- Mar Yaballaha III
Mar Yaballaha III (1245–1317), [Rossabi, p. xv] known in earlier years as Rabban Marcos or Markos, was Patriarch of the
Church of the East(sometimes referred to as the Nestorian church) from 1281 to 1317. As a young man, he engaged in a remarkable journey, which began as an ascetic monk's pilgrimage from China to Jerusalem, led him to the Patriarch position in Baghdad, and brought him to recommend his former teacher and traveling companion, the monk Rabban Bar Sauma, to become the first Asian ambassador to Europe.
Markos was born near
Beijing( Khanbaliq, or Taitu), but his ethnic ancestry is not entirely clear. According to the "Ecclesiastical Chronicle" of Bar-Hebraeushe was of Turkish Uyghur descent. On the other hand, the "History of Mar Yaballaha III" names the place of his birth as Koshang, thus perhaps suggesting that he was an Ongudfrom the Christian tribe's homeland in Inner Mongolianear Shanxi. [Moule, "Christians in China before 1500", 94 & 103; also Paul Pelliot in "T'oung-pao" 15(1914), pp.630-36, where Koshang is suggested to be the Ongut town Tong-chen to the West of Beijing.]
He was consecrated as a monk, and became a student of
Rabban Bar Sauma, another Uyghur Nestorian monk. In the mid-1200s, they decided to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Due to military conflict along the way, they never arrived at their destination, but did meet with the church leaders in the Mongol Ilkhanate, in Baghdad. There, the Patriarch Mar Denha Isent the two monks on a mission to the court of the Mongol khan Abaqa, to obtain confirmation for Mar Denha's title. Along the way, Markos was appointed Metropolitan Bishopof China. The monks then intended to return to China, but their departure was again delayed by armed conflict. When the Patriarch died, the bishops elected Markos as the new Patriarch in 1281, and he took the name Mar Yaballaha III ("God Gave Him").Phillips, p. 123] For the latter part of his term his see was located at Maragheh, the capital of the Mongol Ilkhanate.
Yaballaha held contacts with the Byzantine Empire and with Latin Christendom. In 1287, when Abaqa's son and successor
Arghun Khansought an ambassador for an important mission to Europe, Yaballaha recommended his former teacher Rabban Bar Sauma, who held the position of Visitor-General. Arghun agreed, and Bar Sauma made a historic journey through Europe, meeting with the Pope and many monarchs, and bringing gifts, letters, and European ambassadors on his return. Via Rabban Sauma, Mar Yaballaha received a ring from the Pope's finger, and a papal bullwhich recognized Yaballaha as the patriarch of all the eastern Christians.
In May 1304, Yaballaha made profession of the Catholic faith in a letter addressed to Pope
Benedict XI. But the union was refuted by his fellow Nestorian bishops.
List of Patriarchs of Babylon
Barhebraeus, Gregory, "Chronicon Ecclesiasticum", ed. J. B. Abbeloosand T. J. Lamy, (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1877), 3: II, cols.451ff.
* Bedjan, Paul, "Histoire de Mar Jab-Alaha, Patriarche", (1888, 2nd ed 1995; reprint Gorgias, 2007). Syriac text on which the translations of Montgomery and Budge are based.
* Budge, E.A. Wallis, "The Monks of Kublai Khan", (London: Religious Tract Society, 1928).
* Gillman, Ian & Klimkeith, Hans-Joachim, "Christians in Asia before 1500", (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999), 140, 252.
* Montgomery, James A., "History of Yaballaha III", (New York: Columbia University Press, 1927).
* Moule, A. C., "Christians in China before 1550" (London: SPCK, 1930).
* [http://www.everyculture.com/Africa-Middle-East/Chaldeans-History-and-Cultural-Relations.html Chaldeans, History and Cultural Relations]
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