perpetrators of collective violence..." Myth does not mean an 'old story.' In this context it means the story the nation lives by, especially the story told by the victors, also known as the government and its supporters. Our history is a myth.

The Good News of the crucifixion and resurrection - they are not separate events - is that they are a key point in an alternative history that we call Gospel . This history is written "from the perspective of the victim... In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you have for the first time in history the permanent survival of the victim's perspective becoming a thematic in history ..."

The death and resurrection of Jesus turns our received history - our imposed history - on its head. It lets us critique all the stories we have been told about who we are. And if we are rich, it judges us because our being at the top, even if only relatively so, is always at the expense of a victim.

The doctrine that all have sinned reflects the fact that we are all enmeshed in a system that is founded on violence and oppression. And we are stuck in it, whether we are Cleopas, or whether we are Pilate, pushed and pulled and powerless in the face of political pressures.

We are told that Cleopas' heart burned within him. But as I walked beside him listening, I was appalled. You see, it is not so hard to see that penal substitutionary atonement, which claims "Christ's sacrifice on the cross is a substitutionary sacrifice to a wrathful God who otherwise would be punishing us sinners... goes back to the old logic of the ancient practices and theologies of sacrifice." It clearly makes God no different from the arbitrary and jealous tyrant Gods of Olympus, or from a super version of a hardline moralist dictator. (Nuechterlein) Violence and oppression rule.

Neither is it so hard to see that "[T]he responsibility of the cross's violence lies fully with us human beings and not with God. John 3:16 tells us that God gave us the Son out of love, not wrath. In other Johannine language: God gave his Lamb to our satanic engines of sacrifice so that this sin would be taken away from us. We finally understand that if 'God requires mercy not sacrifice,' then we are the ones, not God, who have required sacrifice all along." Ibid

Until, that is, we look with our Emmaus opened eyes at what our less extreme theologies say! How many of us are happy with the notion that Jesus is very God; that is, the way he acts is how God acts? Jesus
disappointed [the disciples with his] ... inability or unwillingness to defend himself, to achieve victory with shock and awe. He let himself get killed. Fool. God's emissary would never let that happen. God is all powerful, so also would his agent be. It did not occur to Jesus' followers that he would choose to not use this potential power in his own defense or in retribution.

Well and good on paper, all this, but it means that

"Beyond the cross there isn't a reservoir of awesome force. The power of God just is the weakness of the cross. The cross exhausts what we mean by "the power of God," with no remainder. As Bonhoeffer says, God is weak and powerless in the world, and that is precisely the way, the only way, in which God is with us and helps us. .... There is no Big Stick, no Big Power Switch sitting in reserve. The weakness of the cross is the only way God rules the world. The. Only. Way."( Beck)

Is this good news?

Saved through suffering!? Not fighting back!? Weakness will win over tyranny!? How can this be so?

When logic kicks in I realize that this stranger from some other place has a silver tongue, but his message does not match the reality of life. We need a Lord "mighty in deed and word before God."

Cleopas insists we invite the stranger for tea. And he reaches out and takes the bread, and blesses, breaks, and gives it to us. And in that moment - for just that moment - I see it is Him. It is all true! I see the world stood on end! My eyes are opened.

And we race back to Jerusalem to tell the others that we have seen him, and that we have seen and heard how the world really is! Messiah has come.

But the night is cold, the road is just as long, and despite all Cleopas' enthusiasm, I can't see it when we get back. They're full of the news about Peter seeing him, but I am standing alone in the crowd, wondering. It sometimes seems a very small thing that a man might be raised from the dead. It's a far easier thing than to trust that the whole world is upside down! I can't see how to even begin living that.

When I began theological college, it was horrible. We had a baby who didn't sleep past 4am - on a good night. We felt profound culture shock moving from a poor desert tribe into an affluent inner suburb. The study was intense and challenging... and there was too much.

Each Wednesday in the first year I would go to the college Eucharist, and each Wednesday I would be put back together. I would see again a little of the world upside down. And I could manage one more week.

It still happens. At each Eucharist we stand around the table, poor, battered inside and out, leaning on sticks and walkers... and we see.

The economy of resurrection is not the economy of the world. There is no budget emergency - there is love to spare.

And some of the vision has begun to "stick." The diagnosis of the world and its endemic violence and injustice is no longer a theory. I see, and I experience, the injustice of our systems. I feel my enmeshment in Sin, the compromise of almost everything I do. I cannot not see the world this way.

Tech stores, bike shops, web sites where I would once spend hours, hobbies I once had - all these have faded. I have new appetites. The old diversions are not only boring. Some of them offend me. I have been changed.

How will Kingdom happen? How does suffering, death and resurrection "fund" Kingdom? That's where I have to have trust, also known as... faith. When I see the bare faced media lies, the and power grabs of the powers-that-be, I cannot imagine how Kingdom justice and peace will ever replace them.

Yet in each breaking of the bread there is still a taste of Kingdom before, again, he disappears from my sight.

© Copyright Andrew Prior

On Jesus and Reunions and Forgiveness of Sins

by Dr. Janet H. Hunt

Gospel: Luke 24:36-49

A tornado hit my hometown last Thursday night.

