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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
a sect of early Christians, so called after Nestorius (q.v.), are generally regarded as the Protestants in Eastern Christianity, they having always opposed the regard for Mary as more than woman, and having in many other respects preserved the orthodox doctrines and authorized usages of the early Church of Christ. As a sect they claim to be of earlier origin than the age of Nestorius, and date their conversion back to the preaching of the apostle Thomas, hence some of them are called Thomas Christians (see below). There is besides a tradition prevalent among the Nestorians which makes them of Jewish descent, and claims for their ancestry Ur of the Chaldees, and Abraham, the patriarch; hence they sometimes call themselves Chaldceans (see below). But though these claims may have no foundation, it is yet to be conceded that the Nestorians are probably the oldest, as they certainly are the purest, of the Oriental churches, although, as we shall presently see, they are guilty of more or less Christological heresy, and hold some absurd superstitions, and maintain, as a sect, a service which is little more than mere formalism.
I. Doctrinal Position. — In the article NESTORIUS is set forth the controversy which agitated the Eastern Church in the 4th and 5th centuries regarding the person and nature of Christ, arising out of the use of ambiguous terms — ὑπόστασις and πρόσωπον, (See HYPOSTASIS), and how peace was finally restored between the Syrian and Egyptian churches by the confession drawn up by Theodoret. It remains now to point out how the opposition organized in order to sustain Nestorius in his course, after deposition from the patriarchate, finally developed such strength as to prove a formidable antagonism to the Cyrillites, making necessary further action on the part of the emperor, who finally caused the expulsion of all Nestorians from the Roman empire, and by this action only gave development to Nestorianism in the East, by an independent and new sect, as is generally believed in the West, or by auxiliarizing an already existing sect of like tendency, as the Nestorians of today generally claim.
It will be seen in the article on Nestorius that, notwithstanding his deposition, his devoted and persistent adherents favored the doctrines Nestorius had taught, Including the diocesan synods and the schismatical assemblies, there were not less than nineteen or twenty meetings during the first twenty years of the controversy. Mercator gives them in order: he makes out that there were four at Rome, at Alexandria, and Constantinople; two at Ephesus; two at least held by the Orientals; and others at Antioch, Beroea, and elsewhere. Most of these we treat under their respective titles. The second at Constantinople, held October 25, 431, was for the election of Maximin in succession to Nestorius; and the third, which was rather a consultation of bishops with the emperor, was for considering the best means of re-establishing the peace of the Church. The Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451) was assembled to condemn the opposite heresy. that of Eutyches. It not only did so, but incidentally confirmed the decision of the Council of Ephesus, and expressly adapted the term θεοτόκος . Two years later a council at Constantinople, among other things, comdemned a letter of Ibas of Edessa that had renounced the term θεοτόκος. Gelasius, bishop of Rome (A.D. 492-496), also synodically condemned the Nestorians. But whatever their favor or condemnation at papal Rome, so troublesome did these faithful Nestorians become to the government that the emperor saw himself obliged to second the efforts of the special Church council which he had called, to settle this great Christological question advisedly and finally by the expulsion from his dominions of all who failed to accept the Ephesian decision. It was thus that Nestorianism was transplanted to Assyria, and especially to Persia, where it has ever since maintained its ground, finding immediately upon its appearance there protection from the government such favors being prompted, probably, by political opposition to Constantinople.
This colonization of Nestorianism, however, was not begun by the emperor's illiberal policy. It had taken rise much earlier. Presbyter Ibas (q.v.), for the simple purpose of giving the Persian Christians an intelligent account of the controversy, had written a letter to Mares, bishop of Hardoshir, in Persia, shortly after the union of patriarch John of Antioch and of Cyril, in which he clearly established the merits of the controversy, condemning what was amiss in Cyril, and commending only what he believed worthy of support in Nestorius, but yet evincing greater sympathy for the latter. So much moderation did Ibas exhibit in his letter, and so earnestly did he plead for peace in the Church, that the missive was not without influence. He had besides furnished Syriac translations of the works of Diodorus of Tarsus and of Theodore of Mopsuestia; and thus having an opportunity to examine for themselves into the merits of the controversy, the Assyrian and Persian Christians were numerously won over to Nestorius.
Further strength was given to Nestorianism, especially in Persia, by the expulsion of the teachers from Edessa, where Nestorius's views had found willing and enthusiastic exponents. Among those whom the Persians gained over for their own Church by this intolerant policy of bishop Rabulas of Edessa we notice particularly Barsumas, who, as bishop or metropolitan of Nisibis (A.D. 435-489), contributed in no small degree to the propagation of Nestorian views in Persia and the reduction of the Cyrillites. Supported by Nerses (q.v.) the leper, also driven out of Edessa, Barsumas founded a new theological school at Nisibis. He also used his influence with the king of Persia to have him confirm the Persian Christians in their aversion to the Cyrillian Council of Ephesus, and in their adhesion to the Antiochian and Nestorian theology; and he even so far controlled king Feroze that this monarch expelled those Christians who had espoused the Cyrillian views, and set Nestorians in their place, putting them in possession of the principal seat of ecclesiastical authority in Persia, the see of Seleucia, which from that time to our own day has always been filled by the patriarch of the Nestorians. Indeed, such was the zeal and success of Barsumas that the Nestorians who still remain in Chaldsea, Persia, Assyria, and the adjacent countries, consider him really their parent and founder.
