Holy Qurbana or Holy Qurbono, the Holy Offering or Holy Sacrifice, refers to the Eucharist as celebrated according to the East Syrian and the West Syrian traditions of Syriac Christianity. The main Anaphora of the East Syrian tradition is the Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari, the East Syriac word Qurbana and the West Syriac word Qurbono are derived from the Aramaic term Qurbana. When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, and sacrifices were offered and it comes from a Hebrew root, meaning to draw close or near. A required Korban was offered morning and evening daily and on holidays, the Holy Qurbana is referred to as complete worship, since it is performed for the benefit of all members of the Church. The other sacraments are celebrated for individual members, thus the Holy Qurbana is believed to be the sacrament that completes all the others. Hence it is called the sacrament of perfection or the queen of sacraments, the East Syriac or Chaldean rite was associated with the historical Church of the East, centered in the Persian capital of Seleucia-Ctesiphon.
This liturgy is traditionally attributed to Saint Addai and Saint Mari, in the form given in the oldest manuscripts, all of the High Middle Ages, this anaphora does not include the Words of Institution, a matter that raised ecumenical concerns. West Syrian liturgical rite is developed out of the ancient Antiochene Rite of the Patriarchate of Antioch, adapting the old Greek liturgy into Syriac, the language of the Syrian countryside. West Syrian liturgies represent one of the strains in Syriac Christianity, the other being the East Syrian Rite. An independent West Syrian community that grew around the monastery of Saint Maron eventually developed into the Maronite Church, a variant of the West Syrian Rite, the Malankara Rite, developed in the ancient Malankara Church of India and is still used in its descendant churches. They are the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, the Malabar Independent Syrian Church.
The Liturgy is based on the traditions of the ancient rite of the Early Christian Church of Jerusalem, the Liturgy is associated with the name of James the Just, the brother of Jesus and patriarch among the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem. Saint James was martyred at the hands of a mob incensed at his preaching about Jesus and his transgression of the Law - an accusation made by the Jewish High Priest of the time, Hanan ben Hanan. Among the Eastern liturgies, the Liturgy of Saint James is one of the Antiochene group of liturgies, those ascribed to Saint James, to Saint Basil, the Liturgy of Saint James is considered to be the oldest surviving liturgy developed for general use in the Church. Its date of composition is disputed with some authorities proposing an early date. Divine Liturgy Holy Leaven Explanation about the Holy Qurbana - St. Marys Malankara Orthodox Cathedral of Philadelphia
Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the largest Christian Church in Egypt, Northeast Africa and the Middle East. According to tradition, the Church was established by Saint Mark, the head of the Church and the See of Alexandria is the Patriarch of Alexandria on the Holy See of Saint Mark, who carries the title of Coptic Pope. The See of Alexandria is titular, and today the Coptic Pope presides from Saint Marks Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the Abbassia District in Cairo. The precise Christological differences that caused the split with the Coptic Christians are still disputed, highly technical, the foundational roots of the Coptic Church are based in Egypt, but it has a worldwide following. Isaiah the prophet, in Chapter 19, Verse 19 says In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, the first Christians in Egypt were common people who spoke Egyptian Coptic. There were Alexandrian Jews such as Theophilus, whom Saint Luke the Evangelist addresses in the chapter of his gospel.
When the church was founded by Saint Mark during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, in the 2nd century, Christianity began to spread to the rural areas, and scriptures were translated into the local languages, namely Coptic. The Catechetical School of Alexandria is the oldest catechetical school in the world, St. Jerome records that the Christian School of Alexandria was founded by Saint Mark himself. Origen wrote over 6,000 commentaries of the Bible in addition to his famous Hexapla, many scholars such as Jerome visited the school of Alexandria to exchange ideas and to communicate directly with its scholars. The scope of this school was not limited to subjects, mathematics. The question-and-answer method of commentary began there, and 15 centuries before Braille, wood-carving techniques were in use there by blind scholars to read, the Theological college of the catechetical school was re-established in 1893. Many Egyptian Christians went to the desert during the 3rd century, by the end of the 5th century, there were hundreds of monasteries, and thousands of cells and caves scattered throughout the Egyptian desert.
