The Greek and Eastern Churches/Part 2/Division 4/Chapter 3

 

CHAPTER III

THE LATER NESTORIANS, THE CHALDÆANS, AND THE JACOBITES

 

(a) Thomas of Marga, Historia Monastica (edited by Budge, 1893); John of Ephesus, Ecclesiastical History (trans. by Payne Smith); Zachariah, Syriac Chronicle, Eng. trans., 1899; Asseman, Biblioth. Oriental, tomes ii. and iv.

 

The Nestorians.

During the earlier part of its history the Nestorian Church in the Persian Empire went through the trying experience of alternate patronage and persecution. It is difficult to say which was the more hurtful to it. The patronage was continuous over long periods of time; the persecution took the form of sudden outbreaks of massacre. When the monarch smiled on the Church he took good care to keep it well in hand, appointing his own nominee as catholicos and deposing him if he did not give satisfaction. The Persian Nestorians being at feud with the orthodox Greeks in the Byzantine Empire, it was profitable to the king of Persia for the quarrel between the two Churches to come to the assistance of the antagonism between the two empires. But while this might suit the purposes of the sovereign, it was by no means pleasing to the Magi, who saw in the Church their deadly rival. Therefore whenever the Magian influence got the upper hand the Christians had to suffer. In consequence of one of these persecutions, which began in the year 608, the office of catholicos was vacant for twenty years, at the end of which time of gloom and desolation it was restored in the person of Jesu-Jabus.[1] who lived to see the fall of the royal house of the Sassanidæ (a.d. 651). During the patriarchate of Jesu-Jabus, Persia was overwhelmed by the Mohammedan tide of conquest, the consequence of which was oppression under a more anti-Christian tyranny than that of the Zoroastrian rulers it superseded. But this has not always been equally severe. The catholicos obtained from the caliph an assurance of protection for the Christians, with a right to practise their religion on the usual condition of paying tribute. He even got better terms from Omar at a later time, having the tribute remitted. The next caliph, Ibn Abi Taleb, confirmed these privileges in a charter which expressed polite esteem for the Christianity of the Nestorians. No doubt, like his predecessors the Persian kings, he was astute enough to perceive the wisdom of favouring the heretics, both for the sake of weakening the Christian cause by means of divisions, and on account of the close alliance between the orthodox Church, which repudiated them, and the Byzantine Empire. In the year 762, under the enlightened caliphate of Bagdad, the Nestorian catholicos removed to that city, then a centre of learning and science, and there the Christian prelate lived on good terms with the Mussulman despot.[2]

During the next five hundred years the Nestorian Church was allowed to go its own way, sometimes with kindly recognition from liberal caliphs, sometimes harassed by harsh tyrants, but still all the time a recognised institution within the territory of Islam. Then came the terrible barbaric invasions, which threatened to sweep civilisation away in the regions of the Greek Empire, and which brought a night of three centuries on the opening day of Russian Christianity. Their influence on the Mohammedan countries has not been noted with so much concern, and yet it would have been tremendous if these conquering heathen hordes had not been rapidly absorbed into Islam, with the ultimate result that the Turkish superseded the Arab rule over the lands that Mohammed and his successors had won by the sword. In the year 1258, Hulaku Khan, the nephew of Genghis Khan, took Bagdad, and put an end to the caliphate in that city. He was the son of a Christian mother and he had a Christian wife. Indeed, he entered into negotiations with the pope and with the kings of France and England with a view to an alliance against the Saracens. Several of his successors publicly professed themselves as Christians; others stood for Islam. Their power rapidly declined. Meanwhile, although the Nestorians were now very numerous, their moral influence was weakened and their church life degenerated. This unsatisfactory state of affairs continued for nearly a hundred and fifty years. We are now at the end of the fourteenth century—a time of overwhelming calamities. Another wave of invasion from the steppes of Asia next appeared, led by the dreadful Timour, who seized and sacked Bagdad, Aleppo, and Damascus about the year 1400. He presented himself as a champion of Islam with a policy very different from the Tartar khans of Bagdad; for Timour savagely attacked the Syrian Christians, many of whom he captured, while those who succeeded in escaping fled to the inaccessible mountains of Kurdistan. It was the break-up of the ancient Syrian Church that had had so large a share in the history of Mesopotamia and wide areas farther north and east for a thousand years. The Nestorians still lingered on; they have remained to the present day; but they have never recovered their ancient power and prestige.[3]

