ARABIC ISLAMIC CONQUESTS IN THE CHRONICLE OF SAINT MICHAEL THE GREAT Archbishop George Saliba

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Syrian Orthodox Bishop of Mount Lebanon

-The book is substantial and great since the beginning of creation until 1193, but therein you read about events which happened in 1195.
-It deals with history in general but particularly the church, and the mention of political events and news of wars and kings is often mentioned in connection with the church.

-History adopts many calendars, of which the years of creation.. The foundation of Babel.. The incarnation of God in the flesh… The history or Greece, which starts with Alexander in 311 BC which is adopted in the book, and which is adopted by the Syriarn writers and historians until the early twentieth century , and was then neglected. .Sometimes the year of a reigning monarch is relied upon, or a king, or a person in responsibility, by saying the year … of the reign of king …. , being … Greek year…

He always comes to the conclusion that God blessed or punished somebody, and always gives his opinion about an event or a fact, and comments on most events and deals with natural circumstances such as earthquakes, seismic activities, epidemics, drought, floods, abundance of crops and others.. It covers many stories of good persons, or the behaviors of evil persons who lead the reader to greater knowledge. .It treats with the Islamic conquests starting with the arrival of Mohammed the prophet of the Muslims, passing through the Rashideen Caliphas (Abu Baker, Othman, Omar ben Al Kllattab and Ali bin Abi Taleb) arriving to their military leaders and conquests till 1195 AD, the year with which he ends his book, and this is a subject with a very wide scope, which cannot be limited to one or several lectures, therefore I selected for this subject stages from the history of Saint Michael to put the audience and readers in the picture of what I have found suitable for my lecture.

I have adopted for this lecture the Syriac text and the Arabic translation for His eminence Mar Gregorios Saliba ChaInoun, Bishop of Mosul, Dar Mardin publications belonging to his eminence Mar Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim, Bishop of Aleppo in 1996.

The year 451 the date of the holding of the Chalcedonian synod which is considered the worst period of Christian history, when the church was split and its internal and external situations worsened, and matters became aggravated, the situation of believers was troubled from the spiritual, belief, social and political points of view. Leon, bishop of Rome, is held chiefly responsible for the corruption and dissipation of the church and persecution of believers through the evil man, the real enemy of Christianity, Army commander, who later became King Marqaian, husband of Bulcharia, the nun who breached her religious vows and took revenge against her brother King Theodoseus the Great, who died in 450, after which the Roman Byzantine kingdom was inherited by his sole sister Bulcharia who was the first woman ever to sit on the throne of Byzantia itl all its History .

The goal of holding of the Chalcedonian synod was to destroy all that King Theodoseus and his successors that had built, in the church’s glories, confirmation of its true belief. This synod was the cause of the church’s disaster from the time it was held, which affected Christians in the following eras… Instead of spreading to reach all corners of the world to realize the beloved Christ’s will (go everywhere in the world, preach the Bible in witness of all creation). All attention was turned to the infighting behveen Christians to reach a void glory, a worthless authority in this world. The bishops and priests, and after them the people of influence and those seeking privilege and rank all forgot God’s word (those amongst you who would be first let them be your servants).. This is w hat made Leon the Roman and Marqaian, and later on Hercules and others seek powerand leadership, turning the church from a congregation of believers in our God Jesus Christ to a place of disputes, struggles, disaster, dissention and division of members of the household amongst themselves, which paved the way for other faiths and religions contradicting Christianity, and that in the persecutions exercised by the political authority, and the Church of Rome and Constantinople, imprisoning people, killing, exiling and attacking all those who contradict its belief and do not agree with its authority, which fact led believers and plain and pious folk to ask God for relief to be rid of their oppression as they were persecuted in the name of the Church and Christ, pursued and their priests, bishops and leaders killed by torture and vengeance.

In the face of this bitter fact and the corruption which proliferated througllout the Empire, East and West, drove the believers in God to seek deliverance from these tyrants who persecuted in an unbelievable way by any means possible. As a result of this situation Islam appeared under the leadership of and Arab nlan from Qureish who is (Mohamed the Prophet of God) who raised his call in the Arabian Peninsula (Allah wu Akbar). The audience responded to him and followed His call and waged their wars against the (polytheists) and all those that did not accept them and obey their orders and believe in their mission, imposing themselves by the power of the sword.

Due to the extent of the oppression from which the Syriacs and others suffered at the hands of the Byzantines and their allies, they cooperated with the conquerors coming from the Arabian peninsula and supported them against the oppressors, who were Christian in name, but in their acts far from Christianity and its concepts.

We read about these facts and data in details in the history of Saint Michael the Great and in the writings of all writers and historians who recorded the facts of the Arabic Islamic. conquests and their relations with the area’ s inhabitmlts with all the woes inflicted by them on the Christians… The Syriacs considered that all the sufferings they suffered at the hands of these conquerors were more merciflll than those suffered at the hands of the Byzantines.

A hard and painful history , but a fact and reality, which led the Syriacs, and at their head, their Patriarchs and Bishops to express their feelings in what Saint Michael the Great stated: “We thank you Oh God for delivering us from the hands of the vicious Byzantines and delivered us into the hands of the merciful Islamic Arabs. .so reflect. .”

And now we highlight the news of these conquests as they are related in the history of Saint Michael the Great and choose some stages staing from the appearance of the Arab prophet Mohamed, reaching the year 1195 ending this history passing by the Caliphas and leaders and kings, Islamic sultans and the circumstance through which the church lived during this difficult era, which in spite of its bitterness was more merciful during the Byzantine rule.

Saint Michael the Great starts the news of the coming of Islatn and its prophet Mohammed and the Arab Islamic conquests with article 11 as follows:

The period from the beginning of 6115 to Adam and year 593 AD and the Jewish year 992 in which Hercules reigned and Persia was ruled by Kisra and in this period the Arab Kingdom of (Muslims) started at the hand of Mohamed.

The beginning of Hercules’ reign and the events that took place in the church at that time

in the year Hercules ruled over the Greeks there was an eclipse for a period or four hours, the rain ceased, and all the plants died. There were no cereals so there was famine. During this year people from the Arabian Peninsula came to Syria, captured the women, stole, and destroyed several regions killing many and set on fire mercilessly.

The Persians invade the Greek regions

It is said about one of the Greek kings that he knew that his army was preparing itself to mutiny against him, so he incited them to fight amongst themselves, he told some of them to wear yellow clothes and others red clothes and they fought. By this trick he was able to rid himself of their evil and mutiny. But the Greek kings like Moriki and Foka and Hercules they lost their wisdom as they were far from God, so God delivered them to an unacceptable way of thinking « as he wrote: they started killing each other. For this reason there were great troubles in A1 Ruha. Kisra appointed one of the nobles Governor of the city, and he was greatly envied by the Ruhans, who complained about him, but Kisra rejected their complaints. They came to Kora regretfully and he believed tllem and did not rej~ct them, they requested him to visit Kisra and to ask him to decrease the taxes, which he did, and he took an order to behave in their interest as he wished. Upon his return two impudent Ruhans as delegates of the Ruhans to denounce him met him. When he learnt this he returned to Kisra and left them cursing him with the strength given to them by the devil, and he returned and told Kisra about the large amount of silver in Ruha, he instructed him to collect the silver from the population at large, from the churches, from the leaders and everywhere. He transferred from Ruha to Persia 120,000 pounds of silver .

Hercules ruled in 922 Hebrew, 611 AD, 21 Kisra; Foka was killed by the Greeks who killed Moziki and his sons. When he ascended the throne of the Kingdom, Hercules sent a delegation to Kisra, King of Persia, asking him to make peace, saying: We have killed Foka because he killed your friend King Moriki. Thinking that it is possible to reconcile by such deviousness, but Kisra was not deceived, for he was not satisfied with not concluding peace with the Greeks, but took from them several regions during this year in which Hercules ruled, when they invaded Antioch and occupied it, the Greek armies warred with the Persians. The Greeks were defeated after the Persians killed large numbers of them. During Hercules’ second years, Kisra’ s twenty-second year, Behram, Persia’s army commander occupied Kabadoukia, the Caesars’ place, and many of its inhabitants were killed, captured their women and pillaged and returned. In Hercules’ fourth year Shahrbarz subjugated Damascus to the Persians, and in the following year occupied al Khalil and the Jordan basin. In Hercules’ sixth year Shahrbarz occupied Jerusalem, entered therein and killed ninety thousand of its inhabitants.

The Jews used to buy the Christians from the Persians for a very low price and killed them.

The emergance of Islam and Mohamed

In the Hebrew year 933, 622 AD the twelfth year of Hercules, the thirty third year of Kisra the Kingdom of the Arabs (Muslims) started after the appearance in the Yasrib region of Mohamed, who Was a member of the Qureish tribe, and he said he Was the prophet, and his followers « Muslims » or « Ismailis » or « Hajiriin » after Hajir and Ismail, Sirkiin after Sara, Midyaniin sons Of Qatoor, but even if they had many names, their main name was the « Arabs » after the fertile Arabian peninsula, their nation, bordered by the Euphrates in the North to the Southern Sea, and from the Read Sea to the Persian Gulf in the East.

