Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Political prisoner's death appalling

Australia has condemned the death of a political prisoner in a Burmese jail, with diplomats to protest to the country's military rulers.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said he was "saddened and appalled" by the death of Thet Win Aun - a student activist jailed by the junta.

Amnesty International revealed the man died in a prison in Mandalay, in Burma's north, two days ago, where he was tortured and may have been denied treatment for health problems including malaria.

He was sentenced to 59 years in prison in 1998 for his part in organising student demonstrations that called for improvements to schools and the release of political prisoners.

The United Nations estimates about 1,100 political prisoners are held in Burma, which has been under military rule for almost 45 years. (More)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Over 11,000 Displaced, Killed in Latest Burma Attacks

The latest attacks in Western and Northern Karen state by the Burma army has caused the displacement and deaths of more than 11,000 Burmese civilians in recent weeks.

Reports indicate that homes and rice barns have been burned and landmines laid to prevent people from returning to their villages, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide on Apr. 26. Moreover, bodies of several victims have been found, some severely mutilated, including the body of a beheaded middle-aged man.

At least 11 civilians were shot and died. One survivor said, “The Burma Army waited in a prepared position to kill villagers. They waited until they were only 10 yards away and opened fire on a man carrying his mother, as well as the families and children behind him. What kind of people, what kind of system can do this?”

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said: “The situation in Karen State is clearly deteriorating into a humanitarian crisis. The Burma Army is hunting down and shooting innocent civilians and, as a result, thousands have been displaced.

“The international community must not stand idly by and allow this to continue. The United Nations Security Council must address the crisis in Burma urgently, and use its power to require the Burmese regime to stop the slaughter and engage in tripartite dialogue with the democratic and ethnic groups. The international community should also find ways to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to those trapped in the conflict zones, so far unreached by the major aid agencies and unreported by the world’s media.”

The media and some so called "Christians" have continued to ignore the plight of these innocent people and spreading lies about who and what they are. Let God be the judge. (Source)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Caught Between Bird Flu and Burma's Junta

Southeast Asian governments are caught between tackling bird flu and Burma's secretive junta, which is keener on strengthening its iron grip on power than addressing a possible global pandemic.

On Monday last week, UN officials offered Asean governments a picture of how rapidly the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus had spread in Burma in under a month. “Up to now, there are over 100 outbreaks, mainly in two districts, Mandalay and Sagaing,” He Changchui, head of the Food and Agriculture Organisation's Asia-Pacific office, said at a press conference here.

Part of the problem, he added, was a lack of awareness among communities breeding poultry that have been affected. “The information is not that comprehensive.”

That is no surprise for governments of Asean which, besides Burma, include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In mid-March, when word first got out that Burma had become the latest country hit by avian flu, it was revealed that the increasingly secretive and paranoid junta had kept the public in the dark for days, with no mention of the outbreak in the state-controlled media.

For Burma watchers, a meeting of Asean foreign ministers in the Indonesian resort of Bali on April 17-18 would offer a useful occasion to warn Rangoon about the health consequences of its brutal grip on power. “You cannot separate the two. The politics and the health issues are linked,” Soe Aung, spokesman for the National Council of the Union of Burma, an umbrella organization of Burmese groups in exile, told IPS.

“Health has never featured prominently on the Asean agenda, but bird flu calls for change,” he added. “This is a trans-boundary issue, and it can affect Burma's neighbors.”

“The threat of bird flu spreading in Burma should be discussed by the foreign ministers without delay,” Teresa Kok, a Malaysian opposition lawmaker who is part of an Asean inter-parliamentary caucus on Burma, noted during an interview. “It is not the time to be soft and be humiliated like (Malaysian Foreign Minister) Syed Hamid (Albar) was by the junta.”

Syed Hamid visited Burma late last month, to assess the country's progress towards political reform and democracy, but he had to cut short his trip—which had already been delayed by Rangoon—after the junta refused to let him meet pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, currently under house arrest. He is expected to deliver a report of his visit at the Bali meeting.

The threat of bird flu spreading in Burma comes at a time when Southeast Asia has already gained notoriety as the epicenter of the lethal virus that, if not contained, threatens to mutate into a strain capable of causing a global pandemic, which could kill millions.

Countries already hit by avian flu-related human deaths over the last two years include Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The global death toll stands at 109 out of 192 reported cases.

The challenge faced by the Burmese junta is seen in a scathing report released in late March by medical researchers from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Government policies in Burma “that restrict public health and humanitarian aid have created an environment where AIDS, drug-resistant tuberculosis, malaria and bird flu are spreading unchecked,” states a media release that accompanied the report.

“Health expenditures in Burma are among the lowest globally, including an annual budget of less than US $22,000 for the prevention and treatment of HIV among a total population of 43 million,” it adds. “Much of the country lacks basic laboratory facilities to carry out a CD4 blood test, the minimum standard for clinical monitoring of AIDS care.”

Burma, which has been renamed Myanmar by the junta, has an estimated 170,000 to 620,000 people living with HIV/AIDS. It is also classified by UN agencies as being among the world's 22 “high burden” countries with tuberculosis, due to the 97,000 new cases reported every year.

“In 2005, thirty-four percent of tuberculosis cases in Burma were resistant to any of the four standard first-line drug treatments, which is double the rate of drug-resistant cases in neighboring countries,” the report by US researchers reveals. “Nearly half of all deaths from malaria in Asia occur in Burma.”

To compound that problem, the junta has placed severe travel restrictions on international humanitarian agencies working in the country, prompting some to leave. In August last year, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, an international body set up to boost grassroots efforts in combating the three pandemics, quit after Rangoon's many roadblocks. In March this year, Medecins sans Frontieres was also forced to depart after “the military authorities had imposed so many travel restrictions.”

The junta, however, appears unruffled by outside critics as it spends more on strengthening its 400,000-strong army and improving the new administrative capital it has unveiled in Pyinmana, north of Rangoon.

Leading UN officials say that the bird flu outbreaks in Burma appear to be beyond what the junta can handle. “We are going to be focusing on Myanmar a lot in the next few days and weeks, trying to make sure that the authorities and civil society in that country are able to cope better,” Dr David Nabarro, the UN’s point man on bird flu, told reporters here last week.

The Asean foreign ministers' meeting in Bali offers the first forum to gauge what the region's governments may do to deal with their stubborn partner. - Inter Press Service (IPS)

Thai police arrest 17 Asylum Seekers from Burma for Joining Protest at Korean Embassy

Thai police arrest 17 Asylum Seekers from Burma for Joining Protest at Korean Embassy

Banyol Kin, IMNA
April 18, 2006

At least 17 activists from Burma were arrested in Bangkok on Tuesday during a protest in front of the South Korean embassy to pressure Daewoo International to leave Burma.

The demonstration was led by Aung Mung Oo, Director for the Shwe Gas movement based in Mae Sot. More than 50 activists joined the protest but only the people who were holding identification cards issued by United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) were arrested. The other protesters were holding migrant workers' permits and were not arrested.

Asylum seekers holding UNHCR cards are not allowed to move around freely in Thailand , where they are usually restricted to refugee camps along the border. Thousands of people have fled to Thailand due to human rights abuses committed by the Burmese military regime.

The protesters held posters and shouted “Daewoo out of Burma, no way no Shwe, Daewoo stop investing with the Junta” in front of the Korean embassy in Bangkok.

“A Korean embassy official came out and received a copy of the statement that we distributed, and he said he will report it to the Korean government,” said Aung Mung Oo.

The Shwe Gas movement is against the exploitation of natural gas resources in Arakan state, in western Burma , due to the potential financial gain for the military junta that could lead to more human rights violations.

“I think this case is connected to all the people who live in Burma so we all have a responsibility for that,” said an activist who participated in the protest.

The demonstration was held for about one and half hours, after which the police asked the protesters for their identity documents.

“They said that they will put those who were arrested in jail for three days and then send them back to Mae Sot,” said Aung Mung Oo, who is from the Arakan ethnic group in Burma .

“We will request the Thai police not to send them back to Burma , and if they (demonstrators) want to go to Mae Sot, we will inform the UNHCR office in Mae Sot so they can collect them,” said a UNHCR officer responsible for refugee protection.

Last week, the Burmese regime and the Indian government signed an agreement for the construction of a pipeline passing through Bangladesh that will transport natural gas from Burma to India . Daewoo International is the majority shareholder in the natural gas project. - Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand

Playing the Games...

Burma, a fellow member of the Association of South-East Asian Nations whose military rulers claim to be on a path towards democracy, although the facts belie this. The Malaysian foreign minister today said Burma has for months been dragging down the whole region through association, but during a visit to Rangoon last month Mr Yudhoyono did little to suggest that he feels the junta needs to inject urgency into its democratic timetable. Read the whole article.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Junta isolates itself further by rejecting NLD offer

The Burmese military junta is further isolating itself in the international arena by not responding to the National League for Democracy's national reconciliation offer, said the Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) and Free Burma Coalition-Philippines in a join statement today.

The NLD's offer, the deadline for which expires today, called on the junta to convene a 'peoples parliament' with the winning representatives of the aborted 1990 elections and promised to recognize the junta as Burma's de jure government.

Nyan Win, spokesperson for the NLD in Rangoon today told Mizzima that the party has not received any response from the junta.

"As a political party... we have offered what it should be and what it could be. And we will continue with our planned strategy," said Nyan Win. However, he declined to elaborate on the party's "planned strategy."

While there are wide spread speculations over the NLD's next move in response to the junta's silence, U Win Naing, a veteran politician in Rangoon said, as the junta has clearly indicated its motive, the people of Burma must think of a consolidated way to break the political deadlock.

"Leaving everything aside, politicians and the people of Burma must think of just how we can move ahead politically," said U Win Naing, who is called Amyotharye given his nationalist spirit.

Nyo Ohn Myint, In-charge of exiled foreign affairs committee of the National League for Democracy (Liberated Area) said the junta is missing out on a good opportunity by not responding to the NLD's offer.

"The deteriorating situation for the people and political pressures are dangerous for the military junta. The NLD has made this offer in consideration of the peoples' suffering... and it is not final or the end but I believe it is only the first step of the peoples' movement," said Nyo Ohn Myint.

"Now it's up to the junta to decide. If they remain silent on this issue, it is a loud indication of their lust for perpetual power. But the efforts of the international community and all democratic forces will not end unless meaningful reforms and genuine peace and justice are achieved," said Gus Miclat, regional coordinator of APSOC and convener of the FBC-Phils.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Burma—Kipling’s ‘Land of Dreams’ No More

“On the road to Mandalay, where the flyin’-fishes play, an’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay….by the old Moulmein pagoda, lookin’ eastward to the sea, there’s a Burma girl a settin’, an’ I know she thinks of me

This was Rudyard Kipling’s Burma: a land filled with all the romance of the mystic orient of the 19th century.

In 1885 the British invaded Upper Burma, annexed it, and made it a part of India. The last ruling king, Thebaw and his Queen, Supayalat (along with her scheming, power hungry mother, Queen Alenandaw), were exiled to India.

In 1948, Burma got her independence from Britain. But prior to this, there were Round Table conferences in London, Paris, and Simila, where delegates from Burma, fought fiercely for Burma’s proper recognition by Britain as an independent country from India, and an acknowledgement of its ethnic groups, including a new race, the Anglo-Burmese, who were the children of British and Burmese unions. (The Anglo-Burmese, proportionately were the largest ethnic group of volunteers in both the World Wars).

The massacres at the Mandalay Palace in 1885 were just a shadow in Burmese history as compared to the thousands upon thousands who have vanished from the land of dreams, under the oppressive boot of Myanmar’s socialist agenda.

Burma is now on President Bush’s list as a terrorist nation--and Kipling’s Burma, where “temple bells [were] callin” has vanished like ether, into the mists of time. -

Burma's Almost Forgotten

Burma's Almost Forgotten - Christians find themselves battered by the world's longest civil war and a brutally repressive regime. From Christianity Today online magazine. Link to article.

Nasaka authority seizes mobile phones on border

Nasaka authority recently seized a number of mobile telephone sets that were being used around Maungdaw Township, Burma. The mobile phones were taken from Bangladesh illegally by telephone holders in Burma, said a mobile phone holder.

Last week, Nasaka authority seized 20 mobile telephone sets from Nga Khura village tract under Maungdaw Township. In March alone the authority seized about 700 mobile phone sets throughout Maungdaw Township. All were taken from Bangladesh illegally, said an official from Nasaka.

A mobile phone holder confirmed that his mobile set was also seized by Nasaka authority last week but it was an old one. He in fact had two mobile sets. He luckily concealed the newer mobile set in his house.

At present, over 5000 mobile telephone sets taken from Bangladesh are still being used in Maungdaw but people are secretly using mobile phones in Maungdaw in order to avoid arrest by the authority, the phone holder said.

A mobile phone selling manager from Teknaf told Narinjara yesterday that he knew that Burmese people are using mobile phone sets from Bangladesh and confirmed that there are over 1000 mobile phones in Maungdaw Township alone.

Burmese people, therefore, have been buying mobile telephones for about 100000 Burmese kyats from Bangladesh, and people living in the border area are widely using mobile phones from Bangladesh.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Media Group Calls for Release of Burmese University Students

Two media rights organizations have voiced outrage at Burmese authorities for arresting seven university students for writing and publishing a pro-democracy poem.

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association issued a statement Wednesday calling for immediate release of the students, who attend the University of Pegu north of Rangoon.

The two organizations say the students were arrested in late March after publishing a poem that referred to the fighting peacock, a symbol of Burma's pro-democracy movement.

Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the arrest and prison sentences given to two other Burmese journalists for filming in the new capital, Pyinmana.

The group called the three-year prison sentences imposed on the men - Ko Thar Cho and Ko Kyaw Thwin - a travesty of justice. It said Burma's military government uses the law to crush any attempt at journalism.

The journalists were arrested in late March after filming and taking photos of the new capital. Voice of Burma.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

10 Myths about Burmese Christians Debunked

10 Myths about Burmese Christians Debunked

On a free "encyclopedia" website that allows anyone with an internet connection to add or remove information, one person who claims to be a "Buddhist Christian Noahide Muslim Messianic Jew" and another person claiming to be a "Christian" decided to vandalize the pages and report false information and tried to spread progaganda about Burmese Christians and about the Church of Jerusalem.

This page shows the fallacy of their false claims.

Claim 1: One person who claims to have once been a member of the Church of Jerusalem said: "This church has used many other aliases, such as Malakara Iberian Orthodox Church...Hebrew Catholic Church, and now The Nestorian Orthodox Church - Church of the East & Abroad."

Debunked: The Church of Jerusalem has never been known as "Malakara Iberian Orthodox Church" and the name "Hebrew Catholic Church" is not an alias of the Church of Jerusalem. It is an exarchate in South America, and it itself is not the Church of Jerusalem but is in affiliation with it.

Claim 2: The so called "former cleric" said: "In the USA they are not registered as non-profit religious organization, but they do take donations and sell various products."

Debunked: The Church of Jerusalem is a not-for-profit organization and is registered with the Internal Revenue Service. And the Church does take donations from its members by way of tithes, like most Churches do. That is a Scriptural practice. The Church of Jerusalem uses an independent business, not owned by the Church, to sell printed materials such as Bibles, books, tracts, etc. Just like most religious organizations do.

Claim 3: The so called "former cleric" claims: "Their membership numbers have never been given, so it can be assumed that they are a very small association of small communities world-wide."

Debunked: If this was a real cleric of the Church of Jerusalem, he would know that the Patriarchate of Jeruslaem publishes a census list of the membership every three years with detailed statistics about language, ethnicity, etc.

Claim 4: The same "cleric" said: "The church claimed that the Desposyni were leaders of a Jewish community which has moved to Mesopotamia during the second century, while keeping a formal obedience to the Patriarch of Antioch. In the sixteenth century the center of the church became a Burmese community. In the last century, the church sources claim that their see moved to India, then to Portugal, and later to the USA."

Debunked: That's all news to me. I've never read that in our history book published by the Church. "See of Antioch"? "Sixteenth Century"?

Claim 5: The former "orthodox cleric" said: "Currently its leader, +Mar Michai, who lives at Mishqana, a private property ...Tennessee."

Debunked: Another lie. The Catholicos lives in Jerusalem Israel. In fact, it is widely known that he lives in Pisgat Ze'ev, a community north of Jerusalem.

Claim 6: Believers held that he is above all human judgement and they have to sign a Loyalty Oath to him and his family, under the punishment of excommunication.

Debunked: Both Nazaraeans and Assyrians hold the same belief that their Patriarch can only be judged by Messiah. That was a formal ruling back in the 400's or 600's AD. And members are not required to sign an oath of loyalty unless they are clergymen and its not under "punishment of excommunication".

Claim 7: The so called former "clergyman" said: "It is said that in 2003 some 1000 Burmese christians joined the Church of the East & Abroad, and were granted the name Burmese Orthodox Church of the East."

Debunked: The Church in Burma is known as "The Burmese Orthodox Church". According to sources outside of the Church of Jerusalem, there are over 100,000 Christians living in the area.

Claim 8: The former "cleric" says: "Subsequently, on 22 May 2004, the church's patriarch declared himself king on an area in Burma, along the border of Thailand extending from Laos to the Adaman Sea, which he calls Nettara and which is under rebel control. The church claims that the area hosts about 25,000 Christian refugees."

Debunked: The Catholicos did not claim himself to be a king of anything. The people in the area call him "Byanma Min" which means ruler and rightful successor. The Catholicos is the religious and spiritual head (ruler) of the Church of Jerusalem under the authority of the Messiah. If this was real cleric of the Church of Jerusalem he would have known this.

Claim 9: The former Western "cleric" says: "It is also said that on 9 November, 2005 the church formed a Sanhedrin of 70 secret rabbis, whose location is not declared."

Debunked: "9 November, 2005"? Where did this date come from? The Sanhedrin is called the "Beit Knushta" which means "House of the Assembly" as is the same name which the Jerusalem Council of 50 AD is referred.

Claim 10: The man who claims to have been a former "cleric" with the Church of Jerusalem said: "There is no independent confirmation about any of the previuos statements, and the church seems to be small and to have been established in the 20th century."

Debunked: There is plenty of information about the plight of all denominations of Christians in Burma and Thailand and Laos. The former "cleric" to have said that the Church was established in the "20th century" is a very "far fetched" since the Church's letters date back to centuries ago and since independent historians speak of the Church of Jerusalem all the way back to the first century.

Major dire crisis may result in Burma

Burma’s Committee Representing People’s Parliament (CRPP), warned that there could soon be a major dire crisis resulting from current social, economic and political problems in the country. The comment of the CRPP came after assessing current social, economic and general political problems during a meeting held on 3 April in Rangoon, which was attended by all its 13 unfettered members except Thein Pe and Yan Kying Maung. When asked how the CRPP managed to come to the conclusion that the country is heading towards a major crisis, its secretary Aye Tha Aung said: “Currently, we see that inflation in Burma has affected the survival of the majority the population and caused general commodity prices including basic consumer goods to rise with speed. The impacts of the rising commodity prices are affecting ordinary class and middle class very badly. We are not in a position to help them effectively on this matter. As a responsible organisation, the current ruling government is not in a position to take effective action either and we discussed that we are very, very concerned on behalf of the people.” Aye Tha Aung added that lawless behaviours and extra-judicial killings of civilians by the authorities are increasing in the country during this year, referring to recent murders of civilians by the police and uniformed authorities. “It is very important that there is a rule of law in a country.

According to the situations in what had happened, the personnel who are upholding laws themselves are not acting in accordance with the laws, and moreover, their lawless and callous (behaviours) are very dangerous to the public and (opposition) politicians. Therefore, it would (not) be possible to say that those attended (the meeting) will not be subjected to the callous actions, and we discussed how to avoid these callous actions as much as we could.”
Aye Tha Aung also said that the remark of the generals which said that Aung San Suu Kyi is not relevant to the situation in Burma anymore, shows that the junta has no desire to negotiate with the National League for Democracy (NLD) and ethnic national parties which were elected by the majority of the population. - Democratic Voice of Burma

Monday, April 03, 2006

Burma: 3-Year sentences for pair who took pictures

Press Release: Reporters Sans Frontieres

Three-year sentences for two journalists who took pictures of new Burmese capital

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association voiced outrage today at the three-year prison sentences imposed on journalists U Thaung Sein and Ko Moe Htun for photographing and filming in the new capital, Pyinmana, and thereby allegedly violating article 32 (A) of the Television and Video Act.

"It is a disgrace to see journalists arrested and sentenced just for taking pictures on the streets of Pyinmana," the two organisations said. "This new evidence of paranoia by the military regime jeopardises the possibility of the Burmese and international press working in the new capital. We call for their release."

Also known as Thar Cho, U Thaung Sein, 52, is a photojournalist for several Burmese publications. Ko Moe Htun, 42, who is also known as Ko Kyaw Thwin, is a columnist for the religious magazine Dhamah-Yate (The Shadow of Dhamah).

They were arrested on 23 March while driving around Pyinmana, filming and taking photos. They received their three-year sentences the following day when they appeared before judge Daw Mi Mi Maw of the Yamaethin district court.

Their lawyer, U Khin Maung Zaw, announced his intention to appeal. "They should be freed because the Television and Video Act does not forbid taking pictures in authorized areas and states that such pictures may be used for private purposes," he said. His clients were just using a small amateur camera, he added.

