Table of Contents


    Multiple Authors

    This article treats Christianity in pre-Islamic Persia as seen through literary sources and material remains, in Central Asia, in Christian literature in Middle Iranian languages, in Manicheism, and in Persian literature. It also covers Christina influences in Persian poetry and Christian missions in Persia.

  • CHRISTIANITY i. In Pre-Islamic Persia: Literary Sources

    James R. Russell

    In Middle Persian there are three terms used for Christians: KLSTYDʾN and NʾCLʾY in the inscription on the Kaʿba-ye Zardošt of the 3rd-century Zoroastrian high priest Kartir; and tarsāq, Sogdian loan-word trsʾq, New Persian tarsā.

  • CHRISTIANITY ii. In Pre-Islamic Persia: Material Remains

    Judith Lerner

    Although Christians may have been among the deportees from Roman Syria who worked on the monuments of Šāpūr I (240-70 c.e.) at Bīšāpūr (q.v.) and the dam at Šūštar, nothing identifiably Christian has been excavated in Persia itself.

  • CHRISTIANITY iii. In Central Asia And Chinese Turkestan

    Nicholas Sims-Williams

    The main early centers of Syriac-speaking Christians were Edessa and Arbela. By the end of the 3rd century the Syrian church was strongly established also in the western Persian empire, where it was sometimes harshly persecuted during the following centuries under Sasanian rule.

  • CHRISTIANITY iv. Christian Literature in Middle Iranian Languages

    Nicholas Sims-Williams

    In Persia itself Syriac eventually regained its status as the sole literary and liturgical language of the church, with the result that none of this Christian Persian literature survived, apart from a few texts preserved in Syriac translation, such as two legal works by the metropolitans Išoʿbōḵt and Simon.

  • CHRISTIANITY v. Christ in Manicheism

    Werner Sundermann

    In Manicheism, as in earlier gnostic systems, the terms Christ (Gk. “the anointed”) and Jesus Christ were used in various ways, though less commonly than the name Jesus alone.

  • CHRISTIANITY vi. In Persian Literature

    Qamar Āryān

    Christian beliefs and institutions are frequently mentioned in various genres (lyric, epic, didactic, mystic), and many works contain allusions to legends of Christian saints, martyrs, and ascetics.

  • CHRISTIANITY vii. Christian Influences in Persian Poetry

    Annemarie Schimmel

    Persian poetry contains a good number of allusions to Jesus Christ (ʿĪsā Masīḥ), Mary (Maryam), and Christians (naṣārā, tarsā) in general. Most of the images and ideas expressed in poetry are elaborations of the Koranic data about Jesus and his virgin mother, though sometimes developed very ingeniously.

  • CHRISTIANITY viii. Christian Missions in Persia

    Yahya Armajani

    Christianity was introduced in Persia in the Parthian period, and several bishoprics were established there. That the Persian church was itself active in proselytizing abroad at the end of the Sasanian period (224-651) and immediately after is clear from remains in India and China.

    This Article Has Images/Tables.

    Kamran Ekbal

    Captain (d. 1812), of the Bombay Regiment, an Anglo-Indian officer under the command of Sir John Malcolm.