Talk:Church of the East

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Nestorius' theology[edit]

I'm not sure the diagram that is used to explain how the two natures exist within Jesus Christ does any justice to the actual theology Nestorius expressed. It is not a case of "disunion" between the two natures, but a union which is not as "strong" as the Cyrillene interpretation. Nestorius' union is termed "sunapheia", whereas Cyril believed the union of the natures to be one of "crasis". JND Kelly's book "Early Christian Doctrine" gives a good outline of the debate. In the mean time, would people object to the removal of the diagram. I think it's largely unhelpful. Emilymadcat (talk) 13:48, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Assyrian POV[edit]

I am concerned by the many changes that are being made to this article, without sources, which seem to be pushing an Assyrian POV. Multiple messages have been left on the talkpage of Sinharib99 (talk · contribs), but without response. If his edits continue, we may need to request a block. --Elonka 23:13, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Such things are to be expected, I'm afraid. Hopefully our typical methods of resolving content disputes and dealing with tendentious and disruptive edits will keep this page from turning into a POV battlefield, but vigilance is clearly required.--Cúchullain t/c 00:24, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

They are not really pushing an Assyrian POV, its pretty much fact that the Church of The East predates Nestorianism, and that the term Nestorian was a western "catch all" term used to label all eastern churches not in communion with Rome.

The Assyrian Church IS indeed Doctrinally distinct from Nestorianism, and is basically descended from the old Church of the East which arose in the 1st and 2nd centuries in Mesopotamia and Asia Minor (then part of the Persian Empire).

Ive acknowledged that the influx of Nestorians had an influence on the church of the east, and vice versa. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sinharib99 (talkcontribs) 01:11, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunately, both sides of this debate are inclined to POV, both Western polemical POV against the ACE and ACE POV in defense against those polemics. Neutrality must be found by rejecting the POV of both sides. For instance, both statements "the ACE is Nestorian" and "the ACE is not Nestorian" are both technically POV.
"its pretty much fact that the Church of The East predates Nestorianism" Unfortunately this article does not really take into account the fact that after the First Council of Ephesus people began to realize more and more that Theodore of Mopsuestia was really the most substantial author of the system of thought that they were dealing with, rather than Nestorius himself. As such, some circles are now even renaming the system of thought "Theodoreanism". However, yes, you are correct that the Church of the East predates even Theodore of Mopsuestia. However, that doesn't mean that it's necessarily wrong to categorize it as "Theodorean" or "Nestorian" on the basis of them accepting their teachings. After all, the Western churches frequently self-categorize themselves as "Cyrillians" on the basis of their acceptance of the teachings of Cyril of Alexandria.
"and that the term Nestorian was a western "catch all" term used to label all eastern churches not in communion with Rome" As far as I can tell, the EOC nor the OOC were ever categorized as Nestorian. So I think you're off on your understanding here. I agree that the term "Nestorian" has been abused. Of course, so has the term "Monophysite". However, not only are we not here to endorse such opinions, but we're also not here to endorse counter opinions. We're just here to record what can be objectively agreed upon.
"The Assyrian Church IS indeed Doctrinally distinct from Nestorianism, and is basically descended from the old Church of the East which arose in the 1st and 2nd centuries in Mesopotamia and Asia Minor (then part of the Persian Empire)." Ultimately those are both POV statements and not objectively evident, even if they happen to be correct. Deusveritasest (talk) 03:52, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
Deusveritasest appears to be quite correct. Sinharib99, the current text makes it clear the article is discussing the entire history of the church known as the Church of the East, which predates the Nestorian movement. However, it's an objective fact that they did become affiliated with the Nestorian doctrine later, leading to them being referred to as the "Nestorian Church". You admit that the Assyrian Church of the East descended from the historical Church of the East which at one time covered a much broader area, but for whatever reason you tried to remove all references to the Chaldean Catholic Church, which developed out of the Church of the East just as much. Other of your edits try to insert an obvious ethnic Assyrian point of view, which is inappropriate.--Cúchullain t/c 18:31, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

I must point out that the followers of the Church of the East and their offshoots ARE ethnically Assyrians —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sinharib99 (talkcontribs) 18:19, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

First, members of the offshoot churches in India are not normally classified as "Assyrians". Second, not all followers of the Church of the East were "Assyrians"; formerly the church spread all the way to Central Asia and China, though its heartland was in mesopotamia.--Cúchullain t/c 19:07, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

The article about India[edit]

The article about India has many mistakes,

In the early 19th century, some members of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church in Thrissur, failing to receive a bishop from their own patriarch, requested one from the Assyrian Church of the East, the modern descendant of the Nestorian Church. The Assyrian Church supplied them with a bishop, establishing the Chaldean Syrian Church.

See the latest chart of Indian Christianity , it was the members of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, failing to receive ........ and not Jacobite.

