Brief Biography: Bar Sauma, born in Tai-tu (Northern China) about 1260, was a descendant of the Onggud Turks who joined the Mongols early in the reign of Chinggis Khan. Like other Onggud Turks, his family were members of the Nestorian church, the most active Christian church in Central Asia. By the age of twenty-five, Sauma had taken vows to become a Nestorian monk and built a cell to meditate in isolation. Able to read Syraic, Turkic, and possibly Chinese, he was well-educated as well as pious. Fired by a zeal to visit Nestorian monuments in the Middle East and Jerusalem, Sauma and his student Markos, later to become the patriarch and leader of the Nestorian church centered in Baghdad, set out on their arduous pilgrimage sometime before 1278. They reached the Mongol territories in Persia, but were unable to continue their journey to Jerusalem because of the political situation. Instead Sauma eventually found himself appointed to a diplomatic mission which would take him to Constantinople, Genoa, Paris, Bordeaux, and Rome and which would involve negotiations for joint operations to force the Mamluks of Egypt out of the Holy Land. He died in Baghdad in 1313 without reaching Jerusalem.
Brief Itinerary: Leaving Taitu shortly after Marco Polo arrived in
China, Sauma and Markos followed the Yellow River southwest to Ningxia. From
there, they took the southern silk road below the Taklamakan Desert passing
through Miran and following a course along the Chenchen river for about 500
miles to Khotan. The section of their travel from Ningxia to Khotan took two
months. They proceeded to Kashgar, Talas, and Tus, the Ilykhan capital of
Khurasan, Maragha, and finally Baghdad. From there the two men travelled to
Nestorian centers in Beth Garmai, Arbil, Mosul, and back to Baghdad. From there
they went to Tabriz and Ani, and then headed to port cities abong the Black Sea.
At this point Armenian and Georgian friends advised them of the great danger of
trying to reach the Holy Land, so they return to Maragha.
OF KUBLAl KHAN
EMPEROR OF CHINA
THE HISTORY OF THE LIFE AND TRAVELS OF
RABBAN SAWMA, ENVOY AND
OF THE MONGOL KHANS TO THE KINGS OF
EUROPE, AND MARKOS WHO AS MAR YAHBH-
ALLAHA III BECAME PATRIARCH OF THE
NESTORIAN CHURCH IN ASIA
TRANSLATED FROM THE SYRIAC
SIR E. A. WALLIS BUDGE, KT.
M.A., LITT.D. (CAMBRIDGE), M.A., D.LITT. (OXFORD)
D.LIT. (DURHAM), F.S.A.
Sometime Keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, British Museum
Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences Lisbon; and
Corresponding Member of the Philosophical Society of America
With 16 plates and 6 illustrations in the text
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY
Manchester, TORONTO, Madrid LISBON, BUDAPEST
First published in 1928
[All rights reserved]
Made in Great Britain
Printed by Harrison & Sons, Ltd., St. Martin's Lane, London, W.C. 2
THE RIGHT REVEREND
FREDERIC LLEWELYN DEANE, D.D.
BISHOP OF ABERDEEN AND ORKNEY
BISHOP BELOVED OF THE OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE
BATTLE FLEET AT SCAPA, MASTER OF THE CRAFT OF THE
APOSTOLIC " FISHERS OF MEN," GREAT FISHER OF FISH IN
ICELAND, AND TRUE AND LOYAL FRIEND OF ALL THOSE
" THAT GO DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS AND OCCUPY THEIR
BUSINESS IN GREAT WATERS"
WITH THE REVERENCE, SYMPATHY AND AFFECTIONATE
ESTEEM OF THE TRANSLATOR
THE PRAYER OF THE SYRIAN
(1)' By the Power of our Lord Jesus Christ I begin to write the History of the Father of Fathers, and Governor (Mara) and Head of Pastors, MAR YAHBH ALLAHA Catholicus and Patriarch of the East, and of RABBAN SAWMA, the Visitor-General of the Eastern (i.e. Nestorian) Turks. O our Lord, help me, and in Thy mercy bring me to the end [of the work]. Amen.
' The figures in heavy type within brackets on this and following pages refer to the numbers of the pages in Bedjan's edition (the second) of the Syrian text, and are added to facilitate reference to this text.
PREFACE BY THE SYRIAN TRANSLATOR.1
God, the Lord of the Universe, the Merciful and Gracious, in the superabundance of His grace hath brought all this (i.e. the visible universe) into being. And that the race of mankind might be perfected in the knowledge of the truth, and in good works (2), for the leading of the doers of good, and directing in the right way those who could step upwards, He sent His only-begotten Son down [to earth], and He put on human flesh and hid His glory, and from behind His human covering He made to shine forth the rays of His light. He hath annulled the laws which were brutal, defective, and coarse, and hath spread abroad [in their place] commandments that are spiritual, perfect, and refined. He hath done away the sacrifices of animals by offering as a sacrifice His Body and His Blood, and He hath made the whole world rich by the wisdom of His knowledge. He hath spread out the net of His life-giving Gospel, by means of His holy disciples in every country and quarter of the and He hath cast the good seed of His
For the Word can neither be rejected nor made to be of no effect, for the
Framer of the Law hath established it and sealed it, saying, " Behold, I
Myself am with you all the days, to the end of the world," (Matt. xxviii.
20). Now to the beginning (var., promise), cleaveth the reward. Little by
little, work (i.e. realization) followeth the word until at length it maketh
those who were without the Law sons of God. For the Indians (Henduwaye), and the
Chinese (Sinaye), and other Oriental nations from various countries, became
restrained and submitted to the bridle of the fear of God, and their emotions
and their understandings were anointed by the Spirit. For a good disposition
availeth nothing if the mind and the actions do not agree with the virtues, and
the gift [of the Spirit] is not withheld when good actions and healthy
intentions are coupled with a blame-worthy disposition. In what cloth it profit
the Jews, who are of the seed of Abraham, seeing that they have become aliens to
the household of God? And in what way do the Gentiles suffer [through not being
of the seed of Abraham] seeing that they have received [the Spirit] and have
PREFACE BY THE SYRIAN TRANSLATOR 123
members of the household of God? To-day the Turks (Turkaye) have bowed their necks under the yoke of the lordship of God, and they believe and hold firmly the word of the Lord with their whole heart. Every man who will not forsake father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, and take up his Cross and come after Me (3) is not worthy to be my disciple (Luke xiv. 26, 27).
Now the hearing of this perfect commandment straightway made the men to marvel, the two warriors about whom the narrative is ready to speak, and they cast away their longings, rejected parents and children, and in short, renounced all the dominion (i.e. influence) of their bringing up. And, like swift eagles, they renewed the youth of their minds in works of toil and laborious lives until they attained their true Hope, and from those labours which they had planted, they received for their perfect sustenance the delicious fruits for which they longed.
Now therefore we will speak about the race of each of them separately, and about [their] country, and the different way in which each was brought up, and how they dwelt together, and the mode of life of each. And in the midst of their history we will write down some account of the things which happened in their time,. to themselves, and by means of them, and on account of them, and we will describe thing by thing as it took place.
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THE HISTORY OF RABBAN SAWMA.
There was a certain man who was a believer, and he was a nobleman and a
fearer of God. He was rich in the things of this world, and he was well endowed
with the qualities of nature; he belonged to a famous family and a well-known
tribe. His name was SHIBAN the Sa'ora (i.e. the Inspector or Visitor--Periodeutes).
He dwelt in the city which is called KHAN BALIGH or KHAN BALIK (i.e.
Pekin), that is to say (4) the royal city in the country of the East. He
married according to the law a woman whose name was KEYAMTA. And when they had
lived together for a long time, and they had no heir, they prayed to God
continually and besought Him with frequent supplications not to deprive them of
a son who would continue [their] race. And He who giveth comfort in His gracious
mercy received their petition, and He showed them compassion. For it is His wont
to receive the entreaty of those who are broken of heart, and-to hearken unto
the groaning of those who make supplications and petitions [to Him]. "
Everyone who asketh
HISTORY OF RABBAN SAWMA 125
receiveth; and he who seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it is opened to him " (Matt. vii. 8), He said, confidently concerning the certain hope. And behold, this is performed for both orders (i.e. sexes), namely, men and women, when petitions are presented with a right intention. For behold, Hanna, the wife of Halkana was not prohibited, seeing that she made entreaty with a right object (I Sam. i. 10 ff.), and the wife of Menokh (Manoah) was not rejected, and she received the angel readily in her chamber (Judges xiii. 2 f.).
Now God made the spirit of conception to breathe upon the woman Keyamta, and she brought forth a (5) son, and they called his name " SAWMA" [i.e. the son who was obtained by fasting; his full name was " BAR SAWMA," i.e.; the " son of the fast."]. And they rejoiced [with] a great joy, neighbours of his family and his relations rejoiced at his birth.
And when they had brought him (after a praiseworthy system of education) to
the period when he was capable of receiving instruction, they handed him over to
a worthy teacher, and before him (i.e. under his direction) they trained
him diligently in ecclesiastical learning; and they betrothed him to a maiden
and rejoiced in him. He was held to be worthy to receive the grade of priest,
and he was numbered among the ranks (?) of the clergy, and he became Keeper in
126 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
the church of above-mentioned city. He led a life of strict chastity and humility, and he devoted himself with great diligence to the acquisition of spiritual excellences, and he struggled to make himself fit for the things of the world which is to come. And when he was twenty years of age the divine fire was kindled in his heart, and it burned up the brambles (or thorny growth) of sin, and cleansed his chaste soul from impurity and contamination of every kind. For he preferred more than any other thing whatsoever the love of his Lord, and, grasping the plough, he was unwilling to look behind him (Luke ix. 62). He cast away forthwith the shadow of the world, and renounced straightway the desirable things thereof. (6) He esteemed dainty meats as things which had no existence, and he rejected wholly the drinks which make a man drunk.
Now when his parents perceived this, great pain overtook them, and acute sorrow cleaved to them, because their only son was separating himself from them. They rose up and with broken hearts made supplication to him, and brought before him promises of things of this world, saying, "Why, O our precious son, is separation from us beloved by thee? How is it that our affliction is desired by thee? Why is our mourning sweet in thy sight? Consider now. To whom will our wealth revert? Think, who is our heir? Ponder well who will be the master of the [produce of] our toil?
HISTORY OF RABBAN SAWMA 127
How can it possibly be pleasing to thee for our seed and name to be blotted out? Why doth the thought of thy heart suggest that strangers should be our heirs?" And having persuaded him with tears in this manner, and having stirred up grief in him by their lamentation and talk similar [to that given above], he hearkened to them outwardly, and dwelt with them as far as his body was concerned, but very unwillingly. And during the three years in which he ministered to his parents according to the body, he never (7) ceased from his toil, and he contended continually in his laborious career.
And when [his parents] saw that their exhortations were of no avail, and
that, in comparison with the love of Christ, their words were accounted as
nothing, they left him to perform his desire. Then he divided all his
possessions, that is to say, his apparel and his clothing generally (or
furniture), among the poor, and took the garb of the monk; and he received the
tonsure from the holy and pious father, Mar Giwargis (George) the Metropolitan.
And he began to toil in the vineyard of his Lord with the hope of the kingdom
which is to come, and the confidence the possession of heavenly happiness, and
that he would receive the whole dinar as his wages. (Matt. xx. 1-16). He
set apart a cell for himself and he shut himself up therein seven years; and
after that [period] he decided to remove
128 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
himself from the children of men, and to practice himself in the ascetic life in the mountain, in a place which was wholly isolated, so that he might rest there [undisturbed] in his life as a recluse. Then he set out and went a journey of one day from their [i.e. his parents'] city, and he elected to dwell there. And he found (8) a certain place where there was a cave, and there was by the side of it in that mountain a spring of water. And he dwelt there peacefully and thanked his Lord, which held him to be so worthy that at length the report of him went forth in that region, and men used to gather together about him to hear his words, and honour was set apart for him (i.e. ascribed to him) by every man.
THE HISTORY OF MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA,
THE CATHOLICUS AND PATRIARCH OF THE EAST.
In the foreknowledge of God everything is known. And the thoughts of the
children of men, whether they belong to the right hand (i.e. be good), or
whether they belong to the left hand (i.e. be bad), all of them, even
before they are formed in the breast, are revealed unto Him. He therefore, in
accordance with their character, elects and makes righteous [if they be good],
and because of them [if they be bad] He chastiseth and punisheth. Now unto Moses
it was said, "Behold, I have given thee [as] God to Pharaoh." (Exod.
vii. I). And his election maketh known concerning the good disposition [of
Moses] (9) and the hardness of the heart of Pharaoh. For even before
Pharaoh existed, it was known [to God] that he would be hard: [of heart], and he
was rejected. For unto Jeremiah God said, " Before I had formed thee in the
belly I knew thee, 'and before thou didst go forth from the womb I sanctified
thee and gave thee to be a prophet to the nations" (Jer. i. 5). And Paul
said, "God hath not cast aside His people who from the very beginning were
known to Him" (Rom. xi. I, 2),
130 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
because assuredly, of [their] good will and pure thoughts. Now, certain characteristics of election make themselves visible in the person of him that is elected, and certain radiances shine forth from him which makes known that he is worthy of grace. The man who hath an enlightened mind perceiveth these, but the man who hath not an understanding mind knoweth them not. Since the person about whom we are going to speak was elected because of his superior discipline (or, exalted life), it is necessary for us to describe the manner of his election, and show how of a certainty it contributed to the perfect will.
There was, in the city of KAWSHANG, of the country of the East, a certain righteous and believing man (10), pure and spotless, who served God continually in His church, and observed His laws strictly and carefully. [The city of Kawshang, i.e. Kung-Tschang lay between Pekin and Tangut, and was about fifteen days' journey from the former city. Chabot would identify it with Ho-tchung-fu in the province of Shan-si.] His name was BAYNIEL; he was an archdeacon and he had four sons. The youngest of them [who was born in the year of our Lord 1245] was called MARKOS (Mark), and he was trained in ecclesiastical learning more than all his brethren……….
[The text is defective here, or some words have been omitted.]
HISTORY OF YAHBH-ALLAHA 131
and they admonished (or exhorted) him concerning these and much like matters, and it seemed to them that they might be talking rather to a statue than to a rational man. But even after suffering affliction in many ways he did not turn back from his course, and his mind did not resist from its quest. On the contrary he made straight his aim, and after fifteen days of great labour he arrived at the place where RABBAN SAWMA was. And he gave the salutation of peace to RABBAN SAWMA, who rejoiced in him and received him gladly.
And after MARK had rested and was refreshed RABBAN SAWMA asked him, saying, "My son, whence comest thou? And how did it happen to thee that thou hast come to this mountain? (11) In what city do thy kinsfolk dwell? Who is thy father, and whose son art thou? "
And MARK answered him, saying, " I am the son of Bayniel the archdeacon of the city of Kawshang, and I am called ' Mark.' "
And RABBAN SAWMA said unto him, "What is thy reason for coming to me
with such labour and fatigue?" And MARK said unto him, "I wish to
become a monk (or anchorite). Because I heard the report of thee I dropped
everything and have sought thee; deprive me not of my desire." And RABBAN
SAWMA said unto him, "O our brother, this path is difficult. Even the old
[and experienced] monks endure the hardness
132 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
thereof with the greatest difficulty; shall I permit youths and children to
Journey on it?" And having besought him for many reasons to return to his
parents, and MARK having refused to do so, RABBAN SAWMA admitted him [to his
cell] and taught him; and he clothed him in a woollen garment, and made him to
labour in the ascetic life. After three years MARK received the tonsure, that is
to say the garb of the monk, from the pious Metropolitan MAR NESTORIS (Nestorius)
on the first day of the week, or the Sunday [when the prayer beginning] "Rukha
Paraklita" is said. And he continued to perform many ascetic labours and
kept the fasts which lasted all day until the evening. And [the monks] in that
mountain used to toil in (12) the cultivation of purity and holiness, and
they were comforted by God unto Whom they had committed their souls.
RABBAN SAWMA AND RABBAN MARKOS WISH
One day they meditated, saying, "It would be exceedingly helpful to us if we were to leave this region and set out for the West, for we could then [visit] the tombs of the holy martyrs and Catholic Fathers and be blessed [by them]. And if Christ, the Lord of the Universe, prolonged our lives, and sustained us by His grace, we could go to Jerusalem, so that we might receive complete pardon for our offences, and absolution for our sins of foolishness. Now although RABBAN SAWMA opposed RABBAN MARK, and [tried to] frighten him with the toil of the journey, and the fatigue of travelling, and the terror of the ways, and the tribulations that would beset him in a (13) foreign country, RABBAN MARK burned to set out on the road. His mind seemed to reveal to him that there were treasures laid up for him in the West, and he pressed RABBAN SAWMA with his words, and importuned him to depart. And the two of them having agreed together that neither of them should be separated from his companion, even if one of them might have to
134 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
submit to what was evil for his sake, they rose up and distributed their furniture, and the objects which they used in everyday life, among the poor, and they went to that city (i.e. Pekin) so that they might take companions for the journey [i.e. join a caravan] and provide themselves with food for the way.
Now when the Christians who were living there became acquainted with them, and knew their intention, they gathered together about them so that they might make them abandon their plan. And they said [unto them}, "Peradventure ye do not know how very far off that region is to which ye would go? Or, perhaps ye have not the least idea in your minds, or have forgotten, how difficult it will be for you to travel over the roads, and that ye will never reach there? Nay, sit ye down here, and strive to perform the works whereunto ye have been called. For it is said, 'The kingdom of heaven is within you'" (Luke xvii. 21). And RABBAN SAWMA and RABBAN MARK replied, "It is a long time since we (14) put on the garb of the monastic life, and we have renounced the world; we consider ourselves to be dead men in respect of it. Toil doth not terrify us, neither doth fear disturb us. There is, however, one thing which we ask of you: for the love of Christ pray for us. And ye shall cast away the word which would produce doubt (or hesitation), and shall make supplication to God that our desire may be
TRAVELS OF SAWMA AND MARKOS 135
fulfilled." [And the Christians of that city] said, "Depart in peace." And they kissed each other, and parted with bitter tears and distressful words, saying, "Depart in peace. And may our Lord, Whom ye seek, be with you, and may He allot to you that which is pleasing to Him, and will be of help to you! Amen."
And RABBAN SAWMA and RABBAN MARK came to the city of KAWSHANG. And when the people of the city and the parents of RABBAN MARK heard that these two monks had come there, they went out to meet them with joy, and they welcomed them with gladness and delight, and they escorted them into the church with great honour. And they enquired of them how they had come to make the journey thither. Now they thought that the two monks were going to tarry with them, and that RABBAN MARK had done so in order that he might be near the people of his family (I5). And when they knew of a certainty that they were going to Jerusalem, and that they had made their plan to travel to the West, they suffered greatly and were sorely afflicted.
And the report of the arrival of the two monks reached the lords of that city, KONBOGHA (i.e. Sun-worshipper) and IFOGHA (or IBOGHA) (i.e. Moon-worshipper), the sons-in-law of the King of Kings, KUBLAI KHAN (Plate XII), and as soon as they heard the report they sent messengers and had
136 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
the two monks brought to the Camp. And they received them with gladness, and the fire of love for them burned in their breasts. And when the Lords knew that they were "going to flee from us," they began to say unto them, "Why are ye leaving this country of ours and going to the West? For we have taken very great trouble to draw hither monks and fathers from the West. How can we allow you to go away?" RABBAN SAWMA said unto them, "We (16) have cast away the world. And as long as we live in the society of men there will be no peace to us. Therefore it is right that we should flee because of the love of Christ, Who gave Himself unto death for our redemption. Whatsoever is in the world we have cast behind us. Although your love moveth us not to depart, and your gracious goodness would hold us fast, and your alms are bestowed upon us lavishly; and although it is grateful to us to sojourn with you, we remember the Lord's word which saith, 'What shall it profit a man if he possess the whole world and lose his soul? And what shall a man give as a substitute for his soul?' (Matt. xvi. 26). We earnestly desire the separation, but wherever we shall be we shall always remember, according to our feebleness, both by night and by day, your kingdom in [our] prayers."
And when the Lords of the city saw that their words had no effect upon them, and that they would
TRAVELS OF SAWMA AND MARKOS 137
not yield to their persuasion, they selected for them gifts, namely, beasts on which to ride, and gold, and silver, and wearing apparel [and rugs]. Then the two monks said, "We have no need of any [of these things]. For what can we do with these possessions? (17) And how can we possibly carry such a weight [as] this?" And the kings mentioned above replied, "Ye have no knowledge of the length of this journey, and the expenses which it demands. We, however, do know, and we advise you not to set out empty [handed]; if ye do ye will be unable to arrive at the place which ye have decided to be your destination. Accept then these gifts from us as a loan (or trust), and if some occasion of necessity should befall you, spend what ye need from them; if, on the other hand, the necessity does not arise, and ye arrive safe and sound, distribute them among the monasteries and habitations of the monks which are there, and the Fathers (i.e. Bishops), so that we may enjoy association with our Western Fathers. For it is said, 'Let your superfluity be [a supply] for those who are in want' " (2 Cor. viii. 13). Then the two monks, seeing that the kings were giving with a sincere heart, accepted what they gave to them. And they bade farewell to them sorrowfully, and they shed tears wherewith joy was mingled.
And they came from thence to the city of TANGOTH [i.e. TANGKUT, or TANGAT, or THANGCHU,
138 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
a country in Central Asia; its capital was HIATCHEU, or NING-HIA-FU]. When the people of that city heard (18) that RABBAN SAWMA and RABBAN MARK had come there in order to go to Jerusalem, they went forth eagerly to meet them, that is to say, old men and women, young men and youths, and boys and young children, for the people of TANGOTH were ardent believers, and their minds were pure. And they loaded the two monks with gifts of every kind, and they received their blessings, and a crowd escorted them on their way, and shed tears, saying, "The Lord Who hath elected you to the honour of His service shall Himself be with you. Amen."
And from there they went to the country of LOTON [? KHOTAN, or HO-THIAN, or YUTHIAN, a city between TANGOTH and KASHGAR], a toilsome and fatiguing journey of two months; the region was a bare and barren desert and it was without inhabitants, because its waters were bitter, and no crops are sown there. And on the whole journey there were only eight days when, with the greatest difficulty, was sweet water found which the travellers could carry with them.(1) And in the days when they arrived at LOTON it happened that a war was raging between the King of Kings (19) KUBLAI KHAN and King OKO ['O-'ho, Commander-in-chief of the army of Mien?].
(1) Or perhaps the meaning is, "was sweet water found wherewith to load (i.e. to fill) the water-skins."
TRAVELS OF SAWMA AND MARKOS 139
And OKO had fled from him and had entered [this] country, and destroyed thousands of men therein. The caravan roads and ways had been cut, and grain (?) was scarce and could not be found; and many died of hunger and perished through want.
And after six months the two monks went forth from that place and came to the country of KASHKAR [or KASHGAR, a city on the frontiers of CHINA and TURKESTAN]. And they saw that the city was empty of its inhabitants, because it had been already plundered by the enemy. And because the aim of the monks was right, and they pleased God with all their hearts, He delivered them from every affliction, and no suffering attacked them, and He saved them from obstructions by highway robbers and thieves.
And they came to the place where King KAIDO [a nephew of KUBLAI KHAN] was encamped by the Teleos (i.e. TALAS). And they went into his presence, and prayed that his life would be preserved, and they blessed his kingdom, and they asked him for a written order so that no man in his country might do them harm. And with the greatest difficulty (20) and in a state of exhaustion whereto fear was added, they arrived at KHORASAN, [a province of north-eastern Persia, which lay between Persian 'Irak and Afghanistan]. Having lost the greater part of what they had on the road, they went to the monastery of Saint MAR SEHYON,
140 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
which was in the neighbourhood of the city of TUS [the capital of KHORASAN], and they were blessed by the bishop who lived therein and by the monks. And they thought (i.e. felt) that they had been born into the world anew, and they gave thanks unto God in Whom they had trusted; they had placed their hope in Him, and had been delivered, for He is the sustainer and helper of every one who maketh entreaty unto Him.
And having enjoyed the conversation of those brethren they set out to go to ADHORBIJAN [a frontier province of Persia, on the north-west], so that they might travel from there to BAGHDAD, to MAR DENHA, the Catholicus [he succeeded MAKIKA A.GR. I577=A.D. 1266, according to Bar Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., sect. ii, p. 439]. Now; it happened that Mar Catholicus had come to MARAGHAH [a town of ADHORBIJAN the capital of HULAGU KHAN], and they met him there. And at the sight of him their joy grew great, and their gladness was increased, and their minds were made to be at peace, and their anxious thoughts were set at rest. And they fell down on the ground before him, and they wept as they did homage to him (21) and they behaved as if they saw our Lord JESUS CHRIST in the person of MAR DENHA, the Catholicus. May his memory be for blessing! And they said unto him, "The mercies of God [shown to us] are many, and His grace is poured out abundantly upon us since
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we have seen the glorious and spiritual face of our General Father." And when he asked them, "Whence [come] ye?" they replied, "From the countries of the East, from KHAN BALIK, the city of the King of Kings [KUBLAI] KHAN. We have come to be blessed by you, and by the Fathers (i.e. Bishops), and the monks, and the holy men of this quarter of the world. And if a road [openeth] to us, and God hath mercy upon us, we shall go to JERUSALEM.
And when the Catholicus saw their tears, and that they were moved with gladness at their meeting with him, his mercy showed itself unto them, and he comforted them and said unto them, Assuredly, O my sons, the Angel of Providence shall protect you on this difficult journey, and he shall be a guide unto you until the completion of your quest. Let not your toil make you sad, for it is said in the Prophet (22) 'Those who sow in tears, shall reap in joy' (Ps. cxxvi. 5). That for which ye hope ye shall attain, and in return for the sufferings and tribulations which ye will have to bear, ye shall receive a perfect recompense and wages twofold in this world, and never-failing good things and never-ending delights in the world which is to come." And they did homage to him, and gave thanks to him.
And having enjoyed intercourse with him for a few days they brought forward [the following]
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request: " If we have found mercy (i.e. favour) in the eyes of Mar our Father, let him permit us to go to BAGHDAD, in order that we may receive a blessing from the holy sepulchres (or relics?) of MAR MARI [the disciple of Saint ADDAI, Bar Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., sect. ii, p. 15], the Apostle, the teacher of the East, and those of the Fathers that are there. And from there we would go to the monasteries that are in the countries of BETH GARMAI and in NISIBIS that we may be blessed there also, and demand assistance."
And when the Catholicus saw the beauty of their object, and the innocence of their minds, and the honesty of their thoughts, he said unto them, "Go ye, my sons, and may Christ, the Lord of the Universe, grant unto you your petition (23) from His rich and overflowing treasury, and may He grant you a full measure of His grace, and may His compassion accompany you whithersoever ye go. And he wrote for them a pethikha (i.e. a letter of introduction) to these countries so that they might be honourably entreated whithersoever they went; and he sent with them a man to show them the way, and to act as guide along the roads.
And they arrived in Baghdad, and thence they went to the Great Church of KOKE [at Ctesiphon wherein every Catholicus was consecrated]. And they went to the monastery of MAR MARI, the Apostle, and received a blessing from the sepulchres
TRAVELS OF SAWMA AND MARKOS 143
(or relics?) of that country. And from there they turned back and came to the country of BETH GARMAI, and they received blessings from the shrine (or tomb) of MAR EZEKIEL [the prophet, near Dakok], which was full of helps and healings. And from there they went to ARBIL, and thence to MAWSIL (i.e. Mosul on the Tigris). And they went SHIGAR (SINJAR), and NISIBIS, and MERDA (MARDIN); and were blessed by the shrine [containing] the bones of MAR AWGIN, the second CHRIST. And thence they went to GAZARTA of BETH ZABHDAI, and they were blessed by all the shrines and monasteries, and the religious houses, and monks, and the Fathers (i.e. Bishops) in their dioceses. And they paid the vows which they had laid upon themselves, and they spread (24) tables of food [wherefrom all might eat], and they gave alms and oblations wherever they went. And they turned back and came to the holy monastery of MAR MICHAEL of TAR'IL. And they bought a cell, and both of them were received by the monks who were there. And the thought which made them toil through the journey had rest, although they had not arrived at the end of [their] expectation.
Now when MAR DENHA or DENKHA, the Catholicus, heard of their manner of life, he sent and asked them to go to him; and they went forthwith and gave him the customary salutation.
And he said unto them, " We have heard that ye
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have been received into a monastery. This however, doth not please us. For whilst the two of you sojourn in the monastery ye will be able to make perfect your own peace (or rest), and that is all that ye will do, but if ye abide with us ye will bring benefit and peace (or rest) to the whole community. Therefore stay ye with us, and support the Door of the Kingdom [compare Sublime Porte] in whatever manner cometh to your hands." And they said unto him, "Whatsoever thou commandest (25), O our Father, we will do." And the Catholicus said unto them, "Ye shall go to King ABGHA [or ABAGHA KHAN, or ABAKA KHAN, the son and successor of HULAGU KHAN, and great grandson of Chingiz Khan, who ascended the throne of Persia as the second Mongol Khan in 1265], and obtain for us PUKDANE (i.e. written orders, or letters patent confirming his appointment as Catholicus)." And the two monks said unto him, "Thus shall it be, but let Mar our Father send with us a man who shall take the Pukdana [from the king] and give it to him (i.e. the Catholicus), and we will go on from there to JERUSALEM." And the Catholicus granted them this [request], and gave them blessings on their journey.
And when the two monks went to the Blessed Camp, the Amirs
brought them in before the King, and he asked them about the object of their
coming, and what their native country was;
TRAVELS OF SAWMA AND MARKOS 145
and they made a reply to him which revealed unto him their object. And ABHGHA KHAN commanded the nobles of his kingdom to fulfil their petition, and to give them the written orders (Pukdane)which they had asked for. And the two monks sent the written order which Mar Catholicus had demanded to him by the hands of his messenger, and they and their companions set out for JERUSALEM.
And when they arrived at the city of Animto [i.e. ANI, the ancient capital of Christian ARMENIA, situated on an affluent of the river Araxes], and saw (26) the monasteries and the churches therein, they marvelled at the great extent of the buildings and at their magnificence. And thence they went towards BETH GURGAYE (i.e. the country of Georgia), so that they might travel by a clear (or safe?) road, but when they arrived there they heard from the inhabitants of the country that the road was cut because of the murders and robberies which had taken place along it.146 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
And the two monks turned back and came to Mar Catholicus, who
rejoiced [at the sight of] them, and said unto them, "This is not the time
for a journey to JERUSALEM. The roads are a disturbed state, and the ways are
cut. Now behold, ye have received blessings from all the Houses of God, and the
shrines (or relics?) which are in them (27), and it is my opinion that
when a man visits them with a pure heart, the service thus paid to them is in no
way less than that of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I am now going to counsel you
with a council which is appropriate, and it is meet that ye should hearken unto
it. I have decided to appoint MARK Metropolitan, and to bestow upon him the
apostolic gift. As for thee RABBAN SAWMA, I am going to make thee
Visitor-General, and I am going to send the two of you, each back to his own
country." And those monks said unto him, "The word of Mar our Father
is from the command of Christ, and he who does not carry it out committeth
transgression of the command; nevertheless we
RABBAN MARK IS ORDAINED 147
will reveal our thought, and show forth what is hidden in our heart.
" We have not come from that country (i.e. China) in order to turn back and go again thither, and we do not intend to endure a repetition of the hardship which we have already suffered. For the man who is tripped up twice by the [same] stone (28) is a fool. And moreover, we declare that we are unworthy of this gift, and for defective creatures [like ourselves], a responsibility of this kind is too difficult. What we are seeking after is this: to dwell in a monastery and to serve Christ until we die." Then Catholicus said unto them, "This gift is suitable for you, and the responsibility befits your modesty." And when the two monks saw that their excuse was unavailing, they said, "The will of our Father be done." And the Catholicus said, "Hitherto no man hath called RABBAN MARK 'MAR MARK,' but I wish to call him by this name. And, moreover, I have thought out a plan [for doing so]. We will write down [on slips of paper a number of] names, and lay them upon the altar. And whichever name shall go forth [from among them] with some clearly recognizable indication, that we will call MARK."(1) And he did this, and
1 The terseness of this sentence renders it almost ununderstandable. The Patriarch having decided to make Mark Metropolitan Bishop, wished to give him a Syriac name, and to hear him called "Mar(i)" i.e. "My Lord," but he could not make up his mind as to the name Mark should in future be known by. Therefore, he resorted to "pious divinations." He wrote certain names on slips, and laid them face downwards on the Altar and, presumably, prayed. Whether someone, either the Patriarch or a Priest, then drew out a slip as in a lottery, or whether the slip bearing the chosen name separated itself from the other slips under some supernatural influence, cannot be said.
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the name of YAHBH-ALLAHA came forth, and the Catholicus said, "This is from the blessed Lord, blessed be He!" And they were each worthy [of honour]. And RABBAN MARK received the rank of Metropolitan of the See of KATI [i.e. Kathay, or Northern China], and ONG [i.e. WANG, or HUANG], from MAR DENHA, the Catholicus, when he was thirty-five years of age [in the year 1280] (29). And RABBAN SAWMA also received a blessing from him, and was named "Visitor-General." And they both took letters of introduction; each man's letter being drawn up according to the requirements of his service.
And after a few days a report came to the effect that the road by which they had travelled there was wholly cut off, and that it was impossible for any man to use it, for the hearts of the kings of the two frontiers were changed [i.e. were hostile to each other and they were fighting], namely, the king on the one side of the [river] GIHON (i.e. the Oxus), and the king of the other side. And therefore the luminaries (i.e. RABBAN
RABBAN MARK IS ORDAINED 149
SAWMA and MARK the Metropolitan) returned to the monastery of MAR MICHAEL of TAR'IL, and they sat down in their cell for two years, more or less.
And one night when MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA was sleeping he saw a dream, and it seemed to him that he went into a great church, and that there were in the church images of the saints, and that in the midst of them there was the CROSS (30). And he stretched out his right arm in order to receive a blessing from it, and as he stretched forward his arm, the Cross receded from him, and it ascended until it came to the top (roof?) of the temple, where he grasped it and kissed it, and then he went out of the church.
And he saw lofty trees that were laden with different kinds
of hard fruits, and various soft fruits, and he began to pluck and to eat them,
and he gave [some of them] to the crowd of people who were gathered together,
and fed them therewith. And when he woke up he showed the dream to RABBAN SAWMA,
saying, "I have seen a dream and it troubleth me." And RABBAN SAWMA
said unto him, "Relate thy dream to me." And when he had related it to
him RABBAN SAWMA interpreted it, saying, "That thy arm extended itself
after thou hadst stretched it out to be blessed by the CROSS and by the images
of the saints, showeth that thou wilt attain to the great stature [i.e.
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highest rank] of the Fathers (or Bishops). And that thou didst eat of the fruit of the trees, and didst give of them to the people to eat, showeth that thou wilt thyself enjoy the heavenly gift which resteth upon thee, and that thou wilt also make many people enjoy that same gift."
And again, on another night, MAR YAHBH ALLAHA saw another (31)
vision. It seemed him as if he were sitting upon a high throne and that many
people were gathered together round about him, and he was teaching [them] And as
he was speaking his tongue became long and longer until the greater part of it
went forth from his mouth; and then it became divided into three portions, and
there appeared on the tip of each portion something which was like unto fire.
And the people who were there marvelled and glorified God. And when he awoke he
again related his dream to RABBAN SAWMA, who said unto him, "This is no
dream, for it is a revelation and it resembleth a revelation; and it differeth
in no way from [the revelation of] the Spirit which in the form of tongues of
fire rested upon the Apostles (Acts ii. 3). And assuredly the Holy Spirit
resteth upon thee, and the patriarchal throne shall be given into thy hands, so
that thou mayest complete His service, and minister to its operation" (32).
YAHBH-ALLAHA IS ELECTED PATRIARCH.
Now whilst these things were taking place, MAR DENHA, the
Catholicus, was still alive, but he had been suffering from sickness for a long
time in BAGHDAD. And many of the monks and Fathers (i.e. Bishops) had
been seeing visions which resembled those [described above]. And after a few
days there arose in MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA the thought that he would go to the
Catholicus in BAGHDAD so that he might receive from him a blessing, and the birona
(i.e. pontifical cloak Bippiov) and pastoral staff that they might go with
him to his country. And when he arrived in the neighbourhood of BAGHDAD, a
certain man who was an acquaintance of his met him, and said unto him, "The
Catholicus is dead, but peradventure if thou wilt urge on thy caravan thy wilt
arrive before he is buried." Then, with great anguish and a sorrowful
heart, Mar Yahbh-Allaha set out and pressed on quickly until he came to the door
of the church; and when he had gone inside he saw some groups of people weeping
(33) and some groups praying. And he went up to the bier, and cast aside
his turban, and rent his garments, and wept so bitterly and with such
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anguish that at length he fell down upon the ground like a dead man. After a time the people lifted him up, and put his turban on him, and spake words of consolation to him. And when the prayers for the dead were ended [the Catholicus] was buried [on February 24, 1281]--may his memory be for blessing! And the Fathers returned to the Cell [which was actually a palace] of the Catholicus.
And on the following day the Fathers gathered together to elect a person suitable to sit on the [patriarchal] Throne. There were present the following: first and foremost there was MARAN-'AMMEH, Metropolitan of ELAM. Another was [the Metropolitan of] TANGOTH [in China]; another was [the Metropolitan of] TIRAHAN near Samarra in 'Irak; and another was [the Metropolitan of] TURE [i.e. TUR 'ABHDIN]. And with these were the nobles, and governors, and scribes, and lawyers, and physicians of BAGHDAD. And one said, "this man shall be Patriarch," and another said, "that man shall be Patriarch," until at length they all agreed that MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA should be the head and governor of the Throne of SELEUCIA and CTESIPHON (34). The reason for his election was this: The kings who held the steering poles of the government of the whole world were MUGLAYE (Mongols), and there was no man except MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA who was acquainted with their manners and customs,
YAHBH-ALLAHA ELECTED PATRIARCH 153
and their policy of government, and their language. And when [the nobles of Baghdad] said these things to him he made excuses and demurred to their statements, saying, "I am deficient in education and in ecclesiastical doctrine, and the member of my tongue halteth. How can I possibly become your Patriarch? And moreover, I am wholly ignorant of your language, Syriac, which it is absolutely necessary for the Patriarch to know." And having pressed upon him their quest, he agreed to their opinion and accepted [the office]. And all the aged men, and priests, and nobles, and scribes, and also the physicians, gave their support to him.
And MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA rose up and came to the holy monastery of MAR MICHAEL of TAR'IL, where Rabban Sawma was. Now the monks had already heard of the death of the holy Father, Mar Denha, and when MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA arrived, they received him with gladness, and comforted him; and they [told] him that they approved of his being elected Catholicus. It was a divine movement, and an act (35) which proceeded from God, and which all creation was compelled to carry out. And when he talked to RABBAN SAWMA, the Rabban said unto him, "This is a divine matter, from which thou canst not possibly ask for release; therefore let us go forthwith to King ABHGHA (or ABAGA), and if he consents thereto we shall receive the conclusion."
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And they rose up and set out for ADHORBIJAN together with the aged and venerable men, and Fathers (i.e. Bishops), and monks who accompanied them, for at that time the kings used to pass the summer in that place. And they arrived at the place where the king was at BLACK MOUNTAIN, which is known in Persian as SIA KUH, and the Amirs introduced them, and put forward their request. And the monks said unto the king, "May the king live for ever! The Catholicus is dead, and all the Christians wish and have agreed together that this Metropolitan who hath come from the countries of the East to go to Jerusalem should stand in his place. What doth the king command?" And Abhgha replied, "This purity (or sincerity) of thoughts and conscience (36) is worthy of admiration. And God is with those who seek Him and do His will. This man and his companion have come from the East to go to JERUSALEM; this hath happened to them through the wish of God. We also will minister to the Divine Will and the entreaty of the Christians; he shall stand for them as their head and shall sit upon the Throne."
And he took Mar Yahbh-Allaha by the hand and said unto him, " Be strong and rule, and may God be with thee and support thee." And he covered his head with a cloak, for a cloak was lying on his shoulders, and he gave him his own chair of state (sandali) which was a small throne.
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And he gave him also a parasol (shather), which is called in Mongolian sukor, and this is raised up above the heads of kings and queens, and their children, and it is sufficient to keep away from them the strength of the sun and rain; but on most occasions parasols are spread over them to do them honour. And the king gave him also a PAIZA of gold, which is the sign (or symbol) of these kings, and the customary Pukdane, that is to say, written commands, which authorized him to have dominion over every one (37), and the great seal which had formerly belonged to the Catholicus, his predecessor. And he allotted to him the large sum of money which was necessary to pay the expenses of the laying on of hands.
Then Rabban Sawma and MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA rose up and came to Baghdad. And they went to the Great Church of KOKE, and MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA received the Xeipotovia, that is to say, the laying on of hands, to hold the steering poles of the government of the Oriental Church. And he sat on the throne of SELEUCIA and CTESIPHON through the offices of the holy Father, MARAN 'AMMEH, Metropolitan of ELAM, the disposer and keeper of the Apostolic Throne, and through the Fathers who were present there, and who were:- MAR ISHO ZEKHA, Metropolitan of SUBHA (NISIBIS) and of ARMENIA.
MAR MOSES, Metropolitan of ARBIL.
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MAR GABRIEL, Metropolitan of MOSUL and NINEVAH.
MAR ELIJAH, Metropolitan of DAKUK and BETH GARMAI.
MAR ABRAHAM, Metropolitan of TRIPOLIS and JERUSALEM.
MAR JACOB, Metropolitan of SAMARKAND.
MAR JOHN (38) Metropolitan of ADHORBIJAN.
And the other Bishops, twenty-four in number, among whom were: -
[MAR JOSEPH, Bishop of SALAMIS.
MAR ABRAHAM, Bishop of USHNUK.
MAR JOHN, Bishop of SHUSHTAR.]
[These three names are added from Bedjan's note on p. 38 of this text.]
This laying on of hands took place in the month of the second Teshri, on the first Sunday of the "Consecration of the Church," in the year one thousand five hundred and ninety-three of the Greeks [i.e. in November, I28I], in the seven and thirtieth year of his age.
Now it happened that in the winter of that year King ABHGHA came down to BAGHDAD, and MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA, the Catholicus, went to him on the Sabbath which came before the Lord's Fast (i.e. Lent). And he explained to him the affairs of the Christians [i.e. their actual condition], and found mercy (i.e. sympathy) in his sight. And the king bestowed upon him
YAHBH-ALLAHA ELECTED PATRIARCH 157
large gifts, and gave him a written authority (pukdana) to levy a tax each year on behalf of the churches, and monasteries, and monks, and priests, and deacons, thirty thousand dinars (nearly £15,000) or one hundred and eighty thousand white zuze. [The silver zuza=about 20d. of our money?]. And the Catholicus sent out [men] to exact a gift from the various countries equivalent to this amount. (39) Now when King Abhgha departed this temporary life the gift was withheld.
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THE FALSE ACCUSATIONS WHICH MAR YAHBH SUFFERED IN THE DAYS OF AHMAD THE KING.
About the events which immediately followed we will not prolong our discourse. [In short] after ABHGHA there rose up as king, his brother, AHMAD [who is also known as NEKUDAR, or TAKUDAR, who was baptized and was called NIKALEOS, or NICHOLAS], the son of HULAGU. He lacked education and knowledge, and he persecuted the Christians greatly because of his association with the HAGARAYE [i.e. the descendants of HAGAR, the Muhammadans], towards whose religion he leaned, and because of two of the envious old men (i.e. bishops}, who found the opportunity to fulfil their desire. They went into the king's presence through the help of certain erring men, one of whom was called (40) SHAMS AD-DIN, the lord of the DIWAN [the son of BEHAI AD-DIN MUHAMMAD] that is to say, chief of the scribes of the dumasion (. . .the State or Treasury), and the other was the Shakh 'ABD AR-RAHMAN. And they calumniated MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA the Catholicus, and RABBAN SAWMA, and made accusations against them [to the king], saying, "The hearts of these
THE FALSE ACCUSATIONS 159
men are with ARGHON, the son of ABHGHA, and they have written treasonable things against thee, O King, to the King of Kings KUBLAI KHAN. And the Amir if SHAMOT is a participator in the treason." The latter had been a monk and an ascetic, and was then the Eparch of the city of MOSUL and its district.
Now these two men used Ahmad as a tool in fulfilling their desire through the two old men who have already been mentioned, that is to say Isho'-Sabhran, Metropolitan of TANGOTH, and SIMON, Bishop of ARNI [or Arna, in the diocese of 'Akra]. These two bishops had plotted together and agreed that the one of them should become the Catholicus, and the other Metropolitan and Visitor-General. And this plan having, through the counsel of the Adversary, entered (41) their minds they contrived this scheme of theirs as we have described.
Now the king who lacked understanding, inasmuch as he had
cast God aside, did not ponder in his mind, saying, "These men can have no
benefit in this matter, why should they bring themselves to make false
accusations?" but he believed the words of the crafty ones. And by his
command MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA, the Catholicus, and RABBAN SAWMA and the Amir SHAMOT
were brought up into the Great House. After the written authorisations (Pukdane)
which he had given to them, he took away the house of Mar Catholicus, and the
Paiza [some words omitted?]. And when
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Mar Yahbh-Allaha and Rabban Sawma had gone into the Hall of Judgment, they did not know what was required of them, and they remained there stupefied, saying, "What have we done?" And the messenger who had brought them into the Hall of Judgment said unto them, "Your holy men, and the scribes, and the men of your Communion have made accusations against you before the king."
And the great Amirs, that is to say the judges said unto the Catholicus, "What evil thing hast thou seen in the king that thou shouldst lie concerning him, and shouldst send calumnies about him to the King of Kings, KUBLAI KHAN saying, 'This man hath abandoned the way of his (42) fathers and hath become a Muhammadan. And the Catholicus replied, "I do not understand." And the judges said unto him, "Thy scribes have declared these things against thee." And the judges brought the scribes, and when each one of them had been questioned by himself, every one of them stated that which he knew. And Mar Catholicus said, " O Amirs, why do ye weary yourselves? Fetch back that messenger, with whom are the letters, and examine them. If this accusation which hath been made against me is [proved] true, I will die ungrudgingly an in my own blood. But if it be [proved] to a false, it rests with you to judge and to take vengeance [on my behalf]."
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And the Amirs accepted this proposal, and they made it known to the king, and the king sent after the messenger, and took back from him all the letters in the neighbourhood of Khorasan. And when the letters had been opened and read, there was found in them nothing which any way resembled the accusations. But the judges said nothing about this to [the accusers of the Catholicus], and therefore we know that they had taken the letters as a pretext.
And the Catholicus remained in prison for forty days, more (43) or less, in great anxiety, and bitter suffering and anguish all day long, until God in His mercy visited him, and he as saved from death. Now King Ahmad as exceedingly wroth with him, and as the thirsty man longeth for cool waters, even so did the king thirst to shed his blood. And would have done so had it not been for the Angel of Providence who governs this holy throne, and who wrought upon the mother of the king [KUTUI KHATUN], and upon the Amirs, and prevented him from carrying into effect the thought which he had devised. And further, through the word of those whom we have mentioned, the Catholicus found mercy in the sight of the king, and he gave him [back] the Letter of Authority (Pukdana) and the Paiza, and he made his heart happy and sent him back.
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Then Mar Yahbh-Allaha said farewell to the king and went to the city of URMI. And he saw a vision (or dream) in the church of MART MARYAM, and he knew that he would never see the king again. And after some days he arrived in the city of MARAGHAH, he and the bishops who had made accusations against him. And King AHMAD and his troops went to KHORASAN in order to seize King ARGHON, the son of King ABHGHA. And he had made a pact with the two persons who have been mentioned above, and with the chiefs of the Arabs (44), that when he had seized that prince (ARGHON) he should slay the rest of the royal children, and that he should become Khalifah in Baghdad, and put an end to the life of the Catholicus also. But his thought returned empty, and his plan had no result, for the Lord setteth aside the thoughts of the children of men, and establisheth His design. He dismisseth kings and maketh kings to pass away, but His kingdom standeth for ever. And the armies of AHMAD were scattered--now, the greater number of the troops took the side of ARGHON and Ahmad was captured and killed [in the year 1284].
One night, before he had heard of what had happened to AHMAD the king, MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA had a dream. And it seemed to him that a young man of handsome appearance came to him carrying a dish, which was covered over
MURDER OF AHMAD KHAN 163
with a napkin, in his hands, and he said unto the Catholicus, "Stand up, and eat what is laid on the dish." And when he drew back the cloth he found a boiled head [of a man] in the dish, and he ate the whole head leaving nothing except he bones of the jaw. And the young man said unto him, "Dost thou know (45) what thou hast eaten?" And the Catholicus said unto him, "No." And the young man said unto him, "This was the head of King AHMAD"; and the Catholicus awoke straightway and was frightened. And a few days later the report of the murder of the king, which hath already been mentioned, arrived, and the news that King ARGHON was reigning. And the joy of the Catholicus was great, not because of the death of Ahmad, but because ARGHON had become king.
And there and then the Catholicus, and the old men and the monks went to offer their congratulations to King ARGHON, and to pay the homage which the Christians were in duty bound to pay to their kings according to the apostolic commandment, "Let every soul be in subjection to the supreme powers who are in authority, for there is no authority existing which is not from God" (Rom. xiii. I). And having seen King ARGHON and congratulated him, the Catholicus prayed for the permanence of his kingdom. And Arghon paid him very great honour, and magnified his grade when he heard what had happened to
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him through the king, his predecessor. And when he knew how the two holy bishops, who we have mentioned above, had served the Catholicus he commanded them to be destroyed. Then MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA (46), the Catholicus, said unto him, " O King, live for ever! We Christians have laws, and everyone who doth not fulfil them is called a transgressor of the law. Our law doth not demand the slaying of a man, but only the condemnation of [his] guilt; and behold, there are many kinds of punishment which those who discipline offenders can apply to him. By our law the sentence of death cannot be passed on these reverend men, but only the sentence of complete dismiss from that grade with the ministration which they have been entrusted." And this [advice] was pleasing in the eyes of the king, and he sent away the Catholicus in great honour, and he returned to his cell in great gladness. And when the venerable Fathers had gathered together to the Catholicus to salute him and to comfort him, a discussion (or enquiry) took place concerning the action of the old men who have already been mentioned. And after much debating, and after those old men had confessed their offence, they came to a decision and excommunicated both the bishops, and they were expelled from every ecclesiastical office [which they held].
(47)ON THE DEPARTURE OF RABBAN SAWMA TO THE COUNTRY OF THE ROMANS IN THE NAME OF KING ARGHON AND OF THE CATHOLICUS MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA.
Now MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA, the Catholicus, increased in power, and his honour before the King and Queens grew greater daily. He pulled down the church of MAR SHALITA which was in MARAGHAH, and he rebuilt it at very great expense. And instead of using [the old] beams [and making a single roof] he made [the new church] with two naves (haikili); and by the side of it he built a cell in which to live. For his affection for the house of King ARGHON was very warm, because ARGHON loved the Christians with his whole heart. And ARGHON intended to go into the countries of Palestine and Syria and to subjugate them and take possession of them, but he said to himself, "If the Western Kings, who are Christians, will not help me I shall not be able to fulfil my desire." Thereupon he asked the Catholicus to give him a wise man (48), "one who is suitable and is capable of undertaking an embassy, that we may send him to those kings." And when the Catholicus saw that there was no man who knew
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the language except Rabban Sawma, and knowing that he was fully capable of this, he commanded him to go [on the embassy].
Then RABBAN SAWMA said, "I desire this embassy greatly, and I long to go." Then straightway King ARGHON wrote for him "Authorities" (pukdana) to the king of the Greeks, and the king of the PEROGAYE (Franks?) that is to say Romans, and Yarlike [i.e. the "Ordinances" of the Mongolian kings], and letters, and gave him gifts for each of the kings [addressed by him]. And to RABBAN SAWMA he gave two thousand mathkale (£1,000?) of gold, and thirty good riding animals, and a Paiza (see above, pp. 62, 63). And RABBAN SAWMA came to the cell of the Catholicus to obtain letter from MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA, and to say farewell to him. The Catholicus gave his permission to depart (49), but when the time for his departure arrived, it did not please the Catholicus to permit him to go. For he said [unto Rabban Sawma], "How can this possibly take place? Thou hast been the governor of my cell, and thou knowest that through thy departure my affairs will fall into a state of utter confusion." And having said such words as
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these they said farewell to each other, weeping as they did
so. And the Catholicus sent with him letters, and gifts which were suitable for
presentation to Mar Papa (the Pope), and gifts [i.e. offerings] according
to his ability.
RABBAN SAWMA IN BYZANTIUM
And RABBAN SAWMA set out on his journey, and there went with him a number of excellent men from among the priests and deacons of the Cell of the Catholicus. And he arrived at BETH RHOMAYE [i.e. the territory of the Romans] on the borders of the Sea of Meka [the Black Sea?], he saw the church that was there, and [then] went down [i.e. embarked] in a ship and his companions were with him. Now there were more than three hundred souls in the ship, and each day he consoled them with [his] discourse on the Faith. Now the greater number of those who dwelt in the ship were Romans (i.e. Byzantine Greeks), and because of the savour of his speech they paid him honour in no small degree.
And after [some] days he arrived at the great city of CONSTANTINOPLE (50), and before they went into it he sent two young men to the Royal gate (Sublime Porte) to make known there that an ambassador of King Arghon had come. Then the king commanded certain people to go forth to meet them, and to bring them in with pomp and honour. And when RABBAN SAWMA went into168 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
the city, the king allotted to him a house, that is to say, a mansion in which to dwell. And after RABBAN SAWMA had rested himself, he went to visit the king BAEIAET'E [Andronicus II] and after he had saluted him, the king asked him, "How art thou after the workings of the sea and the fatigue of the road?" And RABBAN SAWMA replied, "With the sight of the Christian king fatigue hath vanished and exhaustion hath departed, for I was exceedingly anxious to see your kingdom, the which may our Lord establish!"
And after they had enjoyed food and drink RABBAN SAWMA asked the king to be allowed to see the churches and the shrines [or tombs] of the Fathers [i.e. Patriarchs], and the relics of the saints that were therein. And the king handed RABBAN SAWMA over to the nobles of his kingdom and (51) they showed him everything that was there.
First of all he went unto the great church of . . ., [i.e. the Church of Divine Wisdom], which has three hundred and sixty doors [i.e. pillars] all made of marble. As for the dome of the altar it is impossible for a man to describe it [adequately] to one who hath not seen it, and to say how high and how spacious it is. There is in this church a picture of the holy MARY which LUKE, the Evangelist, painted. He saw there also the hand of MAR JOHN the Baptist, and portions [of the bodies of] LAZARUS, and
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MARY MAGDALENE, and that stone which was laid on the grave of our Lord, when Joseph the . . . brought Him down from the Cross. Now MARY wept on that stone, and the place hereon her tears fell is wet even at the present time; and however often this moisture is wiped away the place becometh wet again. And he saw also the stone bowl in which our Lord changed the water into wine (52) at KATNE (Cana) of Galilee; and the funerary coffer of one of the holy women which is exposed to public view every year, and every sick person who is laid under it is made whole; and the coffer of MAR JOHN OF THE MOUTH OF GOLD (Chrysostom). And he saw also the stone on which SIMON PETER was sitting when the cock crew; and the tomb of King CONSTANTINE, the Conqueror, which was made of red stone (porphyry?); and also the tomb of JUSTINIAN, which was [built of] green stone; and also the BETH KAWMA (resting place) of the Three Hundred and Eighteen [orthodox] Bishops who were all laid in one great church; and their bodies have not suffered corruption because they had confirmed the [True] Faith. And he saw also many shrines of the holy Fathers, and many amulets of a magical character (talismata) and image[s] in bodily form made of bronze and stone (Eikons?).
And when RABBAN SAWMA went [back] to King BAEIAET'E he said, "May the king live
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for ever! I give thanks unto our Lord that I have been held
worthy to see these things. And now, if the king will permit me, I will go and
fulfil the command (53) of King ARGHON, for the command to me was to
enter the territory of the Progaye [i.e. Franks]." Then the
king entreated him with great kindness, and gave him gifts of gold and silver.
And he departed from Constantinople and went down to the sea. And he saw on the sea-shore a monastery of the Romans, and there were laid up in its treasure-house two funerary coffers of silver; in the one was the head of MAR JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, and in the other that of MAR PAPA who baptized CONSTANTINE. And he went down to the sea [i.e. embarked on a ship] and came to the middle thereof, where he saw a mountain from which smoke ascended all the day long and in the night time fire showed itself on it. And no man is able to approach the neighbourhood of it because of the stench of sulphur [proceeding therefrom]. Some people say that there is a great serpent there. This sea is called the "Sea of Italy." Now it is a terrible sea, and very many thousands of (54) people have perished therein. And after two months of toil, and weariness, and exhaustion, RABBAN SAWMA
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arrived at the sea-shore, and he landed at the name of which was NAPOLI (Naples); the name of its king was IRID SHARDALO [ =IL RE SHARL DU or, the King Charles II?]. And he went to the king and showed him the reason why they had come; and the king welcomed him and paid him honour. Now it happened that there was war between him and another king, whose name was IRID ARKON [=the King of Aragon, JAMES II?]. And the troops of the one had come in many ships, and the troops of the other were ready, and they began to fight each other, and the King of ARAGON (?) conquered King CHARLES II, and slew twelve thousand his men, and sunk their ships in the sea. [According to Chabot this naval engagement took place in the Bay of Sorrento on St. John's Day, June 24, 1287, and the great eruption of Mount Etna on June I8]. Meanwhile RABBAN SAWMA and his companions sat upon the roof the mansion in which they lived, and they admired the way in which the Franks waged war for they attacked none of the people except those who were actually combatants (55). And from that place they travelled inland on horses, and they passed through towns and villages and marvelled because they found no land which was destitute of buildings. On the road they heard that MAR PAPA [Honorius IV who died in 1287] was dead.
