Info

the dhimmis with words and detestable actions in contravention of their rights under the dhimma pact. We strongly disapprove of this and we forbid either fomenting or executing such things.'i9

Besides developments peculiar to the lands of Islam, two other factors, this time external, conspired to undermine the position ofChristian communities: the crusades and the Mongol conquests.

The crusades and the position of eastern Christianities

In an excitatorium of November i095 addressed to the Flemings Pope Urban II first sketched the conquest of Jerusalem by the Turks and the sufferings of the Christians before making his appeal in the following words: 'Being much distressed by the proper concern which we felt about the news of this disaster we have visited France, where we have implored most of the princes of the land and their subjects to liberate the Churches of the East.'20 Apart from the destruction of the church of the Holy Sepulchre by al-IHakim, Christian propaganda resorted to the grave consequences that the Turkish conquest had forthe Christians. But, as Claude Cahen has magisterially demonstrated,2i once masters of Syria the Turks quickly restored order, did not significantly modify the position of non-Muslims and did not impede pilgrimages to Jerusalem. This is borne out by an observation of a Coptic historian:

The Ghuzz [i.e. Turkmen] had taken possession of the city of Jerusalem the protected and they had denied the descent of the light in the church of the Holy Resurrection over the Noble Sepulture, but, when they learned the verity ofits descent every year, they had consideration for the Christians, who were living in it, and they employed for the administration of the country a Christian man, a Jacobite, a lover of Christ, known as Mansur al-Balbayi, and he had a wife like himself, and he was of assistance to every one who arrived in Jerusalem from among the Christians of Egypt and of their countries besides it. He endeavoured to rebuild the church of the Jacobite Orthodox in Jerusalem.22

19 See A.-M. Edde, Laprincipaute ayyoubide d'Alep (579/1183-658/1260) [Freiburger Islam Studien 2i] (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, i999), 465.

20 H. Hagenmeyer, Die Kreuzzugsbriefe aus den Jahren 1088-1100 (Innsbruck: Verlag der Wagner'schen Universitats-Buchhandlung, i90i), i36-7. Cf. B. Hamilton, The Latin Church in the Crusader States: the secular church (London: Variorum, i980), i.

21 C. Cahen, 'Notes sur l'histoire de l'Orient latin: I - En quoi la conquete turque appelait-elle la croisade?', Bulletin de la Faculte des Lettres de Strasbourg 2i (i950-5i), H8-25 [= C. Cahen, Turcobyzantina et Oriens christianus (London: Variorum, i974), c].

22 History of the patriarchs, ii, part 3: (text) 299; (trans.) 364.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment