Kurdish Christians

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Kurdish Christians
Kurdên Mesîhî
Total population
~35,000[1]
Religions
Christianity (Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholics)[2]
Languages
Mainly Kurdish languages (Sorani, Kurmanji, Palewani)

Kurdish Christians (Kurdish: Kurdên Mesîhî or Kurdên Xirîstiyan[3][4][5]) are Kurds who follow Christianity. Though the majority of Kurds adopted Islam in the Middle Ages, there were Kurdish converts to Christianity even after the spread of Islam. In recent years some Kurds from Muslim backgrounds have converted to Christianity.[6][7]

History[edit]

In the 10th century AD, the Kurdish prince Ibn ad-Dahhak, who possessed the fortress of al-Jafary, abandoned Islam for Orthodox Christianity.[8] In return, the Byzantines gave him land and a fortress. In 927, he and his family was executed during a raid by Thamal, the Arab governor of Tarsus.[9]

In the late 11th and the early 12th century AD, there were Kurdish Christian soldiers in the army of fortress city of Shayzar in present-day Syria.[10]

The Zakarids–Mkhargrdzeli, an Armenian[11][12]–Georgian dynasty of at least partial Kurdish[13][14][15][16][17] origin, ruled parts of northern Armenia in the 13th century AD and tried to reinvigorate intellectual activities by founding new monasteries.[18] At the peak of Kingdom of Georgia the family led the unified Armeno-Georgian army. Two brothers of this family, Zakare and Ivane Mkhargrdzeli led the army to victory in Ani in 1199.

Kurds who converted to Christianity usually turned to the Nestorian Church.[19] In 1884, researchers of the Royal Geographical Society reported about a Kurdish tribe in Sivas which retained certain Christian observances and sometimes identified as Christian.[20]

One of the most prominent Kurdish leaders in Iraqi Kurdistan, Sheikh Ahmed Barzani who was a brother of Mustafa Barzani, announced his conversion to Christianity during his uprising against the Iraqi government in 1931.[21]

Contemporary Kurdish Christians[edit]

The Kurdish-Speaking Church of Christ (The Kurdzman Church of Christ) was established in Hewlêr (Erbil) by the end of 2000, and has branches in the Silêmanî, Duhok governorates. This is the first evangelical Kurdish church in Iraq.[22] Its logo is formed of a yellow sun and a cross rising up behind a mountain range. Kurdzman Church of Christ held its first three-day conference in Ainkawa north of Arbil in 2005 with the participation of 300 new Kurdish converts.[23] According to one Kurdish convert, an estimated 500 Kurdish Muslim youths have converted to Christianity since 2006 throughout Kurdistan.[24] A Kurdish convert from the Iraqi military who claims to have transported weapons of mass destruction also stated that a wave of Kurds converting to Christianity is taking in northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan).[25] Part of the English-language New Testament was first available in the Kurdish language in 1856.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Project, Joshua. "People Cluster - Kurd | Joshua Project". joshuaproject.net. Estimate of 0.1% Christian adherents of a total Kurdish population of 36,144,000
  2. ^ Hoshavi Muhammad. "Monk Madai. The Kurdish People and Christianity". OrthoChristian.Com.
  3. ^ Seker, Can (2006). "Zerdeştî û Ezdayetî".
  4. ^ Mîdî, Sozdar (2014). "Ta Kengê Bêdengî Li Ser Tewrên Tabûra Pêncan ya Islama Tundrew" (PDF). Pênûsa Nû. 28: 6.
  5. ^ "Çîroka 2 keçên Şingalê: Du ol di malekê de!". Rûdaw.net. 2015-08-03. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  6. ^ A Muslim Leader Converted to Christianity in Iraqi Kurdistan
  7. ^ "The Kurds". Urbana. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
  8. ^ A. Vasilyev, Vizantija i araby. Vol. II. (Saint-Petersburg, 1902), p. 220.
  9. ^ Paul F. Robinson, Just War in Comparative Perspective, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 233pp., 2003, (see p.162)
  10. ^ David Nicolle, Christa Hook, Saracen Faris, 1050-1250 AD, 64 pp., Osprey Publishing, 1994, ISBN 1-85532-453-9, see p.7, Table A.
  11. ^ Encyclopaedia of Islam. — E. J. BRILL, 1986. — Vol. I. — P. 507 "Ani was for the first time conquered by the Georgians in 1124, under David II, who laid the foundation of the power of the Georgian kings; the town was given as a fief to the Armenian family of the Zakarids, (in Georgian: Mkhargrdzeli = Longimani) "
  12. ^ Cyril Toumanoff. Armenia and Georgia // The Cambridge Medieval History. — Cambridge, 1966. — vol. IV: The Byzantine Empire, part I chapter XIV. — p. 593—637 "Later, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Armenian house of the Zachariads (Mkhargrdzeli) ruled in northern Armenia at Ani, Lor'i, Kars, and Dvin under the Georgian aegis."
  13. ^ Alexei Lidov, 1991, The mural paintings of Akhtala, p. 14, Nauka Publishers, Central Dept. of Oriental Literature, University of Michigan, ISBN 5-02-017569-2, ISBN 978-5-02-017569-3, It is clear from the account of these Armenian historians that Ivane's great grandfather broke away from the Kurdish tribe of Babir
  14. ^ Vladimir Minorsky, 1953, Studies in Caucasian History, p. 102, CUP Archive, ISBN 0-521-05735-3, ISBN 978-0-521-05735-6, According to a tradition which has every reason to be true, their ancestors were Mesopotamian Kurds of the tribe (xel) Babirakan.
  15. ^ Richard Barrie Dobson, 2000, Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages: A-J, p. 107, Editions du Cerf, University of Michigan, ISBN 0-227-67931-8, ISBN 978-0-227-67931-9, under the Christianized Kurdish dynasty of Zak'arids they tried to re-establish nazarar system...
  16. ^ William Edward David Allen, 1932, A History of the Georgian People: From the Beginning Down to the Russian Conquest in the Nineteenth Century, p. 104, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-7100-6959-6, ISBN 978-0-7100-6959-7, She retained and leant upon the numerous relatives of Sargis Mkhargrdzeli, an aznauri of Kurdish origin
  17. ^ Vardan Arewelts'i's, Compilation of History In these time there lived the glorious princes Zak'are' and Iwane', sons of Sargis, son of Vahram, son of Zak'are', son of Sargis of Kurdish nationality (i K'urd azge') p. 82
  18. ^ A. Vauchez, R. B. Dobson, M. Lapidge, Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages: A-J, 1624 pp., Editions du Cerf, 2000, ISBN 0227679318, 9780227679319, see p.107
  19. ^ John Joseph, The Modern Assyrians of the Middle East: Encounters with Western Christian Missions, Archaeologists, & Colonial Powers, Brill Academic Publishers, 292 pp., 2000, ISBN 90-04-11641-9, p.61
  20. ^ Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, 1884, p.313
  21. ^ The Kurdish Minority Problem, p.11, Dec. 1948, ORE 71-48, CIA "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2012-03-15..
  22. ^ Revival Times Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ UNAMI: Iraqi Media Monitoring
  24. ^ Sunni extremists (21 May 2007). "Threaten to kill Christian converts in north". IRIN.
  25. ^ Kurds in Northern Iraq Converting to Christianity: Iraqi General
  26. ^ Dehqan, Mustafa (2009). "A KIRMAŠANÎ TRANSLATION OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" (PDF). Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. 61 (1–2): 207–211. doi:10.2143/JECS.61.1.2045832. Retrieved 4 December 2016.

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