How can , 84 of the 116 communities returned, forming the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. and the rest entered to Jacobite. Remember both the Catholic Church and the West Syrian Orthodox Church are relatively new. It is well noted fact, that catholic church got more number of church, because of the Portuguese military stationed in the region. It should have been, a faction joined Catholic Church and another faction owed allegiance to the West Syrian Church, and not returned and entered.Fyodor7 (talk) 10:18, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

On the Chaldean Syrian Church, I'd like to see some sources about that. The article itself is unclear and unsourced, as I mentioned on the image's talk page. I don't want to make any changes until we have a good source to cite.
On the second point, that's taken largely From the source. My understanding of the history is that the Portuguese brought the whole of the Saint Thomas Christian community under the Latin Rite Catholic archbishop of Goa in the 16th century, culminating with the Synod of Diamper. After this, most Saint Thomas Christians broke with the Catholic Church and the Portuguese in protest, and the Pope stepped in, setting up a new Eastern Catholic hierarchy that used the East Syrian Rite. Most Saint Thomas Christian communities joined this institution, so they can be said to have come "back" under the Catholic Church as they had been immediately prior. Those who didn't "entered" into a new communion altogether, with the Syrian Orthodox Church. I think the paragraph can be more clear, but I think this phrasing is correct.--Cúchullain t/c 16:39, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
Regarding the 1st, point, you can google it and find it in almost all catholic pages.Check out, http://www.bookrags.com/wiki/Syro-Malabar_Catholic_Church. This was something Internal in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and Jacobite, refers to the present Syrian Orthodox Christians.
Your understanding is correct. Under the Portuguese Catholics, the St.Thomas Christians, were forced to comply to Latin Rite, and also brought the whole Church under the Popes yoke. However it lasted for only a short period of time. During the arrival of Portuguese, the indigenous Christians had a leader called Thomas, (later consecrated as Mar Thoma I, the first indigenous Bishop of India. Initially the St.Thomas Christians were unable to resist, the superior Portuguese, hence was forced to accept Latin Rite, however later, due to heavy latinization, the leader of the St.Thomas Christians revolted, and accepted West Syrian Orthodox Church. This was because, the communication between the West Syrians and St.Thomas Christians was effectively stopped by the Portuguese navy that controlled the Arabian Sea and the Assyrian Church dying under the advance of Islam. So saying , “most of the St.Thomas joined this institution” , is not very much true, because no one knows the numbers, and remember a superior Portuguese military was stationed in the region and large numbers of Organized Jesuit missionaries. The St.Thomas Christians never had seen such tremendous force in their land. So it is a bit unpleasant to state, “returned’’, (because the Portuguese, just set their base here, a few years before). May be the right words are both of them joined, few joined so and so and another few so and so. Thanks. Fyodor7 (talk) 03:31, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Got some more links, http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=5835939 and check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elias_Mellus. Dont be confused with Syrian Orthodox(Jacobite) and Assyrian Church(known as Chalcedean Church in KeralaFyodor7 (talk) 04:33, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
I think this has gotten confused. There are two points you have raised; the first is about the Chaldean Syrian Church. As to that, like I said I don't want to make any changes until we get some real sources on it; we haven't seen anything thus far.
The second point involves the activities of the Catholic Church in India. My wording closely follows the source, which says: "...the majority of the Christians of St. Thomas left Roman rule in 1653, swearing never to submit to Portuguese domination. When the news of the rebellion reached Rome, Pope Alexander VII sent the Syrian bishop Sebastiani at the head of a Carmelite delegation to Malabar in 1661 and established a hierarchy of Chaldean (formerly Nestorian) rite under Rome. By 1662 most of the Christians of St. Thomas (84 of 116 communities) had returned to Roman obedience (the Syro-Malabar); the rest joined the Syrian Jacobite (Monophysite) Church, brought to Malabar in 1665 by Bishop Gregorios from Jerusalem."
That is, it's saying through the 17th century the Portuguese forced the Saint Thomas Christians into Latin Rite Catholicism, away from their Chaldean Rite (or East Syrian Rite) Church of the East origins. In 1653 most of the Thomas Christians left Latin Rite Catholicism and declared themselves independent of the Portuguese. In 1661, the Pope, with help from the Chaldean Church, established a new Chaldean Rite Eastern Catholic Church. Most of the Thomas Christians (84 of 116 communities) joined this, thus returning to Catholicism (but not Latin Rite Catholicism). Those who didn't remained independent, and then later, in 1665, they entered into a new union with the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Our treatment of all of these subjects on Wikipedia is very much confused and deficient, so we really need to stick with what sources are saying.--Cúchullain t/c 16:57, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
It is wise to copy the entire paragraph from Britanicca, rather than making amendments. Whats now in available wiki,the sentence, breaking off from catholic church, is not in Britannica. It is inappropriate to mention " broke off" from Catholic Church, when the St.Thomas Christians were almost 1500 Years Old and Catholic Church in india, just 20 or 30 years old, during the time of Portuguese Inquisition and Colonialization. Thanks. Fyodor7 (talk) 08:02, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
It's actually not wise to copy Britannica extensively, as that's plagiarism or possibly copyright infringement. Summarizing and paraphrasing are preferred. Britannica says "the majority of the Christians of St. Thomas left Roman rule in 1653" and then following the Chaldean mission, "By 1662 most of the Christians of St. Thomas (84 of 116 communities) had returned to Roman obedience" (emphasis mine). Our wording follows that closely. Nothing in the paragraph implies that the Saint Thomas Christians had been under the Catholic Church since the beginning; in fact we make it clear this didn't happen until the coming of the Portuguese.--Cúchullain t/c 13:23, 19 February 2010 (UTC)


