Christian Orient: The States and Interconfessional Relations


The Exaltation of Holy Cross and the Deposition of the Emperor of Ethiopia: Lïj Iyasu and a Mäsqäl Drama

On September 16, 1916 the Ethiopian ruler Iyasu was excommunicated and deposed. Although there in a great deal of literature concerned with the local and international political forces behind this coup, its timing has been considered only in passing. This article focuses on the fact that this event coincided with the major Christian festival of Mäsqäl (The Festival of the Cross), an early Christian celebration, which was elevated to the de facto status of a major feast by the Ethiopian Church in the 15th century.

History of Ecumenism: The Forgotten Early Period

In the histories of ecumenism, its initial formation is usually dated by the early 20th century. The World Missionary Conference held in Edinburgh in 1910 is referred to as its “symbolic beginning”. A quest for the origins of the ecumenical thought led researchers to find some early voices in the previous centuries, even as early as in the 15th–16th c. However, there are Oriental sources which witness a much earlier formation of the ecumenical paradigm of the ecclesiological thought, typologically corresponding to the one developed in the 20th c.

Maronite, Melkite, or Jacobite? Investigating the Confessional Affiliation of ʿAbd al-Masīḥ ibn Nāʿima al-Ḥimṣī, the Arab Christian Translator of Plotinus

The present study attempts to determine the confessional background of the ninth-century Arab Christian translator of Plotinus, ʿAbd al-Masīḥ ibn Nāʿima al-Ḥimṣī. Three scenarios are examined: that he was a Maronite, a Melkite, or a Jacobite. Given that we have, unfortunately, no primary sources that contextualize al-Ḥimṣī within his Christian environment, any answer to this question must remain tentative.

Relations between Copts and Syrians in the Light of Discoveries at Dayr as-Suryān

This article offers a contextualizing analysis of archeological, iconographical and epigraphical data discovered mostly in the late 1990s at Dayr as-Suryān in Wādī-n-Naṭrūn between Cairo and Alexandria. It highlights the historical relations between the Egyptian (Coptic) and Syrian Christian communities and the presence of Syrian monks at the monastic site in question, as well as in Cairo and in Egypt generally.

Syriac Poetry in the Mongol Time: From Monastery Cells to Royal Tents

The Syriac poetry of the 11–14th centuries (so-called Syriac Renaissance) has been studied very poorly so far. One of the reasons is a traditional approach of the scholars, who treated this poetry as secondary to the strongly developed Islamic literature. The reason for changing of its character was the final fall of the Caliphate (1258) and the emergence of a new state in the area of Iran and Iraq with the Mongol dynasty, headed by Ilkhans (Hulaguids).

Zoroastrian Mythological Motifs and the Phenomenon of Christian Acculturation in Sasanian Mesopotamia

The article analyzes two cases of borrowing Zoroastrian mythological motifs by Syriac-speaking Christians during the period of Late Antiquity. The first example, attested in the writings of Ephrem the Syrian (4th c.), concerns the case of reinterpretation of the traditional image of biblical Paradise as a cosmic mountain, encircling the whole world. Most probably, it developed under a direct influence of the Iranian cosmological traditions regarding the mountain Alburz.

State and Religion: Foundation and Patronage of Monasteries as a Method of Territory Control in 9th c. Armenia

The article explores the relationship between the patronage of monasteries and territory control in Greater Armenia in the second half of the 9th century based on the study of three cases. The first is the foundation of the Monastery of Sevan by Princess Mariam Bagratid and the renowned ascetic Maštoc‘ in 871. It is suggested that this and other monastic foundations around Lake Sevan (Gełark‘unik‘ territory) were a means of extending Bagratid influence, if not yet full control, on this neighboring region ruled by the Siwnids.

The Bible and the Royal Power: Legitimation of the Bagratid Dynasty in Medieval Armenian Historiography

The article deals with “constructing of the past” and legitimation of power of the Bagratid dynasty in medieval Armenian historiography. It focuses upon the use of biblical symbols by the medieval historians and the role of these symbols in the consolidation of power of the ruling dynasty. The article draws upon three sources belonging to the beginning, the middle, and the end of the Bagratid rule (History of Armenia by Hovhannes Draskhanakerttsi; General History by Stephanos Taronetsi; History of Vardapet Aristakes Lastivertsi).


No. 2 (33) 2015