And here is one thing that has caught my attention. People have been faithful about 'spreading the word.' My news feed is inundated with photographs and videos and suggestions about how to help and stories of loss and stories of survival and stories of courage and stories of hope. And again and again people have posted pictures of lost pets. One touched me so much, though, that I shared it, too. It is of the local sheriff and his dog. Apparently, when the tornado went through, the dog was the only one home. Unlike other animals who fled in their confusion and fear, this one stayed put. When the family returned, there she was in the rubble waiting for them.

Whenever we experience or encounter loss and hope, devastation and unexpected life, we get a window into what the disciples must have experienced that first Easter so long ago. No, of course, it would not be fair to compare them to family pets who in their terror fled for their lives even while that is exactly what they did on that fateful Friday. At the same time, before long they came to their senses and gathered together --- even those two who had made their way all the way to Emmaus realized the importance of being with the rest back in Jerusalem, especially after their encounter with Jesus over a meal. I don't know what would have become of them if Jesus had not made his presence known when he did. Indeed, perhaps if he had not told them to stay put for the time being they would have gone back to whatever their lives had been before they were called away from their fishing boats and other places of business three years before.

But Jesus did stand among them.
He reminded them his coming was for peace.
He invited them to see for themselves that it was him.
He ate a meal with them, proving he was not just a ghost.
He spent some time teaching, one more time.

He reminded them of all they had heard and seen and that though he would not be among them in the way that he had been, their work was just beginning.

And before he left, he told them to stay put and wait. Wait for the power that was yet to come.

So here is what I am wondering now.

What does it mean to stay put and wait as Jesus told his followers to do so long ago? I wonder how it is they spent those days and weeks. And I wonder when it is that you and I are just to stay put and wait. Like that beautiful and loyal dog did as it sat in the rubble, trusting her family would return. And I wonder how it is we are called to use such waiting time.

In his last words to them, Jesus tells them that when the time is right they will be proclaiming repentance and forgiveness of sins to all the world. And isn't repentance and forgiveness of sins always about reparation that makes true reunion possible? It has been heartwarming to see so many do what they can to make sure beloved pets are reunited with their families. I wonder if I have taken nearly seriously enough Jesus' call to be about this for all the people of this world --- that their reunions with God and with each other might be complete. And I wonder what it would look like if I would take that more seriously. Even knowing that our relationships with one another tend to be far more complex than those we share with our pets, still I wonder.

And I wonder this, too. What might it look like if I were even half as trusting as that beautiful animal? How might we live our lives differently if we did so knowing that one day --- and in some way --- every day even now, Jesus holds our faces in his hands just like that?

[Editor's Note: This message was edited.]

Source: Dancing with the Word

From Malankara World Journal Archives

Malankara World Journals with the Theme: Road to Emmaus

Volume 4 No 219: May 16, 2014
Road to Emmaus

Volume 3 No 139: April 25 2013
Focus: Emmaus Experience

Christian Persecution

The Assyrian Genocide As Part of the Christian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire

By Dr. Anahit Khosroeva

The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire is in both historiography and public memory almost solely associated with the murder of the Armenians. Although the Turkish government still denies that the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire fell victim to systematic murder, the extermination of the Armenians is far from being a "forgotten genocide." No book on the history of genocide can omit the case of the Armenians. Unfortunately, achieving the global remembrance of the genocide against the Armenians seems to have downplayed the fate of all other Christian minority groups in the Ottoman Empire such as Assyrians that suffered from ethnic cleansing and mass murder at the hands of the Sultan Abdul Hamid II and Young Turks.

SAYFO-Assyrian Genocide Centenary 1915-2019

Henry Morgenthau, who served as US ambassador in Constantinople until 1916 stated in his memoirs: "The Armenians are not the only subject people in Turkey which have suffered from this policy of making Turkey exclusively the country of the Turks. The story which I have told about the Armenians I could also tell with certain modi about the Greeks and the Syrians (Assyrians – A. Kh.)." (1)

Nevertheless, the suffering of the Assyrians is largely forgotten internationally and not recognized as genocide, which embitters the descendants of the victims. This ancient civilized nation forced faced the menace of total physical extermination – in the name of bringing about the insane plans of the Young Turks' to create a "pure" Turkish state and "Great Turan". The genocidal quality of the murderous campaigns against not only the Armenians, but also the Assyrians is obvious. Historians who realize that the Young Turks' population and extermination policies have to be analyzed together and understood as an entity are therefore often tempted to speak of a "Christian Genocide." The destruction of these two Christian communities was one aspect of the "homogenizing" process.

The Assyrian genocide occurred in the same circumstances as the Armenian genocide. It was part of the same process, taking place in the same locations and at the same time. At the turn of the 20th century the Assyrian people in the Ottoman Empire amounted to about one million (2) with common language, culture and national traditions. They were concentrated in the modern territory of Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. There were predominately large communities located in the lands near Hakkari Mountains of province of Van, such as the provinces of Diarbekir, Erzerum, Kharberd and Bitlis, also the regions of Urmia in Iran, Mosul - in Iraq, and the north-western regions of Syria.

