adopted by the emperors of Constantinople. In Egypt it had its own patriarch of Alexandria, but it only ever had a few followers, limited in the main to Alexandria and the Delta. By way of contrast, in Syria8 and particularly in Palestine it was a more formidable force. The Melkites held the patriarchate of Jerusalem, which was the only one where there was not a double hierarchy. In central and northern Syria the Byzantine reconquest of 969 reinforced their position. For more than a century Antioch and the surrounding region came under Byzantine rule. But confronting them were the Jacobites, as they have come to be called, their Monophysite rivals.
The Jacobite Church took its name from its founder, Jacob Baradaeus, a sixth-century bishop of Edessa. It established its own patriarchate of Antioch. It was especially strong in northern Syria, but in the tenth century it lost much of its flock to Islam and, following the Byzantine reconquest, to the Melkites. Its centre of gravity moved eastwards to the Jazira9 or Upper Mesopotamia, where its main establishments were the monastery of Barsauma near the city of Melitene/Malatya, that of Dayr al-Za'farân near Mardîn, and that of Mar Mataï near Mosul. Although there continued to be a Jacobite 'patriarch of Antioch and Syria', from the ninth century the holder of this title preferred to reside in different monasteries of northern Syria. From the time of the Byzantine reconquest various places served as the patriarchal residence, notably the monastery of Barsauma in the twelfth century and the town of Qal'at al-Riim in the thirteenth.
Neither must we forget the Maronite Church. Very little is known about its early development, and it only enters history at the time of the crusades. According to local tradition it took its name from a monk John Maron, who became patriarch at the end of the seventh century. He was a follower of the Monothelite heresy,10 even if from the sixteenth century onwards the Maronites have proclaimedtheir 'perpetual Orthodoxy'. Originally established at Apamea, the Maronite patriarch fled in the eleventh century to the mountains of Lebanon, which became the centre of the Maronite Church.
There is one final region that needs to be considered: Mesopotamia, where the Nestorians predominated. They followed the teaching ofNestorios, patriarch of Constantinople, who was condemned at the first council of Ephesus
8 This is the region running from Mount Sinai in the south to the passes ofthe Taurus in the north referred to in Arabic texts as al-Sham.
9 This is an Arabic term meaning island used to designate the region between the Tigris and the Euphrates.
10 This was a doctrinal compromise put forward by the emperor Herakleios, which the Orthodox Church subsequently rejected.
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