Select Page

History of Christianity & Shift from Monotheism to Trinity (4/4)

By Editorial Staff

In this article, I will spotlight the most prominent Christians who embraced Islam in Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime. We may wonder: could those people have been believers in the Trinity or such monotheists who embraced Islam as a final monotheistic message which came as an extension to the previous monotheistic messages conveyed by the past prophets and messengers of God?

Monotheistic Christians & Profession of Islam upon the Advent of Prophet Muhammad

An-Najashi (Negus)

An-Najashi's Mosque

The Mosque of An-Najashi (Negus) in Ethiopia

An-Najashi was the title of the king of Abyssinia. One Najashi, namely As-hamah ibn Abjar, who was contemporary with Prophet Muhammad embraced Islam, became a good Muslim and was counted as a grand Companion of Prophet Muhammad though he did not migrate to Medina or even meet Prophet Muhammad. He died during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad who offered funeral prayer for him in absentia. It is not reported that Prophet Muhammad offered funeral prayer for an absent deceased except An-Najashi.

In Siyar A`lam An-Nubala’, Adh-Dhahabi reported that when `Amr ibn Al-`As and `Abdullah ibn Abi Rabia`h (or `Imarah bn Al-Walid) asked An-Najashi to extradite the Companions who migrated to Abyssinia, the following conversation took place between An-Najashi and the grand Companion Ja`far ibn Abi Talib:

An-Najashi wondered: “Do you memorize some revelation he (Prophet Muhammad) received from God?” Ja`far replied: “Yes.” An-Najashi said: “Read it to me!” Then Ja`far read to him the opening verses of the Chapter of Maryam (Mary). Thereupon, An-Najashi kept crying until he moistened his beard and his bishops also kept crying until they moistened their scriptures. Then, An-Najashi said: “Indeed, this (Qur’an) and the revelation conveyed by Moses get out of the same lantern. Go where you like. By God, I will not, and even may not extradite you!”

On the next day, at Amr ibn Al-`As’ request, An-Najashi summoned the Companions and wondered: “What do you believe about Jesus?” Ja`far replied: “We have the same belief which our Prophet affirmed. We believe that he is God’s servant, messenger, spirit and word which He communicated to Mary, the Virgin.” Then, An-Najashi struck the ground, picked up a rod and said: “Jesus did not come out with as much as this rod more than what you said.” Then, patriarchs around him kept snorting. Then, he said: “Even though you snort, by God! Go where you like. You are safe in my land.”

Ibn Ishaq reported: Ja`far ibn Muhammad quoted his father as saying: “The Abyssinians rebelled and revolted against An-Najashi whom they accused of the renunciation of their faith. So he prepared ships for Ja`far and his comrades and told them: “Board the ships! If I am defeated, go away. If I clinch victory, stay here.” Then, he had a piece of writing in which he bore witness that there is no god but God, Muhammad is God’s servant and messenger and Jesus is God’s servant, messenger, spirit and word which He communicated to Mary. Then, he kept this piece of writing in his garment.

Thereupon, he went out to the Abyssinians who lined up for him. Then he wondered: “O people of Abyssinia, am I not the worthiest one to rule over you?” They said: “Yes.” He asked: “How have you found my rule?” They answered: “It is the best rule.” Then, he asked: “So what is wrong with you?” They replied: “You have renounced our faith, alleging that Jesus is just a servant (of God).” Then, he asked: “What do you believe about Jesus?” They replied: “He is the son of God.” Then he made a signal at his chest towards the piece of writing, indicating his belief in the piece of writing. But, the Abyssinians thought that he meant by this signal that he agreed with them. Then, they became pleased with him and dispersed. When An-Najashi died, Prophet Muhammad offered funeral prayer for him and prayed to God for his forgiveness.

Heracle (Heraclius)

Prophet Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad’s letter to Heracle (Heraclius)

Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Imam Ahmad, and other hadith compilers reported on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Abbas that Prophet Muhammad wrote to Caesar and invited him to Islam … When the letter of Prophet Muhammad reached Caesar, he said after reading it, “Seek for me anyone of his people (Arabs from Quraish tribe) if present here, in order to ask him about Muhammad.” At that time, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb was in the Levant with some men from Quraish who had come (to the Levant) as merchants … Abu Sufyan said, “Caesar’s messenger found us somewhere in the Levant so he took me and my companions to Jerusalem and we were admitted into Caesar’s court.”

Heracle kept asking Abu Sufyan about Prophet Muhammad and Abu Sufyan kept answering his questions. Then, Heracle said to Abu Sufyan: “These are really the qualities of a prophet who, I knew (from the previous Scriptures) would appear, but I did not know that he would be from amongst you. If what you say should be true, he will very soon occupy the earth under my feet, and if I knew that I would reach him definitely, I would go immediately to meet Him; and were I with him, then I would certainly wash his feet.” Abu Sufyan added, “Caesar then asked for the letter of the Messenger of God and it was read. It read: “In the name of God, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful, (This letter is) from Muhammad, the servant and messenger of God to Heraclius, the Roman Emperor. Peace be upon the followers of guidance. Now then, I invite you to Islam, so embrace Islam and you will be safe; embrace Islam and God will bestow on you a double reward. But if you reject this invitation of Islam, you shall be responsible for misguiding the peasants (i.e. your nation). O people of the Scriptures! Come to a word common to us and you, that we worship none but God, and that we associate nothing in worship with Him; and that none of us shall take others as lords besides God. Then if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him) (3:64)”

Abu Sufyan added, “When Heraclius had finished reading, there was a great hue and cry caused by the Byzantine royalties surrounding him, and there was so much noise that I did not understand what they said. So, we were turned out of the court. When I went out with my companions and we were alone, I said to them, ‘Verily, Ibn Abi Kabsha’s (i.e. the Prophet’s) affair has gained power. This is the King of Bani Al-Asfar fearing him.’” Abu Sufyan added, “By Allah, I remained low and was sure that his religion would be victorious till God converted me to Islam, though I disliked it.”

Al-Mundhir Ibn Sawa

Prophet Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad’s letter to Al-Mundhir Ibn Sawa

Al-Mundhir ibn Sawa was the King of the Persian Gulf during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad. He was a Christian as his people, namely `Abd Shams, were Christians. Prophet Muhammad wrote him a letter in which he invited him to Islam.

Then, Al-Mundhir embraced Islam but he was not a member of the delegation who attended from Bahrain to meet Prophet Muhammad. Instead, he wrote Prophet Muhammad a letter affirming his profession of Islam.

Al-Mundhir’s letter to Prophet Muhammad read: “O Messenger of God, I read your letter, which you wrote to the people of Bahrain extending to them an invitation to Islam. Islam appealed to some of them and they entered the fold of Islam, while others did not find it appealing. In my country, there live Magians and Jews; therefore, you may inform me of the treatment to be extended to them.”

In reply to Al-Mundhir’s letter, Prophet Muhammad wrote: “In the name of God, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful, (This letter is) from Muhammad, the Messenger of God to Al-Mundhir ibn Sawa. May peace be on you! I praise God, Who is One and there is none to be worshipped except Him. I bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is a servant and messenger of God.

Thereafter I remind you of God. Whoever accepts admonition does it for his own good. Whoever followed my messengers and acted in accordance with their guidance; he, in fact, accepted my advice. My messengers have highly praised your behavior. I authorize you to deal with your people. So let Muslims follow Islam. I forgive the offences of the offenders. Therefore, you may also forgive them. Whoever wants to continue in their Jewish or Magian faith should be made to pay tribute.”

Waraqah ibn Nawfal

Waraqah ibn Nawfal was the cousin of Prophet Muhammad’s first wife, Lady Khadijah, the Mother of the Believers. He was a Christian before Prophet Muhammad’s prophethood, but he embraced Islam at the outset of Prophet Muhammad’s prophethood.

In his Sahih, under the Chapter of the Outset of Revelation, Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of `Aishah that Khadija accompanied Prophet Muhammad to her cousin Waraqah ibn Naufal ibn Asad ibn `Abdul `Uzza, who, during the pre-Islamic period, became a Christian and used to write writings with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as God wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqah, “Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!” Waraqah asked, “O my nephew! What have you seen?” The Messenger of God described whatever he had seen. Waraqah said, “This is the same one who keeps the secrets (Angel Gabriel) whom God had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would drive you out.” The Messenger of God asked, “Will they drive me out?” Waraqah replied in the affirmative and said, “Anyone who came out with something similar to what you will come out with was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be driven out then I would support you strongly.” But after a few days Waraqah died.

It is noteworthy that Waraqah ibn Nawfal was the first person to bring Lady Khadijah glad tidings about Prophet Muhammad’s prophethood after she had told him about what happened during Prophet Muhammad’s journey with her slave Maysarah along with her caravan travelling to the Levant, especially the cloud which was shading him until he came back to Mecca.

It is reported that he said to her: “If this is true, O Khadijah, Muhammad will be the prophet of this nation. I have known that this nation waits for a prophet who is about to appear.” (Ar-Rawd Al-Unuf: vol. 2, p. 161) About one month later, Lady Khadijah married the Messenger of God. Waraqah composed a poem apparently after this conversation, given the mention of Prophet Muhammad’s journey with Khadijah’s caravan, the glad tidings about Prophet Muhammad’s prophethood and the promise to follow him.

In his Musnad, At-Tayalisi reported that Waraqah ibn Nawfal and Zayd ibn `Amr ibn Nufayl went out in quest of the true religion. So they went to a monk at Mosul. The monk said to Zayd ibn `Amr ibn Nufayl: “Where have you come from, O camel rider?” He replied: “From Abraham’s household.” The monk wondered: “What do you seek after?” He replied: “I seek after the true religion.” He said to him: “Come back for the one you seek after is about to appear at your homeland.”

