Timothy of Baghdad’s Lost Christian Empire

“In terms of the number and splendor of its churches and monasteries, its vast scholarship and dazzling spirituality, Iraq was through the late Middle Ages at least as much a cultural and spiritual heartland of Christianity as was France or Germany, or indeed Ireland.”

Philip Jenkins from “The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—and How It Died.”

Centuries before Islam was a gleam in Muhammad’s eye, much of the Middle East was part of a vast Christian empire.  In fact, this Christian empire continued for centuries after the Muslims took over the region.

As Philip Jenkins points out in “The Lost History of Christianity,” like Christian Egypt, the conquered Middle Eastern lands were “still effectively a Christian society under a Muslim military elite.”  It wasn’t until the 1300s that the axe finally fell—more about that in a bit. (Link)

Nestorian priests in a procession on Palm Sunday, in a 7th- or 8th-century wall painting from a Nestorian church in China, via Wikipedia

First, let’s take a look at the lost empire.  In 780 AD (a little over a hundred years after the Muslims conquered Baghdad) Timothy became patriarch of the Nestorian Church of the East—a Christian branch that held sway over an area that ran from the Mediterranean Sea in the west, to China and the Pacific Ocean in the east.  (Link)

Timothy ruled over churches near the Caspian Sea in the North, down to Yemen in the south.  The Nestorian rabban, or priests (closely aligned to the Hebrew word “rabbi,” obviously)  looked to Baghdad, in present day Iraq, as the seat of the Church, although Jerusalem was considered to be their spiritual home.  (Link)

The Nestorian empire was vast, and quite diverse.  They included a group in India who claimed direct lineage from a mission started by the apostle St. Thomas.  Around 1275, (shortly before the axe fell) two rabban from China traveled west to visit the seat of the empire in Iraq.  (Link)

After arriving in Iraq, one of them, Markos, was elected patriarch of the church in 1281 (Yaballaha III).  The other Chinese rabban, Bar Sauma, traveled on to Europe, where he was given Communion by the Pope in Rome (Nicholas IV), held his own mass in that city, and “the king of England himself (Edward I) took Communion from his hands.”  (Link)

So what became of the Nestorian Christians? Until a year ago, when I ran across some information written by Robert Spencer, I had never heard of them—and I’m pretty well versed in world history.  (Link)

They seem to have been erased from the earth, and largely scrubbed from the history books.  What happened, and what’s up?

What happened—is Islam.  What’s up—is the control of the media and academia by anti-Christian forces, who downplay, ridicule, twist, and erase, the role of Christianity in current affairs, and world history. (Link)

(I ask, politely, that liberals please stifle any impulse to send me an email holding forth on some perversion of Christianity, as “proof” of the left’s open-mindedness.  TIA. Yes, that includes any mention of “social justice,” or “collective salvation”).  (Link)

Up until the 14th century, violent suppression by Muslims of dhimmi, or non-Muslims, under their rule, had been limited to what Jenkins refers to as “surges” or “booms.”

One especially savage “boom” was directed toward the Armenian Christians, whose males were ordered to convert to Islam, or suffer “branding, blinding in one eye, and castration.”

These surges and booms were awful enough, but after 1300, widespread intolerence was the order of the day.  This intolerence “lingers to the present day, as the vigorous Muslim legalism that emerged in just these years has largely shaped modern fundamentalist movements,” according to Jenkins.  (Link)

One of the Muslim scholars of this period has been especially influential—Ibn Taymiyyah.  He is “regarded as the spiritual godfather of the Wahhabi movement, and of most modern extremist and jihadi groups.”  (Link)

Wahhibism, of course, is the state religion of the USA’s “good buddy,” Saudi Arabia.  You know—the country whose ruler our President bows to?  (Link)

(Permit me a short aside:  In case you aren’t aware of it—Jihadi Muslims, or Islamists, have been playing a “good cop/bad cop” game with the US for decades.  The game goes like this:  There are two “types” of jihadists—terrorists, and “moderates.”  Although their tactics are different, their goal is the same—a global Caliphate.  The “moderate” jihadists play off of the terrorists, by saying in effect, “You had better listen to our “moderate” demands, our we can’t be held responsible for what those crazy terrorists will do.”  Different tactics—same goal).  (Link) (Link)

After the 14th century, Muslim violence went into “remission” for the next few centuries (barring the odd “boom” or “surge”), until around a century ago, when it returned with a vengeance, that continues to this day.  (Link)

During the Hamadian massacres of 1894-95, an especially brutal genocide of Turkish Armenian Christians resulted in a number of horrific events—including 3,000 Christians being: burned alive in the cathedral where they had sought sanctuary ( a scene reminiscent of the recent burning alive of about fifty Christians [mostly women and children] locked in a church in Kenya.  They were killed by Muslim followers of Obama’s Muslim “cousin,” Raila Odinga).    (Link)

