Some points to consider, in no particular order, from someone also working on a healthier AOC (in The World):
- I would very much like it to be fact that the Church of the East survive in IB. I think this might be helped by the known survival of Zoroastrianism in Persia, thus more or less halting Islam in its tracks on the eastern front.
- Please, let's avoid the taint of the appelation "Nestorian" -- I think the native name of this ancient arm of the Church has long been, and is currently, "Church of the East" or "Assyrian Orthodox Church" (AOC), which includes the Church in India and in China.
- How did the Church end up in the Philippines? From China? -- Never mind, I see they come from the islands of SE Asia -- but how did THEY become Christian?
- What implications are there for the more than survival but flourishing of the sutras -- the literature -- of the Oriental Church? (See "The Jesus Sutras" for a smattering of what native Chinese Christians produced.) The list is quite impressive, though surviving texts seem to be pretty few...
- Missionary activity of the AOC was active in China by the 6th or 7th century, I think. There were quite a number of monestaries and diocese in China thereafter. Christianity had Imperial favour.
- RE: langauge. Even a couple centuries after the introduction of Christianity to China, the Syriac language was relegated to the back burners, being known as the "priests language". Native Christian sutras were written in Chinese (Mandarin, I guess); the Bible was translated into Chinese as well. This is evidenced by the mss, as well as the nativised terminology that shows a deep understanding of Chinese culture.
- RE: Syrian bishops. Even *here*, bishops from the West were uncommon. Many seem to have been native Chinese. You note that Indian (Ch.Syr.C.o.E.) bishops often come from Persia or Iraaq -- I guess China was too far! :)
- RE: majaguru -- You're on the right track!! The AOC in China is perhaps almost singular of all Christian churches in integrating native terms and concepts into the greater Christian framework. "Eastern" ideas like karma and reincarnation were integrated: Christ came to liberate man from the cycle of reincarnation through Christian salvation. You're doing well to integrate some native names and concepts. Just be careful you don't make this wonderful creation too eclectic and too much of a "new-agey" hodgepodge!
- RE: Magellenes. As a Spaniard, he would be of the Isidorian Rite. It is a western Rite, in full communion theologically and doctrinally with Rome. I don't think we quite know enough about the Rite to make statements like "...because the Castilians considered everything outside Roman Catholicism as heretical, including the native Christians they found in Filipinas." -- I certainly think that at the very least the word "Roman" ought to be stricken from that sentence. -- The Isidorian Rite was born under the "dark star" of Moorish rule and grew up amidst the general respect for other religions that was fostered by the Moslems of that time. I think the rabid "inquisitional" type of Spanish religion might not fit too well over *there*. Also, I doubt the few Spaniards that came in could really match 3.000.000 entrenched Christians with a sound hierarchy in place that also have connections with other AOC lands farther out. In this case, the Spains might have quite the fight on their hands!! :) Not sure how this will affect your history...
- RE: "After the Philippines was reunited once again with Bornei in 1902, the Catholic Church in the Philippines broke communion with Rome and entered into full communion with the Nestorian Church" -- I must say that is highly unlikely. At least as stated. It may well be that most "foreign Christians" -- i.e., Catholics -- had more or less gone native. I'd be somewhat hesitant about a whole structure switching over that way, unless, as I say, they'd gone native and this was simply a formal statement.
- The Liturgy: do you have one written yet? :))) Do you plan on writing one, if it differs from established Eastern liturgies? As far as "precision" in theology: theology, especially Eastern, is not necessarily precise. This is why the Orthodox churches are often referred to as "mystical".
- The last bits of that paragraph seem pretty sound, except that I really don't think the AOC cared a whit for what the "rest of Christendom" -- i.e., Constantinople and Rome -- thought about their beliefs, if only because they were so far away. Devotees of the modern AOC probably think the rest of Christendom are somewhat heretical for all the changes they've made. Presumably the use of the Roman calendar is a holdover from the Catholic hegemony, coupled with the introduction of the modern secular calendar as well?
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyrian_Church_of_the_East especially for the theological links.
Let's QSSify the survival of the Church of the East in IB!
I agree that the term "Nestorian" is tainted and inaccurate. The current native names are indeed: Assyrian Church of the East or Assyrian Orthodox Church, or in India as Chaldean Syrian Church of the East. However, I think it would be wrong to categorize them under Oriental Orthodoxy because they split from the Catholic and Apostolic Church 20 years before the Oriental Orthodox churches. Furthermore, they do accept a "Nestorian"-like Christology that is categorically rejected by the Oriental Orthodox Communion. In the absense of any better option, I think we can use Nestorian as an adjective to categorize them.
