His Holiness, Mar Awa IIIwas born on July 4, 1975 in Chicago, IL to Koresh and Flourence Royel. He is a first-generation Assyrian-American. His involvement in the Assyrian Church of the East began at a very young age. At 16, he was ordained as a sub-deacon, and the following year became a deacon. He was ordained by the late, H.H. Mar Dinkha IV. Both ordinations took place at Mar Gewargis Cathedral in Chicago, IL.
His Grace obtained his bachelor's degree from Loyola University Chicago in 1997 and went on to achieve his second bachelor's degree of Sacred Theology from University of St. Mary of the Lake in 1999. He later received his License and Doctorate of Sacred Theology from Pontifical Oriental University in Rome.
His Grace was ordained as Cor-Bishop on July 15, 2006 by the late H.H. Mar Dinkha IV at Mar Gewargis Cathedral in Chicago, IL, and as Archdeacon by the late H.H. Mar Dinkha IV on November 23, 2008 in Mar Yosip Parish in San Jose, California.
On November 30, 2008, His Grace was elevated to the rank of Bishop, taking the name Mar Awa Royel. He is the first American-born Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East. Mar Awa was again consecrated by the Patriarch the late H.H. Mar Dinkha IV. The ordination ceremony took place at St. Zaia Cathedral in Modesto, CA, the episcopal seat of the Bishop of the Diocese of California.
On September 8, 2021, the Holy Synod elected Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod, to succeed Mar Gewargis III as the 122nd Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. This was a historic decision as His Holiness was the first Western-born Catholicos-Patriarch. He was consecrated and enthroned as Catholicos-Patriarch on September 13, 2021, on the Feast of the Holy Cross, in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist in Erbil, Iraq, and assumed the ecclesiastical name Mar Awa III.
Meet Our Parish Priest
Rev. Qashisha Oshia Oraha was born on July 1, 1974 to Louy and Maryam Delo, a family from Nerwa, Northern Iraq. He married Layla Youkhana in 1999 and has two sons, Norsheen, and Norael and one daughter Orshena.
After studying at the Baghdad Seminary of the Church of the East from 1988 to 1999, he received his Bachelor Degree in Theology (STB) from the Pontificia Università Urbaniana in 1999, granted through the Babel College for Philosophy and Theology in Baghdad, Iraq.
Rev. Fr. Oshia was ordained a reader in 1991, and a subdeacon and deacon in 1992, and on September 15 2000 he was ordained a priest by His Holiness Mar Gewargis III (Sliwa), who was then the Metropolitan of Iraq.
From 2000 until 2012, Rev. Fr. Oshia served as principle of the Baghdad Seminary of the Church of the East, as well as Parish Priest of Mar Odisho Church, Baghdad, Iraq (2002-2012).
In 2013, he emigrated to the United States, where he was appointed Parish Priest of Mar Narsai Parish by His Grace Mar Awa on 20 August, 2013.
On March 17, 2019 Rev. Fr. Oshia Oraha was appointed Parish Priest of Saint Zaia Cathedral in Modesto, CA.
Rev. Fr. Oshia Oraha
If you need immediate assistance or have any questions please contact him directly at: (619) 715-0235 or email@example.com
Meet Our Parish Committee (Mutwa)
Dr. Sargon Tamou
Dr. Bianca Agassi
Ladies Auxiliary President