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H. E. Mor Julius Yeshu Çiçek Passed Away in Germany

Mor Julius Yeshu Çiçek

(ZNDA: Germany)  His Eminence Mor Julius Yeshu Çiçek, the Metropolitan of the Central Europe and the Benelux Countries of the Syrian Orthodox Church, passed on to eternity on 29 October on his way to Switzerland from Holland in Düsseldorf, Germany.  Mor Çiçek was 63.  He was expected at the remembrance service for Metropolitan Mor Philoxenos Hanna Dolabani in Switzerland.  His sudden death sent shockwaves through all Assyrian communities in Europe and the dioceses of the Syrian Orthodox Church around the world.

Because of his passion for expanding the realms of his Church in Europe by building many new parishes and monasteries, and the volumes of books on the Syrian Orthodox Church liturgy that H. E. Mor Çiçek had either authored or republished and distributed throughout the world, he was affectionately known as the "Mor Jacob Burd‘ono of the 20th century."

Mor Çiçek was born in 1942 in Upper Kafro in the Tur Abdin region (southeast Turkey) to Qashisho Barsawmo and Bath-Qyomo Sayde. At the age of nine H.E. went to the seminary of Deyr-ul-Za'faran, where he studied Syriac, Turkish, Arabic and Theology. He was ordained a deacon in 1958, and became a secretary to the late Metropolitan Mor Philoxenos Hanna Dolabani. Later he joined the Monastery of Mor Cyriacus in the region Bsheriye (Bitlis) to administer pastoral service and engaged in a mission to seek Syriac and Armenian Christians, who survived the genocide of 1915 in the hands of the Turks.

In 1960 he was made a novice monk in the monastery of Mor Gabriel and embraced an ascetic life. He taught in the theological seminary at Mor Gabriel and copied many books with his astonishingly beautiful handwriting.

When Fr. Shabo Guenes, the abbot of the monastery retired in 1962, Fr. Yeshue Çiçek was chosen as the abbot of the monastery. In 1969, Mor Iwannis Ephrem Bilgic, the Bishop of Tur-Abdin, ordained him a priest. Between 1973 and 1974, Yeshu Çiçek lived in Damascus, in the Seminary of Mor Ephrem at Atshane in Lebanon and in the Holy land. Then he came to Germany, where learned the German language and ministered to the fellowship in the diaspora. At the request of the Metropolitan of America, Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel, Dayroyo (Monk) Yeshu Çiçek was in the United States from 1975 until 1977, learning English and ministering to the Syriac Orthodox faithful here.  In 1977, he returned to Europe and settled in Holland in Hengelo.

In the same year the Holy Synod selected him as the Patriarchal Vicar for the new diocese of Central Europe. He constructed a hall for a new Syriac Orthodox church of St. John the Evangelist, which was consecrated by the late Patriarch Mor Ignatius Yaqub III. In 1978, Dayroyo Yeshu began publishing Qolo Suryoyo (The Syriac Voice), the news magazine of the Syriac Orthodox diocese of Central Europe.

In 1979, the Patriarch Yaqub III consecrated Dayroyo Yeshu Çiçek in Hengelo as the Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Diocese of Central Europe, as Mor Yulius. In 1984, Mor Yulius acquired the Monastery or Dayro d'Mor Ephrem at Losser in Holland, which became the seat of the archbishop. Under the able guidance of His Eminence, the Central Europe diocese has been flourishing ever since.

With the assistance of Professor Sebastain Bock at Oxford University, His Eminence Mor Çiçek helped produce a three volume book and video on the history of the Aramaic liturgy and Syrian Orthodox Church history, titled "The Hidden Pearl".

The last years of His Eminence's life were overshadowed by controversial projects in which large sums of money were mishandled and lost to unknown hands.  where a lot of money was involved and lost to unknown hands.    The money scandal which was attributed mainly to Bishop Augin (Eugene) Kaplan of the Diocese of Eastern USA eventually dragged Mor Çiçek into near complete bankruptcy.  The monastery and land properties including a graveyard in Holland are still under the threat of liquidation by the banks in Europe.

Mor Çiçek was also a controversial figure in the politics of the Assyrian nation.  He began his spiritual life as a proud Assyrian monk, wrote poems on his Assyrian heritage and republished the first book written by Professor Ibrahim Gabriel Sowmy in Brazil titled "The Assyrian Culture" (Mardutho d Suryoye).  He later became a strong anti-Assyrian activist, denouncing the "Assyrian" identity of the Syrian Orthodox Church.   However lately, he attended the Assyrian Genocide demonstrations in Europe (click here) and invited Assyrian dignitaries to his monastery

The funeral of H.E. Mor Çiçek will take place on 5 November at 12 p.m. in the cloister of Mor Ephrem of the Syrians in Glane/Losser (Holland).  The service will be conducted by His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas and in the presence of many Assyrian bishops, dignitaries, and the public.

Nineveh On Line offers its condolences to all Assyrians and in particular the members of the Syriac Orthodox Church.  The biographical information noted above was provided courtesy of the Syrian Orthodox Resources, Mr. Gabriel Rabo of the Suryoyo Online & Dr. Zech C. Scheariah in Switzerland.
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