As far as Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association know, this is the first time that Burmese citizens have been given the maximum three-year sentence envisaged under the Television and Video Act, which was adopted in July 1996.

U Thaung Sein and Ko Moe Htun are currently being held in the Yamaethin district prison north of Pyinmana.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Suggested Reading

Suggested Reading

Thousands of Karens Flee Burma Offensive

Thailand: October mission to focus on Burma's eastern border on the plight of displaced Burmese families in the area.

I also suggest reading Faith Unbroken: Persecuted Christians In Burma by Crisis online magazine. And the article "Persecution of Chin Christians in the Union of Burma", from the Chin Human Rights Organization.

Other articles about the plight of Christians in Burma:

Burma's Christians caught in war - from

International Christian Concern

Pray for Burma (there may be disturbing photographs on this website that might not be suitable for all viewers...this website shows examples of the harsh life that Burmese Christians and others suffer everyday).

Monday, March 20, 2006

Burmese Christian Yeh Zaw transferred to Pa-an Prison

Burmese Christian Yeh Zaw transferred to Pa-an Prison

Mar 20, 2006 (DVB) - A member of Rangoon Insein Township Phawkkan evangelical church, Yeh Zaw who was arrested at a police checkpoint in Karen State capital Pa-an on 25 February was transferred to Pa-an Jail on 16 March.

Yeh Zaw was arrested after he returned from the Burmese border town Myawaddy where his brother in law lives, to Rangoon and he was later separately interrogated and beaten up by the army personnel based in Pa-an. Although he was arrested for not carrying identity card with him, he was charged under Act (420-406) for lying, according to his wife Sa Eh who went to see him at the prison recently.

"I went to see him yesterday and as I was followed by the police, he dared not say much. He was afraid," said Sa Eh.

Yeh Zaw was arrested and detained because he wrote a letter with other church leaders to the ruling military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) chairman Gen Than Shwe to end religious persecutions of the local authorities on his church members. - Democratic Voice of Burma.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Faithful Unto Death

Charles Colson speaks about the plight of Burmese Christians in his article Faithful Unto Death. He says "But their valor will be for nothing if the documentation doesn’t produce action. And that’s where we come in. Christians in the West, especially in the United States, need to see the plight of Burmese Christians as a matter of the highest concern. While Burma is a pariah state, it is not immune to external pressure. This pressure is what has kept Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi alive. The place to start, of course, is to get informed."

Monday, March 06, 2006

New evidence backs claims of genocide in Burma - BBC & London Telegraph

New evidence backs claims of genocide in Burma - BBC & London Telegraph

Mar 06, 2006 (DVB0 - According to an article published in London-based Telegraph newspaper on 5 March, fresh evidence has emerged that Burma's military government has not been only waging a brutal war against rebel ethnic groups but also carrying out acts of genocide against their people.

The article starts by saying that there have been allegations that in the past decade, Burmese soldiers have burnt to the ground as many as 3,000 villages and raped, looted or killed many of their inhabitants - citing a Thai intelligence officer who claimed that there is proof that these were systematic atrocities ordered by the ruling junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

The Thai officer has spent several years studying intercepted Burmese military communications and analysing material found at the scene of horrific incidents inside Burma, the article says. He claimed that some leaflets found on the corpse of a Burmese officer said that the minority Shan people, meaning the whole Shan race whether they are armed rebels or not, ‘are the enemy and have to be destroyed.'

The article goes on to say that beheadings, beatings, the use of forced labour and rape of captured victims by troops of the SPDC are also common. "Growing use of amphetamines among Burma's 400,000-strong army is fuelling this violence," it continues, backed up by the comment of David Mathieson, a narcotics expert from the Australian National University who claimed that methamphetamine tablets were found on most dead Burmese soldiers who were killed during the clashes.

Moreover, "the brutality of the attacks is evident in video footage, taken by members of the evangelical Christian missionary group the Free Burma Rangers, of the burning of villages," says the article. "The video shows young men, armed with AK47s, setting fire to bamboo homes as residents flee in terror."

BBC correspondent Mike Thomson's reports on life in Burma will be broadcast on UK Radio 4's Today programme at 7.30am from Monday to Friday this week (6-10 March). For details visit:

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Questions from Email

Questions from Email:
What is Nettara?

Nettara is the name given to the ecclesiastical territory where Mshikhanim and Christians live in and near Burma. Nettara is not a political organization and does not fight against the local government, although Brothers and Sisters do stand up for their human rights and more importantly their right to serve God in peace. The people in this area do not and never have requested financial aid from governments or from individuals or organizations. The people of Nettara work as "tent makers" to provide for their own communities and do not depend on the world to provide for their needs. The word "nettara" is Assyrian Aramaic and means "protected."

I was told to visit this site by a man who claims that Nettara is a fake kingdom and a scam or hoax. Is this true?

First, Nettara is not a worldy kingdom ruled under un-Scriptural methods. As stated above, Nettara is an ecclesiastical territory which consists of Nazaraeans and Christians who have sought refuge from persecution by the Burma Army, Burma's cancer. Nettara is not a scam or a hoax. A scam is a system that dupes people into sending money or other contributions. No one associated with Nettara has ever requested money or any other kind of contribution from anyone and contributions are refused. Those people who are making claims that Nettara is a hoax are usually uneducated about the serious political problems in the general area or they are the very ones the Burma Army praises, because they spread propoganda against the Christians in this area.

Sadly, because individuals that had once been part of the Church (that assist this area), and for their own reasons have sought to openly slander this very real, authentic and apostolic Church, its beliefs, practices and people, there are certain forums and online groups that provide those who should have been held in high esteem and failed to honor their vocation, a medium to vent. Caring little or nothing for the thousands of serious believers worldwide or for their safebeing.

The Church is real. Its beliefs are authentic and Nettara and its people are very real. Persecution takes many forms, sometimes its physical, other times it takes the form of slander. As the vast majority of believers of this Church (A not-for-profit organization), live in regions that live very simple lives and of simple means; they do not have the tools to defend themselves from all forms of attack. The claims about Nettara is proof of this.

Take no ones word; examine the evidence for yourself and come up with your own conclusion.

I heard that Nettara was a religion or church?

No, Nettara is not a religion or a church, and it is not a religious organization; Nettara is a community of Christian believers living along the borders of Burma and Thailand. There are people of different denominations in this area. There are Shan, Kachin, Chin and Karen Christians as well as Orthodox Nazaraeans. The people who live in these communities are expected to live according to the Scriptures and as upheld by the Church of Jerusalem.

One clergyman of the Church of Jerusalem, Rabban +Mar Andreos, said: "Nestorians now have a homeland...Nettara. Nettara is more than a land mass and a temporal kingdom. It is an Oasis of the Faithful; Nettara is an Idea of God. If evil forces overrun a landmass, Nettara, just like Nestorianism itself, will rise again. The vision of Nettara will stay adamantine, impenetrable, it can never be destroyed, as a Nestorian homeland transcends the physical. The angels of God watch over the faithful in the here and the hereafter.

