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0106 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 106 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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Marw and 'Ns in 334, raised to metropolitan dignity in 420, shows how early the church had established itself also in


66. After the condemnation and banishment of Nestorius, his

opinions nevertheless spread extensively in Persia and throughout the eastern churches. The separation from Byzantine orthodoxy and influence (formally accomplished about 498) rather recommended the Separatists to the Kings of Persia, though their treatment by those princes constantly fluctuated between favour and persecution. And much the same may be said of their condition under the Arabian khalifs. At first they seem to have been treated by the Mahomedans with some amount of good wî11.2 They found employment with the khalifs, especially as secretaries and physicians, and in the latter capacity many of them acquired a wide eastern fame. Still they were always liable to be treated with capricious outbursts of severity, and too often the heavy hand of Islam was brought down upon them through their own internal rivalries and factions.

66. Whatever may have been the faults of the churches, there seems to have been a strong missionary spirit among them in the seventh and eighth centuries, as shown both by positive historical statements,3 and by the extension eastward of the metropolitan sees. Such were constituted at Herat, Samarkand, and in CHINA in the first quarter of the eighth century, and no doubt these must have existed as ordinary bishoprics for some time before.'

1 Ditto, 477, 479.

2 The Patriarch Jesujabus (650-660) in a letter given by Assemanni, deplores a falling away of thousands of Christian people in the province of Marw before the Mahommedan invasion, not from any reason that they had to fear fire or sword, but only to avoid the loss of part of their (roods. He testifies in the same letter that the conduct of the Tayi, as he calls the Mahomedans (whence, as M. Pauthier has somewhere pointed out, the Tashi of the Chinese, v. supra p. lx) was in general kindly towards the Christians. Assem. iii, Pt. i, pp. 130-131.

3 E.g., see in Assemanni, p. 478.

4 Indeed some of the Syrian authors ascribe all three metropolitan sees to much earlier dates. A writer quoted by Assemanni says :—" Heriœ et Samarkand et Sinœ Metropolitanos creavit Salibazacha Catholicos [714-728]. Aiunt vero quidam Achœum [411-415] et Silam [503-520] illos constituisse" (p. 522). The fact may be that Herat was constituted a