Rabban Sauma Part 12 The History of the Christian Church

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This is the last of a dozen episodes on Rabban Sauma.Having met with all the dignitaries his embassy on Arghun’s behalf required, Sauma was anxious to return home. The delay caused by the Roman Cardinals failure to appoint a new Pope had lengthened his stay beyond what he’d anticipated. Although no record of it is given, Arghun may have urged Sauma to return by a specific date. So he packed up and started the journey back to Persia. It was April 1288.And remember, accompanying him was the French king Philip’s ambassador who bore a personal letter from the King to Arghun. The one Sauma carried was an official correspondence.His route was the same as the one he took West. The only change was his trip to Veroli SW of Rome. The Cathedral of St. Andrew was an attraction he decided to include on his way home. It wasn’t much of a detour. What’s interesting about his stay in Veroli was his inclusion with several Roman church officials in the issuing of indulgences. These indulgences, usually issued in the Name of Christ, were rendered under the auspices of God the Father, indicating a nod on the part of the Catholics to The Rabban’s Nestorian emphasis. The Vatican museum has some of these indulgences granted by Sauma. They bear his seal showing a figure with a halo, left hand on chest and right holding a star. It bears the text, “Bar Sauma—Tartar—From the Orient” Tartar being the common word of Europeans for the Mongols.After Veroli, Sauma took ship and arrived back in Persia in Sept; a journey of five months. He was immediately ushered into the Ilkhan’s presence. He handed off the various gifts and correspondences he’d been given to pass along to Arghun. He then gave his report, a full account of his time in the West.Arghun was pleased that the kings of England and France were on board for an alliance against the Mamluks. Though the Pope hadn’t pledged to the alliance, he’d made clear his desire for closer relations. Stoked at that prospect, Arghun looked with great favor on the Rabban. He expressed his dismay at the hardships Sauma had endured on his journey and promised to take care of him for the rest of his life. He pledged to build the Rabban a church near the palace where he could retire to a life of quiet service of God. Sauma asked that Arghun send for his old friend Mar Yaballaha, head of the Nestorian Church, to come to court to receive the gifts and letters Western leaders had sent him. While there, he could consecrate the land for the new church. The summons was duly sent.Arghun had a special tent-church constructed in anticipation of Mar Yaballaha’s arrival. When the Catholicos did, a three-day banquet was thrown with Arghun himself serving both Sauma and the Nestorian Patriarch. He commanded the people of his realm to offer regular prayers for the health of both the Rabban and Catholicos. The favor he showered on the Nestorians led to a greater boldness on their part across Persia. In 1289, Arghun appointed a Jewish physician as his vizier or prime minister and turned over a good part of the governance of the realm to his capable leadership. With both Christianity and Judaism on the rise, unease among Muslims began to roil.Arghun remained hopeful of the alliance with the West against the Mamluks. He sent a letter by way of a Genoese merchant to Kings Edward & Philip, calling for them to make good on their promise of joining in a campaign to remove the Muslims from the Holy Land. He told them the Mongols would be attacking Damascus in January 1291. They were to attack the Mamluk headquarters in Egypt. They’d then meet in Jerusalem, where Arghun would help them conquer the City, and once secured, turn it over to Europeans control. Both Philip & Edward replied. While Philip’s letter is lost to us, Edward’s remains. He commended the Ilkhan for his zeal in wanting to rid the infidels from

This is the last of a dozen episodes on Rabban Sauma.Having met with all the dignitaries his embassy on Arghun’s behalf required, Sauma was anxious to return home. The delay caused by the Roman Cardinals failure to appoint a new Pope had lengthened his stay beyond what he’d anticipated. Although no record of it is given, Arghun may have urged Sauma to return by a specific date. So he packed up and started the journey back to Persia. It was April 1288.And remember, accompanying him was the French king Philip’s ambassador who bore a personal letter from the King to Arghun. The one Sauma carried was an official correspondence.His route was the same as the one he took West. The only change was his trip to Veroli SW of Rome. The Cathedral of St. Andrew was an attraction he decided to include on his way home. It wasn’t much of a detour. What’s interesting about his stay in Veroli was his inclusion with several Roman church officials in the issuing of indulgences. These indulgences, usually issued in the Name of Christ, were rendered under the auspices of God the Father, indicating a nod on the part of the Catholics to The Rabban’s Nestorian emphasis. The Vatican museum has some of these indulgences granted by Sauma. They bear his seal showing a figure with a halo, left hand on chest and right holding a star. It bears the text, “Bar Sauma—Tartar—From the Orient” Tartar being the common word of Europeans for the Mongols.After Veroli, Sauma took ship and arrived back in Persia in Sept; a journey of five months. He was immediately ushered into the Ilkhan’s presence. He handed off the various gifts and correspondences he’d been given to pass along to Arghun. He then gave his report, a full account of his time in the West.Arghun was pleased that the kings of England and France were on board for an alliance against the Mamluks. Though the Pope hadn’t pledged to the alliance, he’d made clear his desire for closer relations. Stoked at that prospect, Arghun looked with great favor on the Rabban. He expressed his dismay at the hardships Sauma had endured on his journey and promised to take care of him for the rest of his life. He pledged to build the Rabban a church near the palace where he could retire to a life of quiet service of God. Sauma asked that Arghun send for his old friend Mar Yaballaha, head of the Nestorian Church, to come to court to receive the gifts and letters Western leaders had sent him. While there, he could consecrate the land for the new church. The summons was duly sent.Arghun had a special tent-church constructed in anticipation of Mar Yaballaha’s arrival. When the Catholicos did, a three-day banquet was thrown with Arghun himself serving both Sauma and the Nestorian Patriarch. He commanded the people of his realm to offer regular prayers for the health of both the Rabban and Catholicos. The favor he showered on the Nestorians led to a greater boldness on their part across Persia. In 1289, Arghun appointed a Jewish physician as his vizier or prime minister and turned over a good part of the governance of the realm to his capable leadership. With both Christianity and Judaism on the rise, unease among Muslims began to roil.Arghun remained hopeful of the alliance with the West against the Mamluks. He sent a letter by way of a Genoese merchant to Kings Edward & Philip, calling for them to make good on their promise of joining in a campaign to remove the Muslims from the Holy Land. He told them the Mongols would be attacking Damascus in January 1291. They were to attack the Mamluk headquarters in Egypt. They’d then meet in Jerusalem, where Arghun would help them conquer the City, and once secured, turn it over to Europeans control. Both Philip & Edward replied. While Philip’s letter is lost to us, Edward’s remains. He commended the Ilkhan for his zeal in wanting to rid the infidels from

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