He certainly contributed much, not only to the upbuilding of Nestorianism in Persia, but to its spread into Egypt, Syria, Arabia, India, Tartary, and China, whence went his theological Students from the school at Nisibis. "The Nestorians," says Mosheim (Eccles. Hist. 1:93), "after they had obtained a fixed residence in Persia, and had located the head of their sect at Seleucia, were as successful as they were industrious in disseminating their doctrines in the countries lying without the Roman empire. It appears from unquestionable documents, still existing, that there were numerous societies in all parts of Persia, in India, in Armenia, in Arabia, in Syria, and in other countries, under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Seleucia during this (the 6th) century." Of the 7th century he says (ibid. 1:499), "The Christian religion was in this century diffused beyond its former bounds, both in the Eastern and Western countries. In the East, the Nestorians. with incredible industry and perseverance, labored to propagate it from Persia, Syria, and India among the barbarous and savage nations inhabiting the deserts and the remotest shores of Asia. In particular, the vast empire of China was enlightened by their zeal and industry with the light of Christianity." In A.D. 498 a Church council convened at Seleucia, and by this body the Nestorian doctrine was made the faith of the Persian Church. The dogmas then adopted amount to what follows: 1. That in the Saviour of the world there were two hypostases, or persons, of which the one was divine, or the Eternal Word, and the other human, or the man Christ Jesus; 2. That these two hypostases had only one outward appearance; 3. That the union between the Son of God and the Son of Man was formed in the moment of the Virgin's conception, and is never to be dissolved; 4. That this union was not of nature or person, but of will and affection; 5. That Christ was to be carefully distinguished from God, who dwelt in him as in a temple; 6.
That Mary was to be called the mother of Christ (Χριστοτόκος ), and not the mother of God (θεοτόκος ). How far Nestorius himself maintained these views will never clearly appear, as his own expositions of Christology are only extant in fragments, and they even are full of contradictions; but certainly the doctrine as here laid down by the Council of Seleucia involves a denial of the unity of Christ's character. " The Nestorian Christ," says Dr. Shedd, in his History of Christian Doctrine, " is two persons — one divine, and one human. The important distinction between a 'nature' and a 'person' is not observed, and the consequence is that there are two separate and diverse selves in Jesus Christ. Instead of a blending of the two natures into only one self, the Nestorian scheme places two selves side by side, and allows only a moral and sympathetic union between them. The result is that the acts of each nature derive no character from the qualities of the other. There is no divine humiliation, because the humanity is confessedly the seat of humiliation, and the humanity is by itself, unblended in the unity of a common self-consciousness. And there is no exaltation of the humanity, because the divinity is confessedly the source of the exaltation, and this also is insulated and isolated for the same reason. There is God, and there is man; but there is no God-man."
II. Ecclesiastical History. — When the Sassanidae, by restoring the Zoroastrian mode of worship, had overthrown the empire of the Parthians, the previous good understanding came to an end, as they required theirs to be not only the predominant, but the only religion of the empire. Yet the later rulers of this dynasty appear to have cared more for politics than for religion, and the Christians, i.e., the Nestorians, were left in peace, except in times of war against the Greek emperors. Pherozes (or Feroze or Firui), as we have seen above, had been well disposed by Barsumas in favor of the Nestorians, but he had bitterly opposed the Roman Catholics, and persecuted them. Cavades, or Cobad, his successor (448-531), after he came back from the land of the Huns, whither he had fled out of prison, commenced against the Greek empire a war which lasted four years, and which led to a persecution of the Christians. (He had commanded the community of women. This led to an insurrection of the nobility, and Cavades was thrown into prison, whence his sister managed to help him escape and flee the country. His brother, Jamapes, who was appointed in his place, recalled the obnoxious law; and as it had probably had also a demoralizing effect on the Christians, Badaeus, then patriarch of the Nestorians, with the assent of this new and more liberal ruler, held a synod to remedy the evil.) According to Barhebraeus (Bibl. Or. 2:409), Cavades reascended the throne with the aid of the Greeks, and sought to force the Nestorians to unite again with the Romish Church. This, however, does not appear trustworthy. About the end of Cavades's reign a schism took place among, the Nestorians, which is said to have lasted twelve years, and during this time two patriarchs, Nerses and Elisaeus, were elected by the opposing parties, each of Which in turn appointed bishops from among his followers. After Nerses had died in prison and Elisseus had been deposed, by a synod, the bishops elected Paulus, who however filled the office but a few month's, and was succeeded by Mar Aba I, or "the Great" (536-552), a Magian converted to Christianity. He translated the liturgy of the Nestorians from the Greek into Syriac; and this version continues in use at the present day among the Nestorians. Mar Aba I showed also great activity in restoring order and discipline in the Church, visiting the different dioceses, sending pasaoral addresses to distant churches, and holding in 544 a synod in which it was declared that neither patriarchs nor bishops should thenceforth be allowed to marry — a regulation which has ever since been observed in the Nestorian Church. He also confirmed the former canons, and ordered that, while adhering strictly to the Nicene Geed, the system of Theodore of Mopsuestia should form the basis of the Scripture exegesis. On account of the previously mentioned schism, when there were often two bishops appointed to the same see, Mar Aba I deposed the unworthy, dignitaries; and in cases where two equally deserving filled the office, he retained the oldest, and the other bad to return to his former condition until the office became vacant again. Patriarch Ezechiel (577- 580), as soon as he entered into office, held a synod (February 577), whose principal result was the promulgation of an edict against the Messalians.