RE: How the Malays became Christians. The Nestorians first arrived in China at the beginning of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), but were later suppressed at the end of the same dynasty. I'm assuming that they must have returned during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) when China opened up again. Muslims certainly entered China at that time *here*. The first muslim missionaries to the Philippines and Sumatra *here* came from China during the Yuan Dynasty -- not from the Middle East as many may believe. Later missionaries did, of course, come from the Middle East. For IB, it oughta be the same situation, except that instead of Muslims, it was the Nestorians.
RE: Literature and language. I did not know that the Nestorians in China abandoned Syriac as a liturgical language and wrote the Christian Sutras in Chinese instead. In that case, the Christian Malays must have abandoned Syriac as well and wrote the Christian Sutras in Old Malay using a derivative of the Kawi script. Nobody *here* knows the exact origins of the Baybayin scripts of the Philippines, but for IB I'm assuming the theory that it is related to the Battak scripts of Sumatra. (They certainly have a lot in common, IMO). So when Christian princes from Sumatra fled to the Philippines after the fall of Palembang in 1377, their script evolved to become the Baybayin script of the Philippines in IB. By the 19th century, when Chavacano became the de facto lingua franca of the EACs of Insular Southeast Asia, the sutras would have been written in Chavacano, but I'd like them to still use the Baybayin script.
RE: Syrian bishops. I modeled this on the Nestorians of the Malabar Coast *here*. They regularly recieved bishops from the West. On the other hand, the Malabar Coast is not that far away from Persia. So I suppose that since the Philippines is just as far away from Persia as China is, then most of the bishops in the Philippines would have been native as well.
RE: Isidorian Rite. The fact that the Castilians are of the Isidorian Rite could explain why Felipe Javiér (IB's Francis Xavier) converted to the Borneian Christianity.
RE: The "inquisitional" behaviour of the Castilians. This could be explained by the conflict with Bornei and her tributaries attempting to free the Philippines from Castilian Reduction. The Castilians could have seen Nestorians as collaborators of the enemy. I don't think the Castilians would have been afraid of 3 million entrenched Nestorians. The Portuguese *here* were certainly not afraid of the 2 million Nestorians of the Malabar Coast. Keep in mind that not all Malayan states in the region were Christian states. Some, like Vizaya and Tidore, were still Hindu-Buddhist. Keep in mind also that all Malayan states of the time were thalassocracies and ruled only the coast and lowland regions. The mountainous interior was entirely pagan. So the Castillians would have easily found converts and allies in the neighbourhood as they did *here* against the Moros.
RE: Breaking communion with Rome. I modeled this on the Aglipayan Church (Philippine Independent Church) *here*. During the brief interlude between independence from the Spanish and the subsequent reoccupation by the Americans, the Filipino Catholic clergy was reformed into the Aglipayan Church. This new church rejected the spiritual authority of the Pope, abolished the celibacy requirement from its clergy, and entered full communion with the Old Catholics and the Anglican Communion. In this sense, it is only in partial communion with Rome. This is what I mean, but they did break communion with Rome. Or is that still not possible in your opinion?
RE: Liturgy. I don't have one and don't intend on writing one. Religion is really not my cup of tea. I'll leave that to you if you're interested.
Boreanesia 01:22, 23 Jun 2005 (PDT)
OK -- we agree on these things:
1. The Church of the East survives in IB, explained by the stronger position of Zoroastrianism and the reduced Islamic influence in the region, and should be made factual.
2. It should not be officially called "Nestorian" (though it will probably continue to be so called by many in the West). You are correct in differentiating the AOC and the OOC (the former becomes separated earlier than the latter). I have revised my earlier comments to reflect that.
3. The Borneian Church came out of China and its "Luminous Religon of the Great Westlands". Since you describe no great theological disputations, the Borneian Church must still be part of the greater Assyrian community and is in communion with the Assyrian Church itself (in Iraaq and Persia) as well as the Chaldean Syrian Church of the East (Malabar) and of course the Church in China.
Breaking with Rome
RE: the break with Rome -- it's one thing to break with Rome, as *here*'s Aglipayan Church did, and enter communion with a very similar organisation, namely the Old Catholics, who themselves really only split in 1870 (Vatican I) over the doctrine of papal infalibility.
As far as I can tell, the Aglipayan Church is a "national church", much like the Polish National Catholic Church, etc. *here*. Is this what you're proposing? I'd note only that the RCC and the Old Catholics are much closer than the Catholic Church and the AOC! :) Can you describe the history and reasons of the switch a little better?
- Wouldn't an Eastern (or perhaps "Borneian") Rite Catholic Church presumably be much closer to the Borneian Church (of the East) than it is with the Roman or Isidorian Catholic Churches?