But the Church of the East and its ofshoots (the Keralan churches ecepted) ARE pretty much ethnically Assyrian. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sinharib99 (talkcontribs) 18:18, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

What's your point?--Cúchullain t/c 19:07, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

"Flourish"?[edit]

Did the Nestorian church really "flourish" as a dhimmi community after the Islamic conquest? The paragraph doesn't elaborate; it only goes on to show how the church expanded outside of the former Persian empire into India and China. From what I've read the Eastern churches generally didn't flourish under Islamic rule; at best they held their own in very insulated communities. It may help to research this, expand & footnote this part of the article. Foreignshore (talk) 17:10, 26 February 2010 (UTC)Foreignshore

Here's a quote from a source, which you're welcome to use as ref wherever appropriate:
Silverberg, Realm of Prester John, p. 22: "When the Arabs began their conquest of the Near East in the middle of the seventh century, therefore, they found Nestorian Christianity well entrenched. Mohammed himself had had instruction from a Nestorian monk in Arabia, and he gave the Church the status of a privileged minority, allowing it to function without interference after Persia came under Arab rule in 651. When Baghdad became the capital of the Moslem world in the latter part of the eighth century, the Catholicos of the East, as the head of the Nestorian hierarchy was known, transferred his headquarters to that city. Under Arab protection, Nestorian scholars carried out a great deal of important work, particularly in the translation of Greek scientific and philosophical treatises into Arabic, thus they played a significant role in the remarkable cultural development of the Arabs in the ninth and tenth centuries. The Church of the East -- that has always been the official name of the Nestorians -- continued to expand, and by the end of the tenth century its hierarchy was divided into fifteen provinces, ten within the Moslem world and the others in China, India, and Central Asia."
Hope that helps, --Elonka 17:26, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

that part of the article is incorrect and very misleading. the part of the Church of the East that flourished was the part that was not under islamic rule, such as in asia and east asia. the part of the church that was under islamic rule was placed under VERY harsh penalties, and only shrank since islam conquered it. Slowly in the first few centuries, but very rapidly aroud the time of the crusades and after, until today. you can learn this just by reading the different wikipedia articles regarding assyrians, and even sharia law and applying it to the assyrian people and the various points in their history. this is very hurtful and insensitive, and even offensive to all members of that community. i would very much like this to be changed so that real history can be reflected on this page. we would be doing a great service to these people and world history in general to acknowledge this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.141.214.213 (talk) 04:59, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

It's fair to say that the Church of the East "flourished" under Muslim rule in Persia. The sources all indicate indicate that the Church was restricted, like all non-Muslim groups, and was forbidden from converting Muslims, but otherwise it was given a degree of protection and support. It was under Islamic rule that the church really grew.--Cúchullain t/c 13:29, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

this is misleading, the church grew in areas where there was no islamic rule... such as in india and far east asia. the part of the church that was under islamic rule had already been well established for centuries before islam. after islam conquered those lands (mesopotamia and persia) the church stopped growing and islam is the religion that flourished. this is reflected in population sizes. Christian populations under islamic rule stopped growing and then started shrinking, and at the same time the islamic population only grew. your argument goes against historical fact as well as simple common sense. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.144.177.15 (talk) 21:27, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

This is your own interpretation, and it isn't supported by what the sources we have say. In order for your interpretation to be included you'd need to find reliable sources supporting it.--Cúchullain t/c 12:25, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