Like other Christians living in the empire, Assyrians were treated as second-class citizens. Slavery was a common fate of Ottoman Christians. Many Assyrians studied in Turkish educational institutions, but getting the diplomas declined public positions of authority. They did not have even an opportunity to economically develop their regions. Turkish authorities dissolved the Assyrians among other nations in order to deprive them of the possibility of joining and putting up a united front. An active public policy was conducted to arouse national and religious animosity among the nations inhabiting those territories. Certainly, this kind of distribution of Assyrian people would make the process of their integration quite difficult, and this is what Turkish authorities were seeking.

The history of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, particularly of it last decade, is one of increasing internal weakness and deterioration in the machinery of Government and of sustained external pressure by the Great Powers, which ultimately led to the dissolution of the Empire. All the political, military and spiritual power belonged to the Turks which only served toward their interests. Under such circumstances, the Turks only managed to maintain the authority by violence. It was not accidental that the policy of slaughters, which scope increased in the 20th century and rose to the level of state policy, presented the most critical feature of the internal political and national life of the Ottoman Empire and its principal weapon in solving the national problems. Hence, the history of the Ottoman Empire of this period appears as infinite series of slaughters, tortures and demeaning the dignity of the Armenians and Assyrians.

During the Hamidian phase of Christian massacres the entire preparatory work was carried out not by the leadership of the ruling party, but in the depths of the supreme body of the state. It is known that sultan Abdul Hamid II exercised one-man rule and the important political decisions were made by him alone. He was in full concord with the bloodthirsty sultan. The tyranny of Abdul Hamid introduced a new element in the social dynamic of the Ottoman system. Victimization through atrocities was adopted as a method of government, as an instrument of repression, and as an acceptable policy in the treatment of a subject population. The Austria-Hungarian Ambassador to Constantinople defined it as "a crusade of Muslims against Christians". (3)

The apex of the Assyrian massacres organized by the Ottoman Empire was the slaughters of 1895-1896, perpetrated against the unarmed people in the peacetime. Its implementation ended in mass killings of the Assyrian population of the Ottoman Empire, which victims totaled 55 thousand. (4)

The genocidal nature of sultan Abdul Hamid's anti-Christians, in this case anti-Assyrian policy beyond any doubt. On June 2, 1895 "The New York Times" wrote about it: "We have the unanimous verdict of the native Christians of Turkey: Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, that the Sultan is personally responsible, not only because he gave direct orders that men, women, and children should be tortured, outraged, and murdered, but because for years past he has persistently followed a course that would infallibly end in just such a condition of things as the present". (5)

The massacres of the Assyrians, genocidal by nature were continuing in every region of the Ottoman Empire, where mass slaughters reached unprecedented levels. The Assyrian villages and towns were sacked by organized mobs or by Kurdish bands. Tens of thousands were driven from their homes. About 100 thousand Assyrian population of 245 villages forcibly converted to Islam. (6) Their property was plundered. Thousands of Assyrian women and girls were forced into Turkish and Kurdish harems. The massacres were perpetrated as barbarously as possible regardless of gender or age. Thus, atrocity became policy.

So, the Ottoman Empire entered the 20th century as a backward dictatorial state, which organized mass massacres of the diverse nations living in the Empire. The crisis embracing the political, economical and social spheres still deepened. Western Europeans countries wanted to get benefits interfering in Ottoman Empire's internal affairs. Turks, certainly, realized they were weakening gradually and the West becoming stronger by every day. The eyes of some European countries were cast Ottoman Empire with the intention how to find foothold or strengthen their position in the Middle East. They also tried to attract the Assyrians to their side in order to use them for pursuing their own political goals in these regions. To reach this goal they used every means, including religious activists. The European missionaries started pouring the regions where the Assyrians lived as a Christian community among Muslim majority.

After the Young Turks' revolution the people of the Empire hoped it was the dawning of new age in the history of their country. But as appeared shortly after, the Young Turks were ardent nationalists, who continued the policy of oppressions and slaughters, carried out prior to them by sultans. They were advocates of the idea of assimilation of all the nations of the Empire to create a "pure" Turkish nation, never stopping even before mass slaughters in order to execute that idea.

Thus, people changed, new rulers came, but the policy persisted. The Young Turks intended to transform the pluralistic Ottoman Empire into a homogeneous national state. No any Christians could have part in such a new society. The ambitions of the Young Turks, however, exceeded these primary goals.

According to Prof. Taner Akcam, the CUP had prior to WWI "formulated a policy that they began to execute in the Aegean region against Greeks and, during the war years, expanded to include the Assyrians, and especially the Armenians, a policy that eventually became genocidal…Detailed reports were prepared outlining the elimination of the Christian population." (7)

During one of the secret meetings the Young Turkish ideologist Dr. Nazim said: "… The massacre is necessary. I want Turks and only Turks to live on this soil and to be in full possession of it. The hell with all the non-Turkish elements, no matter what their nationality or religion is!" (8) According to Dr. Johannes Lepsius, the Young Turk party's program stated: "Sooner or later all the nations under the Turkish control will be turned into Turks. It is clear that they will not covert voluntarily and we will have to use force". (9)

The Young Turks would not wait for circumstances to define their policy. They would seek the opportunity to proceed with their plans. That occasion offered itself sooner than expected in 1914, when Europe plunged into World War I, and the Young Turk triumvirate secretly and eagerly brought their country into the world war.