A curious account of the Nestorians is given by Albiruni, a Mohammedan writer who lived at Khiva between a.d. 973 and 1048. He contrasts them with the Catholic party on account of their superior intellectual activity, saying, "Nestorius instigated people to examine for themselves, and to use the instruments of logic and analogy in meeting their opponents."[4] This author states that they agree with the Melchites[5] in the observance of Lent, Christmas, and Epiphany, but differ from them as to all other feasts and fasts. At the feast of Ma'alʿtha,[6] he tells us, "They wander from the nave of their churches up to the roof in memory of the return of the Israelites to Jerusalem," an indication of Jewish associations on the part of the Nestorians. Albiruni declared that the majority of the inhabitants of Syria, Irak, and Khurasan were Nestorians.

The lot of the Nestorians in modern times is pitiable. In the year 1843 four thousand of them were massacred by the Kurds. Layard describes his visit to a ghastly scene of skeletons, skulls, scattered bones, rotting garments on rocks and bushes and ledges of a precipice over which men, women, and children had been hurled. Everywhere he found villages devastated and churches in ruins, or, if in some cases they were roughly rebuilt, the people afraid to use them, because the patriarch was in prison and unable to reconsecrate the desecrated houses of worship.

The wonder is that these oppressed people, excommunicated by the Greek Church and persecuted by their Mussulman neighbours, still retain their loyalty to what they believe to be the faith once delivered to the saints, even to the extent of martyrdom. They have very little to encourage them in what Protestants would call "the means of grace." Their liturgies are in old Syriac, which is unintelligible to the people of the present day—except where, as Layard says, it is translated into the vernacular. They hear no preaching. Their chief religious functions are fasts, of which there are 153 in the year. One consequence of their isolation is that, while they have sunk into ignorance, they have not degenerated in doctrine and ritual to the same extent as more active churches. They have no doctrine of transubstantiation, no purgatory; they do not sanction Mariolatry or image worship; nor will they even allow icons to be exhibited in their churches. Men and women take the communion in both kinds. All five orders of clergy below the bishops are permitted to marry. Dr. Layard could not find any convents either for men or for women.

Thus in many respects the modern Nestorians are nearer to European Protestantism than to Roman Catholicism. While those who have succumbed to the Jesuit missions are bound to accept the full Western doctrine—if they really know what that is—the sturdy resistance of the old Nestorians to the papal pretensions throws them into an attitude which is essentially protestant. But they are neither Lutheran nor Calvinistic. They have any essential Western Protestantism in their constitution. Such ideas of Luther as the priesthood of all Christians and justification by faith are quite unknown to these scattered communities of the primitive Syrian Church. In their daily life the Syrian and Persian Nestorians have the reputation of being superior to their Mohammedan neighbours. They are honest, thrifty, perhaps even parsimonious. Such people are well worthy of the sympathy and assistance of their more fortunate and more enlightened fellow-Christians. The first necessity is to protect them from oppression and outrage. What they need is education, not ecclesiastical proselytising. They are said not to know the elements of the gospel. Then the best action of friendly English or American churches would be to evangelise them by teaching them the contents of their own Scriptures. Some good work of this kind is already going on under the American missionaries.

One cause of the weakening of this ancient Syrian Church may be found in its divisions. In particular there are the Chaldæans and the Jacobites.


The Chaldæans.

