History and Geography
As we have seen in this book, from the geographical point of view the history of the Church of the East until the nineteenth century is an Asian history of an Asian Church. From the beginning from the twentieth century, this history, still in geographical terms, has expanded globally, around the world. It is worth remembering that Jerusalem, Antioch and many other places in the Middle East cited in the Gospels, and subsequently in the history of Christianity, are in Western Asia. We should also bear in mind that the notions of east and west are relative to a given geographical situation: one is always to the east or to the west in relation to someone else. As the British historian Peter Frankopan explains in his book The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, this relativity obliges us in the West to abandon a Eurocentric vision and understand that the centre of the world may be ‘elsewhere’. Our study adopts the same perspective with regard to the history of the Church of the East. If, for Frankopan, the history of Asia is central to the history of the world, one may equally consider the history of the Church of the East important in the history of the universal Church, for it concerns a very ancient Christian community whose history is unique in the history of Christianity and very little discussed. Today it is still an international Church, scattered around the world. In fact the great majority...
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