During a talk with Dr. Mordtmann, an employee of the German Embassy, Turkish minister of interior Talaat Pasha said that, exploiting the opportunity of martial law, the Turkish government would eventually get rid of its internal enemies - the Christians - without fear of foreign diplomatic intervention. (10) Dr. Behaeddin Shakir, Executive Committee member told almost the same thing: "…We are in war, there is no danger of European intervention; the world press cannot protest, and even if they do, it will not bring any results. In the future the present problem will have become a matter of fact, the voices will fade and no one will dare to raise a voice of protest. We must take full advantage of these delicate circumstances, since they will not present themselves again…" (11)

On October 29, 1914 the Ottoman Empire announced the war against the Allies. While the world was busy taking sides in the war, the British and the Russians took advantage of the situation to win the Assyrian nation towards the Allies. Some Assyrian leaders were not in favor of rising against the Ottoman Empire, but the Turkish attitude against the Christians of the Empire made Assyrians submit to the suggestion offered by Allies to save the total elimination of their race. With support of majority of Assyrian leaders Patriarch Mar-Shimoun Benjamin declared siding with the Allies.

The Assyrians were trying to keep relationship with both England and Russia. It was strategically important for the British to gain the assistance of the Assyrians. This occurred by allowing the persecuted Assyrians their own homeland. Britain wanted to make sure that the Mosul land would be part of the newly-colonized Iraq instead of the future state of Turkey.

Russia, unlike Britain, had neither made great political efforts nor to had promised an Independent Assyrian State in order to win the support of the Assyrians. For the Assyrians, Russia, as well being the most credible power in the region was a state that might bring them the best standard of living. Just a little earlier before Turkey entered to war, the Assyrian patriarch predicting his people upcoming catastrophe wrote a letter to the Russian authorities asking for weapons to defend his people and sent it with a messenger. The messenger was intercepted by Turkish intelligence and sent to Constantinople for further instructions. In future, this gave the Turks an excuse to start whatever they had in mind. Turkish authorities circulated false rumors as if Russia armed Assyrians against Kurds. The Turkish soldiers and Kurdish bands began attacking and killing the Assyrian people and looting their villages.

Years before the WWI and even the Young Turk's Revolution, in October of 1906, R. Termen, Russian vice-consul in the province of Van received the Russian government's order to meet with the Assyrian Patriarch Mar-Shimoun Benjamin. The main goal of this meeting was to make a pact with Assyrians providing for cooperation in case of war with Turkey. During that meeting Assyrian patriarch agreed to help Russians, and informed vice-consul that "because of the crisis in the Empire discontent was growing inside his community day by day, and he was in fear one day it could end with huge disaster." (12)

As soon as war began in August 1914, the Turkish government sent a message to the Assyrian Patriarch, desiring that the Assyrians should at very least remain neutral to the Ottoman entry into the war. In return it promised to listen to the complaints of the Assyrians in the region and to institute reforms in all areas. The Assyrians would be given weapons, the new schools, the medical clinics would be opened, tribes' leaders and clergy would be paid salaries from the Ottoman government. From the strategic point of view, the mountainous parts of Hakkari where the Assyrians lived were important to the Ottoman government. This was because Iran, despite having declared its neutrality in WWI, could be used by Russia from the north and Britain from the south as a route to attack Ottoman forces. It was especially important to win over the Assyrians to the Ottoman side since the Armenians were already in revolt. Of course, the promises of Turkish authorities to Assyrians were not kept.

During the World War I, the Assyrians who joined the war on the side of Russia certainly gave a good advantage to the Russian units in the area. With the Russian advance into eastern Anatolia, Armenian units within the Russian army were of great importance. Similarly, armed Assyrian units, who knew the area well, were better adapted to the environmental conditions than Russians. The Assyrian units were able to obtain support from local people and, in the areas in which they were located, served as guides and advance guards for the Russian army.

According to Dr. Tessa Hofmann, the main difference in the treatment of the Aramaic-speaking Christians (Assyrians - A. Kh.) can be described in the following ways: They fell victim predominantly to direct and massive killings by the Ottoman forces and their Kurdish auxiliaries in two states: the Ottoman Empire and northwest Iran, which the Ottomans occupied twice, in 1914 and 1918. (13)

It is truth! The Assyrians endured massacres not only inside the Ottoman realm but on its periphery as well. Iran became a battleground on which acts of mass violence were perpetrated against these undesirable elements. The Assyrians of the region of Urmia were among the most unfortunate. Already in September 1914 more than 30 Armenian and Assyrian villages were scorched out. (14)

On October 3, 1914, Russian vice-Consul in Urmia Vedenski along with the local governor visited Assyrian villages which were already ruined by Kurds, Turks and Iranian rabble. He wrote: "The consequences of jihad are everywhere. In one village I saw burnt corpses of Assyrians with big sharp stakes in their bellies. The Assyrian houses are burnt and destroyed. The fire is still burning in the neighboring villages". (15)

Success of Russian troops at the Caucasian front in 1915 "made" the Young Turks undertake steps to get rid of the "interfering" non-Turkish population. Slaughters of Assyrians took place not only close to the front line, but also in distant places.