The sect known as the "Chaldæans" is of recent origin, having originated in the year 1681, when the Nestorian patriarch of Diarbekir, having quarrelled with the catholicos, turned to the pope, who consecrated him "patriarch of the Chaldæans," thus creating the new office on his own authority. This movement was the result of a Jesuit mission in the East, and the Chaldæans are a sect springing out of the influence of that mission.[7] The Crusades raised hopes on the part of the papacy that if the stubborn Greek Church could not be induced to bow the neck to the pope, the Nestorians who were anathematised by that church might join hands with the Latin Church. Their very antagonism to the Byzantines might induce them to have friendly feelings towards the rival communion. Accordingly efforts were made to win over the Nestorians in the year 1247, and again some forty years later; but though Eastern courtesy or suppleness at first deceived the papal missionaries with hopes of success, these were doomed to disappointment. Nothing more was done for more than three hundred years. Then, in the year 1552, a large secession from the Nestorian Church took place on the question of the election of a catholicos. The office had long been hereditary; but at length a considerable body of clergy objected to this unhealthy arrangement, and on the death of a patriarch in the year 1551 they passed by his nephew and elevated to the vacant post a more popular candidate, Sind (or Sulaka). Now it was held to be requisite that three metropolitans should take part in the appointment of a patriarch. But there were not three to be found siding with the schism. The difficulty was got over by an appeal to Rome, and the Chaldæan catholicos was consecrated by Pope Julius iii. At the same time a priest named Moses brought the Peshitta to Europe, and thus prepared for the study of Syrian Christianity by Western scholars.

It is not to be supposed, however, that the mere question of arranging a consecration was the only motive for so important a step as this union. With some we may see in it the outcome of the repeated efforts of the Latin Church to absorb the Nestorians. The connection once established was continued, and the successors of Sind also obtained their consecration from Rome. Thus the Chaldæans are the Nestorians who have submitted to the papacy, and we may regard them as the fruits of the Jesuit missions in Syria. They are called by the Syrian Christians who have successfully resisted the papal aggression, the Maghlobeen, that is, "the Conquered." The Chaldæans are now chiefly found in rural districts east of the Tigris, and they are comparatively numerous at Elkoösh, where they have a large monastery bearing the name of Rabban Hormuz; they have a catholicos at Bagdad.

Abortive attempts at union with Rome have been made from time to time in other quarters. Thus Elias ii., bishop of Mosul, sent two deputations to Pope Paul iv., the first in the year 1607 and the second three years later. In a letter which accompanied his messengers he expressed a desire for a reconciliation between the Nestorians and the Latin Church. Again, in the year 1657, another approach from the Nestorian side was attempted, when Elias iii. addressed a letter to the congregation De Propaganda Fide, expressing his readiness to join the Church of Rome on two conditions—(1) that the pope would allow the Nestorians to have a church of their own in the city of Rome; (2) that they should not be required to alter their doctrine or discipline. Sancta simplicitas! Nothing could come of that. Subsequently the Nestorian bishops of Ormus, who all bore the name of Simeon, more than once proposed plans of reconciliation with Rome, and one of them sent a confession of faith to the pontiff to demonstrate their orthodoxy. But it all came to nothing. The main body of the Nestorians has remained in neglected isolation and poverty. Meanwhile the Roman Catholic propaganda never ceases its efforts to gather these far-off wandering sheep into its fold.[8] In the eighteenth century it won over a small body of Nestorians at Diabeker. But for the most part these attempts have been fruitless.


The Jacobites.