As the Monophysites had made great progress in Persia under Cavades, and especially under Chosroes I (531-579), (See KHOSRU), Jacob Baradseus appointed as cecumenical metropolitan, in the place of the imprisoned patriarch, a metropolitan of the East, Achudemes, whom Barhebrneus considers as the first maphrian (q.v.) of the East. Chosroes, according to popular tradition, became a Christian in the latter part of his life, and recommended his successors to avoid war with Greece. As for himself, he seems to have been often at war with that country, and to have on those occasions persecuted the Christians. His son, Hormuzd IV, as also Chosroes II, proved more friendly to the Nestorians, especially the latter, who compelled all Christians in the empire to join them. He afterwards, however, persecuted them on account of their having elected Gregorius: as patriarch against his will; and after Gregorius's death, in 608, he forbade, their appointing another. The office remained, vacant for twenty years, until Shiruje (Siroes), the son of Chosroes II, ascended the throne. He proved favorable to the Christians of all denominations. His successors also left them in peace, being too weak and too much occupied in preserving their position and life to do otherwise.
Under the caliphs the Nestorians were seldom persecuted; on the contrary, they claim that they received several charters, the authenticity of some of which, however, is doubted. The first, they say, was obtained by patriarch Jesujab of Gadala (628-647), who saw the last Persian kings. He went himself to Mohammed, and asked him for it. It was printed by Gabriel Sionita (Paris, 1630). Indeed, Mohammed is supposed to owe his imperfect knowledge of Christianity to a Nestorian monk, Sergius; and it is therefore but natural to suppose that from him the sect received many privileges, so that it obtained great consideration among the Arabians, and exerted an influence upon their culture, and thus upon the development of philosophy and science in general. The words of the world's savant, Alexander von Humboldt, in the second volume of his Kosmos (Stuttg. and Tubing. 1847, page 247: sq.), on the connection of Nestorianism with the culture and physical science of the Arabians; are worthy of notehire: "It was one of the wondrous arrangements in the system of things that the Christian sect of the Nestorians; which has exerted a very important influence on the- geographical extension of knowledge, was of service even to the Arabians before the latter found their way to learned and disputatious Alexandria; that Christian Nestorianism, in fact, under the protection of the arms of Islam, was able to penetrate far, into Eastern Asia. The Arabians, in other words, gained their first acquaintance with Grecian literature through the Srians, a kindred Shemitic race; while the Syrians themselves scarcely a century and a half before, had first received the knowledge, of Grecian literature through the anthematized Nestorians. Physicians who had been educated in the institutions of the Greeks, and at the celebrated medical school founded by the Nestorian Christians at Edessa, in Mesopotamia, were, as early as the times of Mohammed, befriended by him and by AburBekr, in Mecca." Jesujab also obtained another charter from Omar, together with complete exemption from. taxes for himself, his brothers, servants, and followers, which it is said. lasted until the beginning of the 14th century. Ali gave Maremes, a follower of Jesujab, then bishop of Nisibis, on account of his having supplied his army; with food, a recommendation for all his followers to spare the Christians. Similar securities were given to their patriarchs by Muktedir-billah, Kader-billah, and their successors, and Jesujab of Adiabene (650-660) was able to write to Simeon, metropolitan of Persia, that the Arabs were not only not opposed to Christianity, but held it in high respect, showing great regard, to the priests and people, and even supporting the churches and convents.