Nestorian Monk: Bahira

At-Tirmidhi and Al-Hakim reported on the authority of Abu Bakr ibn Abu Musa Al-Asha`ri on the authority of his father that Abu Talib traveled to the Levant, and the Prophet left with him, along with some older men from Quraish. When they came across the monk they stopped there and began setting up their camp, and the monk came out to them. Before that they used to pass by him and he wouldn’t come out nor pay attention to them. They were setting up their camp when the monk was walking amidst them, until he came and took the hand of the Messenger of Allah. Then he said: “This is the master of men and jinn, this is the Messenger of the Lord of the Worlds. God will send him as mercy to men and jinn.” So some of the older people from Quraish said: “How do you know that?” He said: “When you came along from the road, neither a rock nor a tree was left, except that it prostrated, and they do not prostrate except for a prophet. And I can recognize him by the seal of prophethood which is below his shoulder blade, like an apple.” Then he went back, and made them some food, and when he brought it to them, he [Prophet Muhammad] was tending camels. So he said: “Summon him.” So he came, and there was a cloud over him that was shading him. When he came close to the people, he found that they had sat down under the tree’s shade before he came. So when he sat down, the shade of the tree leaned towards him. He (the monk) said: “Look at the shade of the tree leaning towards him.’” While he was standing with them, telling them not to take him to the Romans – because if the Romans were to see him, they would recognize him by description, and they would kill him – he turned, and there were seven people who had come from among the Romans. So he received them and said: “Why have you come?” They said: “We came because a prophet is going to appear during this month, and there isn’t a road left except that people have been sent to it, and we have been informed of him, and we have been sent to this road of yours.” So he said: “Is there anyone better than you behind you?” They said: “We only have news of him from this road of yours.” He said: “Do you think that if there is a matter which God wishes to bring about, there is anyone among people who can prevent it?” They said: “No.” So they gave him their pledge, and they stayed with him. And he said: “I ask you by God, which of you is his guardian?” They said: “Abu Talib.” So he kept adjuring him until Abu Talib returned him (back to Mecca).

Salman Al-Farisi

In his Musnad, Imam Ahmad reported on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Abbas that Salman Al-Farisi had a long conversation with him, in which he said: “I was a Persian man … I strove hard in the Magian religion … I passed by one of the Christian churches, where I could hear their voices as they were praying … When I saw them, I was impressed with their prayer … I said to them: ‘Where did this religion originate?’ They said: ‘In the Levant’ … I sent word to the Christians saying: ‘If any Christian merchants come to you from the Levant, tell me about them.’ He said: ‘Some Christian merchants came to them from the Levant … and I went out with them, until I came to the Levant …

Salman kept serving monks, one after another, from the Levant through Mosul and Nusaybin to Amorium. When the monk of Amorium was about to die, and Salman asked him to tell him about the next monk to serve, he said to him: ‘O my son, by God, I do not know of anyone who follows our way to whom I can advise you to go. But there has come the time of a prophet, who will be sent with the religion of Abraham. He will appear in the land of the Arabs and will migrate to a land between two harrahs (lands with black rocks), between which there are palm trees. He will have characteristics that will not be hidden. He will eat of what is given as a gift but he will not eat of what is given as charity. Between his shoulder blades is the seal of prophethood. If you can go to that land then do so.’

Then, Salman traveled to Arabia and stayed in Medina. When he knew that the people of Medina were gathering in Quba’ to receive a man whom they believed to be a prophet, he went to him.

Salman said: “I had something that I had collected, and when evening came, I went to the Messenger of God when he was in Quba’, and I entered to him and said to him: ‘I have heard that you are a righteous man and that you have companions who are strangers and are in need. This is something that I have to give in charity, and I see that you are more in need of it than anyone else.’

I brought it near to him and the Messenger of God said to his companions: “Eat,” but he refrained from eating. I said to myself: ‘This is one.’ Then I went away and collected some more.

The Messenger of God settled in Medina, then I came to him and said: ‘I see that you do not eat (food given in) charity; this is a gift with which I wish to honor you.’ The Messenger of God then ate some of it and told his companions to eat too. I said to myself: ‘This is two.’

Then I came to the Messenger of God when he was in Baqi` Al-Gharqad, where he had attended the funeral of one of his companions and he was wearing two shawls and was sitting down among his companions. I greeted him, then I moved behind him, trying to look at his back to see the seal that my companion had described to me. When the Messenger of God saw me going behind him, he realized that I was trying to ascertain something that had been described to me, so he let his garment drop from his back, and I saw the seal and recognized it. Then I embraced and kissed him, while weeping … Then, Salman embraced Islam and became a good Muslim.

_________

References:

1- Sahih Al-Bukhari

2- Sahih Muslim

3- Musnad Al-Imam Ahmad

4- Musnad At-Tayalisi

5- Fatah Al-Bari, by Ibn Hajar

6- Siyar Alam An-Nubala, by Adh-Dhahabi

7- As-Sirah An-Nabawiyah, by Ibn Ishaq

8- Ar-Rawd Al-Onuf

 

History of Christianity & Shift from Monotheism to Trinity (1/4)

History of Christianity & Shift from Monotheism to Trinity (2/4)

History of Christianity & Shift from Monotheism to Trinity (3/4)

Roman Emperors’ Role in the Establishment of Contemporary Christianity

Soucre Link
Christianity between Pure Spirituality and Worldly Desire

Christianity between Pure Spirituality and Worldly Desire

Spirituality

Pope Alexander VI surrounded by his illegitimate children

Undoubtedly, the true religion of God every time and everywhere from the times of Adam to Muhammad inspires deep spirituality and self-control rather than desire suppression. Man is an intermediate being that is midway between inanimate objects and angels. While a human has earthly desires, one also has celestial faculties.

Man may not, and even cannot, be purely earthly or purely celestial. Otherwise, man would have become an inanimate object or an angel. That is why one should steer a middle course between the earthly soil and the celestial light so that one can convey the message for which man was created.

Therefore, the successive heavenly messages of the true religion of God every time and everywhere took into consideration man’s physical and spiritual dimensions so that man can feel utmost spirituality while having adequate satisfaction of one’s worldly desires paving the way for spiritual development.

Man is a body and a soul. Each has its own requirements and needs. Neither of them can survive without the other. The negligence of the needs of one of them adversely affects the other and ultimately leads to man’s unhappiness.

It is safe to say that the indulgence or negligence of the needs of any of man’s two components to the detriment of the other per se serves as evidence of the falsehood of the faith, law and way of life. While God does not allow total immersion in the earthly soil through the indulgence of the bodily desire, He does not command such spiritual development which negatively affects body. In the Qur’an, we read:

Seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. (Al-Qasas 28:77)

Thus, false is such a religion or faith which permits indulgence or negligence of any of man’s two components, that is body and soul, to the detriment of the other.

Unfortunately, in the contemporary Christianity, the clergymen often mouth off about pure spirituality coupled with the total suppression of man’s worldly desire or the so-called “monasticism”. About that, in the Qur’an, we read:

Then We sent following their footsteps Our messengers and followed [them] with Jesus, the son of Mary, and gave him the Gospel. And We placed in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy and monasticism, which they innovated; We did not prescribe it for them except [that they did so] seeking the approval of Allah . But they did not observe it with due observance. So We gave the ones who believed among them their reward, but many of them are defiantly disobedient. (Al-Hadid 57:27)

It is worth noting, according to the above verse, that the stated monasticism goes against man’s very nature. God neither wants nor commands it. What is more, most people cannot put it into practice for it contradicts the purpose of man’s creation, that is, obedience through both earthly and spiritual proportions, as well as spiritual development coupled with reasonable gratification.

The most conclusive evidence of the falsehood of monasticism, pure spirituality and desire suppression promoted by the contemporary Christianity is its most prominent followers’ failure to adhere to the same from the dawn of Christianity and throughout history. Let’s review the history of the early Christianity to spotlight a few instances of the inapplicability of pure spirituality or even desire suppression propagated by the contemporary Christianity.

Mary’s Giving Birth to Jesus while Betrothed to Joseph

Mary and the angel

Mary and the angel

First of all, where is the pure spirituality in the contemporary Christianity though God is portrayed as begetting a son by a woman betrothed to someone else?

In the New Testament, we read: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by [the power of] the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:18)

If looking at or coveting the woman of someone else is forbidden in the Bible, how come God begets a son by the woman of someone else? In the Old Testament, we read:

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17), (Deuteronomy 5:21)

Joseph and Jesus

Joseph and Jesus

The New Testament quotes Jesus as saying: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that if a man looks at a woman and wants to sin sexually with her, he has already committed that sin with her in his mind. If your right eye makes you sin, take it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-29)

If impregnation out of wedlock is deemed adultery and has a capital punishment, how come God commits that offence?

About the adultery punishment in the Bible, we read: “If a man has sexual relations with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman are guilty of adultery and must be put to death!” (Leviticus 20:10)

Immodesty even at Churches

Immodesty in dress in church

Immodesty in dress in church

Where is the pure spirituality in the contemporary Christianity though immodesty is shown at churches?

For example, while immodesty in dress is prohibited both in the Bible and the early popes’ decrees, immodesty in dress is widely shown at churches. In the Bible, we read:

“Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since that is one and the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman doesn’t cover her head, she should have her hair cut off. But if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her head be covered.” (1 Corinthians 11:5-6)

No dress code in church

No dress code in church

We also read: “Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?” (1 Corinthians 11:13)

We further read: “Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense, not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel” (1 Timothy 2:9)

According to Liber Pontificalis, Pope Linus, the second pope of the Catholic Church from 67 A.D. to 76 A.D., issued a decree that women should cover their heads in church.

Also, while looking at and touching women is prohibited in the Bible, looking at and touching women is commonplace at churches either for blessing, prayer, shake-hands, baptism or confirmation or other purposes.

