By Bradley Martin, Originally published in Algemeiner
“Israel has stability, the ear of the world community, and the ability to be a modern state in the Middle East. Israel has withstood the test of time,” says Mar Awa Royel, the first American-born Assyrian bishop in history. Born David Royel in Chicago, Illinois on July 4, 1975, His Grace Mar Awa, Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, who presides over the Diocese of California, conveys his desire for friendship between Israel and the Assyrian people.
Noting that “we’ve had a long history,” he cites prophecy in the Book of Isaiah in order to provide a biblical foundation for his desired brotherhood with Israel, and describes several church-organized pilgrimages that he has led to Israel.
While there are very few Assyrian Christians in Israel, until 1853 the Assyrian Church of the East shared a part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Numerous records and Assyrian manuscripts are now in the possession of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Israel.