As the Nestorians were distinguished for their learning and activity, many of them held high official positions. They were especially renowned, as we have already learned from Humboldt, as physicians and as secretaries to the. caliphs, and so tightly and favorably were these regarded that no election of patriarchs or other important ecclesiastical .veynt to a place without their being consulted. In this; manner the Nestorians acquired great preponderance, qover the other Christian sects, and the caliphs Kajirn- beamr-illah and Muktedir-billah declared officially that the patriarch Sabarjesu (surnamed Zanibhr) and Ebedjesu should have authority not only over the Nestorians, but also over the Roman Catholics, or Melchites (q.v.), and the Jacobites (q.v.). With the exception of a short persecution under Harfn-al-Raschid, we find but two during that entire period: the first, chiefly directed against the Nestorians, by Mutewekkil, was occasioned by his physician, Bochtjesu, having displeased him; the second, by Hakim- beamr-illah, was directed with great vigor against all Christians, and even against the Jews, but it of course did not extend beyond his own dominions of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. The power of the physicians and secretaries also proved injurious at length, as they went so far as to arbitrarily appoint and depose patriarchs, making the caliphs confirm their action. (Christianity, it may be stated here, had been introduced into Arabia at a very early period. Both the Nestorians and the Jacobites sought this field to propagate their own doctrines, and the former proved successful in that undertaking. Under the caliphs they spread not only in Arabia, but through Syria and Palestine, and under Mar Aba II [patriarch 742-752] a bishop had to be appointed for the Nestorians distributed throughout Egypt. This bishop was subject to the see of Damascus; in later times they had also a metropolitan of Egypt. The bishops of the different parts of Arabia were at first subject to the metropolitans of Persia, to whose diocese belonged also the East Indies, the western shores of which, at least, were still Christian in the early part of the 7th century.)
After Bagdad had been built and become the abode of the caliphs, the patriarchs selected it also as their residence in A.D. 762. They were elected there, but ordained at Seleucia. Ananjesu II was the first patriarch elected at Bagdad. The patriarch was called yazelich, i.e., catholicos, and in the 13th century the yazelich had no less than twenty-five metropolitans under his supervision. Says an ecclesiastical historian: "The Nestorians had now become widely extended. They occupied, almost to the exclusion of other Christian sects, the region which forms the modern kingdom of Persia, in all parts of which they had churches. They were numerous in Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Arabia. They had churches in Syria and in the island of Cyprus. They had churches among the mountains of Malabar in India. They had numerous churches in the vast regions of Tartary, from the Caspian Sea to Mount Imaus, and beyond, through the greater part of what is now known as Chinese Tartary, and even in China itself. The names of twenty- five metropolitan sees are on record, which of course embraced a far greater number of bishoprics, and still more numerous societies or churches." Mar Aba II resided at Wasit, and after the building of Sermeura by Mutasim, in the year 220 of the Hegira, some of the patriarchs chose it as their residence. When Hulagu Khan took Bagdad, in 1258, patriarch Machicha caused the Christians of all sects to assemble in a church, and saved them by stratagem from the hands of the Mongols. Hulagu and most of his followers were not badly disposed towards the Christians, and particularly towards the Nestorians, partly because of a common enmity against the Mohammedans, and partly because their religion, Buddhism, had borrowed so much of its form from Nestorianism, and also because a large number of their wives were at least nominal Christians, and some of their leaders too.
This was especially the case in the land of the Kerait, or Krite-Tartars, where, according to divers accounts, Nestorianism had been flourishing since the 11th century, and whose rulers seem to have embraced it. Their title, Ung(h), or Bang Khan, could readily be derived from a perversion of the name John, and thus have given rise to the tradition of the presbyter or priest John, (See JOHN, PRESTER), being a mighty king, which afterwards, when its fictitious character was recognised, was transferred to the (until then unknown) Christian king of Ethiopia (see Gould, Myths of the Mid. Ages, page 30 sq.; Mosheim, Historia Tartarorum Eccles. [Helnst. 1741]; Neander, Kirchengesch. 5:84 sq.). Zenghis Khan himself took to wife a daughter of his vanquished enemy Bang Khan, Toghrul, and his son Jaghatai, according to Marco Polo, became a Christian. The family of the Bang Khan of Tenduch remained also allied to the imperial family down to the days of Marco Polo; and the chief of the Minorites, John of Monte Corvino, succeeded in inducing a prince of that country, successor of the Bang Khan, whom he calls George, together with a large number of his followers, to become reconciled with the Romish Church in 1292. This union, however, was of but short duration, as his son in 1299, with all his adherents, returned to Nestorianism. The same John of Monte Corvino (q.v.) built the first Christian church at Peking, with the assent of Kublai Khan, and baptized six thousand people, for which he was by the pope appointed Archiepiscopus Cambaliensis. Assemani gives the names of a number of Christian princes or rulers of the family of Zenghis Khan. Arghun Khan, who reigned after the return of the family to Mohammedanism, promised to become a Christian after taking Jerusalem. Kaigatu, son of Abaga, was a Christian, according to Haytho. Cassan was at first in favor of the Mohammedans, who had aided him in ascending the throne, and his general, Neuruz, persecuted the Christians, but he changed afterwards, and greatly favored them. Chodabende, second son of Arghun, called by the Tartars Oldshaitu, was led by his mother to become a Christian, like her, and was baptized under the name of Nicholas, but after her death he returned to Islamism, and took the name of Mohammed Ghaiath-ed-din; his son, Abu Said, surnamed Behadur Khan, was probably of the same religion, as were also his followers, under whom the empire was divided between several dynasties. It remained thus divided until Timur reunited it. After him the Turcomans ruled over Mesopotamia, Chaldea, Media, and Persia. His successors founded the Mongol empire in India and the Turkish empire in Western Asia.