Looking at and touching women in church

Looking at and touching women in church

The New Testament quotes Jesus as prohibiting looking at women. We read: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that if a man looks at a woman and wants to sin sexually with her, he has already committed that sin with her in his mind. If your right eye makes you sin, take it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-29)

In his epistles, Paul disapproved touching women. In the Bible, we read: “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” (1 Corinthians 7:1)

Popes’ Marriages

Though the Bible commands neither monasticism nor celibacy either in the Old Testament or in the New Testament, the Council of Nicaea imposed monasticism and celibacy on deacons and bishops.

It is ironic that this is something not commanded by Jesus in the four synoptic gospels or even Paul in his epistles. The latter only approved that without obligation or imposition.

While monasticism and celibacy are seen as manifestations of pure spirituality in the modern Christianity, we observe that this is something which even the early popes themselves could not abide by.

Pope Demetrius I of Alexandra

Pope Demetrius I of Alexandra

Pope Demetrius I of Alexandra

Pope Demetrius I, the 12th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, was married for 47 years both before and even after he had been chosen a patriarch.

Still, Christians claim that he lived with his wife as a brother and a sister. But, how did he get married in the first place? Were pure spirituality and celibacy better than this marriage?

For more information, please visit: CopticChurch.net

Pope Mina II of Alexandria

Pope Mina II, the 61st Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, was married. He concealed his marriage and entered the monastery, but he was exposed after he had become the pope.

For more information, please visit:  www.St-Takla.org (in Arabic)

Pope Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX was the Pope of the Catholic Church on three occasions between October 1032 and July 1048. Wishing to marry, Benedict IX sold papacy to Gregory VI who became the next pope on the 1st of May 1045.

For more information, please download: Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy

Permission of Remarriage & Infanticide

Pope Callistus I

Pope Callistus I

Despite the contemporary Christianity’s prohibition of remarriage, bishops’ marriage and even infanticide, Tertullian (De Exhort. Castitatis, vii) speaks with reprobation of bishops who had been married more than once.

Hippolytus charges Pope Callistus I, the Bishop of Rome from 218 to 223, with being the first to allow this, against St. Paul’s rule. But in the East marriages before baptism were not counted, and in any case the law is one from which the pope can dispense if necessity arise.

Again, Callistus allowed the lower clergy to marry, and permitted noble ladies to marry low persons and slaves, which by the Roman law was forbidden; he had thus given occasion for infanticide. Here again Callistus was rightly insisting on the distinction between the ecclesiastical law of marriage and the civil law, which later ages have always taught.

For more information, please visit:  Catholic Encyclopedia

Popes’ Desire for Revenge, Killing, Mutilation and Devastation

Pope Stephen VI

Pope Stephen VI

Pope Stephen VI

Pope Stephen VI was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 896 to 897. Stephen VI is chiefly remembered in connection with his conduct towards the remains of Pope Formosus, his penultimate predecessor.

The rotting corpse of Formosus was exhumed and put on trial, before a synod of the Roman clergy, in the so-called Cadaver Synod (or Synodus Horrenda) in January 897.

With the corpse propped up on a throne, a deacon was appointed to answer for the deceased pontiff. The corpse was found guilty, stripped of its sacred vestments, deprived of three fingers of its right hand (the blessing fingers), clad in the garb of a layman, and quickly buried; it was then re-exhumed and thrown in the Tiber.

For more information, please download: The Lives of the Popes from the Time of our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII

Cadaver Synod

Cadaver Synod

Pope Sergius III

Pope Sergius III was the Pope of the Catholic Church from January 904 to 911. He actively participated in the farcical Cadaver synod that condemned the pontificate of Formosus.

Sergius III reputedly ordered the murder of his two immediate predecessors, Leo V and Christopher. According to the pro-Formosan Eugenius Vulgarius, Sergius ordered both men to be strangled in prison sometime in early 904.

For more information, please download the following article: The Cadaver Synod: Strangest Trial in History

Pope John XII

Pope John XII

Pope John XII

Pope John XII was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 955 to 964. According to Liudprand of Cremona, John XII blinded his confessor Benedict, and thereafter Benedict had died; killed John, cardinal subdeacon, after castrating him; set fires, girded on a sword, and put on a helmet and cuirass.

For more information, please visit: Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Gregory IX

Crusades

Crusades

Pope Gregory IX was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 1227 to 1241. He is known for issuing the Decretales and instituting the Papal Inquisition, a mechanism that severely punished people accused of heresy.

Gregory IX began his pontificate by suspending the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, for dilatoriness in carrying out the promised Sixth Crusade. The suspension was followed by excommunication and threats of deposition, as deeper rifts appeared.

Inquisition

Inquisition established by Pope Gregory IX

Frederick II went to the Holy Land and in fact managed to take possession of Jerusalem. In June 1229, Frederick II returned from the Holy Land, routed the papal army which Gregory IX had sent to invade Sicily, and made new overtures of peace to the pope.

A new outbreak of hostilities led to a fresh excommunication of the emperor in 1239 and to a prolonged war. Gregory denounced Frederick II as a heretic and summoned a council at Rome to give point to his anathema.

Pope Gregory IX

Pope Gregory IX

Frederick responded by trying to capture or sink as many ships carrying prelates to the synod as he could. Eberhard II von Truchsees, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, in 1241 at the Council of Regensburg, declared that Gregory IX was “that man of perdition, whom they call Antichrist, who in his extravagant boasting, says, ‘I am God, I cannot err’.” He argued that the Pope was the “little horn” of Daniel 7:8.

The struggle was only terminated by the death of Gregory IX on 22 August 1241. He died before events could reach their climax; it was his successor Pope Innocent IV who declared a crusade in 1245 that would finish the Hohenstaufen threat.

For more information, please download: Lives and Times of the Popes

Pope Paul IV

Pope Paul IV

Pope Paul IV

Pope Paul IV was the Pope of the Catholic Church and the ruler of the Papal States from 1555 to 1559. The strengthening of the Inquisition continued under Paul IV, and few could consider themselves safe by virtue of position in his drive to reform the Church; even cardinals he disliked could be imprisoned.

Therefore, crowds of people gathered at the Piazza del Campidoglio and began rioting even before Paul IV died. His statue, erected before the Campidoglio just months before, had a yellow hat placed on it (similar to the yellow hat Paul IV had forced Jews to wear in public). After a mock trial, the statue was decapitated. It was then thrown into the Tiber.

Inquisition during Paul IV's papacy

Inquisition during Paul IV’s papacy

The crowd broke into the three city jails and freed more than 400 prisoners, then broke into the offices of the Inquisition at the Palazzo dell’ Inquisizone near to the Church of San Rocco. They murdered the Inquisitor, Tommaso Scotti, and freed 72 prisoners.

The people ransacked the palace, and then set it afire (destroying the Inquisition’s records). That same day, or the next day (records are unclear), the crowd attacked the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. The intercession of some local nobility dissuaded them from burning it and killing all those within.

On the third day of rioting, the crowd removed the Carafa family coat of arms from all churches, monuments, and other buildings in the city.

Paul IV’s nephew, Cardinal-nephew Carlo Carafa, arrived in Rome late on August 19. Worried that the rioters might break in and desecrate the pope’s corpse, at 10 PM Cardinal Carafa had Pope Paul IV buried without ceremony next to the Cappella del Volto Santo (Chapel of the Holy Face) in St. Peter’s.

For more information, please review: The Popes: A Concise Biographical History

Popes’ Adultery, Incest and Homosexuality

Pope Sergius III

Pope Sergius III

Pope Sergius III

Pope Sergius III was the Pope of the Catholic Church from January 904 to 911. According to Chronicler Liutprand of Cremona, Pope Sergius III had mistress, namely Marozia, the mother of Pope John XI and the daughter of Theodora whom Liutprand characterized as a “shameless whore… [who] exercised power on the Roman citizenry like a man”

For more information, please download: The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages

Pope John XII

Pope John XII

Pope John XII

Pope John XII was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 955 to 964. His pontificate became infamous for the alleged depravity and worldliness with which he conducted it.

He was depicted as a coarse, immoral man in the writings which remain about his papacy, whose life was such that the Lateran Palace was spoken of as a brothel, and the moral corruption in Rome became the subject of general disgrace. His lifestyle suited the secular prince he was.

According to John, bishop of Narni, and John, a cardinal deacon, John XII fornicated with the widow of Rainier, with Stephana his father’s concubine, with the widow Anna, and with his own niece, and he made the sacred palace into a whorehouse.

For more information, please download: A Complete History of the Popes of Rome

Pope Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX was the Pope of the Catholic Church on three occasions between October 1032 and July 1048.

Historian Ferdinand Gregorovius wrote that in Benedict, “It seemed as if a demon from hell, in the disguise of a priest, occupied the chair of Peter and profaned the sacred mysteries of religion by his insolent courses.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia calls him “a disgrace to the Chair of Peter.” He was the first pope rumoured to have been primarily homosexual. Pope Victor III, in his third book of Dialogues, referred to “his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts of violence and sodomy. His life as a pope was so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it.” Bishop Benno of Piacenza accused Benedict of “many vile adulteries and murders”.

His reputed dissolute activities provoked a revolt on the part of the Romans. Benedict was driven out of Rome. In September 1044, opposition to Benedict IX’s sodomitic lifestyle forced him out of the city.

For more information, please download: Benedict IX and Gregory VI

Pope Boniface VIII

Pope Boniface VIII

Pope Boniface VIII

Pope Boniface VIII was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 1294 to 1303. According to Guillaume de Nogaret (William of Nogaret), Boniface VIII was Sodomite.

For more information, please visit: The Free Dictionary (Wikipedia)

Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI was the Pope of the Catholic Church from August 1492 to August 1503. He acknowledged fathering several children by his mistresses. Therefore his Italianized Valencian surname, Borgia, became a byword for libertinism and nepotism, which are traditionally considered as characterizing his pontificate.

Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI surrounded by his illegitimate children

Of Alexander’s many mistresses the one for whom passion lasted longest was Vannozza (Giovanna) dei Cattanei, born in 1442, and wife of three successive husbands. The connection began in 1470, and she had four children whom he openly acknowledged as his own: Cesare (born 1475), Giovanni, afterwards duke of Gandia (commonly known as Juan, born 1476), Lucrezia (born 1480), and Gioffre (Goffredo in Italian, born 1481 or 1482).

For a period of time, before legitimizing his children after becoming Pope, Rodrigo pretended that his four children with Vannozza were his niece and nephews and that they were fathered by Vannozza’s husbands.

Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI

Before his elevation to the papacy, Cardinal Borgia’s passion for Vannozza somewhat diminished, and she subsequently led a very retired life. Her place in his affections was filled, according to some, by the beautiful Giulia Farnese (“Giulia la Bella”), wife of an Orsini.

However, he still very dearly loved Vannozza, and his love for his children by Vannozza remained as strong as ever and proved, indeed, the determining factor of his whole career. He lavished vast sums on them and lauded them with every honor.

Cesare

Cesare, Pope Alexander VI’s illegitimate son

Vannozza lived in the Palace of a late Cardinal, or in a large, palatial villa. The children lived between their mother’s home and the Papal Palace itself.

Four other children, Girolama, Isabella, Pedro-Luiz, and Bernardo, were of uncertain maternal parentage. His daughter Isabella was the great-great-grandmother of Pope Innocent X.

A daughter, Laura, was born to his mistress, Giulia Farnese; paternity was officially attributed to Orsino Orsini (Farnese’s husband).

For more information, please review: The Bad Popes

Also, please download: Chronicles of the House of Borgia

Pope Leo X

Pope Leo X

Pope Leo X

Pope Leo X was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 1513 to 1521. Leo’s most recent biographer, Carlo Falconi, claims Leo hid a private life of moral irregularity behind a mask of urbanity.

Suggestions of homosexual attraction appear in works by two contemporary historians, Francesco Guicciardini and Paolo Giovio. Zimmerman notes Giovio’s “disapproval of the pope’s familiar banter with his chamberlains – handsome young men from noble families – and the advantage he was said to take of them.”

Martin Luther, who had spent time in Rome, said that Leo had vetoed a measure that cardinals should restrict the number of boys they kept for their pleasure, “otherwise it would have been spread throughout the world how openly and shamelessly the pope and the cardinals in Rome practice sodomy”; encouraging Germans not to spend time fighting fellow countrymen in defense of the papacy.

For more information, please review: Leone X. Giovanni de’ Medici (in Italian)

Pope Clement VII

Giuliano de' Medici

Giuliano de’ Medici

Pope Clement VII was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 1523 to 1534. He was born as an illegitimate child for his father Giuliano de’ Medici was assassinated one month before his birth. His father had not married his mother, Fioretta Gorini, who was just betrothed to him.

For more information, please review: The Papacy since 1500: From Italian Prince to Universal Pastor

Pope Gregory XIII

Pope Gregory XIII was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 1572 to 1585. He had an illegitimate son, Giacomo Boncompagni, after an affair with Maddalena Fulchini.

Giacomo Boncompagni

Giacomo Boncompagni

He appointed his illegitimate son Giacomo, born to his mistress at Bologna before his papacy, castellan of Sant’Angelo and Gonfalonier of the Church; Venice, anxious to please, enrolled him among its nobles.

Philip II of Spain appointed him general in his army. Gregory also helped his son to become a powerful feudatory through the acquisition of the Duchy of Sora, on the border between the Papal States and the Kingdom of Naples.

For more information, please download: History of the Christian Church

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 2005 to 2013. From his pontificate on, sexual abuse and homosexual cases involving priests in the Catholic Church have become commonplace so much so that Pope Benedict XVI could not prevent such practices. What is more, he is purportedly resigned owing to such shameful behaviors which have become rife in the Catholic Church.

During his visit to the United States, the Pope also met privately with victims of sexual abuse by priests. In July 2008, the Pope travelled to Australia to attend World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney. On 19 July, in St. Mary’s Cathedral, he made an apology for child sex abuse perpetrated by the clergy in Australia.

Pope Benedict sleeping in Malta

Pope Benedict XVI sleeping in Malta

During his visit to Malta, the Pope was moved to tears while expressing his shame at cases of abuse on the island during a 20-minute meeting with victims.

In March 2010, the Pope sent a Pastoral Letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland addressing cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests to minors, expressing sorrow, and promising changes in the way accusations of abuse are dealt with.

One of the cases Ratzinger pursued involved Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, a Mexican priest and founder of the Legion of Christ, who had been accused repeatedly of sexual abuse.

Father Marcial Maciel Degollado

Father Marcial Maciel Degollado

Biographer Andrea Tornielli suggested that Cardinal Ratzinger had wanted to take action against Marcial Maciel Degollado, but that John Paul II and other high-ranking officials, including several cardinals and notably the Pope’s influential secretary Stanisław Dziwisz, prevented him from doing so.

According to Jason Berry, Angelo Sodano “pressured” Cardinal Ratzinger, who was “operating on the assumption that the charges were not justified”, to halt the proceedings against Maciel in 1999.

When Maciel was honored by the Pope in 2004, new accusers came forward and Cardinal Ratzinger “took it on himself to authorize an investigation of Maciel” After Ratzinger became pope he began proceedings against Maciel and the Legion of Christ that forced Maciel out of active service in the Church.

On 1 May 2010 the Vatican issued a statement denouncing Maciel’s “very serious and objectively immoral acts”, which were “confirmed by incontrovertible testimonies” and represent “true crimes and manifest a life without scruples or authentic religious sentiment.”

Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer

Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer abused 2000 boys

Pope Benedict also said he would appoint a special commission to examine the Legionaries’ constitution and open an investigation into its lay affiliate Regnum Christi. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn explained that Ratzinger “made entirely clear efforts not to cover things up but to tackle and investigate them.

This was not always met with approval in the Vatican”. According to Schönborn, Cardinal Ratzinger had pressed John Paul II to investigate Hans Hermann Groër, an Austrian cardinal and friend of John Paul accused of sexual abuse, resulting in Groër’s resignation.

For more information, please read: Pope ‘obstructed’ sex abuse inquiry

Popes’ Orgies

Pope John XII

Pope John XII was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 955 to 964. All, clerics as well as laymen, declared that he had toasted to the devil with wine. They said when playing at dice, he invoked Jupiter, Venus and other demons.

For more information, please review: The Bad Popes

Also, please download: Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, Ancient and Modern

Popes’ Corruption, Nepotism and Bribery

Pope Philotheos of Alexandria

Pope Philotheos of Alexandria was the 63rd Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. During his papacy, simony was widespread. None could be appointed as a bishop without paying a large amount of money.

It is purported that much money collected during his patriarchate was bequeathed and divided among his heirs who were four siblings.

For more information, please read: History of the Coptic Orthodox People and the Church of Egypt

Pope John XII

Pope John XII

Pope John XII

Pope John XII was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 955 to 964. John, bishop of Narni, and John, a cardinal deacon, professed that they themselves saw that a deacon had been ordained in a horse stable, but were unsure of the time. Benedict, cardinal deacon, with other co-deacons and priests, said they knew that he had been paid for ordaining bishops, specifically that he had ordained a ten-year-old bishop in the city of Todi…

For more information, please review: The Bad Popes

Pope Shenouda II of Alexandria

Pope Shenouda II of Alexandria was the 65th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. He was known as a hot-tempered, abusive, offensive person. He engaged in simony as he liked money so much so that he would take bribes from those who wanted to be appointed as a bishop.

For more information, please visit:  www.St-Takla.org (in Arabic)

Pope Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX was the Pope of the Catholic Church on three occasions between October 1032 and July 1048. He is the only man to have been Pope on more than one occasion and the only man ever to have sold the papacy.

Benedict was the nephew of his immediate predecessor, Pope John XIX. In October 1032, his father obtained his election through bribery. However, his reputed dissolute activities provoked a revolt on the part of the Romans. Benedict was driven out of Rome.

For more information, please download: Popes, Cardinals and War: The Military Church in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe

Pope Cyril III of Alexandria

Pope Cyril III of Alexandria was the 75th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. Regretfully, the history of the Coptic Church remembers him as a lover of money who did not ordain a bishop nor a priest nor a deacon without getting paid (a practice which is called Simony – the act of selling church offices and roles, named after the story of Simon Magus narrated in Acts 8:9-24).

For more information, please read: History of the Coptic Orthodox People and the Church of Egypt

Pope Boniface VIII

Pope Boniface VIII

Pope Boniface VIII

Pope Boniface VIII was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 1294 to 1303. He was involved in nepotism. For example, in 1295, he appointed his nephew, Benedetto Caetano, as a cardinal.

On 17 December 1295, two more relatives were appointed, Francesco Caetano, the son of Boniface VIII’s brother Peter; and Jacopo (Giacomo) Tomassi Caetani, OFM, a son of the Pope’s sister, was made Cardinal Priest of S. Clemente.

On 2 March 1300, during the Great Jubilee, Boniface VIII created one more cardinal. He was Leonardo Patrasso, Archbishop of Capua, who was Boniface VIII’s uncle.

For more information, please download: History of Pope Boniface VIII and his Times

Pope Theodosios II of Alexandria

Pope Theodosios II of Alexandria was the 79th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. He was involved in simony as he liked money so much so that he appointed bishops and priests in return for money.

For more information, please visit:  www.St-Takla.org (in Arabic)

Pope Callixtus III

Pope Callixtus III

Pope Callixtus III

Pope Callixtus III was the Pope of the Catholic Church and the ruler of the Papal State from 1455 to 1458. On 20 February 1456, Callixtus III elevated two of his nephews to the cardinalate. The first of them was Rodrigo de Borja (“Borgia” in Italian) who later became Pope Alexander VI(1492–1503), infamous for his alleged corruption and immorality. The second was Luis Julian de Milà.

