Last modified: 2013-11-12 by rob raeside
Keywords: assyrian church of the east | sun | bible |
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The oldest extant split in Christendom is that between the Church of the East
and the rest of Christianity, dating to the Council of Ephesus, 431 AD. Also, at
one point in the early medieval period the Church of the East was the largest
Christian body in the world. Thus, to those interested in church vexillology it
may be of special interest whether the Church has a flag of its own.
Today the Church still has as adherents the Assyrians of Iraq and Iran and the western diaspora, and a small minority among the "St. Thomas Christians" of southern India. Since the 1960s the Church of the East has been split into two factions over questions regarding succession to the Patriarchate and whether to replace the Julian calendar with the Gregorian- the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East.
At the website of a parish of the former group- St. Mary's Assyrian Church in Tarzania, California (US)- there is a photo gallery showing that the parish displays 3 flags in their church. These are the Stars & Stripes, the flag of Assyria, and one unknown to me. This is white with a yellow sun in the center, a white area voided within the sun, and a yellow cross within the voided area. There also appears to be writing above the sun. The flag is fringed in gold.
Examples of some the photos
Ned Smith, 27 November 2004
It looks to me as though the 'white voided area within the sun' is more
probably a representation of an open book - presumably the Bible.
André Coutanche, 28 November 2004
An Assyrian Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Teheran, Iran, displays the
"Christian Flag" and the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran [at least I think
that's what it is]. See
Ned Smith, 29 November 2004
I've now found another photo indicating its use beyond that particular parish
and diocese, so it seems to be a flag of the whole church, at least in the US,
if not worldwide. It was being used in an Assyrian New Years Day parade in
Chicago (which incidentally is the current home of the church's patriarch).
Various groups had units marching in the parade. The photo of the church's unit
shows them carrying that flag, the Assyrian national flag, and the US flag. See
Ned Smith, 27 September 2005
I have seen many photos of this flag, and they all have a yellow or gold
fringe. On the other hand, based on the sources I think those many photos are
only taken from a grand total of 3 or 4 actual flags. It may be best to note
that, until other evidence surfaces, we should be aware the fringeless version
might not exist in real life.
Ned Smith, 23 October 2007