Making the Church of the East

Christianity spread in the Persian Empire during the second and third centuries, when it became a major force, especially in western regions. Looking today at some of those early centers is multiply depressing, as they are today in the process of witnessing that ancient tradition being uprooted. From the fifth century through the fourteenth, the [Read More...]

Importing Christianity

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In the third century, Christianity spread into the Persian Empire, where it  became a powerful presence. The means by which this auspicious event occurred are startling and even humbling for anyone who thinks in terms of deliberately planned missionary efforts. At least at first, many, perhaps most, of the Christians who found themselves under Persian [Read More...]

Persia’s Christian Roots

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I have been exploring the history of Christianity within the Persian Empire, a subject very well known to specialists working on that area, but less so to their counterparts who study the story in its “mainstream” (Mediterranean and European) forms. Before writing about this in any more detail, it’s important to understand the geographical setting, [Read More...]

FAITH ON THE FRONTIER

Dioecesis_Orientis_400_AD

Some day, I would love to write a history on religion on the frontiers, and I don’t mean the frontiers of faith or rational inquiry. Governments throughout history have disliked regions that are difficult to control. They strongly prefer fertile lowlands over pastoral uplands or mountain regions. They dislike sprawling cities, especially cosmopolitan seaports. They [Read More...]

THE EMPIRE IN THE MIRROR

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Whether or not we like the fact, the fate of great religions is often shaped by political factors, by the rise and fall of empires and Great Powers. Just look for instance at the distribution of those thriving Catholic and Anglican churches across the former imperial possessions in Africa. When we write Christian history, though, [Read More...]


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