History and Geography
Preface by Dr Sebastian Brock
When Eusebius of Caesarea wrote the first History of the Christian Church at the beginning of the fourth century he unwittingly set a precedent for writing about the History of the Church which has had some very unfortunate consequences. What Eusebius wrote was in fact a history of the Church within the confines of the Roman Empire, leaving out its history in the adjacent Persian Empire, further to the east. This was perfectly understandable from Eusebius’ own perspective: what is most unfortunate, however, is that this limitation of the history of the early Church to the confines of the Roman Empire has all too often been followed, right up to the present day. As a consequence the fascinating history of the Church that sprung up to the east of the Roman Empire, and which is represented today by the Church of the East, is very little known to the wider public. In view of this situation, Christine Chaillot’s new book is most timely and greatly to be welcomed.
The tradition of the Church of the East is in fact represented today by three separate Churches: the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church. While the roots of the last of these go back to the mid-sixteenth century, the break between the first two only came in the last half of the twentieth century, primarily over the issue of the calendar, with the Assyrian Church of the...
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