How Syriac Christians almost Conquered Rome
- How Syriac Christians almost Conquered Rome
by Father Dale A. Johnson
In a brief span of 54 years bridging the 7th-8th centuries five Syrian Popes ruled Rome. How did men of Syrian origin from an oriental environment and heritage find their way to Rome? These were not western men of Italy, Gaul, or Germany. They brought with them Syriac liturgical traditions and prayers such as the Agnus Dei which was completely unknown to Roman Christianity. Processions to the churches, a practice embedded in the traditions of Syriac speaking Christians in Jerusalem and Antioch, appeared in Rome with the arrival of these Syrian Popes. Evangelical zeal and support of monastic foundations were both the characteristics of these popes and the heritage of the Syriac speaking east from which they came. These evidences serve as powerful suggestions that Rome was being conquered and transformed by the Syriac East. This Syrian invasion was short-lived and collapsed under the weight of bad luck and historic forces. It almost became the New Antioch.
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