Eastern Christianity  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Eastern Christianity refers collectively to the Christian traditions and churches which developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa and southern India over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to describe all Christian traditions which did not develop in Western Europe. As such the term does not describe any single communion or common religious tradition (indeed some Eastern Churches have more in common historically and theologically with Western Christianity than other Eastern Churches).

The terms Eastern and Western in this regard originated with the division between the Eastern and Western Roman Empire and the cultural split that this caused. The term Orthodox is often used in the same way as Eastern in referring to church communions although, strictly speaking, most churches consider themselves part of an orthodox and catholic communion.

Role of Christians in the Islamic culture

Christians especially Nestorian contributed to the Arab Islamic Civilization during the Ummayads and the Abbasids by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards to Arabic. They also excelled in philosophy, science (such as Hunayn ibn Ishaq, Qusta ibn Luqa, Masawaiyh, Patriarch Eutychius, Jabril ibn Bukhtishu etc.) and theology ( such as Tatian, Bar Daisan, Babai the Great, Nestorius, Toma bar Yacoub etc.) and the personal physicians of the Abbasid Caliphs were often Assyrian Christians such as the long serving Bukhtishu dynasty. Many scholars of the House of Wisdom were of Christian background.

A hospital and medical training center existed at Gundeshapur. The city of Gundeshapur was founded in 271 CE by the Sassanid king Shapur I. It was one of the major cities in Khuzestan province of the Persian empire in what is today Iran. A large percentage of the population was Syriacs, most of whom were Christians. Under the rule of Khusraw I, refuge was granted to Greek Nestorian Christian philosophers including the scholars of the Persian School of Edessa (Urfa), also called the Academy of Athens, a Christian theological and medical university. These scholars made their way to Gundeshapur in 529 following the closing of the academy by Emperor Justinian. They were engaged in medical sciences and initiated the first translation projects of medical texts. The arrival of these medical practitioners from Edessa marks the beginning of the hospital and medical center at Gundeshapur. It included a medical school and hospital (bimaristan), a pharmacology laboratory, a translation house, a library and an observatory. Indian doctors also contributed to the school at Gundeshapur, most notably the medical researcher Mankah. Later after Islamic invasion, the writings of Mankah and of the Indian doctor Sustura were translated into Arabic at Baghdad. Daud al-Antaki was one of the last generation of influential Arab Christian writers.

Arab Christians especially Maronites played important roles in Al-Nahda, and because Arab Christians formed the educated upper and bourgeois classes, they have had a significant impact in politics, business and culture, and most important figures of the Al-Nahda movement were Christian Arabs.

See also

For other definitions and meaning for the word orthodox, see Orthodoxy.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Eastern Christianity" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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