Christianity in the Gulf: vestiges of the East Syrian presence in late antiquity
The Arabian-Persian Gulf area has been fertile soil for different civilisations through the centuries, and bears the traces of numerous settlements of many different historical periods. Specifically, the area known in the past as Bēt Qaṭrāyē shows the vestiges of the Christian Syrian presence. The coastal region stretching from Kuwait to the United Arab Emirates, including also some of the Persian islands, displays a strange unevenness between the literary sources and the archaeological data relating to the history of the Christian communities that lived there between the fourth and the ninth centuries. The main texts naming the area, specifically its upper clergy and its most important religious circumstances, are the acts of the councils, but there are also other mentions scattered in different sixth and seventh centuries authors’ texts. Following the path of the ups and downs of the Church of the East, this paper aims at reconstructing a hypothetical history of the dioceses and the settlements in the area that witnessed the Christian presence. Anyway, this history cannot be understood only by relying upon written sources, and needs then to be integrated with the archaeological reports produced during the last decades. The result of this integration is the picture of a highly lively community, strong and self-reliant, whose history was too often forgotten.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Mara Nicosia, "Christianity in the Gulf: vestiges of the East Syrian presence in late antiquity", in: Costanza Coppini, Francesca Simi (Edited by), "Interactions and New Directions in Near Eastern Archaeology. Volume 3. Proceedings of the 5th “Broadening Horizons” Conference (Udine 5-8 June 2017)", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2020, pp. 371-383
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