Assyrian Priest in Sweden Launches Census Project

Aprim Moshe Iskhaq Aprim Moshe Iskhaq ministers in the Assyrian Church of the East in Linköping, Sweden, Aprim was born in Duhok, Iraq, on 20 April 1974. Photo: Andro.

When asked in a TV interview "how many Assyrians are members of the Assyrian Church of the East?" the young priest answered: “I don’t know.”

Next day at a meeting of the Executive Board or Seeta, the administrative committee of the Assyrian Church of the East in Linköping, the priest the same question. Members of the committee's answer varied from 400 to 600. All guess work.

The young priest, Rev. Aprim Moshe Iskhaq, was ordained on 27 November 2004 by Metropolitan Mar Avrahim Odishu, to minister in the city of Linköping, Sweden for the Assyrian community upon the request of the community members.

His first act was to find out the number of the members of the Assyrian Church of the East in Linköping. He designed a form of questionnaire in Arabic and Swedish.
The form was distributed to all those attending the Christmas Eve celebrations on 25 December 2004. On that date after church services 150 forms were picked up by the members of the congregation and 140 completed forms have since been returned to the Administrative Committee.

Another project underway is the preparation and distribution of another form asking members of the Church where their parents and forefathers who had passed away were buried. This, Rev. Aprim , considers as very important to maintain the memory of their deceased parents and to keep a link with the past.

The form asked the following questions:
1) Name of family head
2) Date of birth
3) Marital Status, if so name of spouse and birthdate
4) City of Residence
5) Members of the family, their dates of birth, relationship
6) Country and city residing in
7) Date head of family entered Sweden
8) Swedish citizen? Permanent resident? Other?
9) Address
10) Home phone number, Mobile phone number

The Administrative Committee is now planning to prepare an account of the members of the Church. Since most Assyrian families live together with their parents, Seeta plans to record family members from their parents.

Rev. Aprim is also planning to prepare a telephone directory of all Assyrians in Linköping. The Seeta hopes to include all Assyrians in Sweden in the telephone directory.

Teaching of the Assyrian language is also given high priority. Shortly Assyrian language classes will begin. Assyrian students in Sweden studying their mother language are graded and their scores are added to their grades in the Swedish public schools.

Shortly Rev. Aprim will attend Swedish and English languages and plans to study Theology at a Swedish University.

22 Mar 2005 by Y. P. youkhanna