- Pathfinder

Reply To: What were some of your primary takeaways after reading Christianity in the First 1000 Years? Did anything surprise you?


I learned that the first centers of the Church were Asian. “Asian Christians endured the greatest persecutions… and mounted global ventures in missionary expansion the west could not match until after the thirteenth century.” – Cochrane. This surprised me and is a story that’s been untold to me.

I learned that the Church of the east had roots in Theodore of Mopsuestia (d. 428) and could be rightly called Theodoran with ‘Nestorian’ as a byword not applied by the churches themselved. They grew from Edessa and had a Christological position consistent with Antioch.

I learned that there was a monastic tradition of Syrian ascetics becoming “wandering missionaries, healing the sick, feeding the poor and preaching the gospel” at the same time as western monastic traditions were growing. Narsai, Ishi-yahbh, and Timothy I are some new names of saints who were foundational in the Churches of the East as theological foundations for the spread of the East Syrian Church. I saw that the role of the Holy Spirit in Church of the East theology was important, combining human and divine involvement. I learned that many in the Church of the East lived as dhimmi people, under Muslim Abbasids, even as that continues today.