Mohamed bin Abdullah used to go to Palestine to trade, he was acquainted with the Jewish dogrna and with the uniqueness of God through his talks with them, and when he saw his people worshipping stones, timber and the like he preferred the Jewish dogma and had a penchant for it. When he returned to his nation, he launched this dogma on his people; in the beginning few obeyed but they slowly increased. Wllen he became strong he ordered them officially to obey hirn, sometimes threatening them and sometimes praising Palestine, saying: this good land was given to these people due to their belief in one God, adding: if you obey me and refuse these false Gods, and believe in one God, God will give you that good land. He started to send delegations to Palestine so that they will hear Words to believe him and recognize him. He went himself several times without being hurt. He brought much money and booty. They believed what he said because they had an inclination for money, which made the matter a habit, so they started to go there, even those who were not yet obeying him. They Went to steal because they saw his companions becoming wealthy, which they Wanted also to be. When the number of his followers grew, he no Jonger went as the head of the delegation who accompanied him, but sent others at the head of his army, staying peacefully in his city, he no longer used persuasion, but the sword, and those against him were killed. After a time his armies started to invade certain regions and capture, and when he had a big influence he stat1ed to tax these regions.

A permanent Kingdom was established, which became stronger after the succession from one person to another, and they ruled many Greek regions. Then Persia fell to them. He laid down the law to them considering it handed down to him by God, so he taught them to believe in one God creator of everything and in the one hypostasis not born and not begotten, without a likeness or partner.

He did not accept the books of Moses and the prophets and a part of the New Testament, but left most of it and had a penchant for the simple things.

His view of Christ is :

Christ is the person whose coming was proclaimed by the prophets, but as a good person and a prophet, like all the other prophets, not a God or the son of God, like we the Christians believe, but he is greater than the other prophets because he was not born of a marriage, but by the word of God to Mary, as he created Adam from the Earth, then he instilled him the Holy Spirit, and he became good. That is why they sometimes refer to him as « the word and spirit of God considering him God’s servant and born of God’s word, rather than « the Son of God » which we the Christians use, because he was born of him without pain, as the word from the mind.
They look upon it materially, and accuse us that we believe that God created him from a woman, in their view Mary daughter of Amran, sister of Haroun and Moses. But as to the crucifixion of Jesus by the Jews, most of them do not admit this, but the say »: God created a likeness of Jesus in one of his disciples, who was crucified and died, but Jesus disappeared because God took him to Paradise, their belief in Paradise being silly. They say: Paradise contains material food and drink, marriage and sleeping on gold beds and mattresses of ostrich feathers, and rivers of milk and honey and trees bearing delicious fruits ».
They attribute to God destiny and luck, and they may marry four women and as many slaves as they want. If one of them divorces his wife by oath, he may not recover her without first giving her to another man, Who dissolves his oath, at which time he may return her to him.
They pray five times per day, and at each prayer perform four kneelings. They believe in the resurrection of the dead and the day of reckoning, and compensation for good deeds, each according to his deeds. They are fond of love of people and their physical cravings. Food, drink, clothes, severalty of spouses, no objection to divorcing one wife and marrying another.
They fast for thirty days and feast for thirty night until dawn. They perfonn their ablutions in water before prayer and wash their members and in case of coming near a woman or wet dreams, they purify their whole body and then pray. Their orientation is towards AL Qa’ aba, wherever they are and they practice circumcision on males and females without adhering to Moses’ law which dictates that the circumcision is performed on the eighth day, but they perfonn it in any year they want”

The situation of the Persians after their victory over the GreeKs and occupation of their country, where there Was division befween them and lost their victories. And the Greeks who persecuted us as was their custom after they ruled over several countries, and the start of the Arab (Muslim) Kingdom in the twelfth year of Hercules the Roman, 35th year of Kisra King of the Persians. He ruled first in Yasrib in Hebrew year 933, 622 AD, 6103 of Adam.

During this period Anastas, Orthodox patriarch of A.Iexandria died. lie was I succeeded by Androniches who sent a letter to the Patriarch of Antioch Athanasios to renew the union between them. The Chalcedonians had a patriarch in Alexandria named Koros.

The Greek again occupied Egypt and expelled the Persians. Koros’ presence caused the persecution there of the believers, and the believers of Syria and between Tigris and the Euphrates. Hercules came to Syria, reached Al Ruha, and was well received by the clergy and monks. The large number of monks surprised him, and when he knew about their dogma he told some of the people with him how can we leave this wonderful people far from us? He entered the city and attended to reconciliation of the two sides. During the feast he visited our Orthodox Church and showed excessive respect to the people. At the end of the service he came forward to take communion in the habit of the Christian kings, but was prevented by Ishaya, the city’s bishop, from taking communion and said: If you do not excommunicate the synod of Chalcedonia and Thomas Leon in writing, I do not allow you to touch the sacraments. Hercules was angry and expelled the bishop from the church and handed it over to the Chalcedonians, and the leaders who were at the head of the Al Rasafiya, Talmahri, Kosma bin Arabay families and others also went out of the church with the bishop, they who had equipped the church with all its fittings and Waqfs, expecting to return to the church with the bishop after the King left. When the king went to Mambij, Patriarch Athanasius met him, accompanied by twelve bishops and spent twelve days with him in discussion, and he asked them for a leaflet on tlleir dogma. They presented him with the above mentioned leaflet, when he read it he praised their belief, and asked them to give him communion, and accept the document which he had issued in which he recognized two unified natures for Christ and one will and one act like Kerillos, but they noticed that he confonned with Mistoor and Leon, so they rejected it, so Hercules was angry and wrote to all regions of the Kingdom: Anyone who does not agree with Chalcedonia’s synod will have his nose and ears cut off, and hi5house robbed. All tllis persecution continued for a not inconsiderable time, so many of the priests accepted this synod. The trickery of the monks of Maroun, the monks of Mambij and Horns, and the Southern regions became apparent. Thus most of the accepted this synod, violated the churches and convents, and Hercules did not allow any of the Orthhodox to visit him and did not accept their complaints regarding the violation of tlleir churches.

God alone has power over everything, and he changes rule as he wishes, and gives it to whoever he wants, and helps the weak, He saw the treachery of the Greeks who robbed our churches and monasteries whenever they became strong in rule and judged us mercilessly, he sent the sons of Ismail from the South to be our deliverance from the hands of the Greeks (Byzantines). But the churches we lost due to the violation of the Chalcedonians remained in their hands, because when the Arabs entered the city they left to each sect their own churches. We lost during this period the great church of Ruha, the church of Harran, but we our benefit was not mall because we were liberated from the hypocrisy of the Greeks (Byzantines) and from their evil, savagery and their bitter rancor against us and we enjoyed tranquility.

In Mohamed’s first year Shahbarzar the Persian occupied Ankora, then Rhodes and Kisra treated those who fell under his hands viciously. The tongue cromot express the horrors of the thefts, taxes, violations and killings, which happened after Kisra’ s victory.

In Hebrew year 936, year 15 Kisra, 4 Hegira (Mohamed) Shaharbaraz and Kidrikin invaded Constantinople and their annies reached Turkey and from there they invaded the Western side and occupied the city for a period of one year and tightened the grip around the city until hope of his removal subsided, but deliverance crone unexpectedly. Kisra heard that Shaharbaraz did not take him into consideration and regarded him as haughty proud of a victery not of his making. He instructed Kadrikin to behead him, but the Greeks captured the messenger, and when Hercules returned with the order, he called for Shaharbaraz and swore to him that it was true that Kisra had plotted against him. Shallarbaraz I thought of a trick and changed Kisra’s letter inserting the phrase: “and 300 of the leaders will be killed with Shaharbaraz” .When the letter was read Shaharbaraz told Kidrikin, “can you do this?” The leaders were very angry and mocked Kisra and made a truce with Hercules and the Persians gave Hercules some hostages fulfilling the agreement between them, and amongst the hostages the son of Shaharbaraz. The Persians returned. Hercules sent to Khakan king of Kharaz asking for 40,000 soldiers to wage war against the king of the Persians. He replied to him the army will leave Kasfiah gate and meet with you wherever you wish. Hercules promised against that to marry his daughter Odessa to Khakan. Hercules set off towards Armenia. He expelled the Persians from each region he reached, and populated them with Romans. When Kisra heard that Shaharbaraz had mutinied and that Hercules was heading for his country he was very upset, he united the Persians with the Romans and he defeated tlle Persians and killed their leader. When Kisra heard that his forces had been killed he escaped from Sakarta (Hamrata -is it Malltnarata) leaving behind his money and his wealth. Hercules pursued and entered the fortress of Sakarta, stole the wealth and burnt the city .He released Shiri bin Kisra from prison where his father had imprisoned. When he knew about his father’ escape he chased him, caught him, killed him and became the ruler.

Hercules returned to spend winter in Athur, hoping to chase Kisra later on, but Shiri told him that he had killed his father, so he made peace with him, in which he stipulated that the Persians should leave the G reek’ region and return to their countries. Hercules oriented himself to the Syrian regions, which the Persians had left and sent his brother Thawidriki there. When the Persians learnt about the conciliation from the letters of Shiri and Shaharbaraz, they did not take notice and said: we shall not bow down to Shiri. The Jews helped the Persians because of their rancor against the Christians. When Thawidriki reached Ruha, they cursed him, mocked him, resisted him and the Persians gathered and promised to leave the city. A Jewish man named Joseph was afraid the people would perish, threw himself from the fence at night and went to Hercules in Tilala and solicited him to instruct Thawidriki to forgive them their mistreatment. Thawidriki entered Ruha, expelled the Persian, gathered the Jews, and when he started to kill them Joseph arrived carrying an order not to harm them, then Hercules came to Ruha and from there crossed into the cities of Syria.

The Persian Shiri died in Hebrew year 940 after ruling for nine months, and was succeeded by his son Ardashir, but Shaharbaraz killed him and took over the reign and confirmed the agreements between the Greeks and himself. In Hebrew year 941. 20 Hercules, 2 Abi Baker the Persians left Egypt and Palestine and all the regions of Greece and returned to Persia were they split and some followed Shaharbaraz and others attached themselves to Kidrikin. Shaharbaraz asked Hercules for help, who sent an army to help him and killed Kidrikin and ruled for one year. Then he was killed by one of his relatives, a friend of Kisra, Barim succeeded him, daughter of Kisra, for a few months after which she died and her sister Zarundacht succeeded her. Within two years many people ruled Persia and died.

Various events
After Mohamed ruled for seven years he died and Abu Bakr came after him for a period of two years and seven months, the Ruhans returned from Persia, and those who did not were considered a colony. Herclues fell because he contradicted the Law by marrying Martina his brother’s daughter and he had an illegitimate son by her named Harkalon.

After Kora punished Ruha and the old silver and vases of the church were stolen as well as the silver which decorated the altars, as well as the domes and four pillars and other pillars, and sent to Kisra more that 100,000 pounds, Kisra ordered that the Ruhans be captured and sent to Persia as soon as possible. Satrap was a wise man who believed it was not a good idea that they be sent at one time but in stages, hoping that a reprieve would arrive from the king. After he sent the first consignment he heard that Hercules was on his way to Persia and the remainder of the people stayed in Ruha. Sergi bin Iwanis Rasfiya who we mentioned earlier was amongst the captured from whom Patriarch Talmahri got his history for six centuries: in Hebrew year 932, 17 Hercules, 37 Kisra, 6 Mohamed half the light of the sun disappeared and continued from October until June and the people thought the sun’s globe would not return as before. In this year there was a plague which spread in Palestine and which claimed victims.

The exodus of the Muslims to the Greek and Persian regions and the union made between Athanasius with Tikrits.

We mentioned how the kingdom of the Muslims was created, who invaded, robbed, ambushed and bothered in Mohamed’s time. After Mohamed’s death Abu Baker succeeded him and he sent four leaders at the head of armies, one to Palestine and another to Egypt and a third to Persia and a fom1h against Arab Christian and they all came back triumphant. The one that went to Palestine arrived to Caesaria. The Bitrik Sergi gathered an army composed of Greeks and Samaritans composed of five thousand foot soldiers and prepared to fight the Muslims. But the Muslim side was stronger and they overcame the Greeks and eliminated the Samaritans first. When the Bitrik saw this he turned his back and fled. The Muslims expelled and defeated them. Suddenly Bitrik fell from his horse, so they remounted him on his horse from which he fell a second time and he again remounted the horse. He was chased and fell for the third time. He told those with him leave me and save yourselves, lest you drink with me the cup of death which God has imposed on our kingdom because there is no justice, they left him and fled, the attackers reached him and killed him with a blow from the sword. The Muslim continued to chase the Greeks until evening and only a few of them survived. This news was spread in Caesaria, and thus the efforts of Muslims was fruitful wherever they went, and kings and their armies always took them into account.

In September Hebrew year 945, 634AD, there was a violent earthquake, followed by a sign from sky, similar in appearance to the freedom coming from the South towards the North remaining thirty days, and many though this a sign of the coming of the Muslims. During this period Hercules king of the Greeks issued orders that all the Jews in his kingdom should be baptized and become Christians. Some of them escaped from the Greek regions and came to Ruha and when they were squeezed they escaped to Persia, while many of them were baptized and becatne Christians.

The beginning of the Arab Islamic kingdom and the death of his beautitude Patriarch Mar Athanasius.

In Hebrew year 942 Patriarch Mar Athanasius died and was buried in Jeremiah monastery , he was succeeded by his disciple Youha.nna known as Abi Assadarat of Osepona monastery .In Alexandna Andromki ruled after Anastas to be succeeded by Benjamin and both of them sent letters of allegiance to Mar Athanasius before his death. At the same time the Muslims killed a large number of monks in Deir Kadar and Deir el Banat upon their entry into Persia and arrival at Jebel Mardin near Ras el Ain when they were accused of being Persian spies. The remaining monks lived in the desert west of a sour river, and they found a spring, and built a monastery along side it which they called Deir Bith Rihir. The head of Deir al Banat had called it by this name after the egg of a certain bird found by Jacob the founder of this monastery.

In Hebrew year 946, 24 Hercules, 13 Hegira Abu Bakr died after ruling for two years and was succeeded by Omar bin al Khattab, so he sent an army to the Arabian peninsula and occupied Basra and destroyed several cities. The following year Omar sent an army to Persia, and the Persians were divided and in conflicts, as some of them wanted Yazdajard bin Kisra and others Hurmazad, the war raged between them and the Muslims triumphed, the Persians were killed and their kingdom was weakened, and later on Hurmazad was killed, so Yazdajard ruled. The Muslims triumphed over the Persians and the Greeks.

Fall of the Church of the resurrection

At this time there was a terrible earthquake, and at the same time there was a solar eclipse; as a result of the earthquake the Churches of the resurrection and Jiljilah and other places fell down, bishop Madostos the Chalcedonian rebuilt them. At this time the Persians attacked the Greeks and Ashaya bishop of Ruha was expelled with all the Orthodox bishops and the Chalcedonians entered the churches. After a while the Mllslims rllled over the area between the Tigris and the Euphrates, and the Chalcedonian bishop Koros was expelled from Ruha, and the Orthodox bishops returned to their sees thrughout the areas of Muslim influence. In this period there was a deadly epidemic tllfoughout the regions of Syria and Phoenicia and a huge star in the shape of a Greek person appeared, and an earthquake shook the region of Armenia and destroyed several places.

The decline of the Persian kingdom and the progress of Muslims

In the fourth year of Omar bin al Khattab, Calipha of Muslims, the Muslims invaded the Syrian regions to the banks of the Euphrates. In the fifth year of Omar, the Greeks of the Arab region waged war on the Arabs and the city of Bou Satra known as al Mukhtara .located on the river known as « al Yarmouk » the Greeks were heavily defeated and left the region and the war took place as follows: the leader Banis and ibn Shaharbaraz both Persians gathered an army and proceeded towards Damascus to protect this region. The Muslim Calipha opposed them, and a great number of them were killed and when they reached Damascus they made their camp near the river Farfar, known by Muslims as « Karoun ». In the following year Muslims came to Damascus, the Batrik was afraid and contacted the king’s agent in Ruha, he gathered ten thousand soldiers and met Batrik in Horns with sixty thousand, they fought and lost. On that day forty thousand soldiers of the Greek army were killed with Banis and the King’s agent. Most of them were drowned in « al Yannouk » river. But the ibn Shaharbaraz survived and surrendered to the Muslims. Omar came to Horns and wrote a letter to the Calipha Omar in which he said give me the command and an army and I will go to Persia and subjugate it completely. When Omar read the letter he wanted to execute its contents but Kisra’ s daughters who were captured in Harran told the Calipha «do not be tricked by his lying words » and they told him what Shaharbaraz and his son did with Kisra and his sons. He who does not respect his oath to his king and sons and kills them by treachery , how will he keep his oath to you ? He wants to mutiny and rule. Omar listened to their words and caught ibn Shaharbaraz and crucified him in Horns.

The Muslim conquests

After their triumph over the Greeks Muslims came to Datnascus and gave peace to its inhabitants then they subjugated other cities. From there Omar sent Khaled (ibn al Walid) at the head of an army to Aleppo and Antioch regions. They killed a large number of people, none of whom were able to escape. No matter how much we talk about the hardships endured by Syria, we are still unable to speak about all of them because they are many. These catastrophes were due to God’s rage. At this time Saad left Yasrib and made camp in Aakoula near the city of el Koufa. Yazdajard king of the Persians gathered an army and sent it to fight the Muslim army; they made camp at the banks of the Eupluates near Aakoula and sent one of the sons of el Hira well versed in Arabic to spy on them, when he came near to them he thought to himself and said I will know from the answer of the one who meets me fIrst whose will be the victory. He saw a Bedouin sitting evacuating his bowels, eating bread and delousing his shirt. El Hiri spoke with the Bedouin in Arabic saying “what are you doing?” he answered ”as you can see I am ingesting the new and evacuating the old and killing my enemies. ” El Hiri was disturbed by these words and said to himself: ” A new people will enter, and the old will go away, and the Persians will be killed. ” He returned and told this to the Persians, saying: “you have found a naked, weak people without shoes, but courageous”, he disclosed to the leader what he saw and his thoughts. When the two armies met the Persians were defeated and he expelled them till Qatsafoon located near the Tigris and one of the leaders of the Persians escaped armed with armor, and he was chased by a Bedouin anned only with a spear. In one of the villages the Persian found a person in a field and asked him to direct him to place where he could escape the person chasing him. He hid him. He remained hidden for some time thinking he was being chased by many. After a while a man came not wearing battle dress, riding a horse, not appearing like a soldier, he was surprised and said: “How does a man with all this armor and various weapons, with a large body and imposing look run away afraid from an ugly man?” That man was angry and held the Persian in low esteem because he ran away and disappeared before a Bedouin. The Persian said to him: “Don’t blame me, but listen to me and look with your eyes to believe, he removed an arrow and threw it at a metal wire and pierced it and said: “with such a throw I attacked the Bedouin several times but his sleeve threw off the arrows as if they were flies. You see their victory is through God, which is what made me run away. “

When the Muslims learnt of the ceremony which was to be held in Saint Simon al Amoody’s monastery in Koura Antioch they came and captured so many people, countless men women and children, and the Christians were disappointed and asked: “why did God allow this?”. If one thinks carefully about this one knows that Justice allowed this to happen because the Christians got drunk and gorged themselves and danced during the martyrs’ feasts, instead of fasting, praying, thus angering God who by his justice punishes us and makes us weep.