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And the Cardinals said unto him, "For the present rest thyself, and we will discuss the matter together later"; and they assigned to him a mansion and caused him to be taken down thereto.
Three days later the Cardinals sent and summoned RABBAN SAWMA to their presence. And when he went to them they began to ask him questions, saying, "What is thy quarter of the world, and why hast thou come?" And he replied in the selfsame words he had already spoken to them (57). And they said unto him, "Where doth the Catholicus live? And the Cardinals. And thus they did, and [their act] was pleasing to those Cardinals. And when RABBAN SAWMA went into their presence no man stood up before him, for by reason of the honourable nature of the Throne, the twelve Cardinals were not in the habit of doing this. And they made RABBAN SAWMA sit down with them, and one of them asked him, "How art thou after all the fatigue of the road?" And he made answer to him, "Through you prayers I am well and rested." And the Cardinal said unto him, "For what purpose hast thou
RABBAN SAWMA IN ITALY 173
come hither?" And RABBAN SAWMA said unto him, "The Mongols and the Catholicus of the East have sent me to Mar Papa concerning the matter of Jerusalem; and they have sent letters with me." And the Cardinals said unto him, "Fro the present rest thyself, and we will discuss the matter together later"; and they assigned to him a mansion and ccaused him to be taken down thereto
Three days later the Cardinals sent and summoned RABBAN SAWMA to their presence. And when he went to them they began to ask him questions, saying, "What is thy quarter of the world, and why has thou come?" And he replied in the selfsame words he had already spoden to them (57). And they said unto him, "Where doth the Catholixus live? And which of the Apostles taught the Gospel in thy quarter of the world ? " And he answered them, saying, "MAR THOMAS, and MAR ADDAI, and MAR MARI taught the Gospel in our quarter of the world, and we hold at the present time the canons [or statutes] which they delivered unto us." The Cardinals said unto him, "Where is the Throne of the Catholicus?" He said to them, "In BAGHDAD." They answered, What position hast thou there?" And he replied, " am a deacon in the Cell of the Catholicus, and the director of the disciples, and the Visitor-General." The Cardinals said, " It is a marvellous thing
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that thou who art a Christian, and a deacon of the Throne of the Patriarch of the East has come upon an embassy from the king of the Mongols."And RABBAN SAWMA said unto them, "Know ye, O our Fathers, that many of our Fathers have gone into the countries of the Mongols, and Turks, and Chinese and have taught them the Gospel, and at the present time there are many Mongols who are Christians. For many of the sons of the Mongol kings and queens (58) have been baptized and confess Christ. And they have established churches in their military camps, and they pay honour to the Christians, and there are among them many who are believers. Now the king [of the Mongols], who is joined in the bond of friendship with the Catholicus, hath the desire to take PALESTINE, and the countries of SYRIA, and he demandeth from you help in order to take JERUSALEM. He hath chosen me and hath sent me to you because, being a Christian, my word will be believed by you. "And the Cardinals said unto him, "What is thy confession of faith? To what 'way' art thou attached ? Is it that which Mar Papa holdeth to-day or some other one?" RABBAN SAWMA replied, "No man hath come to us Orientals from the Pope. The holy Apostle whose names I have mentioned taught us the Gospel, and to what they delivered unto us we have clung to the present day." The Cardinals
BELIEF OF RABBAN SAWMA 175
said unto him, "How dost thou believe? Recite thy belief, article by article." RABBAN SAWMA replied to them, saying:--
THE BELIEF OF RABBAN SAWMA, WHICH THE
CARDINALS DEMANDED FROM HIM.
"I believe in One God, hidden, everlasting, without beginning and without (59) end, Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit: Three Persons, coequal and indivisible; among Whom there is none who is first, or last, or young, or old: in Nature they are One, in Persons they are three: the Father is the Begetter, the Son is the Begotten, the Spirit proceedeth.
"In the last time one of the Persons of the Royal Trinity, namely the Son, put on the perfect man, Jesus Christ, from MARY the holy virgin; and was united to Him Personally (parsopaith), and in him saved (or redeemed) the world. In His Divinity He is eternally of the Father; in His humanity He was born [a Being] in time of MARY; the union is inseparable and indivisible for ever; the union is without mingling, and without mixture, and without compaction. The Son of this union is perfect God (60) and perfect man, two Natures (keyanin), and two Persons (kenomin)--one parsopa (. . .)
The Cardinals said unto him, "Doth the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father or from the Son, or is it separate?" RABBAN SAWMA replied,
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"Are the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit associated in the things which appertain to the Nature (keyana) or separate?" The Cardinals answered, "They are associated in the things which concern the Nature (keyana) but are separate in respect of individual qualities."RABBAN SAWMA said, "What are their individual qualities?" The Cardinals replied, "Of the Father, the act of begetting: of the Son the being begotten: of the Spirit the going forth (proceeding). RABBAN SAWMA said, "Which of Them is the cause of that Other?" And the Cardinals replied, "The Father is the cause of the Son, and the Son is the cause of the Spirit." RABBAN SAWMA said, "If they are coequal in Nature (keyana), and in operation, and in power, and in authority (or dominion), and the Three Persons (kenome) are One, how is it possible for one of Them to be the cause of the Other? For of necessity (61) the Spirit also must be the cause of some other thing; but the discussion is extraneous to the Confession of faith of wise men. We cannot find a demonstration resembling this statement of yours.
"For behold, the soul is the cause both of the reasoning power and the act of living, but the reasoning power is not the cause of the act of living. The sphere of the sun is the cause of light and heat, and heat is not the cause of light. Thus we think that which is correct,
BELIEF OF RABBAN SAWMA 177
namely, that the Father is the cause of the Son and the Spirit, and that both the Son and the Spirit are causations of His. Adam begot Seth, and made Eve to proceed [from him], and they are three; because in respect there is absolutely no difference between begetting and making to go forth (or proceed)."
Then the Cardinals said unto him, "We confess that the Spirit proceedeth from the Father and the Son, but not as we said, for we were only putting thy modesty [or, religious belief?] to the test. "And RABBAN SAWMA said, "It is not right that to something which is one, two, three, or four causes should be [assigned]; on the contrary I do not think that this resembleth our Confession of Faith. "Now though the Cardinals restrained (62) his speech by means of very many demonstrations, they held him in high esteem because of his power of argument.
Then RABBAN SAWMA said unto them, "I have come from remote countries neither to discuss, nor to instruct [men] in matter of the Faith, but I came that I might receive a blessing from MAR PAPA, and from the shrines of the saints and to make known the words of King [ARGHON] and the Catholicus. If it be pleasing in your eyes, let us set aside discussion, and do ye give attention and direct someone to show us the churches here and the shrines of the saints; [if ye will
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do this] ye will confer a very great favour on your servant and disciple."
Then the Cardinals summoned the Amir of the city and certain
monks and commanded them to show him the churches and the holy places that were
there; and they went forth straightway and saw the places which we will now
mention. First of all they went into the church of PETER and PAUL. Beneath the
Throne is a naos, and in this is laid (63) the body of SAINT PETER, and
above the throne is an altar. The altar which is in the middle of that are,
temple has four doorways, and in each of these two folding doors worked with
designs in fro; MAR PAPA celebrates the Mass at this altar, and no person
besides himself may stand on the bench of that altar. Afterwards they saw the
Throne of MAR PETER whereon they make MAR PAPA to sit when they appoint him. And
the also saw the strip of fine [or thin] linen on which our Lord impressed His
image and sent to King ABHGAR of URHAI (Edessa). Now the extent of that temple
and its splendour cannot be described; it stands on one hundred and eight
pillars. In it is another altar at which the King of their Kings receives the
laying on of hands [i.e. is consecrated and crowned], and is proclaimed
"Ampror (Emperor) King of Kings," by the Pope. And they say that after
the prayer Mar Papa takes up the Crown with his feet
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and clothes the Emperor with it (64), that is to say, places it upon his own head [to show], as they say, that priesthood reigneth over sovereignty[or kingship].
And when they had seen all the churches and monasteries that were in Great Rome, they went outside the city to the church of MAR PAUL the Apostle, where under the altar is his tomb. And there, too, is the chain wherewith Paul was bound when he was dragged to that place. And in that altar there are also a reliquary of gold herein is the head of MAR STEPHEN the Martyr, and the hand of MAR KHANANYA (ANANIAS) who baptized PAUL. And the staff of PAUL the Apostle is also there. And from that place they went to the spot where PAUL the Apostle, was crowned [with martyrdom]. They say that when his head was cut off it leaped up thrice into the air, and at each time cried out CHRIST! CHRIST! And that from each of the three places on which his head fell there came forth waters which were useful for healing purposes, and for giving help to all those who were afflicted. And in that place there is a great shrine (65) wherein are the bones of martyrs and famous Fathers, and they were blessed by them.
And they went also to the Church of my Lady MARYAM , and of MAR JOHN the Baptist, and saw therein the seamless tunic of our Lord. And there is also in that church the tablet [or
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slab] on which our Lord consecrated the Offering and gave it to His disciples. And each year Mar Papa consecrates on that tablet the Paschal Mysteries. There are in that church four pillars of copper [or brass], each of which is six cubits in thickness; these, they say, the kings brought from Jerusalem. They saw also there the vessel in which CONSTANTINE, the victorious king, was baptized; it is made of black stone [basalt?] polished. Now that church is very large and broad, and there are in the nave (haikla) one hundred and forty white marble pillars. They saw also the place where SIMON KIPA [i.e. Simon the Rock] disputed with SIMON [Magus], and where the latter fell down and his bones were broken.
From that place they went into the church of MART MARYAM, and [the priests] brought out for them reliquaries made of beryl (crystal?), wherein was (66) the apparel of MART MARYAM, and a piece of wood on which our Lord had lain when a child. They saw also the head of MATTHEH the Apostle, in a reliquary of silver. And they saw the foot of PHILIP, the Apostle, and the arm of JAMES, the son of ZABHDA! (ZEBEDEE}, in the Church of the Apostles, which was there. And after these [sights] they saw buildings which it is impossible to describe in words, and as the histories of those buildings would make any description of them very long I abandon [the attempt].
RABBAN SAWMA IN ITALY 181
After this RABBAN SAWMA and his companions returned to the Cardinals, and thanked them for having held him to be worthy to see these shrines and to receive blessings from them. And RABBAN SAWMA asked from them permission to go to the king who dwelleth in Rome; and they permitted him to go, and said, "We cannot give thee an answer until the [new] Pope is elected."
And they went from that place to the country of TUSZKAN (TUSCANY), and were honourably entreated, and thence they (67) went to GINOH (GENOA). Now the latter country has no king, but the people thereof set up to rule over it some great man with whom they are pleased.
And when the people of GENOA heard that an ambassador of King ARGHON had arrived, their Chief went forth with a great crowd of people, and they brought him into the city.
And there was there a great church with the name of SAINT
SINALORNIA (SAN LORENZO), in which was the holy body of MAR JOHN the Baptist, in
a coffer of pure silver. And RABBAN SAWMA and his companions saw also a
six-sided paten, made of emerald, and the people there told them that it was off
this paten from which our Lord ate the Passover with His disciples, and that it
was brought there when Jerusalem was captured. And from that place they went to
the country of ONBAR, [according to Bedjan, Lombardy] and they saw that the
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did not fast during the first Sabbath of Lent. And when they
asked them, "Wherefore do ye do thus, and separate yourselves from all
[other] Christians" (68), they replied, "This is our custom.
When we were first taught the Gospel our fathers in the Faith were weakly and
were unable to fast. Those who taught them the Gospel commanded them to fast
forty days only."
Afterwards they went to the country of PARIZ (Paris), to king
FRANSIS [i.e. Philippe IV le Bel]. And the king sent out a large company of men
to meet them, and they brought them into the city with great honour and
ceremony. Now the territories of the French king were in extent more than a
month's journey. And the king of France assigned to Rabban Sawma a place wherein
to dwell, and three days later sent one of his Amirs to him and summoned him to
his presence. And when he had come the king stood up before him and paid him
honour, and said unto him, "Why hast thou come? And who sent thee?"
And RABBAN SAWMA said unto him, " King ARGHON and the Catholicus of the
East have sent me concerning the matter of JERUSALEM." And he showed him
all the matters (69) which he knew, and he gave him the letters which he
had with him, and the
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gifts, that is to say, presents which he had brought. And the king of FRANCE answered him, saying, "If it be indeed so that the MONGOLS, though they are not Christians, are going to fight against the Arabs for the capture of JERUSALEM, it is meet especially for us that we should fight [with them], and if our Lord willeth, go forth in full strength."
And RABBAN SAWMA said unto him, "Now that we have seen the glory of thy kingdom, and have looked upon the splendour of your strength with the eye of flesh, we ask you to command the men of the city to show us the churches and the shrines, and the relics of the saints, and everything else which is found with you, and is not to be seen in any other country, so that when we return we may make known in the [various] countries what we have seen with you." Then the king commanded his Amirs, saying, "Go forth and show them all the wonderful things which we have here, and afterwards I myself will show [them] what I have." And the Amirs went out with them.
(70) And RABBAN SAWMA and his companions remained for
a month of days in this great city of Paris, and they saw everything that was in
it. There were in it thirty thousand scholars [i.e. pupils] who were engaged in
the study of ecclesiastical books of instruction, that is to say of commentaries
and exegesis of all the Holy
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Scriptures, and also of profane learning; and they studied wisdom, that is to say philosophy and [the art of] speaking (rhetoric?), and [the art of] healing, geometry, arithmetic, and the science of the planets and the stars; and they engaged constantly in writing [theses], and all these pupils received money for subsistence from the king. And they also saw one Great Church wherein were the funerary coffers of dead kings, and statues of them in gold and in silver were upon their tombs. And five hundred monks were engaged in performing commemoration services in the burial-place [i.e. mausoleum] of the kings, and they all ate and drank at the expense of the king. And they fasted and prayed continually in the burial-place of those kings. And the crowns of those kings, and their armour (71), and their apparel were laid upon their tombs. In short RABBAN SAWMA and his companions saw everything which was splendid and renowned.
And after this the king sent and summoned them, and they went to him in the church, and they saw him standing by the side of the altar, and they saluted him. And he asked RABBAN SAWMA saying, "Have you seen what we have? And doth there not remain anything else for you to see?" Then RABBAN SAWMA thanked him [and said "There is not"]. Forthwith he went up with the king into an upper chamber of gold, which the king opened, and he brought
RABBAN SAWMA AND KING OF ENGLAND 185
forth from it a coffer of beryl wherein was laid the Crown of
Thorns which the Jews placed upon the head of our Lord when they crucified Him.
Now the Crown was visible in the coffer, which, thanks to the transparency of
the beryl, remained unopened. And there was also in the coffer a piece of the
wood of the Cross. And the king said to RABBAN SAWMA and his companions,
"When our fathers took Constantinople, and sacked Jerusalem, they brought
these blessed objects from it." And we blessed the king and besought him to
give us the order to return. (72) And he said unto us, "I will send
with you one of the great Amirs whom I have here with me to give an answer to
King Arghon"; and the king gave RABBAN SAWMA gifts and apparel of great
And they went forth from that place, that is to say, from
PARIS, to go to the king of England, to Kasonia (GASCONY?). And having arrived
in twenty days at their city [BORDEAUX?], the inhabitants of the city went forth
to meet them, and they asked them, "Who are ye?" And RABBAN SAWMA and
his companions replied, "We are ambassadors, and we have come from beyond
the eastern seas, and we are envoys of the King, and of the Patriarch, and the
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of the Mongols." And the people made haste and went to the king and informed him [of their arrival], and the king welcomed them gladly, and the people introduced them into his presence. And those who were with RABBAN SAWMA straightway gave to the king the PUKDANA [i.e. letter of authorisation] of King Arghon, and the gifts which he had sent to him, and the Letter of Mar Catholicus (73). And [King Edward] rejoiced greatly, and he was especially glad when Rabban Sawma talked about the matter of Jerusalem. And he said, "We the kings of these cities bear upon our bodies the sign of the Cross, and we have no subject of thought except this matter. And my mind is relieved on the subject about which I have been thinking, when I hear that King Arghon thinketh as I think." And the king commanded Rabban Sawma to celebrate the Eucharist, and he performed the Glorious Mysteries; and the king and his officers of state stood up, and the king partook of the Sacrament, and made a great feast that day.
Then RABBAN SAWMA said unto the king, "We beseech thee, O king, to give [thy servants] in order to show us whatever churches and shrines there are in this country, so that when we go back to the Children of the East we may give them descriptions of them." And the king replied, "Thus shall ye say to King Arghon and unto all the Orientals: We have seen a
RABBAN SAWMA RERTURNS TO ROME 187
thing than which there is nothing more wonderful, that is to say, that in the countries of the Franks there are not two Confessions of Faith, but only one Confession of Faith, namely, that which confesseth Jesus Christ; and all the Christians confess it." And King Edward gave us many gifts and money for the expenses of the road (74).
RABBAN SAWMA RETURNS TO ROME.
And from that place we came to the city of Genoa, in order to pass the winter there. And when we arrived there we saw a garden which resembled Paradise; its winter was not [too] cold, and its summer is not [too] hot. Green foliage is found therein all the year round, and trees, the leaves of which do not fall, and which are not stripped of their fruit. There is in the city a kind of vine which yields grapes seven times a year, but the people do not press out wine from them.
;At the end of the winter there came from the country of ALMADAN (ALLEMAGNE?) a man of high degree, who was the . ., i.e. "Visitor" of MAR PAPA, and who was on his way to Rome.(1) And when he heard that RABBAN SAWMA was there, he went to visit
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him and salute him. And when he entered [his house] they gave each other "Peace!" and they kissed each other in the love of Christ. And the Visitor said unto RABBAN SAWMA (75), "I have come to see thee. For I have heard concerning thee, that thou art a good and wise man, and also that thou hast the desire to go to Rome." And RABBAN SAWMA said unto him, "What shall I say unto thee, O beloved and noble man? I have come on an embassy from King ARGHON, and the Catholicus of the East to MAR PAPA on the subject of Jerusalem. Behold I have been a year of days [since I came], and a Pope hath not sat. When I go back what shall I say and what answer can I make to the MONGOLS? Those, whose hearts are harder than flint, wish to take the Holy City, and those to whom it belongeth never allow the matter to occupy their minds, and moreover, they do not consider this thing to be of any importance whatsoever! We shall go and say we know not." Then the Visitor said unto him, "Thy words are true. I myself will go and show in their integrity the Cardinals all the words which thou hast spoken, and will urge them to appoint a Pope."
And that Visitor departed from him and went to Rome, and he explained the matter to the king, that is to say MAR PAPA (76), and that same day the Pope sent a messenger to RABBAN
RABBAN SAWMA RETURNS TO ROME 189
SAWMA and his companions [bidding] them to go to him. And as soon as ever the messenger had arrived, they set out for Rome with the greatest readiness and they arrived there in fifteen days. And they asked, "Who is this Pope whom they have appointed?" And [the people] said, "It is the bishop who held converse with you when ye came here the first time, and his name is NIKALIOS [i.e. NICHOLAS IV, who was elected Pope in February, 1288]." And RABBAN SAWMA and his companions rejoiced greatly.