For more information, please review: The Borgias and Their Enemies: 1431-1519

Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI was the Pope of the Catholic Church from August 1492 to August 1503. After the election of his uncle as Pope Callixtus III, he was ordained deacon and created Cardinal-Deacon of San Nicola in Carcere at the age of twenty-five in 1456. The following year, he was appointed vice-chancellor of the Holy Roman Church. Both nepotistic appointments were characteristic of the age.

Giovanni Borgia

Giovanni Borgia

During his pontificate, he endowed his relatives at the church’s and at his neighbours’ expense. Cesare Borgia, his son, while a youth of seventeen and a student at Pisa, was made Archbishop of Valencia, and Giovanni Borgia inherited the Spanish Dukedom of Gandia, the Borgias’ ancestral home in Spain. For the Duke of Gandia and for Gioffre, also known as Goffredo, the Pope proposed to carve fiefs out of the Papal States and the Kingdom of Naples.

For more information, please download: The Prince

Pope Clement VII

Pope Clement VII

Pope Clement VII

Pope Clement VII was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 1523 to 1534. Like his cousin Pope Leo X, Clement was considered too generous to his Medici relatives, draining the Vatican treasuries. This included the assignment of positions all the way up to Cardinal, lands, titles, and money. For example, Clement VII installed his illegitimate son Alessandro as duke.

These actions prompted reform measures after Clement’s death to help prevent such excessive nepotism.

For more information, please visit: Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Julius III

Pope Julius III

Pope Julius III

Pope Julius III was the Pope of the Catholic Church and the ruler of the Papal States from 1550 to 1555. He devoted himself to a life of personal pleasure. His reputation, and that of the Catholic Church, were greatly harmed by his scandal-ridden relationship with his adopted nephew.

One outcome of the cardinal-nephew scandal, however, was the upgrading of the position of Papal Secretary of State, as the incumbent had to take over the duties Innocenzo Del Monte was unfit to perform: the Secretary of State eventually replaced the cardinal-nephew as the most important official of the Holy See.

For more information, please review: Lives of the Popes : The Pontiffs from St. Peter to John Paul II

Pope Joseph (Yousab) II of Alexandria

Pope Joseph (Yousab) II of Alexandria

Pope Joseph (Yousab) II of Alexandria

Pope Joseph II of Alexandria was the 115th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. He was infamous for the misprision of the corruption in which his valet and secretary Malik was involved.

According to various reports, Malik charged large sums of money for an audience with the Pope and sold at least sixteen of the nineteen episcopal appointments made during Yousab II’s reign. Accusations of corruption and simony against Yousab II became common in the Egyptian press during this time, stirring up discontent among the Coptic laity.

Ibrahim Hilal

Ibrahim Hilal, Pope Yousab II’s main kidnapper

In July 1954, a group of political activists known as the Umma al-Qibtiya (Society of the Coptic Nation) staged a protest demanding that Yousab II resign. On July 25, 1954, the protest culminated in the group kidnapping the Pope and taking him to the Coptic Convent of Saint George in Old Cairo where he was forced to sign a letter of abdication. However, the police were able to rescue the Pope and return him to the patriarchal residence.

A year later, the Church’s Synod and the General Congregation Council agreed to remove Pope Yousab II from office, stating that he was not fit to execute his duties.

The Church was managed by a committee formed of three of the Metropolitans from 1956 to 1959.

For more information, please review: Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity

Early Christian Emperors’ Adultery, Incest, Polygamy and Concubinage

Constantine – the Great

Constantine I, the Great

Constantine I, the Great

Constantine the Great was the first Roman Emperor to embrace Christianity and deem it an official religion of the Roman Empire. He had a leading role in holding the Council of Nicaea and the doctrine of the Holy Trinity it established by virtue of the Nicene Creed.

Also, to him the following is attributable: Sunday as the official day of rest, the holy week celebration, the Easter celebration, the holy cross discovery, honoring the bodies of saints and martyrs for blessings, Bible compilation, and building the holy churches.

Fausta, Constantine I's wife whom he killed

Fausta, Constantine I’s wife whom he killed

However, we do not observe in Constantine I’s life such pure spirituality about which the clergy in the contemporary Christianity mouth off. On the contrary, the lives of Constantine I and his family members abounded in much carnal appetite and worldly desire.

Constantine I’s Polygamy & Concubinage

Constantine I had two wives, namely: Minervina and Fausta, in contradiction to the contemporary Christianity’s one-wife law. At first, he married Minervina, though it is purported that she was just a concubine by which he begot his firstborn son Crispus.

Crispus, Constantine I's son whom he killed

Crispus, Constantine I’s son whom he killed

Then, Constantine I had another wife, Fausta, the daughter of his rival, Emperor Maximianus, to seal the alliance between them.

Incest in Constantine I’s Court

According to Constantine’s biographer, Paul Stephenson, following the execution of Crispus, Fausta was put to death by Constantine for her adultery with him as she was close to him in age and had adulterous pregnancy.

For more information, please review: Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor

Valentinian I

Roman Emperor Valentinian I

Roman Emperor Valentinian I

Valentinian I was one of the earliest emperors who ruled the Roman Empire after its profession of Christianity as an official religion. He ruled the Roman Empire between 364 and 375.

He enacted favorable laws for Christians, including the re-enforcement of Constantine’s decree banning judicial actions on Sundays. Moreover, he banned governors and judges from chasing Christians on Sundays.

In commemoration of the Easter, he ordered the release of all criminals on this feast. He also decreed that clerics may be tried only by fellow clerics. Accordingly, a bishop could be tried only by a fellow bishop.

Severa, Valentinian I's first wife

Severa, Valentinian I’s first wife

Valentinian I’s Polygamous Marriages

According to Socrates Scholasticus, Emperor Valentinian I had two wives, namely Severa and Justina. Before marrying Justina, he had framed a law and caused it to be published throughout all cities, by virtue of which any man was permitted to have two lawful wives, paving the way for his bigamous marriage, in violation of the contemporary Christianity’s one-wife law.

For more information, please read: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume II

Heraclius

Tremissis of Emperor Heraclius

Tremissis of Emperor Heraclius

Heraclius was the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 610 to 641. For Christians of the Western Medieval Europe, Heraclius was the “first crusader”.

He allegedly succeeded in returning the True Cross, one of the holiest Christian relics, to Jerusalem. At his request, Pope John IV (640–642) sent Christian teachers and missionaries to Duke Porga and his Croats, who practiced Slavic paganism.

He tried to repair the schism in the Christian church in regard to the Monophysites, by promoting a compromise doctrine called Monothelitism.

Coin of Martina

Coin of Martina

Heraclius’ Incestuous Marriage

Heraclius married his niece, Martina, in 613. He used to accompany her on his expeditions. He had at least nine children by his niece, Martina; most of them were sickly children. Of Martina’s children at least two were disabled, which was seen as punishment for the illegality of the marriage.

Heraclius’ Adulterous Affair

Heraclius had an illegitimate son from an adulterous affair with a historically unknown woman. This illegitimate son was called John Athalarichos.

It is ironic that this illegitimate son, John Athalarichos, conspired a plot against Heraclius with his cousin. When Heraclius discovered the plot, he had Athalarichos’s nose and hands cut off, and he was exiled to Prinkipo.

Battle between Heraclius's army and Persians

Battle between Heraclius’s army and Persians

Giving Virgins as a Tribute to the Persian King

With the Persians at the very gate of Constantinople, Heraclius thought of abandoning the city and moving the capital to Carthage. But, Safe behind the walls of Constantinople, Heraclius was able to sue for peace in exchange for an annual tribute of a thousand talents of gold, a thousand talents of silver, a thousand silk robes, a thousand horses, and a thousand virgins to the Persian King.

For more information, please review: Heraclius, Emperor of Byzantium

Charlemagne

Charlemagne or Charles the Great

Charlemagne or Charles the Great

Charlemagne or Charles the Great (Charles I) was the King of the Franksfrom 768, King of the Lombards from 774 and Emperor of the Romans from 800. He united much of Europe during the early Middle Ages. He was the first recognized emperor in Western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire.

He was the first Holy (Western) Roman Emperor between 800 and 814. All Holy Roman Emperors considered their kingdoms to be descendants of Charlemagne’s empire, up to the last Emperor Francis II and the French and German monarchies. Charlemagne was revered as a saint in the Holy Roman Empire after the twelfth century.

A map showing Charlemagne's additions (in light green) to the Frankish Kingdom

A map showing Charlemagne’s additions (in light green) to the Frankish Kingdom

Charlemagne continued his father’s policy towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in northern Italy and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain. He campaigned against the Saxons to his east, Christianising them upon penalty of death and leading to events such as the Massacre of Verden.

Charlemagne’s Court between Adultery and Concubinage

First of all, at birth, Charlemagne was an illegitimate son of Pepin the Short who married Charlemagne’s mother, Bertrada of Laon, later on.

In addition to his four wives, Charlemagne had four concubines and a fifth one the nature of the relationship with her was not identified: either a concubine or just a mistress. As a result, Charlemagne had a large number of illegitimate children.

Charlemagne and his illegitimate Son, Pippin the Hunchback

Charlemagne and his illegitimate Son, Pippin the Hunchback

It is ironic that Charlemagne’s firstborn son, Pippin the Hunchback, joined rebellion against his father, Charlemagne. That is why Charlemagne banished him to the monastery of Prüm in 792.

Moreover, Charlemagne’s daughters had extramarital relationships sometimes with even members of Charlemagne’s court circle. They even gave birth to illegitimate grandchildren for Charlemagne from those relationships.

