Life of Mar Aba – chapter 27

The story continues.  A court intrigue has led a Christian renegade to Mar Aba’s place of exile, and witnessed an attempt on his life.  It is clear that the place of exile is not secure.  Some Persian terms are not translated in the Syriac, so remain just collections of consonants.

27.  Afterwards the blessed one reflected, “Perhaps the murderer will find an opportunity to fulfil his murderous desire upon me, and then spread the rumour that I have run away.”  Then he gave himself up to death in the open, got up in the night with his disciple, named Jacob, and, trusting God, left the village accompanied by the zealous, stout and God-loving bishop of Azerbaijan, Mar Johannan.  He travelled in the winter, in cold, frost and snow, over the mountains and hills, to the royal court, entered and took HRPDKA.[1] 

When the King of Kings heard of his arrival, he was greatly astonished, that he had not gone elsewhere, but had come there where everyone was afraid that he would hear from the HRPDKA.  The Christians of the (two) cities and everywhere arose and came to see the blessed one, and everyone awaited the outcome of this unfortunate business.  But the magians rejoiced and said, “Now that he has ignored the command of the King of Kings, the latter will at once command his execution and rid us of him.” 

Since everyone was watching and waiting to see what would happen, the King of Kings sent to the blessed one by means of Ferruchdad Hormizd DZ’DGW, “What is the judgement on he who transgresses the command of his lord?”  The Catholicos said, “If he is a serf, his food and clothing shall be taken; if he works for pay, he will not receive his pay.”

Hormizd DZ’DGW said, “What is your judgement, when you have ignored the command of the king of kings and come here against his command?”  The Catholicos said, “I have not ignored the command of the king of kings, but I am his friend and obey his command.  Because a renegade came against me, to murder me secretly, I left there and came to his court, so that no-one would think that I had run away.  If I have done wrong, let him execute me openly.”  Then Hormizd DZ’DGW went and reported this to the King of Kings.

Mar Aba takes the right line: for every noble at court is afraid of secret intrigues, and a demand for fair treatment is one that few will find unreasonable.  Mar Aba, notice, will not be treated as a servant, and is very conscious of his status as a Persian of high rank.

  1. [1]The BKV text gives no clue as to what this is.  The word ‘took’ is ‘ergriff’, so may have some other meaning.

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