Mandaeans are followers of John the Baptist. Their ancestors fled from the Jordan Valley about 2000 years ago and ultimately settled along the lower reaches of the Tigris, Euphrates and Karun Rivers in what is now Iraq and Iran. Baptism is the principal ceremony of the Mandaean religion and may only take place in a freshwater river.
Mandaeans are theists and pacifists. The Mandaeans have a number of Holy Books, the greatest of which is the Ginza. The Mandaean Holy Books are written in the Aramaic language and the Mandaean script. The Ginza itself consists of 21 books. The Ginza teaches love and kindness:
“If you see anyone hungry, feed him; if you see anyone thirsty, give him a drink” (Right Ginza I.105)
“Give alms to the poor. When you give do not attest it. If you give with your right hand do not tell your left hand. If you give with your left hand do not tell your right hand.” (Right Ginza II.i.34)
“Ye the chosen ones … Do not wear iron and weapons; let your weapons be knowledge and faith in the God of the World of Light. Do not commit the crime of killing any human being.”
“Ye the chosen ones … Do not rely on kings and rulers of this world, do not use soldiers and weapons or wars; do not rely on gold or silver, for they all will forsake your soul. Your souls will be nurtured by patience, love, goodness and love for Life.”
Mandaeans began to settle in Australia around 1981. Ganzevra Salah Chohili arrived in 1996. The Mandaean people approved the Constitution for the Mandaean Community in Australia and accepted Ganzevra Salah Chohili as the religious leader of the Mandaean Community in Australia in a voting process conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission on 16th December 2007. Following that vote the Mandaean Synod was established in accordance with the Constitution and has continued to function ever since.