Bernard, Charlemagne's illegitimate grandson

Bernard, Charlemagne’s illegitimate grandson

However, after Charlemagne’s death the surviving daughters were banished from the court by their brother, the pious Louis, to take up residence in the convents they had been bequeathed by their father.

Likewise, Charlemagne’s sons had extramarital relationships and begot children from those relationships. For example, Pippin of Italy had an illegitimate son, namely Bernard, upon whom Charlemagne bestowed the rule of Italy.

For more information, please read: Charlemagne: Father of a Continent

Soucre Link
Roman Emperors’ Role in the Establishment of Contemporary Christianity

Roman Emperors’ Role in the Establishment of Contemporary Christianity

Contemporary Christianity

As Roman emperors embraced Christianity after much distortion, they proceeded to reproduce it

Unlike Prophets Moses and Muhammad who established two monotheistic communities for worshipping God alone according to clear-cut belief systems and conclusive laws, Jesus was raised without establishing an equally independent monotheistic community amidst marked discrepancies in the beliefs and laws left behind, as a result of his miraculous Ascension coupled with his comparably supernatural birth, though he had made clear those beliefs and laws. However, the shock caused by Jesus’ Ascension in addition to his already miraculous birth shook the beliefs and laws bequeathed.

As a result, Jesus’ message remained confused and perplexed for more than three centuries: between such a believer in the purely monotheistic message of Jesus without getting misguided by the myths and superstitions fabricated in the wake of Jesus’ miraculous Ascension on the one hand, and such a bewildered polytheist who could not distinguish between what was from God and what from man on the other hand.

About such a state of confusion, in the Qur’an, we read:

That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute. It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is. [Jesus said], “And indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.” Then the factions differed [concerning Jesus] from among them, so woe to those who disbelieved – from the scene of a tremendous Day. (Maryam 19:34-37)

Approximately in the middle of the fourth century, Roman emperors embraced Christianity after it had experienced much alteration and distortion throughout more than three centuries. So, they, mainly Constantine, the Great, proceeded to reproduce Christianity by approximating it to the paganism and polytheism they had professed.

Constantine – the Great

Constantine, the Great, was the first Roman emperor to embrace Christianity but, unfortunately, after the elapse of centuries of aberration and deviation which were quite enough for the erasure of the true message of Jesus.

After Constantine had converted to Christianity, he endeavored to impose it on his Roman empire. However, he was surprised at its gelatinous dogmatic and legal nature and the bitter disagreement among its clergy between more monotheistic clerics and more Trinitarian ones. Thereupon, Constantine decided to side with the latter, being closer to the pagan beliefs his empire had professed.

Not only did Constantine impose the Trinity as the Christian doctrine of his empire, he also proceeded to reproduce it by introducing beliefs and practices into it from paganism.

Council of Nicaea & Establishment of the Doctrine of Trinity (325 A.D.)

This council was attended by about 318 bishops, including 16 bishops supporting Bishop Arius and 22 bishops supporting St. Alexander of Alexandria. The other bishops had not made up their mind yet.

Presbyter Arius argued for the supremacy of God, the Father, and maintained that the Son of God was created as an act of the Father’s will, and therefore, that the Son was a creature made by God.

According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Constantine forced the “same substance” view upon the council or, at the very least, insured that it would be adopted.

This is found in a letter, written by Eusebius of Caesarea during the council itself to his home church, explaining why he eventually gave in and signed the creed, and agreed to the term homoousios. At one point Eusebius writes that Constantine “encouraged the others to sign it and to agree with its teaching, only with the addition of the word ‘consubstantial’ [i.e., homoousios].” The specific term used by Eusebius, parakeleueto, can be rendered as strongly as “command” or as mildly as “advise” or “encourage.”

The attending bishops pronounced clerical judgment by excommunicating Arius and his followers from the Church. Seeing the threat of continued unrest, Constantine also pronounced civil judgment, banishing Arius and his followers into exile.

The works of Arius were ordered to be confiscated and consigned to the flames while all persons found possessing them were to be executed. Nevertheless, the controversy continued in various parts of the Empire.

Bishop Alexander had already convened a synod of about a hundred Egyptian and Libyan bishops at Alexandria, which excommunicated and defrocked Arius and his followers.

Sunday as the Official Day of Rest (321 A.D.)

Though Jesus was not reported to have declared Sunday as a day of rest for Christians and nothing is reported in this regard in the Bible, on the 7th of March 321 A.D. Constantine decreed that Sunday should be observed as a Roman day of rest on which markets and libraries should have been closed.

The Holy Week Celebration

Though the Bible does not make any mention of the so-called “Holy Week” (including Lazarus Saturday, Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday “Spy Wednesday”, Maundy Thursday “Holy Thursday”, Good Friday “Holy Friday”, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday), and Jesus never uttered those names, rendered those alleged days holy or ordered celebration thereon, Constantine issued an edict proclaiming that the public business should be suspended in the Holy Week.

Easter Celebration (325 A.D.)

Though no mention is made of an “Easter” and no celebration of the same is ordered by the Bible or Jesus, Constantine ordered all churches to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday upon the recommendation of the Council of Nicaea.

At the same council, the feast of Easter was set to a Sunday in the lunar month of Nisan. The Easter computation was separated from the Jewish calendar.

Holy Cross Discovery (326 A.D.)

The “holy cross discovery” was a myth first fabricated by Constantine, the Great, and his mother, Helena. Though more than three centuries elapsed after Jesus’ Ascension and the alleged crucifixion incident, Constantine dispatched his mother Helena to discover the holy cross in 326 A.D.

After Helena had threatened to throw the Jewish chieftains away in fire and a Jewish chieftain called “Judas” had been actually thrown down in a deep hole without food or water for seven days and seven nights though he had confirmed his unawareness of the place of any such cross and allegedly prayed to God according to the Latin manuscript of finding the true cross, Judas dug a hole in the ground and found the holy cross.

Based on this legend, a feast is celebrated from this time on, in commemoration of this false discovery, which is called “Feast of the Cross”.

Just as the holy cross was allegedly discovered, the nails were purportedly found according to more unreasonable accounts.

Helena asked Judas to search for the nails by which Jesus was presumably fastened to the cross. Similarly, as it always goes in Christianity, after Judas had allegedly prayed and supplicated, the nails appeared on the surface gleaming like gold. So, the cross and nails were brought to Constantine for blessings.

However, Jesus was not reported to have stated that the alleged cross or nails could give any blessings so that Constantine would be so keen like this to find them for blessings.

Honoring the Bodies of Saints and Martyrs for Blessings (326 A.D.)

Though the Bible is devoid of any commandment for venerating or seeking blessings from the bodies of saints or martyrs and Jesus was not reported to have ordered anything like this, those practices were first introduced by Constantine and his mother Helena.

It is worth noting that Helena was keen on honoring martyrs and naming churches after them so much so that she offered gifts and even gold for he who guided her to any places where martyrs were buried. That is why many people brought alleged relics of martyrs and saints for gold and gifts.

Bible Compilation (331 .A.D.)

Prior to the Council of Nicaea, there was not anything called “Bible” in its current form. There were just scattered books, gospels and epistles.

At this council, almost the nuclear structure of the current Bible was agreed to. Thus, such books, gospels and epistles deemed consistent with the doctrine of the Trinity adopted by Constantine were picked out.

What is more, such books, gospels and writings deemed inconsistent with this doctrine were burnt and obliterated as ordered by Constantine.

In 331 A.D., Constantine ordered Eusebius of Caesarea to prepare fifty bibles, better known as “Fifty Bibles of Constantine”. They were made for the use of the Bishop of Constantinople in the growing number of churches in that very new city.

Building Holy Churches (335 A.D.)

Though neither the Bible nor Jesus ordered building churches at the sites where Christians believe that Jesus was crucified and buried or even made any such sites holy or sacred more than any other sites, Constantine ordered building holy churches in accordance with his mother’s wishes and the recommendations of the Council of Nicaea at such sites where Jesus was believed to have been crucified and buried.

For example, Constantine ordered building the Church of the Nativity at the site where Jesus was believed to have been born. Likewise, he ordered building the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at the site where Jesus was believed to have been buried and raised. Similarly, he ordered building the Church of the Holy Cross at the site where the holy cross was believed to have been found, though centuries had passed after Jesus’ Ascension and the then Jews were not aware of the whereabouts of those sites.

Theodosius I

Following in Constantine’s footsteps, the later Roman emperors played a very important role in the preservation of the current Trinitarian Christianity first established by Constantine.

For example, Theodosius I convened the First Council of Constantinople, which was the second ecumenical council in 381 A.D., to confirm and defend the Trinitarian Nicene Creed against Arianism which is deemed closer to monotheism and affirm the divinity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit and their equality to the Father.

Theodosius II

In 431 A.D., Theodosius II convened the third ecumenical council in Ephesus to confute Nestorius, the Archbishop of Constantinople, who followed in the footsteps of Arius, drawing closer to monotheism and farther from the pure Trinitarianism, as well as Pelagius who denied the original sin and the Holy Spirit’s work.

Subsequently, later Roman emperors followed suit, adhering to the pure Trinitarianism, and foiling any attempt to draw near to monotheism, until the modern Christianity assumed its contemporary Trinitarian form which is quite far away from the true monotheistic Christianity introduced by Jesus as a message of the true religion of God preaching monotheism everywhere and every time.

Therefore, Prophet Muhammad’s message came as a confirmation of monotheism as preached by the messages of all prophets and a correction of the wrong path taken by the contemporary Christianity which tends towards polytheism and keeps away from the true monotheism preached by Jesus himself.