The long and uninterrupted peace enjoyed by the Christians under the rule of the Arabs and Mongols had led to a great expansion of Nestorianism in Eastern Asia. Hulagu had (according to Haytho) given to Christians the command of camps and of whole states, and appointed a palace in Bagdad for the residence of patriarch Machicha. Abaga Khan confirmed this gift, but Machicha was obliged to leave the town on account of a disturbance he had himself occasioned (by causing a Christian renegade to be thrown into the Tigris), and retired to Arbela. The return of Achmed Khan, Chodabende, and their successors to Islamism put an end to the favor of the Christians, but we find no evidence of their being really oppressed until the reign of Timur, who persecuted both Christians and Mohammedans. Communications with the distant East were now broken up, and the churches there gradually died out. Islamism, on the contrary, gained ground daily, and destroyed the Christian communities in Tartary and India. The same was subsequently done in Persia by the fanatical Shiites. and in other parts of Asia by the Mohammedan dynasties. To these causes must be added that the popes, especially since the appearance of the Mongols, who showed themselves favorable to the Christians, maintained an active correspondence with their princes, and sent missionaries who opposed the Nestorians, till, with the single exception of a few communities scattered through India, and now known as Thomas Christians, they were almost entirely confined to the wild mountains and the valleys of Kurdistan and to Armenia. Here, under the Turkish dominion, they remain to this day, with a separate patriarch, who from 1559 till the 17th century resided at Mosul, but has since dwelt in an almost inaccessible valley on the borders of Turkey and Persia. They are very ignorant and poor, and have been much reduced by war, persecution, disease, and want.
III. Nestorians of the Church of Rome. — A portion of the Nestorians, especially those in cities, united from time to time, under the;name of Chdldceans, with the Roman Church, subject to a patriarch of their own. He resided first at Bagdad, and afterwards at Mosul; but a division arising among them, in 1551 the patriarchate became divided, at least for a time, and a new patriarch was consecrated by pope Innocent IX, whose successors fixed their residence in the city of Ormuz, in the mountainous parts of Persia. where they still continue, distinguished by the name of Simeonites.
It is difficult to determine the early relation of the Christians of Persia to the see of Rome, yet without a brief review of their early history it is not well possible to understand the progress of Romanism in the Nestorian country, and we therefore insert here as much as is essential for the purpose of affording the reader a complete history of Nestorianism. It is very likely that Christianity was introduced into Persia as early as the days of the apostles, but the whole history of the empire at that time is so uncertain that it is impossible to arrive at. any definite statements as to its progress. Under the Arsacides, who were thoroughly indifferent in religious matters, it is likely that the Church was permitted to spread unmolested, and Barhebraeus and others only mention one persecution of short duration. Trajan, however, persecuted the Christians as far as his power extended throughout the provinces during his wars. The bishop of the chief town of Seleucia-Ctesiphonl gradually became the head of the Christian Church in Persia and the more remote Eastern countries. Yet when Papa, bishop of Seleucia, sent Simeon and Shadost as his representatives to the Council of Nice (A.D. 325), we still find a John, bishop of Persia, sent also to the same assembly as representative of the churches of Persia and the East Indies. And although Jaballaha, archbishop of Seleucia, in the synod of A.D. 420, invested the bishops of Persia with the office of metropolitans, it is only Jesujab of Adiabne (654-660), his pupil and successor Georgius (660-680), or, finally, Timotheus (778-820), who brought them into absolute subjection to the see of Seleucia.
But as the frequent wars with the Romans rendered the journey difficult and sometimes impossible, it was at last neglected, and Shachlupha, who died in 182 (according to Amru in 244; see Assemani, Bibl. Or. 4:42), was the first who was ordained at Seleucia. They thus acquired a certain degree of independence. Papa, the successor of Shachlupha, received the title of archbishop; subsequent ones took that of patriarch, and claimed the same rank as those of the Western Church. This, Assemani states (Bibl. Or. 3:427; 4:80), was first done by Babeus (498-503) at a synod held in 499. He calls him the first Nestorian bishop of Seleucia, and asserts that his three predecessors-Dadjesu, Babamus, and Acacius-remained true to the Roman Catholic doctrine, and to their obedience to the see of Antioch. Yet Dadjesu already held a synod (430-465), in which it was declared that no complaints or accusations could ever be brought against the bishop of Seleucia, to whom all owed unquestioning obedience. In the Arabic Synodicon and Nemocanon it is further stated that it is not allowable to complain of him to the Western patriarchs, nor to appeal to them from his decisions: this is by Assemani considered as a later Nestorian interpolation. But Babaeus and Acacius must have been weak prelates, for it appears from the canons of the times that the morals of the clergy became very lax under their rule; and Acacius, who formerly belonged to the school of Edessa. and therefore held the Nestorian doctrines, being sent to Constantinople as Persian ambassador, joined there in anathematizing Nestorius, but after his return never acted against the Nestorians. He complained also, according to Barhebrseus (see Assemani, Bibl. Or. 3:383, note), that