Conference: Christianity in Iraq II
From Dr. Erica Hunter.
Christianity in Iraq II: Synopsis
Located strategically on great trade-routes, Iraq
was a natural starting point for various
missionary expeditions by land and by sea. By
the fifth century, a string of dioceses stretched
across Iran to Afghanistan and Central Asia
where the city of Merv served as the
headquarters for missions east of the Oxus
River, amongst both Turkic and Iranian peoples.
Trade also played an important role in the
spread of the Church of the East from southern
Iraq down the Gulf to India .
During the Abbassid period, particularly under
the incumbency of Patriarch Timothy I, the
Church of the East had dioceses in the Yemen ,
Tibet and as far as China . Although Christianity
was expelled from China at the end of the T'ang
dynasty, it returned several centuries later in the
Mongol period. Syriac inscriptions at Tokmek
and Pishpak provide remarkable evidence of
widespread medieval communities in Central
Asia. Tombstones from Quanzhou in China are
testimony of the expanse of Syriac Christianity
up to the fourteenth century.
The Churches of Iraq have once again
assumed a global dimension in the twentieth
and twenty-first centuries. Diaspora
communities have now emerged in Europe ,
England, north America and Australia . Like
their venerable counterparts, they are faced
with challenges of multi-culturalism, linguistic
diffusion and competing religions as well as
distance from each other and Iraq . Many of
these challenges will take considerable effort to
overcome, but the new electronic age provides
some solutions. Far-flung congregations are
now able to be linked by the internet and e-mail
and maintain a new international identity.
[10.00 A.M. – 12.30 P.M.]
The missions of the Churches of Iraq
The morning session will consist of a series of
papers exploring the historical spread of the
Churches of Iraq up to the fourteenth century.
Prof. John Healey ( Manchester )
Christians in the Gulf in the 7th century A.D.
Dr. Wassilios Klein ( Bonn )
Syriac inscriptions from Tokmek and Pishpek,
Central Asia [illustrated]
Dr. Erica C.D. Hunter (SOAS/Cambridge)
Christian communities in Yuan dynasty China
Mar Aprem ( India )
The mission of the Church of the East to India .
[2.00 – 4.30 P.M.]
The modern diaspora of the Churches of Iraq.
The afternoon session investigates the
problems and challenges encountered by the
diaspora communities today. The current
situation will be discussed by representatives of
the various Syriac Churches [the Assyrians,
Chaldaeans, Syrian Orthodox and Syrian
Dr. George Kiraz (Beth Mardutho Institute,
USA) will conclude the day talking about "the
role of the Beth Mardutho and the global
aspects of bringing Syriac studies anywhere,
Christianity in Iraq II: Application
Day time tel.no.
Please circle fee enclosed
BSAI Member £20.00
AECA Member £20.00
· Please send proof of student status.
Fees include lunch, morning and afternoon
Do you require disabled access? Yes/No
Please send this form with your remittance
by Monday April 4th
(cheques should be made payable to Dr.
Dr. Erica C.D. Hunter,
Dept. for the Study of Religion,
School of Oriental and African Studies,
LONDON WC1H 0XG
For further details, please contact:
Fax: 01223- 566493
- Thank you for the notice of the conference on Christianity in Iraq. I cannot be in London then, but hope the proceedings will be published (with the illustrations!).Paul Russell