Life of Mar Aba – chapter 20

20.  But since the Christians at court clamoured violently and shouted because of the blessed one, the King of Kings ordered that he should not be thrown into prison.  He was handed over to the Rad of Azerbaijan, named Dad(d)en, a man evil and hardened against everyone, but who through God’s grace was gentle, friendly and peaceful to the blessed and his disciples. 

On the advice of the devil, the enemy of truth, the Mopetan Mopet and the noble magians secretly arranged to send down the holy one into his custody in the province of Azerbaijan, which is eclipsed by error[1], in a district (rûstâkâ) darked by paganism named PRHRWR, in a village named SRSCH by the magians, which is the birthplace of magianism. 

There the magians of the whole Persian realm gather together in order to learn the foolish mutterings of Zardusht bar Spidtahman[2],  people who are the enemies of all truth.  They wander about in droves and bands, follow their masters, talk and argue in the nonsense of their errors, stuttering and yelling and gnashing their teeth like wild pigs.  The blessed one would have to endure the sights and sounds of the wildness and pugnacity of the people, who had never heard the name of Christian, faced with his his greeting and attempt to talk rationally to them.[3]

They placed a watch on him.  And because of Satan’s influence, they did not allow him the slightest relief from his pains, which they made him endure so that he would quickly depart from this life.

The description of the conditions sounds rather hagiographical, but the order for banishment to a remote magian stronghold seems likely enough.

UPDATE: Revised after reading chapter 21, as Mar Aba is still at court; but I am not confident still about parts of this.

  1. [1]“die durch den Irrtum verfinstert ist” — I am not sure that I have rendered this correctly.
  2. [2]Zoroaster.
  3. [3]Not sure about this sentence at all: “Welchen Anblick und welches Anhören der Wildheit und Streitsucht von Leuten, die nicht einmal den Christennamen hören, seinen Gruß annehmen und mit ihm wie Menschen reden mochten, vermochte der Selige auszuhalten.”

Leave a Reply