The unexpected retreat of the Russian army from Urmia in January 1915 had further tragic consequences for Assyrians living in Iran. Turkish troops along with Kurdish detachments organized mass slaughter of the Assyrian population. Only 25,000 people managed to escape death and take refuge in Transcaucasia. (16)

Turks, furious about the occupation of Dilman by the Russian army in April 1915, brutally murdered the populations of the 20 neighboring Assyrian villages. (17) Several hundred Assyrian women were undressed and brought out to the central street. They were given an hour to decide whether they would change their religion or be killed. According to an eyewitness the blood of those killed women was flowing down from the central street of Dilman. (18)

The manner in which the Assyrian slaughters and massacres were organized and implemented serves as irrefutable evidence of the Turkish government's decision to eliminate a people whose nationalism and Christian identity ran contrary to the Young Turks' own ethnic and religious chauvinism.

The governor of Diarbekir, Reshid Bey, directed some of the earliest of the Christian exterminations in his region. The Assyrians of the Mardin, Midiat, Urfa and Jezire regions were especially victimized. Most brutal slaughters of tens of thousands Assyrians were perpetrated here. The priest of the local Chaldean Assyrians, Joseph Naayem, reported that the "massacres in this region had taken place since April 8, 1915. The culprits gathered men over 16 years of age, beat, tortured, killed them, and afterwards put turbans on their heads and photographed them in order to prove to the world that Christians oppressed Muslims". (19)

The Turkish armed forces slaughtered Assyrians in the region of Tur-Abdin beginning on June 5, 1915, where 10,000 Assyrians were murdered. (20) One document reads: "The skulls of small children were smashed with rocks; the bodies of girls and women, who resisted rape or conversion to Islam, were chopped into pieces; men were mostly beheaded, or thrown into the nearby river; the clergy, monks and nuns were skinned or burnt alive." (21)

On June 30, 1915, the American consul in Kharberd Leslie A. Davis wrote to US Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, that the Turks have found another way of exterminating the Christians – forced emigration. "On Saturday, June 28, it was publicly announced that all the Armenians and Assyrians were to leave after five day." (22)

In the provinces of Diarbekir and Bitlis the Assyrians mainly were deported together with the Armenian population.

So, as we could see, once the Christian society was completely paralyzed, the Young Turks' government issued the deportation edicts. Throughout the spring and summer of 1915, across the length and breadth of the Ottoman Empire, the Assyrians were ordered to prepare themselves for removal from their homes. Their destination was unknown. With only few days notice in most places the entire villages and towns were deported. Thousand upon thousands were set upon the roads, forced to abandon homes and belongings. Within days and weeks, travel for the deportees turned into a test of physical strength and of the will to survive. Whole families, young and old, children and women, were thrown into the open, to walk by day, and sleep on the ground by night. Families began to wither from exhaustion. This was the slowest way to die. Weakening day by day, with food recourses running out, tens of thousands perished silently as their bodies were reduced to skin and bones. Countless people died of thirst. Some of the young girls were taken as servant girls; others were seized as unwilling brides.

The governor of Van Jevdet Bey had a "butcher" regiment of 8,000 soldiers that carried out unprecedented massacres. Here the genocide of the Assyrians was perpetrated with unspeakable brutality. All possible methods of killing were used: shooting, stabbing, stoning, crushing, throat cutting, throwing off of roofs, drowning, and decapitation.

In June 1915, the armies of Jevdet Bey and general Halil Bey organized a general massacre in the vilayet of Bitlis which lasted throughout the month. The Assyrians were mercilessly killed in their houses and on the streets.

In November, 1916 the New York Times published an article by Dr. William Rockwell titled "The Total Number of Armenian and Assyrian Dead", in which the author noted: "The Armenians are not the only unfortunates; the Assyrians also have been decimated. Great numbers have perished, but no one knows how many". (23) Another American periodical, the "Atlantic Monthly" wrote: "Within six months they (Young Turks - A. Kh.) succeeded in doing what the Old Turks were unable to accomplish in six centuries. …Thousands of Nestorians and Syrians (Assyrians - A. Kh) vanished from the face of the earth". (24)

The Assyrians themselves have estimated that they lost 2/3s of their people during World War I.

The systematic manner in which the slaughters of Assyrians was conducted, along with the documented intentions of Turkish government planned and, to a great extent, succeeded in fulfilling a policy of genocide toward the Assyrians. WWI was an ideal context in which Turkey could accomplish this goal: the war not only absorbed the recourses and focus of the world's major powers, but it also created a morally ambiguous atmosphere where brutality and death on a massive scale could be justified or trivialized. The Assyrians whose Christian identity and cultural durability were perceived by Turkish nationalists to be undesirable obstacles to the realization of a Pan-Turkic nation – found themselves bearers of a misfortune with reverberations lasting to this very day.

The criminal policy of Sultan Abdul Hamid II and the Young Turks against the Assyrians permits us to conclude that at the end of the 19th - early 20th century a real genocide was implemented according to the criteria of international law. As a consequence of actions taken by the Ottoman Turks with their intention of race purification, today the Assyrians have been forced to live as a stateless people in the Diaspora. They hope that countries such as Turkey harboring such a past will be compelled to evaluate their past with objectivity and humanitarianism, so that future evils may be forestalled. It is the moral responsibility of the international community to recognize this historical injustice. By now, the Assyrian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire officially has been recognized by the International Association of Genocide Scholars in 2007 and by the Swedish Parliament in 2010.

About The Author:

Dr. Anahit Khosroeva is a Senior Researcher at the Institute of History, National Academy of Sciences in Armenia and is a member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars.


1 Morgenthau Henry, Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, reedited by Ara Sara (Ann Arbor, MI: Talderon Press, 2000), p. 214.

2 Sahak Mesrop, Hayun Taretsuyts [Armenian Calendar] (Constantinople, 1913), pp. 67-68.

3 Akcam Taner, Insan Haklari ve Ermeni Sorunu: Ittihat ve Terakki'den Kurtulus Savasi'na (Ankara, 2002), s. 93.

4 Naayem Joseph, Shall This Nation Die? (New York: Chaldean Rescue, 1921), p. 274.

5 Armenians at the Twilight of the Ottoman Era, Compiled and edited by V. Mekhitarian and Rev. V. Ohanian, News Reports from the International Press, V. I, The New York Times 1890-1914 (Genocide Documentation and Research Center, 2011), p. 184.

6 Sargizov Lev, Druzhba idushchaya iz glubini vekov (Assiriytsi v Armenii) [A Friendship Coming from the Ancient Times (The Assyrians in Armenia)] (Atra, # 4, St. Petersburg, 1992), p. 71.

7 Akcam Taner, The Ottoman Documents and the Genocidal Policies of the Committee for Union and Progress (Ittihat ve Terakki) Toward the Armenians in 1915 (Genocide Studies and Prevention, Volume 1, no. 2, 2006), pp. 133-134.

8 Rifat Mevlan Zade, Osmanyan heghapokhutyan mut tsalkere ev Ittihati hayajinj tsragrere, [The Obscure Folds of the Ottoman Revolution and the Ittihad's Plans for Extermination of the Armenians] (Yerevan: "KPH", 1990), pp. 98-99.

9 Lepsius Johannes, Bericht über die Lage des Armenischer Volkes in Türkei (Potsdam: Tempelverlag, 1916), p. 220

10 Lepsius Johannes, Deutschland und Armenian 1914-1918: Sammlung diplomatischer Aktenstücke, Herausgegeben und Eingeleitet (Potsdam: Tempelverlag, 1919), p. 26.

11 Levon Mesrob, Verabrogner, Der Zor (Paris, 1955), p. 258.

12 Hambaryan Azat, Azatagrakan sharzhumnere Arevmtyan Hayastanum (1898-1908) [The Liberation Movements in Western Armenia (1898-1908)] (Yerevan, 1999), p. 458.

13 Hofmann Tessa, The Genocide against the Christians in the Late Ottoman Period, 1912-1922, The Asia Minor Catastrophe and the Ottoman Greek Genocide, ed. By George N. Shirinian (The Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center, Inc., Bloomingdale, IL, 2012), p. 60.

14 Khosroeva Anahit, The Assyrian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire and Adjacent Territories, The Armenian Genocide: Cultural and Ethical Legacies, Edited by Richard G. Hovannisian (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2nd printing, 2008), p. 271.

15 Sargizov Lev, Assiriytsi stran Blizhnego i Srednego Vostoka [The Assyrians of the Near and Middle East] (Yerevan, 1979), p. 25-26.

16 Yohannan Abraham, The Death of a Nation (New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1916), p. 120.

17 Khosroeva Anahit, Asorineri tseghaspanutiune Osmanian Turkiaum ev harakic tiurkabnak vairerum (XIX dari verj – XX dari arajin qarord) [The Assyrian Genocide in the Ottoman Turkey and Adjacent Turkish Territories (late 19th – first quarter of the 20th century] (Yerevan: Institute of History, National Academy of Sciences, 2004), p. 82.

18 Naayem J., Shall This Nation Die? p. 288.

19 Alichoran Joseph, Du génocide à la Diaspora: Les Assyro-Chaldéens au XX siècle (Paris: Revue Istina, 1994), p. 370.

20 Hovhannisian Nicolay, The Armenian Genocide (Yerevan: Zangak 97, 2005), p. 51.

21 Documentation on the Genocide Against the Assyrian-Syryoye-Chaldean-Arameic People (Seyfo) (Frankfurt, 1999), p. 7,

22 Davis A. Leslie, The Slaughterhouse Province. An American Diplomat's Report on the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1917 (New Rochelle, NY: Aristide D. Caratzas, 1989), pp. 143-144.