_________

References:

  1. The Glorious Qur’an
  2. The Holy Bible
  3. st-takla.org
  4. equip.org

_________

Read Also:

Role of Early Popes and First Council of Nicaea in the Establishment of Contemporary Christianity

The Dark History and Major Historic Scandals of Popes and Early Christian Emperors

History of Christianity & Shift from Monotheism to Trinity (2/4)

History of Christianity & Shift from Monotheism to Trinity (3/4)

History of Christianity & Shift from Monotheism to Trinity (4/4)

Soucre Link
Role of Early Popes and First Council of Nicaea in the Establishment of Contemporary Christianity

Role of Early Popes and First Council of Nicaea in the Establishment of Contemporary Christianity

By Abdul-Rahman Mojahed
Popes

Imaginary picture of the Council of Nicaea

Indeed, many contemporary Christians do not know that many of their contemporary beliefs, laws and rites are not based on the Bible, including the Old Testament and the New Testament.

As such, Christianity is just a fabric mostly woven by the early popes before and during the First Council of Nicaea, which was the first ecumenical council laying the foundations of the contemporary Christianity.

It is curious that the tradition of the early popes and fathers was divinized in such a way which rendered it equivalent to God’s revelations as well as Jesus’ teachings in the four synoptic gospels and complementary to the epistles of Paul and others as well as the books supplemented to the four synoptic gospels.

Thus, the Christian tradition handed down by the early popes and fathers has become an important source of legislation, principle of faith and reference to the religious practice in Christianity.

Though the statements and acts of some early Muslims are considered sources of the Islamic jurisprudence like the Companions’ statements and the practices of Medina’s people, there are big differences between them and the church tradition.

For example, the Companions’ statements and the practices of Medina’s people have nothing to do with the fundamentals but the subsidiaries of Islam. The fundamentals of Islam were established in Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime. But, the Christian tradition underlies the belief system, law and practice in Christianity.

Moreover, the Companions’ statements and the practices of Medina’s people are not unanimous sources in Islam. They are adopted by just a few Muslim scholars.

Furthermore, the early Muslims’ statements or acts cannot be considered for creed or legislation unless they are based on valid evidence from the Qur’an or the Sunnah (Prophet Muhammad’s tradition) or at least do not contradict clearer evidence from the Qur’an or the Sunnah. As for the early Muslims’ sentiments and preferences which are not based on valid evidence from the Qur’an or the Sunnah, they are not binding on later Muslims.

As far as the Christian tradition is concerned, it is adopted by most Christians though they may not be based on the Bible. So, let’s have a look at the most important beliefs, laws and rites derived from the Christian tradition:

Profession of Faith

The earliest profession of faith, namely the Nicene Creed, involving the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and Jesus’ divinity, was adopted at the Council of Nicaea in 325, mostly under the influence of Pope Alexander I of Alexandria, the 19th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

Bible Compilation

Prior to the Council of Nicaea, there was not anything called “Bible” in its current form. There were just scattered books, gospels and epistles.

At this council, almost the nuclear structure of the current Bible was agreed to. Thus, such books, gospels and epistles deemed consistent with the doctrine of the Trinity adopted by Constantine were picked out.

What is more, such books, gospels and writings deemed inconsistent with this doctrine were burnt and obliterated as ordered by Constantine.

In 331 A.D., Constantine ordered Eusebius of Caesarea to prepare fifty bibles, better known as “Fifty Bibles of Constantine”. They were made for the use of the Bishop of Constantinople in the growing number of churches in that very new city.

Dates of Fasting

It was Pope Demetrius I of Alexandria, the 12th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, who established a fixed basis for fasts and Christian holy days. He established the reckoning by which the dates of fasting were determined. A scholar in his own right, Demetrius took part in the controversy over the proper calculation of Easter. He was the first to devise the calculation for fixing the dates to celebrate Easter each year. His calculation was approved by the Nicene Ecumenical Council (325 AD). Today many of the Eastern Orthodox churches continue to use his calculation.

Seven-Week Lent

A seven-week Lent before Easter is usually attributed to the pontificate of Pope Telesphorus, the Pope of the Catholic Church from 126 to 137.

Liturgical Language

It was Pope Vector I, the Pope of the Catholic Church in the late second century, who caused the Roman church to shift from Greek to Latin for the liturgy.

Sacrament of Matrimony

It was Pope Soter, the Pope of the Catholic Church from 167 to 174, who declared that marriage was valid only as a sacrament blessed by a priest.

Clerical Marriage

From Jesus’ Ascension until the Council of Nicaea, the clergy were under no obligation to remain celibate though this was just recommended by Paul in his epistles in the New Testament.

It is noteworthy that prior to the Council of Nicaea, Pope Callistus I, the Bishop of Rome from 218 to 223, allowed the lower clergy to get married and remarried.

However, in the wake of the Council of Nicaea, the clergy were not allowed to remarry. The already married clergy were ordered to maintain sexless marriages. Post-Nicene clergy have not been allowed to get married.

(Christian) Easter Day

The (Christian) Easter day remained subject to considerable controversy among Christians and even among popes, patriarchs and fathers themselves for more than three centuries from Jesus’ Ascension until the Council of Nicaea in 325.

There were some churches which insisted on celebrating this feast on the same day as the Jewish Easter day (Passover), on the 14th of Nisan, which was the day Jesus was allegedly crucified according to the contemporary Christian creed, even if it was not a Sunday.

Other churches, including the Roman Catholic Church during the pontificate of its successive popes, insisted on celebrating the Easter on a Sunday.

The inter-Christian difference sometimes went so far that Pope Anicetus, the Pope of the Catholic Church from 157 to 168, allowed each church to retain the date to which they were accustomed.

The stated controversy lasted until the Council of Nicaea created in 325 decided it in favor of the Roman Catholic Church. The Council resolved: first, that the Easter would be always celebrated on a Sunday; second, it would be that Sunday following the 14th of Nisan.

Christmas Day

It was Pope Julius, the Pope of the Catholic Church from 337 to 352, who set the date of 25 December for celebrating the Nativity.

Christmas Midnight Mass

The tradition of Christmas Midnight Masses is usually attributed to the pontificate of Pope Telesphorus, the Pope of the Catholic Church from 126 to 137.

Blessed Water

The introduction of the customs of using blessed water mixed with salt for the purification of Christian homes from evil influences, as well as that of mixing water with the sacramental wine, are attributed to Pope Alexander I, the Pope of the Catholic Church from 107 to 115.

Last Supper in the Liturgy of the Mass

According to the Liber Pontificalis, it was Alexander I, the Pope of the Catholic Church from 107 to 115, who inserted the narration of the Last Supper (the Qui pridie) into the liturgy of the Mass.

Recitation of the Sanctus with the People

It was Pope Sixtus I, the Pope of the Catholic Church from 115 to 124, who passed an ordinance that after the Preface in the Mass the priest shall recite the Sanctus with the people.

Singing of the Gloria

The singing of the Gloria is usually attributed to the pontificate of Pope Telesphorus, the Pope of the Catholic Church from 126 to 137.

Priests Standing and Bowing Their Head as They Read from Gospels

It was Pope Anastasius I, the Pope of the Catholic Church from 399 to 401, who instructed priests to stand and bow their heads as they read from the gospels.

 _________

References:

  1. The Holy Bible
  2. Liber Pontificalis
  3. st-takla.org

_________

Read Also: 

Roman Emperors’ Role in the Establishment of Contemporary Christianity

The Dark History and Major Historic Scandals of Popes and Early Christian Emperors

Soucre Link
Is Christianity or Jesus’ Message Eternal and Universal?

Is Christianity or Jesus’ Message Eternal and Universal?

Many Christians today claim that Christianity is a universal religion that is immortal to mankind. Therefore, the crusades-campaigns were launched on various countries, especially the Islamic territories to impose the Christian religion on all mankind. They claim that the Christian religion is not just restricted to the Israelites.

Such doctrine by Christians is disputable. Islam admits that the teachings of Jesus, in his time, were meant to those to whom Jesus was sent i.e. Israelites, as he says in Matthew (5:10),

“To the ways of the Gentiles do not turn, and the cities of the Samaritans do not interfere, but rather proceed to the lost sheep of the family of Israel.” Therefore, such Christian belief is contrary to the words of Christ himself.

Christ preached that, after him, false prophets would appear. He also foretold about a sincere person called Paraclete or Comforter who would come after his demise to stay with people forever. He also preached the place from which he will emerge and the characteristics of his message.

the ways of the Gentiles do not turn, and the cities of the Samaritans do not interfere, but rather proceed to the lost sheep of the family of Israel.”Matthew (5:10)

Here we see an evangelical text that seems to indicate the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and makes a hint at it. Jesus says,

“I ask the Father to give you another comforter, so that he may stay with you forever” (John 14: 16).

“If I go, I will send him to you”.

Some Christians claim that Prophet Muhammad neither did he meet the disciples nor he stayed forever with them because he was a man who lived for 63 years then died. Therefore, according to them he could not be the comforter mentioned in the Bible.

To clear such misunderstanding, we should understand the phrase “with you” not to refer to the “disciples”, because Jesus mentioned the word “forever” and the disciples did not live forever.

They, moreover, claimed that what is meant by “the comforter” is the Holy Spirit emanating from God because He is eternal and will stay forever with the believers in Christ.

Let’s assume that, the Holy Spirit is the comforter who will remain forever with the disciples, what about his mission of delivering revelation and message to the prophets? Would it cease?!

It seems that such evangelical text has not been saved from the hands of manipulation. From the beginning, the Bible refers to “Gabriel” as the Holy Spirit not the “comforter”.

Furthermore, Christians alleged that the phrase “send him to you”, may not apply to Prophet Muhammad because he claimed to be sent by Allah (God) as all prophets did, and the comforter will be sent by Jesus! One may, however, also ask: Will the Holy Spirit  be sent by  Jesus or by God?!

According to the Gospels, “The comforter will also be given” by Jesus, indicating that the prophet of the end of time carries the seal of prophecy between his shoulders,

“Do not seek after the mortal food, but behind the food that remains to eternal life, which the Son gives because God has put His seal on him.” (6/27).

