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PATRIARCH
father
H.H.Maran Mar DINHA IV
His Holiness’ Father Andrews, one of the son's of the late Rev. Benyamin, son of Rev. Soro, is from the family of the martyr Mar Dinkha, Bishop of Urmi, Iran. His Holiness’ mother Panna, also from the same family, was highly respected for her faith, pure Christianity and humanitarian feelings.

Born On 15th Sept, he was baptized in St. Koryakos church, on October 25th, 1935, in the village Derbendoki from the historical Sub–District of Hareer, where His Holiness was born and where Christianity had flourished in the past. The relics of the-fourth-century churches like Mar Odisho and Mar Bawai still stand. Both Christians and Moslems still believe in the sanctity of Derbendoki relics particularly in the medicinal water spring where from they use water for curing their chronic diseases or ailments, as they consider the water sacred, springing from under a hill on the top of which the relics of an old Assyrian Monastery can be seen. Here in the church of martyr Mar Koryakus the baby was christened and named KHANANIA, Mercy of God.

His Holiness’ father Andrews, one of the son's of the late Rev. Benyamin, son of Rev. Soro, is from the family of the martyr Mar Dinkha, Bishop of Urmi, Iran. His Holiness’s mother Panna, also from the same family, was highly respected for her faith, pure Christianity and humanitarian feelings.

Andrews was the son of Qasha Benyamin in the family of Mar Dinkha which had supplied about 17 bishops to the Assyrian Church of the East. The last of these bishops in the family of Mar Dinkha was martyred in February 1915 near Urmia.

The martyr bishop Mar Dinkha was a cousin of priest Benyamin. There were no bishops in the diocese of Mar Dinkha from 1915 to 1962.

When Khanania was born in 1935 nobody predicted that he was going to be a bishop or later a Catholicos Patriarch. Yet his mother Panna abstained from meat when she was pregnant with her firstborn. Later she delivered one more son who is a deacon now in San Jose, California and a daughter named Victoria who lives in Teheran with her family and grand children. His mother Panna died in 1968 and was buried in Teheran. His father Andrews died in San Jose, California on 25 December 1999. Patriarch’s younger brother Ezaria became a deacon and serves in the church of St.Joseph in San Jose, California where he lives with his wife.

Darbandoki is the village near Arbil in Northern Iraq where he was born. Arbil is famous being the home for Mar Oudisho and Mar Qardagh, the martyr. 

Priest Benyamin trained his grandson Khanania. Then they sent him to the spiritual care of Mar Yosip Khananisho Metropolitan in Harir. Mar Yosip Khananisho Metropolitan sent him to the seminary in Baghdad in 1947. The Metropolitan ordained him deacon at Mar Yokhanan Church in Harir in 1950. He raised him to priesthood on 15 July 1957.

On December 15th, 1957 he went to Abadan, Iran. He did holy Qurbana on 7th January 1958 for Christmas. On 25th January 1958 Rev.Khanania moved from Abadan to Teheran, capital city of Iran.

Rev. Khanania was a hard worker. He built the Mar Gewargis Church in Teheran. He started a school in Teheran. He organized the Assyrians in Teheran. The Assyrians in Iran were happy because although they had no bishop in Iran for 43 years here was a young celibate priest who was a hard working clergyman. Though the priest was only 23 years old he demonstrated the ability and maturity of an experienced priest. His name spread outside the country of Iran or Asia.

The Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church Mar Eshai Shimun heard about his sterling qualities from Mar Khananisho Metropolitan. Thus Rev. Khannania was chosen to be bishop. Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun came to Teheran on his return journey from India and consecrated Rev, Khanania as a bishop on 11 February 1962.

Qasha Benyamin, grandfather of Qasha Khanania, was alive when the grandson was doing great work in Teheran. The grandfather would have rejoiced to see his grandson priest to become a bishop. But a few months before Mar Dinkha became a bishop, the old priest Qasha Benyamin died in Iraq. He was 105 years old when he passed away. It took a long time for the grandson to hear the sad news of the death of his grandfather. There was no much communication between Iran and Iraq.

After the First World War The Church in Iran was without a Bishop.* Missionary activities in Iran hadended.In 1928 the Persian government took over all schools,prohibited Bible in schools and in 1934 the government of Iran decreed all the foreigners to evacuate Azerbaijan.

On 17th October 1976 Mar Dinkha IV was consecrated in England as the Catholicos Patriarch of the universal Assyrian Church of the East.
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* The last bishop of Iran was Mar Dinkha Episcopa of Urmia who was shot dead in Feb. 1915, as mentioned in the letter of Rev. Y.M. Neesan dated 27 Feb., 1915, quoted from Yosip Yacob, The Assyrian Question, Chicago, Alpha Graphics, 1986, p.65.
 
 

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