The Byzantine Forum
Newest Members
KARIM LEY, Arizona Byzantine, Irenaeus23, Al Masihi, Seavila777
5565 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
4 registered members (theophan, 3 invisible), 86 guests, and 363 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Latest Photos
Papal Audience 10 November 2017
Upgraded Russian icon corner
Russian Greek Catholic Global Congress
OL EuroEast II (2007) Group
Portable Icon Screen
Forum Statistics
Forums26
Topics34,611
Posts411,066
Members5,565
Most Online2,716
Jun 7th, 2012
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103972
10/03/06 02:12 PM
10/03/06 02:12 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,735
The Third Rome
Slavipodvizhnik Offline OP
Member
Slavipodvizhnik  Offline OP
Member

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,735
The Third Rome
http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles4/MaximovMuslims.shtml

A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims
Yurij Maximov
No endorsement implied. It is widely believed that Muslims do not abandon Islam. This widespread opinion is, however, only partly true. It is true that it is difficult to convert Muslims, but it is not so much the difficulty of converting Muslims as it is the scarcity of Christian missions among them that leads us to believe they are hard to convert. Still, if many think that Muslims are difficult to convert to Protestantism or Roman Catholicism, even more would think it impossible to convert Muslims to the Orthodox Faith. This later opinion has its basis in a general lack of knowledge about the missionary labors of the Orthodox throughout the ages and the world in places as diverse and far apart as Africa, India, Siberia, China, Japan, and Alaska. Indeed, the history of Orthodox missions among the Muslims is a particularly important and fascinating part of the overall mission of the Orthodox Church. As it is impossible to fully cover the history of Orthodox missions among the Muslims here I have only attempted to highlight some of its facets to give those interested a better idea about this part of the Orthodox Church's missions.

Although it is generally known that many of Muhammad's followers found refuge in Ethiopia during the early years of Islam, it is not well known that one of his followers, Ubaidallah ibn Jahiz, became a Christian while in Ethiopia and was baptized there. He was the first Muslim, but certainly not the last, to discover and embrace the truth. Here are two stories from the early history of Islam, both set in the reign of the fourth 'righteous' caliph, Muhammad's nephew and son-in-law Ali: "One Muslim converted to Christianity. Ali ordered him to return to Islam, but he refused. Ali killed him and would not give his body to his relatives, though they offered much money. Ali burnt the body. "Another man from the tribe Bani-Ijl became a Christian. He was brought shackled to Ali, who spoke at length with the convert. In response to Ali's questions the man said, "I know that Isa [Jesus] is the Son of God." Then Ali stood up and stamped on him. When the others saw it they also started to trample the man down. And Ali said: "Kill him." He was killed and Ali ordered that the body be burnt."

Missions within the East Roman or Byzantine Empire

From history we know that after the Arab Muslims' early conquest of Antioch the East Roman or Byzantine Empire regained that great city, together with northern and central Syria, during the 10th century. During the ensuing period of Byzantine rule the entire Arab Muslim population voluntarily converted to Orthodoxy, including the Arab nobility.[1] The same happened in the district of Laodicea and the town of Melitene, which returned to the Byzantine Empire during the same time period.[2] Most notable, however, is the conversion of the Bedouin tribe of the Banu Khabib in 935, who "[numbered] 12,000 horsemen with full armament, with families, clients (people who were not members of the tribe, but who enjoyed its protection - Y.M.), and slaves joined the Greeks, accepted Christ and started to fight against their former fellow believers.[3] A history in Arabic by Ibn Safir, who wrote in the 13th century, said that the Banu Khabib remained Christians "till today."