We note the words “eternal” and “seal” which refers to an eternal message after which no message would come. Such eternal message has been achieved in the message of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

Applying, he comforter to” the Holy Spirit “, does conflict its application to Prophet Muhammad as well, because there is an evangelical text which describes the comforter as the “Spirit of Truth” as in John (16 / 12-14):

“I also have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear now. But when that Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you to all truth because he does not speak of himself, but everything he hears, he tells it and tells you things to come. He glorifies me because He takes from me and tells you”.

It seems that the phrase denoting that the comforter would be sent by Jesus is not the words of Jesus but was rather put in his mouth by the hands of the scribes! The Holy Qur’an points out that Jesus foretold and gave glad tidings of the appearance of the Last Prophet after him:

“And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.” (61:6).

Imam Ahmad narrated that al-Irbad ibn Sariyah said:

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I am the seal of the Prophets while Adam was still at the stage of being clay while  being created (i.e. it was  decreed before the creation of Adam.’ “I will tell you the origin of this. I was the result of the invocation of my Father (great grandfather) Abraham and the glad-tidings of Jesus and the dream of my mother that came to be true “.

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came with the eternal message of Islam, including the Qur’an, which included the stories of former prophets, including Jesus. The Qur’an told much about  the life of Jesus, peace be upon him, his message to the Israelites and his mother.

The Qur’an also mentioned facts that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not witness in his life in the Meccan Pagan-environment. Moreover, People of the Book (Jews and Christians) were few there.

He reminded them of the facts about Jesus, peace be upon him. Allah Almighty says,

“You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allah; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, “We are Christians.” That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant. And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognized of the truth. They say, “Our Lord, we have believed, so register us among the witnesses. And why should we not believe in Allah and what has come to us of the truth? And we aspire that our Lord will admit us [to Paradise] with the righteous people. So Allah rewarded them for what they said with gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally. And that is the reward of doers of good. “(5 / 82-84).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was vulnerable in Mecca and even when he migrated to Medina he was being chased by the pagans. The Prophet did not concede neither to the call of the pagans nor to the people of the book. He rather revealed their defaults.

He did not cajole the people of the book and compromise with them so that so that they may support him. He rather said the truth to them showing what went wrong with the gospels and warned them against following falsehood as regards to the negation of his prophethood. Allah almighty says,

“A faction of the people of the book wish they could mislead you. But they do not mislead except themselves, and they perceive [it] not. O People of the Scripture, why do you disbelieve in the verses of Allah while you witness [to their truth]? O People of the Scripture, why do you confuse the truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while you know [it]?” (3:69-71).

Soucre Link
Clergy Councils and Christian Faith

Clergy Councils and Christian Faith

Jesus’ Disciples After His Demise

The disciples of Christ dispersed after his death in the lands, preaching his teachings. They were either wronged by Emperors or kings or were dealt justly and their teachings were welcomed. There were popes, patriarchs, bishops, monks and priests who took over religious posts in many Christian regions. Sometimes, they were influenced by different leaders’ respective religious backgrounds which were always influenced by pagan trends and rarely influenced  by the teachings of Arius who was influenced by Jesus’ monotheist and moderate teachings and rejected the divine nature of Jesus. Accordingly, fathers, bishops, and patriarchs were divided as to the real Christian doctrine and conflicts raised.

Therefore, calls for holding mass councils were also raised. Leaders forced religious clerics to find solutions to the problem to unify Christians upon one definite doctrine that should be upheld by ll Christians worldwide.

Clergy-Councils emerged by the order of the princes to establish a clear-cut doctrine for Christian societies where some of laws were approved and others were rejected. The councils, according to Shaykh Abu Zahrah, were claimed to be approved by the apostles although they were made about 22 years after the demise of Christ in Jerusalem.  And some councils rejected some of the Torah and the old-testament teachings.  

The councils that constituted the Christian doctrine mounted to ten. In his book Hidayat Al-HayaraIbn Al-Qayim, mentioned them saying,

First Council of Antioch 324 A.D

He said Saeed ibn Bitriq: Thirteen bishops met in the city of Antioch, and pondered over Paul’s doctrine. They cursed him and cursed those following him.

Other Caesars appeared in whose times, Christians were persecuted. At the time of King Constantine I, a great debate was made between a patriarch and saint Arius. The king and the attendees approved the sayings of the patriarch and suggested that Arius be banished and stemmed him with disbelief but the patriarch suggested that the king should summon patriarchs and bishops and hold a council to show reality of Arius and his doctrine to be denounced publicly.

Second Council of Nicaea 325 A.D:

One year and two months later, King Constantine I sent to all countries to summon bishops and patriarchs and two thousand and forty-eight bishops gathered in Nicaea. They were of different religious views. There were those hold Mary and Jesus to be gods and called Mariamaniya.

Others claimed that Christ’s position from the Father is likened to a torch taken from fire; the two flames are dependable after being separated and the fire’s flames will not decrease by such process.

They differed greatly that the king gathered the three hundred and eighteen bishops in a great council. He sat at the middle, and gave them his ring, his sword, and his stick and said, “You have the authority today on my Kingdom. Do whatever you want to do to save the Christian nation and strengthen it in religion and other affairs. They blessed the king, and gave him his sword, and said to him, “Support the religion of Christianity, and defend it”. They gave him forty books including Christian laws for bishops and laws for kings to rule with.

They agreed that the Christian Easter be on Sunday, after the Passover of the Jews, so that they may not gather on one day with the Jews, and denied bishops-marriage. The Council was made seventeen years of the reign of King Constantine I. They left the council while being dignified by the king who ordered that:

-The idols be destroyed and idols-worshipers be killed.

-There should not be in his government except the Christians. And leaders should be from them.

-The Friday after the Easter-Friday, should be off and peaceful.

Arius Council:

Then Constantine perished, and Constantine II, his oldest son mounted the throne. In his time, Arius companions and those following him gathered and met with him. They praised the doctrine of Arius before him and pointed out that the three hundred and eighteen bishops of Nicaea were mistaken and misled when they uphold that the Son agrees with the Father in essence.

The advised him to discourage people from such doctrine because it was a fault, and the king determined to rectify the matter. However, Bishop of Jerusalem, discouraged him from following Arius’ companions, and claimed that they were misled and infidels for the three hundred and eighteen bishops cursed all of them. The king accepted the bishop’s saying.

Third Council of Constantinople 381 A.D:

It was fifty-eight years after the first council of Nicaea that another council was held. Ministers, leaders and commanders assembled before the king and said: People are consent with Arius and Maqedonius deviant sayings. So, write to all bishops and patriarchs to assemble and clarify for people real Christianity.

The king wrote to different regions to summon bishops. They were one-hundred and fifty bishops who gathered to think over Arius’ doctrine. They denounced Arius’s saying that  the Holy Spirit is created and not god.

The Patriarch of Alexandria said, “The Holy Spirit is not other than God’s spirit without which God cannot live. If we are to say that God’s spirit is created, His life would be created and if his life was created, He would not have been alive which is a blasphemous doctrine”.

They cursed those adopting such doctrine and many other doctrines and pointed out that the Holy Spirit is a creator and not created, a one-essence god who stems his nature from the Father and the Son.

They increased in the faith laid by the three hundred and eighteen bishops, who only believed in the Holy Spirit, the following doctrine: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, who gives life. Who is from the Father and the Son. He should be glorified and worshiped”.

They showed that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three Hypostases, faces and three properties. According to them, they are one in three i.e. trinity, and the body of Christ has a spirit which is reasonable and human.

The council was finished and they cursed many of their bishops and companions.

Fourth Council:

One and fifty years later, another council was held. It was the fourth council which was to think over Nestorius’ sayings. He claimed that Mary was not the mother of God but gods are only two the Father and the human who was from Mary an shared the name of the son of God but not really His son. Nestorius was cursed and banished at last.

Fifth Council:

Council of Ephesus II 449 A.D and the emergence of the doctrine of Jacobites.

Sixth Council:

Complex of Khalqdoun, 451 A.D

Seventh Council:

In the days of king Instas and the emergence of the doctrine of the Malkites and the renouncement of the doctrine of Jacobites.

The Eighth Council:

The Council of Constantinople which approved the four councils after the Khalqdounian Councils.

Ninth Council: At the time of the Muslim Caliph, Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan.

Tenth Council: When the king died, the sixth Council members met once again.

Commenting on these different councils Imam Ibn Qayyim said, “Christians had the tenth Council in which the Sixth-Council members gathered. They were objected, so the king summoned one hundred and thirty bishops who approved the Sixth-Council agreement and the five councils before it.  They cursed those disagreeing with them. Although those councils perished and those Christian misled-scholars died, their deviant teachings passed to the following generations who depended on them. Those councils, moreover, had about four-thousand Christian scholars of bishops, patriarchs and priests who disagreed and stemmed each other with disbelief”.

One may wonder at the Christians’ status-quo and ask: Is there a rational Christian who may ponder over such deviant situation by Christians who were divided into many sects which accuse each other of infidelity.

The human hands played the word of God with the approval of Christian clergies who assembled to approve heresy. Let the mercy of Allah (God) be upon the nation of Islam, which did not disagree on its scripture, Lord and Prophet, It was saved by Allah from being misled. Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said, “My nation will not agree on heresy”. Its scriptures were also saved by the science of accurate narration through authentic narrators (Isnad) of prophetic hadiths (sayings).


References:

Abu Zahra, Lectures on Christianity (looking at the stages by which the Christians beliefs passed whether through books, holy councils and sects), Dar al-Fikr al-Arabi – Cairo, 3rd ed, 1381 e – 1966.

Ibn Al-Qayiyim, Hidayat al-Hayari to reply to the Jews and Christians: Muhammad Ahmad al-Haj, ed. Publisher: Dar al-Qalam.1416 – 1996.

Soucre Link