Xenajas, monophysite bishop of Mabug (Hierapolis), known by the Greek name of Philoxenus, as the translators of the N.T. into Syriac called him, denominated him and his adherents "Nestorians," while he had no knowledge whatever of Nestorius nor of his heresy (!). This seems, then, to be the origin of the name. They called themselves "Chaldaeans," a name which now is used only for the Nestorians reconciled with the Romish Church; they claim that the appellation of Nestorians is wrong, as Nestorius never was their patriarch, and they do not even understand his language, and that, moreover, he is posterior to them. Although these early patriarchs did not venture to break openly with the see of Rome, Babaeus — originally a layman, and, as such, married who filled the see of Seleucia after a two-years' vacancy, — was the first to act towards it in a fearless manner. He held a synod in which it was declared,
1, that all that had passed between Barsumas and Acacius (who had excommunicated each other) should be forgotten, and their correspondence destroyed;
2. that the patriarch, bishops, priests, and monks should be allowed to marry one wife (not several, as had previously been sometimes the case; see Assemani, De catholicis seu patriarchis Chaldcorum et Nestorianorumn Commentarinss [Rome, 1775, 4to], page 18).;
3, that the patriarch of Seleucia was entitled to absolute obedience;
4, that the bishops should meet their metropolitan every two years instead of yearly, and the patriarch every four instead of every two years, to consider Church matters, and that in the month of October, the patriarch having the privilege of calling the meeting earlier. Barhebrmus says, in reference to the second canon, that Babseus commanded his successors to marry under penalty of interdict, and ordered also the bishops and presbyters to marry again after their wife's death, which is evidently an erroneous statement (see Bibl. Or. page 429). His successors were of the same opinions: all the episcopal sees were filled by Nestorian bishops, and they all sought to increase their party. Besides them there labored also for the same object a number of writers, and particularly the monks of numerous convents which they established in Assyria, and among whom we must notice as the most ancient and most renowned those of Nisibis. They produced not only learned theologians and efficient priests, but also distinguished physicians and philosophers; they translated the Greek classics, namely, Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Galen; they were in that age of darkness the only depositaries of learning, and the teachers of the surrounding barbarians. They had schools in many parts of the country. Besides the school at Nisibis, there was founded at about the same time, by LEacius, also from Edessa, a school at Seleucia. It was revived in 530, and was in existence as late as 605. A school was also established at Dorkina in A.D. 585. At Bagdad were two schools in 832, and two others were in its neighborhood. Schools existed besides at Terhana, Mahuza, Maraga, and Adiabene, in Assyria, and at Maraga, in Aderbijan. There were also schools in Elam, Persia, Korassan, and Arabia. The school at Nisibis had a three- years' course of study. The studies, to a great extent, were theological; but to the study of the Bible there was added in the schools generally the study of grammar, rhetoric, poetry, dialectics, arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy, medicine, etc. (comp. Anderson, Oriental Churches, 1:168).
The first among the Nestorians who embraced Roman Catholicism was the metropolitan Sabaduna, who was sent by Siroes, king of Persia, as ambassador to the court of Byzantium, together with the newly elected patriarch, Jesujab of Gadala, in 628. Shortly afterwards king Heraclius took a journey to Assyria, and invited many Nestorians and Monophysites to join the Romish Church. Sahaduna, declared free by patriarch Maremes, was excommunicated by his successor Jesujab of Adiabene for having three times openly professed Nestorianism, and as often recanted again. Their second reunion with the Romish Church was merely fictitious. Pope Innocent IV had sent some bishops with an address to Rabban Ara, vicar of the East (not "patriarch," as Raynaldus has it), who was a Nestorian. Ara answered with true Oriental devotion in 1247, and recommended to the pope the archbishop of Jerusalem and his brethren in Syria, adding to it a confession of faith drawn up by the archbishop of Nisibis, and signed by two other archbishops and three bishops, in which Mary was designated as χριστοτόκος . This is also the nature of the works of the Jacobite patriarch Ignatius, and of the maphrian John. Pope Nicholas IV, in 1288, sent an address, together with a confession of faith, to patriarch Jaballaha (1281- 1317), to which his successor, Benedict XI, obtained an answer in 1304, in which the Church of Rome is called the mother and teacher of all others, and the pope the head pastor of Christianity. From these expressions, and from the accompanying apparently orthodox confession of faith, Assemani concludes that Jaballaha connected himself with the Romish Church. However true this inference may have been of Jaballaha's individual opinions, they certainly exercised no influence over his followers. At the beginning of the 14th century pope John XXII made a vigorous effort for the total suppression of the Nestorians. He sent letters to the patriarch of Jerusalem on the subject (A.D. 1326). By this time both Nestorians and Jacobites (who held the Eutychian heresy that there was but one nature in Christ) had exclusive establishments. In the pope's letter it is stated that both these sects "habentes illic distinctas ecclesias, in quibus errores et haereses hujusmodi, non sine magnis suarum et muttorum aliorum animarum periculis publice dogmatisant."