23 Kloian D. Richard, The Armenian Genocide: News Accounts from the American Press (1915-1922) (Richmond, CA: ACC Books, 1985), pp.188-189.

24 Ibid., p. 193.

© 2015, Assyrian International News Agency. All Rights Reserved.

Question: Is The Correct Spelling SAIFO, SAYFO or SANFO

by V T John

My dear Sir,

I have a serious doubt as the the spelling of the word SAIFO. It is shown in hoardings etc as ܤܰܢܦܐ

Here instead of Yoodh the 10th letter of the W.Syriac Alphabet Noon the 14th letter is used as the second letter of the word whereby the word can only be read as SANFO. Will any one kindly clarify ?

[Editor's Note: We seek reader's comments on the question posed by Hon. V.T. John. You can rely to the email and we will forward the answers to to Hon. John. Interesting comments may be published in a future edition of Malankara World Journal.]

Regular Features

Health Tip: Three Reasons A Fitness and Wellness Regimen Can Empower Women
Celebrity Trainer Holly Perkins Says Women Should Look Great To Please Themselves, Not Others

From an early age, women have foisted on them images of the "ideal" female body, and self-esteem can plummet when they fail to measure up.

But celebrity trainer Holly Perkins says it's time women stop buying into those societal pressures.

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Certainly, women should want to improve their health, get fit and look gorgeous all at the same time, says Perkins, who recently released a home-exercise system designed specifically for women called baladea (, with regimens she developed to fuse fitness and wellness exercises.

But getting in shape needs to be something women want for themselves, and not an effort to mimic some airbrushed image on a magazine cover at the supermarket, she says.

Perkins realized several years ago that her clients met their weight-loss goals faster when she created programs that addressed both their fitness and wellness needs at the same time.

They also felt happier about themselves. So she incorporated yoga and other stress-relieving and relaxation techniques into the baladea program.

Perkins offers three reasons why the right fitness and wellness regimen can empower women and emancipate them from society's image pressures:

Because looking good makes you feel good. That's especially true when you're trying to look good to please yourself and not others, Perkins says. "There's this sense of empowerment when you exercise, eat a healthier diet and lose weight because it's what you want and not because of peer pressure or societal pressures," she says.

Self-esteem rises when you improve your image on your terms, she says, and as a result "looking gorgeous never felt better."

Because the science says so. Research shows that stress can keep you from losing weight and might even cause you to add pounds. Even if you eat well and exercise, an excessive amount of stress can counteract all your efforts. That's why meshing fitness and wellness works so well, Perkins says.

"Stress reduction and relaxation can significantly improve weight loss," she says. "That allows you to look and feel your absolute best."

Because while improving your look, you also become healthier. You will feel amazing not just because of elevated self-esteem, but because your body really is functioning better because of the diet and exercise, Perkins says. Your energy level will rise and "you will feel ready for anything," she says.

"You can look awesome and you can feel happy at the same time," Perkins says. "It's all about letting your true self shine."

About Holly Perkins

Holly Perkins is a national fitness expert and developer of baladea (, a customizable fitness and wellness system for women. She holds a bachelor's degree in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), one of the most prestigious certifications in the industry. She believes that making fitness a fun lifestyle is the best way to achieve true change. As one of the nation's leading weight-loss experts and a highly sought-after celebrity trainer, she has been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and on national TV shows.

Recipe: Mixed Berry Crepes

by BistroMD

Filled with fresh ricotta cheese and topped with a variety of fresh, juicy berries, these crepes are easy to make and perfect for a weekend brunch.

Yield: Serves 4.


· 2 cups of milk
· 2 eggs
· 1 cup and 2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
· 1/2 teaspoon of salt
· 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil
· 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest
· 1 and a1/2 pint of strawberries (hulled and quartered)
· 1 and a 1/2 pint of blueberries
· 1 and a 1/2 pint of raspberries
· 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
· 3 and a1/2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar, or to taste
· 1-1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
· 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
· Confectioners' sugar for dusting


In a blender, combine the milk, eggs, flour, salt, oil and zest. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for a half hour.

In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, lemon juice and 2 Tablespoons of the granulated sugar, or to taste. In another bowl, combine the ricotta and the remaining 1 and a 1/2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar. Set aside.

In a crepe pan over medium heat, melt 1 teaspoons of the butter to coat the pan evenly. Pour in 1/4 cup of the batter and spread with a spatula. Cook until the crepe is golden underneath, for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the crepe over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Repeat the process to make 8 crepes

Cover half of each crepe with the ricotta mixture and 1/4 cup of the berry mixture and roll into a tube. Place 2 crepes on each individual plate. Top 1/2 cup of berries and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Serve immediately.

Family Special: Parenting - Consistently Inconsistent

by Shawn McEvoy, Managing Editor

But if you're not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe - some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them - then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong.
- Romans 14:23, The Message

Never brag on a four-and-a-half year-old.

