ADIABENE

ADIABENE. Region between the upper and lower Zab, east of the Tigris River, conquered by Trajan in 116, becoming a Roman province with the name Assyria, but soon reconquered by the Persians. In the 1st c. it was also made a Jewish kingdom under the rule of Queen Helena d. 50, a convert to Judaism Flavius Josephus, Ant. 20,2-5 whose sons Monobazus II and Izates II were buried at Jerusalem. There is no precise record of the introduction of Christianity into the region a large part of which, according to the sources, had embraced Judaism, attributed to St. Mari, disciple of Addai. The latter, according to the Chronicle of Arbela a forgery written in 1907, was supposed to have been the first evangelizer: the document, however, has been shown to be unreliable see P. Peeters, Les Passionaires d’Adiab¨ne, 261-304, and I. Ortiz de Urbina, Cronaca di Arbela, 5-32. The Jewish presence facilitated the spread of Christianity. In any event, at the time of the persecutions of Shapur II 309 379 most of the inhabitants were Christian, as Sozomen attests HE 2,12,4: PG 67, 965. According to Assyrian tradition the first bishop was Pkidha 104 114, consecrated by Mari, and succeeded by Semsoun 120 123, Isaac 135 148 and others. In the 2nd c. Tatian d. ca. 180 came from Assyria and was a disciple of Justin Martyr at Rome. The date of the first bishop at Arbela modern Irbil is unknown, though at that time the bishop resided nearby at Hazza. With Bishop Papa 310 317, Arbela was made metropolitan see of the country and obtained the fifth position after the principal see of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, capital of the Sassanid kingdom. Bishop John Iohannon d. 343 was martyred, as was his successor Abraham d. 345: the region, theater of many battles as late as 446 a great many Christians of the Adiabene were martyred also had flourishing Nestorian and Jacobite communities, which built numerous convents. A certain Daniel participated at the synods of 410 and 424. An unnamed bishop of Adiabene participated at Acacius’s synod in 486, about the time when the region embraced monophysitism. The arrival of the Arabs mid-7th c. marked the period of the greatest development of the region, especially artistically the sources record the founding of many church buildings, especially convents, in the 7th and 8th c., through the political shrewdness of the metropolitan Iso’yahb III: at that time Adiabene enjoyed a relative tranquility, until the transfer of the metropolitan see to Mosul 826/827 under metropolitan Isho’bar Nun ca. 823 829. The diocese of Arbela had bishops until the 16th c., but citations of Adiabene’s capital and of the region itself, from then on generally known as Assyria, would become increasingly rare: among the most important cities were Arbela the capital, Hadita and Hazza, the latter two also episcopal sees. Of the numerous church buildings mentioned in the sources, especially monasteries, worth noting are the convents of Mar Yonan the Slave, Margana diocese of Haditha, 8th c. and Bet Qoqa 7th c., whose site has probably been identified near the village of Mulla Omar. P. Peeters, Les passionaires d’Adiab¨ne: AB 43 1925 261-304; H. Charles, Le Christianisme des Arabes nomades sur le Limes, Paris 1936; I. Ortiz de Urbina, Intorno al valore storico della Cronaca di Arbela: OCP 12 1936 5-32; EC 1,305-306; J.M. Fiey, Assyrie Chrtienne, Beirut 1965, 37-218; Id., Jalons pour une histoire de l’‰glise en Iraq, CSCO, Subsidia 36, Louvain 1970; J. Neusner, The Conversion of Adiabene to Christianity: Numen 12 1966 144-150; M.-L. Chaumont, La christianisation de l’Empire iranien: des origines aux grandes perscutions du IVe si¨cle, Lovanii 1988; J.M. Fiey, Pour un Oriens Christianus Novus, Beirut 1993; N. Garso¯an, L’glise armenienne et le grand schisme d’Orient, Lovanii 1999; S.H. Moffett, A History of Christianity in Asia, I, New York 2 2001, 70-80; R.L. Mullen, The Expansion of Christianity: A Gazetter of Its First Three Centuries, Leiden-Boston 2004, 60ff.
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