The Jacobites are the representatives of Monophysitism in the Syrian Church, and therefore they are at the antipodes of the Nestorians in regard to divergence from the Greek Church. They are named after Jacob surnamed Al Bardai, either from Bardaa, a city in Armenia, or, as is generally assumed, from a sort of felt which the Arabs call "barda," used for saddle-cloths, which he wore in a ragged condition, so that he went about, it was said, looking like a beggar. Born at Tela, a place also called Constantina, fifty-five miles east of Edessa, towards the close of the fifth century, he was brought up in a monastery, where he was educated in Monophysite theology and Greek and Syriac literature, and disciplined with severe asceticism, and whence his fame as a monk miracle-worker rapidly spread. When it reached the Empress Theodora she summoned him to Constantinople, reckoning him to be a valuable asset for the cause that she was intriguing to help forward. He came reluctantly, having no ambition for the honours that the empress heaped upon him. Detesting the luxury and worldly glamour of the court, he retired to a monastery near the city, where he remained for fifteen years, living the life of a complete recluse. But his work was yet before him. In spite of his long-practised habit of retirement, he was destined to a career of great activity. His call came from the desperate needs of his party. The weak Justinian, who had wavered for some time under the influence of his masterful consort, was brought at length to take vigorous measures for the enforcement of the Chalcedonian decrees. Bishops and inferior clergy who refused to accept them were removed from their posts and punished with exile and imprisonment. The consequence was that over a very wide area where the Monophysite doctrine prevailed, the people were deprived of any ministry according to their own views, and therefore left, as Gibbon sneeringly remarks, to the choice of being "famished or poisoned." Then Harith the Magnificent, a sheikh of the Christian Arabs, brought the case of these unhappy people before their patroness Theodora, and so induced her to drag Jacob out of his cell and persuade him to return to Eastern Syria for the help of his fellow-religionists.

Jacob was now launched on a perilous and exacting undertaking; for his mission was to be followed out in defiance of the emperor's orders, and it demanded immense energy as well as heroic courage. The brave man rose to the occasion. He changed his manner of life. From being a shrinking recluse and letting the years glide by unmarked in the even course of the monastic life, he suddenly plunged into a sea of affairs, and undertook long journeys sometimes on foot, at other times on a fleet dromedary lent him by the sheikh. He traversed Asia Minor, Syria, and Mesopotamia, as far as Persia. Wherever he went he ordained bishops and priests, exhorted the people to fidelity to their creed, and encouraged them amid persecutions and disappointments. His enthusiasm was infectious, and his indefatigable labours were rewarded with brilliant success. Jacob was credited with having ordained a fabulous number of clergy.[9] Thus the fire which Justinian thought he had stamped out had burst into flame again. The orthodox bishops were enraged. The emperor was indignant. He would have seized the obnoxious disturber of his happy settlement if only he could have done so. Orders were issued for the arrest of Jacob; rewards were offered to any who could catch him. It was all in vain. Jacob seemed to be ubiquitous. He had friends among the Arabs who hid him whenever danger threatened. So, while many an obscure Monophysite bishop was languishing in a dungeon, this chief offender not only remained at large, but continued his labours among the people in promoting the cause to which he was devoted, at the risk of his liberty, perhaps his life.

This is the bright page of the story. The sequel is very disappointing. Like many another enthusiast, Jacob failed in administration. His very simplicity, preserved for so many years in the seclusion of his cell, unfitted him for dealing with designing men. Unhappily there were some of this kind about him who played the unsuspecting saint for their own purposes, and all unconsciously he became a tool in their hands. The consequence was that the Monophysite party was split into miserable factions, which sometimes came to blows and even murder. The most important and wide-reaching of these disturbances was occasioned by the conduct of Paul, whom Jacob had ordained "Patriarch of Antioch." During the persecution Paul and three other leading bishops of his party were summoned to Constantinople, where they were harshly treated, till one after another all yielded to the combined pressure of government authority and popular disfavour. It was purely an act of weakness, and Paul immediately shrank away into retirement, taking refuge in Arabia with Moudir, Harith's successor. As soon as Jacob heard of the defection of the patriarch whom he had himself nominated, he indignantly excommunicated the unhappy man. But Paul was heartily ashamed of his conduct, and after three years Jacob acknowledged his penitence and consented to receive him into communion again after a synod of Monophysites had sanctioned this proposal. That, however, did not end the trouble. It only transferred it to the Monophysites at Alexandria, who appear to have had other and earlier grounds of complaint against the culprit, previously well known in their city. Peter the Monophysite patriarch pronounced his deposition—a distinct breach of canon law, for Alexandria had no jurisdiction over Antioch; the two patriarchs were of equal rank and mutually independent. Jacob went to Alexandria to endeavour to settle the matter. But he was not the man for delicate negotiations. The party of Peter won him over to signing his assent to the deposition of Paul, though not to the excommunication of him. The result was a schism beginning in the year 576, which, as John of Asia says, "spread like an ulcer."[10] The misfortune was that both parties were Monophysite, both therefore under the ban of the Chalcedonian party and the imperial government. All other attempts at a settlement having failed, Jacob set out a second time for Alexandria in the vain hope of making terms of peace. He was now an old man, wearied and vexed with the constant strife in the midst of which his lot was cast, so utterly against his will and nature, since he would have infinitely preferred the quiet seclusion of his cell from which he had been dragged against his will. He never reached his destination. His party was stricken with a serious illness at the monastery of Cassianus on the borders of Egypt, and Jacob and three members of the company died there (July a.d. 578). Of course there were rumours of foul play. But no evidence was brought forward to confirm them. It was perhaps a happy ending to a life which at its zenith had shone with brilliant success, but the later half of which had been overcast with gloom and failure. Jacob was a good, unambitious man, an enthusiastic evangelist, an indefatigable peace-maker; but the larger half of the Church denounced his evangel, and his old friends whom he desired to reconcile would not have his peace.