The killing of Marwan and unification of the Arab nation. Constantine king of the Greeks and the congress he held in Constantinople known as the seventh congress at which decisions were taken banning prostration and excommunicated Iwani bin Mansour, Georgy the Damascenes, Georgy the Cypriot. The Orthodox Church within which there were disagreements caused by Athanasius the cobbler by envy of the devil.

A strange apparition

While Abdullah prince of the Muslims was encamped somewhere in the West, a loud noise erupted in the camp, and the people were walking quickly to the cemetery shouting, so the prince went with his entourage to investigate and see with his eyes what had happened. They saw that eight of the dead had risen. Some of them appeared up to their chests above the ground, and some up to their back, others to their knees and amongst them there were those who had dyed their beards with Henna, as was the habit amongst the Muslims, and many recognized them, when they spoke to them they did not reply. Amidst everybody’s amazement the army commander ordered that they should be left alone, and no one approached them, hoping they would later talk to say their stories. Each went to his home on that day, with the exception of those who had been posted guards on them. On the following day he came to them and found them not speaking. The commander ordered them to be reburied, and the people returned to their houses in amazement.

On Sunday Hebrew year 1065, 754AD there was total darkness and no one could find their way back from the church. They lit the lanterns. The darkness continued for about three hours. This was repeated in April for a period of three days, but not as dark as in February In that year the plague spread allover the place, particularly in Athur, Mosul. In the same year , before the sun rose, the star known as the sword appeared stretching to the East from the West. In this year Constantine the King held a synod of Chalcedonian bishops in Constantinople, Alada, Kilikia and Sicily to study the matter of image worshiping. They decided that they should not be worshipped at all, and this synod was named the seventh.

Some of them objected to its being considered an official synod as it did not deal with dogmatic definitions. The Chalcedonians hate this king and named him hater of icons because he convened a synod and decreed icon were not to be worshipped, he excommunicated Iwanis and Georgy the Damascenes and Georgy the Cypriot, because they accepted Maximus’ teachings. King Constantine was wise in his thinking, of sound faith so the Chalcedonians hated him.

After his defeat and return in failure, Marwan was ashamed to stay in Harran, so he loaded his wealth on three thousand camels and traveled to Askalan on the seacoast, he was pursued by Abdullah bin, so he escaped. Abdullah sent an army to catch up with him and they found him camped at the Nile in the city of Siwani at the Nubian border, there was a war between them in which Marwan was killed and Abdullah was the sole ruler in all Muslim countries.

In that year Constantine laid siege to Malatia and erected catapults on it alld destroyed part of its wall. Eventually he told the Muslims living there not to be afraid and left them to their own devices, he captured the people of Modia and other Armenian villages. In the same year Hebrew year 1064, 753AD, 135AH Abdullah Abu al Abbas died after ruling for four years and ten months. When Abdullah bin Ali heard of the death of Abdullah Abu al Abbas, he became king of the Persians and Muslims, and there was a conflict between them because Abu al Abbas, before he died, ordered Abu al Abbas that the king should be Abu Jaafar, who was preparing to travel to Mecca on a pilgrimage, bin Ali roamed about the cities as if he were the king, however Abu Jaafar, after becoming the ruler made battle with him in el Koufa with an army commanded by Abu Muslim and defeated him. Abu Muslim mutinied against Abu Jaafar in an attempt to become ruler, he wanted to kidnap the prince and Abu Jaafar learnt of this and sent a man called Abu Issa who tricked and brought him to him, and by order of Abu Jaafar he killed Abu Muslim, so the matters of Muslims were settled and were united under Abu Jaafar.

During this period Hebrew year 1124, 813AD, there appeared many rebels in the Muslim state like Nasr and Omar. Nasr and Omar went to Tarsanin and Bazbidi and Bmarin and Tishfa they plundered and burnt until they reached the village Chadiq and found in a small monastery outside the village a hermit who gave them all his possessions and those of his ilk, they then set fire to him and his hut. Omar went to Shmishat and built its fortress and lived there, but Nasr proceeded to Sarooj and imposed the tribute on it. The people in the Muslim state would gather around any man riding a horse and shout loudly. It was also like this in the Greek kingdom.

Five months after Satoriki bin Nikifoor’s reign the Berjerioun crone to the capital to fight him; during the war the king was wounded in his thigh, which swelled and exploded so he died. Some of the people said that his sister, Farookofia, daughter of Nikifoor had nominated him to be king after her husband. Then Michael became king, the Berjerioun came as far as the capital but he did not resist them, and he delegated the matter to commander Leon, who fought and defeated them, and killed their king, so the Greeks removed Michael and nominated Leon king over them, so he expelled Michael from the palace, shaved his head and put him in a monastery and overcame his children, Leon made a truce with the Berjerioun and gave them the salina for which they were fighting, Leon was from the village of Arkmanicus and reigned for seven and a half years, then he was killed by
another Michael who became king after him.

When Mohamed prince of the Muslims heard about the catastrophes caused by the rebels between the two rivers and the West he sent Hussein and released Abdulmalik from prison to attack the rebels. When the rebels learnt what was to happen, they stopped for awhile, Abdulmalik, the wise man, invited the rebels to make a truce, when his intention was otherwise, he had instructed the blacksmiths to make heavy chains with which to tie the rebels and send them to Baghdad. While the truce negotiations between Abdulmalik on the one had and Nasr and Omar on the other hand were taking place, a Persian saw a Muslim in the city of Qalinikoos and recognized him from the horse he was riding because it belonged to his father who was killed by Muslims in Sarooj. The Persian took this event as a pretext to fight the Muslims and a large number died from each side, then the rebels Nasr and Omar set fire to the road that links Rafika with Qalinikoos, they burnt al Amood monastery and fled. Hussein went to Baghdad to complain against Abdulmalik, but death overtook Abdulmalik in Qalinikoos.

On 11 May 1123 Hebrew calendar, 812AD there was a tofal eclipse which started at 9 and continued until 11, there was a darkness like the night and the starts appeared, the people lit the lamps, tllen the sun appeared for one hour..When the rebels learnt of the death of Abdulmalik, they once again plundered and stealing and controlling some areas, and the population rebuilt the wall of Shamishat with the hands of the poor Christians, Abu Shaq al Janwi built the wall of Ruha at the expense of the Ruhans, and he gathered the people of the South who were in Tishfa and let them live in the houses of Christians there.. Nasr controlled Ras Kifa, Sarouj, Kayshoom, and surrounded Kayshoom with three walls (16th other buildings were built by the eagles of Al Ruha Shamishat and Kayshoom during the reign of the Muslims 1125 and after a while the walls of Shmaishat and Kayshoom fell down.

Abdullal1 bin Hashim conquered Harran, and after him it was controlled by lbrahim while Omar conquered Tilla, and Habib: Ras el Ain, Abdullah: Mardin, Abbas: Koros. Othman ruled Qansharin and Antioch and Afamia. Mohamed was settled in Kilikia and erected accesses between the protectorates, and placed guards on them so that the district of Kilikia could be a safe haven for all those poor persecuted people. .Prince Mohamed sent Abdullah, prince of el Jezira to fight the rebels. They agreed, but there was no war by a stroke of intelligence, as he left each in his place, and opened the prince’s treasuries, which were in Rafika and stole the treasures. After that the rebels attacked Harran to conquer and rob it but they failed.

But Hussein went to Baghdad and complained about Andulmalik. His complaint was rejected and he started to consider rebelling.

The events that took place in the state of the Muslims in the reign of Al M.a’amoon, and those that took place in the.Greek nation.during the reign of King Michael. The events that happened in the church in the reign of Mar Dionisius.

While Ibrahim ibn Harran was walking in his high garden he saw new buildings, so he asked his drinking partners about them, they said they are new churches built by the Christians during your reign, matter which made the Muslims lose faith in you because you allowed those to build what had not been built during the time of the Greeks, and they accuse you of accepting bribes, he became angry and ordered the demolition of those new churches. Before sunset the altar of our great church in Harran and the altar of the church of the mother of God had been destroyed, as was part of the church of Saint George, and some of the churches of the Chalcedonians, Jews and Nestorians. The communities started to pray for mercy, In that night God changed his mind, and he was regretful. In the morning he called the Christians and requested them to rebuild what he had Pulled down, which they completed within a few days.

