Another deep problem concerned the East Syrian Christians, who refused to abandon the works of Antiochene theologians and preserved many of them by translating them into Syriac. By the condemnation of Nestorius in 431, they were already established outside the empire and they proved to be strongly missionary-orientated. Their lines of commerce opened onto the Silk Road and Syrians took Christianity with them as far as China.104 The scope of their accomplishment is all the more astounding when we recall that the East Syrian churches could not regularly count on any help from the Roman empire, even from Antioch, the metropolis that spawned many of their views.

The great sees of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem did not find harmony in the decisions of 553. It had seemed (perhaps not accidentally) in 538 that those sees were solidly Chalcedonian.105 Justinian had hoped that his vision would be endorsed by the council and, through it, those powerful centres as well. Rome and Jerusalem stood solidly behind Constantinople (553), but disputes continued in the capital and raged in Antioch. Alexandria, the home of Athanasius, and with it Egypt were primarily anti-Chalcedonian. Not long into the seventh century, only Rome and Constantinople remained Christian powers. The other three fell into Muslim hands and their influence was drastically weakened in larger Christian circles.

Two events in the last half of the sixth century foreshadowed the eclipse of both anti-Chalcedonian and Chalcedonian Christianities in the East.106 Between 566 and 568, the time seemed ripe for an attempt at agreement, much as it had in the 540s. When the anti-Chalcedonian patriarch Theodosius died in 566, he was given a large and gracious funeral in Constantinople.107 He was succeeded by John Scholasticus. Around the same time, Jacob Baradaeus and John of Ephesus, the great anti-Chalcedonian missionaries, were concerned by schism within their ranks. Some anti-Chalcedonian theologians were insisting on the distinction of the three persons of the Trinity and subordinating the Son and the Holy Spirit to the Father in a way that was uncomfortably redolent of fourth-century Neo-Arianism. Jacob Baradaeus and John of Ephesus were frankly dismayed at the prospect of this recrudescent 'tritheism', particularly since the 'tritheists' were intent on spreading their view far and wide.108 John Scholasticus held meetings with these two anti-Chalcedonian groups and was able to work out a carefully crafted position on which they could agree. His

104 See chapter 4, below.

105 Gray, The defense of Chalcedon, 60.

106 W H. C. Frend, The rise of Christianity, 873-6.

107 Michael, Chronicon 10.1 (ed. and trans. Chabot, 283).

108 John of Ephesus, H.E. 3.3.10; Michael, Chronicon 10.7.

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