Nestorianism (the dominant faith of the area) will not be killed by Evil Imperial Forces, Mongol Hordes, Communist regimes, predators that lie about peaceful submission to God or Deviant pseudo-religious entities that misrepresent the Faith of our Messiah. Too many have fought and died for this Faith, to simply allow their efforts and their memories to be ignored. Quite the contrary, we should be honoring them and following in their footsteps!"

Monday, February 20, 2006

Christian churches urge Burma junta to stop religious persecutions

Christian churches urge Burma junta to stop religious persecutions

Feb 20, 2006 (DVB) - Six Christian churches in Rangoon jointly urged Burma’s military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) chairman Gen Than Shwe, to stop religious persecutions on Christians, in a pleading letter dated 20 February.

The action was prompted by the continuing intimidations of evangelical Christians at Rangoon Insein, Phawkkan, Shwepyitha and Hlaing Thaya areas by the local authorities. They were forced to pledge not to attend the church and bible classes which were also threatened with closures.

"We told the low-level authorities about them, but there is no development," a church member told DVB. "Therefore, we directly appealed to Gen Than Shwe for all the churches in Burma".

He added that his church members are not involved in politics as they are only interested in freedom of worship. "It is not right for Burma for them (local authorities) to persecute, intimidate and extort money from us thus."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

In defense of the Nazaraean Church of Jerusalem

In defense of the Nazaraean Church of Jerusalem - Part 1

I found these comments on a forum. I later learned that these comments were posted by Mother Karen Giuseppe, a highly respected nun in India.

In defense of the Nazaraean Church of Jerusalem, also known as the Nestorian Orthodox Church - Nasrani Church of the East:

My comments are in bold, the other comments in italics come from the postings of a former priest (he was never fully consecrated as a bishop) who ousted himself in November and now makes accusations and false claims about the Church:

According to the official statements of this church their origins began during the Second Temple era of Judaism.

The former priest is wrong. The Church states that it began at Sinai with the giving of Torah and sealed with the Blood of Messiah in the first century.

They now refer to themselves as the Nestorian Orthodox Church-Church of the East & Abroad in order to historically legitimize themselves. They liberally borrow from the history of the Assyrian Church of the East, which has historically been referred to as the Nestorian Church by their opponents.

The Church has always been known in the East as the “Nazaraean Church of Jerusalem” (and sometimes the “Nazaraean Orthodox Church of Jerusalem” or simply “Church of Jerusalem”) and in America as the “Nestorian Orthodox Church – Nasrani Church of the East” but even this American name has not been adopted elsewhere. The American “name” is seen only as an official description of the Church to identify her theology (Christology) and her heritage as Orthodox Nasranis (Nazaraeans). This former priest, now a member of a Western Rite sect of Greco-American Orthodoxy has even concocted what he now calls the “Nazaraean Orthodox Church”, which appears to be borrowing from the name of the Holy Church in which he excommunicated himself from even after taking a public oath before God and Messiah and the world.

The Nestorian Orthodox Church has also adopted the psuedo-Essene belief of being the "Guardians" (i.e. Notzrim) of true Religion, whom the original Nazarenes (i.e. Naztarim) of Jerusalem opposed.

The former priest’s facts are all wrong again. The name “Notzrim” was even used by him in his own writings when he came to this Church just a few years ago and in his writings he defended this name and told everyone that the Church should proclaim its heritage. But later, judging by his own writings and recent comments, he got himself involved with Western ideals instead of ancient Eastern Apostolic Faith.

They also use the name Nestorian Nasranis due to it's ancient connections with the missionary minded Assyrian Church of the East, which is also called the Church of the Oriental Nasraya (i.e. Nazarenes ) in Aramaic.

The former priest and now Western Rite Orthodox church member stretches the facts once again. The Church makes it clear that it is not Assyrian nor is it connected with the Assyrian Church.

This group also makes "Nasrani" connect to the Akkadian word "Nettara" which means "to protect, guard or watch." This fits into their church lore that they are the true and continuing ancient Church, and the authentic "Guardians" of the Faith of Jerusalem.

A childish, immature or lacking in knowledge statement if I ever saw one. The Church does not use the word “Nettara” in connection with the word “Nasrani”. Both mean something entirely different.

He goes on to say that the Church’s Holy See resides in Tennessee. This is incorrect. They have offices in West and Middle Tennessee but the private residence is in Westland, Michigan. The Catholicos also has a home in Jerusalem where I “heard” he is moving to soon.

The Holy See is stated to have been transfered from Portugal by way of South India and Burma. The Nestorian Nasranis affirm that their Catholicos Patriarch is a member of the surviving Desposyni (i.e. Relatives of the Lord Jesus Christ). This Desposyni Family is said to be of Hebrew-Burmese descent, and are called the Shemishqo in Aramaic.

The word “Shemishqo” is not Aramaic. It is Nasramit and is an acronym. The man who write the above comment even uses Nasramit on his free websites. This is quite ironic since Nasramit is now unique to the Nestorian Orthodox.

In Burmese their name is Yaza, which is Raja (i.e. King) in the Indian language. It is also stated that this Family is the royal family of ancient Burma, as well as the Davidic Desposyni in exile.

He got something right! Perhaps he should be given a cookie.

It is believed by all Nestorian Nasranis that their Catholicos Patriarch is above all human judgment, and that only Christ Himself can be his judge. A Loyalty Oath of fealty to the Catholicos Patriarch and his Desposyni Family must be declared and signed by all church members on pains of excommunication.

Another false statement. The Catholicos is bound to Apostolic Dogma and he nor any other individual has control over the Church. There are “checks and balances”. Lay members are not required to sign the oath that the former priest is referring to.

Since the Catholicos Patriarch is directly descended from James the Just and the relatives of the Virgin Mary, he is viewed as the sole and rightful Patriarch of Jerusalem and of all true followers of Jesus Christ world-wide. He is, in effect, the Lord's vice-regent on earth as well as His blood relative.

Another cookie perhaps?

The Kingdom of Nettara: In 2003 some 1000 Burmese Christians joined the Nestorian Orthodox Church-Church of the East & Abroad, and were granted the name The Burmese Orthodox Church of the East. They reside along the border of Thailand, which is where rebel forces control the territory of Burma, and where many refugee camps are located.

Burmese Christians from among Karen and Shan states came into full communion with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem which had Shemishqo representatives in China. The Burmese Church then requested to be called the “Burmese Orthodox Church” and their request was granted by the Holy See.

On May 22, 2004 the Catholicos Patriarch declared himself king of this rebel held territory and re-established the old Burmese kingdom on Nasrani principles with the name Kingdom of Nettara. This Nestorian Homeland exists, according to the church, "along the border of Thailand extending from Laos to the Adaman Sea." Some 25,000 church members are said to presently inhabit this kingdom, with Nestorian refugees from Iraq included.

The Catholicos did not proclaim himself the king of anything. The people of this highly persecuted, refugee area proclaimed the Catholicos and his deputy patriarch as the government rulers. The Catholicos and the Deputy Patriarch (Sar Patriarch) were very reluctant to be called by that name because of Western misunderstandings.

It seems, from their own various maps, that Nettara is actually the eastern states of Burma which are known to be presently under rebel control, near the the Golden Triangle.

The people in this area are persecuted by Laos and by Myanmar. People, including former clergy, undermine their efforts in bringing peaceful and better living conditions to this area by their false statements. There was a radio program on in Israel a while back that mentioned the commentator travelling to the area and visiting with some of the people on the border. Some of the people gave their experiences and it was broadcast later.

Official Recognition: No official recognition of this Nestorian Homeland has been granted by any of the governments of Burma, Laos, Thailand or any other member of the United Nations. It therefore must be considered a religious conviction promulgated by this church and their Catholicos Patriarch, who is believed to be the heir of the Burman and Hebrew thrones. Nettara is nothing more than the Burmese areas in which christian refugees, many who have become members of this church, reside under the protection of these rebel forces in Northeastern Burma, and nothing more.

The people do not seek recognition from the U.N. or any other such worldly political organization. They work with other refugees through refugee programs by providing food and shelter when possible but they want nothing to do with the U.N. or the corrupt governments of Laos and Myanmar. The people are not under the control of drug lords as was previously stated by someone else in the Wikipedia site.

Claims, Beliefs, Links and Aliases: The Nestorian Orthodox Church claims to be the only true church, and calls all other churches Klal Kristiani (i.e. all of Pauline Christianity), which it vehemently condemns as corrupted, westernized, paganistic and anti-semitic.

The Holy Church proclaims its heritage boldly but does not put history above Apostolic Teaching. Anyone who reads the article “Only Angels Have Halos” can clearly see that the Church does not condemn other Christians. But she will stand up when there is gross error and anti-Semitism.

The Nestorian Orthodox Church has past links to Interfaith Christians and holds to a Universalist belief system. Many off shoot Interfaith, Universalist and Gnostic Thomasine sects have their origins and received their Apostolic Succession from this church.

The Church is not connected with any “interfaith” groups. A casual reading of its books and websites should easily dispel that myth promulgated by two apostate members and now this former priest. The Church has never consecrated anyone who knowingly or even hinted at a Gnostic belief system.

It has adopted Judaizing among it's Gentile membership; and has begun to become Ebionite in it's theology.

“Judaizing”? Does this mean boldly proclaiming that the Church is the Judaeo-Nazaraean Orthodox Church of Jerusalem? or does he mean that the Church requires its members to be familiar with the Whole Scriptures (Torah and Brith Chadashah)? Ebionite? Sighhhhh. Again we see an entirely Western minded individual’s false label.

This church has used many other aliases, such as originally "The Malakara Iberian Orthodox Church"," The Universal Bible Church-St. Thomas Christian Church", "The Universal Bible Society", "The Mar Thoma Nasrani Church of the East & Abroad" and now "The Nestorian Orthodox Church-Church of the East & Abroad".

It was only known as the “Malankara” church among the Saint Thomas Christians in India and those who moved into Portugal. The name “Universal Bible Church” was used in reference to the Church being “Catholic – i.e., Universal” and the “Bible” as the Scriptures. The former priest is wrong to claim that the Church was known as the “Universal Bible Society”. This was once a publishing company in Colorado that was used by the Church to print Bibles and tracts. There was a branch set up in Syria under the care of a man named "Lombardi" who had an ulterior motive. He soon changed the mission statement and many webpages that belonged to the Church. The individual was quickly given the opportunity to repent but he chose to be excommunicated.

Though officially a jurisdiction of the Saint Thomas Christians out of South India, it has an become an eclectic blend of theology and customs from the Assyrian Church of the East, Charismatic Protestantism, Messianic Judaism, and the Essene Dead Sea Scrolls.

Only one group in India is even connected to the Saint Thomas Christians and they came into membership with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1918 under Mar Dalin I who was consecrated as the Catholicos. It is widely known that the Church of Jerusalem was connected in the past with the Assyrians, but the Assyrians broke from the Church of Jerusalem and became independent and began ordaining their own bishops and patriarchs which was seen to be proper. They became known as the Patriarchate of Babylon, essentially. I do not know anything about “Charismatic Protestantism”. I assume this man is referring to a Western view (again) of what “Messianic Judaism” is all about. This is all in the history webpages of the Church and always has been.

Apostolic Succession: The Nestorian Orthodox Church make various claims as to their Apostolic Succession, such as their primary Apostolic Succession from the Church of Jerusalem through the Desposyni Line after 135 CE in Mesopotamia; their secondary line was received "sub conditione" from Assyrian Church of the East (1901) under Patriarch Benjamin Shimun, who was murdered in 1918; their third line was received "sub conditione" from the Syrian Orthodox Church by Metropolitan "Old Catholic" Metropolitan Archbishop +Mar Timotheos I (Rene Vilatte) in 1926, and their fourth line was recieved "sub conditione" from Chaldean Catholic Church under Patriarch +Mar Yusef Emmanuel II Thoma also (1930s?), and finally their secondary line is said to have been re-affirmed by "sub conditione" from the the late Assyrian Patriarch of the East, +Mar Eshai Shimun (1972-73).

The Church’s Apostolic Succession is outlined on the webpages of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Catholicos Patriarch Resource Center’s website. It was claimed by some that the Church received her Apostolic Succession from Joseph Rene Vilatte but this was never clear but it can be seen that the Church does not endorse him or any of his so called “ordinations.” Western and Eastern Orthodox always seem to use this claim against any religious organization that they do not like attempting to de-legitimatize the jurisdiction on any level they can even if they have to stoop to religious slander.

History: The Desposyni (i.e. Family of the Lord) and the Nazarenes left Jerusalem in 135 CE for Mesopotamia. In Mesopotamia they merged with the fledgling Assyrian Church of the East, and their Desposyni became Patriarchs of the early Church of the East (i.e +Mar Abris, +Mar Oraham, +Mar Yakov I, Mar Ebius M'shikha & +Mar Akhu d'Awu). Then in 223 CE, Metropolitan +Mar Yusif II, a Desposyni Archbishop, relocated the Nazarene community of Mesopotamia to far off Burma, there to re-establish their community as a semi-independent Mission of the Assyrian Church of the East. They claim that it is from this isolated Metropolitanate of Judeo-Burmese Nazarenes, once in communion with the Assyrian Church of the East, that their present church is descended. Although they do admit that they were established by and were in full communion with the Assyrian Church of the East at various periods in their long history,

The Church was never officially merged with any other jurisdiction. That false claim is a new one for me. The Church was associated loosely and received when necessary ordination from Assyrian clergy but they never made any formal pact or concordat of agreement.

they presently reject all ties to their ancient parent Church. This history is said to be recorded in a Book they possess called "The Annals of the Oriental Nasraya."

Again the Church is independent and always has been. One can read history concerning the Assyrians and it tells anyone that the Assyrians became independent of the Church of Jerusalem and not the other way around. In other words the Church of Jerusalem was the parent Church. The Assyrians’ books even state this.

They presently have several small communities in Syria, Israel, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Burma, Portugal, Brazil, Izmir and in the United States. Their numbers have never been given, so it can be assumed that they are a very small association of small communities world-wide. In the U.S.A. they are not registered as non-profit religious organization, but they do take donations and sell various products.

Should this man be given a third cookie? The Church, just like any other religious organization sells products. The Church has Scriptures, books, etc. They even sold his writings for a while but the store sales reports show that only a few people ever purchased the materials.