In that year there was no rain, and the crops did not bear fruit, there was insufficient wheat, wine and oil. In that year the people resisted Basilios, bishop of Tikrit, for his haughtiness and impolite behavior not only towards the believers, but also the pagans of Tikrit. He was not content to interfere only in the affairs of the church, but also interfered in the general taxes which were not his concern, and became very close to the ruler, he also interfered in the tribute until he imposed the tribute on the Muslims, the population was harmed because of him, and all the pigs were slaughtered in the streets, and despite all that he did not repent, but took a group with him to Baghdad to complain against Muslims, who went after him and entered first and presented a memorandum against the Christians concerning church bells, crosses, wine claiming that the pigs were entering the mosques, and they accused bishop Basilios and president Abdoun of blaspheming their prophet. A decree was issued banning all Christian rituals and the arrest of Basilio, and Abdoun, so the bishop fled, but Abdoun was given as a sacrifice to Christ, after he had been tempted to become a Muslim with the monies and ranks promised to him by Ma’amoun, then Ma’amoun used threats and torture in vain, so he threw him in jail and after he spent seven months in jail under torture he was martyred by decapitation by the sword in the middle of the court and was crucified, his martyrdom was accompanied by many great facts and miracles. As to Basilios who threatened the Muslims with expulsion from their homes, he was unable to even enter Tikrit. He left his see with the intention of rebelling against the see of Antioch. The worse than this he did not learn from what happened to him.

In the Hebrew year 1130, 819AD, Ma’amoun returned to Baghdad frolll Kharasan, after he heard that his uncle Ibrahim had assumed the rule, and about the divisions and wars of the people of Baghdad and the presence of Hassan in el Koufa and Tahir in Rafika separately. When al Ma’amoun reached Baghdad, the Baghdadis left Ibrahim, and installed him on his father’s throne. But Ibrahim escaped and disappeared, Tahir went to meet Al Ma’amoun who accepted him and appointed him ruler in Kharasan in the Hebrew year 1132 as he trusted Ilim, and after his departure he called for his son Abdullah, received him warmly and placed him in his father’s place and ordered that he be in charge of justice for all his life, so the rebels became active, and Nasr bought the fortress of Deir Balesh and gathered his forces and went to Hani river near al Riqqa. When Isa turned against with a group of rabbles, he killed all of them and devastated the villages, stealing and capturing, which annoyed al Ma’ amoun, so he sent Chabib, the army commander, at the head of seven thousand men to face Nasr, so he was afraid and he sent al Ma’amoun a letter of allegiance, he answered him: “if you are sincere, come and walk on my carpet and I will reward you”, But his intention was to delay al Calipha, and Chabib prepared for war, and Nasr divided his forces into three and forbade the Persians from giving them food, but he was obliged by hunger, to go to war, and there were many casualties from both sides, and the Muslims escaped and Persians robbed the rabbles and eat and drink and squandering and insulting those inside the wall. The haughty Persian soldiers became cowards, Nasr returned to them, and they were defeated. Chabib felt the Arab weakness and went to Antioch to bring the gold that had been brought from Egypt during Hercules’ reign, so he sneaked in at night, Nasir felt his presence and was able to divert three thousand of his men and ordered them to throw down their weapons, which they did, and he arrested them and thereafter went after Chabib and caught him. The Persians were afraid and Nasr cried saying I shall give a horse and a thousand Dinars to anyone who follows me, a large numbel followed him and Chabib was forced to flee and returned to Baghdad with the few who remained with him in a sorry state which he deserved because he never prevented his forces from perpetrating crimes against the poor people. Nasr controlled the Persians with his army and killed even those who followed him and threw down their arms. After he returned from. his fight with Chabib he knew that the Yemeni group who were in Mambij had rebuilt the villages on the coast of Shaghour river known to the Muslims as Sajoor. He made an ambush with his army as they went work, and killed them including the women of all ages. The survivor went to Deir Bureen, which he burnt down killing them all. The soldiers killed all those throwing themselves with the sword and that is how the sword killed a large number of those and the soldiers took their heads and went to Sarooj.

In the reign of Rominos bin Basil King of the Greeks, and Abi al Abbas Qadir, Calipha of the Muslims. And patriarch Mar Youhanna bin Abdoun whom the Calchedonians banished to Constantinople where he died.

In the Hebrew year 1348, 1037 AD there was a great famine in the world. There was an increase in the deaths of humans, animals and wild animals, birds so that everybody thought the world would end. The Calchedonians increased tlleir persecution of the Orthodox in Malatia and its environs and forcefully sent patriarch Mar Youhanna bin Abdolln and the bishops to Constantinople and banished them without mercy as reported in the biography of Mar Youhanna.

Romanos went to fight the Muslims, he was defeated and fled. The Muslims entered his camp and stole vases made of gold and silver and wandered about in the areas which were under the control of the Greeks, and when they reached Aleppo the Greeks left and the Muslims reasserted their rule over it, it did not occur to the Greek tyrants that the successors of this king did not cease to persecute Christians everywhere. They now returned to their old habits, so they expelled the patriarch and the bishops which is why God defeated them before their enemies and their enemies ruled over them everywhere.

Thursday 5 July 1348 the patriarch saint Mar Youhanna was ordained in the monastery of the Mother of God in Judky known as Bandaqa. The blessing was given by Mar Butros, bishop of Hanan who ordained forty-nine bishops. During his term in office Agnatios bin Atonis was ordained for Maltia who becatne a Chalcedonian later on as we shall explain later. Athanasius ordained Aghnatios ibn Kiki who became a Muslim and after him the same Mar Youhanna ordained Athanasius for Tikrit and the Levant.

From the biography of Mar Youhanna bin Abdoun

The parents of this beatified lived in Malatia where he was born and lived virtuously. When he reached the age of eighteen he was eager to live the life of a holy monk and went to the monastery at Deir el Sai’i where he put on the holy habit. Wllen his father learnt of this he forcefully returned him to the city and insisted that he leave the holy costume and to enter the working life to inherit his wealth. According to the advice of Mar Aglmatius al Sai’i this saint lefi the monastery and went to the monastery of Mar Barsoum and prayed before the saint’s tomb. To get away from his parents he went to the shore of the Euphrates and lived in a wild cave and exhausted himself in meditation and efforts, and God blessed him with the power to perfom miracles and cure people and with the spirit of prophecy, for he knew beforehand the matters that would be put to him, so he became very famous in many countries. On a certain day a poor man sought him asking for alms and the brothers were not present, so he took their wheat and gave it to the poor man who took it to his house where he ate from it for one and a half years when the famine was over. At one time they brought to him a child afflicted by the devil whose mouth was distorted and whose hands and feet were limp and placed him on the stone where the beatified used to offer his nine o’clock prayers, and when he came he found him there alone. He felt pity towards him and placed his fingers on his eyes and ears; he was cured immediately and stood up. His father was watching from a distance, so he ran and knelt before the beatified who instructed him not to say that he was the one who cured the boy.

In spite of the important virtues of Ibn Abdoun the Chalcedonians and Byzantines were not ashamed to persecute him and to expel him. How hard you are, oh man…

CONCERNING THE MASSACRE THAT TOOK PLACE IN DAMASCUS. THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE ARAB SULTAN IN EGHPT. THE WAR AMONGST THE TURKISH SULTANS IN KHARASSAN AND SO ON.

At the beginning of July, 1444 H -1133 A.D a strong earthquake took place and at the midnight, a planet appeared moving in a speed way and reaching the moon, it appeared that it has gone through .On the Second of August, two planets fall down, and the incident has been repeated on September, 23, followed by heavy rain, the lightning shocked seven oxen and a boy, and in Simendo a Turkish fellow was shocked and remained unburied by Turkish considering that the God is the one who burnt him and he do not deserve to be buried. ..during this year an earthquake took place in the Great Armenia the city of Dokodon crashed down.

The winter season of this year was very cold. In Malatia, red snow has fallen – this is a signal of a miracle of another kind.

On May grasshoppers invaded the area but without causing damages. In the midnight of July, 21 a light similar to the lantern appeared in the Levant towards the southern area in front of it the light of the moon and planets disappeared, and remained until the dawn. And in the same month while the Muslims where praying as usual on Friday in the big Mosque at the city of Kachkar in Kharasan an earthquake took place the land was cracked and swallowed arotmd ten thousand.

The winter of 1447 H was moderate, the partridges and other birds started to enter the houses what caused great amazement of the people there. On January a very cold winter started, the Euphrates was frozen with the other rivers, snows has fallen down heavily. …In Amed the ruler issued an order not to do any harm to birds and gazelles and other animals using to enter the houses, and to offer food for them until April.

They say that these birds that used to eat from the cities and towns died in their nests when going to the mountain. This is a proof that any order of punishment over anyone of the creatures is from the heaven and nobody can be an obstacle toward its execution.