I can use this very article as my reference. In this very article, under the section "islamic rule" it supports "my" interpretation. These are quotes from that section... "Syrian and Persian Christians were tolerated by the Muslim rulers of the Rashidun Caliphate, and organized into an official DHIMMI minority group headed by the Patriarch of the East." Also "Although the Nestorians were not permitted to proselytize or attempt to convert Muslims, Nestorian missionaries were otherwise given a free hand, and they increased missionary efforts FARTHER AFIELD. Missionaries established dioceses in India (the Saint Thomas Christians). They made some advances in Egypt, despite the strong Monophysite presence there, and they entered Central Asia, where they had significant success converting local Tartar tribes." The second quote is pretty self explanatory, but i want to go into the first quote a little. It says that they were placed in a dhimmi status, and if you follow the link to dhimmi then you can read for yourself that is an inferior status that institutionalizes discriminatory practices. It is just plain contradiction to say they "flourished" while they were under dhimmitude status. It is fact that islam directly contributed to the downfall of the Church of the East in mesopotamia, beginning in 700 a.d. with the initial islamic conquest of mesopotamia. If islamic rule had nothing to do with the downfall of the Church of the East in mesopotamia then how did that specific ethnic group get replaced by arabs, and why are they speaking arabic instead of the native language of syriac. It is like saying Native Americans were "civilised" by white people, and African Americans were "given jobs" by whites. This is rediculous, we all know Natives were slaughtered, and blacks were enslaved. It is just contradictory my friend, and your interpretation does not add up. It is unfortunate that this article does not reflect true history, and I suspect there may be a pro-islamic bias behind this. But what happened happened, and it will be forever known even if it is not reflected here... it soon WILL be. You will not be allowed to play with these articles however you want. Wikipedia is to be as accurate as possible and this article will reflect the true events of this part of history. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.145.9.12 (talk) 22:11, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but you will have to provide reliable sources supporting your claims if they are to be included. Your personal interpretation of the subject, let alone your personal interpretation of the Wikipedia article on the subject, carry no weight.--Cúchullain t/c 12:33, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I think that 'flourished' is too kind a word to describe the experience of the Church of the East under Moslem rule. 'Subsisted' would perhaps be nearer the mark. All Christians in the caliphate were subject to demeaning Moslem laws of restriction (e.g. the requirement to wear distinctive clothing and the prohibition on building new churches), and were also taxed at a considerably higher rate than Moslems. Although the laws of restriction were sometimes not enforced and could sometimes be evaded by bribery, they nevertheless constituted systemic oppression against the Christians (and Jews). The result was a constant drain in the numbers of Christians through emigration or conversion to Islam, exacerbated by the fact that conversion after the Arab conquest soon became a one-way business. There were very few conversions from Islam to Christianity. There was a brief window of opportunity for the Nestorians during the first century of Islamic rule, because the Moslems persecuted the Zoroastrians (who unlike the Christians and Jews did not qualify as 'people of the book' for 'protection', dhimmi). There is evidence that the Nestorians took advantage of the eclipse of Zoroastrianism to make windfall conversions among the remaining pagans of northern Iraq. But this window of opportunity did not last long. The number of Nestorian Christians peaked at the end of the Umayyad period, at between 2 to 3 million, and began to fall thereafter. I am aware that the Moslem caliphs normally treated the Nestorian patriarchs reasonably politely, but beyond Baghdad I think few Christians would have said that they were 'flourishing' under Moslem rule.
As has been pointed out, after the Arab conquest the Church of the East was only able to proselytise and make converts BEYOND the lands of Islam - in Central Asia and, intermittently, in China. Yes, the Arab conquest also allowed small Nestorian merchant communities to establish themselves in the large cities of Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Cilicia, but they didn't amount to much. The transition from Sassanian to Moslem rule was, in my view, a disaster for the Jacobite and Nestorian churches. One or other might soon have become the 'national' church of Persia had things gone differently.
I'll try to find a citation from Griffith, The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque, to bear out this gloomy assessment.
Djwilms (talk) 07:12, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Thank you, David, your measured response makes much more sense than the above screed. Perhaps the current wording is confusing, in which case it should be changed. However I still think it's fair to say the Church of the East was "flourishing" at this time, at least judging by the texts we're currently citing. The widespread growth outside the Caliphate (and in some cases within it, as with Egypt) is an indicator (Britannica specifically says that "For more than three centuries the church prospered under the Caliphate..."). The early Abbasid period was also the period of Mar Timothy. No one has argued that it was all roses; the text already explains that they were a restricted dhimmi community and forbidden from proselytizing among Muslims. But the church was restricted for nearly all of its history, from the Roman and Sassanid periods to the present day.--Cúchullain t/c 14:11, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
"Perhaps the current wording is confusing, in which case it should be changed." exactly, thats what i was trying to say in the above "screed". the way it is currently worded makes one think that it was a beautiful and loving relationship, when in fact the reality of dhimmitude is much, much different. i hope that can be made clear in the article. i made some edits that, in my opinion, were very well worded and made the reality much more clear, but they were changed by A ntv. i think you should change it back to my edits, as they gave the best description (in my opinion). But regardless, the article should be modified. thx —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.145.2.29 (talk) 22:59, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Cuchullain. I had Timothy I in mind when I wrote the sentence about patriarchs being treated reasonably politely by the caliphs; and of course, in some ways the age of Timothy was the most glamorous period in the history of the Church of the East, if you consider only the view from Baghdad. I hesitate to argue with so august an authority as the Encylopedia Britannica, but my own feeling, based on a deep study in recent months of Mari, Amrus and Sliba, the principal sources for the Nestorians in the caliphate, and a thorough survey of modern scholarship on this period, is that it is too optimistic an appraisal. One of the problems with making a proper assessment of the Umayyad and Abbasid periods is that most of the nineteenth-century Western authors on the Church of the East were taken in by Timothy's own propaganda, and their views have tended to influence standard encyclopedia accounts. Only recently has opinion begun to shift, with studies by Morony, Griffith and others that have tried to get at the truth by making detailed case studies of individual Christian communities. We have tax records for the Nestorians of Qum, for example, a Persian city in the Nestorian diocese of Rai. The Christian community at Qum was founded during the Sassanian period, but it disappeared at some point in the tenth century. There was probably no violence, just intense social pressure for the infidels either to convert or to leave after Qum became a Moslem shrine city early in the ninth century. Yes, Timothy created a whole clutch of new metropolitan provinces (beyond the Islamic lands), but few of them lasted for more than a generation, and within the caliphate there was demonstrable Christian attrition in southern Mesopotamia and Persia. Only in northern Mesoptamia, in its traditional heartland, did the Church of the East hold its own. I do not believe that the Church of the East was more influential in Timothy's day than it was one and a half centuries earlier, in the reign of Ishoyahb II (628-45), and one of my main concerns in my forthcoming book is to chart the trajectory of its rise under the Sassanians and decline under Moslem rule. One of the ways I have done this, besides using the evidence of the tax records, is through a detailed study of the Nestorian dioceses. Six or seven dioceses in northern Arabia (Beth Qatraye), for example, lapsed within a generation of the Arab conquest; and where new dioceses were established in northern Mesopotamia, they were created mainly in response to Jacobite pressure, not to serve a growing Christian population. Studies of tax returns confirm that Christian numbers began to fall in the Abbasid period, when there was far greater social pressure on the Christians than under the Umayyads to convert to Islam.
Elonka's quote from Silverberg is unexceptionable as far as it goes, but it is also potentially misleading. After the Arab conquest the Church of the East expanded almost entirely in territories that were not subject to Moslem rule. A distinction needs to be made between eastward expansion and sustained attrition within the caliphate itself.
The debate on this issue demonstrates that it is of some importance, and I don't think we should just be talking about whether to replace the verb 'flourished' in this article with something less contentious. I think at some point it would be helpful to do a serious rewrite, properly sourced, of the whole issue of Moslem-Christian relations under the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs. I would be happy to volunteer to do something in due course, but right now I'm racing against an end-October deadline for the book. Perhaps in a couple of months ... Give me a wake-up call around Christmas and I'll see what I can do.
Djwilms (talk) 01:48, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
I'll take a preliminary shot at it, based on what you've said above. I'll try to to make the prose more colorless, and later on I'd be more than happy to work with you on a total rewrite.--Cúchullain t/c 12:44, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks very much, and I think you have already said most of what needs to be said in the changes you've just made to the text of the article. I'd love to pitch in now, but I just don't have the time right at the moment. But once the book is out of the way it will be relatively easy for me to provide solid source references for most of what I've said in the past couple of days. Talking of Timothy, we have his splendid debate with the caliph al-Mahdi on the relative claims of Christianity and Islam; and he was also a friend of al-Mahdi's successor Harun al-Rashid; but that did not prevent either caliph from knocking down Christian churches during their occasional fits of spleen against the 'people of the book'. Modern scholars are wary of talking about Moslem 'persecutions', because the Moslems rarely forced Christians to choose between conversion or death, but the laws of restriction amounted to systemic oppression. During both the Umayyad and Abbasid period there was constant, spiteful harassment of Christians, often localised, and often mitigated by bribery and by the caprice of individual caliphs; but it was there all the same. The Christians were treated by the Moslems in much the same way as the Jews were treated in Christendom. And I will sign off now, before that last comment gets me into even more trouble than my forthcoming book will ...
Djwilms (talk) 01:17, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Is Church of the East the same as the Assyrian Church of the East?[edit]