A great number of these monasteries are still flourishing and have new vocations to this day, countless pilgrims have visited the Desert Fathers to emulate their spiritual, disciplined lives. In the 4th century, an Alexandrian presbyter named Arius began a dispute about the nature of Christ that spread throughout the Christian world and is now known as Arianism. We confess one Baptism for the remission of sins and we look for the resurrection of the dead, as a consequence of this, he denied the title Mother of God to the Virgin Mary, declaring her instead to be Mother of Christ Christotokos. When reports of this reached the Apostolic Throne of Saint Mark, Pope Saint Cyril I of Alexandria acted quickly to correct this breach with orthodoxy, when he would not, the Synod of Alexandria met in an emergency session and a unanimous agreement was reached. Pope Cyril I of Alexandria, supported by the entire See and this epistle drew heavily on the established Patristic Constitutions and contained the most famous article of Alexandrian Orthodoxy, The Twelve Anathemas of Saint Cyril.
In these anathemas, Cyril excommunicated anyone who followed the teachings of Nestorius, for example, Anyone who dares to deny the Holy Virgin the title Theotokos is Anathema
Orthodox Tewahedo is the common and historical name of two Oriental Orthodox churches within the Christian Church. These are the predominant Orthodox denominations in Eritrea and Ethiopia, until 1959, the Orthodox Tewahedo churches were administratively part of the Coptic Church. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was granted autocephaly and its own Patriarch that year by Coptic Orthodox Pope Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria, Tewahedo is a Geez word meaning being made one or unified. This is in contrast to the two Natures of Christ belief which is held by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church and it is known as non-Chalcedonian, sometimes by outsiders as monophysite. However, these Churches themselves describe their Christology as miaphysite, so he set out and was on his way when he caught sight of an Ethiopian. This man was a eunuch, an official of the Kandake Queen of Ethiopia in charge of all her treasure. The passage continues by describing how Philip helped the Ethiopian treasurer understand a passage from Isaiah that the Ethiopian was reading, after the Ethiopian received an explanation of the passage, he requested that Philip baptize him, and Philip did so.
The Ethiopic version of this verse reads Hendeke, Queen Gersamot Hendeke VII was the Queen of Ethiopia from ca.42 to 52, as a youth, Frumentius had been shipwrecked with his brother Aedesius on the Eritrean coast. The brothers managed to be brought to the court, where they rose to positions of influence and converted Emperor Ezana to Christianity. Ezana sent Frumentius to Alexandria to ask the Patriarch, Athanasius of Alexandria, Athanasius appointed Frumentius himself, who returned to Ethiopia as Bishop with the name Abune Selama. From on, until 1959, the Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria, as Patriarch of All Africa, union with the Coptic Church continued after the Arab conquest of Egypt. Patriarch Cyril II of Alexandria, the 67th patriarch, sent Severus as bishop, with orders to put down polygamy and these examples show the close relations of the two churches concurrent with the Middle Ages. In 1439, in the reign of Zara Yaqob, a discussion between Abba Giyorgis and a French visitor had led to the dispatch of an embassy from Ethiopia to the Vatican.
The period of Jesuit influence, which broke the connection with Egypt, in 1507 Mateus, an Armenian, had been sent as an Ethiopian envoy to Portugal to ask for aid against the Adal Sultanate. In 1520 an embassy under Dom Rodrigo de Lima landed in Ethiopia, an interesting account of the Portuguese mission, which lasted for several years, was written by Francisco Álvares, the chaplain. Later, Ignatius of Loyola wished to take up the task of conversion, after repeated failures some measure of success was achieved under Emperor Susenyos I, but not until 1624 did the Emperor make formal submission to the pope. He expelled the Jesuits in 1633, and in 1665, in the 1920s the Italian colonial power in Eritrea started the first attempts to found a separate Eritrean Orthodox Church. Until then, the Orthodox Church in Eritrea was practically part of the Ethiopian Church, the separate Eritrean Church was short-lived
Tabot, is a Geez word referring to a replica of the Tablets of Law, onto which the Biblical Ten Commandments were inscribed, used in the practices of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Tabot can refer to a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, the word tsellat refers only to a replica of the Tablets, but is less commonly used. According to Edward Ullendorff, the Geez word tabot is derived from the Aramaic word tebuta, the concept and function of the tabot represent one of the most remarkable areas of agreement with Old Testament forms of worship. A tabot is usually six inches square, and may be made from alabaster, marble and it is always kept in ornate coverings to hide it from public view. As it appeared in the doorway the women raised the ilil, when the tabot goes out of the Bete Meqdes ቤተ መቅደስ, everyone goes down to the floor and says a prayer. The dancing over, a procession formed up, headed by the tabot, finally the tabot was carried back into the sanctuary, all was over and the assembly broke up.
