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Mar Shimun Memorial Foundation would like to update you on the latest additions and changes to our website.


We have added a Donation page listing the causes/organizations the Mar Shimun Memorial Foundation has supported throughout the years. As we continue to grow and fund new educational projects, we will update this page. As mentioned previously, we are actively researching new and compelling causes that fit our larger educational mission.

Archival research updates

Several recently discovered photos have been added to our Photos page. One is a grainy, fairly blurry but interesting picture of three members of the Patriarchal family (Surma Khanum and two of her brothers–either Mar Poulos, Zaya, Hormizd, and/or Dawid) alongside other Qudshinayeh. Mar Iskhaq Khnanishu, Metropolitan may be one of them. They are standing in front of Mar Shalita church behind the tombstones of family members in the church cemetery there. The photo was taken by J.H. Bill, British Consul at Shiraz, Persia who passed through Qudshanis in the summer of 1910 as part of a 7-month, 2,500 mile journey to “study the workings of the Persian and Turkish Constitutions,” according to himself. This photo, impersonally labeled, “A Group of Syrian Christians,” was used for his travelogue, “Across Persia and Europe on Pony-Back,” published in two parts for World Wide Magazine in 1912.

Another exciting discovery we’re proud to share with you is several photos taken in 1894 by German traveler Hermann Burchardt. One is a group picture with Surma Khanum (11 years old), Mar Yosip Sargis of Jilu, Mar Benyamin (7 years old), his brother Hormizd (about 5 or 6 years old), Eshai d’Mar Shimun (father of Surma, Mar Benyamin, and Hormizd–aged 27 years old), and an unknown young girl (probably a cousin). This is an extremely rare shot of the interior of one of the rooms in the Patriarchal house. Other photos in the collection we’ve so far been able to obtain include one of Qudshanis village and another of W.H. Browne standing beside who we think might be Petros, the Patriarchal steward, and little Mar Benyahim sitting on a ladder. They are at the site of Browne’s mission house which was under construction during that time (Mar Benyamin had laid the ceremonial foundation stone). These photos are the earliest known depictions of Surma and Mar Benyamin we’re aware of. Eshai, her father, sadly, died within a year this photo was taken.

Coming Soon

“Mar Eshai Shimun’s First Village Tour” in Nineveh Magazine

An article about Mar Eshai Shimun’s first tour of Assyrian villages as patriarch is being published in the latest edition of Nineveh Magazine (probably available in late April). Quoting from never-before-published passages from Surma Khanum’s private correspondence and diaries, it covers the then thirteen-year-old patriarch’s first official church consecrations and communions of Assyrian villages in the Amadia region, north of Mosul, in late 1921. Another article covering Surma Khanum’s journey to Geneva to speak at the League of Nations Frontier Commission in the fall of 1925, followed by her first visit to the United States in 1926 as part of an urgent fundraising tour for Assyrian relief, is forthcoming.

Assyrian History Class with Robert DeKelaita

Fascinating and engaging (free) online classes focused on modern Assyrian history have been happening for many years now at the Assyrian Cultural Foundation. Definitely take a look at Robert’s wide-ranging course schedule and sit in on a class. He conducts them live on Wednesdays at 5 pm West Coast Time, 7 pm Chicago time. Robert is usually available to answer questions afterward. In his most recent classes, he discussed Assyrian nationalism and the life and murder of His Holiness Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII.

Patriarchal Timelines

The latest segment of His Holiness Mar Eshai Shimun’s historical timeline, Part VI: The Chicago Years (1940-1954) is now available for viewing on our Patriarchal Timelines page. Far from complete, these historical chronologies are an ongoing project with the aim of representing pertinent facts, firsthand accounts, and information about the life and times of each of the Mar Shimun patriarchs for whom historical records exist. These timelines are continuously updated with newly discovered information, corrections and edits, so they are constantly expanding. A bibliography links every excerpt and extracts to its original sources. We hope these chronologies will be of use and enjoyment to scholars, researchers, and anyone interested in learning more about modern Assyrian history. Links to some of Mar Shimun’s writings, sermons and radio broadcasts, as well as relevant Parliamentary debates and other important sources too lengthy to quote, have recently been added. We are working on making these timelines available in book format at some point and will update you when the first volume is available.

Calling all Photo-Sleuths

We invite any of our historians and more knowledgeable followers to visit our “Unidentified Photos” page” and let us know if you recognize anyone or anything not identified in the photos shown, as well as time, place, and dates if not listed. We strive to be as accurate as possible and need your expertise and knowledge. Also, if you are aware of any relevant historical photos not currently on our site that you think should be there, please drop us a note so we can follow up on it.

And the winner is . . .?

After a two-month-long book giveaway contest, we have a lucky winner! Congratulations to . . . Raman Amirkhas-Ada of Receta, CA!  Thank you to everyone who participated this time, and we will definitely have similar contests in the future. In the meantime, we sincerely hope you are enjoying our site and newsletter. Please mail us your suggestions and ideas to help invigorate and improve our offerings.

More Books!!

Last but not least, a link to ATOUR Publications has been added to our Store Page. Founded by David G. Malick in 1994, ATOUR specializes in reprinting old and valuable books and periodicals concerning Assyrian language, literature, history, and culture. His Holiness Mar Eshai Shimun’s Light from the East (1948-1954) is also available there, and an updated edition containing all 34 issues is forthcoming. Future volumes offered through ATOUR will cover the revived Light from the East that appeared in California starting in 1969 and individual copies of these issues will also be added to our Reference Documents section soon. Our Patriarchal Timelines owe much to David’s generous labors on behalf of the Assyrian and scholarly community.

Thank you/basimeh.

Our site is very much a result of your interest and continuing support. We are very grateful to you and look forward to updating you soon.

The Team