One Saturday long ago, my wife and I could not have been more proud of our son, Jordan. He had been invited to a good friend's birthday party at a local YMCA, where they have a rock climbing wall, and the party was going to be Jordan's first chance to try it out. He'd been gearing up for it all week, even telling the stylists at mom's hair salon that he was going to get to climb a wall - just like Spider-Man. He even opted out of a post-haircut lollipop, completely on his own, rationalizing that because he'd be eating cake and ice cream later that day, he didn't want to have too many sweets.

Anyway, his mom had in her mind that the party was from 3:00 to 5:00 on Saturday afternoon. But as Valerie drove into the parking lot, she saw people leaving. Uh-oh. Yep... the cake was mostly eaten, the presents were being packed, and Nathan's birthday party had actually been from 1:00 to 3:00.

How would you expect the typical four-year-old boy to react to the news that he had just missed the whole party?

Well, when Val got down on her knees and looked him in the eyes and told him what had happened, he threw his arms around her neck and hugged her. He said, "I love you even when you mess up, Mommy." Nathan's mom invited Jordan over to their home to watch Nathan open his presents (they hadn't done this at the party) and play. Jordan eagerly accepted. To my knowledge, he never got any cake. But when he came home, he told me this had been, "the best day ever," as it had also included going to the gym with daddy that morning, and now he was going to get to watch some football.

It was his mom who was beating herself up, but the boy was as calm and pleasant and forgiving and full of joy as ever.

That night, at a fellowship for our Adult Bible class from church, some friends asked about the kids, and we told the story of Jordan's day. Jaws dropped. I went to bed feeling like the world's most blessed (and amazing) dad.

Then came Sunday morning.

First, Jordan decided he wanted neither a shower nor a bath, though he needed one. This may sound normal to you, but this boy generally loves getting clean. After we got him dressed he was fine. In the car, he informed me he didn't want to go to church. This wasn't unusual, as it was just a statement, one he has made before. But when we got to the church parking lot... he WOULD NOT get out of the car. When we finally got into the education building... he WOULD NOT go into his class. He was in between crying and screaming. Where did this come from?!

We pulled out every prayer and parenting trick we know. Ultimately, we presented our son a choice, and made it clear: go into the class, which would be fun (it always is! He always has loved it and participated and knows the Bible stories), or - go home with Daddy and face an entire day in his room without watching football with Dad, without his toys, without his games. He said he couldn't choose. We told him he had to. He chose option B, one that would literally be, for a boy of his age (and for his parents to carry out as well), Hell-on-earth for a day. My son, the same one who had mused to me the day before, "I think Heaven is going to be just great," the same one who had wowed us with a positive attitude and forgiveness beyond his years, was choosing THE worst possible day we could give him.

But we did give him one more chance. And another. Valerie went into the class with him. He screamed. The teacher tried to soothe him with "Mommy's coming back" talk, but this was no separation anxiety issue. This was, for whatever reason, the day my only son decided to exert his will at any or all costs.

I honestly feel bad in some way that we still put him in the class - not only for disrupting it but because we so didn't want to see him suffer the consequences of a choice we WOULD have carried out because HE had chosen it. We just knew he'd be happier going forward with class.


Later, as I sat down to write about this, I realized that even in missing church that morning (I was too confused and angry (not to mention late) to attend the service that morning), I had still learned two huge lessons:

1) Inconsistency, thy name is humanity. Jordan is nothing if not his father's son. If there is one thing I lack that I would prize above all other things in my life it would be consistency - of actions, thoughts, behavior, character. To not go lax on a health plan the moment people start to notice and give me praise. To not raise my voice or let the wrong word slip a day or two after studying how the man of God should speak. To act like I believe the things I say.

A good friend in college was once asked by a young person what virtue he thought it was most important for the Christian to achieve. "Consistency," he said. I overheard that... and it has stung like a barb in my brain ever since, as I knew the only thing I was consistent about was being inconsistent. Honestly, it's what I sympathize with my wife most about - that I am not sure she can count on my action or reaction to ever be what she expects, or the same from one situation to another. And oh Lord if that doesn't sting again seeing the same potential in my son. But then there's the flip side: is Jordan really behaving like me, or have I for too long behaved like a little boy? I think that's more likely. And eye-opening. Perfect Christian with spot-on answers one day, sheer rebellion the next. Great in a crisis, raging at petty things. I've been living like a child for most of my life.

2) That age-old theological question about free will and Heaven and Hell and God's role in sending people to one place or the other? It plays itself out all the time, I see now, in people of all ages. I love my son to no end, but no matter how we tried to "share the good news" with him, he was "hell-bent" to choose utter torment... almost just because he could. At the same time, we loved him so much that we were determined to make sure he knew the consequences of his choices and actions, extend mercy in the form of extra chance after extra chance, and in the end help him find the right way.

I didn't relish what I was willing to let happen if my son had willed it. But let it happen I would have. And so will our Father, if his children - who are by nature completely inconsistent - insist on their own way.

Jesus was marvelously, amazingly consistent. No wonder He is the model, He is the way, He is life, and the only hope we have to avoid a hellish eternity.

Intersecting Faith & Life:

What action can you do today that would show someone important in your life that you are taking steps to be more dependable, consistent, trustworthy, or more grown-up?

Further Reading

Hebrews 13:7-8

Source: Crosswalk the Devotional

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