Talk:Syriac Christianity

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Here comes another long debate.[edit]

Say what you want but this is the best thing to happen yet.

Syrian Christians of Kerala[edit]

I think this artilce should have some referance to the Syrian Christians of Kerala. The Nasrani's or St Thomas Christians are popularly called Syrian Christians.I think a paragrahp needs to be added to reflect the reality of Syrian Christians. Thennattu 05:10, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Requested move of interest[edit]

In case anyone here wants to weigh in, Eastern Rite Catholic ChurchesEastern Catholic Churches: See Talk:Eastern Rite Catholic Churches. Fishhead64 07:20, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church[edit]

Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, one of the Churches in Kerala was never under any of the Syrian Churches. The origianl liturgical language used by Malanakara Church was Aramiac. The Bible that was in use was in Hebrew. (Ref: Church History of Eusebius (AD 260-341) Book V, Chapter 10.) Their tradions was also Jewish as was in all first century churches. Later when Syriac replaced Aramiac, in eastern countries, Malankara Church also started using Syriac. Their Bible during that period was Estrangelo Syriac. (Ref: Buchanan, Rev. Claudius in Memoir of the Expediency of an Ecclesisatical Establishment for British India. Foot notes Page 76). This was the Bible that was in use till Malayalam (language of Kerala) translation was available. In June 1876, Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Pathrose IV, visited Kerala (Malankara) and a majority of Malankara Church joined him. They were known as Jacobite Church. But those who did not join and kept their original identity are now known as Mar Thoma church. Please note that the Syriac used by Mar Thoma Church is different from that of those who joned the Antiochan church, Thus the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church was never under any of the Syrian churches. Neduvelilmathew (talk) 00:28, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

The Mar Thoma Church is very clearly in the Syriac tradition. The argument set out above consists of a poor reading of the sources. The Mar Thoma Church is in the Syriac tradition because of the importance of Syriac in its tradition and its use of Syriac liturgy and ceremonial. This has nothing to do with who belongs to whom, or under whom. — Gareth Hughes (talk) 00:43, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Dear Grazo,

It is nice to know that you are doing some study on my church.

You have written that the Mar Thoma Church is in the Syriac tradition because of the importance of Syriac in its tradition and its use of Syriac liturgy and ceremonial. I am interested to find out what are the Syriac traditions and Syriac ceremonies that we have.

You have also mentioned that the argument set out above consists of a Poor reading of the sources. The language of Malankara (Kerala) is Malayalam. So all reords regarding the Malankara church are in Malayalam. Many of the original records in Malayalam are available at the church libraries, public libraries, theological colleges and government archives in Kerala. Do you think that these sources are poor? Do you think that translations in other languages can be considered as geniune or better sources than the originals that are available in Malayalam? If you know Malayalam please read the originals and then make comments.Neduvelilmathew (talk) 17:50, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Dear Neduvelilmathew,
I still believe it to be reasonable to say you have a poor reading of the sources. It is certainly possible to read Malayalam sources from the Mar Thoma Church's libraries and not see the whole picture. The traditions of the Mar Thoma Church can be traced back to the original East-Syriac traditions brought to Kerala. From the time of the Coonan Cross Oath, that portion of the church came under the influence of the West-Syriac tradition (however, a lot remains of the older, eastern traditions, including pronunciation of Syriac). At the time of Abraham Malpan, the modern Mar Thoma Church, as we know it today, was formed, with a reformist agenda. This is the simple history of the Mar Thoma Church, and it is a church rooted in the Syriac tradition. The language of the church today is Malayalam, but Syriac still has an important place for good historical reasons. Simply looking at your own church's website ( the word 'Syriac' appears three times in the description of the reforming work of Abraham Malpan, and the word 'Syrian' occurs about 14 times. Yes, the Mar Thoma Church is a thoroughly Indian church with Malayalam as its main language, but its heritage is Syriac (in the form of the liturgy and the Syriac technical terms still employed). Please tell me exactly what your sources say that is so contrary to the accepted history of the church. — Gareth Hughes (talk) 16:06, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Scope of Article[edit]

Some users are mis-understanding this article. This article is not about Syriac Orthodox/Catholic Christianity alone, but rather all Syriac-Speaking Churches, which includes Assyrian-based Churches as well. So please stop removing the template. Chaldean (talk) 04:14, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

