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The Assyrian Church of the East

History and Geography

Christine Chaillot

The cradle of the Church of the East was in Mesopotamia (between the Tigris and the Euphrates), where it developed its first centre at Seleucia-Ctesiphon, then the capital of the great Persian Empire and today an archaeological site to the south of Baghdad. From the very beginnings of Christianity until the fourteenth century, this Church experienced a remarkable expansion in Asia, its missionaries carrying the Gospel from Persia to India, via the Persian Gulf, and even as far as China. The Church of the East reached China as early as the seventh century via Central Asia and the celebrated Silk Road that linked China to the Mediterranean world. Much later, in the late fourteenth century, the invasions of the Mongol conqueror, Timur Lang (Tamerlane), across Asia brought about a great decline of the Church of the East. Eventually, after the genocide suffered by Christians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, and the massacres that followed in Persia, the Church of the East and its people were on the verge of extinction. In 1940 the patriarchal seat was moved to Chicago (in the United States) and then in September 2015 to Erbil (in northern Iraq). Many of the faithful have left the Middle East and have formed diaspora communities throughout the world. The history of Christianity in the Middle East and well beyond, in Central and Eastern Asia, is very little known. In this book, the reader is invited to travel in time and space and undertake the fascinating discovery of a very ancient apostolic Church, the Church of the East, whose two-thousand year history constitutes an indispensable chapter in the history of the universal Church.
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Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Chaillot, Christine, author.

Title: The Assyrian Church of the East : history and geography / Christine Chaillot.

Description: Oxford ; New York : Peter Lang, [2021] | Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2020054265 (print) | LCCN 2020054266 (ebook) | ISBN 9781789979121 (paperback) | ISBN 9781789979138 (ebook) | ISBN 9781789979145 (epub) | ISBN 9781789979152 (mobi)

Subjects: LCSH: Assyrian Church of the East--History. | Church of the East--History. | Asia--Church history.

Classification: LCC BX153.3 .C43 2021 (print) | LCC BX153.3 (ebook) | DDC 281/.8--dc23

LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020054265

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