Friday, December 27, 2019

A 9th Century Appeal by the Metropolitan of Damascus to Jerusalem and Alexandria

The entire new issue of Annales Islamologiques, dedicated to Arab Christianity, is available for free download! Of special interest is Mathilde Boudier's edition and French translation of David of Damascus' 9th century appeal to the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Alexandria, which is especially valuable if you're interested in the social history of the period as well as Melkite ecclesiology and canon law.


This paper presents an unpublished dossier of documents related to the Christians of Damascus in the late 9th century. Preserved through their copy in two manuscripts datable to the 10th or 11th century, these nine documents written in Arabic were issued on the occasion of a conflict that happened among the Melkite Church in Syria in 277/890‑891. The documents prove to have been gathered by David the metropolitan bishop of Damascus, against his adversary Simeon the patriarch of Antioch. The complaint of David of Damascus against Simeon of Antioch, addressed to the two other patriarchs, Elias of Jerusalem and Michael of Alexandria, is edited and translated into French as an appendix to this article.The complaint of the bishop, the answers and legal opinions expressed by the two patri-archs, along with the letter of the people of Antioch (ahl Anṭākiya) and an earlier sentence of the patriarch Theodosius of Antioch, shed light on the Melkite ecclesiastical hierarchy of the time and give new insights into how the ecclesiastical justice was working and the canon law was used. The conflict also implies Christian and Muslim laymen of Damascus about the administration of the Church income and properties, among which a bakery (furn al ‑kanīsa). The Tulunid power remains in the background of a conflict which is mainly handled by the ecclesiastical authorities of the Syro‑Egyptian area.

Read the whole article here.

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