Meanwhile the persecution of the Syrian Monophysites, like that of the Nestorians at an earlier date, was driving them into the hands of the Persians. Then divisions of a doctrinal character appeared among them. There were the Niobites, led by Niobes, a teacher who maintained the perfect unity of Christ as distinguished from the more moderate Monophysites, among whom some distinction between the Divinity and the humanity was allowed. Then there were the Tritheites, who appeared in the reign of Justin ii. under the leadership of John Askunages ("Bottle-shoes") who, according to Bar Hebræus stated his views thus: "I confess one nature of Christ, the Incarnate Word; but in the Trinity I reckon the natures and substances and godheads according to the number of the persons." There was a clearness and logical consistency in the views of these people not attained by less daring thinkers. If the humanity of Christ is so absorbed and transmuted as to be entirely lost in His Divinity, either you must have a Patripassion or at least a Sabellian Monarchianism, or you must find His distinctive individuality in His Divine nature. In the latter case, if as God He is a distinct individual by the side of the Father, you have two Gods, and as the same is said of the Holy Ghost, the consequence is Tritheism. Later there appeared people known as Tetratheists, in consequence of the teaching of Damianus, a Syrian, the Severian or Monophysite patriarch of Alexandria—Peter's successor—at the end of the sixth century. He recognised first the essential personality of the one substance, God in Himself, and then a separate individuality for each of the Three Persons of the Trinity. His opponent, Peter of Calinicus, would make him push his argument further, and so come to have a separate divinity for each property of God, a perfect pantheon, if he would be consistent with his root principle. But John of Asia describes him as an untrustworthy and inconsistent man.[11] Other divisions of the Monophysites are more closely associated with Alexandria and the Coptic Church than with the Syrian. But they have lingered on in Syria down to the present day. The Jacobites are now mostly found in Mesopotamia, especially at Mosul and Mardeen. There are scarcely any left in Palestine and few in Damascus. But they have a monastery at Jerusalem, and some of them are to be found at Hamah and Aleppo. Etheridge calculates that apart from the colony at Malabar the total number of Jacobites is now probably not more than 150,000.[12] They claim to be descended from the original Hebrew Christians and designate themselves "B'né Israel." In their church government they are very hierarchical, although their orders are under suspicion since they are derived from Jacob Al Bardai, whose own ordination to the episcopate has been questioned, for some have maintained that he was only ordained as a presbyter.