Several examples of more 'concentrated' missions among the Muslims can be found in Byzantine hagiographical works. In the middle of the 9th century St. Theodore of Edessa converted the "Saracen king", Muawid, one of the three sons of the Umayyad caliph Mutawakkil (847-861), to Orthodoxy, baptizing him with the name John together with his three confidants.[4] St. Ilya the New, when staying in Palestine at the end of the 9th century, healed and baptized many Muslims. Later, while traveling to Persia, the Saint met twelve Muslims whom he converted to Christianity and baptized.[5] At the opening of the 9th century St. Gregory Dekapolites wrote about the conversion of the Umayyad caliph's nephew, which was followed by the conversion of many other Muslims.[6]

There are other vivid stories that can be recalled. At the end of the 9th century and the beginning of the 10th century a Spanish Muslim, Omar ibn Khaphsun, converted to Christianity with his sons and ruled over several mountain valleys for nearly fifty years, having the castle Bobastro as his residence.[7] During the same period of time the Kurdish prince Ibn-ad-Dahhak, who possessed the fortress of al-Jafary, abandoned Islam for Orthodoxy.[8] Additionally, the contemporaries of the Muslim theologian Abdallah ibn Kullaib (who died in 955) write that he secretly converted to Christianity.[9] It is also known that Bunei ibn Nefis, a military commander and confidant of caliph al-Muktadir, became an Orthodox Christian and fought with the Byzantines against arabs.

Looking at all of these sources we can say that as many as 100,000 Muslims converted to Christianity during the 9th and 10th centuries. It is also interesting to note that in the 15th century the great Muslim city of Baghdad and some regions of Asia Minor ruled by the Turkish Kara-Kiunglu dynasty adopted Christianity, they having been condemned by Egyptian historians for apostasy.[10]

Missions of the Russian Orthodox Church

The Russian Orthodox Church has a long history of mission work among the Muslims. St. Michael of Kiev (who lived in the 10th century) sent the monk Mark to preach Christ to the Muslim Bulgars, and thanks to his efforts four Bulgar princes were converted and baptized. St. Peter of Moscow (who lived in the 13th century) publicly debated with Muslim preachers and triumphed over them. St. Makary of Moscow (who lived in the 16th century) baptized Ediger-Mohammed, the last khan of Kazan, and preached the Orthodox Faith among the Tatars. Thanks to over four centuries of missionary work a new subgroup developed within the Tatar people, the Krjashens or Orthodox Tatars. According to the 1926 census the Krjashens numbered around 200,000.[11] Today they number nearly 320,000.

Another Turkic people who converted from Islam to Orthodoxy are the Gagauz, their total number today being around 220,000. Since 1994 they have had their own autonomous territory within the Republic of Moldova - the "Gagauz Yeri." The Gagauz descended from the Turkic Oguz, Pechenegs, and Polovzy who adopted Islam as early as the 9th century but later converted to Christianity in the 13th century. A sprinkling of Arabic words and Muslim terms found in everyday Gagauz are the main evidences of their Islamic heritage. In the Russian-Turkish wars at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th the Gagauz fought for the Russians, at the same time settling the depopulated steppes of southern Bessarabia (modern day Moldova).

Missions among the Caucasian peoples of southern Russia have been no less fruitful. During the second half of the 16th century Allah-Verdi of Tsakhur, who had previously converted from Islam and had become a Christian missionary, brought the entire Ingyl Georgian tribe back to Orthodoxy.[12] At the dawn of the 19th century over 47,000 Ossetians converted to Christianity, thus bringing the majority of the Ossetian people out of Islam. By 1823 nearly all Ossetians were Orthodox. Quite a few Abkhazians also returned to Orthodoxy. In August 1759 a Kabardian noble, Kurgoko Konchokin, was baptized with his entire family, taking the name Andrei Ivanov and filing a petition to the mayor of Kizliar town to "assign him a plot for settlement between the hamlets of Mozdok and Mekenem.[13] In 1762 he was given the rank of lieutenant colonel and given the name Konchokin, prince of Cherkasy. It was Ivanov who founded the present town of Mozdok, where many Kabardians settled and voluntarily converted to Orthodoxy. Their descendants number nearly 2,500 and constitute nearly half of the Mozdok Kabardian subgroup.[14] The conversions of well-known and prominent individuals can be found among all the peoples of the Caucasus.