During the looting of the Ethiopian capital of Magdala in 1868, the return in February 2002 of one of these, discovered in the storage of St. Johns Episcopal Church in Edinburgh, was a cause of public rejoicing in Addis Ababa. Another was returned in 2003 after Dr. Ian McLennan recognised the ancient tabot at an auction in London and he bought it and donated it to the government of Ethiopia. Huntingford, Appendix III, The Tabot in their translation of Francisco Alvarez, The Prester John of the Indies, pilot Guides Axum and the Ark
History of Oriental Orthodoxy
They reject the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon. Hence, these Churches are called Old Oriental Churches or Non-Chalcedonian Churches, the history of all Oriental Orthodox Churches goes back to the very beginnings of Christianity. They were founded by the apostles or by their earliest disciples, the Oriental Orthodox Churches had a great missionary role during the early stages of Christianity and played a great role in the history of Egypt. The schism between Oriental Orthodoxy and the rest of the Church occurred in the 5th century and this was not because Chalcedon stated that Christ has two natures, but because the councils declaration did not confess the two natures as inseparable and united. Pope Dioscorus would accept only of or from two natures but not in two natures, to the hierarchs who would lead the Oriental Orthodox, this was tantamount to accepting Nestorianism, which expressed itself in a terminology incompatible with their understanding of Christology. Founded in the Alexandrine School of Theology it advocated a formula stressing the unity of the Incarnation over all other considerations, Oriental Orthodox Churches reject what they consider to be the heretical Monophysite teachings of Eutyches and of Nestorius as well as the Dyophysite definition of the Council of Chalcedon.
It was not until 518 that the new Byzantine Emperor, Justin I, Justin ordered the replacement of all non-Chalcedonian bishops, including the patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria. The extent of the influence of the Bishop of Rome in this has been a matter of debate, one of the most salient features of the history of Oriental Orthodoxy has been the ceaseless persecution and massacres suffered under Byzantine, Persian and Ottoman powers. The Oriental Orthodox communion comprises six groups, Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, Eritrean Orthodox, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and Armenian Apostolic churches
The Peshitta is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition. This New Testament, originally excluding certain disputed books, had become a standard by the early 5th century, the five excluded books were added in the Harklean Version of Thomas of Harqel. However, the 1905 United Bible Society Peshitta used new editions prepared by the Irish Syriacist John Gwynn for the missing books, the name Peshitta is derived from the Syriac mappaqtâ pšîṭtâ, literally meaning simple version. However, it is possible to translate pšîṭtâ as common, or straight. Syriac is a dialect, or group of dialects, of Eastern Aramaic and it is written in the Syriac alphabet, and is transliterated into the Latin script in a number of ways, Peshittâ, Pshitta, Pšittâ, Fshitto. All of these are acceptable, but Peshitta is the most conventional spelling in English, there is no full and clear knowledge of the circumstances under which the Peshitta was produced and came into circulation. Whereas the authorship of the Latin Vulgate has never been in dispute, almost every assertion regarding the authorship of the Peshitta and its time, the chief ground of analogy between the Vulgate and the Peshitta is that both came into existence as the result of a revision.