Is the "Church of the East" the same or not the same as the "Assyrian Church of the East." Is this in dispute, or somehow unknown, or what? This made clear and it is not made clear. Carlaude:Talk 17:23, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

See the extensive discussion on this issue on the discussion page of the article Nestorianism. At present we are defining the Church of the East in most cases as the church that existed up to the schism of 1552, and using Assyrian Church of the East and Chaldean Catholic Church for its two successor churches. The previous structure allowed the ACOE to claim contiguity with the old COE, but this claim could equally well be made by the Chaldean Church. The present arrangement privileges neither successor church. The term Church of the East can also be used as an umbrella term going right up to the present day and including both successor churches (or all three, I should say, as we tend to overlook Mar Addai's new and improved Ancient Church of the East, which will probably fold after his death).
Djwilms (talk) 02:43, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I confirm Djwilms answer. Wiki shall list all WP:POVs without having a single POV to prevail over the other ones (particularly on subjective issues as religious claims), and now (at least) three ecclesiastic bodies claim continuity from the Church of East. Thus it is correct to use the term Church of East for the situation before 1552. This also respect the historical use of the name used for the auto-identification: the need of an additional adjective (Assiryan or Chaldean) was borne only after the schisms. A ntv (talk) 11:35, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
As a clarification, I don't think this article should specifically discuss only the history of the Church of the East prior to the schism of 1552; it should be the main article for the subject, and thus cover information on the later descendants as well, along with links directing the reader to where the information is covered more fully. In other articles, the outgoing links should be to whatever article is relevant, and generally for articles on recent history this will be either Assyrian Church of the East or Chaldean Catholic Church, etc., but there will be cases where CotE is still the best link for post-schism discussions.--Cúchullain t/c 13:28, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
I can agree with Cuchullain's suggestion. A ntv (talk) 13:56, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
No problem with me. I'll try to draft something up for the post-1552 stuff when I've removed all the redlinks in the template of Patriarchs of the Church of the East.
Djwilms (talk) 03:05, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

