The Info List - Yahballaha III

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Yahballaha III
Yahballaha III
(1245–November 13, 1317),[1][2] known in earlier years as Rabban Marcos or Markos, was Patriarch of the Church of the East from 1281 to 1317. As a young man, he engaged in a remarkable journey, which began as an ascetic monk's pilgrimage from Mongol-controlled China
to Jerusalem, led him to the Patriarch position in Baghdad, and brought him to recommend his former teacher and traveling companion, the monk Rabban Bar Sauma, to become the first Asian ambassador to Europe.


1 Biography 2 See also 3 Notes 4 References 5 External links


A young man, possibly Uyghur or Chinese, from a Nestorian Church
Nestorian Church
in Gaochang, China, Tang period, 602-654 AD

Wall painting from a Nestorian Christian
Nestorian Christian
church showing a scene of preaching on palm sunday, Qocho (Gaochang), China, 683–770 AD

Markos was born near Beijing[3] (Khanbaliq, or Taitu), then a part of the Mongol Empire. His ethnic ancestry is not entirely clear, but according to the Ecclesiastical Chronicle of Bar-Hebraeus, he was of Turkic Uyghur descent. He was also referred to as 'Yahballaha the Turk' in the colophon to an East Syrian manuscript of 1301. On the other hand, the History of Mar Yahballaha III
Yahballaha III
names the place of his birth as Koshang, thus perhaps suggesting that he was an Ongud
from the Christian tribe's homeland in Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
near Shanxi.[4] He was consecrated as a monk, and became a student of Rabban Bar Sauma, another Uyghur or Ongud
monk.[3] In the mid-13th century, they decided to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.[5] The Mongol Khan Arghun wanted Yahballaha to incite the Pope into another Crusade. Due to military conflict in Syria, they never arrived at their destination, but did meet with the church leaders in the Mongol Ilkhanate, in Baghdad. There, the Patriarch Mar Denha I sent the two monks on a mission to the court of the Mongol Khan Abaqa, to obtain confirmation for Mar Denha's title. Along the way, Markos was appointed Metropolitan Bishop
Metropolitan Bishop
of China. The monks then intended to return to China, but their departure was again delayed by armed conflict. When the Patriarch died, the bishops elected Markos as the new Patriarch in 1281, and he took the name Yahballaha III
Yahballaha III
("God Gave Him").[6] It was extremely rare for an outsider to become patriarch, and Bar Hebraeus claims that Markos was elected because of his supposed influence with the Mongols. In the event, hopes that Yahballaha III
Yahballaha III
might be able to influence Mongol policy were disappointed.[7] Yahballaha held contacts with the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
and with Latin Christendom. In 1287, when Abaqa's son and successor Arghun Khan sought an ambassador for an important mission to Europe, Yaballaha recommended his former teacher Rabban Bar Sauma, who held the position of Visitor-General. Arghun agreed, and Bar Sauma made a historic journey through Europe, meeting with the Pope and many monarchs, and bringing gifts, letters, and European ambassadors on his return. Via Rabban Sauma, Yahballaha received a ring from the Pope's finger, and a papal bull which recognized Yahballaha as the patriarch of all the eastern Christians.[6] In May 1304, Yahballaha made profession of the Catholic faith in a letter addressed to Pope Benedict XI. But the union was rejected by the synod of bishops of the Church of the East
Church of the East
in spite of the leadership of Yahballaha. In 1310 Yahballaha tried unsuccessfully to prevent the massacre of Christians in Erbil
by a Muslim mob. This failure discouraged him, and he retired to Maragheh, the capital of the Mongol Ilkhanate. Eventually he died, tortured and killed by a Muslim mob during a persecution.[8][9] See also[edit]

Christianity in China

List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East


^ Grousset, p. 383 ^ Rossabi, p. xv ^ a b Thomas Francis Carter (1955). The invention of printing in China and its spread westward (2 ed.). Ronald Press Co. p. 171. Retrieved 2010-06-28.  ^ Moule, Christians in China
before 1500, 94 & 103; also Paul Pelliot in T'oung-pao 15(1914), pp.630-36, where Koshang is suggested to be the Ongut town Tong-chen to the West of Beijing. ^ Jacques Gernet (1996). A history of Chinese civilization. Cambridge University Press. p. 376. ISBN 0-521-49781-7. Retrieved 2010-10-28.  ^ a b Phillips, p. 123 ^ Bar Hebraeus, Ecclesiastical Chronicle, ii. 451 ^ In Browne, Eclipse of Christianity in Asia, 163–66. ^ In Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity, 129.


