Life of Mar Aba – chapter 16

We’re now starting to get some of the meat of the issues.  The magian clergy play, it seems, a judicial role.  They are finding that the Nestorian patriarchs are overruling their judgements, when it is a case between two members of their community. 

16.  After this the blessed one went daily into the assembly of the magians, who were negotiating with him and asking him about all sorts of things.  And the mopet of Bet Aramaje got up and said, “Often, when Christians bring a prosecution, and obtain a written (judgement) (buchtnamag) from the Mopetan Mopet, he sends for them, takes them out of the court house and tears up the written (judgement).  All the cases that come to us are actually decided by him, and we suffer much violence through him.” 

The Catholicos said, “If a Christian maliciously accuses his brother, I will not allow him to come into the church.”

Then a man from Samarra (?) named Dendad got up, who had put on the name of Christian, but in this, as in many other accusations, he had joined with the magians, and since he had exchanged God’s truth for a lie, after a few days his body was swollen up, by God’s punishment.  Then he stood up publicly before the magians and said, “I have  maliciously accused the Catholicos.”  But he died mid-sentence.

The man who calls himself a Christian but in fact acts as a pawn of the non-Christian world is still a familiar figure.


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