The schism within the Jacobite Church during the years 1252-63 provides a second example of a conflict over a patriarchal throne.16 It was a matter of the two rival patriarchs, who had been elected on the death of Ignatios II: Dionysios, metropolitan of Melitene/Malatya, and the maphrian Bar Ma'danî. The former was elected in 1252 at the monastery of Barsauma by a small assembly comprising the bishops of the 'western' provinces (i.e. west of the Upper Euphrates), while the latter was elected a little later at Aleppo by the bishops ofthe 'eastern' provinces (i.e. Tfiàr 'Abdîn and the upper valley ofthe Tigris). Over a period of several years the two patriarchs attempted to impose themselves on the church as a whole. With promises of large sums of money they sought the support ofthe Muslim authorities, be they the Seljuqs ofKonya orthe Ayyubids of Damascus. The appearance ofthe Mongols complicated the affair still further, though, paradoxically, allowing its denouement. This schism was far from being the only one that divided the eastern and western poles of the Jacobite Church. Its history was one where local considerations often took precedence over any feeling of unity. But leaving these to one side, Dionysios's ignorance of Arabic makes him seem a figure emblematic of a church which lived off its religious and cultural traditions; which was not well attuned to current political realities; which was hostile to the policy of rapprochement with the Latins initiated by Patriarch Ignatios II, Dionysios's predecessor; and which saw in the Mongols an ally against Islam. Bar Ma'danî, in contrast, had the support of the Christian elite, who welcomed integration, frequented the centres of power, acted as administrators and doctors, and preferred to flee before the Mongols.
The dhimma status, which applied to Christian communities in the lands of Islam, is well known. It went back to the time of the Arab conquests in the seventh and eighth centuries and, in its broad lines, was fixed in the treaties of fiqh in the eighth and ninth centuries.17 It granted the 'peoples of the Book', Jews and Christians, the protection of the Muslim ruling authority, freedom of worship, and continuation of their ecclesiastical, communal and judicial organisation, together with property rights and freedom to trade. In return, the
16 See Bar Hebraeus, Chronicon ecclesiasticum, ed. J. B. Abelloos and T. J. Lamy (Paris and Louvain: C. Peeters, 1877), II, cols. 695-744.
17 Fiqh is a term used for Muslim law, in the sense of implementing the shari'a. The first codification of the legal condition of dhimmîs was the work of Abû YûsufYa'qûb, kadi of the Abbasid caliph Hartin al-Rashîd, in the Kitaîb al-kharaj, trans. E. Fagnan [Bibliothèque archéologique et historique 1] (Paris: P. Geuthner, 1921).
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