The Mongols and Catholicism: The Unity that would have destroyed Islam
#1
Peace be with you all,

I was reading a book by Stephen Neil on the history of Christian Missions and was particularly fascinated by the Church's missionary activity to the Mongols. John of Monte Corvino (late 1200s)  was a Franciscan missionary sent by Pope Nicholas IV to the Mongols, he ultimately became very successful in his missionary journey. He reportedly had baptized some 6,000 converts and established a thriving community in the Mongol capital which is now Beijing, China. He even translated the New Testament and celebrated the Liturgy in the Ongut language. He later became the first Latin Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Orient, and the Church he helped start lasted until the reconquest of Beijing and ultimate massacre of Christians.

But what else was of great interest to me was that the the head of the the Ilkhanate, the great Arghun Khan made great efforts to establish a Franco-Mongol union to crush the remaining Muslim stronghold in the Middle East. He was Buddhist but pro-Christian, and Mongol rulers often had Christian wives who exerted influence upon them. In fact, when they conquered Baghdad despite massacring many of the Muslim inhabitants, the Christians were spared. On the first envoy, he sent the famous Mongol Monk, Rabban Bar Sauma to meet with Pope Honorius and the leaders of Western Europe to encourage this joint effort (Rabban's journey from present days Beijing to  France is itself a remarkable tale, he even celebrated the liturgy and gave King Edward the Eucharist.) Despite some favorable responses, no fruition was met, and Arghun had sent several more envoys urging a unified attack which ultimately led nowhere. Had this union been established, the world would be a very different place right now. too bad for he imprudence of our former leaders!

"Had the Mongol alliance been achieved and honestly implemented by the West, the existence of Outremer would almost certainly have been prolonged. The Mameluks would have been crippled if not destroyed; and the Ilkhanate of Persia would have survived as a power friendly to the Christians and the West"

Some Wiki articles:
1) John of Montecorvino: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_of_Monte_Corvino
2) Arghun Khan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arghun
3) Franco-Mongol Alliance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-Mongol_alliance
4) Rabban Bar Sauma: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabban_Bar_Sauma
5) Christianity among the Mongols: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianit...he_Mongols

A picture of Rabban Bar Sauma's journey:

[Image: JourneyRabbanBarSauma.jpg]
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#2
And it wasn't the first time the Mongols had embraced Christianity the Church of the East(Nestorians) had gotten to them and China as early as 600's on the eve of the outbreak of Islam. they grew strong enough to have had a couple Archbishops and several diocese.
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#3
Arghun was a lost opportunity, just imagine what the world would have been like!
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#4
My Kingdom is not of this world?

Personally, I'm of two minds about such speculation. Traditionalists seem to be pro-Crusades, generally-speaking. I don't understand the allure. Formally, the point of such politicking is to have a unified "Christendom" in which the Gospel may be implemented across the secular world; informally, the point of establishing the Outremer was to save pilgrims, protect relics, and push back the Islamic horde after centuries of warfare.

We sometimes think "if Christendom had lost the Battle of Tours..." or "if Christendom had only held on to Acre...", but is this Faith? Where would the Church be if she never had been established politically by Constantine? I dare say she'd be smaller, and perhaps many would never have been part of her, but she would still have survived with integrity due to the Holy Spirit.

I'm not sure if political establishment and the consequent ability to negotiate with pagan armies is really all that much of a benefit to missionary activity and conversion. People tend to mob together in droves toward what they sense is becoming popular or accepted by the elite. There have been many false conversions through proselytism or ostentatious display.

Does Islam need to be destroyed? Paganism will always be here to bulk at the Church. Christ never guaranteed that every soul and nation would be converted, only that Hell would not prevail. Give us catacombs and a Pope, and it's all we truly need.  :)

Still, interesting stuff from an historical "What if?" point of view...
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#5
I think at the very least we should pray for the conversion of all Muslims, that Islam indeed be destroyed, but destroyed by conversion. Islam does pose a grave danger to Christianity and Christians-it always has. To my knowledge no region of the world that has been conquered by Islam has ever really been free of it's stranglehold. I fear the same will happen to Europe barring Divine Intervention. It's true that the Kingdom of God is not of this world but we should try to build up safe havens where the life of that Eternal Kingdom beyond the stars irrupts into our own. It's good and noble to try and order a given place around the gospel and the teachings of the Church, although indeed there is a danger in mistaking our own broken fallen ideals for the actual kingdom. It's a delicate balance. As.for Islam again,I don't believe it's possible to really coexist with them for anylength of time. You might have Muslim friends and get along but it just doesn't work for societies. Islam and Christianity are at eternal enmity with each other.
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#6
Do people realize the atrocities perpetuated by Genghis Khan? ??? He made Mohammad look like a choir-boy.
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#7
(02-14-2014, 07:50 AM)Heorot Wrote: Does Islam need to be destroyed? Paganism will always be here to bulk at the Church. Christ never guaranteed that every soul and nation would be converted, only that Hell would not prevail. Give us catacombs and a Pope, and it's all we truly need.  :)
Really? Then why does St. Paul say that all nations (the fulness of the Gentiles) will come into the Church and only then will Israel convert?
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#8
(02-14-2014, 02:14 PM)GodFirst Wrote:
(02-14-2014, 07:50 AM)Heorot Wrote: Does Islam need to be destroyed? Paganism will always be here to bulk at the Church. Christ never guaranteed that every soul and nation would be converted, only that Hell would not prevail. Give us catacombs and a Pope, and it's all we truly need.  :)
Really? Then why does St. Paul say that all nations (the fulness of the Gentiles) will come into the Church and only then will Israel convert?

I was speaking of geopolitical means and the force of arms, as opposed to saintly bishops and holy missionaries. The whole world certainly needs to be converted to the Faith, without which there can be no salvation. I apologize for my lack of clarity.
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#9
(02-14-2014, 11:33 AM)austenbosten Wrote: Do people realize the atrocities perpetuated by Genghis Khan? ??? He made Mohammad look like a choir-boy.

They say the Tigris flowed black with ink from the books and scrolls thrown in it by the Mongols, when they attacked Baghdad.

I wonder how, if in any way, that has contributed to a lack of truly historical understanding of the region, etc., from period texts' absence.
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#10
(02-14-2014, 04:15 PM)jonbhorton Wrote:
(02-14-2014, 11:33 AM)austenbosten Wrote: Do people realize the atrocities perpetuated by Genghis Khan? ??? He made Mohammad look like a choir-boy.

They say the Tigris flowed black with ink from the books and scrolls thrown in it by the Mongols, when they attacked Baghdad.

I wonder how, if in any way, that has contributed to a lack of truly historical understanding of the region, etc., from period texts' absence.

I'm sure it did, we know though that the death of 25% of the WORLD'S POPULATION was due to the Mongols....but yeah, Islam's evil and Mongols good :p
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