Archive

CHRISTIANITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST

VOLUME TWENTY [167]

june 2017

Publishing: ANO «Runivers»

ISSN 2306-4978

Pages: 316

EDITORIAL
This issue of the Historical Reporter is dedicated to the community of cultures in the Asian and African region commonly known as the Christians of the Middle East. This exotic world has nearly completely sunk into the oblivion. But in the past the Copts of Egypt, the Syrian Arameans and their Arabized descendants as well as peoples of the South Caucuses and North-Eastern Africa extensively contributed to the history of the East Christian civilization showing extraordinary vitality under non-Christian rulers and in a non-Christian environment. The present ongoing military and political unrest in the Arab countries questions the very survival of the ethnic and confessional minorities of the region. In these conditions, the historical science has to commit to memory what is left of this world on the brink of total extinction.
What is the Christianity in the Middle East? Purely formal definitions based on geographical or linguistic parameters put aside, those are peoples descended from the Christian cultures that had appeared in the first centuries AD on the eastern periphery of the Greco-Roman world, succesors of the Arameans and the ancient Egyptians who gained a new identity by rejecting the Pax Romana values. The era of crystallizing of these young ethnicities and religious traditions is in the subject matter of the article «Genesis of the Christianity in the Middle East» by P.V. Kuzenkov.
Spiritual gravitation of the Syriac Christianity in the Late Antiquity absorbed into its orbit a barbaric periphery of the Fertile Crescent — the Arabs of the Syrian desert. Arabian pre-states — vassals of Byzantium and the Sasanian Empire — created their own Christian subcultures that were both militant and hedonistic, very contrary to the conventional image of a Christian society. The article by D.E. Mishin describes the Christening of the Lakhmid king al-Nu‘mān III (died in 602). Lakhmids were an Arab tribe allied with Iran who controlled the steppe to the West of the Euphrates.
The Crusades and the Mongolian invasion were the most dramatic periods in the
history of the Christianity in the Middle East. They remapped the whole region both ethnically and culturally. The researches by S.P. Brun and T.K. Koraev analyse the relationship of Christians of the Middle East with the Crusaders and the Chingissids — conquerors very unlike one another who invaded the Syrian-Mesopotamian region from two opposing extremities.
The darkest time of the Middle Eastern Christianity is the subject matter of the articles by A.L. Rybakov and K.A. Panchenko. Late Medieval history of African and Asian peoples is very fragmentarily known. The featured material sheds some light on the relations of the Antioch Church and the peoples of the South Caucuses in the 15th century as well as on the epic figure of Patriarch Joachim Pany of Alexandria, the elder venerated as a confessor and miracle worker long before he died at the age of 116.
The Ottoman conquests of the 16th century that restored the outlines of the Byzantium at the time of its uppermost flourish reunited the Middle Eastern Christians and the Orthodox Christian peoples of the Balkans within a single political space. This activated the cultural connections of the peoples belonging to the Byzantine culture both inside the empire and outside of it. Contacts of the Christians of Levant with their fellow believers from the countries of Eastern Europe resulted in important contributions to the history of
the Orthodox сivilization of the 16–18th centuries. V.G. Chentsova analyses the cooperation of the Zograf monastery on Mount Athos with the churches of Jerusalem, Wallacia, Ukraine and Russia in the first decades of the 17th century. S.A. Kirillina introduces the half forgotten literary heritage of Hieromonk Leonty Zelensky (Grigorovich the Junior), the pilgrim writer of the second half of the 18th century who lived in Levant for decades.
The 19th century was a crucial moment in the history of both Muslims and Christians of the Middle East. Massive economic, political and ideological intrusion into the Ottoman world of the European civilization brought new advantages to the Arab Christians but also gave rise to unpresedental problems and threats. The article by T.Y. Kobischanov analyses these processes in the global perspective, whereas the treatise by E.M. Kopot’ examines the local conflict reflecting controversies of the period: competition of the Orthodox Christians and the Melkite Catholics for control of Syria’s oldest church, involving diplomacy of the «Great Powers» that became a symbolic battle for ‘ownership’ of the historical past of the Church pf Antioch.
The final section of the journal features the first ever Russian translation of a chapter from the treatise on the relationship of Muslims and Christians by an outstanding ecclesiastical writer of the 11th century Elijah of Nisibis accomplished by N.N. Seleznev. It is followed by a bibliographic review by K.A. Panchenko dedicated to the latest research of the life and works of Patriarch Macarius III al-Za’im (d. 1672) and of his son archdeacon Paul of Aleppo (1672–1669), the two major figures of the early Modern Orthodox culture.

Alexey E. Titkov
Editor-in-Chief



CONTENTS

Konstantin A. Panchenko. Foreword

Pavel V. Kuzenkov. Genesis of the Christianity in the Middle East as transformation of the Hellenistic culture

Dmitriy E. Mishin. Baptising of the Lakhmid king al-Nu‘mān III 

Sergey P. Brun. The Churches of East before the Crusader Lord of Outremer: Prince Bohemond IV and the Christians of the Levant

Timur K. Korayev. Some observations on the political identity of Syriac communities under the Ilkhans (XIII—XIV centuries)

Anton L. Rybakov. Peculiarities of the canonic system in the Georgian Orthodox church and the Antioch factor in spiritual affairs of the Medieval Georgia

Konstantin A. Panchenko. A cup of poison to drain: Patriarch Joachim of Alexandria (1448–1567) between Myth and History 

Vera G. Tchentsova. Zographou monks in Kyiv and Moscow in the years 1620–1630 

Svetlana A. Kirillina. Pilgrimage of Priest-Monk Leonty to Egypt and Palestine in 1763–1766: Islam and Its Followers in the «Life History of Grigorovich the Junior»

Taras Y. Kobischanov. After centuries of solitude. Changes in the social psychology of Christian communities of Syria in the early Modern time

Evgeny M. Kopot’. Battle for the past. The Ezra church as an epicenter of ecclesiastical and political struggle in the late 19th century

REVIEWS

Konstantin A. Panchenko. The Macariade: reviews of the latest researches about the epoch of Patriarch of Antioch Macarios III al-Za’im and Paul of Aleppo

SOURCES

Nikolay N. Seleznev. Outlines of Christian-Moslem relations based on «The Book of Sessions» by Elijah of Nisibis and Vizier Abu’l-Qasim al-Husayn ibn Ali al-Maghribi (translation and commentaries)