The Assyrian Tragedy
His Holiness Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII, Catholicos Patriarch was the Supreme Head of the Church of the East, its Universal Pastor from 1920 until his assassination in 1975. Born in southern Turkey, His Holiness was raised with care, having received theological and liturgical training in the Middle East and in England at St. Augustine's College and later Cambridge University. He worked tirelessly fighting for the Church of the East and his Assyrian people. Often in danger of his life, he met with foreign diplomats and heads of states appealing to the League of Nations and later, the United Nations all the while contacting world leaders and discussing with them the Assyrian Question. In later years, he was received throughout the Middle East by Islamic Heads of state in a most respectful and amiable of circumstances which speaks to his worldly sophistication and influence as a truly great leader. Mar Eshai Shimun was a profound scholar, an exemplary writer, and a charismatic speaker as well as being a recognized subject matter expert in Ecclesiastical History and an authority the on History of Christianity in the Middle East and Far East. An innovative leader of the Church and Assyrian people, well schooled in both the ecclesiastical aspects of his vocation, as well as geo-political issues. Attuned to the needs of his flock and nation he mindfully navigated the tenuous landscape with uncompromising ethics, integrity and superior leadership, which were the hallmarks of his character and a truly remarkable Patriarch. His agility in managing both the secular and temporal affairs bespoke his magnificent stewardship of the Assyrian people and the Church of the East.
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