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canonically illegal, bishop of Edessa, a position that he appears never to have claimed.

After leaving Constantinople, he spent the rest of his life as an undercover encourager and organiser of the West Syrian Miaphysite church. The name by which he is known, 'Baradaeus' (Syriac: Burd'ano) refers to the ragged clothes and rags he used to disguise himself. He reconstituted the hierarchy and priesthood of the West Syrians. The assertions of the oldest sources (100,000 ordinations of clergy are claimed!) are clear overstatements of his activities. Most ofhis appointments were canonically irregular; most ofthose appointed were staunch Miaphysites from the monasteries. However, the campaign was effective as he managed to secure the sympathy ofthe populace and elude the imperial police who were eager to stop his campaign against the Byzantine church.14

Thus the West Syrian church ended the sixth century alienated from the empire and its church with which it had worked so hard during earlier centuries to conform.

Early Christianity in Persia

The diffusion of Christianity throughout Persia was caused by various factors: migration/evangelisation along the trade routes; adaptation of Christian ideas within existing communities (which may be related to trade patterns); and the forced migration of entire Greek- and Syriac-speaking communities from northern Mesopotamia. By the fourth century this had resulted in a strong presence divided by three languages: Greek, Syriac and Persian.

Relations with the Mazdaean traditions deteriorated as conversions increased. Accusations of disloyalty to the regime led to martyrdoms. The Christian martyrdom texts of the early period insist on the loyalty of the Christians to the Persian kings (and there is no evidence that they were disloyal). The texts suggest that Christians were not always respectful of the Mazdaean altars and fire temples. Called before the judges, they were forced to choose between large fines, conversion from Christianity or martyrdom. The Christians, according to the texts, responded with theological arguments about the nature of God and salvation and chose martyrdom. The texts may or may not reflect particular legal processes and it is doubtful, given the

14 H. G. Kleyn, Jacob Baradaeus; E. Honigmann, Eveques eteveches monophysites; D. Bundy, 'Jacob Baradaeus'.

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