Saints of the Orthodox Church who converted from Islam

The people dealt with here are special cases, for they converted from Islam and subsequently bore so much spiritual fruit that they were glorified by the Church who saw them as worthy of joining the ranks of the Saints who have shone forth in this dark world. Let us briefly look at some of their lives.

On 6 January 786 the Baghdadi Arab, St. Abu of Tbilisi, was baptized. On 14 April 789 the Palestinian Arab, St. Christopher Sabbait, received the martyr's crown by taking the vows and performing ascetic labors in the lavra of St. Sabbas (Mar Saba). On 25 December 799 St. Antony-Ruwah, a Damascene Arab of the Quraish tribe, was beheaded for converting to Christianity.[15] Around 800 St. Pachomy, a nephew of the caliph, was murdered after taking vows at St. Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai. Around 820 St. Barbar, a North African Arab and soldier in a Muslim army, was baptized in the territory of the Byzantine Empire (6/19 May).[16]

On 1 April 1229 the Bulgar merchant St. Abrahamy was killed for preaching Christianity to the Bulgars.[17] In 1552 Sts. Peter and Stephan, baptized Tatars from Kazan, suffered at the hands of their former coreligionists and were killed (24 March/6 April).[18] In 1555 the Tatar Tursas was baptized. He later became known as Serapion of Kozheozero (27 June/10 July 1611) after founding the Theophany/Epiphany monastery at Kozheozero in northern Russia and raising seven Saints for the Church of Russia.[19] In 1614 St. Hodja Amiris the Soldier, who saw the miracle of the descent of the holy light, was martyred.[20] On 3 May 1682 St. Ahmed the Deftedar, a high-ranking Muslim Turk, was martyred for the Faith.[21] At the beginning of the 19th century St. Constantine Hagarit (2/15 June 1819)[22] and St. John (23 September/6 October 1814), the son of an Albanian sheikh, converted to Christianity and died for Christ.[23] These Saints are the greatest evidence and fruit of the Orthodox Church's missionary labors and its great spiritual (if not statistical) triumph. God, not willing that any should perish, but that all should repent (III Peter 3:9), has gathered together a worthy harvest from the Muslim peoples.

Orthodox missions to the Muslims today

Orthodoxy continues to evangelize the Muslims today. It is enough to note the establishment of the now 2,500-strong Orthodox community in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, in the late 1980s through the labors of one person, Archimandrite Daniel Byantoro, to see that Orthodoxy remains involved in evangelizing the Muslim peoples. In addition to Indonesia there are active Orthodox missions in the Muslim regions of Bulgaria and in the predominantly Muslim country of Albania, while in many Muslim countries there are thousands of underground Christians.

Furthermore, in the Russian Orthodox Church there are Kazakh, Tatar, Chechen, Ingush, and Tabasaranian priests. Many of them converted from Islam, and as far as laymen are concerned there are several thousand faithful who converted to Orthodoxy from Islam. Overall there are still many conversions of Muslims from Islam to Holy Orthodoxy.

It's time to go on the offensive! If the hagarenes can send infiltrators into Europe and the Americas, it's high time to start proselytizing in Mecca!

Alexandr

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103973
10/03/06 08:12 PM
10/03/06 08:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 506
Melkite Greek Catholic Church
MarkosC Offline
Member
MarkosC  Offline
Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 506
Melkite Greek Catholic Church
Good article. I didn't see it mentioned, but a Turkish emir converted during the 1100s IIRC. He fled to the Roman Empire because the rest of his fellows would have executed, and founded a major monastery.

Quote

Orthodoxy continues to evangelize the Muslims today. It is enough to note the establishment of the now 2,500-strong Orthodox community in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, in the late 1980s through the labors of one person, Archimandrite Daniel Byantoro, to see that Orthodoxy remains involved in evangelizing the Muslim peoples. In addition to Indonesia there are active Orthodox missions in the Muslim regions of Bulgaria and in the predominantly Muslim country of Albania, while in many Muslim countries there are thousands of underground Christians.