This, has strenuously denied, but since Dr. The very designation, has given rise to dispute and it has been applied to the Syriac as the version in common use, and regarded as equivalent to the Greek koiné and the Latin Vulgate. The word itself is a form, meaning simple, as in easy to be understood. It seems to have used to distinguish the version from others which are encumbered with marks. However, the term as a designation of the version has not been found in any Syriac author earlier than the 9th or 10th century, as regards the Old Testament, the antiquity of the version is admitted on all hands. The tradition, that part of it was translated from Hebrew into Syriac for the benefit of Hiram in the days of Solomon is surely a myth. That a translation was made by a priest named Assa, or Ezra and that the translation of the Old Testament and New Testament was made in connection with the visit of Thaddaeus to Abgar at Edessa belongs to unreliable tradition. Mark has even been credited in ancient Syriac tradition with translating his own Gospel, F.
Crawford Burkitt concluded that the translation of the Old Testament was probably the work of Jews, of whom there was a colony in Edessa about the commencement of the Christian era. The older view was that the translators were Christians, and that the work was late in the 1st century or early in the 2nd. The Old Testament known to the early Syrian church was substantially that of the Palestinian Jews and it contained the same number of books but it arranged them in a different order. Most of the Deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament are found in the Syriac, of the New Testament, attempts at translation must have been made very early, and among the ancient versions of New Testament Scripture the Syriac in all likelihood is the earliest
A debtera will claim an ecclesiastical identity and behave as in minor orders. They may in fact be officially ordained as deacons, or may act outside the Church hierarchy and they are usually feared by the local population, who often mistake them for madmen. Debteras are usually chosen from families of other debteras, and are trained from childhood as scribes and they are often taught traditional medicine and lay religious rites as well. While studying, they live by begging, retailing, or practicing traditional medicine. The main purpose for their studies, however, is written and oral lore pertaining to religious functions, before services, they bathe and don white clothing, and a loose striped over-garment called a shamma. Debteras carry prayer sticks to the service, where they sing, among the Beta Israel, the status of debtera is a milestone in the study to become Kahen. Unlike fully-fledged Kahens, debteras are closer to the laypeople, often serving as intermediaries between them and the clergy, a Kahen who gives up his position or is deposed may serve as a debtera.
Kahens and debteras are two separate professions, though it is possible to both roles. The Ethiopian Church sees the division as following the model used by the ancient Israelites, during Lenten services, debteras tap prayer sticks to keep the rhythm. The Ethiopian Church condones the performances of debteras, citing the story in 2 Kings of King David dancing at the temple, Debteras participate in liturgy as singers and musicians and, outside the Church religio-magical healers by performing as herbalists, fortune-tellers etc. Some Ethiopian authors consider these healers as ‘spiritual healers’ whereas, they are purely religio-magical healers, not all duties taken on by Debteras are condoned by the Ethiopian Church. Many distribute contraceptive herbs to women and perform magic meant to perform contraceptive functions, some are reputed to study black magic invoking demons alongside their more benevolent official learning. Some Debteras manufacture apotropaic amulets meant to protect the wearer from evil spirits and these amulets are often made of silver and are noted for their use against the legendary budas, zār spirits, and the evil eye.
They may study a variety of anti-magic invocations and these exorcisms may include prayers, blessing of holy water, burning of roots, and incantations from a Magic Star Book. Some amulets may take the form of small scrolls kept in pouches or similar containers, some practice astrology, by giving unlucky people new stars by changing their names. This may be considered cheating by the locals, some Debteras have been noted to use Datura stramonium to cause hallucinations. A debtera may charge a fee for his charms and astrological practices, not all of the Debteras duties and cures are supernatural. Debteras place scarecrows in farm fields to protect them and shave heads to prevent lice outbreaks, before the 1974 revolution, nobles would often hire Debteras to educate their children
St. Thomas Evangelical Church
St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India is an Evangelical, Episcopal denomination based in Kerala, India. It derives from a schism in the Mar Thoma Syrian Church in 1961, STECI holds that the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God. Adherents believe that all that is necessary for salvation and living in righteousness is given in the Bible, the church is engaged in active evangelism. The headquarters of church is at Tiruvalla, a town in the state of Kerala which is the part of South India. St. Thomas Evangelical Church is one of groups of Saint Thomas Christians tracing their origins to St. Thomas the Apostle who, according to tradition. While STECI is considered to be a church, it is the same time deeply influenced by Evangelicalism. Early leaders include Bishop Dr K N Oommen, Bishop P John Varghese, Rev P C Zacheriah, Rev Dr T C George, Daniel was the prominent evangelical leader. Rev P I Mathai, Rev K O John, Rev C M Varghese, Rev P. T. Chandapillai, Rev P. T. Thomas, Mr. N. I Thomas Neduvelil Ranny, Rev K.