The patriarch is accordingly urged to exterminate them. On the other hand, during the pontificate of Eugenius IV, in 1445, a number of Nestorians residing in the island of Cyprus, together with their metropolitan, Timothy of Tarsus, were induced by the missionary archbishop Andreas to join the Romish Church. A more enduring reunion took place in the 16th century; the Nestorians were already greatly reduced in numbers, and, with the exception of the Christians of St. Thomas in India, were all restricted again within the limits of the mountains of Kfurdistan. The patriarchate had become hereditary, the nephew succeeding the uncle in that office. At the death of patriarch Simeon in 1551, his nephew, Bar Mama, with the aid of the only remaining metropolitan, Ananjesu, assumed the office. The three remaining bishops of Arbela, Salmas, and Aderbijan (which in themselves were sufficient to elect a patriarch), assembled a number of priests, monks, etc., at Mosul, and elected John Sulaca, monk or abbot of the convent of Hormuzd, as patriarch. In order to give their patriarch an advantage over Simeon Denha Bar Mama, they sent him to Rome to be ordained. On his return he was made prisoner in Amid (Diarbekir), at the instigation of his rival, according to Assemani, and killed in prison. Another was at once appointed in his place, and matters continued thus for about one hundred years. Simeon Denha, however, sustained by those Nestorians who had remained true to their Church, did not surrender his office, but retained it until his death in 1559, when his adherents appointed another, who, as well as his successors after him, took the name of Elias. Among them was one who, at the request of pope Paul V, sent, in 1607 and 1609, orthodox confessions of faith to Rome, and in a synod held a short time before his death at Amid (in 1617) submitted to the pope's requisitions. The union which resulted was, however, disturbed again by his successors.
At last, in 1684, pope Innocent XI appointed a patriarch, who resided in Amid (Diarbekir), as his successors afterwards did, and took the name of Joseph, which they have retained. Since then there is a patriarch of the Chaldmeans (Nestorians who have united with the Church of Rome) who is named Joseph, and resides at El-Kushmur, Mosul (in the convent of St. Hormisdas); while there is another for the Nestorians, called Simeon, who claims also to be the "patriarch of the Chaldaeans." He resides in the mountains of Kurdistan, near Julamerk. The present Chaldaean community in the East-composed of converts from the Nestorians to the papacy-may be set down as not exceeding 20,000 souls, scattered from Diarbekir to the frontiers of Persia, and from the borders of Tyari to Bagdad-a district which once contained a vast Nestorian population. Many of these "Chaldaeans" sigh for a reform in their Church. The Chaldiean portion of Nestorians, i.e., the Romanized Nestorians, are governed by a patriarch and six bishops, but these have lately been pensioned by the Propaganda, the patriarch receiving a yearly salary of 20,000 piastres, or £200, and the bishops sums varying from 2000 to 8000 piastres each. Through the influence of the French embassy in 1845, Mar Zeya obtained a firman from Constantinople acknowledging him as patriarch of the Chaldaeans. This was the first recognition by the Ottoman Porte of the new community. But the patriarch soon discovered that his functions were virtually exercised by the Propaganda. He grew weary of the interference of the Latin missionaries, and resisted their demands. Various charges were brought against him in consequence, and he was summoned to Rome to answer for himself. He chose rather to resign his office, and was succeeded in 1846 by Mar Yusef. In effect, the Chaldaeans have no longer an independent existence. They are a section of the Romish Church, their connection with which, while on the one hand it has introduced among them schools and education after the European manner, has on the other infected them with deeper superstitions; and the only benefit which they have derived from a change of name and communion is the promise of political protection from France, with occasional presents of ecclesiastical vestments, pictures of saints, and rosaries — "Gifts," says Mr. Badger, "which they know not how to use, and show no disposition to learn." It is worthy of note that, notwithstanding the number of the Church rituals, and the extent of country over which they are scattered, there is a striking uniformity in all the copies now in use both among the Nestorians and "Chaldaeans," except where these latter have omitted parts of the original text, or altered it to suit their present conformity with Rome. The only way of accounting for this coincidence is afforded by the operation of that canon which made it obligatory upon all the metropolitans and bishops to appear in person or by proxy to testify of their faith and obedience before the catholicos — that is, the patriarch. Yet it appears that there is no standard confession of faith — nothing entitled to be considered a symbol of the doctrines held by this community. (See CHALDAEANS); (See NESTORIAN MONASTICS).