The template gives the impression of that all Syriac Christians are Assyrians, and we all know that, that ain't true since the majority aren't Assyrians. So stop spamming with your template. Also, I would suggest you to stop deleting West Syriacs from the "See also" list. The TriZ (talk) 18:57, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Triz, that is only you who is getting that impression. The article in the beginning specifically states that Syriac Christianity is splite into multiple Churches. But whatever, if you feel offended by it (unbelievable), I will remove it. Chaldean (talk) 19:00, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I see no reason why the Nav BOx should not appear on this article. It links to this page and does not suggest all Syriac-Speaking Churches are Assyrian-based Churches. I will re-add it. The article is quite clear on the scope. Is there another reason why the box should not be here? -- Secisek (talk) 08:39, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

So why should the Assyrian template be there? For example, why not put in the other ten peoples templates? Cause the reader will get confused. So either all should be there, or non. I vote for non. The TriZ (talk) 10:29, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

If the reader reads the first few sentances they will not be confused by the time the get to the bottom where the box is. There is no reason why there can't be more boxes from the other peoples. If they link to the page they should be on here. Where are the other boxes? -- Secisek (talk) 10:39, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Don't play a besserwiesser, if course there aren't that many templates, but one day there will be. And then what? We should fill the articles with them? And yes, the readers will most likely be confused, if not all, but many. The TriZ (talk) 11:18, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

If they link here, they should be on the page. And as for me being a besserwiesser, you are the one saying we need to add more templates on the page, and then respond by telling me they don't exist. Some in fact do, such as {{Nasrani people}}, which does NOT link here. Nobody will get confused, the article is quite clear. The box can and should stay. -- Secisek (talk) 11:29, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

I never said they don't exist, I said, "For example, why not put in the other ten peoples templates?" and then "if course there aren't that many templates". So don't make up things I never said. And about the box, I'll be looking forward to see the article be filled with those... The TriZ (talk) 11:39, 4 April 2008 (UTC)


"Undoubtedly, Syrian Christians of India are amongst the oldest Christians on our globe." What does this even mean? And when someone says "undoubtedly", there are going to be doubts. Why should a group in India be older than the well-documented histories of Christians in the Roman Empire? And if they aren't older than that, how can they claim to be "amongst the oldest"? Wee Jimmy (talk) 14:57, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Serious flow in the article[edit]

The Names and ethnicity section is seriously messed up and filled with weasel words.

  1. Fist of all Athuraye is not "a Toponym in reference to Nestorians from Mosul" The name came to use after the ancient Persian name of Assyrians and it predates Christianity by many centuries.
  2. A large percentage of Syriac Orthodox and Catholics do self-identify as Assyrians, just as how most Chaldeans do.
  3. are and doubtful useare and doubtful use.

I will try to fix as much as I can hastily.--Rafy talk 23:30, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

You cannot change the article based on your POV.

This is from the source:

By Athoraye, the renowned Patriarch undoutedly meant the inhabitants in and around Mosul. As has been pointed out by many before, someone with the surname Athoraya means simply that the person hails from the city of Athor, the name by which the city of Mosul and its province were known during the pre-Islamic period. Christians continued to use the geographical designation Athoraya as a surname, a common practice in the Middle East, where a surname identifies a person with the name of his birthplace.9

How could you miss all that? To calim that the source does not say what the article says means that you either did not read the source or you don't understand English. As for your other point, this is just an unsubstantiated claim (that is untrue). Do not think that you can change the article to enhance your POV without anybody noticing. (talk) 10:50, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

  1. Your source is wrong. Athura was the persian Satrap that included upper Mesopotamia, by then Mosul was a small village and Arbil was the dominant city in the region. Check this article for more details and sources.
  2. The Assyrians did not go to China and India seeking refuge from the Byzantines, Their presence their started building up by the seventh century as they sought to bring those people to christianity. Also check this article for details. as clearly stated they simply crossed the Euphrates (i.e. the Parthian Empire) after being persecuted by the romans.
  3. The name Assyrian is not "utterly rejected by others" as you like to put it. Many Chaldeans and Syriacs (myself being one of them) do embrace this name. Have you ever heard of Assyriska? Have you seen a Suryoyo demonstration in Europe where Assyrian flags can be seen everywhere? So please keep your POV for yourself.
  4. This article is about Syriac christianity so names should be written in Syriac instead of arabic.
I hope these are good reasons to revert again. please don't revered back without giving proper reasons.--Rafy talk 11:56, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

In wikipedia, when you change an article and somebody reverts your changes, you must resolve the dispute by discussion. I reverted your changes once, and you overrode my revert. When I told you to discuss, you forced your edits again. This is called edit warring and if you force your edits a third time you will be blocked for violating the three-revert rule. Be carefull because if you change the article again I am going to report you to the board. In this website you cannot force anything on anybody. The only way to change an article is through consensus. If you try to force your edits, you will be blocked for edit warring.