Theology, N.T. Canon and Practice: The Nestorian Orthodox Church's theology and rituals are an admixture of Assyrian Church of the East and St. Thomas Christian Orthodoxy blended with a Judaizing type of Messianic Judaism, as well as mix of some Essene and Charismatic Protestant notions. They state that they depend upon their Scriptures, Traditions, Revelations and the Magisterium of the Church for their Faith, Morals, Practices and Customs.

We have already gone through this point. He is repeating himself for the most part. Anyone can read the writings of the Church to know where she received her theology. There are no secrets about that.

Unlike the 8th Century Assyrian Church of the East's Monuments in China, Mongolia, Korea and Japan, which describe the New Testament Canon as containing the present 27 Books, this church states that it only accepts the 22 Books of the ancient Aramaic Peshitta New Testament, which excludes II John, III John; II Peter; Jude & Revelations.

Everyone who has been participating in the threads on this forum already know the stand of the Church as to the “New Testament” and the Church’s official canon is published on its webpages for all to see. Again false accusations.

As far as the original language of the New Testament is concerned they are adherents of "Aramaic Primacy."

The Church does not and never has concerned herself with the ideals or trappings of what this man calls “Aramaic Primacy”. He is also aware of the posted messages in other forums which I was an assistant manager, where senior clergy of the Church stated to him very clearly that the Church does not promote “Aramaic Primacy”. But, unfortunately for this former priest, the Church also made it clear to him that neither does it promote “Greek Primacy.” The Church holds a very balanced view on this debated subject.

More recently, however, they have determined that along with these five excluded books, all of the Epistles of St. Paul are Apocryphal. They have adopted the Ebionite position that St. Paul contradicts Christ and His Apostles, and is therefore at best of secondary value (Read "But what about Paul?" by H.G. Rabban +Mar Andreos Channer: The Nestorian Orthodox Congregation of Beaverton, Oregon USA).

I wonder what definition this person gives to the word “Apocryphal”. I have heard some Protestant people say that their understanding of “apocrypha” was basically the “junk yard books”. But the Church does not see it this way. “Apocrypha” are those other books that came to her late and were never counted among her official canon. In other words, the Church was unaware that some of these books became “canonical” in a sense to some of Roman, Greek and Hellenistic churches because she was isolated and never invited to any council.

The Nestorian Orthodox Church also practices a form of Torah Observance and Kosher (i.e. Kashrut) laws according to their peculiar Halakha.

Yeshua said that anyone who teaches against Torah Observance would be called “least in the Kingdom” (Matthew 5).

On November 9th, 2005 this church formed a Sanhedrin (i.e. Knesset) of 70 secret Rabbis, whose location is not declared; and the Catholicos Partriarch is the Nasi (President & Prince) of the Nestorian Nasrani Beit Din.

I seem to recall some my father talking about the Beit Knushta when I was a child. That was over twenty years ago. His father, and his grandfather and great grandfather were all members of the Beit Knushta. So in a huff this man has misconstrued the facts by stating that the Knushta was founded in 2005. Anyone who knows the history of the ancient sanhedrin knows that the members have always been anonymous to even Church members for the most part. The ancient Jewish Sanhedrin which no longer exists, its members were also anonymous. A casual reading of the Jewish Encylopedia explains this.

In defense of the Nazaraean Church of Jerusalem - Part 2

These are some more accusations posted by a former priest. Again my comments are in bold while his are in italics.

Former cleric said: I was a member and cleric of this Jurisdiction. I do not know who Budo really is, but he is on the mark when it comes to this church.

Budo is someone who made comments in Wikipedia (their site that recently got into some hot water over the fact the libelous information was posted about a man in the United States. Anyone with a computer, even a monkey, can post things on that site and if you look at some of the articles, it would remind one of the fact the internet is full of people who have nothing better to do than to write vulgar and false statements). Budo claimed that the Church was "new age" and this former "cleric" stated that Budo was on the mark. Interesting.

Former cleric said: I do know who Marcus Levine is, and I suppose the other commenter is familiar too.

Marcus Levine is an archdeacon in New Zealand who posted in that site to defend the Church. Budo made comments saying that the Church was "new age" and never gave any references, yet he requested that Archdeacon Marcus+ give references to his defense.

Former cleric said: I was from 2002 until November 15th, 2005 a prominant cleric in this church.

The fact is that this "prominant cleric" was not even known in most circles and his writings were so confusing to lay people that the real clergy threw them in the trash when they came in email. I know this for a fact because for a short time I volunteered work in the office of the Patriarch in India. The clergy believed that some of the writings contained what they called very strange and foreign concepts that the Church did not hold to.

Former cleric said: I have separated from this ever crumbling deck of cards. My church and missionary diocese is now once again independent, but I am in full communion with an Orthodox Jurisdiction.

This former "cleric", known mostly among a handful in America, was offered the opportunity to repent of certain statements (of which I have not seen personally) or he could walk away. The Church always gives someone the opportunity to repent or walk away with some kind of dignity and does not wish to make a big fuss over the individual. He sent out a copy of his self-excommunication email to people throughout the Church. In his email he said that he did not want the Church to say anything bad about him and he wanted his writings removed the Church's webpages. The Church has not spoken bad about him and his few writings have been removed from the webpages at his request. This basically took place within just a matter of an hour or so.

Former cleric said: I have recently tried to edit and corrected the article... as I was a spiritual counsel (i.e. Abuna-Qasha)...

The site was vandalized several times in fact. There was even a curse posted on there. The IP addresses and usernames are public and anyone can see who posted those things.

Former cleric said: The current Rabban, H.G. Mar Andreos, was my former archdeacon and Confraternity assistant general director.... I was training him myself, but that was fast tracked because he who sits upon the throne of Jerusalem and Nettara (LOL!) liked his heterodoxy when it came to Anti-Pauline Judaizing of Gentile believers, his Universalist Mysticism and his fanatical zeal to do the bidding of the catholicoi.

Well, His Grace, Rabban +Mar Andreos is the Bishop of Education and he is well versed in both Eastern and Western views and all can easily see how Rabban +Mar Andreos teaches which is in line with the Ancient Apostolic Dogma held by the Nazaraean Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. Personally, I am not sure what a Western minded clergy would be able to teach a fully qualified Rabban and Bishop, unless it is Western Antiochene Greek philosophy and anything that does not line up with ancient Apostolic Church teachings.

Former cleric said: Actually, I began to have my doubts about this juisdiction back in the spring of 2005.

Why did this man not bring his thoughts to the Synod? Why did he remain in something he felt was heretical?

Former Cleric said: By August I had found direct evidence that Chazak Yaza was once a member of a New Age online Community.... He clearly states therein that he is the "founder and director of the Universal Bible Society, which is an Interfaith Christian publishing company and world-wide ministry." His stated interests are:"World Scripture (?), Universal Interfaith Movements, Ancient Texts, Gnosis and Christ Consciousness." Now this is beyond the pale of Nazaraean or Christian Orthodoxy, and he described himself as "interfaith" when his Faith is asked.

This former cleric, who claims to have been "prominant", was given the evidence from a nun in Israel who works with students in Syria that the man who was once in charge of the "Universal Bible Society", known as Rex Lombardi, signed His Holiness up for all sorts of email groups and internet organizations without the approval of the Holy Synod, or even the Catholicos himself! His Holiness is not a member of any internet new age group and he has spoken many times and in his book "Faithful Unto the Messiah" about the dangers of syncretism and interfaith groups.