In conclusion it is to be observed that the Syrian Church has made no inconsiderable contributions to literature, although Renan's generalised verdict of mediocrity must be applied to the mass of it. First we have the Peshitta, the standard Syriac Bible, the Vulgate of the East. Then there are several versions and successive revisions made by Jacobite scholars in the interest of the Monophysite doctrine. The first of these was produced by Aksenaya, or Philoxenus, bishop of Mabbogh, with the assistance of his chorepiscopus Polycarp, which appeared in the year 508, and became popular among the Jacobites; it was superseded by later revisions, especially that of Thomas of Heraclea, bishop of the same city of Mabbogh early in the seventh century. A hundred years later a final attempt at revision of the Old Testament was made by Jacob of Edessa, but his work does not seem to have met with acceptance, and he did not proceed to revise the New Testament. The Melchite or Greek Church of Palestine had its own revision in the local Aramaic dialect, a dialect corresponding to the Jewish Targums, and probably more nearly approaching that spoken by our Lord than that of any other version. Meanwhile the Nestorians held to the old Peshitta, and opposed stolid indifference to the only attempt ever made to give them a more accurate version, when Mar Abha i., a catholicos in the middle of the sixth century, having studied Greek under a teacher at Edessa named Thomas, with his assistance made a new translation into Syriac of all the Old Testament and perhaps also the New.

The story of Syriac literature properly begins with Tatian's Diatessaron. Next comes the scholar Bardaisan, whom the Church failed to retain and who has been called "the last of the Gnostics." While his authorship of the important work De Fato, already briefly described,[13] is doubtful, he is stated to have written a History of Armenia and a book called Hypomnemata Indica, compiled out of information he obtained from Indian ambassadors on their way through Edessa to the Roman court. Jacob of Nisibis is a famous Syrian writer of the fourth century; but the Homilies once ascribed to him are now said to have been written by Aphraates, who was followed towards the end of the century by Ephraim,[14] and the poets Balai or Balseus, who has given his name to the pentasyllable metre, and Cyrillona, who composed a poem "on the locusts, and on Divine chastisements, and on the Huns." The present form of the famous "Doctrine of Addai"—the work in which the legend of Abgar is enshrined, and where we have the narrative of the early evangelising of Edessa and the first bishops and martyrs—cannot be earlier than the fourth century. Only fragments of the works of Rabbulas have been found. Previous to elevation to the episcopate, his successor Ibas had been one of the translators of Theodore's works. The Monophysites claimed Simeon the Stylite as sharing their views, and an eighth century manuscript contains a letter ascribed to him and addressed to the Emperor Leo, and another manuscript of the same period contains three letters credited with the same authorship; all of which documents, if genuine, go to show that he did not accept the decision of Chalcedon. At the end of the fifth century we come upon Jacob of Serugh, who was described as "the flute of the Holy Spirit and the harp of the believing Church." He left a mass of poems. According to the historian Bar Hebræus, he had seventy amanuenses to copy out his 760 metrical homilies, as well as his commentaries and letters, odes and hymns. The most famous Syrian writer of the sixth century is John of Asia, whose Ecclesiastical History is our chief source of information for the period covered by the third part of it—which is all we possess in a complete form. John was a missionary among the heathen of Asia, Lydia, Caria, and Phrygia, and he was remarkably successful in winning converts from paganism to Christianity. Yet he was a Monophysite. From these facts we may draw two instructive inferences. First, if there was something peculiarly stimulating to missionary enthusiasm and promising for its fruitfulness in Nestorianism—as we saw may have been the case,[15]—its extreme opposite was not excluded from the evangelistic mission. Second, while both Nestorianism on the one hand and Monophysitism on the other were anathematised by the orthodox Church, and the leading supporters of both heresies excommunicated, the mighty spirit of the gospel, which is larger than all sects and creeds, was working through them for the extension of the kingdom of God. If we may apply to these two bodies the great test "by their fruits ye shall know them," we shall come to the delightful conclusion that "the root of the matter" was in both of them, although the good men who led the dominant Church were unhappily not enlightened or liberal enough to perceive it. When John returned from his missionary activities, which had been honoured so highly in their success, he was made Monophysite bishop of Ephesus. He suffered imprisonment during the persecution under Justin in the year 571. There will be a peculiar interest in reading his narrative when we consider his statement that "most of these histories were written at the very time when the persecutions were going on." … He says, "it was even necessary that friends should remove the leaves on which these chapters are inscribed, and every other particle of writing, and conceal them in various places, where they sometimes remained for two or three years."[16] Passing over a number of obscure writers, we come to Jacob of Edessa, the most famous Monophysite writer at the end of the seventh century. Dr. Wright says, "In the literature of his country Jacob holds much the same place as Jerome among the Latin Fathers. He was, for his time, a man of great culture and wide reading, being familiar with Greek and with older Syriac writers."[17] His writings comprise commentaries, liturgical compositions, history, philosophy, grammar. Unfortunately Jacob's chronicle, which would have been of great value as a continuation of Eusebius down to his own time, has been lost. In his Syriac grammar he used a device he had invented, consisting of vowel signs to be written on a line with and between the consonants, after the European pattern of writing.