By far, we are trying to make the Church of the East the common root of the other denominations that surfaced after 1552. Making any of these denominations the successor of the Church of the East will ignite a naming war that we have been trying to avoid here in the hopes the rest will follow. --Tisqupnaia2010 (talk) 06:35, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

I also agree with Cuchullain's suggestion, but
already have/had sections on the time the split from each other that I had made (very nearly) identical. That should at least be the starting point for the additions on the split here. Carlaude:Talk 19:18, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Certainly. If the section gets too long we can branch it out into a new article and keep a briefer treatment here. In fact, I think it certainly does deserve its own article at some point.
No, it is not the same. The Church of the East in the past had included Jewish Christians living in the Persian empire, Syrians/Arameans, Assyrians, Chaldeans/Babylonians, Persians, Arabs, Huns, Turks/Uighurs, Mongols, Tibetans, Chinese, Indians.
Around AD 1370-1400, Tamerlane's hordes massacred the Eastern Christians so severely that virtually all Christians in Persia and Central Asia were killed and churches burned to the ground. The remaining christian survivors fled to the mountains regions of what is now Eastern Turkey, Northern Iraq and Western Iran. (Since the silk road became too dangerous to travel, the churches in the Far East gradually withered away due to lack of pastoral care from their mother church.)
The majority of those survivors were Assyrian christians and that is probably why the church in the Middle East is now labelled as the 'Assyrian' Church of the East. Nevertheless today there are still Syrian, Chaldean and Arab christians who belong to the Church of the East. Some persian christians may have survived Tamerlane's onslaught but we do not know for sure (Any Persian or non-Assyrian christians who can help us verify this?) --Phillip J (talk) 06:10, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
You are absolutely right that Nestorian Christianity embraced (and still embraces, if you count the Saint Thomas Christians) a wide variety of ethnic identities, and absolutely right too that the modern Assyrian identity is completely bogus. One of these days the whole absurd Assyrian edifice will come crashing down in ruin, and we can then get back to writing about the Nestorians and Chaldeans without being interrupted by Assyrian edit wars.
On Timur, however, I think you are going way too far. An analysis of the geography of Timur's campaigns demonstrates that while damage was done to the outlying Nestorian areas in the Tigris plain, Timur's forces seem to have largely bypassed the Nestorian heartland to the northeast of Mosul, and they never went near the Urmia and Hakkari regions, which had significant Nestorian populations long before Timur's time. Timur has been given far too much blame. Rather, all the Christian churches of northern Mesopotamia were subjected to attrition over a period of nearly two centuries, during the power struggles that followed the collapse of the ilkhanate. Timur's campaigns were just one factor. There was also the warfare between the Qara Qoyunlu and Aq Qoyunlu, and the warfare between the Ottomans and the Safavids in the early sixteenth century. Read Sanjian's book on the Armenian colophons from this period - Sanjian, A. K., Colophons of Armenian Manuscripts, 1301–1480: A Source for Middle Eastern History (Harvard, 1969) - and you will find that the Armenian scribes (whose settlement areas overlapped with the Nestorians in places like Van and Salmas) mention bouts of brigandage and warfare, in which churches were destroyed and monasteries looted, and occasional sacks of cities in which everybody, Christians and Moslems, was massacred. They also complain about the spiteful and capricious enforcement of the Moslem laws of restriction against the Christians. Yet, funnily enough, all the Christian churches survived, though the Armenians did have two of their catholici murdered. Perhaps the scribes protested rather too much. As for the Central Asian Nestorian communities, they were never numerically significant (I doubt if they accounted for more than a fifth of the total number of Nestorian Christians), and their conversion to Islam was not a great loss to the Church of the East.
Djwilms (talk) 06:28, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Use of present tense in the article[edit]

From my reading of the article, this church has effectively split. Is there a reason then that the article uses phrases such as it "is a church." Shouldn't it be "was a church?" Ltwin (talk) 00:03, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

This is tricky. The problem is that there's no bold line as to when the church ceased to exist, and the name "Church of the East" or "Nestorian Church" is still used in the present tense. Generally, when the terms are used in the present tense, the "Nestorian" branch, the Assyrian Church of the East, is meant (for example here and here), but as Djwilms points out, it can also be used as a blanket term for both Nestorian and Chaldean branches (for example here). However, as to the primary definition - a distinct church united under the Patriarch of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, I don't think anyone would say that still exists.--Cúchullain t/c 12:28, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Schism of 1552[edit]

Please don't revert my account of the schism. It is now generally accepted that Sulaqa's supporters deceived the Vatican into thinking that Shemon VII Ishoyahb had died in 1551. See the section 'Shemon VIII Denha' in the article Patriarchs of the Church of the East.

