Author Topic: Early Christian Oriental Orthodox Objects/Artifacts  (Read 2700 times)

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Offline Suryoyutho

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Early Christian Oriental Orthodox Objects/Artifacts
« on: April 02, 2013, 04:25:27 PM »
I thought of starting a thread where we can share some early Christian-themed objects (small, large, books, paper, anything) linked to our Churches that we happen to know of or come across.

I'll start with the ancient city of Edessa (Syriac: Urhoy) and a coin of Abgar VIII, king of Edessa (reign: 177-212), where he has a (possible) Christian cross on his tiara. Of course we have the legend of Abgar the Black and his letter exchange with our Lord, but most historians don't believe that Abgar the Black was the first Christian king of Edessa. Edessa very likely had a Church early as well that was destroyed by a great flood in 201, it is the first historical record of a Church building (anywhere).

Anyway, this Abgar VIII coin is the earliest-known instance of a monarch displaying the Christian cross symbol on his head-dress. He probably adopted Christianity before 192 as well since that is when the reign ended of an Emperor who he would have dared to be open with about his Christian affiliation.



« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 04:26:36 PM by Suryoyutho »
The Tur Abdin Timeline - A timeline of Tur Abdin (Syriac for "the Mountain of the Servants [of God]"), the heartland of the Syriac Orthodox Christians, a hilly region located in upper Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates.

Offline Suryoyutho

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Re: Early Christian Oriental Orthodox Objects/Artifacts
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2013, 04:34:37 PM »
Another one from Urhoy/Edessa...

A sculpted stone lion, today in Edessa's museum. The founder of the Abgar dynasty was called "Aryo", which means lion in Syriac. From the Doctrine of Addai:

Quote
And with great and excellent honour he carried and buried him, as one of the princes, when he dies, and he placed him in a great sepulchre of ornamental sculpture, in which those of the house of Aryu, the ancestors of the father of king Abgar, were placed.

Author Ian Wilson: Judging by the hole drilled in the animal's mouth it clearly once served as a city fountain; but our interest is in what stands on top of its head: an unmistakable sculpted Christian cross...In Syriac, the word for `lion' is aryu - the name of Edessa's ruling dynasty. This fountain has to have stood in Edessa when the city was ruled by a Christian king of the Abgars' Aryu dynasty, a line that ended for ever when the Romans took over in AD 215.

The Tur Abdin Timeline - A timeline of Tur Abdin (Syriac for "the Mountain of the Servants [of God]"), the heartland of the Syriac Orthodox Christians, a hilly region located in upper Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates.

Offline Suryoyutho

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Re: Early Christian Oriental Orthodox Objects/Artifacts
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2013, 04:13:46 PM »
Oldest Christian inscription in the Syriac language discovered so far...

In the village of al-Nabgha al-Kebira in the canton of Ghendura (in the Jarablus area) to the north-east of Aleppo a mosaic pavement was discovered in 2007. The whole pavement may be dated to the 5th century A.D. (possibly 406/407).

Inscription says: "[...] this martyrion was mosaiqued, which is in St John. In the days of Father Superior Mar Barnaba the work was started in that martyrion, and in the days of Father superior Mares this work was completed. Lord, in the kingdom, remember deacons Theodotus and Cosma, and mosaist Noah, and John, who all undertook the charge for Our Lord and have mosaiqued this house so that whoever readeth shall pray for them."

The inscription is unquestionably one of the most ancient dated Christian Syriac inscriptions found in Syria and in the Syriac world; it may even be the most ancient Syriac document to this day, as it is anterior by a few years to the famous Edessa manuscript BL Add. 12150, that dates back to 411 A.D. The discovery clearly indicates how very ancient a number of ecclesiastical institutions and organizations were. At the outbreak of the fifth century, the unction of "Father Superior of a monastery" is clearly attested. Furthermore, the layout of the churches testifies that, as early as that remote period, churches harbored a locus called beit sohdo, or "martyrion"; the expression is likely to refer to a part of the building, as revealed by the expression dabmar Yuhannon, "qui est dans (l’église) Mar-John". What we have here is a historical finding of exceptional value.

« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 04:31:05 PM by Suryoyutho »
The Tur Abdin Timeline - A timeline of Tur Abdin (Syriac for "the Mountain of the Servants [of God]"), the heartland of the Syriac Orthodox Christians, a hilly region located in upper Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates.

Offline Ansgar

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Re: Early Christian Oriental Orthodox Objects/Artifacts
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2013, 05:10:53 PM »
Interesting  :)
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Offline Suryoyutho

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Re: Early Christian Oriental Orthodox Objects/Artifacts
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2013, 07:48:40 AM »
Yes :) I love reading about these kinds of things.
The Tur Abdin Timeline - A timeline of Tur Abdin (Syriac for "the Mountain of the Servants [of God]"), the heartland of the Syriac Orthodox Christians, a hilly region located in upper Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates.

Offline Suryoyutho

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Re: Early Christian Oriental Orthodox Objects/Artifacts
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2013, 08:01:26 AM »
One from "The Tur Abdin Timeline": http://turabdin.info/ (shameless advertising)

The oldest inscription in the Syriac language found so far in the Syriac Orthodox heartland of Tur Abdin is a Christian one:

In 451, the Council of Chalcedon resulted in a Church split. Those who rejected it (non-Chalcedonians) were then persecuted by the Chalcedonian Byzantine Emperors. This is the likely background of the oldest Syriac inscription found so far in Tur Abdin, from 534:

"On the 4th day [of (month) of the ye]ar 845*, in the days of M[or Seve]r[us, the a]bbot [...] the priest [Is]aiah, [...] and Mor Maron [...] and [...], priest and visitor, escaped [and took refug]e [in] our m[onastery from the party of the evildoers]"

It likely tells of clergy escaping Chalcedonian persecution and taking refuge at Mor Gabriel Monastery. Since then it has been broken in two and disfigured by a gunshot. It was surrounded with rocks and covered with branches by Kurds, who called it 'the stone of help'** and brought their sickly children to it.

*Year of the Greeks, 534 A.D.

**For the unlettered an inscription from ancient times is an object of awe; it is often believed to contain the power of healing, or else that it has an evil power set on it, perhaps to guard some treasure which it hides.

You can see the Syriac text if you look closely, around those holes in the photo (the part that is "higher" than the rest):

The Tur Abdin Timeline - A timeline of Tur Abdin (Syriac for "the Mountain of the Servants [of God]"), the heartland of the Syriac Orthodox Christians, a hilly region located in upper Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Early Christian Oriental Orthodox Objects/Artifacts
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2013, 11:37:26 AM »
You plan on posting things like the icons in the Church of Dura Europa?
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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                           and both come out of your mouth