A Light Shines East: The World of a Christian Persia

Foundations of the Church
From “History of the Apostolic Church” by Afshin Khorrami

Even after the death(and some say resurrection) of that certain man from Nazareth, the young religion of Christianity continued to gain new members in spite of official persecution. The young church ran into increasing issues with its new converts; chief among them being whether or not they should be required to follow the laws of the Torah. In the year 50 AD, the Council of Jerusalem was called among the Apostles do decide this issue, among others.

Although it was not the main issue of the council, it was decided that the city of Ctesiphon, then capital of the Arsacid or Parthian Empire. The exact details of this particular discussion are lacking in primary sources and rely primarily on apocrypha, but, regardless, it was decided that Ctesiphon would serve as the basis for future conversion efforts. Ctesiphon was likely chosen because it was along the caravan routes.

It was Saint Peter who would establish himself in Ctesiphon. His conversion efforts were initially focused on the local Jewish population, but later came to include the Persian and Mesopotamian populations. He was eventually martyred at the hands of practitioners of Parthian polytheism[1], angered by his proselytization among their community. Coincidentally, Saint Paul was in Ctesiphon at the time as a missionary, having previously proselytized throughout the Roman Empire, as well as allegedly in Arabia and possibly Ethiopia. He would then become the second Patriarch of Ctesiphon.

As Paul was already in his old age, his time as Patriarch would only last ten years, with his earlier theological writings generally being considered more important. However, in a letter to the church in Antioch over a minor dispute in which he stated “the successorship of Saint Peter has been passed on to me”, which is taken by the Apostolic Church as evidence for their direct descent from the early church. Upon Paul’s death, he would be succeeded as Patriarch by Saint Kaveh.

Saint Kaveh was a convert to Christianity from Zoroastrianism, who according to tradition saw a vision of the Virgin Mary while on route to Babylon. Under Kaveh’s leadership, the church would take on a distinctly Persian character. While Persecuted in Rome, in Parthia Christians were allowed the freedom to practice their religion so long as they did not cause trouble with the authorities. As such, Ctesiphon would become the center of the church, which would steadily grow amongst the people of Parthia. Although the day had not come yet, and would not for a long time, the process in which a Christianized Persia could be born had begun.



[1]Syncretic Greco-Persian-Mesopotamian polytheism was relatively common in the Parthian Empire.
 
I've always been interested in "Christianity goes East" scenarios. Watching with attention.
that's very interesting...
Just seems interesting I like to see where you take this
Thank you!
I take it that Christianity's range would be similar to that of Islam IOTL?
Probably not exactly the same, but similar general area. The Arab conquests will still happen in some form ITTL, simply due to population factors in the Arabian peninsula, but it will be more of a standard barbarian invasion(I haven’t decided if it will be more like the Germanic or Mongol conquests, probably a bit of both.)
 
I take it the conceit of this scenario is that the Roman Empire remains polytheistic?
While I won’t spoil too much, religion in Rome and it’s successors ITTL will be something like OTL Asia; imagine Neoplatonism, Stoicism, traditional Greco-Roman religion, and various eastern mystery cults coexisting similar to Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism in China or Buddhism and Shinto in Japan.
 

Math

Banned
Probably not exactly the same, but similar general area. The Arab conquests will still happen in some form ITTL, simply due to population factors in the Arabian peninsula, but it will be more of a standard barbarian invasion(I haven’t decided if it will be more like the Germanic or Mongol conquests, probably a bit of both.)
Will Arabs convert to Christianity like German barbarians?, And if the Turks invade, will they also convert to Christianity?
 
Would there be a Christian Indonesia/Malaysia in the future similar to how they adopted Islam IOTL or nah?
That's not an impossibility. A more interesting thing would be seeing Christianity make it to Turkestan and be on the doorstep to China.
Will Arabs convert to Christianity like German barbarians?, And if the Turks invade, will they also convert to Christianity?
There were already Christianized Arabs IOTL (the Ghassanids). Turkic invasions are also a bit far in the future, but let's see what @Merovingian has in store.
 
