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position was strong because the leader of the Miaphysite Armenian church had travelled to the Byzantine capital to accept John as a proper Christian. The Armenian catholicos was motivated not least because the Persian government was again attacking his church.

Patriarch John thus faced the difficult task of bringing anti-Chalcedonians and Chalcedonians together.109 A number of anti-Chalcedonian theologians were willing to work toward union if the phrase 'out of two natures, one' and Cyril ofAlexandria's twelve anathemas against Nestorius were received by Chalcedonians as canonical and if the rejection of Severus of Antioch in 536 by Constantinople's Home Synod was withdrawn. If the Chalcedonians were to comply with those requests, the anti-Chalcedonians would accept the incumbent Chalcedonian patriarch in Antioch and not press for their own candidate.

The emperor Justin II (regn. 565-8) appointed a skilled negotiator from the metropolis, John, to lead discussions with the Syrian anti-Chalcedonians. The conference was held in the monastery of Mar Zakai not far from the fortress of Callinicum on Syria's border with Persia. John's document held the terms of the agreement made between the parties within Constantinople. But the Syrian monks were passionate about their anti-Chalcedonian convictions. When John proclaimed the agreement, they demanded to see the letter and snatched it from his hands. The agreement reached in Constantinople featured neither a rejection of Leo's Tome nor Chalcedon's confession of faith, because at Constantinople they had carefully eschewed topics that could lead to quarrels. When the monks found that their foundational statements of faith were not included, they tore up the document and even threatened to anathematise their famed missionary Jacob Baradaeus, who had endorsed the statement in Constantinople. Such was the depth of attachment among rural anti-Chalcedonians to their tradition. The conference was over. John left without eating another meal and entered Persia for a different set of negotiations.

As a result of the failure at Mar Zakai, only key areas such as Constantinople, certain Greek-speaking regions west and north of the capital (in what is now Europe), Asia Minor and Palestine came primarily under the control of Chalcedonians. Even in those areas, however, there were pockets of anti-Chalcedonians. The anti-Chalcedonian group was the majority in both Syria and Egypt (though there were also Chalcedonians to be found in Egypt). The anti-Chalcedonian mission forged ahead well beyond the Byzantine empire, making inroads to the south into Nubia and to the east into Arabia and India. The failure to reconcile these theological disagreements left the 'Christian

109 Michael, Chronicon 10.3.

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