Monday, March 1, 2010

St John of Damascus: Orthodox teacher under the Umayyads

Dr Asad Rustum (1879-1965), official historian of the Apostolic Church of Antioch, wrote this long article on the Melkites and how they suffered under the Umayyads.  St John of Damascus is treated extensively.  Worth reading!
This is a difficult epoch during which the Jacobites (اليعاقبة) took advantage of the ongoing wars between the Byzantines and the Umayyads (Muslims, as they were called at the time), in that they pointed to Muslims that the Byzantine Christians of the Middle East were indeed Melkites—King=Melek in Semitic, hence, Melekites/Melkites=Subjects of the Emperor—and they charged them with spying on behalf of the Byzantine Empire. As a result, the Umayyads persecuted the so-called Byzantine Melkites and prevented them from appointing Patriarchs in the Apostolic Thrones of Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria. Previously, it was stated that the following Patriarchs of Antioch (Macedonius, Georgios I, and Makarios) ruled the Apostolic Throne of Antioch from as far as Constantinople. This preventive measure which was imposed by the Umayyads affected four Patriarchs of Antioch, namely: Theophanes I (681-687), Stephanos III (687-690), Georgios II (690-695), and Alexandros II (695-702). It is probable, although not concretely evident, that the last two of these Patriarchs returned to Antioch (1). Ironically, during this period as well, the Jacobite Patriarchs also ruled their throne while they were placed far from Antioch, in places like Diar Bekir and Malatia. Interestingly, one of the Jacobite Patriarchs, namely, Elias, won the favor of the Umayyads and was granted their permission to build a church in Antioch, yet nonetheless he was prevented from dwelling in that cityMORE HERE

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