As for the dispute, in this website personal opinions do not matter. The article has sources, if you have other sources that say otherwise, bring them. The sources must be better than the sources that currently exist in the reference list. (talk) 16:45, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

I have edited the article to answer for your second point. I also removed the word "utterly" to answer for your third point. You cannot claim that a little minority of Jacobite 'Assyrians' represent the Jacobite Syrians who definitly reject Assyrianism. Your last point is unwarranted because the article indeed uses the Syriac language, Arabic terms are used only when the context is about the Jacobites who live in Arab countries and speak Arabic themselves.

As for your first point, which is a very controversial point, you cannot remove anything from the article as long as it is referenced. If you have another opinion that is WELL-REFERENCED, then you can add it and put the references to it. However, you cannot remove well-referenced material from the article just to enhance your political POV. (talk) 17:18, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

I added solid sources to the claims I support..
  1. again, Athura IS the persian satrap of upper mesopotamia. there is no controversy in that. Mosul was called "ninwe" in Syriac prior to the Arab invasion and not "Athor". Sources were added.
  2. You can not decide by yourself that Syriacs rejects the term Assyrian, just as I cannot decide that ALL syriacs accept the term. some do some don't and this is stated in the article.
  3. Names of Syriac/Assyrians terms are derived from Syriac and should be written in Syriac and not Arabic. One might argue that over 100,000 Syriacs/Assyrians speak swedish so we should also add swedish names. and please don't remove the main article tag there.--Rafy talk 18:07, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
You overrode again. You are edit warring. (talk) 14:57, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I have a feeling that you and user:HD86 are actually the same person. If this is the case then I would suggest logging in with your old user name otherwise you might be accused of socketpuppeteering. I think we better lose the "Names" section altogether since it was added without a single reference by a user known for his original research, plus the article is about the Christian churches and not the highly politicised self-designation terms.--Rafy talk 17:19, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Despite your uncooperative behavior, I am going to continue the discussion with you. Note that the more you try to force your edits on the article without consensus, the harder it will become for the board to vindicate you when I report you again.

This sentence has no problem:

"The Nestorians, who were persecuted in the Byzantine Empire, sought refuge in Mesopotamia and Persia, and spread from there also to India, China, and Mongolia."

The fact that you insist on forcing your vague and non-encyclopedic formula ("land lift of the Euphrates") is unjustified other than by arrogance an uncooperative behavior. The current sentence is much better and more informative than the sentence you are trying to force.

As for Āṯūrāyē, what you are trying to do is to take out very valuable and important information that is taken from a specialized paper by a specialized neutral scholar and replace with a vague, shallow, and indirectly related sentence that is taken from lousy sources that are not related to the topic of the paragraph. One of your sources is a linguistics books and the other is a Persian history book. None of these sources deals with the specific question of the section (which is "names and ethnicity" of the Syrian Christians), unlike the specialized paper that is currently available in the reference list. I suggested to you that you ADD your POV and support it by sources, but being unwilling to compromise you refused that and tried to take out the whole paragraph and replace it with your lousy POV.

Your insistence on taking out the word "Nestorian" (which is a crucial designation universally found in academic book) is justified only by an outspoken political and ethnic bias. The paragraph you are trying to force is worse than the original paragraph because it is distorts and obliterates vital facts.

Your last point does not even deserve discussion. Do you really understand what this sentence says? It talks about the Arabic language:

In Arabic, however, the word for a 'citizen of Syria' has a different form (سوري sūrī) from the traditional word for an ethnic Syrian (سُرياني suryānī). (talk) 12:45, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Please don't take this as a personal attack. I just saw what I thought was a flawed section and I set to correct it. I seek no confrontation with yourself or with anyone else. Let's take a look at what we disagreed upon:
  1. It's very important to mention the Euphrates as a barrier that separated the Byzantine and the Sassanid empires and thus eastern and western Syriacs. Nestoians who were persecuted merely crossed the river into the Sassanid empire were they took control of the School of Nisibis.
  2. Again Athur (or Assur) is not Mosul. It's ruins lay 100 km south of mosul (which was called nineve). you also used the word "Attyrians" which you made up by yourself. I know that you are subtly trying to show that the word "Syria" does not have it's roots from "Assyria" but this theory is supported by a small minority of researchers and have been disproved by modern discoveries. See (Richard Frye's book [ here], read also [Çineköy inscription] andName of Syria also read (Names of Syriac Christians for more information and sources of the etymology of Atur, Athur which most sources confirm that it has originated from the persian name for the Satrap of Assyria, Athura Just do asimple search on google books to find sources).
  3. Please if you feel that you don't associate with the Assyrians then don't put this in an encyclopaedia, it's like I said before many Syriacs do (Faiq Naum the father of modern Assyrianism was a Syriac Orthodox), so keep your POV for yourself.
I would recommend removing the whole section since this article is about the Syriac Christian churches (Which included not only Syriacs/Assyrians but also Mongols, Chinese, Arabs and Persians), and not their ethnic identities which is thoroughly discussed in other articles.--Rafy talk 22:12, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

The other articles do not have the same information and they look more like political leaflets than academic articles. They are full of political POV's and ethnic myths, and it is impossible to change anything in them because they are simply hijacked by nationalist fanatics.

As for your points above, this section is not about geography or etymology. You said:

""It's very important to mention the Euphrates as a barrier that separated the Byzantine and the Sassanid empires""

Why is this "very important"? Geographic boundaries of Mesopotamia and Persia can be found in other articles, and if you feel it "very important" to mention the Euphrates for some mysterious reason, why did you take out the whole line and left only the vague and weird phrase "land to the lift of the Euphrates"? Are you ashamed of the word Mesopotamia or what?

Similarly, this section is not about the etymology of "Syria," neither it is about the history of Assyria. This section is about the NAMES AND ETHNICITY of the Syrian Christians. The source that is currently in the reference list addresses this issue specifically and tries to understand what the word Āṯūrāyē meant to the Syrian Christians and how it was used by them. This section does not deal with the etymology of Āṯūrāyē neither with its ancient uses (if such uses existed). The section is simply concerned with how the Syrian Christians understood this word and used it. The paper of John Joseph clearly shows that this word was merely a place name, not an ethnic name.

I don't need to copy the whole paper of John Joseph here to make my point. It is available on the internet. Just read it carefully and you will find that it answers all the points that concern this section. I don't care about ancient Assyria and the ancient Assyrians. This section is about the Syrian Christians. (talk) 11:47, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

By insisting on forcing your edits, your edits become vandalism. There are dispute resolving methods in this website, edit warring is not one of them. I am going to report you again if you force your edits again. This is your last warning. (talk) 11:58, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
I have placed an invitation for a third opinion in Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Christianity, I would suggest leaving the article untouched until a third party commits to help. The author of your reference does not to explain why members of the Church of the East chose to be called Assyrians, He merely stated that (Aturaye are attributed to Mosul and its province, and if we accept the claim that Aturaya is synonymos with Maslawi then I guess Freydun Atturaya was also from Mosul. The word Athur Has been used since Persian and Arab times to describe Christians of Mesopotamia and it is thought by the majority of researchers to be the Persian form of Assyria just do a simple google search. Also what is "Attyria"? and why do you insist that all Chaldeans and Syriacs reject the use of the name "Assyrian"? These are some serious questions here that needs to be answered.
In my last edit I didn't mention the Euphrates and put Mesopotamia instead [1] you still considered it vandalism.--Rafy talk 13:12, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Rafy, whether you are right on this one point is not the main point. What is clear is that you are removing the John Joseph reference -- which is a very good source -- because it opposes your view. There is one sentence in that paragraph that you disagree with, but you remove the entire paragraph including the reference. This is not good-faith editing. In addition, something to consider is that the meaning of some of these words change over time. So it is possibly that a word originally meant a province but later took on another meaning. Whatever the case, John Joseph is a much better source than partisan organisations such as AINA and I think this encyclopaedia should recognize that. Ordtoy (talk) 01:27, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Let me first include the paragraph that have been cited:

