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Arbela, Chronicle of


The ancient city of Arbela in Mesopotamia was renowned for its temple to Astarte, which became world famous after Alexander's victory over the Persian Darius in 331 b.c. Having been converted to Christianity under the martyrs Bps. John (d. November 343) and (St.) Abraham II (martyred Feb. 4 or, according to the Armenians, 7 or 8 344), its Christians were savagely persecuted by the Persian King Shapur II (309379). It was originally the metropolitan See of Adiabene, but was united to nisi bis and mosul in the late fourth century and became a Nestorian center before the Arab domination.

The Chronicle of Arbela is a Syrian Acts of the Martyrs discovered and published by A. Mingana in 1907. It was written by Měšiā-Zěkā, probably at Adiabene in the mid-sixth century and covers the history of Christianity in Persia between 100 and 550. Recent scholarly investigation indicates that much of its information is legendary.

Bibliography: a. mingana, ed. and tr., Sources syriaques (Leipzig 1908) v.1. f. zorell, ed., "Chronica ecclesiae Arbelensis," Orientalia Christiana 8 (192627) 145204, Lat. tr. e. sachau, Die Chronik von Arbela (Abhandlungen der Deutschen [Preussischen, to 1944] Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin [1815] 6; 1915). i. ortiz de urbina, "Intorno al valore storico della cronaca di Arbela," Oriens Christianus Per 2 (1936) 532. e. stommel, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiberg 195765) 1:820.

[f. x. murphy]

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