His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV



Catholicos Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East

His Holiness was born on September 15, 1935, in the province of Arbil, Bet Nahrain. He is the fourth in the line of succession to the Bishopric See of Urmia bearing the sanctimonious title of Mar Dinkha.

He gained his elementary education under the wise tutorship of his grandfather, Rev. Benyamin Soro. In 1947, at the age of twelve, he was entrusted to the care of His Beatitude, the late Mar Yosip Khnanisho, Metropolitan and the Patriarchal representative for all of Iraq.

After two years of very strict study, he gathered the basic knowledge in theology to qualify him to undertake an active role in the service of the Church. Thus, on September 12, 1949, he was ordained deacon by the second highest ranking ecclesiastic of The Assyrian Church of the East. Eight years later, on August 15, 1957, deacon Khnania was ordained to priesthood, once again, by no other than his mentor and religious scholar Mar Yosip Khnanisho.

Due to the political upheavals during and after World War I, a large number of the clergy lost their lives. The Church was on the threshold of disintegrating for lack of viable Church organization or priesthood. His Beatitudes Mar Yosip Khnanisho was aware of the dire circumstances prevalent in that country. This deplorable situation was on his mind when he carefully selected young priest Khnania and trained him for the difficult task ahead as he was assigned as a priest in Teheran, Iran, in 1957. This young priest in no time built a very viable, well organized and progressive institution that attracted its strayed adherents by the thousands.

Consenting to overwhelming popular demand, Rev. Khnania was consecrated as bishop by His Holiness, the late Mar Eshai Shimon on Sunday, October 17, 1968, in the church of Martyr Mar Gewargis, in Teheran.

After the unexpected death of His Holiness, Mar Eshai Shimon, the Church of the East had an urgent need to restore the leadership. In 1976 the prelates of the church convened in London to elect a new Catholicos Patriarch. At this historic meeting, the consentaneous choice of all the prelates in session was His Holiness Mar Dinkha as the most qualified candidate to fill this sublime post. After his consecration, His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV became the 120th successor in this line to the Apostolic Sea of Seculia-Ctesiphon.

Due to the unfavorable circumstances prevailing in the Middle East currently, His Holiness has moved his headquarters to Chicago on a temporary basis. Since his arrival here in 1980, he has been actively engaged in the building of the Church in this country and at the same time, administering the affairs of the Church throughout the world.

 Voice From The East, August/Dec. 1996