C Paily and Rev P. A Jacob had helped the church to focus on the mission. The missionaries facilitated the translation of the Bible into Malayalam in 1811 and this was the first vernacular Bible in Kerala. Further changes introduced by the influence of missionaries led to a schism within the Thomas Christians, internal struggles in reformation ideologies between progressive and traditionalist groups in Mar Thoma Syrian Church led to a further schism. The St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India was formally inaugurated on January 26,1961, over thirty thousand people drawn from all the different Christian denominations gathered together at Bishop Abraham Nagar at Thiruvalla, in Kerala to form the new denomination. 1961 which was a Sunday around ~8pm or so the name Saint Thomas Evangelical Church of India was chosen at a prayer gathering In Alleppey, after the inauguration service, two ministers of the new Church, Rev. K. N. Oommen, Rev. P. John Varghese, were consecrated as Bishops, the St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India is one of the branches of the Malankara Church founded in A.
D.52 by Apostle St. Thomas. The Church is Evangelical in faith and Episcopal in administration, the Church accepts the Holy Bible which consists of 66 Books of the Old and the New Testaments as the basis for all matters of faith and doctrine. The Church accepts the Nicene Creed which is in conformity with the Scriptures, the Church celebrates the two dominical sacraments viz, The Holy Communion and the Holy Baptism. Ordained ministry is exercised by three distinct Orders, Presbyter, Holy Communion is understood to be a thanksgiving in line with Zwinglian theology. The Representative Body of the Church is the governing body. The Presiding Bishop is the head of the Church who is elected from among the bishops of the Church for a term of five years
Mesrop Mashtots listen, known as Mesrob the Vartabed, was an early medieval Armenian linguist, theologian and hymnologist. He is best known for having invented the Armenian alphabet c. 405 AD and he was the creator of the Caucasian Albanian and Georgian alphabets, according to a number of scholars and contemporaneous Armenian sources. Mesrop Mashtots was born in a family in the settlement of Hatsekats in Taron. He was the son of a man named Vardan, his pupil and biographer, tells us that Mashtots received a good education, and was versed in the Greek and Persian languages. On account of his piety and learning Mesrop was appointed secretary to King Khosrov IV and his duty was to write in Greek and Persian characters the decrees and edicts of the sovereign. Leaving the court for the service of God, he took holy orders, says Koryun, he practiced great austerities, enduring hunger and thirst and poverty. He lived on vegetables, wore a shirt, slept upon the ground, and often spent whole nights in prayer.
This life he continued for a few years, Armenia, so long the battle-ground of Romans and Persians, lost its independence in 387, and was divided between the Byzantine Empire and Persia, about four-fifths being given to the latter. Western Armenia was governed by Byzantine generals, while an Armenian king ruled, the Church was naturally influenced by these violent political changes, although the loss of civil independence and the partition of the land could not destroy its organization or subdue its spirit. Persecution only quickened it into greater activity, and had the effect of bringing the clergy, the nobles, three men are prominently associated with this work, Patriarch Isaac, and King Vramshapuh, who succeeded his brother Khosrov IV in 389. In 394, with the help of blessing of Armenias Catholicos, Sahak Partev, Mesrop, as noted, had spent some time in a monastery preparing for a missionary life. With the support of Prince Shampith, he preached the Gospel in the district of Goghtn near the river Araxes, converting many heretics, the Holy Scriptures and the liturgy, being written in Syriac, were, to a large extent, unintelligible to the faithful.