And when they arrived MAR PAPA sent out a Metropolitan bishop and a large company of men to meet them. And starightway RABBAN SAWMA went into the presence of MAR PAPA, who was seated on his throne. And he drew nigh to the Pope, bowing down to the ground as he did so, and he kissed his feet and his hands, and he withdrew walking backwards, with his hands clasped [on his breast]. And he said to MAR PAPA, "May thy throne stand for ever, O our Father! And may it be blessed above all kings and nations! And may it make peace to reign in thy days (77) throughout the Church to the uttermost ends of the earth! Now that I have seen thy face mine eyes are illuminated, and I shall not go away brokenhearted to the countries [of the East]. I give thanks to the goodness of God who hath held me to be worthy
190 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
to see thy face." Then RABBAN SAWMA presented unto him the gift of King Arghon and his Letters, and the gift of MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA the Catholicus, that is to say a blessing [i.e. gift] and his Letter. And MAR PAPA rejoiced and was glad, and he paid more honour to RABBAN SAWMA than was customary, and he said unto him, "It will be good if thou wilt keep the festival with us, for thou wilt see our use." Now that day [marked] the half of our Lord's Fast [i.e. Mid-Lent]. And RABBAN SAWMA made answer, "Your command is high and exalted." And MAR PAPA assigned to him a mansion in which to dwell, and he appointed servants to give him everything he might require.
Some days later RABBAN SAWMA said to MAR PAPA, "I wish to celebrate the Eucharist so that ye might see our use"; and the Pope commanded him to do as he had asked. And on that day a very large number of people were gathered together in order to see how the ambassador of the Mongols celebrated the Eucharist (78). And when they had seen they had rejoiced and said, "The language is different, but the use is the same." Now the day on which he celebrated was the Sunday [on which the prayer beginning] "ainaw asya" [i.e. Who is the physician"] is recited. And having performed the mysteries, he went to MAR PAPA and saluted him. And the Pope said unto RABBAN SAWMA,
RABBAN SAWMA IN ROME 191
"May God receive thy offering, and bless thee, and pardon thy transgressions and sins." Then RABBAN SAWMA said, "Besides the pardon of my transgressions and sins which I have received from thee, O our Father, I beseech thy Fatherhood, O our holy Father, to let me receive the Offering from thy hands, so that the remission [of my sins] may be complete." And the Pope said, "So let it be!"
And on the following First Day of the Week, which was the Festival of Hosannas [i.e. Palm Sunday], from the break of day onwards, countless thousands and tens of thousands of people gathered together before the papal throne, and brought branches of olives, which the Pope blessed and gave to the Cardinals, and then to the Metropolitans and then to the Bishops, and then to the Amirs, and then to the nobles, and then he cast them among all the people. And he rose up from the throne (79), and they brought him into the church with great ceremony. And he went into the apse of the altar and changed his apparel, and he put on a red vestment with threads of gold [running through it], and ornamented with precious stones, and jacinths, and pearls down to the soles of his feet, that is to say, sandals. And he went to the altar, and then went forth to the pulpit, and addressed the people and admonished them. And he consecrated the Mysteries and gave the Eucharist Mystery to RABBAN SAWMA
192 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
first of all--he having confessed his sins--and the Pope pardoned his transgressions and his sins and those of his fathers. And RABBAN SAWMA rejoiced greatly in receiving the Eucharistic Mystery from the hand of MAR PAPA. And he received it with tears and sobs, giving thanks to God and meditating upon the mercies which had been poured out upon him.
Afterwards, on the day of the Holy Passover (Thursday) MAR PAPA went to the church of MAR JOHN the Baptist, when a large number of people had gathered together. He went up into a great furnished and decorated chamber which was there--and before this chamber there was a large open space--and the Cardinals, and the Metropolitans, and the Bishops went with him; and they began (80) to recite a prayer. And when the prayer was ended, MAR PAPA addressed and admonished the congregation, according to custom; and by reason of the great multitude of people that was there not one word could be heard except "Amen." And when "Amen" was uttered, the ground shook through the outcries of the people. Then MAR PAPA came down from that place and [stood] before the altar, and he consecrated the oil of Muron, that is to say, the oil of anointing. And afterwards he consecrated the Mysteries which bestow pardon, and gave the Eucharistis Mystery to the people. And he went forth
RABBAN SAWMA IN ROME 193
from that place and entered the great temple (nave?), and gave to each of his reverend Fathers two gold tarpe [i.e. "leaves" (sheets?)] and thirty silver parpare [i.e. silver coins], and then went out. And MAR PAPA gathered together the people of his Cell [i.e. his palace household], and he washed their feet, and he wiped [them] with a napkin which he had wrapped around his loins, to the end. And when he had finished all the services of the Passover, at mid-day he made a great table [i.e. feast], and the servants placed before every man his portion of food. Now those who reclined [i.e. sat at meat] were two thousand, more or less. And when they removed the bread from the table only three hours of the day were left 81).
And on the following day, which was the Passion of our Redeemer, MAR PAPA put on a black cloak, and all the reverend Fathers did likewise. And they went forth barefooted and walked to the church of my Lord, the Adorable Cross; and MAR PAPA did homage to it, and kissed it, and gave it to each one of the reverend Fathers. And when crowds of people saw it they uncovered their heads, and they knelt down on their knees and did homage before it (i.e. adored it]. Then MAR PAPA addressed and admonished the people, and at the same time he mde the sign of the Cross over the four quarters of the world. And when the service of prayer194 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
was concluded, he brought some of the Paschal Offering, and set wine with it, and MAR PAPA partook by himself of that Offering (now it is not customary for Christians to offer up the Offering on the day of the Passion of our Redeemer), and went back to his Cell i.e. palace)
And on the day of the Sabbath of Light MAR PAPA went to the church, and they read the Books of the Prophets, and the prophecies concerning the Messiah. And he placed in position the Wazna, i.e. baptismal font, and arranged branches of myrtle round about it, and MAR PAPA consecrated the baptism-water and baptized three children, and signed them with the sign of the Cross. Then he went to the apse and changed his apparel of the Passion (82), and he put on his ceremonial vestments, to state the price of which is beyond the power of words, and he celebrated the Holy Mysteries.
And on the day of the Sunday of the Resurrection MAR PAPA went to the holy church of my LADY MARY. And he and the Cardinals, and the Metropolitans, and the Bishops, and the members of the congregation saluted each other, and they kissed each other on the mouth, and he celebrated the Mysteries, and they receive Eucharistic Mystery, and then he returned to his Cell [i.e. palace]. And he made a great feast, and [there was] infinite gladness. And on the following Sunday Mar Papa performed
RABBAN SAWMA IN ROME 195
the laying on of hands, and he consecrated three bishops And RABBAN SAWMA and his companions saw the use followed, and they celebrated the blessed festivals with them.
And when these things had taken place RABBAN SAWMA asked MAR PAPA for [his] command to return. And MAR PAPA said unto him, "We wish thee to remain with us, and to abide with us, and we will guard thee like the pupil of our eye." But RABBAN SAWMA replied, " O our Father, I came on an embassy for your service (?). If my coming had been the result of my personal wish, l would willingly (83) bring to an end the days of this my useless life in your service at the outer door of your palace. [But I must return], and believe that when I go back and show the show who are there the benefits which thou hast conferred upon my poor person, that the Christians will gain great content thereby. Now I beseech our Holiness to bestow upon me some of the relics [of the saints] which ye have with you."
And MAR PAPA said, "If we had been in the habit of
giving away these relics to the people [who come] in myriads, even though the
relics were as large as the mountains, they would have come to an end long ago.
But since thou hast come from a far country, we will give thee a few." And
he gave to RABBAN SAWMA a small piece of the apparel of our Lord Christ, and a
piece of the cape (. . .) that is to say,
196 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
kerchief of my LADY MARY, and some small fragments of the
bodies of the saints that were there. And he sent to MARR YAHBH-ALLAHA a crown
for his head which was of fine gold and was inlaid with precious stones; and
sacred vestments made of red cloth through which ran threads of gold; and socks
and sandals on which real pearls were sewn; (84) and the ring from his
finger; and a "Pethikha" or Bull which authorized him to exercise
Patriarchal dominion over all the Children of the East. And he gave to RABBAN
SAWMA a "Pethikha" which authorized him to act as Visitor-General over
all Christians. And Mar Papa blessed him and he caused to be assigned to him for
expenses on the road one thousand, five hundred mathkale of red gold. And
to King Arghon he sent certain gifts. And he embraced RABBAN SAWMA and kissed
him and dismissed him. And RABBAN SAWMA thanked our Lord who had held him to be
worthy of such blessings as these.
THE RETURN OF RABBAN SAWMA FROM ROME AND FROM MAR PAPA, THE CATHOLICUS PATRIARCH OF THE ROMANS AND OF ALL WESTERNS.
And RABBAN SAWMA returned. He crossed the seas which he
crossed when he came, and he arrived (85) in peace at the place where
King ARGHON was, sound in body, and with soul safely
RETURN OF RABBAN SAWMA FROM ROME 197
kept. And he gave to him the Letter of Blessings, and the
gifts which he had brought from MAR PAPA and from all the kings of the Franks.
And he showed him how they had welcomed him with love, and how they had
hearkened gladly to the Pukdane (or Royal Dispatches) which he had carried [to
them], and he related the wonderful things which he had seen, and the power of
[their] kingdom[s]. And King rejoiced, and was glad, and thanked him, and said
unto him; "We have made thee to suffer great fatigue, for thou art an old
man. In future we shall not permit thee to leave us; nay, we will set up a
church. at the Gate of our Kingdom (i.e. palace), and thou shaft minister
therein and recite prayers." And RABBAN SAWMA said, "If my lord the
king would command MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA, the Catholicus, to come and receive the
gifts which have been sent to him by MAR PAPA, and the sacred vestments which he
destined for him, he could set up the church which the king is going to set up
at the Door of his Kingdom, and consecrate it." And these things took place
in this way. Now because it was not our intention to relate and set out in order
all the unimportant things which RABBAN SAWMA did (86) and saw, we have
abridged very much of what he himself wrote in his narrative in Persian. And
even the things which are mentioned here have been abridged or amplified,
according to necessity.
198 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
In the year one thousand five hundred and ninety-eight [read
one thousand six hundred of the Greeks [=A.D. 1288], King Arghon gave the
command to transport MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA to the Camp, even as RABBAN SAWMA had
asked. And for the honour of the Catholicus, and also to support (or sustain)
the hearts of all the Christians who confessed Christ, and to increase the love
for Him among them, he set up a church so close to the Door of the Throne, that
the ropes of the curtains of (87) the church intermingled with those of
his house. [N.B.-The church was a tent]. And he made a great feast [which
lasted] three days, and King Arghon himself brought food to the Catholicus, and
handed the cup of drink to him and to all the members of his company. And the
king took care that reverend men, and holy Fathers (i.e. bishops) and priests,
and deacons, and monks, should keep vigil in the church and recite the offices
and that the beater of the board [which summed men to prayer] should never be
idle in that church And thus the glory (or praise) of the Christians
GOOD ACTS AND DEATH OF KING ARGHON 199
both Orientals and Occidentals, increased until at length with one mouth they cried out, "Blessed is the Lord Who hath made us rich! The Lord hath visited His people, and hath made for it redemption!" And when the Camp moved, the priests moved the church and all that belonged to it. And Rabban Sawma became the director of that church, and its chief, and steward, and he distributed food and the things necessary for the priests, and deacons, and visitors, and caretakers of the church. And King ARGH6N commanded by reason of his great affection for RABBAN SAWMA, that the recital of the Eucharistic Office for his benefit, and of prayers said on his behalf, should never cease (88).
And in the following year, which is the year of the Greeks, one thousand five hundred and ninety-nine [read one thousand six hundred and one=1289]; in the month of 'Ilul (September), King Arghon went to the Cell (i.e. palace) in the city of MARAGHA to see Mar Catholicus. He had had his son [Kharbande] born in 1281, baptized in the month of Abh (August), and he commanded him to receive the Mysteries which gave pardon. And thus the Preaching of Life increased, and the Gospel (or glad tidings) of the kingdom of heaven spread throughout the world, until at length people ere gathered together from all parts to the Patriarchal mansion to obtain help therefrom. And it was not only the Christians
200 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
of the Faith who thronged there to be assisted by Mar Catholicus in the fulfillment of the requests. [Text defective: translation doubtful].
Now when the state of affairs which we have mentioned had
remained thus for a short time, God the Lord of the Universe, the Lord of death
and of going forth, removed King ARGHON to the seat of joys and to the Abrahamic
bosom. And at his departure grief fettered the whole Church which is under the
heavens, because the things which were done before his time (89) and were
done badly were rightly straightened in his time. And who was there who did not
suffer by the change of sovereignty? For how could it be otherwise? Behold it is
a matter of difficulty for every man, and hard to describe especially when a man
knoweth the nobles of the King and all the members of the royal household, to
say nothing of the king of the time himself.
KING KAIKHATO AND MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA.
Now the Church passed some days with matters in this state,
when suddenly, a younger brother of the dead king, who was called IRNAGHIN
T0NGHIN, burst forth, and was crowned king [under the name of] KAIKHATO; he took
the sceptre of the kingdom and sat upon the throne of his brother. He [began to]
rule (90) in the year of the Greeks, one thousand six hundred and two
[=1291] in the month of Abh (August) of that year All creation was at peace,
rebellion died and hid itself, the light of righteousness rose and made itself
visible, for Kaikhato, the blessed king, did not turn aside from the way of his
fathers. He established in his position every one of those who followed [divers]
cults, he paid honour to the leaders of all religions, whether Christians, or
Arabs, or Jews, or Pagans. He considered the face of no man [i.e. he was
strictly impartial] and he neither turned aside nor swerved from justice, gold
being accounted as dross in his sight. His alms were boundless, and there was no
end to his gifts in charity. For every one who asked from him received, even as
it is written (Luke xi. 10), and he who
202 THE MONKS OF Kf1BLAI KHAN
sought, found ; and experience showed that this was literally true.
Now he came to reign in the month of the year which has been
mentioned above. On the day of the festival of the commemoration of Saint Maryam
(the Virgin My Lady Mary)--may her prayer be upon (i.e. protect) the
world!-- which [is celebrated] in the middle of the month of Abh, he went into
the church which TAWUS (DOKUZ) KHATON [the first wife of HULAGO] had set up (91)
in the blessed Camp. Now they were at that time in the mountain called ALATAK
(ALA DAGH). When our Father the Catholicus celebrated the Mysteries, the king
was glad and rejoiced greatly; and he gave gifts to the Catholicus, twenty
thousand dinars (£10,000) and nine gorgeous dibage, i.e. vestments
made of silk with gold threads interwoven. On that day the sons of the kings and
the daughters of the queens, and the Amirs, and the nobles, and the troops were
gathered together there. And the glory of the Holy Catholic Church became as
great, nay greater, than it was before. And the hearts of the Christians gained
courage and waxed strong, when they knew the mind of the victorious king and
heard his words, for his good qualities and his gracious acts could be felt with
hands. And from day to day the glory increased, and the splendour of their
Church grew apace, and this took place through the
KING KAIKHATO AND YAHBH-ALLAHA 203
great care and foresight, and the wise rule of Mar Catholicus, [in which] he used his under standing for the glorification of the children of the kingdom (i.e. the Royal Family) (92).
Now because RABBAN SAWMA had already become an old man, the
hard life of the Mongols, and the prolonged sojourning in desert places, became
intolerable to him. And he caused the victorious King KAIKHATO to promulgate an
order for him to build a church in the city of MARAGHAH, and to place therein
the vessels and the vestments for the service of the church, which the dead King
Arghon had set up in the Camp. And his request was granted by the king. And as
soon as he received this permission he at once set out for city of MARAGHAH,
taking with him the vessels and vestments for the service of MAR Catholicus. And
he laid. the foundations and built a fine church in the names of MAR MARI and
MAR GEORGE, the glorious martyr. And there were placed in it the relics of forty
martyrs, of MAR STEPHEN [the protomartyr], and MAR JAMES, who was cut into
pieces [by the order of WARHARAN V, king of Persia A.D. 421], and MAR DEMETRIUS,
the martyr. He furnished it with costly vessels and vestments for the service of
every kind, and he founded a series of endowments from which the things which
would be required for it could be always provided and maintained. And this [he
did] with the help of the illustrious MAR
204 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
YAHBH-ALLAHA (93), the Catholicus. And in the summer
of the following year the victorious King KAIKHATO came twice to the Cell which
was in MARAGHAH, and he sojourned with Mar Catholicus for three days, and
rejoiced with an exceeding great joy. And he gave great gifts and presents to
Mar Catholicus, viz., a Paiza of gold, that is to say, the tablet which is
called "Sunkor" (see above p. 61), and seven thousand diners (£3,500).
THE DEATH OF RABBAN SAWMA AND OF THE KINGS KAIKHATO AND BAID0
RABBAN SAWMA toiled by night and by day in the church which he had built, and he arranged everything in it in a perfect manner. And the expenses incurred in building the church, and in providing the endowment, that is to say, Wakf, which was assigned to it, amounted to (94) one hundred and five thousand zuze (about £8,250?)) more or less. And he performed the service and recited the Offices regularly, and he was exceedingly zealous in performing the Eucharistic Service, which he had established in that church, continually. And he had great repose in the Cell which he had built by the side of the church, of which until now he himself is the ornament, and prayers and celebrations of the Eucharist are constant therein. May our Lord give him as the reward of his labour the happiness of the heavenly kingdom, and a portion with the saints in the exalted regions of highest heaven. And having finished the church which we have described above, RABBAN SAWMA came down in the service of Mar Catholicus to Baghdad, in the year of the Greeks, one hundred six hundred and five, in the month of the first Teshri (October) of that year [A.D. 1293].
206 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHA
And King BAIDAR (read BAIDO), the son of the brother of King
ABHGHA, made a great feast in a place called SIRZUR (SHAHARZUR, in KURDISTAN) in
(95) honour of the Catholic and he gathered together all the officials of
his Court to the banquet. And RABBAN SAWMA rose up with his temperament
disordered and he fell down, being seized with fever. On the following day he
bade farewell to King BIDAR (BAIDU), and he arrived in the city of ARBIL to
settle urgent affairs, and [enjoy] the kindness (?) of the church folk. And the
sickness of RABBAN SAwMA increased, and he was seized with severe pains, but he
prolonged his life until the Catholicus arrived in the city of BAGHDAD. And his
disease waxed heavy, healing took to flight, his life was despaired of, and he
departed from this world of nothingness and tribulation to the world of holiness
and to the City of the Saints, Jerusalem which is in the heavens, on the night
of the first Sunday after Epiphany when the prayer beginning " Le'edtakh
lukdam" (i.e. "to Thy Church") is said, on the tenth day
of the month Kanon' Khrai (January) of that same year (A.D. 1294). And his holy
body was buried in the Darath Rhomaye, on the north side of the altar, outside
the inner court, on the south side (96) of the house of prayer. May his
portion be with the Patriarchal Fathers among whom he was laid! And may our Lord
DEATH OF RABBAN SAWMA 207
give him rest and set him on His right hand on the great Day of Retribution wherein, with the reward of justice and the Scales of Truth, He will reward every man according to his labour!
