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Marco Polo and the Church of the East

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Marco Polo and the Church of the East

Jun-07-2001 at 02:09 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

Rustichello of Pisa wrote a book entitled The Travels of Marco Polo in which he recounted the stories told to him by Marco Polo the Venetian. Marco Polo traveled with his father and uncle on a trading mission throughout Asia from 1271-1292. The Polos were also hoping to spread Catholicism during their journeying. Marco Polo claimed that he was favored by Kublai Khan and was made to serve the Imperial family as a government official and ambassador. The Travels of Marco Polo is filled with references to the Nestorians. Marco Polo tells us where he saw Nestorian Churches, who some important Nestorians were and which cities had significant numbers of Nestorians. He considered the Christians of the Far East heretics because they did not adhere to the Roman Catholic Church. He first describes them saying:
There are people who observe the law of Christ, but not according to the ordinance of the Roman Church, for they are at fault in several points. They are called Nestorians and Jacobites. They have a Patriarch, whom they call the Catholicus. This patriarch makes archbishops and bishops and abbots of every degree and sends them out everywhere, into India and Cathay and Baghdad, just like the Roman pope. You must understand that all the Christians you will meet in these countries I am describing are Nestorians and Jacobites. (This quote is by Ronald Lathom, The Travels of Marco Polo)

By: Stephen Andrew Missick
The Assyrian Church in the Mongolian Empire as Observed by World Travelers in the late 13th and Early 14th Centuries.
Appeared in the JAAS, Vol. XIII, No. 2, 1999]

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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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