In his effort to prove that the terms Syrian and Assyrian, are synonyms, Frye cites the 12th century Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church (Jacobite), Michael the Syrian. The prelate clearly wrote, according to Frye--citing volume 3 of Michael’s work--that “the inhabitants of the land to the west of the Euphrates River were properly called Syrians, and by analogy, all those who speak the same language... both east and west of the Euphrates to the borders of Persia, are called Syrians” (p.33). Then Frye cites three cryptic words from Patriarch Michael--this time referring to volume 1--which are translated into “Assyrians, i.e., Syrians” (‘twry’d hywn swryy’), and this sole source in Syriac is presumably yet another proof of “the continuous equating of the terms ‘Syrian’ and ‘Assyrian’.” By Athoraye, the renowned Patriarch undoubtedly meant the inhabitants in and around Mosul. As has been pointed out by many before, someone with the surname Athoraya means simply that the person hails from the city of Athor, the name by which the city of Mosul and its province were known during the pre-Islamic period. Christians continued to use the geographical designation Athoraya as a surname, a common practice in the Middle East, where a surname identifies a person with the name of his birthplace.

First of all the author doesn't give an answer why the name "Assyrian" was added to the Church of the East. The argument of affiliation with the city of Mosul is weak in my opinion as most followers of the church resided historically in Hakkari and Urmia regions while the Mosul region was dominated by Syriacs and Chaldeans, in addition to that many people who were nicknamed Aturaye/Atoraye had no affiliation with the city itself. So obviously the name was chosen for nationalistic/ethnic reasons (read [ this paper] for more information) or encouraged by British missionaries as another thery puts it[2].
Anyway this article is about the form of Christianity practised by those people and it shouldn't be a place for the promotion of politically motivated discussions. A huge ammout of weasel terms like "has been rejected by all", "this is by no means common", and "almost completely adhere to the name Syrians" was found in the original version. Furthermore the paraghraph I removed contained mostly original research that was by no means discussed in the reference like the word "Attyria", talks of "an Identity Crisis during the Ottoman times" and an implicit denial of connection with ancient Assyrians.
By the way although AINA has some respectable publications that are often sourced in other media outlets, I have avoided using it here--Rafy talk 11:28, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Starting backwards: being sourced by a media outlet is not good enough for an encyclopaedia. AINA should not be used for discussions such as this. although it can be used as a primary source when looking at the activities of Assyrian organizations today. Weasel words can be removed; however you removed the entire paragraph on the changes in the use of the word 'Nestorian', saying that it had weasel words. You say "The argument ... is weak in my opinion ..." Unfortunately your opinion on this doesn't count (and nor does mine). John Joseph is an academic with books published by very reputable university presses in the United States. His opinion counts. Other similarly reputable sources may disagree with him, and we may indicate this disagreement, but you can not remove his arguments based on your opinion. Ordtoy (talk) 13:28, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Ethnic warriors finally reached the article[edit]

I am afraid the ethnic war has reached this article. What those ethnic warriors do is that they keep alternatively editing the article to impose their POV by force. (talk) 12:19, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Partial response to 3rd opinion request[edit]

This technical content of this debate is not a trivial issue, but what is clear at first glance is that is overstepping WP:AGF and civility guidelines by accusing Rafy of vandalism, etc. If the IP is a puppet, that should be looked into, but as is the IP's conduct calls for a warning, which I will hereby issue. And I do not know why Euphrates can not be mentioned. I am not an expert on this topic, but as a casual observer, that river is famous and there is no need to delete it. History2007 (talk) 15:21, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for your response. Hope that it gets more peaceful here. Both "East of the Euphrates" and "Mesopotamia" work fine imho, and I don't really mind whether anon insists on replacing one for the other.--Rafy talk 11:34, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Aramean Free Church[edit]

I dont know why you deleded the topic of Aramean Free Church??? There´s a Aramean Free Church in the World the member are called from the Syriacs in arab. Mumin, aram. Mhamyne!!!Please reverse that!!!!Thanks Tavdi!

Google says there is no such a church as all hits are mirrors from a deleted wikipedia article. How is the church called in German or Swedish? How many adherents do they have?--Rafy talk 10:33, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
In German that would be Aramäische Freikirche (or perhaps Aramäische Freie Kirche) and in Swedish Arameiska Frikyrkan. Either one gives no hits. If such a church exists at all, it is well below the radar of notability. There are a few hits for Aramäische Freie Christengemeinde, but none that I see from reliable sources.  --Lambiam 13:57, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

The Syriac Crosses (♰ ♱)[edit]

Unicode has characters for both the Western and Eastern Syriac crosses (♰ ♱), hex 2670 and 2671. Please could these crosses be mentioned in the article, ideally with comment about the theological meaning of their parts? JDAWiseman (talk) 21:43, 16 February 2014 (UTC)