The Pahlavi inscribed Processional Cross of Herat, Afghanistan and the Pahlavi Crosses of South India: A comparative Study of the Religio Cultural Traditions of the Churches of India and Parthia.
May16

The Pahlavi inscribed Processional Cross of Herat, Afghanistan and the Pahlavi Crosses of South India: A comparative Study of the Religio Cultural Traditions of the Churches of India and Parthia.

The Pahlavi inscribed Processional Cross of Herat, Afghanistan  and the Pahlavi Crosses of South India: A Comparative Study of  Religio Cultural traditions  of  the Churches of India and Parthia Dr. M Thomas Antony and Mathew Mailaparampil Introduction A Pahlavi inscribed  processional cross conceivably dated from  the 8th century AD was found recently from Herat in Afghanistan. This cross has similarities with the Pahlavi inscribed granite Crosses of South India and other crosses of Church of the East (East Syriac Church) in China.   It bears Pahlavi inscriptions which proclaims a theological formula to defend the accusations made by the growing new religion of Islam in the region . This processional cross witnesses the importance of liturgical processions prevalent in the East Syriac tradition. Herat Herat is the third largest city of Afghanistan and is the capital of the province of Herat. It is situated in the valley of river Hari. During the time of Achaemenid Empire 550-330 BC the area was called ‘Haraiva’ in Persian.1 It is situated in Khurasan north west region of modern Afghanistan. Khurasan or Khorasan is a historical region comprising a vast area of north eastern Iran, Southern Turkmenistan and Northern Afghanistan.2 Prior to the Sasanian rule, the region of Khorasan was called Parthia3 and was the homeland of the Parthian Emperors. Khorasan comprises the cities of Balkh and Herat now in Afghanistan, Mashhad and Nisapur now in north eastern Iran, Merv and Nisa now in southern Turkmenistan, and Bukhara and Samarkand now in Uzbekistan.4 Christianity in Herat and Central Asia Christianity penetrated in to central Asia in the very early period itself. Bardaisan in AD 196 commented about Christians in Gilan, the southwest of Caspian and Bactria, the kingdom between Hindukush and Oxus (Amu Darya).5 In AD 549,  the Hephthalites in the Bactria requested Patriarch Mar Aba I to consecrate a Bishop for them and  an anonymous Syriac Chronicle describes Mar Elias, the Metropolitan of Merv converting an entire nomadic population to  Christianity by a miracle in AD 64.6 .Herat was a Metropolitan Province of the Church of the East. It was mentioned as a ‘hyparchy’ in the Synod of the Church of the East in AD 585. Herat had a Bishop since AD 424.7 Synodicum Orientale  mentions that three of the four cities of Khurasan , Herat, Merv and Nisapur (Abrasahr), were represented by Bishops in AD 424 .8  Herat was elevated as a Metropolitan province of the Church  of the East in the Synod of Isho Yahb in  AD 585.9  Synodicum Oriantale mentions a Bishop Yasdoi  in the synod of Dadisho in AD 424, Bishop Gabriel  in Synod of Akak in AD...

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Ikkako Kathanar -the forgotten martyr
Jul01

Ikkako Kathanar -the forgotten martyr

1.Introduction Ikkako Kathanar -the forgotten martyr: Centuries before, an incident shook both the land of Malabar and the Saint Thomas Christian community; the murder of one of their priests, Ikkako Kathanar, by European missionaries at the church in Verapoly (Varappuzha).This incident in 1771 AD resulted in long ramification in the turbulent history of the ancient community of Saint Thomas Christians whose existence was threatened by the colonisation of the Malabar Coast of south-west India by European powers beginning with the Portuguese. 2.History sets in The Saint Thomas Christians, locally known as Mar Thoma Nasranis, Suriyani Nasranis, Syrian Christians or simply Nasranis trace their origin to the missionary works of Saint Thomas the Apostle, who in Aramaic (East-Syriac) is known as Mar Thoma Sleeha. This community of Christians that existed in many parts of India were eventually restricted to the south-west Malabar Coast of India, encompassing the modern state of Kerala and nearby regions. They followed the ancient Aramaic (East-Syriac) tradition in worship and Aramaic was their liturgical language. Aramaic was the language of Jesus Christ and His disciples as well. The Nasranis were profoundly attached to the Aramaic (East-Syriac) language and their Aramaic heritage.1The Nasranis were a fiercely independent community under its head who was known as the Archdeacon (Jathikku Karthavyan) and he held the title of ‘Archdeacon and Gate of All India’. The Archdeacon also commandeered an army of his own. Each church had its own church assembly consisting of priests and laymen. The Archdeacon was guided by a General Assembly, known as the Palli-Yogam, consisting of both priests and laymen representing all churches. European missionaries marvelled at this and called the community as a Christian Republic.2Geographically, the Nasranis were located in territories ruled by local Hindu kings and vassals and ecclesiastically they were part of the (East-Syriac) Church of the East which sent Bishops from Babylon and Persia. The bishops for the most part exercised the power of order only and the Nasranis lived a peaceful community life for centuries this way.But things were about to change for them soon with the advent of the Portuguese Vasco da Gama in 1498.The Portuguese who arrived in the dawn of the 16th century attempted to forcefully westernise the Nasrani community and bring them under their political and ecclesiastical authority.These attempts culminated in the so-called Synod at Diamper (Udayamperoor) in 1599 and the Nasranis were placed under the authority of the Portuguese Padroado. The Padroado was an agreement between the kingdom of Portugal and the Roman Catholic Church according to which Rome delegated the administration of local churches to the kingdom (later republic) of Portugal. The king (or queen) of...

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