What if the Huichang Persecution of Buddhism in China never targeted Christianity as well.

It is said that Church of the East (Madenkha) Christianity was out to an end in China by the The Huichang Persecution of Buddhism (841–845) that was targeted at Buddhism but decided their justification for going after Buddhism also applied to the other foreign religions like Christianity, Manicheanism and Zoroastrianism.

Buddhism survived and during some parts of the persecutions, Christians, Zoroastrians and Manicheans were forced to dress like and act like Buddhist Monks. After the persecution was over, Christianity was essentially done in China proper tho it extended from Sogdian to the Gansu in some form, overshadowed by Manicheanism that managed to survive in China as well and Zoroastrianism was gone.

What if this never occured.

How do they do this? Well, Confucians thought too many people were in monastries escaping doing real work and paying taxes. The author of the book that made ur world says Buddhist monasticism emphacized the community supporting the Monastries to a far greater extent than Christian Monasticism while other says the Christians were too dependant on the Emperor not establishing deep roots. What if they both did more work to establish deep roots among the people and are able to convince the Emperor that their monastries were not a drain on society, a special taxation agreement,? To be isolated hermits away from villages(really doubt this one),? Convince the Emperor that Christians have the way of getting immortality?.

The persecutions were driven by general societal resentment of foreigners so I don't think it is possible to completely butterfly them.

Whatever it is, Christianity remains in the East, I don't think they'll convert all of China, that Buddhism and Manicheanism survived better suggests they'll do better, Buddhism especially but it makes for an earlier and more established church making its way into the Eastern steppe. Now Christianity adopted alot of Buddhist language like in Western Eurasia it adopted alot of Greek language, I think corrections from Mesopotamia or Central Asia will reduce the extent of terminological Buddhification, as certainly some examples of this borrowing of terminology seemed to veered on syncretism rather than inculturation and that'll be grounds for a correction but I don't think Mesopotamia would ever be strong enough or to purge even most Buddhist terminology, they may not even be inclined to as parts of central Asia was also doing similarly with Buddhist terminology.

So Christianity will come to the Eastern steppe from both Central Asia and China. What are the chances of some other Mongolian scripts directly based on Sogdian and another on Chinese appearing,? I think a Chinese based script is more likely. But Certainly the Mongols would be more Christianized, the Keriates were probably the leading dynasty of the Zubu confederacy that preceded the Mongols and they were Christian so the Onguts, Keriates and Naimans were the main Christian Mongol nations OTL, what happens when Christian monastries from China be setting up in Mongolia? How many more tribes be converted, maybe the conversions would happen earlier and the Khitans would be converted. As the Nations that converted in OTL were more south west, closer to Sogdia-Gansu, so with Christian monastries scattered across the north, maybe venturing into Barbarian territory to escape periodic Chinese Xenophobia, they also convert the other para-Mongolic peoples closer to the settled area in the East like the Tatars and Khitans?.

I think following on the conclusions of the book that made ur world, Christian monasteries as they did in Ireland and most Roman France-Germany become part of the state institutions of the Zubu state, I don't think Buddhists ever did similar until Tibetan Buddhism which the Mongols won't adopt until later(someone correct me if I am wrong), so maybe Khitans but certainly Zubu-Keriates would be a state partially run by Madenkha(primarily Chinese due to China's population but also of the various central Asia ethnicities) Churchmen and maybe the Mongol Empire would be Christian? Maybe. I don't think they even had much Buddhists yet in OTL, but that's where I stop for you guys to continue.

Question Inspired by

CHRISTIAN RESPONSES TO BUDDHISM IN PRE-MEDIEVAL TIMES by DAVID SCOTT

The Book that Made your World by Vishal Mangalwadi

 
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Bumping this as I'd never heard of this incident and interest in others opinions.
Well, at least someone's interested.

Apparently, Monastries played a huge role in Christianity's disemination and Christian monastries are run by lay brothers especially but all the monks working to produce their own food. Certainly, they still welcomed government donation and gifted villages but those are more additions than the normal base.

Interestingly enough, at least some Turkic Christians sided with the Tang. After the rebellion was put down, the Emperor had what is now known as the Nestorian Monument erected to show his gratitude.

A comment from
. Maybe, the favour from this is able to still operate even under later Emperor's?.

It is important to note that the An Lushan Rebellion and Muslim pirates/traders attack in Guangzhou played a huge part in the whole Chinese Xenophobia rising as well as slaughtering of foreigners. Not only were Muslims slaughtered in Shinjiang and Guangzhou but Sogdians were slaughtered by some of An Lushan's usurper successors to wipe out his base of support (An Lushan was half Sogdian).

Because, I knew that the much of the area that An Lushan's rebellion controlled in North Eastern China, ended up becoming defacto tributary states (
) so I wondered, why didn't Christianity survive there, it was probably this Sogdian purge that neutered such a chance.

So we have a couple of options to avoid the persecution of Christians,

1. Avoid the massacre of the Sogdians in Yan province. Maybe the Yan dynasty survives An Lushan and his son, maybe the tributary kingdom in Youzhou is taken over by someone that presents himself as a successor to An Lushan so doesn't fear the Sogdians there. This community could make a great jumping point for deep roots to become established in Chinese communities.

2. The An Lushan Rebellion doesn't happen, Tang China's golden age continues and when ever it does fall, it falls in a way that doesn't associate the fall with outsiders? Maybe the Salt Merchant Qi rebellion is what does it by itself, TTL.

3. Is based on that quote, enough Christian Turks fight on the side of Tang and are remembered as fighting on the side of Tang for that association between foreigners and the decline to not include Christians.
 
I read somewhere of recent but forget exactly where that Syriac monks were said that their only work was prayer. Which is probably not true to the extreme as they did copying and medicine work, in East and Central Asia but such a focus could hamper by alternative of Monks in China having a special taxation agreement to escape the persecution that they were not even the main targets of.

So the rememberance of the service of the Christian Turks may be the most likely excuse. But still, appeasing Confucian Bureaucrats will further secure things.
 
I wonder how much Christianity could diverge in China if it survived, would it be recognizable as the Church of the East or would syncretism set in?
 
that Syriac monks were said that their only work was prayer
As I understand it, Eastern Monasticism was more contemplative and meditative than Western style monasticism, especially that derived from Martin of Tours(the REAL father of western monasticism) and Benedict of Nurcia who emphasized the famous work and pray rule.
 
I wonder how much Christianity could diverge in China if it survived, would it be recognizable as the Church of the East or would syncretism set in?

Essentially all the examples of Non-European introduction of Christianity to East Asia, where it most had to accommodate local beliefs avoided syncretism and only inculturated those examples being Jingjiao(or Tang era Madenkha/Church of the East introduction), Yelikewen jiao (Madenkha and Catholicism in China but in this case we're talking of Madenkha) and Korean introduction of Catholicism from China. There were borrowing of terminology and ideas like describing even those border line syncretism like essentially describing Gwanyin's compassionate rescue to replacing her with Jesus but that's stuff that never had true dogma or consistent teaching for developed and not an exchange of christian dogma for buddhist so not syncretism.
 
As I understand it, Eastern Monasticism was more contemplative and meditative than Western style monasticism, especially that derived from Martin of Tours(the REAL father of western monasticism) and Benedict of Nurcia who emphasized the famous work and pray rule.
Uh. I would have to finish reading the book that made ur world to see if he makes any argument specific to Eastern, especially Syriac monasticism but at this point, doubling down on recognition of christian turks and stopping the genocide of Sogdians in Yan seems like the best bet.
 
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