Now MAR AHBH-ALLAHA, the Catholicus, suffered very great affliction at the death of RABBAN SAWMA, and his weeping reached the heavens; he mourned with the people in their grief so that none might say that he constrained himself to mourn apart from them. And the nobles and chiefs, that is to say governors, and all the Fathers of the city of Baghdad came to offer him consolation, and he received consolation only with the greatest difficulty on the third day, when he returned to his Throne. And it was meet that he should suffer, and the law of nature commanded it, for the deceased was a man of courage, for he was the strong arm and support of the Gate of the Patriarchal Cell (i.e. palace), not only of the Catholicus himself but of every Christian who came to him.
And the Catholicus passed that winter in Baghdad (97).
On the day of the great festival he set out, and met the victorious King
KAIKHATO at ALA TAK, where the royal Camp was. And the king honoured him with
many gifts, that is to say he gave him a cloak of great price, and two splendid
riding mules, and he assigned to him a "Sukur," that is to say, a
208 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
he gave him sixty thousand zuze [£2,500 or 5,000 dinars]. He refused nothing which MAR Catholicus asked for whenever he open his mouth. Then MAR Catholicus returned from the Camp of the victorious king, and he laid foundations of the holy monastery of Saint Mar John the Baptist, on the north side of the city of MARAGHAH, at a distance of about [two] thirds of a parasang, more or less [about two miles] from the city, in the year mentioned (A.D. 1294), at the end of the month of Khaziran (June). He built up the wall nearly to the top and the nave up as far as the spring of the roof.
Then suddenly storms broke, and the waves of confusion rose
high in the kingdom; the Amirs acted treacherously towards (98) the king
and the tempests of suffering waxed strong on the world, and turmoil fell on
creation. And men were slain without sufficient cause, and very many villages
were looted by the soldiery with violence. And in the winter of the year one
thousand six hundred and six, according to [the Era of] YAWAN , the road
from ADHORBIJAN to BAGHDAD and to DIARBAKR were cut, and the fighters did not
cease from the quarrels which they had set afoot, and at length they destroyed
King KAIKHATO by violent death, and delivered the kingdom to King BAIDO. This
unhappy [prince] only accepted the kingdom through fear for his life.
DEATH OF BAIDO 209
He remained on the throne from the 24th day of the month of
NISAN (April) until the 25th day of the month of Ilul (September) of the same
year, more or less. He governed and reigned in a state of perturbation, and
prolonged his days in perpetual fear. Now without making over long [our]
narrative, and making [our] History, which has a definite object, become
somewhat different, it is impossible to describe completely the plots, and the
trickeries, and the crafty devices, and the treacherous works which the enemies
[of the kingdom] set on foot during the five months of the struggle which went
on between BAIDO and the victorious King KAZAN, the son of the deceased King
Arghon (99). To speak briefly the murderers of the blessed King Khaikato,
plotted the murder of his successor BAIDU. Then division fell (i.e. took place),
and the world was in turmoil. The peoples of the Arabs roused themselves to take
vengeance on the Church and its children for the destruction which the father of
these kings had inflicted upon them. Then suddenly, on the Sunday [of the
prayer] "la-mese puma," (i.e. "the mouth is unable")
of that year (A.D. 1295), on the 25th day of the month of Ilul (September), a
rumour was heard of the flight of King BAIDU and of his destruction, and with it
came the proofs, that in very truth the abandonment of [the Church by] God had
taken place (100).
210 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
THE PERSECUTION OF MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA AND THE CHRISTIANS IN MARAGHAH.
And a certain man, one of the Amirs, who was called NAWRIZ, and who feared not God bestirred himself, and sent letters by the hands of envoys, and he made to fly to the four quarters of the dominions of this kingdom, an order to this effect:--"The churches shall be uprooted and the altars overturned, and the celebrations of the Eucharist shall cease, and the hymns of praise, and the sounds of calls to prayer shall be abolished; and the heads (or chiefs) of the Christians, and the heads of the congregations [i.e. synagogues] of the Jews, and the great men among them shall be killed."
And that same night [the Arabs] seized Mar Catholicus in his
Cell (i.e. palace) in MARAGHAH, and outside the building no man knew
anything about the seizure of him until the day broke. And from the morning of
that day, which was the second day of the week (Monday) they went into his Cell
and plundered. everything that was in it, both that which was old and that which
was new, and they did not leave even a nail in the walls.
PERSECUTION OF YAHBH-ALLAHA 211
And the night of the third day of the week (Tuesday) following, which was the 27th day of Ilul (September), the (101) Catholicus was buffeted the whole night long by those who had seized him. And in respect of the venerable men who were with him, the Arabs tied some of them up naked with ropes; others cast aside their apparel and took to flight, and others cast themselves down from high places [and perished]. And they suspended the Catholicus by a rope head downwards, and they took a cloth used for cleaning, that is to say, a duster, and they put ashes in it, and tied it over his mouth, and one prodded him in the breast with skewer (bukshina) saying, "Abandon this Faith of thine that thou perish not; become a Hagaraya (Muhammadan) and thou shalt be saved." And the Catholicus, weeping, answered them never a word. And they smote him with a stick on the thighs and seat (i.e. posterior). And they also took him up on to the roof of the Cell, saying, "Give us gold and we will let thee go; point out to us they treasures, show us the things which thou had hidden away, and reveal to us thy hiding things and we will let thee go."
And Mar Catholicus because he was clothed with a body feeble
and sensitive to pain, was afraid of death. And he began to cry out on the roof,
"Where are the disciples? How is it that those whom I have brought up have
212 THE MONKS OF Kf1BLAI KHAN
themselves to flight? Of what use are possessions (or riches) to us? (102). Come ye and buy me back from those who would sell me wrongfully, redeem your master. "Now the people, men, and women, and youths, and children, in the darkness of midnight were crying out with bitter tears, but no man was able to approach the Catholicus because of [his] fear. Nevertheless they received help from [their] weeping, and took refuge in [their] prayer, saying, "Yea, ye mountains fall upon us! O ye hills cover us" (Luke xxiix.30). And thus was fulfilled the prophecy of the prophet of the Syrians [Aphrem Syrus], who said "Because we have despised the way, and have regarded it with great contempt, [God] hath made us a reproach to those who are outside; that we may drink from them mockery. The filthy ones have ruined our churches, because we have not prayed in them in a right manner; they have defiled the altar which is before Him [because] we have not ministered thereto with pure service. [Bedjan's note in Syriac reads, "Mar Aphrem. Reading I. Section II. Fourth day of Rogation Week in the first half of the Reading."]
Finally, not to make our narrative too long, some of the
disciples of the Patriarch's palace went and incurred a debt of fifteen thousand
zuze (either £2,500 or £7,500) and gave the money little by little [to
the Arabs], with the hope of (103) redeeming the Catholicus. And when
PERSECUTION OF YAHBH-ALLAHA 213
who had seized the Catholicus had received the sum of five thousand dinars, and the chalices, and the eucharistic patens, and everything that was in the palace, and that debt [i.e. the money which the disciple had undertaken to pay], they went forth from the palace at mid-day of the third day of the week.
And then a great tumult took place, and the peoples of the Arabs came with a great rush to destroy the great church of Mar Shalita, the holy martyr, and they destroyed it. And they took everything that was in it, the veils (or hangings), and the vessels and other objects used in the service. And the uproar made by their outcries, and the storm of their shoutings shook almost the earth itself and the inhabitants thereof. Peradventure the reader of this history, since he was not caught in the middle of that storm, may think that the writer is telling a fabulous story; but to speak the real truth, he who stateth what is here written calleth God to witness, that it is impossible for even one of the events which took place to be adequately described and written!
Then King KHETAM (or HATHOM), TAKPUR (TAKAWOR) of the
ARIMNAYE (ARMENIANS), came down (104} into that church which RABBAN SAWMA
had built, and by means of the greatness of his gifts (i.e. bribes), and by his
soldiers, saved it from destruction. And the Catholicus
214 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
having made his escape from the hands of those who had seized him, fled to it and hid himself therein that night. In the morning of the following day, which was the fourth day of the week (Wednesday), a certain Amir, who was one of the envoys of the Nawruz mentioned above came and brought certain letters [ordering] the murder of the Catholicus. And he seized many of the men, among whom were some belonging to the TAKPUR, i.e. king, [and said unto them "Show me the Catholicus, for I have certain business with him." When Mar Catholicus heard this his heart quaked and he fled from the church and left TAKPUR; and King TAKPUR appeased the Amir with certain gifts which he gave to him, and he departed from MARAGHAH.
After a few days, King TAKPUR himself (105) went to TABHRIZ, and Mar Catholicus changed all his apparel, and went forth by himself in the guise of one of the servants, and he accompanied TAKPUR as far as the city of Tabhriz, where King KAZAN had arrived. And the Catholicus kept himself hidden for seven days, until TAKPUR had been able to go unto the presence of King KAZAN, and make his story known to him, then TAKPUR asked him to go and see the king. Now, since the men who were in the regular service in the palace of the Catholicus were scattered, there remained with the Catholicus a certain number of poor young men 'who
PERSECUTION OF YAHBH-ALLAHA 215
cleaved to him, and these went into the presence of King KAZAN with him. And the king did not know him. And when he had saluted him he asked him two questions: "Whence comest thou?" and "What is thy name?" and that was all. And the Catholicus answered him in a word, i.e. briefly, and blessed him, and then went forth, trembling having entered his bones. But this was not due to [his fear of] death, but to his seeing to what a pass the children of baptism (i.e. the Christians) had come! And because of the angel who consoled him, and his wakeful mind (106) admonished him, saying, "No temptation hath come to you except that which is of the children of men" (I Cor. x.13), he still kept up his courage with weeping and groaning, saying, "Who gave my head water, and my eyes fountains of tears, that I should weep by day and by night over the breaking of the daughter of my people? " (Jer. ix.1). Thus did these things happen.
Now it was cold in those days, and the Camp was removed to
the winter station of MUGHAN; and NAWRUZ, the accursed one, was at TABHRIZ. And
the Catholicus, without money for expenses, and without a beast to ride, and
without any baggage-animal, returned to MARAGHAH. He remained a few days in
[his] Cell, and then other men came seeking for him, but he escaped from their
hands by flight, but, though with considerable
216 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
risk, he went back there day after day. Now it was well known that all glory which is of this world bringeth upon itself in the end the humiliation which is from God, and that glory attaches in the end only to the abject humiliation which [is endured] for God's sake. That winter the Catholicus sent to the Camp [of the king] one of [his] disciples so that (107) he might effect a change in the orders, and make known [to the king] how matters were. And he returned as one fleeing [for his life], for there was no one who would espouse the cause of the Christians, or who would show compassion on those who were broken[hearted]. This disciple only escaped with the greatest difficulty from the hands of a man who was an unbeliever, and who had abandoned his Faith and had become a Hagaraya (i.e. Muhammadan).
After the Feast of the Nativity of the year of the Greeks,
one thousand six hundred and seven (A.D. 1295), on the Sunday [when the prayer
beginning] " Mare kul kadh badhemutha" (i.e. "the Lord of
all in the Image") [is said], messengers of Nawruz, the accursed one, again
came down against the Catholicus. They bore in their hands orders which said,
"Give us, O Catholicus, the ten thousand dinars which thou didst
receive in the time of King KAIKHATO. Behold the `Tamgha,' that is to say the
document which is sealed with the seal of the Amir, and
PERSECUTION OF YAHBH-ALLAHA 217
contains the order for giving them back."Now the [treasury of the] palace of the Catholicus was empty, for it had been plundered long ago. When the servants of the palace heard this they straightway dispersed and sought refuge in flight, and the Catholicus remained in the hands of the Mongols who had become Muhammadans and those who had brought them (108). And fear fell upon the sons of the Church (How [sad] wouldst thou say. How [sad] !), and even the reverend old men who were in the palace fled, Mar Catholicus remained alone in the hands of those accursed and impudent men. That night he promised to give them a village, but they would accept nothing but gold. And when straightway, they threatened to beat him, he began to borrow [money] and to give it [to them], and throughout that day, which was the first of the week (Sunday), until towards the evening they took [from him] two thousand dinars.
Then certain of [his] disciples took counsel with Mar Catholicus in order to help him to flight, and to deliver him from the hands of those [impudent men]. He was afraid [at first] of this, but when they pressed him he harkened (i.e. consented). And at cock crow they brought him out through a small opening in the chamber in which he was imprisoned. Now the size of the opening was so small that a218 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
person would think that not even a child could come out through it, and they lowered him down and he went to other places and kept himself hidden.
And when the day dawned the Muslim Mongols were sorely vexed and they did not know what they were to do. And they were also afraid lest someone should take vengeance on them (109), saying, "Ye have destroyed the Catholicus." Thereupon they straightway went forth from the city, and made their way to Baghdad.
And whilst these men were in the act of parting, another
messenger arrived, an evil man who was more wicked than Nawruz, the accursed.
And there was with him a Christian who had become a Muhammadan, and he brought
with him another Order to the effect that thirty-six thousand dinars (£18,000)
should be given [by the Catholicus]. And because Mar Catholicus was in hiding,
those impudent messengers seized certain of the disciples in the palace, and by
means of many blows and tortures they reduced the bodies of the disciples to a
state of helplessness. And they hung them up head downwards [in the open air]
during the days of frost and snow when the cold was more intense than any which
had ever before been experienced. And after all [the people] in the city had
been gathered together to obtain their release, the disciples were only
delivered from the hands of these
PERSECUTION OF YAHBH-ALLAHA 219
wicked men with the greatest difficulty by paying sixteen
thousand dinars (£8,000). And the Catholicus and all those who cleaved
to him, whether venerable old men, or monks, or members of the laity, were
persecuted by every man, and were obliged to hide themselves (110) in the
houses of the laity. And when the persecutors knew that they were in a certain
house [those who were hidden therein] straightway departed to other houses. [And
this state of affairs lasted] until the great Feast of the Resurrection [A.D.
220 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
KING KAZAN PAYS HONOUR TO MAR YAHBHA
Now when the sun had descended into the sign of the Ram, and
creation was warmed a little, the Catholicus sent one of the monks of the Cell
to the victorious King KAZAN, to the place called MUGHAN, the winter station of
all the Mongol Kings, to bless him and to inform [him] concerning the events
that had happened to him. And when that monk arrived at the Camp, and he had
taken care to see all the Amirs, they introduced him into the presence of the
victorious king, and he declared unto him in their entirety all the words which
Mar Catholicus had spoken to him saying, "Blessed is thy throne (111),
O king, and it shall stand firm forever, and thy seed shall be surely seated
thereon for ever." And the king asked, "Why did not the Catholicus
come to us?" and the monk replied, "Because of the confused state [of
his mind]. He was hung up, and cruelly beaten and his head touched the earth.
Through the severe pain which hath been roused in him, he was unable to come to
do homage to the king, and it is for this reason that he hath sent me to
KAZAN HONOURS YAHBH-ALLAHA 221
pronounce his blessing upon thee, O my lord, the king. But when the victorious king shall arrive in peace at TABHRiZ, whether the Catholicus is sick or whether he be well, he will come to salute thee and do homage to thee."
And God caused these words to find mercy in the eyes of the king, and he gave to the Catholicus a Pukdana, according to custom, in which it was laid down that poll-tax,(1) should not be exacted from the Christians (112); that none of them shall abandon his Faith; that the Catholicus shall live in the state to which he hath been accustomed; that he shall be treated with the respect due to his rank; that he shall rule over
(1) Bedjan has a long note on the poll-tax (p. 111) which I translate here:--"In the year of our Lord 692, `Abd al-Malik laid a capitation tax on the Syrians. And he issued a strict edict that every man should go to his country, and to his village, and to his father's house; and that every man should be registered by name, and [should state] whose son he was, and [declare] his vineyard, and olive [trees], and his possessions, and his children, and everything that he had. From this began [the custom] of levying the tax on the skulls of men. From this began all the evils who have burst upon the people until this present. The kings took tribute from the earth, not from men. And from this the children of Hagar began to subjugate the children of Aram with the subjugation of the Egyptians. But woe be to us! for we have sinned. Slaves have dominion over us. Behold this is the first capitation tax which the Arabs levied. "Written by Mar Dionysius, the Patriarch of the Jacobites, in the year of our Lord 755.
222 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
his Throne; and shall hold the staff of strength over his dominion [i.e. that he shall wield his sceptre with vigour and determination]. And he promulgated an Edict throughout all countries, and addressed it to all the Amirs by their names, and to the soldiers, ordering them to give back everything which they had taken from the Catholicus or from the holy old men by force, and to give back to him what those men of Baghdad and their envoys, whom we have mentioned above, had taken. Moreover, he allotted and despatched to the Catholicus five thousand dinars (£2,500) for his expenses, saying, "These will serve him as a supply until he cometh to us."
Because Christ doth not forsake His Church, He bindeth up the
brokenhearted, He redeemed those who are humble in spirit, He is the refuge of
the poor, and is their Helper (113) in times of tribulation. God
chastiseth in mercy, and in order to possess [the sinner] He maketh him suffer.
His rebuke is for the man who hath understanding, and teacheth him that he is
not a stranger [to God]. And He doth not leave him that is tempted to be tempted
more than his strength [will bear]. And again he envelopeth him with His
mercies, and, sustaineth him; and He gathered him into the fold of life after He
hath tried him. God--may His honour be adored!--turned the heart of the king
KING KAZAN HONOURS YAHBH-ALLAHA 223
towards His people, "for the heart of a king is set in His hands like a fountain of water; He turneth it about in whatever direction He pleaseth," (Prov. xxi.1).
And from that day the rays of salvation began to shine on the
whole Church. In the districts of ARBIL the churches were laid waste long ago.
In TABHRIZ and HAMADAN they were entirely destroyed, and their foundations had
been uprooted from the earth. In MAWSIL (MOSUL) and its provinces, and in
BAGHDAD, the churches had been ransomed at very large prices and tens of
thousands of darics. But the Church which the Catholicus MAKIKHA (1257-63) built
in BAGHDAD (114) by the command of HULABHU (HULAGU), the victorious king,
and TUKOS KHATUN, the believing queen, and the Cell of the Catholicus were
taken, and the palace which had belonged to the Arab kings. When HULABHU (see
Plates VIII, IX) the father of these kings (i.e. the Mongols) had taken
and looted Baghdad he gave that palace to MAR MAKIKHA, the Catholicus, in order
that he might establish in it services of prayer on behalf of himself and his
seed for ever. Now this was not sufficient, for those who took this church and
the Cell of the Catholicus to set up [mosques upon it], but they compelled the
Christians to eject from it even the bones of the two Patriarchal Fathers [MAR
MAKIKHA and MAR DENHA], and those
224 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
of the holy old men, and monks, and believers who had been buried therein. And these things were carried out by the command of that son of perdition, that accursed and damned man NAWRUZ, the hater of justice, the enemy of the truth, and the lover of falsehood.