During this period, Taj El Moulouk Boury Tighdwin reigned in Damascus with his Ishmaelite Minister named Abu Ali, through this latter the lshmaelite possessed a house in Damascus known as the Dar El Karia (the house of the village)

The people belonging to them were exempted from taxes, they becalne influent The manager of this house was a man from Kadmous also named Abu Ali Nicknamed as EL-CHEIKH .One of the leaders of the Town the named Roukn El Dawla Bin Soufi by an order from the Prince faced him and killed him,so the envy started among the Ishrnaelite,they gathered themselves in their house,took their swords and started killing and extenninating, the people of the town opposed them, the sons of the city. On this day 70000 Muslims were killed. The Ismahis infiltrated secretly and assassinated King Bouri.. At this time an Arab was ruling “Damascus and another one in Egypt. His son plotted against him to gain power. When the king knew the people had a liking for his son he called On The Annenians in Egypt to support him. They had settled there since the exodus of Annenians to Syria, when their number increased and they had Jathaliq aJ1d bishops in Egypt, the Jathaliq had a brother named Bahram who led the Annenians, so they supported him and fought the Muslims supporting his son, and killed thousands of them and arrested the king’s son and killed him with his pennlsslon.

At this time lmad el Din Zinki, Governor of Mosul, started to feel above the princes of Mardin and Hosn Kifa, Tamartab and Daoud al Artkiine. While Tamartab Hussar el Din in Marja between Dara and Nassibin his cousin Ruknidin came to him and they surrounded Zanki, he was unable to oppose them, he was afraid and ordered everyone of his soldiers to wear their armor and carry his sword and stand at the entrance of his tent. They appeared as an iron fence, and remained standing from morning until dusk. There was a sudden division amongst Hussam el Din and his cousin so he took his army and went up the mountain. A large number of them were scattered, so Zinc’s moral was raised and he went after Hussam el Din and the horsemen went to Mardin, while a large number of infantrymen died. Finally they made peace through delegations, because Zinki had to go to Syria to arrest seif el Dawla Doubis bin Saddiq, the only Arab prince who remained of Arab origin. He arrested him in Palestine and brought him to Mosul and placed under arrest. Al Calipha al Mistarshid Billah Atish Zanki promised to send him to Dobis bin Saddiq to torture and kill him as he hated him greatly. Zanki refused to hand him over, so the two sides fought, Zanki was defeated and fled, and he was chased by the Calipha’s forces up to Tikrit’s wall, they let him down from the wall at night by ropes, so he escaped and reached Mosul, and released Prince Doubis from detention, gave him money and sent him to gather the Arabs, while Zanki gathered the Turks, and he fought al Calipha to Mosul to remove Zanki from power, Zanki fortified Mosul, and Naser el Din stood firm, was unable to defeat them and returned. While Calipha al Mustarshid was having a siesta in his tent in the camp of Massoud Sultan Kharasan, at the entrance of the city Marka, ten men attacked and killed him, Rashid succeeded him. Prince Doubis felt while he was at the Sultan’s that they were trying to kill him, he wanted to escape but could not and said sadly: “How long will I remain pursued? There is nothing better than dying”. One day after eating bread at the Sultan’s table, the Sultan entered to the inner hall, and a eunuch came and said to him “the Sultan orders you not to leave, take this letter and read it”, As soon as he started reading, one of those standing behind him hit and killed him. After that Massoud, Sultan Hamian, betrothed his daughter to Sultan Daoud, which frightened the Calipha, who plotted secretly to separate them. He came to fight Massoud, his son in law did not come to his aid, he understood that the Caliplla had promised him the power. .Massoud attacked al Calipha and won, arrested him and put him in chains then chased Daoud. At this stage what had been written happened “al Calipha was killed in Massoud’s camp at the Marka gate” and was succeeded by Rashid. Massoud continued to chase Daoud who escaped to Armenia. He captured many and returned to Mosul to Zanki.

Whereas Massoud always opposed Atij, Zanki accompanied Daoud to Baghdad and asked al Calipha to grant him power. The Calipha procrastinated for ten months fearing Massoud, which made them angry so they robbed the Western part of Baghdad, Calipha was obliged to appoint Daoud. Massoud came to Baghdad, Calipha left it for Mosul at Zinki’s. While he was there they were told secretly that the Governor of Nissibine had rebelled against Zinki and joined Hussam el Din, ruler of Mardin, Zinki came to Nissibine with Calipha of Baghdad, and Sultan Daoud, and he stabilized it and returned to Mosul, Calipha went to Baghdad and made peace with Massoud by exchange of delegations. Then Calipha Rashid went to Kharasan, and bowed down to the Turks, and the Arab State ended.

DESTRUCTION OF AL RUHA

In Hebrew year 1458, 1147 AD the Westerners (Ifranj) met, when they heard of Zinki’s killing, with Jocelyne and Baghedwine, ruler of Kaisoun, And proceeded on November towards al Ruha, the infantrymen went up the ladders at night to Burjine with the Armenians’ help, who were watching the wall, the Turks escaped to the citadel. In the morning the water was released, and Jocelyne entered, and the Turks sent delegations to Aleppo and Mosul asking for help. The entrance of the Ifranj happened on Monday November 26, and they spent six days discussing how to attack the citadel. However the Turks gathered from all sides like locusts, so the Ifranj were afraid because they knew God’s help had deserted them, so they deviated from the good mentality and took an unacceptable path and obliged the citizens to follow them, thinking that they would be delivered from the hands of the Turks who surrounded them in huge numbers. It did not occur to them how impotent they were in their resistance to them within the wall, so how would they fare in the plain? Their hearts became hard like the Pharaohs, and they dragged the unarmed population and went out at two o’clock in the night and lit a fire in the square. The people started crying and envied those who had died in the first occupation, because they saw how the fire, which had been started by the Ifranj, burnt their houses and properties, with the sword of the Turks over their heads. The people became crowded with the Ifranj soldiers at the city gate. A large number of people and animals were killed. Those who took refuge in the churches and other places or those who remained because they were old or weak, were attacked by the Turks who descended on them from the citadel without mercy and met the same fate as those who were rescued from suffocation and crowded conditions, they were pursued by the Ifranj, who killed them with arrows and spears.

Saint Michael was very upset upon hearing this news and its recording, so he wrote:

Oh how much anger there is that the people have no mercy and the punishtnents on the people of al Ruha were doubled, it is the night of death, the morning of health, the day of death, which descended suddenly on the citizens of this unfortunate city. Who can hear of this without shedding a tear. They attack the mother and her baby with one spear and nobody comes to their help. The people being chased are run over under the horses’ hoofs, and the people were crushed by anger. The arrows rained upon them at night In the morning the darkness was deeper from the swords and spears which fell on them until nine o’clock as they were on the road of blood, when the Ifranj horsemen saw they could not save the people, they decided to flee and were pursued by the Turks. Their infantrymen took shelter in a nearby deserted fortress, and entered it with the hopeless people, the earth cried at the great catastrophe that had afflicted the Christians, because the sword had fallen upon them as it does on the wheat, and the fire on the thorns, the bodies of the priests and deacons and monks and noblemen and poor people were piled up high. Despite the sad death of those people they did not suffer like those who remained alive, because they fell and suffered the rancor of the Turks. They took off their clothes and shoes. They obliged them to follow the horses by beating them, naked men and women, after pulling their hands behind them, and those amongst them who fell were slashed in their bellies and left to die in the street, and became food for the animals and birds, and the air became heavy with the smell of the corpses, and Arthur was filled with captives.

Most of the Ifranj horsemen were killed, and Baghdawine, ruler of Kaisoun’s body was not found. But Jocelyne the evil, escaped and went to Shmishat, as also Bishop Basilios escaped. The Bishop of the Armenians was captured with a large number of Armenians and some of the Ifranj. In the deserted fortress of Kawkab they fought the Turks who had pursued them there, defending themselves, and in the night the Turks retreated to the plain to steal the wealth of gold and the like, which had been stored for generations in the unfortunate city, which had been put there by their owners who had fled because they were under the sword and no longer cared about anything. After the Turks’ retreat those inside the fortress fled at night to Shmishat.

The total number killed in the two occupations was 30000, and the number of exiled 16000, only 1000 men survived, as to the women and children none survived, as some of them were killed and the others were displaced to other countries. Al Ruha was deserted and became a synonym for fear, wore black and was drunk with blood stinking with the corpses of its citizens, full of wild animals at night eating the human corpses and became a refuge for foxes, and no one entered therein apart from those trying to find its treasures. Its enemies, bani Haarran and others started to search the churches and noble houses saying, “ha ha we have seen it”.

The death of Mosul’s ruler and the Calipha of Baghdad. Noureddin went to Mosul and the pillage of Mar Matta monastery. The meeting of the synod of the Mar Hanania monastery.

In that year the priest Hassan Bin Koumib became a Muslim because of a dispute between him and his fellow priests, so the Muslims occupied their monastery known as El Ibkar monastery in Mardin mountain and transfonned it into a place of prayer for the Kurdish Muslims.. In this year the bishop al Milfan Mardeyonisius started to renew the church of the mother of God in Amed, and placed therein his clerk the deacon Ibrahim who opened a school for children. He renewed the church’s flooring with his own and the believers’ money. In the same year we erected the church of the monastery of Abi Ghaleb at the locality of Birta in Jarjar and we held in it the third synod in Mar Hanania monastery and Ighnatius was ordained bishop for Tel Arsinos, Iwanis bishop for Sibirik, one of them is from Sirgisia monastery , the other from Fiskin, Maltia locality.