Former clergy said: I know all the early and present revised histories of the church and it's various incarnations and aliases.....when I found all these things out I began to ask for answers and received none. So I left....and if you read all their sites now, I am the evil one they are referencing in their defensive rants.

Almost all of the revised materials were made by the former member of the Church who was trusted but later showed that he had an ulterior motive.

Former clergy said: This group is not aligned or related to Spruit's Malabar Rite Cult. Nor is it gnostic or masonic......

I think I need to give him another cookie.

Former clergy said: In my humble, but well learned opinion, like "the Society for the Advancement of Nazaraean Judaism (SANJ)" of the Diploma Mill'd Dr. James Trimm, this group's leadership is Academically challenged, Theologically incoherent and Biblically illiterate.

"Humble" yet “well learned”? Anyway, the Church does not promote Mr. Trimm’s “SANJ” organization. I suppose if a Greek Orthodox or Western Orthodox Rite priest thinks that another jurisdiction is not Greek or Western enough they think they can call them incoherent and "Biblically illiterate". Again, I wonder why he stayed.

Former cleric said: When I sent an Apologetics paper called "Contra Salus Universalus" againts their heresy, they could not rebut it, nor exegete Scripture in defense of their own position.

I wonder when he sent this. I wonder if he even waited for a reply. Considering how the Holy See receives countless letters, emails and telephone calls all day long and has such a small staff (24 last time I knew), it would be impossible to respond in a short time span. I personally suspect this is just an excuse.

Former cleric said: They do not rely upon Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition (Patristic Witness), but are subjective and have an eclectic mish mash of contrary theological positions. I found this out too late, but I am now liberated from this disfunctional spiritual family.

The fact is the Church does not rely on faulty translation or solely on Greek translations and Greek philosophical interpretations of the Jewish Messiah’s doctrines. Yes, the Church’s theological position is in opposition to anything that is not held by Yeshua and His Apostles.

Former cleric said: Anyone who defends this sect is a sect member who has signed the loyalty oath thought up by my former Archdeacon turned Rabban.

The Oath of Loyalty is for clergy and those who are entering into the clergy but not for laity. The Oath of Loyalty was originally composed by H.G. Rabban +Mar Andreos and guess what….it was approved by this former cleric before it even got sent to Mishqana! All of this information is documented in clergy forum that I am assistant manager of. This former cleric even made it publicly known that he was the first to sign the Oath.

Former cleric said: Like James Trimm's fake Hebrew Roots Version Bible, and the Watchtower's New World Translation, this group is now making it's own Bible Canon and Version too! If you can't find it is Scripture, make your own Version to find it!

That is an interesting statement indeed! I find it interesting because this very same man, the former cleric, has endorsed this Version of the Peshitta in online forums. That is, until he self-excommunicated himself from the Nazaraean Orthodox Church of Jerusalem and made up his own party known as the “Nazaraean Orthodox Church” borrowing from the name of Messiah’s Holy Church.

Former cleric said: So Budo, here is my salute. I have all the htmls and documents saved from every year beginning from 2002 until is quite a hoot.

Anyone can save a webpage but in doing so one can be selective or even change the text of any webpage if they wanted to. By the way, the Mishqana does not permit any of its webpages to be distributed without written permission nor unless the page says it can be printed out and shared or reprinted in some manner. Any other manner would theft. Even sharing in email or posting online.

Former cleric said: My Motto is Unity in Dogmatic Essentials, Liberty in Nonessentials and Charity in all things...they borrowed this from me and now have warped it.

This former cleric sent that statement in and it was requested that it be put on his webpages that were being hosted by the Church with the Church’s own meager means. Later it was realized that, even though the Church does hold to such a sentiment in one way or another, the phrase itself is quite “Protestant” sounding so the Church’s webmasters started removing it.

Former cleric said: They no longer sell my translation of the Didache, my Artwork or any of my intellectual property.

This is because he requested the Church not to sell his “Messianic” doodling and his paraphrases of what he was calling a “Didache”. I was one of the sisters in charge of reviewing the editing process of his paraphrase of the Didache and I found it very difficult to see how his paraphrases fell in line with Ancient Apostolic Dogma. I asked to be taken off the editorial board at that time.

It is sad to see a former cleric to go to no ends in order to bash the Holy Church he swore to defend, even forming an organization he called “Confraternity” in order to defend it. Many people in India, Israel and Turkey spent their life’s savings to purchase or rent buildings and other property in order to organize a branch office in their own countries of this “confraternity”. When this man left the Church he also ripped out the hearts of many poor brothers and sisters who were ready to do anything they could to organize such a “confraternity”. He set himself up under the name of what he called “nasi”. But no more. Those days are gone. We will not be gullible to the whims of such individuals. We will stand strong, and even though we have been wounded and many of us, including myself, have spent every penny we ever owned to assist his “confraternity” in growing worldwide, even though most never even knew him; we soon learned that the constitution he adapted for his “confraternity” was not in line with the proper headship of the Church.

I pray for this man every day and for his family like I always have and I know the sisters in my convent also pray for him. I do not judge him, even though he throws accusations around like rice at a wedding. I ask others not to judge him either. That is not our place. That is between him and the God and Messiah he swore to in the Oath of Loyalty.

Brother Stephen Pingha in Australia posted the following on the internet:

I think a lot of people don't realize that donations are not accepted by non-members of the Church by the majority of the ministries and apostolates. A non-member who wants to donate to the Church is usually directed to a reliable, reputable charitable organization that is not associated with the Church instead. Members are supposed to take care of each other and not rely on the world for their money. The idea is that God is the provider and He does this through the Scripturally mandated tithe. So, almost all donations come from within the Church membership, not the other way around.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What is a Nation?

What is a Nation?

Posted by Brother Stephen Pingha in Australia

What makes a nation? A nation has a common language, religion, it's own "higher power" (or more than one), its own foods, clothing, etc.

Is the Nasrani Church of the East and Abroad a "nation"?

We have a common language throughout the Church and it's called "Nasramit", an ancient tongue akin to Aramaic and Hebrew.

Nestorians have religion and its' Marga Mshikha (or Derekh Mshikha) = the Law of Messiah = the Way of Messiah.

We have our own God = Mar Yah made incarnate in the Son = Maran Yeshua Mshikha, One Body, Two Essences!

We have many different foods, but there are those certain foods that are common to almost all Nasrani = but our most important food is Peshitta = the Word of God. "You give food for the sustenance of humankind and they praise You for that food; but You also give us spiritual food, for which we praise You for that Food as well."

The Nestorian Nation also has a specific clothing and it's called "modest". Real Nestorians don't go around with highly expensive and gaudy attire. It's not in our nature to do that. But most importantly we have Spiritual Clothing = Holy Spirit!

So are Nasranis a "nation"? Yes! We are the Nestorian Orthodox Nation. A small minority in a sea of sin and paganism lifting up the Banner of Truth = the Marga Mshihka! Yes! Members of the Church are a part of THE Nestorian Nation and our Nation has a homeland and it's called Nettara and it's Law is the Torah and it's God is Mar Yah Yeshua! AMEN!