And when that monk whom Mar Catholicus [had sent to the king] returned, and brought with him the Pukdana, [i.e. the royal Edict which restored to him his authority], and showed him the affection of the Amirs, and the greatness (115) of the victorious king's goodwill towards him, the door of the Cell was opened, and the Catholicus took his seat upon his Throne, and gathered together his scattered adherents, and brought nigh to him the members of his household who had betaken themselves afar off. And the Pukdane (Edicts) were read in the Diwan (judical assembly) and every man brought that which he had taken. From that sum of money the Catholicus took what was necessary for travelling to King KAZAN. And he went forth from Maraghah in the month of Tammuz (July) of that year, which fell in the month of Ramadhan, and was the year of the Greeks one thousand six hundred and seven (A.D. 1296), to the place which is called UGHAN (or OGHAN).
Two days after his arrival he went into the presence of the
king with appropriate state and ceremony. And the king burned incense according
KING KAZAN HONOURS YAHBH-ALLAHA 225
to custom and made the Catholicus to sit on his right hand,
and [the attendants] brought wine, and the king took the cup and presented it to
the Catholicus, and also to all the holy men who were with him. And from that
[time] he began [to treat him] with affection. And in proportion as the king,
little [by little], was increasing the honour which he paid to the Catholicus,
the hatred which was in the, hearts of the enemies [of the Catholicus] increased
(116), and they forged evil plots, and they sent information about
everything which took place to that son of perdition, that accursed man NAWRUZ
FURTHER PILLAGE AND MURDER IN MARAGHAH
And in the year of the Greeks one thousand six hundred and eight (A.D.
1296--97), the victorious king came down to pass the winter in the city of
BAGHDAD, and Mar Catholicus remained in MARAGHAH. And it fell out that a certain
man, who was called by the name of SHENAKH EL-TAMUR (or SHAING EL-TAIMUR, or
SHAKH EL-TAIMUR) came into MARAGHAH, and he cast about a report that he had with
him an Edict ordering that every one who not abandon Christianity and deny his
Faith should be killed. And he added many threats and magnified the severity of
the Edict, and inserted various [penalties] which had never before been heard of
in the world. Now when the people of the Arabs heard this they became like
savages and they stirred themselves up to fight, and their hearts became bold (117)
and cruel, and in the fierceness of their strength the whole of their people
rushed to the Cell, and plundered everything which they found [there]. This took
place during the Fast of Lent, on the fourth day of the week (Wednesday)
following the Sunday
PILLAGE AND MURDER IN MARAGHAH 227
on which the prayer beginning] "Tau naudhe waneshabbah" (i.e. "come ye, let us praise and glory") [is said].
And when the story went forth that this impudent fellow had done this without any royal command, and had acted solely because of the evil of his disposition, and the intensity of is wickedness, the Amirs and the governors who were in MARAGHAH gathered together, and took counsel, and decided to perform judgement on a following Sunday and to restore to the Cell the various valuable objects which those impudent men had carried off from it. Now these objects were of very great price, among them being the gold seal which the King of Kings MANGU KHAN [the eldest son of TULUI KHAN and grandson of GENGHIS KHAN] (see Plate XIX)--May our Lord give rest to his soul, and make his portion to be with the saints!--had given to the Patriarchal Cell, and that crown which Mar Papa (the Pope) had given to the Cell, (see p. 196), and another seal, made of silver, which the deceased King Arghon had given to Catholicus (see p. 155) (118).
And then [on the following Sunday] the people of the Arabs were assembled
before the Amirs and Judges, and the rods for the punishment of the evil doers
had been brought [and they began] to beat [them], straightway with one voice
they all uttered loud cries [of protest].
228 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
And they took stones in their hands, and, shut their ears, and chased the
Amirs and the governor every man to his house. And every Christian who fell into
their hands they smote and belaboured pitilessly. In the impetuosity of their
attack they came to the Cell, and they pulled down all the buildings as far as
the beams of the of the roof. And they smashed in with stones the heads of the
monks who were in the Cell, and of the young men who had gone up to the roof to
hide themselves. When one of the disciples saw these things taking place, he
hurled [the stones] back on the Arabs and wounded some of them. Thereupon the
Arabs became more infuriated and one of them went up behind that disciple and
smote him with [his] sword and cut off his head, and threw it down to the
ground. Then the monks who were there cast themselves down [from the roof], and
there were some of them whose bones were broken. And one of the Christians (119),
seeing that the monks had cast themselves down in order to save their lives,
stretched out his hand for the knife, and smote that monk and killed him.
Certain believing men grasped the other monks and dragged them into [their]
houses. And the treasury of the holy church of MAR GEORGE, which RABBAN SAWMA
had built, was broken open and everything that was in the Cell, the vessels of
PILLAGE AND MURDER IN MARAGHAH 229
copper and iron, the carpets, and the chests of stores, which had escaped a previous looting, were all taken and carried off at the same time. But by the looting of those things the church itself was saved and delivered from pulling down and destruction. Those impudent men had fully intended to destroy the church, but God in His mercy on that church prevented them from doing this by means of the objects which they looted.
And to speak briefly this last looting was so much worse than the first looting which took place at the beginning [of the persecution], that neither the tongue is capable of describing it, nor the pen of the skilled scribe able to write any account of it]. If God had not shown mercy (120) and the believing woman QUEEN BURGESIN ARGI (?) had not hidden the Catholicus and the holy men in her house, and, with the help of God which supported [her], protected them, all that was left for the Church to do was to bow her head, and veil her face, for those turbulent men were determined to make a massacre.
After five days (121) they departed to a place which is called SHAKATO, and
thence they removed themselves to the mountain which is called SIYA KUH, until
the king returned from BAGHDAD TO HAMADAN. And in the neighborhood of this city
the Catholicus went to
230 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
him, and when the king saw him he was sorry for him, and for his broken condition. And he issued a Pukdana (Edict) and sent a messenger and gave orders that all the people of the city of Maraghah should be seized, and bound with fetters, and beaten with stripes until they gave up what they had robbed from the Cell, and also that they should rebuild the churches and restore them to their former condition, And after great toil, and the beatings and tortures which they were made to suffer, they had produced a very small part of what they had stolen. and the rest remained [with them].
REBELLIONS AND FIGHTINGS IN THE FORTRESS OF ARBIL.
Now this calamity which overtook the Cell did not suffice, for the believing
folk of the Fortress of Arbil fell into a disaster which was even greater than
that. For when the natives of the city, [who were] Arabs, were wishing to
overthrow the Church [there], through the agency of the KARTEWAYE (or KURDAYA, i.e.
KURDS), it happened that certain of the soldiers of the king, who were
Christians and were called KAYAJYEH or KAIJAYE), that is to say, "those who
go up into the mountains and their hills," shot arrows at them and killed a
certain well-known man (or nobleman). And fighting and hatred followed, and
revolt increased, and even grew, and fury and bitter hatred flourished in both
parties, namely, in both the Christians and the Arabs (122). And they
laid ambushes each party for the other, and they fought pitched battles, and the
bridge of the Fortress was cut. Now this did not happen in the ordinary course
of events, but because that son of perdition NAWRUZ, the accursed, had gone to
KHORASAN, and wished to rebel against the
232 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
kingdom and to seize it for himself. And he stationed allies in every place, and men who belonged to his party in every district, until God revealed his plans and laid bare his crafty designs. And whilst the Arabs were pressing in on (i.e. beleaguering) that Fortress, the brother of that impudent man, and his wives and children were captured, and the victorious King KAZAN--may his life be preserved!--put them to death on the Sunday [of the prayer] "Ainau asya" (i.e. "what physician"), during the Redeeming Fast (i.e. Lent) of the yea of the Greeks one thousand six hundred and eight (A.D. 1297). And, straightway, rebellion arose afresh. The highways and roads were cut (i.e. blocked) by the keepers of the guard who were stationed upon them, for that son of perdition' NAWRUZ, had escaped, and the troops of the king went forth to search for him; and were longing to catch him.
And whilst they were in pursuit of him, the Christians in the Fortress of
ARBIL were to being pushed (i.e. attacked) by those who were outsiders; they
cast up embankments and set up battering rams (123), and fixed machines
for castings (maghenas), and they made fierce war against the Fortress.
And the Metropolitan of ARBIL, whose name was MAR ABRAHAM, and who was an old
and feeble man, was captured, together with many priests who ministered in the
church, and the
REBELLIONS IN FORTRESS OF ARBIL 233
clerics and believing men; and some of them were killed and some of them were sold [as slaves] for very high prices. And the Fortress remained in the possession of the soldiers, some of them being Mongols in the service of that Amir who had brought this result about, and others, men belonging to various tribes of the KARTEWAYE (i.e. Kurds). To state the matter briefly, men came from every country to plunder the Christians; and for this reason many murders took place, and carryings off of men and women into captivity which cannot be described. And even among the Arabs many died by the mouth (i.e. edge) of the sword. And matters continued to be thus from the second day of the week (Monday) of the Prayer of the Ninevites until the Feast of My Lord the Adorable Cross, of the year which has been mentioned (A.D. 1297). Thus were these things.
Now the soldiers of the victorious King KAZAN, and a great Amir, (124)
who was with him, at length confined that son of perdition [NAWRUZ, the
accursed], in one of the fortresses of KHORASAN, and the men of the fortress
acted treacherously in respect of him, and put him in fetters and delivered him,
bound, to those soldiers. And then and there they cut off his head and sent it
to the victorious king. And the messenger who brought the head arrived and came
to the victorious king on the twenty-fifth day of Abh (August) of this year,
234 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
was in a place which is called SHAREKHANAH (or SHARAPKHANAH), and is in the neighbourhood of ALA TAK. And the king had rest from the waves of his (i.e. NAWRUZ'S) wickedness and from the storm of his cunning desires and crafty deceits. May his portion be with Satana, his counsellor and fellow-servant!
Now the accusations (or complaints) against the Fortress of Arbil and the believers who were therein increased steadily, and the tumult because of them waxed strong in the Great Camp. It was said:--"These men have killed a large number of Arabs. They have revolted against the Government. Every Ishmaelite (i.e.Hagaraya or Muhammadan) they meet they kill without pity. Enmity increased, threats were multiplied (125), until at length they succeeded in making the reports enter the ears of the victorious king, and they were repeated before his throne. Now as we have said before [in writing of] these [Mongol] kings, God gave the Christians favour in the eyes of the king, and he knew that they were cruelly oppressed. But although he had turned aside from the way of his fathers, and had inclined to dogma [which maketh] bitter the soul, he had not changed his good disposition in respect of them.
As his answer to those men who had made him hear the accusations against the
Fortress when Mar Catholicus set out with a following for the (Royal] Camp at
ALA TAK, through the
REBELLIONS IN FORTRESS OF ARBIL 235
force of the circumstances which lay upon him, for there remained not to him one place in which to lay his head, the victorious king sent to him two of the nobles who [stood] before him. One of these was called KHWAJA RASHID AD DIN, and with him was TARMADADH, an Amir. And they said unto him, "The king commandeth; let Mar Catholicus hear his command!" And Mar Catholicus replied, "Most certainly, who is there that would not receive the command of the king--may he live for ever!" And the nobles said, "The king (126) commandeth, saying "If the king were to make the Christians evacuate that Fortress, and give them land, and water, and houses, and protect them from everyone who attempted to injure them, and bring them here, and release them from every burden of tax and duty, how would [this] plan work out, and how doth it appear in thy opinion? For the enmity between these two religions of the ARABS and the SYRIANS hath increased. If the matter be left in the state in which it now is, very grievous injuries will overtake the kingdom through it; if these men are left as they are, many other revolts will spring into existence. What now doth the Catholicus say to the matter, and the manner in which it is to be carried out?"
And the Catholicus made answer to them. When he heard this his eyes became
filled with and his mouth showed forth his suffering,
236 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
and with a bitter choking of his voice he said, "I have heard the
command of my lord, the king, and there is no one who can evade it or change the
character thereof. If only I could remember what hath happened to me, and show
it forth the heavens and the earth would be forced to weep. If it pleaseth you (127),
since ye demand of me an answer to declare to the victorious king, I will speak.
I had a Cell in BAGHDAD, and a church and endowments which were settled upon me;
they have been taken [from me]. The church and the Cell that were in MARAGHAH
have been torn up by their roots and cast down, and everything which was in them
hath been plundered, as ye are well aware. I have escaped being murdered, and my
state is manifest. As for the church and the Cell which were in TABHRIZ, there
remaineth only a flat plot of ground with no building upon it, and everything
that was in them hath been plundered. The places whereon the Cell and the church
stood in the city of Hamadhan it is wholly impossible to point out. There remain
now the Cell and the church in the Fortress of Arbil and one hundred souls, and
do ye wish to scatter them also and to plunder them? What is the good of life to
me? Let my lord the king command either that I return to the East, whence I
came, or that I go to the country of the PEROGAYA (Franks) and bring my life to
an end there."
REBELLIONS IN FORTRESS OF ARBIL 237
(128) When the envoys heard this they were sorrowful, and their eyes also were filled with tears. And they rose up straightway and went in haste to the victorious king, and placed before him these answers, word for word. And forthwith the king--may he live for ever!--gave the command, "The Christians shall not be ejected from the Fortress, and if they are in want of food let it be given to them at the expense of the Diwan until the soldiers can come down on the approach of winter."
And a certain Amir, who was a hateful man, prevented [this order being carried out] for he wrote and acted in another manner. The matter, however, which was most necessary, was the rescue of the oppressed men and prisoners, who were shut up in the Fortress. And after much labour and constant going to and fro an Edict appeared; and envoys were permitted to go to Arbil and release the men in the Fortress And the Catholicus sent with them to the Fortress a certain holy man (a bishop?) that perhaps through his intervention [the envoys] would be able to open the gates of the Fortress [more easily], and that the people would devote themselves to concluding an arrangement for peace.
And the Catholicus said farewell to (129) the envoys and the holy men
(bishops?) who were with them, and they arrived at Arbil on the
238 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
14th day of the month of 'Ilul (September of the year already mentioned [A.D. 1297]. They tied together the [parts of the] bridge of the Fortress, and they went in and released the men in the Fortress, and after much labour and tribulation of spirit, and suffering of the heart, they made them to be friends with the Arabs. And the expense incurred by the Catholicus and the Christians who were there was not small, for it was about ten thousand dinars (£5,000) in addition to what was given from the Cell to the Amir who effected this with them, and this amounted to about fifteen hundred dinars more. The chief of the Arabs confirmed (i.e. signed or sealed) the agreement on the oars of the Arabs to keep the peace, and the Metropolitan of the Christians confirmed (i.e. signed or sealed their agreement with the Arabs to keep the peace; and one of the Amirs carried away both documents and exhibited them before the victorious king.
And another Edict was promulgated ordering that the Fortress should belong to the Christians who were empowered to demand the restoration of everything which had gone from them. Thus wickedness ceased, and peace (or goodwill) increased (130) by the help of God and the outpouring of His mercies upon His creatures.
But in spite of all this the Arabs did not cease from evil, and they found means of attacking and doing harm to the Christians as they have
REBELLIONS IN FORTRESS OF ARBIL 239
always done. And a certain man among them was a lord of the Diwan whose name was NASIR AD-DIN, obtained an Edict from the king ordering the Christians to pay the poll tax, and to tie girdles round themselves when they were walking about in the market-places.Now this calamity was the most difficult of all calamities [to endure]. And many of the Christians were slain in the "City of Peace" (i.e. BAGHDAD). And without any delay the gezitha, that is to say, the poll tax, was dragged from them, and their loins were bound round with girdles; now, to speak the truth the gezitha was not a tax but absolute plundering. And when the Christians were walking in the markets, and among the houses, the Arabs would scoff at them, and revile them and make a mock ol them saying, "See what ye look like in these girdles, O wretched people!" And there was nothing which they could do to afflict them they that did not do to them (131), until at length God had mercy upon them, and lightened all the burdens that rested upon them, and removed far from them the trials which had overtaken them and which had surrounded them on all sides.
240 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA FLOURISHETH AND FINISHES BUILDING THE MONASTERY OF MARAGHAH
And that winter the Catholicus went with the victorious king to MUGHAN, which was the winter quarters of them [i.e. the Mongols] ; from there he came with them to there TABHRIZ, and passed the summer in the royal Camp. [This he did thinking that perhaps he might be able discreetly to supply the things necessary both for the Church and himself, and also that he might turn back the violence and strength of the opposition (?) of [his] enemies, and cool their anger. VVhilst things were thus, the victorious king commanded and a seal was made like unto that great seal' which had been stolen [from the Catholicus], and engraved with the same inscription, that was upon it, and a sukur, that is to say (I32)ashater (i.e. parasol) was given to him. Thus the sparks of love were beginning to flash forth from him.
And the Catholicus passed the winter of the year of the Greeks, one thousand
six hundred and ten [A.D. 1299] in the Fortress of ARBIL, for from the year
which we have mentioned that is, one thousand six hundred and five, he
YAHBH-ALLAHA FINISHES MONASTERY 241
had not seen the people thereof. He rejoiced at the sigh! of them, and passed the winter happily among them. The joy of the father in his children increased, and also that of the children in their father, for they were emerging from labours, that is to say, trials, and were freeing themselves from a great disaster and from stark suffering.
And when the winter had passed, the Catholicus set out in the month of Nisan (April) for the Royal Camp, and he went to MUGHAN where the kings passed the summer. And [the king] rejoiced in him greatly and paid him honour, and commanded that whatever happened, he should enter MARAGHAH again. And in accordance with the [king's] command he went to the city [and arrived there] on the Sunday [of the prayer] "haw dabhithutheh" (i.e. "He who in His being"). And he passed that summer in [his]Cell, with great content, in MARAGHAH (133).
And in the month of the [first] Teshri, (October) of the year of the Greeks,
one thousand six hundred and eleven [A.D. 1299], he went down again with the
victorious King Kazan to the countries of Arbil and MAWSIL (Mosul). Now the
object of the victorious king was to conquer the countries of PALESTINE and
SYRIA. And the Catholicus wintered in the Fortress of ARBIL, and during the
whole of that winter, he devoted himself to getting ready the money for [the
242 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
of the monastery of which he was laying the foundations. And when the victorious king returned from PALESTINE [and SYRIA], having conquered and broken their armies, and plundered them, and scattered, and slain and carried of the inhabitants into captivity--for he hd actually carried out what he had determined to do(1)--the Catholicus went up again with him to ADHORBIJAN. And he began to build the monastery, and he devoted his whole care and energy to the work until he completed it.
And in the month of 'Ilul (September) of the year [A.D. 1300], KAZAN, the victorious king came to Mar Catholicus at Maraghah, and he remained with him for three days. And the joy of the Christians waxed great, and the kin (134) showed great love towards them, for he knew well that they were simple and guileless, and innocent of wickedness. And he departed with a joyful heart from the Catholicus, who had ministered unto him exceedingly well.
And the king turned and went down again to the countries of ARBIL and MAWSIL
in the winter of the year of the Greeks, one thousand six hundred and thirteen
[read 1612--A.D. 1300-01]. And the Catholicus also went down with him and
accompanied him to a place which was nigh unto the region of SHIGHAR (SINJAR).
YAHBH-ALLAHA FINISHES MONASTERY 243
went back and passed the winter in the citadel of ARBIL,until the victorious king returned, when he again went up with him. And during the going up the KARTEWAYA (KURDS) made an ambush for Mar Catholicus, and as he was passing on the road, they sent arrows at him, and an arrow hit one of his fingers and wounded him slightly. The victorious king was enraged at this and he swore the full Mongol oath, saying, " I will take vengeance of those Kurds" (135).