Furthermore, in the Russian Orthodox Church there are Kazakh, Tatar, Chechen, Ingush, and Tabasaranian priests. Many of them converted from Islam, and as far as laymen are concerned there are several thousand faithful who converted to Orthodoxy from Islam. Overall there are still many conversions of Muslims from Islam to Holy Orthodoxy.
Muslims are a very hard target because Christianity is not only believed to be false, but also a inferior and barely acceptable religion to Islam. In places like Russia where Christianity is dominant or Indonesia where Islam is not so radical (and where secularism of various forms have devastated the moral culture) coversions are comparatively easy.

However, I still think the hard but critically important targets for [Eastern and Oriental] Orthodoxy are Turkey, Syria and Egypt. And unfortunately I don't see much chance of success in these places. frown

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103974
10/03/06 08:27 PM
10/03/06 08:27 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,440
White Plains, N.Y.
Z
Zenovia Offline
Member
Zenovia  Offline
Member
Z

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,440
White Plains, N.Y.
Dear MarkosC you said:

Quote
However, I still think the hard but critically important targets for [Eastern and Oriental] Orthodoxy are Turkey, Syria and Egypt. And unfortunately I don't see much chance of success in these places.
I say:

There would have to be a strong movement of the Holy Spirit, and that can only happen through saints and martyrdom. Saints threw down the Roman Empire, and they can throw down the Muslims and Pagans. wink

Zenovia

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103975
10/04/06 12:34 AM
10/04/06 12:34 AM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 576
.
B
bergschlawiner Offline
Member
bergschlawiner  Offline
Member
B

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 576
.
Great article. Explains the origins of the Melchites, the Orthodox ethnic groups in Southern Russia like Beslan, etc.

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103976
10/04/06 01:25 AM
10/04/06 01:25 AM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
Dublin
F
Fr Serge Keleher Offline
Member
Fr Serge Keleher  Offline
Member
F

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
Dublin
Saints did not throw down the Roman Empire; Saints maintained the Roman Empire!

Fr. Serge

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103977
10/04/06 02:53 PM
10/04/06 02:53 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,043
Chattanooga
JonnNightwatcher Offline
Member
JonnNightwatcher  Offline
Member

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,043
Chattanooga
Quote
Originally posted by Serge Keleher:
Saints did not throw down the Roman Empire; Saints maintained the Roman Empire!

Fr. Serge
WORD!

now my thoughts on those sainted souls who left Isalm for Orthodoxy: what a rebuke to those who would hold that all religions teach the same thing and that it would be a jolly good idea for Christians, Jews, and Muslims to unite in an ecumenical jihad against secularism and materialism. this is what I am saying wheen I talk about ecumaniacs. I don't care whether a Muslim comes to Christ through Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Anglicanism, Protestantism, or the Oriental traditions, and neither do the fanatics who martyr them.what a testimony of faith for us when we hear of Muslims risking their all for Jesus Christ. we should fall prostrate on our faces before the Presence and thank Him that we have itt so good. and may we repent and purge from our thinking any thoughts that all religions are the same. they are not. Jesus said in John 14:6 " I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father, but by Me."and tuff for those political correctness and those ecumaniacal buffoons who have a problem with it.
Much Love,
Jonn

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103978
10/04/06 04:44 PM
10/04/06 04:44 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,440
White Plains, N.Y.
Z
Zenovia Offline
Member
Zenovia  Offline
Member
Z

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,440
White Plains, N.Y.
Dear Fr. Serge you said:

Quote
Saints did not throw down the Roman Empire; Saints maintained the Roman Empire!
I say:

Uhhh! You know what I meant. wink

Zenovia

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103979
10/04/06 04:48 PM
10/04/06 04:48 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,440
White Plains, N.Y.
Z
Zenovia Offline
Member
Zenovia  Offline
Member
Z

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,440
White Plains, N.Y.
Dear Alexandr you said:

Quote
It's time to go on the offensive! If the hagarenes can send infiltrators into Europe and the Americas, it's high time to start proselytizing in Mecca!
I say:

Right! That's if one wants martyrdom. eek eek eek

Zenovia

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103980
10/04/06 05:19 PM
10/04/06 05:19 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,735
The Third Rome
Slavipodvizhnik Offline OP
Member
Slavipodvizhnik  Offline OP
Member