Djwilms (talk) 03:18, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

I've restored an older version of your text that includes interwiki links and sources. I think the whole thing could be settled by adding more specific sources in some places.--Cúchullain t/c 12:56, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Djwilms, I have left much of your text intact, but you need to find cites from RSs for the "now generally accepted" facts. Thanks.şṗøʀĸɕäɾłäů∂ɛ:τᴀʟĸ 14:49, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
You seem to have removed much of the text that explained that contention over the hereditary appointments, which was the whole reason for the schism. I do agree that the sentences containing information need to be footnoted directly, rather than having the cite appear at the end of the sentence. Djwilms, when that is done, please restore your material.--Cúchullain t/c 15:05, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I have removed text on the hereditary appointments that repeated info at the end of the "Collapse of the exterior provinces" section, just before the "Schism of 1552" section. We could move it, but it need not be all in both places.şṗøʀĸɕäɾłäů∂ɛ:τᴀʟĸ 17:00, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I've added the main source for the events of 1552, including the false allegation of Shemon's death. Other sources for the fictitious patriarch 'Shemon VIII Denha' are conveniently summarised in an article in Hugoye by Heleen Murre-van den Berg (http://syrcom.cua.edu/Hugoye/Vol2No2/HV2N2Murre.html), in the entry for Shimun VII Ishuyau. The references to Wilmshurst are to my PhD thesis (1998), later revised and published as The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East, 1318-1913.
When I have time I will do a fully-footnoted article on 'Shemon VIII Denha'. I've already done articles on three or four fictitious patriarchs, so one more won't harm.
Djwilms (talk) 01:22, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I have now started work on a detailed description of the schism of 1552 in the context of my new article Shemon VII Ishoyahb. May I suggest that we leave my account of the schism in this article at its present length and in its present form, as it is accurate and temperately written. I will be expanding the article on Shemon VII Ishoyahb over the next few days. I would be happy to deal with any problems of interpretation on the discussion page of that article.
Just in case any scandalised Chaldeans think that I am pursuing a 'Nestorian' POV by insisting on Habbi's brilliant deconstruction of the events of 1552, let me say that I really couldn't care less whether Sulaqa's supporters lied to the Vatican to get their guy consecrated. I am sure that they did, but I do not think any worse of the modern Chaldean Catholic Church because of something that happened four and a half centuries ago. I am merely interested, as a historian, in establishing the truth.
Djwilms (talk) 08:41, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Looking good. I'm going to add some cite needed tags in the places where Carlaude has expressed concern before; if you could add those I think this article will be all set. Perhaps at some point we'll need an article on the schism itself.--Cúchullain t/c 12:06, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes to an article on the schism itself. şṗøʀĸɕäɾłäů∂ɛ:τᴀʟĸ 18:36, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Carlaude, please give Djwilms (and me) time to find sources for the material rather than just reverting it out again. And it was not me that added it back, though I did track down sources for most of it. In the first paragraph your revert replaced one source with another that does not contain all the same information, so that is problematic. On the one sentence I revised, the text replicated the source almost exactly, it wasn't just the one word that was a problem.--Cúchullain t/c 17:18, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
On the contentious material (Sulaqa'a deception), Djwilms, exactly how accepted and established is it? Is it to the point that our treatment on this article - the main article on the Church of the East - would be missing something crucial without it?--Cúchullain t/c 17:37, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I am sorry my revert to the first paragraph problematicly replaced one source with another that does not contain all the same information. I expect that with more detailed edit summaries I from others I might have done better, but I would have hoped you may have just fixed the problem source without reverting back in the POV material.
As for where "the text replicated the source almost exactly" and how "it wasn't just the one word that was a problem" you should say what is meant by each of the text, the source, and the word. Thanks. şṗøʀĸɕäɾłäů∂ɛ:τᴀʟĸ 18:48, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
What would really be helpful is if we could hash out the issues on the discussion page before editing back and forth. On your first point, I added several cites for material that seems quite relevant and neutrally-worded to me; you never specified exactly what the problem was here, except to say that citations were needed. I added a number of cites, and some cite needed tags, but your edit removed a lot of that.
On your second point, you shouldn't try to quote material if you don't have the source at hand; if you had you would have seen immediately that that sentence was copied almost directly from the book, which is a no-go.--Cúchullain t/c 19:38, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Again, quoting material directly from the book is fine— provided it is indicated as a quote, with quotation marks. A quotation is neither plagerisim nor a copyright violation. Again, could you indicate the text and the source we are talking about. şṗøʀĸɕäɾłäů∂ɛ:τᴀʟĸ 21:54, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
The text I was referring to is the text I amended here. The source is the source cited, the Wilmshurst book, p. 21, which contains the sentence "making these two provocative appointments, he was also accused by his opponents of permitting concubinage, selling clerical posts and living intemperately". Quotations are fine if they are attributed correctly; this one wasn't and there's no reason to quote it anyway, we can just paraphrase and transmit the necessary information. But at any rate, you shouldn't try to quote a source when you don't have it in front of you.--Cúchullain t/c 23:54, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