Thus far Syrian literature has chiefly flourished among the Jacobites, The seventh and eighth century saw more Nestorian writers—Babhai the elder, a prolific writer credited with the authorship of eighty-three or eighty-four works, including a commentary on the whole Bible; Isho-yabh of Gedhala, author of commentaries, histories, and homilies; Sahdona, who wrote two volumes on the monastic life; and many others, among the most famous of whom was Abraham the Lame, who wrote a book of exhortations, discourses on repentance, etc. In the ninth century the products of Syrian literature are more scarce, though some of them are historically important. One of the most valuable was Dionysius of Tell Mahre's great work, his Annals, while Thomas of Marga, whose acquaintance we have already made,[18] belongs to this period. The eleventh century is meagrely represented by Syrian literature; but in the twelfth we reach the famous Jacobite writer, Dionysius Bar Salibi, created bishop of Mar'ash in 1145. He left commentaries on the Old and New Testaments, giving a material or literal, and a spiritual or mystical explanation of each book; a compendium of theology; and many other works. In the next century we come to the learned historian Bar Hebræus, who was born in the year 1226. During his youth he had studied Greek, Arabic, rhetoric, and medicine. In 1253 he became bishop of Aleppo; he died in the year 1286. His Ecclesiastical Chronicle, written in the simple style of a man of culture, which contrasts pleasantly with the swollen verbosity of so many Oriental writers of the later period, is a valuable source of information for the historical writer in the present day. Bar Hebræus was a Jacobite. The most prominent Nestorian writer of the same period is Abdh-isho bar Berikha, who died in the year 1318. His chief work is a theological treatise called Marganitha (i.e. "The Pearl"), written in the year 1298. The author himself translated it into Arabic. Mai has edited it with a Latin translation, and Badger has given an English translation in his work on the Nestorians.[19] Abdh-isho produced a number of other works, among which is his Paradise of Eden, a collection of fifty theological poems.

 
  1. Asseman, tome iv. p. 37.
  2. Ibid. iv. pp. 94 ff.
  3. See Asseman, tome iv. p. 138 ff.
  4. Chronology of Ancient Nations, translated by E. Sachau (Oriental Translation Fund, 1879), p. 306.
  5. The orthodox, as the party of the "king," i.e. the Byzantine emperor, a title applied to them in contrast to Nestorians.
  6. Ingressus.
  7. Etheridge says that the Chaldæans came from both sections of Eastern Syrian Christians—the Nestorians and the Jacobites, and claims in support of this view the authority of Smith and Dwight, "Researches in Armenia," in Grant's Nestorians or Lost Tribes, p. 170. But according to Badger they are simply a branch of the Nestorians.
  8. A Nestorian priest at Amadieh deplored to the American missionary, Dr. Grant, that his own father had been bastinadoed in order to compel him to become a Roman Catholic. See Etheridge, pp. 127, 128.
  9. According to John of Asia 100,000, including eighty-nine bishops and two patriarchs. See Laud, Anecdot. Syr. ii. 251.
  10. John of Asia (trans. by Payne Smith), p. 282.
  11. John of Asia, p. 306.
  12. Syrian Churches, p. 149, note.
  13. See p. 466.
  14. See p. 473.
  15. See p. 480.
  16. Hist. Eccl. (trans. by Payne Smith), p. 168.
  17. Hist. Syr. Literature, p. 143.
  18. See p. 484.
  19. The Nestorians, ii. p. 380 ff.