IV. The Christians of St. Thomas, in East India, are a branch of the Nestorians. They are named after the apostle Thomas, who is supposed to have preached the Gospel in that country. It is probable also that during the persecution in Persia a number of Christians emigrated to India. A bishop and priest, it is said, went in 345 from Jerusalem to Malabar. Cosmas Indicopleustes (in the 6th century, about 530) speaks of a Church in Malabar. At Calliana there was a bishop ordained in Persia, and in the island of Ceylon a Church with a presbyter, deacon, etc., also ordained in Persia, but these served simply for the Persian merchants in the island, the inhabitants not being Christians. About 570 Bud, the presbyter, visited the churches of India as periodeutes (an office still existing among tle Nestorians; see Assem. Bibl. Or. 3:219), but Jesujab of Adiabene (patriarch, 850-860) complained in his letters to Simeon, the metropolitan of Persia, that through his fault and that of his predecessors the churches of India were in a very bad state (it was patriarch Timotheus who first gave them a metropolitan [see below]), and that Christianity had almost died out in Korassan. He commanded the readers no longer to obey their bishop, who was deposed by a synod of Seleucia, and to elect a new one to be sent to him for ordination. It is probable that Christianity spread thence into China, and a stone monument discovered there (whose authenticity there does not seem to be any reasonable ground to doubt) testifies to the success of the Nestorian Church from the time of its introduction under Jesujab of Gadala in 636-781. Salibazacha (patriarch, 714-726) appointed the first metropolitan of China. About the same time there were also metropolitans appointed to Herat and Samarcand. Nestorianism spread subsequently also into Tartary.
But to return to the Nestorians of St. Thomas. They first attained to a metropolitanate in the 8th century. The first incumbent of the office was patriarch Timotheus (A.D. 778-820), and since then their bishops also have been immediately appointed by the patriarchs. They secured from the different governments great privileges, which date chiefly from the beginning of the 9th century. This and their great increase in numbers led them to establish a state and to elect a king, after the death of which their little kingdom fell into subjection to the emperor of Cochin-China. In consequence of the quarrels of the Indian princes with each other quarrels of which the Mohammedans knew how to take advantage-they were gradually much oppressed, and in 1502 they were induced to offer the crown to the renowned Vasco de Gama, who had landed on their shores. Their connection with the patriarch of the Nestorians appears to have soon come to an end. About 1120-1130 their spiritual chief is said to have gone to Constantinople for the purpose of being made bishop, and thence to Rome. In after-times the Indian churches were reduced to a very small number, only one deacon remaining, who held all ecclesiastical offices. On this account Georgius and Josephus were sent in 1490 to the Nestorian patriarch Simeon to ask him to give them a bishop. They were both ordained priests, and the two monks, Thomas and John, sent back with them as bishops. John remained in India, settling at Cranganor, but Thomas soon went back again. Patriarch Elias (t 1502) instituted three monks, Jaballaha as the metropolitan, Jacob and Denha as bishops, and sent them with Thomas to India. They found Mar John still alive, and stated that they discovered 30,000 Christian families, distributed in twenty provinces; later Portuguese authorities restrict the number to 16,000 families. These gradually declined, being oppressed in many ways, and were thus led to place themselves under the protection of Portugal, offering to recognise king Emmanuel as their only ruler. This led to their ruin, for they were then treated worse than ever by the native princes, and afterwards oppressed by the Portuguese. Papal emissaries — namely, Jesuits — were sent to them, who sought to subject them to the pope by violence and cunning. The archbishop of Goa, Alexius Menez (q.v.), obliged them to recognise the decisions of the synod held in 1599 at Diamper, so that but few communities, and those lost in the mountains, remained true to the faith of their forefathers (comp. Marsden, Hist. of Christian Churches and Sects, pge 99).
Two centuries had elapsed without any particular information concerning the Nestorian Christians in the interior of India. It was doubted by many if they were still in existence, when they were visited by Dr. Claudius Buchanan in 1807. He found, in the neighborhood of Travancore the Syrian metropolitan and his clergy. They were much depressed, but they still numbered fifty-five churches. They made use of the liturgy of Antioch, in the Syrian language. They had many old and valuable copies of the Scriptures. One of these, a Syrian manuscript of high antiquity, they presented to Dr. Buchanan, by whom it was placed in the university library at Cambridge. He describes the doctrines of the Syrian Christians as few in number, but pure, and agreeing in essential points with those of the Church of England. There were then, he computed, 200,000 Syrian Christians in the south of India, besides the Indians who speak the Malabar language, and are subject to the Church of Rome. Dr. Buchanan thus describes the appearance of Mar Dionysius the metropolitan: "He was dressed in a vestment of dark-red silk, a large golden cross hung from his neck, and his venerable beard reached below his girdle. On public occasions he wears the episcopal mitre, and a muslin robe is thrown over his under garment; and in his hand he bears the crosier, or pastoral staff. He is a man of highly respectable character in his Church; eminent for his piety, and for the attention he devotes to his sacred functions." Later visitors speak in less glowing terms of this interesting people. Their general ignorance seems to have been much greater than Dr. Buchanan was led to suppose, and they observe superstitions with which he does not appear to have been made acquainted. But in 1853 almost simultaneously with the restoration of the patriarchate of the Chaldeeans, those subject to the Romish Church threw off the yoke out of hatred towards the Jesuits. The barefooted Barnabites have, in recent times, been trying with more zeal than success to bring them again into the Romish communion. The Christians of St. Thomas are still considered to number about 70,000, forming an independent state under the protectorate of Great Britain, and governed by their priests and elders. They honor the memory of Theodore and Nestorius in their Syriac liturgy, and adhere to the Nestorian patriarchs. (See CHRISTIANS OF ST)
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Nestorians'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/n/nestorians.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.