And when the Catholicus arrived at MARAGHAH he went up to the monastery of MAR JOHN THE BAPTIST, which he had founded, and he took with him the monks whom he had gathered together. His intention was to finish that building, and he said:, "If God hath mercy upon me, and I am able to finish it and to consecrate it, this would be a great act of grace on His part towards me." And God--may His honour be adored!--helped him, and, his object, according as he wished, was accomplished. And that building was finished with everything that was beautiful, and the ornamentations thereof were such that words cannot describe their great excellence.
The buildings were handsome, the doors were things to be admired, and its
superstructure was raised above on worked slabs (or pillars ?), and its
foundations of dressed stones were truly laid. Thus it was, he made its doors of
dressed slabs, ornamented. with designs, and its stairways
244 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
were also of dressed stone. What wards can describe its majesty [adequately]? And the site on which the edifice was built possesseth great consolation [i.e. charm], and is full of splendour. The veils [i.e. curtains] that are before the door of the altar, and in front of the tombs and the sacristy, are most wonderful and marvellous. They are made of a woven fabric (136), with designs in hollow work, and have threads of fine gold running through them. Its wall is so high [that its height] preventeth the attainment of the scaling of it. As for the water suppIy of the monastery, water flowed through all the cells of the monks, and carried outside it by means of channels (or drains) every impurity. Recently a cell for the Patriarch has been built in the monastery, and the Throne is therein to-day, for the Patriarch doth not go out therefrom. And the greater number of the layings on of hands [i.e. ordinations] take place therein, and the decrees, that is to say, ecclesiastical cannons are confirmed therein.
There too are fixed [i.e. deposited] the relics of the saints, whose names we
will mention presently and healings descend upon all those who take refuge in
them. And although, strictly speaking the monastery was built [in the name of]
MAR JOHN, the Baptist, there have, nevertheless been gathered together therein
the relics of [many other] saints, with a care and diligence which surpasses
YAHBH-ALLAHA FINISHES MONASTERY 245
And these have been laid up there for the help of believers, and as a refuge for the afflicted, and the relief of those oppressed with pain, and the consolation of those who are troubled. The holy shrine, containing relics (137) are arranged in order and are placed near each other.
The length of the temples (i.e. the two naves and aisles of the monastery,
together with the altar is, according to those who have measured them say, sixty
cubits (about 100 feet), and the width of the middle nave is twelve cubits
[about 20 feet]. The altar, and the chamber of the holy of holies, and the
treasury are very spacious. The whole of the outside of the dome of the altar is
inlaid with green glazed (kashani) tiles, and on the top of it is placed a
cross. The names of the saints' relics and portions of whose bodies are
preserved in it are: Of the blessed Mother, my LADY MARY, a small piece of her
head-cloth which the deceased RABBAN SAWMA had brought from the countries of the
PEROGAYE, Franks); MAR JOHN the BAPTIST; the holy Apostles PETER and PAUL--may
their prayers be with the community!; MAR THOMAS the Apostle; and MAR GEORGE;
MAR ADDAI and MAR MARI, the Apostles, and preachers of the Gospel in the regions
of the East; MAR STEPHEN the Protomartyr; MAR CYRIHACUS, the martyr who was
martyred at TARSUS, A.D. 301], and the Forty Martyrs [who were slain by SAPOR
246 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
A.D.356] ; MAR SIMON BAR-SABBA'E, martyred by Sapor II at Ledan]; (138) MAR JOHN of DAILEM; MAR SERGIUS and MAR BACHUS, [martyred by Maximian]; MAR SHALITA, (see p. 305); MAR SABHA the martyr; MAR HANAN 'ISHO; MAR SAMUEL; MAR JAMES, who was cut in pieces; MAR SELIBHA, MAR IISHO'-SABHRAN, MAR ELISHA, the tried martyr; the holy daughter of MA'YO (MANYO); and SHAMONI and her sons [who were slain by ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES]. May their prayers help the world, and may it preserve the inhabited portion of it from every harm!
[And the Catholicus] consecrated the church and set the stone of its altar in
its place on the day of the holy festival of Mar (i.e. my.Lord) the
Adorable Cross on the 13th day of 'Ilul (September) in the year of the Greeks
one thousand six hundred and twelve (A.D. 1301). And on the day of its
consecration there were gathered together all blessed believers of Adhorbijan,
and they flocked thither bearing votive offerings and tithes, each one according
to his ability, and every man according to his position and rank. And they
rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And Mar Catholicus made a great feast, and
he gathered together to it men of every shade of religious belief and opinion.
And he took (139) the cup and presented it to all of them, and made them
to enjoy the feast. And
YAHBH-ALLAHA FINISHES MONASTERY 247
blessed them even as did SOLOMON the king when he had completed that great house of God (2 Chron. vi.) and blessed the people of the Lord.
And the amount of money which the Catholicus spent on the monastery before he
finished it was four hundred and twenty thousand zuze [i.e.
between £40,000 and £50,000]. And he gave apparel to the holy men (bishops?)
and monks, and architects, that is to say, the carpenters and the
handicraftsmen, and every one had toiled on the building, to each according to
his rank, and according to the service he had rendered. Behold, services of
prayer, and celebrations of the Eucharist take place therein continually; it is
a spectacle (or public show) for all the Orientals, and a refuge which
dispenseth help. The Catholicus gave to this holy monastery a village called
DHABHI, which lay in the eastern parts of MARAGHAH, and which he had bought for
eleven thousand dinars. He made the village "Wakf," that is to
say, he settled it as a permanent endowment for the monastery. And he settled
other properties upon it, such as gardens, vineyards, plantations, fields,and
other things, so that (140), the income from them, that is to say, from
[the sale of] the crops which they produced, would sustain the life of the monks
and provide food for them, and for lamps and candles, and defray the cost of the
248 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
repairs and the upkeep of that holy place. And he called that holy monastery,
"Malka dhe `Umre," i.e. the "King of Monasteries. May he
receive [from] our Lord his reward and may He grant him the wages of his weary
toil, namely, the happiness which is in the kingdom of heaven, and a sojourning
with the saints, the lovers of our Lord Jesus Christ; and may our Lord place on
his right hand every one who hath laboured with Mar Catholicus and been
associated with him in this work! Amen.
THE LOVE OF KING KAZAN FOR MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA,
AND HIS DEATH.
And after the completion of this monastery, and the consecration of it, Mar Catholicus went to TABHRIZ, to the victorious King (141) KAZAN. And the king welcomed him gladly, and looked on him joyfully, and paid him honour more than was customary, and magnified him in an unusual manner. And he asked questions about his building [and the progress of] his work, and when Mar Catholicus said that it was entirely finished, the victorious king rejoiced and was glad; and Mar Catholicus blessed him before those who were reclining there. And the king himself set out for MUGHAN to pass the winter there, but he commanded Mar Catholicus to dwell in his monastery throughout the winter, saying, "It is a new building, and it will be agreeable and convenient for its master [to be there], because of the great labour [which he hath expended on it]."
And at the return of the year [in 1302?], when the king came back from MUGHAN,
the Catholicus again went to see him, and to pronounce blessings
250 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
upon him ; now this meeting was exceptionally joyful [to each], and the sight [of each other was most grateful to them. The king set apart for him a seat of honour on his right hand, and gave him many gifts, that is to say a Paiza (see p. 62) and costly royal apparel, and he manifested towards the Catholicus the sincere love which cometh from a very pure heart. And Mar Catholicus thanked him (142), and then returned to ARBIL in the year of the Greeks, one thousand six hundred and fourteen [A.D. 1302], that he might go from there to BAGHDAD. Now it was a long time, in fact a nine years since he had been to that Great Throne, and the chief reason for his journey thither was the determination of the victorious king to go there.
He set out from ARBIL on the day of the Friday after the Festival of the
Nativity of that year (A.D. 1303], arid he entered BAGHDAD on the night of the
holy Epiphany. And he made a festival in DARATH RHOMAYE, and all the
congregation rejoiced in him, and his own gladness was exceedingly great. And
after twenty days he departed from BAGHDAD, and went to the city of HILLAH
(which lieth by the side of Babil (Babylon), which NEBUCHADNEZZAR, the Chaldean
king, built), that he might see King KAZAN. When the Catholicus arrived there he
went to the king on the day of the "White Festival" [i.e. the
Festival of the New Year when men and women
KAZAN'S CAMPAIGN IN PALESTINE 251
alike wore white apparel], which (143) the Mongols were celebrating. And the victorious king welcomed him more gladly than words can say, and he asked him questions and why he had taken the trouble to visit him; and Mar Catholicus replied to him in appropriate words.
Now the king had determined to go to Palestine [and Syria] a second time, and to subdue and conquer those countries a second time. And when after some days Mar Catholicus [went to] see the king, so that he might [obtain permission] to return to BAGHDAD, the king gave him five splendid vestments of great price, which were [usually] worn by kings, and he concluded all the matters of business which the Catholicus had to do with him according to his request. Then the king went to those countries [of Palestine and Syria], and the Catholicus went to BAGHDAD, and lodged in Darath Rhomaye. And he dwelt there for the whole of that winter, and hoped that at the end of the Lenten Fast he might go up again to ADHORBIJAN, and take up his abode in the monastery which he had built.
And on the 10th day of the month of Nisan (April) of that year [A.D. 1303] he
departed from Baghdad., the City of the Throne, and on the 13th day of the month
of 'Iyar (May) (144) he arrived at the city of Maraghah, and he rested in
peace in the monastery which he had founded. Later, on the 10th day of the month
252 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
(June), the victorious king himself came to this monastery, and Mar Catholicus met him and welcomed him with pomp and ceremony. And as was befitting, he made a great feast for him and the kings, and the Amirs, and the nobles of his kingdom. And the king paid him very great honour, and he made his rank to be higher, than that of everyone else ; and he made him great and excellent promises, and taking off the cloak of his body, he arrayed him therein, and all the believers rejoiced with an exceeding great joy.
And the king passed the night in the monastery. And that night, whilst he was
sleeping, he saw in his dream three angels standing above him, the apparel of
one of them was red, and the two others were clad in shining green garments. And
they spake words of consolation to him, and gave him reason to hope that the
disease in his toes would be healed. And on the following morning, the king
brought out a splendid cross made of fine gold, wherein (145) rare stones
of very great price were set, and in it was a fragment of the adorable wood of
the Cross of our Vivifier which had been sent to the king as a mark of honour by
MAR PAPA of the Romans, and he gave it as a gift to Mar Catholicus. And the king
related his dream before all those who were seated there, and confessed (or
declared), saying "Through the blessings of this holy hothouse I have got
healing." And he remained there all
KAZAN'S GIFTS TO THE CATHOLICUS 253
that day praising and magnifying Mar Catholicus. Then he set out for that place wherein he used to pass the summer, that is to say 0ghan. And on the 20th day of Haziran (June) of this year the king--may he live with victory!--sent to Mar Catholicus, by his own courier, a famous horse, on which he himself rode, and a rich and splendid robe, with salutations to Mar Catholicus, and promises of future favours of all kinds. Later in this year, in the month of Abh, the victorious king sent to Mar Catholicus vases of crystal, and vases of glazed porcelain (kashani, in Persian djini) with (146) designs on them in gold. [The king] had brought handicraftsmen from the city of DARMASUK (DAMASCUS) and from KASHAN [on the Tehran road]. By the dispatch of these vessels [the king] showed great love for [MAR CATHOLICUS.].
Any whilst the king remained in the city of TABHRIZ, Mar Catholicus went down
to pass the winter, according to his wont, in the Fortress of ABRIL. In the
month of the latter Teshri (November), in the year of the Greeks, one thousand
six hundred and fifteen [A.D. 1303], all the Fathers and the Christian nobles
who were there gathered together to him, and after the great festival of the
Resurrection of our Lord [A. D. 1304], the great Amir, to whom was entrusted the
direction of the affairs of the Government of DIARBAKR, came to visit Mar
254 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
went up with him quietly (or slowly) in great state to the monastery which he
had built. And he arrived there on the night of the Feast of Pentecost. Five
days later there came to him the bitter, horrible and truly evil report of the
death of the victorious King KAZAN. He died on the Sunday (147) of
Pentecost, at the turn of the day (i.e. towards the evening) on the
border of the city of SAHAND [in ADHORBIJAN]. And all the inhabitants of the
countries of his great dominions mourned for him. His coffin was brought to the
city of TABHRIZ, on the Sunday [of the prayer] " Kul medem sa`ar," i.e.
"He doeth everything," and was placed in the great vault which the
deceased king himself had built.
KING ULJAITO AND MAR YAHBH-ALLAHA.
And because the great Amirs, who held the steering oars of the Government of
the kingdom [of the deceased king], ruled firmly, no rebellion broke out, and no
confusion took place in any place whatsoever. They sent straightway for the
brother of the deceased king on his father's side, who was called ULJAITO (148),
who was in the countries of Khorasan, and they brought him and made him king on
the 12th day of the month Tammuz (July) of this year [A.D. 1304]. [Oljaito was
the third son of Arghon and was born in 1281. At birth he was called Oljai-Buka,
and later Kharbande, i.e. the " Muleteer," which was changed
to" Khudabende," i.e. "Servant of God." His mother
was the daughter of Prince Saruji, the brother of Queen Dokuz Khatun]. And
because he had been baptized, when he was a child, in the time of his father,
King ARGHON, he used to run in and out often to see Mar Catholicus with his
mother URGAU (ARGAU) Khatun, who was a Christian queen. And he enjoyed free and
friendly intercourse with him, and loved him with a boundless affection. And the
Catholicus rejoiced greatly at his accession [to the throne], and he thought and
said, " This [king) will) honour the
256 THE MONKS OF Kf1BLAI KHAN
congregation more than his father and his brother when he hath seen and learned the honour in which they held it, and their love towards it." And he did not perceive that voluntary motions vanquish and overcome those which are habitual and natural, especially when they take root and flourish. Now the king had become a Hagaraya (i.e. Muhammadan) in those regions and he had acquired another kind of instruction (or education?) which had made him to forget all the things that appertained to the first (149). And through the numerous discussions which he had heard there, was found in him a kind of hatred of the Christians.
And when Mar Catholicus went to him--now he met him on two occasions--the
king paid him due honour, though not heartily; but he received him with a little
courtesy, which was due to his venerable position. He gave a mighty hand and a
strong arm to the Muhammadans in everything--in gifts, and Pukdane (Edicts), and
honours, and [permission] to build mosques--and because of this they treated the
churchmen with contempt. And forthwith their wickedness grew strong, and they
came at length to sow (i.e. whisper) in the ears of King ULJAITO that
they should take the monastery which Mar Catholicus had built, and make the
church of the town of TABHRIZ into a mosque, and that its wakf. that is
to say the endowments
KING ULJAITO AND YAHBH-ALLAHA 257
should become the property of the mosque. And this proposal was all but carried into effect, and the evil would certainly have been committed, if God's help and God's grace had not stirred up the excellent Amir IRINJIN--may [his] life be preserved! --the uncle of the king, who restrained their audacity and curtailed their impudence. [IRINJIN was the son of Prince Saruji, and the nephew of Dokuz Khatun; he gave his daughter, Kutluk-shah to Oljaito in marriage.] Also they wanted to take possession of the monastery which the Catholicus had built.
An d the winter of the year of the Greeks, one thousand six hundred and
sixteen (150 (A. D. 1304-05) ) Mar Catholicus passed in the town of
Eshnok [in ADHORBIJAN]. And when.there he escaped with the greatest difficulty
from the hands of the rebels, and came to the monastery which he had built. And
he set out from there for the Royal Camp at 0ghan, and went with the king to
TABHRIZ, and he struggled to make prosperous the affairs of the Church, and
received [from the king] a Pukdana (Edict), and returned to the monastery. From
there he set out to pass the winter in the Fortress of ABRIL and as soon as he
arrived there, at the beginning of the year of the Greeks, one thousand six
hundred and seventeen [October, A.D. 1305), he laid the foundation of a great
Cell in the Fortress, and he built it of limestone and mortar,
258 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
and he finished it and furnished it with every kind of beautiful thing. And at the beginning of the month of 'Iyar of that same year [A.D. 1396], he went up to the monastery which he had built and passed the summer there. When heard that the king had begun to levy the poll-tax on the Christians, he went again to Oghan, and he met the king, but gained no advantage therefrom.
And the king began to build a city in the neighbourhood (151) of the borders of KAZWAN (KAZWIN), and he finished it and called it "SULTANIYAH." And he collected there handi-craftsmen from all the countries of his kingdom, and he adorned it with splendid buildings, and in a manner which it is impossible to describe.
And since Mar Catholicus was without an income from any source whatsoever, and his expenses were very great, he went again to the Cell which he had built in the Fortress of ABRIL, and he passed there the winter of the year of the Greeks one thousand six hundred and eighteen [A. D. 1306-07], and the summer also, and the winter of the year of the Greeks, one thousand six hundred and nineteen [A.D. 1308]. At the beginning of the month of 'Iyar he went up to Adhorbijan and visited the king in the city of UGHAN. And the king paid him the honour which was usually paid to him.
And the king rode forth to the chase, and he came to the holy monastery which
KING ULJAITO AND YAHBH-ALLAHA 259
had built. And the monks went out to meet him, and they brought him in with pomp and ceremony. And when he went in to the cell of the director of the monastery, that director (152) found mercy in his eyes, and he asked him questions about the Mysteries of the Christians. And the director replied to the king in noble words and most eloquently, and the king was well pleased with the same. Then he went into the Cell of the Catholicus, and sat upon the patriarchal Throne, and he made the monks to come there, and he rejoiced with them, and gave them five pieces of beautiful and valuable cloth. Thereupon the director of the monastery mentioned the poll-tax, and the king promised that he would not again levy it. And he laid no burden of any kind on the monastery (i.e. his visit cost the monks nothing].
And when the king had departed on the following day, the Catholicus having
heard [of his visit] came to the monastery, and he grieved greatly that he had
not been present in the monastery. And he followed the king, and overtook him by
the waters of the river which is called GAKTO in Mongolian and WAKYAROD in
Persian, and the holy men (bishops?) and the director of the monastery were with
him, And the king paid Mar Catholicus very great honour, and permitted to be
written for him, and for the Christians, the great Pukdana of the Pukdane [an
Edict conferring very great privileges on the holders]
260 THE MONKS OF KUBLAI KHAN
ordering (153) that throughout the whole dominion of his kingdom no man should demand the poll-tax from the holy men, and the monks, and the elders, and the deacons. And when he returned to the monastery, he sent after him (the Catholicus) to TABHRIZ, and he gave him one of his riding mules and a rich robe of honour. From the time when the king entered the monastery the fetter which bound his heart was loosed, and God threw mercy into his heart. And he commander, Catholicus to pass the winter in his monastery, and he himself went into winter quarters at Ughan; now the Mongols call the place "Mughan."
And the Catholicus passed both the winter and the summer of the year of the
Greeks, one thousand six hundred and twenty [A.D. 1308-09] in the monastery. And
the king showed great mercy in the favourable Edicts which he issued and he
allotted to the Catholicus the whole of the poll-tax of ARBIL, and commanded the
poll-tax should never again be levied on the Christians. And immediately the
Catholicus went to the Fortress of ARBIL in the month of the latter Teshri
(November) of the year of the Greeks, one thousand six hundred and twenty-one
[A.D. 1309] (154), he fell sick on the road of a deadly, disease, but our
Lord healed him, and he went to the Fortress of ABRIL in great state and all the
people of the city came out before him and brought him in with great honour.