Catholicos Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the
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
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
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