Will Arabs convert to Christianity like German barbarians?, And if the Turks invade, will they also convert to Christianity?
Would there be a Christian Indonesia/Malaysia in the future similar to how they adopted Islam IOTL or nah?
That's not an impossibility. A more interesting thing would be seeing Christianity make it to Turkestan and be on the doorstep to China.
The Arabs will most likely convert simply due to geographical proximity, and the Turks also probably will. Indonesia/Malaysia and East Turkestan I’m a bit more unsure of, but it’s still within the realm of possibility.
 
I really like the idea i wonder how zorastranisim theology gets mixed with chirstianity it would cause a divide with the more greco roman Christians by year 50 i wonder if Paul here or another new testament author wrote epistle to the persians
 
Interesting.
What happens to the Jews?
I haven’t fully decided what will happen to the Jews yet, but it will probably be at least somewhat better than what happened OTL.
I really like the idea i wonder how zorastranisim theology gets mixed with chirstianity it would cause a divide with the more greco roman Christians by year 50 i wonder if Paul here or another new testament author wrote epistle to the persians
While I don’t want to spoil too much, the main Zoroastrian influence on TTL’s Christian theology will probably be more dualistic themes and likely the adoption of a few Zoroastrian practices. I could also see Persian Christians in particular emphasizing the Three Magi and the Old Testament’s favorable portrayal of the Achaemenid Empire.
 
Ezra-Nehemiah could be seen as big as Isaiah is in OTL. The Feast of the Epiphany would be only below Christmas and Easter in terms od liturgical importance.
 
Of Schisms and Heresies
From “History of the Apostolic Church” by Afshin Khorrami

The early Apostolic Church was not unchallenged during its early years. The earliest disputes within the church were over whether Christianity should continue to use Jewish law or not, and what to do with new converts. Once that dispute had been settled, debates emerged over Christological matters. The Apostolic Church in Ctesiphon adopted the position that Christ was both fully man and fully God, and that he was part of the Trinity. Other positions emerged, however, that rejected the concept of the Trinity and had differing opinions on Christology.

Some heresies lasted longer than others. The schismatic Marcion, who claimed to be a follower of Saint Paul, founded the heresy that would bear his name. He claimed that the God of the New Testament was separate from that the Old, with that of the New being the benevolent true God and the Old being a malevolent false god. While Marcion’s heresy would not last, his ideas would. While the Apostolic Church came to dominate in Parthia, in the lands of the Romans, the heresy of Valentinus dominated. The Valentinian heresy was persecuted by the Romans, as were all Christians, but the heresy of Valentinus would thrive elsewhere. The Syrian-born Valentinian who would come to be known as Abu Majid, whose real name is lost to history, would spread his heresy among the Arabs. Thus would ultimately become the permanent schism between the Apostolic and Gnostic Churches[1].

The Apostolic Church, however, would gain a sizable following in Mesopotamia. The Apostolic Church would gain its own unique place in Parthian society. The Epistle to the Persians, written by Saint Kaveh, claimed that the Zoroastrian Ahura Mazda was the same as the Judeo-Christian Yahweh as he was known to the Persians, and that only through Christ could salvation be reached. The Church would continue to grow throughout the Second and Third Centuries until the day finally came; the day when Christianity would become the state religion in Persia.


[1]I know the Gnostics never actually called themselves that, but they eventually adopted the term ITTL after being called that enough times
 
Rome could tolerate many things religion wise, but not what it perceived as subversive activities. Their old Eastern rivals making this new cult into the state religion would certainly be considered under such a heading.

What, then, becomes of the myriad Roman faiths when their historical replacement never gets to do that.
 
Rome could tolerate many things religion wise, but not what it perceived as subversive activities. Their old Eastern rivals making this new cult into the state religion would certainly be considered under such a heading.

What, then, becomes of the myriad Roman faiths when their historical replacement never gets to do that.
Indeed, if Christianity succeeded in Persia, than its chances in Rome are done with. The Romans will likely remain polytheistic for longer than OTL, although their religion will change significantly from what it was previously.
 
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