Hence the constant need of translators and interpreters to explain the Word of God to the people, desirous to remedy this state of things, resolved to invent a national alphabet, in which undertaking Isaac and King Vramshapuh promised to assist him. It is hard to exactly what part Mesrop had in the fixing of the new alphabet. According to his Armenian biographers, he consulted Daniel, a bishop of Mesopotamia, and Rufinus, with their help and that of Isaac and the king, he was able to give a definite form to the alphabet, which he probably adapted from the Greek. Others, like Lenormant, think it derived from the Avestan, mesrops alphabet consisted of thirty-six letters, two more were added in the twelfth century. The first sentence in Armenian written down by St, the result of the work of Isaac and Mesrop, says St. It is historically proven, that Saint Mesrop himself taught in Amaras monastery of Artskah region of Armenia, but his activity was not confined to Eastern Armenia
Shenoute the Great, Saint Shenoute the Archimandrite (Coptic, Ⲁⲃⲃⲁ Ϣⲉⲛⲟⲩϯ ⲡⲓⲁⲣⲭⲓⲙⲁⲛⲇⲣⲓⲧⲏⲥ, was the abbot of the White Monastery in Egypt. He is considered a saint by the Oriental Orthodox Churches, and is one of the most renowned saints of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Shenoute was born in 348 AD in the Upper Egyptian village of Shenaloletto to devout Christian parents. His uncle was Saint Pigol, another famous Egyptian saint and the founder of a monastery in Upper Egypt known today as the White Monastery, at a young age, Shenoute helped taking care of his fathers flock of sheep. During one of Shenoutes trips to his uncles monastery, Saint Pigol kept him as a result of a vision, around 385 AD, he was chosen by his fellow monks to succeed his uncle as the abbot of the White Monastery. When he took over that task, the monastery was inhabited by 30 old monks. By the time of his death in 466 AD, the monastery had 2,200 monks and 1,800 nuns, there he provided the moral support that Saint Cyril needed to defeat the heresy of Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople.
The eventual exile of the latter to Akhmim, Shenoutes backyard, was a testimony to the impression that Shenoute had made upon the attendees of this council. On 7 Epip 466 AD, following a short illness possibly brought upon by advanced age, from his uncle, Saint Pigol, Shenoute inherited a monastery based on the Pachomian system, though more austere and stringent. This made its followers few in number and probably promoted decline rather than growth, Shenoute implemented a more comprehensive system that was less stringent and more suitable to the surroundings and the background of the people. This new system had a component, which was a covenant to be recited and adhered to literally by the new novices. If I transgressed what I have vowed, I will see the Kingdom of Heaven, God before whom I made the covenant will destroy my soul and my body in the fiery Hell because I transgressed the covenant I made. Transgressors of that covenant were expelled from the monastery altogether and this was considered a near death sentence for those peasant monks.
This seemed to be at odds with the Nitrian monastic system, Shenoute utilized the time of the monks, outside prayer and worship, in more varied tasks within the monastery than the Nitrian monks were exposed to. All in all, Shenouda tried as much as possible to employ the monks in their old professions, such activities made the monastery a vast self-supporting complex, which occupied some 20 square miles of land. As a monastic leader, Shenoute recognized the need for literacy among the monk, so he required all his monks and nuns to learn to read and encourage more of them to pursue the art of writing manuscripts. This made the more and more appealing to belong to. In his laudatory Life of Saint Shenoute, his disciple Saint Wissa recounts several incidents of Shenoute coming to the aid of poor Egyptian peasants, one time he went to Akhmim to chastise a pagan because of the oppression he was inflecting on the poor. Another time he acted to eliminate the cause of grief of the peasants, on a third occasion he risked his life to successfully ask for the freedom of the captives at Psoi from the hands of the Blemmyes warriors
With a history going back to the 1st century AD, Syriac Christianity is, in modern times, represented by denominations primarily in the Middle East, Asia Minor and in Kerala, India. Christianity began in the Middle East in Jerusalem among Jewish Aramaic-speaking Semitic peoples of Judah and it quickly spread, initially to other Semitic peoples, in Parthian-ruled Assyria and Mesopotamia, Roman-ruled Syria, Phoenicia and eastern Asia Minor, and northwestern Persia and Malta. Adherents sometimes identify as Syriacs or Syrians, Syriac Christian heritage is transmitted through various Neo Aramaic dialects of old Aramaic. Unlike the Greek Christian culture, Assyrian Christian culture borrowed much from early Rabbinic Judaism, Antioch was the political capital of this culture, and was the seat of the Patriarchs of the church. However, Antioch was heavily Hellenized, and the Assyrian cities of Edessa and this split owed just as much to the politics of the day as it did to theological orthodoxy. Ctesiphon, which was at the the Sassanid capital.