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,735
The Third Rome
Edit

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103981
10/04/06 05:22 PM
10/04/06 05:22 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,735
The Third Rome
Slavipodvizhnik Offline OP
Member
Slavipodvizhnik  Offline OP
Member

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,735
The Third Rome
Quote
Originally posted by Zenovia:
Dear Alexandr you said:

Quote
It's time to go on the offensive! If the hagarenes can send infiltrators into Europe and the Americas, it's high time to start proselytizing in Mecca!
I say:

Right! That's if one wants martyrdom. eek eek eek


Zenovia
Dear Zenovia.
In Saudi Arabia, Christianity is forbidden by law. One cannot so much as wear a cross when entering the country. I say fine, we should not allow 1 muslim into any civilized country until Saudi Arabia drops this business.

Alexandr

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103982
10/04/06 06:17 PM
10/04/06 06:17 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
Dublin
F
Fr Serge Keleher Offline
Member
Fr Serge Keleher  Offline
Member
F

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
Dublin
Attention Zenovia:

I say, old girl!

Fr. Serge

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103983
10/04/06 06:22 PM
10/04/06 06:22 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,440
White Plains, N.Y.
Z
Zenovia Offline
Member
Zenovia  Offline
Member
Z

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,440
White Plains, N.Y.
Dear Fr. Serge,

What do you mean by 'I Say'? confused confused confused

As for the 'old girl', you're right! :p

Zenovia

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103984
10/04/06 08:20 PM
10/04/06 08:20 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 506
Melkite Greek Catholic Church
MarkosC Offline
Member
MarkosC  Offline
Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 506
Melkite Greek Catholic Church
Quote
Originally posted by bergschlawiner:
Explains the origins of the Melchites
Umm, if you mean the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, that's not quite the case.

Once upon a time there was a Pentarchy of Patriarchates (Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria). The latter three were split between "monophysites"/anti-Empire and "chalcedonian"/pro-Empire factions. The latter factions stayed with the Emperor and were called "Melkites" (Melch meaning "king" in the relevant semitic languages).

[gets on soapbox]
So, not only do we pre-date Islam, but our Patriarchate is as venerable as Rome. Same goes for our parallel Antiochian Orthodox, Jerusalem Patriarchate, and Alexandrian Patriarchate Greek Orthodox brethren.
[gets off soapbox] biggrin

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103985
10/04/06 08:49 PM
10/04/06 08:49 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 576
.
B
bergschlawiner Offline
Member
bergschlawiner  Offline
Member
B

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 576
.
Actually I was thinking of the pure Arab tribes from the Arabaian Peninsula that were first Syrian then Byzantine Christians who settled in the Antioch area.

Re: A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims #103986
10/05/06 01:25 AM
10/05/06 01:25 AM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
Dublin
F
Fr Serge Keleher Offline
Member
Fr Serge Keleher  Offline
Member
F

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
Dublin
Dear Zenovia:

In many parts of the English-speaking world, the expression "I say!" is a sort of all-purpose superlative comment.

The expression "old girl" (or "old boy") is not a reflection on anyone's age! It originally meant that both the speaker and the person spoken to had attended the same school, but that meaning is almost lost nowadays.

Fr. Serge

Page 1 of 2 1 2

The Byzantine Forum provides message boards for discussions focusing on Eastern Christianity (though discussions of other topics are welcome). The views expressed herein are those of the participants and may or may not reflect the teachings of the Byzantine Catholic or any other Church. The Byzantine Forum and the www.byzcath.org site exist to help build up the Church but are unofficial, have no connection with any Church entity, and should not be looked to as a source for official information for any Church. All posts become property of byzcath.org. Contents copyright - 1996-2018. All rights reserved.
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.2
(Release build 20180918)
Page Time: 0.046s Queries: 14 (0.033s) Memory: 2.0721 MB (Peak: 2.2958 MB) Zlib enabled. Server Time: 2018-12-17 19:52:18 UTC