In Hebrew year 1482 August, 1171 AD Atapek Akbaj Kotob ed Din ruler of Mosul and Athur died, his brother incited the religious men as he had treated them well and his adherence in praying on time and avoidance of alcohol until he was called by the Muslims “al Nabi”. He became hard on the Christians to be better in the eyes of the Muslims. He ordered the demolition of all new church and monastery buildings. They demolished the wall of the great church of Saint Jacob at Nasibine, which had been under the control of the Nestorians since the era of Barsoum al Hartouki and plundered its properties and about 1000 books. They did the same in several places. Nour ed Din appointed a jurist amongst his relatives who hated the Cluistians named Ibn Asroun, appointed as a judge and he sent him to roam and to demolish any new church building during the mandates of his father and brother, and he was bribed wherever he went to swear the building was old. If they did not bribe him generously he demolished and destroyed until Nour ed Dine heard about this and removed him. Then Nour ed Dine went from Nisibin to Sinjar and conquered it without resistance. In December of the same year he laid siege to Mosul. At the same time Calipha al Mustanjid died and was succeeded by his Son al Muhtadi who diminished Nour ed Dine’s hatred of the Christians for reasons which would be clarified with the years. The flood which overtook us because of our sins reached even the monastery of Mar Matta in the region of Ninawah and Mosul after Ibn Kutiddine’s death he was succeeded by his son Seifeddine. During this year the ruler of Aleppo Nureddine reached the region to fight. The Kurds near the monastery learnt of this and understood that Noureddine was attacking the Christians and they took that as an opportunity and decided to demolish the monastery, they tried to rob it at night, but the monks were up late, and they broke the ladders and killed some of the Kurds. They gathered and came during the daytime to fight, the people from the region of Ninawah came to the monks’ aid and defeated the Kurds.

The Kurds resorted to trickery and made false peace with the monks, paid them 30 Dinars as a deposit of chariy. The monks were tricked and started building the villages. Presently the Kurds gathered and rolled a large rock from the top of the mountain, this hit the wall of the fortress where the water went into the monastery. It made a hole. The rock is there until now. The monks gathered to close the hole with stones and chalk. The Kurds attacked them and threw spears on them. When they felt the monks were retreating they shouted in one voice, carried their swords and attacked them killing some of them. Others took shelter in the upper citadel of the monastery and were saved, the two monks Matta and Danha the hermit died. The Kurds numbered 2500. They loaded their animals with the contents of the monastery, with what they carried in their hands of property left by the region’s inhabitants, who had placed their funds in the monastery for safety.

After the Kurds left the monks took the books and all that was in the upper citadel and went down to Mosul, So the monastery was void of inllabitants and workers. It was a sight invoking pity. The people of the area hired guards to guard the monastery to prevent the demolition of its buildings by enemies. They paid them 30 Dinars monthly. When the rulers of Mosul learnt of what the Kurds had done to the monastery they sent an army and killed large numbers of them. As a reaction to this the Kurds demolished nine villages in the Nasatira area and killed their inhabitants and animals and stole their property and burnt the houses.

The murder of the Prince of Maltia ands Millih, the ruler of Kilikia and Amin ed Din, the responsible of Mardin and the minister of the Khalifa in Baghdad, this is one period of time. And all the events and the murder of the bishop of Tour Abdine and Salaheddine el Masri who ruled the Arabian Peninsula, the ruler of Mosul who recovered from him the occupied areas. The Turks who ruled Sasoon mountain.

In the Hebrew year 1486. 1175AD, Ighnatius bishop of Tour Abdine was killed for the following reason: he was very fond of money, which is the object of worship of the pagans. He was always looking to collect money by any means, he was admonished, but did not relent or obey the Sharia, instead he increased in his evil ways, neglected God and relied on the temporal ruler to be able to collect money with the king’s power. God forsook him. In the morning of Sunday he left prayers and went to the ruler to put in prison as was his habit the monks, priests and laics under various accusations, and in the night he came face to face with the Kurds, so the evil one fell in the hands of the evil many, those with him escaped. He was harshly beaten and tortured. In the end they inserted a pointed stick in his seat. They left him at the edge of the brink of death. Some of them found him, and when they removed the stick he died. A short time earlier a number of believers of al Kyriakos had been killed in Hah. Pastor Marzouk and his brother Barsoum, their children and it was believed that they had been killed at the instigation of the bad bishop, when this latter was killed it was believed that he had been murdered by those seeking vengeance. Whatever the case God forgives.

On Sunday February 15 Hebrew year 1486, 1175AD the governor of Maltia was assassinated by his brother and heir who fled and lived decadently for five years until he was arrested by Nour ed Dine but was later able to escape and joined the Ifranj in Antioch. When he no longer enjoyed it there he went to the Turks and the Sultan gave him Heraklia at the time he was hoping to be given Malatia, but he did not get it. Even Heraklia was taken from him, so he went to the Turks in the East he was arrested by Nour ed Dine who imprisoned him in Pira on the shore of the Euphrates so he lived there on alms tortured and the monks of the monastery of Dar Barsoum dared to send him alms because he had shown love for the monastery during his rule. This initiative gave good results as we shall relate. After Nour ed Din’s he went out of prison and learnt that his brother’s wife left Malatia because she hated it and returned to her parents in Hosn Ziad, so he went there and its inhabitants encouraged him, he returned secretly and later on declared that he had mediated Saint Barsoum and had taken vows and undertook to exempt the monastery from taxes in the event of his regaining power in Malatia and entered the city gate in the evening as a pauper without anyone noticing apart from the two persons who were with him, they took him to the house of a Turkish sympathizer and he disappeared there for two days.

On Sunday evening he risked his life and infiltrated with his companions into the houses without the guards noticing and entered the gardens, and found a ladder on the ground, they placed it on the wall and climbed it and went down into the house, where they found the poor man sleeping with an old nanny. They woke up and were very afraid, he beat the man to death and took the keys of the city and citadel gates and held his brother’s head in his hand and visited first the leaders, houses whom he trusted, and then visited the others. Whenever one of them awoke and saw his brother’s head in his hand he swore allegiance, and after fifteen of them had sworn allegiance to him, and day broke he went to the citadel accompanied by about] 00 persons and in the morning there was a clamor and declaration of a new prince was made, and all were surprised and the Christians disappeared into their houses and the Turks met at the entrance of the citadel, and girted themselves With their swords and rode their horses, and they differed in their opinions about the death of the prince until his head was thrown from the fence and their hope was dashed and they were obliged to swear allegiance to Mohamed. When he assumed power he suspended taxes on Deir Mar Barsum, but the monks proposed .to pay 300 Dinars annually and asked to be exempted only from the increase imposed by Prince Ghazi. Because the monastery did not feel the weight of the taxes before Prince Ghazi who imposed on the monks to pay 700 Dinars annually. Thus this monastery rid itself of this burden, pal1icularly as this prince had promised to abolish all taxes, but the monks insisted on paying to avoid the envy of the Muslims. Against this he gave them the monastery of Mar Doumit.

The sudden death of the Turkish rulers of the two rivers. The coming of Sultan of Maltia, invitation of Saint Michael the Great to meet him. The catastrophic event of the burning of Mar Barsum monastery which happened at this period.

In the year 1182 Hebrew year, 1492 AD there was a dispute between Sultan Klaighennan and his son in law Nour ed Dine erupted because he expelled the Sultan’s daughter and his loving a woman of sin. Nour ed Dine asked for the help of Salaheddin, ruler of Egypt, who answered his call. The Sultan ordered the demolition of the walls of Kaisum and eviction of its inhabitants. Nour ed Dine confederated with Salaheddin at the river Sinja. If it were not for God’s compassion and the intervention of the wise man Hassan, who was sent by the Sultan to negotiate peace with Salaheddin, that area would have been destroyed. The Sultan came to Maltia and repaired the two walls and Salaheddin returned to Egypt… In that year Fairness ruler of Antioch divorced his legal wife whom he married in Constantinople at the time of King Manuel and married a whore and did not abide by the laws imposed by Patriarch of Roumieh, so they were excommunicated by the Patriarch of Antioch with the priest who had married him to the whore, and even excommunicated the whole city because of him, and cancelled bell ringing, stopped sacrifices, even the dead were not buried. As to Farniz he became more aggressive to the law by robbing the churches and monasteries.

After a while the judges and noblemen met with the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and by their intervention Farniz returned what he had stolen, his marriage to that woman was legitimized and the truce was complete….In that year, the prince who ruled Harran and al Ruha rebelled against the ruler of Mosul, and joined Salaheddin and helped him to rule over the two rivers, Nourredin also became his ally. The rulers of Mousl, Mardin, Amid and Armenia met to face the Egyptian, but they were terrified of him, so they were dispersed without making war. Then the King of Egypt reaclled Mousl and laid siege to it then left it because of the heavy rain or another reason and turned back. The rulers of Mardin and Sinjar surrendered to him, he laid siege to Amid and promised it to Noureddin and started to attack it on Palm Sunday. There was a violent battle and in a few days he took the wall, Ibn Nissan the evil was obliged to hand it over and left defeated and Noureddin nuler of Hosn Kifa ruled it in Hebrew year 1463, 1182 AD.