After the Council of Chalcedon in 451, many Syriac Christians within the Roman Empire rebelled against its decisions, the Patriarchate of Antioch was divided between a Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian communion. The Chalcedonians were often labelled Melkites, while their opponents were labelled as Monophysites and Jacobites, the Maronite Church found itself caught between the two, but claims to have always remained faithful to the Catholic Church and in communion with the bishop of Rome, the Pope. The church has persisted as an entity under Islamic rule. The community was one of those granted autonomy in governing itself in religious, in the 19th century many left for other parts of Christendom, creating a substantial diaspora. Over time, some groups within each of these branches have entered into communion with the Church of Rome, when they lost Assyria itself to the Parthian Empire, they retained the name Syria but only applied it to what had been Aramea, which they still retained. The Neo-Assyrian kingdom of Osroene was the first Christian kingdom in history, in 431 A. D.
the Council of Ephesus declared Nestorianism to be a heresy. The Nestorian priests, who were persecuted in the Byzantine Empire, sought refuge in Mesopotamia where the Church of the East was dominant, there was a synthesis between the Assyrian Church and Nestorian doctrine. From there they spread Christianity to Persia, India and this was the beginning of the Nestorian Church, the eastern branch of Syrian Christianity. The western branch, the Jacobite Church, appeared after the Council of Chalcedon condemned Monophysitism in 451 A. D and these people are in fact ethnic Assyrians originating from the Assyrian homeland in northern Iraq. The older Assyrian designation has almost completely replaced the word Nestorian, the word Nestorian continues to be used in some Western academic literature. The word Syrian has become ambiguous in English since it can refer now to a citizen of Syria regardless of ethnicity, in Arabic, the word for a citizen of Syria has a different form from the traditional word for an ethnic Assyrian/Syrian.
The Maronites in Lebanon are divided between those who claim Lebanese-Phoenician national identity and those who claim Arab national identity, the Maronite Church, a West Syrian Rite Eastern Catholic Church
St. Anthonys Monastery is now the oldest monastery in the world. Institutional Christian monasticism seems to have begun in the deserts in AD 4th century Egypt as a kind of living martyrdom. Little attribute the rise of monasticism at this time to the changes in the church that had been brought about by Constantines acceptance of Christianity as the main Roman religion. This ended the position of Christians as a group that believed itself to be the godly elite. In response a new more advanced form of dedication was developed to preserve a nucleus of the dedicated, the end of persecution meant that martyrdom was no longer an option to prove ones piety. Instead the long-term martyrdom of the ascetic became common, many Egyptian Christians went to the desert during the 3rd century, and remained there to pray and work and dedicate their lives to seclusion and worship of God. Pachomius spent most of his time at his Pabau monastery, from his initial monastery, demand quickly grew and, by the time of his death in 345, one count estimates there were 3000 monasteries dotting Egypt from north to south.
Within a generation after his death, this grew to 7000 and moved out of Egypt into Palestine. By the end of the century, there were hundreds of monasteries. Countless pilgrims have visited the Desert Fathers to emulate their spiritual, all of the Coptic bishops are chosen from monks, although this was not necessary traditionally. There are currently 33 monasteries in Egypt and in the lands of the immigration with a total of more than 1,000 monks, the largest monasteries, and most famous, are at Wadi Natrun, about 60 miles northwest of Cairo. They are the four of the ancient fortified self-sufficient monasteries which have survived out of many that were in the Wadi Natroun valley. Coptic Monasteries List of Coptic Monasteries Members of the covenant Desert Fathers The Daughters of St. Mary Gruber, sacrifice In the Desert, A Study of an Egyptian Minority Through the Lens of Coptic Monasticism