Grousset, Rene, The Empire of the Steppes, (Translated from the French by Naomi Walford), New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press
Rutgers University Press
(1970) Barhebraeus, Gregory, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum, ed. J. B. Abbeloos
J. B. Abbeloos
and T. J. Lamy, (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1877), 3: II, cols.451ff. Bedjan, Paul, Histoire de Mar Jab-Alaha, Patriarche, (1888, 2nd ed 1995; reprint Gorgias, 2007). Syriac text on which the translations of Montgomery and Budge are based. Budge, E.A. Wallis, The Monks of Kublai Khan, (London: Religious Tract Society, 1928). Gillman, Ian & Klimkeith, Hans-Joachim, Christians in Asia before 1500, (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999), 140, 252. Montgomery, James A., History of Yaballaha III, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1927). Moule, A. C., Christians in China
before 1550 (London: SPCK, 1930). Phillips, J. R. S. (1998). The Medieval Expansion of Europe
(second ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-820740-9.  Rossabi, Morris (1992). Voyager from Xanadu: Rabban Sauma and the first journey from China
to the West. Kodansha International Ltd. ISBN 4-7700-1650-6. 

External links[edit]

Chaldeans, History and Cultural Relations

Religious titles

Preceded by Denha I Patriarch of the East 1281–1317 Succeeded by Timothy II

v t e

Patriarchs of the Church of the East

Until the schism of 1552

1st–4th centuries

Addai Aggai (66–87) Mari (ob.104) Abris (121–37) Abraham (159–71) Yaʿqob I (c. 190) Ahadabui (204–20) Shahlufa (220–4) Papa (c. 280–317) Shemʿon Bar Sabbaʿe (329–41) Shahdost (341–3) Barbaʿshmin (343–6) Tomarsa (363–71) Qayyoma (377–99)

5th–8th centuries

Isaac (399–410) Ahha (410–14) Yahballaha I (415–20) Maʿna (420) Farbokht (421) Dadishoʿ (421–56) Babowai (457–84) Acacius (485–96) Babai (497–503) Shila (503–23) Elishaʿ (524–37) Narsai intrusus (524–37) Paul (539) Aba I (540–52) Joseph (552–67) Ezekiel (570–81) Ishoʿyahb I (582–95) Sabrishoʿ I (596–604) Gregory (605–9) Ishoʿyahb II (628–45) Maremmeh (646–9) Ishoʿyahb III (649–59) Giwargis I (661–80) Yohannan I (680–3) Hnanishoʿ I (686–98) Yohannan Garba intrusus (691–3) Sliba-zkha (714–28) Pethion (731–40) Aba II (741–51) Surin (753) Yaʿqob II (753–73) Hnanishoʿ II (773–80) Timothy I (780–823)

9th–12th centuries

Ishoʿ bar Nun (823–8) Giwargis II (828–31) Sabrishoʿ II (831–5) Abraham II (837–50) Theodosius (853–8) Sargis (860–72) Israel of Kashkar intrusus (877) Enosh (877–84) Yohannan II (884–91) Yohannan III (893–9) Yohannan IV (900–05) Abraham III (906–37) Emmanuel I (937–60) Israel (961) ʿAbdishoʿ I (963–86) Mari (987–99) Yohannan V (1000–11) Yohannan VI (1012–16) Ishoʿyahb IV (1020–5) Eliya I (1028–49) Yohannan VII (1049–57) Sabrishoʿ III (1064–72) ʿAbdishoʿ II (1074–90) Makkikha I (1092–1110) Eliya II (1111–32) Bar Sawma (1134–6) ʿAbdishoʿ III (1139–48) Ishoʿyahb V (1149–75) Eliya III (1176–90)

13th–16th centuries

Yahballaha II (1190–1222) Sabrishoʿ IV (1222–4) Sabrishoʿ V (1226–56) Makkikha II
Makkikha II
(1257–65) Denha I (1265–81) Yahballaha III
Yahballaha III
(1281–1317) Timothy II (1318–c. 1332) Denha II (1336/7–1381/2) Shemʿon II (c. 1385–c. 1405) Eliya IV (c. 1405–c. 1425) Shemʿon III (c. 1425–c. 1450) Shemʿon IV Basidi (c. 1450–1497) Shemʿon V (1497–1502) Eliya V (1503–4) Shemʿon VI (1504–38) Shemʿon VII Ishoʿyahb (1539–58)

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