In Hebrew year 1495, 1184AD Koutbeldine ruler of Mardin died, and his uncle Shahraman gave reign to his child. .In Hebrew year 1493, 1182AD Saleh rlller of Aleppo died and had given it to Izzedin ruler of Mousl who ruled after his brother Seifeddine. He in turn gave it to his brother in return for asylum, and this with the intention of separating them. In Hebrew year 1494, 1183AD Andronykos ruled Greece after he had been exiled by King Manuel, he had entered Constantinople by stealth pretending to obey young king Alex but he began killing, he threw Manuel’s wife, his daughter and her husband into the sea and killed young Alex, and burnt 1000 leaders, put out the eyes of others, raped their property and that dirty old man married young Alex’s widow and caused untold of catastrophes expelling the Ifranj from the city because they had helped young Alex considering him to be the son of one of their women, and after those had left tlleir houses they burnt 14000 monasteries and villages in the various Green regions and they came to Roumieh with the Ifranj army, then the king of Slokia came and attacked most of Syria’s cities which were under Greece, totally destroyed them and left them ruined and empty.

In Hebrew year 1492, 1181AD Sultan Maighsalan came to Maltia and asked about Doafy and sent me a letter of love, a walking stick and twenty gold Dinars, which surprised everybody. In the following year he came to Maltia, and before entering it he heard about the troubles which was raised by Tadros bin Wahboun, so he sent a letter to Doafy calling me to see him. I went to Maltia and noticed a strange matter. I was surprised. In the day following my arrival three princes came to me with a large number of horsemen to accompany me with all veneration and it is true to say that I doubted and feared that the honey contained poison. On the morning of Thursday July 8 Hebrew year 1493, 1182AD we arrived at the entrances of Malatia and saw the Sultan, his army and citizens coming out to meet us, and he sent somebody to say: “The Sultan has ordered the Patriarch to go to him according to the Christian customs and habits with crosses and bibles, the Christians carried torches and hanged crosses from their spears and started singing hymns. The Sultan came near to me and forbade me to come down or to shake his hand but embraced me, and in my talk with him through a translator he listened to intently. When I saw he had a strong desire to listen I spoke at length and supported my sayings with verses from the Bible and nature with some instructions. His tears rolled down his cheeks, and I thanked God and the Christians were glad and felt glorious when they saw the cross being raised above the king’s head and those of the Muslims. That is how we entered the church. In the glorious end we said God bless the King and the people.

In the following day the Sultan informed us he had cancelled the tax imposed on the monastery, and gave a written Royal release. On Sunday, he sent us a hand covered with gold and encrusted with jewels containing the treasures of Saint Peter the greatest of the Apostles, and we stayed in Maltia for one month. He sent us gifts daily, and we exchanged questions and answers about our God Christ and the prophets and apostles and other matters. Upon his leaving Maltia the Sultan asked us to accompany him, we had a long talk on the way with a Persian philosopher companion of his named Kamaleddin. With the Sultan listening as was the custom we read more verses from the Bible and he praised the wisdom of the Syriacs, and expressed his pleasure with them. This took place not because we deserved this dignity -put this aside -but because God’s mercy wished to condole his small flock and its church which had been weakened because of the calomnies of Ibn Wahbun as the mother does her child with a little milk. We were afflicted by the weakness we deserved. On Saturday July 30 H 1494, 1183AD justice noticed of our sin and we were punished by fire being put in our envied monastery, monastery of our master Saint Barsum. This happened as follows:

There was an old monk in the monastery called Danha, who entered his internal room at dawn and forgot to put out the candle -maybe by God’s pennission when he went out to the field, the fire spread from the candle allover the place, because not only were the roofs of the room made of wood, but even its foundations were wooden, and it was all inter connected in its four and five floors in some areas which matter made the blaze stronger. As we said 3 o’clock prayers we heard the cries for help so we rushed to the cupboard containing the saint’s remains and extracted the box containing his right hand. This increased the punishment and rage of anger, and we believed this was God’s will so we left the monastery leaving all to the fire with the exception of the two saints’ relics Mar Barsum and Mar Butros so the fire spread to all the monks’ rooms or those allocated to the people or servants, and destroyed the old church including the books, silver and copper vases, melted the metal and turned the stones to chalk, melted the metal doors of the monastery, all the fences fell down, in brief the fire left nothing except the new church which was under construction, the monastery’s upper tower, the hole of the oven, the external gate known as Jarjar gate, everything else was piles of ash.

On Sunday what remained of the building fell down and a young man from Jarjar who had come to steal was killed. Three miracles were seen during this event. No harm came to any of the monastery’s residents whether from the monks or the servants despite their entering into the fire to save what they could from the property, and the ruins falling on them in several places. This miracle is like the one in the story of the Saint when God was asked and hail fell and destroyed the fields surrounding the believers field without it or any person being harmed, and today the Saint asks God to burn the property and keep the souls, because we had become used to liking money.

The second miracle: The wooden box containing the saint’s relics kept in the closet. Does this not resemble what happened to the three youngsters in Athur who were thrown into the fire in Babel and were not harmed because the Son of God was with them? This is the case of these relics which were touched by Jesus son of God and preserved them to encourage believers.

Third miracle: Buring of the books which were not opened or read by anyone as if they were excess, whereas the books which were in use were not harmed despite being surrounded by fire. These were the three copies of the Bible and the large book of sermons and letters of Saint Jacob and Fankhisan for the year.

We stayed With the monks for a whole month in the highest tower until this rage then we started to rebuild the monastery and completed it in three years in a better way by far than it had been, and the construction of the new church took twelve years and was completed thanks to God.

The death of each of the King of the Turks and the Sultan of Bithonia Kabadokia and lesser Armenia and Salaheddin Sultan of Egypt and Arabia and Palestine and Syria. And other events that happened at this time.

We mentioned that Krikor the jathelik of Armenian in Kilikia died on July H (1504, 1193AD. The Armenian ordained his nephew the young Krikor nicknarned Diraso.. During this year Hamry the Antioch, Patriarch of Ifranj, died in the fortress of Kosir which he owned. They carried his body and buried it in the great church of Antioch. He left a great fortune, they appointed an old pastor named Danqal in his place.

During this period, Mar Iwanis, Patriarch of Alexandria and Egypt sent us the old bishop Butros a man of learning, smart and well mannered with a letter in Arabic and Coptic full of faith, charity, modesty and pure love. When the Turkrnan wars started in 1096 the hits of anger started and were repeated. The extreme famine increased until people ate the corpses of the dead and all kinds of garbage, and many sold their children. For example in the region of ShabaKhtan alone about 22000 male and female children at least were sold in slavery to Babel, the locusts continued until this year H 1506, 1195AD destroying the crops and vineyards from the borders of Egypt to Iberia, and from Paris to the Pontus sea, and the price of a measure or large cereal in Maltia went up to 16 Sultan Dinars… In H 1506, 1190AD king al Adel ruler of Al Ruha forbade the church bells from tolling in the churches of Al Ruha. The Christians were very upset “God have mercy”. After his children had attacked him Migharsalan started to move from house to house so the people of Kounia were very supportive of him and brought him to reign while his eldest son ruled Ansara (which may be Ankara). This old man gathered an army in order to fight his son, but he fell in and returned to Kounia and died on the way. He was accompanied by one of his younger children, who placed his father’s body next to that of his ancestors and assumed power in Kounia. Sultan Migharsalan ruled very successfully for a period of thirty eight years after which his twelve sons succeeded him. In H 1193, 1504AD Salaheddine died in Damascus leaving after him twenty three children and gave the presidency before his death to his eldest son and he placed him in Damascus, and placed the second son in Egypt, the third in Aleppo and gave all three the title of “Sultan ” and gave each of the others a specific region, he also granted the title of “Sultan” al malik al Adel, and gave him Harran and Al Ruha and Mia Far qat Shmishat and the citadel of Jobeli and Karakh and Sheikh.

The ruler of Mosul made an alliance with his two brothers who were in Sinjar and el Jezira, which the ruler of Mardin joined, they proceeded to Harran to fight king al Adel and conquer his territories, he gathered an army and opposed them. Suddenly the ruler of Mosul fell in and returned, and those with him were scattered. In this way king al Adel took Al Rikka and Habboura by force and laid siege to Nissibine, they all surrendered to him out of fear, as they had previously surrendered to his brother. He returned Habboura to them, and they made peace. Then he went to conquer Armenia, but returned disappointed… When Izzedine ruler of Mosil died his son Noureddin succeeded him.

That is how Saint Michael the Great ends his history extending from the beginning of creation until 1195 after recording very interesting events particula.iy the news of the Arab Muslims and their conquests and their relations with Christians in general, and the Syrians in particular to conclude that all that had afflicted the Christians was as a result of their being far from God, so he sent the Muslims to disipline them …

We don’t know what future holds, but we know who hold the future.

Matters did not stop with Saint Michael at the end of the twelfth century, but extended to the twentieth century, and who knows until when things will continue as they are … Only God knows. ..and he is the hoped for in the beginning and at the end …

Archbishopr George Saliba
Syriac Orthodox Bishop of Mount Lebanon

ARABIC ISLAMIC CONQUESTS
IN THE CHRONICLE OF SAINT MICHAEL THE GREAT

Archbishop George Saliba