POV objections[edit]

My main objections to the current text are not the needed citations or that the letter is said to be "deception" (not withstanding Cuchullain's question of May 4, 17:37, above, I can wait on the citations). It is that it (1) refers to the schism of 1552 as "revolt" as if just one side was legitiment and the true continuation of the Church of the East, (2) refers to seeking consecration from Rome as "legitimizing" their position, if theirs was not a legitimite position, (3) disscussion of the letter as distortion the truth before (rather than after) disscussion of the more last effect of the letter, that the Nestorian patriarch was consecrated.
I also object to the rather polemic tone of the text seek to convince rather than just presenting facts, and I dislike that this "Schism of 1552" section is growing so long without any real summary of it at the begining. şṗøʀĸɕäɾłäů∂ɛ:τᴀʟĸ 18:36, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Personally, I don't think the current language is skewed one way or the other. I think it's fair to say that 1)Shemon VII Ishoyahb was, at the beginning of his reign, accepted by all parties as the legitimate patriarch; that 2)later in his reign, a section of the church found him too abhorrent, and ultimately decided to break away and appoint a totally new patriarch; and that 3)wanting to follow the protocol that a patriarch had to be consecrated by a metropolitan biship, Sulaqa went to Rome. This much does not seem contentious. I might suggest that discussion on whether Sulaqa "deceived" the Vatican might be better discussed at a different article - perhaps a new article on the schism - but I'll wait to hear what Djwilms has to say. This would alleviate the length problem you mention, but at the same time updating the lede section is no big shake.--Cúchullain t/c 19:38, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
While your (1) and (2) might be fine, if worded NPOV, they don't seem to be soured right now. NPOV wording is not to say one side "revoted." Barring any evidence to the contrary, I assume they see/saw it as restoring a true and faithful patriarch to the Church of the East, not as revoting from the Church of the East. Saying he "had to" or "needed to" be consecrated, would also be more NPOV that saying he was "legitimizing" his position.
Here is a good rule of thumb: If a wording will work in both the Assyrian Church of the East article and the Chaldean Catholic Church article, then it probability is an NPOV wording. şṗøʀĸɕäɾłäů∂ɛ:τᴀʟĸ 21:54, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Again, I don't think the current wording violates NPOV, but we can certainly work with it. But there are some instances where neutrality requires us to use language that one side or the other in a conflict may not like. In this case, there's no two ways about it - there were two patriarchs at the same time, who founded different lines and have different opinions about who was in the right.--Cúchullain t/c 23:54, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I had no idea that a four-hundred-year-old schism could still provoke such controversy! The best way to resolve this dispute, as has already been suggested, is to create a new article, Schism of 1552, where the two conflicting versions of events can be considered at the appropriate length. I have just created this article, and have pasted into it the text of a lecture I gave at Oxford several years ago on the schism of 1552. I was intending to publish it at some stage, but, hey, Wikipedia can have it instead. It has the virtue of being fairly thoroughly footnoted, and quoting all the relevant material. I'm now in the process of adding to it. It can be tweaked later, if people think it needs it, but for the time being I offer it as a convenient assemblage of all the relevant facts. I have also removed the contentious material from the main article Church of the East, as the controversy is better dealt with in the new article. As the rest of the stuff is uncontroversial, I would like to footnote it with references to Wilmshurst's EOCE, which can be conveniently consulted online, rather than to Habbi's French article, which is not so accessible.
Djwilms (talk) 01:07, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Scriptures[edit]

The article currently claims that the Church uses the same New Testament as most of Christianity, but the Catholic Encyclopaedia says, "In Syria the Nestorians possess a Canon almost identical with the final one of the ancient East Syrians; they exclude the four smaller Catholic Epistles and Apocalypse." See [1] "Lost Christianities" by Bart Ehrman makes the same point. Do they mean the Church of the East or a different group? Should we edit ths article? Bondegezou (talk) 09:37, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

The COE originally used the Peshitta translation which excluded the Antilegomena.--Rafy talk 14:19, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
It's probably worth getting into in more detail, though the differences are really pretty minor. Beyond the obvious language difference, as Rafy says the difference was excluding a few epistles and Revelation.Cúchullain t/c 15:21, 13 January 2013 (UTC)