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relationship, helping to offset the emerging interest of Byzantium in the region and the emerging religious and political importunities of the Zoroastrian Persian empire. For the first century of its existence, the Georgian church remained firmly in the orbit of the Byzantine church.

Georgian ecclesial (and national) independence was asserted by King Vaghtan Gorgaslan (446-510) through participation in the Armenian-led Council of Dvin in 506, which rejected Chalcedon along with Byzantine imperial intentions. However, near the end of the sixth century, under the leadership of the Georgian catholicos Kyrion (sed. 585-610), and under pressure from the Byzantine empire, the Georgian church accepted Chalcedon and the current Byzantine orthodoxy. As a result, they were excommunicated, meaninglessly, by the Armenian church.

Indian Christianity28 The sources for the history of Christianity in both North and South India are few and problematic for the period during our discussion. Any written texts that may have existed were destroyed by either European Catholic and Protestant forces or Indian religious partisans. Efforts continue to rediscover this history, and a more complete narrative may eventually be possible. The sources that do exist are tantalising but problematic. There are the early traditions preserved in the Greek and Syriac writers referring to the missions of Thomas (and/or Thaddaeus and/or Bartholomew) and his colleagues during the first Christian century. However, the traditions are fraught with internal inconsistencies and none can be proved or disproved on the basis ofthe details included. Some lists ofbishops in attendance at Nicaea include a certainJohn of Persia representing the Persian and Indian churches. Certainly that is possible; there were demonstrably Christian communities in both North and South India by the end of the first Christian century. Alexandrian Christian theologians studied in India during the second and third centuries, and probably longer.

From the fourth century onward there are references in Persian Syriac documents to what appear to have been regular contacts between the churches in Persia and those in India. This would be expected from the importance of the trade between India and Mesopotamia during the Persian period. A certain David, bishop of Bassarah (c. 300), was said to have resigned from the episcopacy and travelled to India where he worked effectively as an evangelist.

28 On early Indian Christianity, see S. G. Pohan, Syrian Christians ofKerala; A. M. Mundadan, From thebeginningup to the middle of the sixteenth century; J. England, 'The earliest Christian communities in Southeast and Northeast Asia'.

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