- Consider what happened to the Malabar Christians *here*. When the Portuguese arrived in the Malabar Coast, they first brought all the Malabar Christians under the jurisdiction of the archbishopric of Goa and encouraged them to become Catholics of the Eastern Rite after the 1599 Synod of Diamper. But after the Coonen Cross Revolt of 1653, they all broke communion with Rome and returned to orthodoxy. That's what I envisage happened in the Philippines. The Castilleans turned the Borneian Christians under their jurisdiction into Eastern (or perhaps "Borneian") Rite Catholics. Then, the Philippine Revolution broke out, and the Filipino Catholics returned to Orthodox Christianity, much as the Malabar Christians did *here* in 1653. But there are important differences:
- First of all, after the Philippine Revolution, the Philippines was independent and would no longer be subjected to attempts to re-Catholicize the region, as was done against the Malabar Christians *here* after their revolt.
- Secondly, since the Borneian Church of the East is autocephalous, it does not rely on the importation of Persian bishops like the Malabar Christians. Thus, the Filipinos would not have split into half a dozen Eastern/Oriental denominations like the Malabar Christians did when Syrian bishops from various Eastern/Oriental denominations arrived to administer them after their revolt. Instead, the Filipino (Eastern or "Borneian" Rite) Catholics simply broke communion with Rome and entered communion with the Church of the East and local bishops would have been used.
- Of course, some reform would have had to be carried out to unite the Filipino Catholics with the Borneian Church. This is where I have modeled it on the Aglipayan Church from *here*.
- Is this still not realistic? Boreanesia 10:27, 3 Jul 2005 (PDT)
- Certainly an Eastern rite would be closer, though there are no Catholic rites that parallel the Assyrian Church. It might make sense for the Spaniards to try to import the Byzantine Rite. Not sure they'd really care enough to create a new and separate rite that mimicks a heretical church, though! Even though I personally do not consider the Assyrian Church of the East to be heretical or "Nestorian" -- the Catholic Church *there* as well as *here* almost certainly would!
- Otherwise, it's very much sounding like not so much a "breaking away from Rome", which was foreign, as a "return to Babylon", which was the home patriarchy of the Assyrian Church. Agreed about not needing Persian bishops. Any ideas on how to get the more recalcitrant Catholics back into the Assyrian fold?
- Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant by "breaking away" earlier -- as it stands, I think it makes perfect sense. If I get you right, the Philipinoes would have seen the CC as foreign, and after their revolt, would simply be restoring their traditional form of Christianity -- the Assyrian Church -- to its rightful place. Have I got it the right way round? Elemtilas
- Yes, you have!
- As for what Rite gets introduced by the Castilleans, it appears that what the Portuguese did *here* in the Malabar Coast was to import Catholicism of the Chaldean Rite. Presumably, it is closer to the Assyrian Church than the Byzantine Rite in that it descends directly from the Assyrian Church. So I suppose the Castilleans *there* might have tried the same thing provided that they have contacts with the Persian Christians as the Portuguese apparently had *here*.
- As for the recalcitrant Catholics, I suppose a few might still exist, especially in the Castillean enclaves of Intramuros and Guam. But I think, much as the Spanish language in the Philippines *here*, the rise of nationalism would be causing its decline ever since independence. With the rise of nationalism, many of these Catholics, rather than feeling alienated by the Borneian Christian majority, would feel the need to proclaim their oneness and solidarity with the Borneian Christian majority in the light of this nationalistic resurgence. See here and here for an idea of what is happening to "foreign/colonial" culture in the Philippines *here*. (Incidentally, I'm a Konyo speaker myself). Boreanesia 03:45, 4 Jul 2005 (PDT)
- Ah, good! Glad I got it straight. Yes, I think the Chaldean Rite would make for a "best fit". RE: Intramuros, etc. Aren't they enclaves of Iberianism? Or are the actual numbers of Spaniards v. small? I could see how the Isidorian Rite would be in decline if there were few Spaniards.
- Konyo? Looks interesting! I'm working (v. slowly) on Waray Waray myself. Elemtilas
- During much of the colonial period, Intramuros was reserved for Spaniards and Spanish-mestizos -- natives, Chinese, and Chinese-mestizos were forbidden entry. So Intramuros would certainly be an enclave of Iberianism. The same cannot be said of Guam since it was not an island that was exclusively reserved for Spaniards. Mind you, unlike the Spanish colonies in the Americas, the Spanish population in the Phillies during colonial times has always been very small -- less than one percent. Even the combined number of all types of Filipino-mestizos has never accounted for more than 2% of the entire population. The number of Castilleans in the Philippines *there* during the same period must have been even fewer.
- Waray-waray? Wow! What an unusual choice! Boreanesia 12:28, 4 Jul 2005 (PDT)
- Not unusual when you consider that my future inlaws are from Tacloban City! Elemtilas