Portal:Syriac Christianity
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Portal:Syriac Christianity
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Welcome to the Syriac Christianity portal

Syriac Christianity

Syriac Christianity (Syriac: ?‎ / M?iyu Sury?y) refers to Eastern Christian traditions that employ Syriac in their liturgy. Syriac is a variety of Middle Aramaic that emerged in Edessa, Upper Mesopotamia, in the early first century AD, and is considered to be closely related to the Jewish Palestinian Aramaic spoken by Jesus. Tracing back their historical heritage to the 1st century, Syriac Christianity is today represented in the Middle East by the Maronite Church, Syriac Catholic Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Ancient Church of the East, as well as by the Saint Thomas Christians of respective communions centered in Kerala, India, as well as independent communities, such as the Chaldean Church of the East in Brazil.

Christianity began in the Middle East in Jerusalem among Aramaic-speaking Jews. It quickly spread to other Aramaic-speaking Semitic peoples, in Parthian Empire-ruled As?rist?n (modern Iraq), Roman Syria. Syriac Christianity is divided into two major liturgical traditions: the East Syriac Rite, historically centered in Upper Mesopotamia and the West Syriac Rite, centered in Antioch in the Levant by the Mediterranean coast.

The East Syriac Rite tradition was historically associated with the Church of the East, and it is currently employed by the Middle Eastern churches that descend from it: the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East, and the Chaldean Catholic Church (the members of such churches are Eastern Aramaic-speaking ethnic Assyrians), as well as by the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church of India, and the Chaldean Syrian Church of India which is an archbishopric of the Assyrian Church of the East.

The West Syriac Rite tradition is used by the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Maronite Church as well as by the Malankara Church of India, which follow the Malankara Rite tradition of the Saint Thomas Christian community. Adherents sometimes identify as "Syriacs" or "Assyrians".

Selected article

Nestorian priests in a procession on Palm Sunday, in a 7th- or 8th-century wall painting from a Nestorian church in China, Tang dynasty.
The Church of the East (Syriac: ? (d)t d-Ma?n(?)), also known as the Nestorian Church is a Christian Church, part of the Syriac tradition of Eastern Christianity. Originally the church of the Persian Sasanian Empire, it quickly spread widely through Asia. Between the 9th and 14th centuries it was the world's largest Christian church in terms of geographical extent, with dioceses stretching from the Mediterranean to China and India. Several modern churches claim continuity with the historical Church of the East.

From its peak of geographical extent, the church experienced a rapid period of decline starting in the 14th century, due in large part to outside influences. The Mongol Empire dissolved into civil war, the Chinese Ming dynasty overthrew the Mongols and ejected Christians and other foreign influences from China (also including Manichaeism), and many Mongols in Central Asia converted to Islam. The Muslim Mongol leader Timur (1336-1405) nearly eradicated the remaining Christians in Persia; thereafter, Nestorian Christianity was largely confined to Upper Mesopotamia and the Malabar Coast of India. In the 16th century, the Church of the East went into a schism from which two distinct churches eventually emerged; the modern Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See.

Selected image

A Nestorian tombstone in Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan, with inscriptions in Syriac.
Credit: PHGCOM

A Nestorian tombstone in Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan, with inscriptions in Syriac.

Selected biography

Joseph Audo Patriarch BabylonJS.jpg
Joseph VI Audo
B. 1790 – d. 14 March 1878

Mar Joseph VI Audo was the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church from 1847 to 1878.

Joseph VI Audo was born in 1790 in Alqosh and in 1814 he became monk of the monastery of Rabban Hormizd. He was ordained priest in 1818 and consecrated bishop of Mosul on the March 25, 1825 by the patriarchal administrator Augustine Hindi in Amid. From 1830 to 1847 he served as metropolitan bishop of Amadiyah. After the resignation of patriarch Mar Nicholas I Zaya he was elected Patriarch of the Chaldean Church on July 28, 1847 and confirmed by the pope on September 11, 1848. He died in Mosul on the March 14, 1878.

Did you know ...

Saint Cyril of Alexandria at Chora.jpg
...that the First Council of Ephesus in 431 AD resulted in the schism between Nestorianism and Oriental Orthodoxy... ?



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