The Nestorian Christian empire is now nothing but a memory, and a dim one at that.  As recently as 1970, 5 to 6 percent of Iraq’s population was still Christian.  Today it’s around 1 percent, and “shrinking fast.”  (Link)

As Jenkins recounts, “Just between 2003 and 2007, two-thirds of Iraq’s remaining Christians left the country, and the population will certainly sink farther in coming years.”  (Link)

The Muslim jihad against Christians is hardly limited to the Middle East.  It is global, and ongoing: Nigeria, Indonesia, Sudan….  Sudan!  (Link)

I just had a Eureka! moment.  You know how upset Obama’s old pastor, Jeremiah “God D—n America” Wright is, over the injustices of slavery?  Well, Muslims have been enslaving Christians for centuries—they’re doing it right now!  (Link)

What a golden opportunity to take a real-time stand against the slave trade!  I’ll bet Wright will be on the next plane to Africa to stamp this evil out.  Go get ‘em tiger!  Take the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton with you, as I know they wouldn’t want to miss out on any of the action.  But I digress.  (Link)

The only non-Muslim geographic areas to go head-to head with Islam over the centuries, and remain non-Muslim, are Europe and India (and the beat goes on). (Link) (Link)

Europe first beat back the Muslims at the battle of Tours in 732, and nine centuries later, beat back a Muslim invasion in the east, at the gates of Vienna. (Link) (Link) (Link)

US President Teddy Roosevelt knew what he was talking about when he wrote, “There are such ‘social values’ today in Europe, America and Australia only because during those thousand years, the Christians of Europe possessed the warlike power to do what the Christians of Asia and Africa had failed to do—that is, to beat back the Moslem [sic] invader.”  (Link)

Given Islam’s history, why are the liberals, government, and academia not more alarmed?  Are they stupid?  No, for the most part they aren’t stupid, but they have been cleverly and deeply indoctrinated, and are enmeshed in social and/or business environments that encourage thinking of Islam in a certain “politically correct” way. (Link)

The established media (or more correctly, propaganda outlets), follow the party line, because they are, for the most part, idiots, of the “useful” variety.  They have been thoroughly indoctrinated to think and behave in a certain manner, that would do Pavlov proud.  (Link)

They, and most of the political elites, actually think that they are doing good, by being cookie-cutter clones of NWO group-think.  Many of them see their betrayal of America as “a good thing,” and they are “good people” (or “good dhimmis,” as the case may be).  Their puppet-masters are something else again—but that’s the topic for another article.  (Link)

Most puzzling to me, is the submission of “liberated” liberal females, to the party line regarding Islam.  Their deference is an impressive, if disturbing, sign of the depth of their indoctrination. (Link)

Islam treats women as breed-stock chattel.  Talk about a “keep ‘em barefoot and pregnant” attitude!  Muslims wrote the book on the subject, or rather, they follow the book written on the subject. (Link) (Link)

Each man gets up to four wives (in reality, the sky’s the limit if you’re very rich), divorces are literally as easy as 1,2,3 (for men only) child brides, sharia-approved wife abuse—well, the list just goes on.  One can see the allure for a certain type of guy, (and gal).  (Link)

The women’s rights organization NOW, has been curiously quiet about the misogynistic nature of Islam.  Actually not so curious, as NOW is really the Far Left’s Women’s Auxiliary, and the Far Left has been working in collusion with Islamists, to destroy Western civilization, for some time.  (Link)

(“Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!” is not just a catchy meme aimed at changing academic curriculums).  (Link)

If you doubt the truth of that last bit, about the Far Left and Islam working together to destroy Western civilization, then you are either an idiot (of the “useful” sort, if you prefer) or you’re simply ignorant and need to educate yourself on the subject.

If some education is in order, then I strongly suggest that you get cracking, because the time left for you to get up to speed, is rapidly running out—if it hasn’t run out already.

Laus Deo.

Born in June of 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jim O’Neill proudly served in the U.S. Navy from 1970-1974 in both UDT-21 (Underwater Demolition Team) and SEAL Team Two.  A member of MENSA, he worked as a commercial diver in the waters off Scotland, India, and the United States. In 1998 while attending the University of South Florida as a journalism student, O’Neill won “First Place” in the “Carol Burnett/University of Hawaii AEJMC Research in Journalism Ethics Award.”  The annual contest was set up by Carol Burnett with the money she won from successfully suing the National Enquirer for libel.

Graphics added by Gulag Bound.

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