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37 – East of the Euphrates

We look at the early Church of the East and its world in the lands of Mesopotamia and Persia…


Additional Links

  • Nestorian – Site dedicated to information about the Church of the East
  • Sasanika – Site run by scholars of Late Antique Iran and Sassanid studies
Sassanian Empire map

Map of the Sassanid Empire


The Sassanid King Shapur I (Right) clasping the wrist of emperor Valerian (Center), and emperor Philip the Arab (Left) kneeling before the Shahanshah

Bahram I

Bahram I –

Bahram II

Bahram II –




Send in your Questions!

Hi Folks,
I need your help. More specifically listener questions. Once we reach the end of the third century, we’re going to take an extended break from the narrative and focus on key topics related to the first three centuries of the early Church. Here’s a list of what will be covered:
1. Geographic Spread of Christianity up to c. 300 A.D.
2. Scriptures, Canons, and Interpretations
3. The Trinity and Christology
4. Salvation and Anthropology
5. Afterlife, Endtimes, and the Spiritual Realm
6. Christian Life and Practice
7. Orthodoxy and Heresy
8. Early Church and Judaism
9. Christianity and Roman Society
10. Reading Suggestions
11. Q&A episode
Please send me, via email, comment, or PM, any questions you have related to the show. Feel free to ask me just about anything and I’ll try to incorporate your questions into my research. If your question doesn’t get covered in one of the topical episodes, I’ll be sure to include it in the Q&A episode at the end.
Please keep in mind that these episodes will take me longer to research and produce.
Thanks again for all your support!

36 – Zenobia’s Bishop


Despite newfound peace, in the 260s A.D., theological controversies sprang up in the Great Church. First between Rome and Alexandria, and then around the infamous bishop of Antioch, Paul of Samosata. A series of events which would eventually culminate in the first intervention of a Roman emperor in Church affairs…

Links about Dionysius of Rome

Links about Paul of Samosata

Links about Aurelian

Links about Zenobia

Links about Christmas and December 25th





Zenobia overlooking Palmyra





The Roman Empire at the height of the Crisis of the Third Century (Palmyrene Empire in yellow). From the Penguin Atlas of Ancient Rome

35 – The Little Peace of the Church

Episode Link

In 260 A.D. the Roman Emperor Gallienus recognized Christianity as a lawful religion, ushering in a forty year period of unprecedented peace and prosperity for the Church.



The best discussion of Gallienus’ legalization of Christianity can be found in T.D. Barnes’ Early Christian Hagiography and Roman History 97-105. Bellow I’ve reproduced Barne’s translation of Gallienus’ rescript to the Egyptian bishops:


Imperator Caesar Publius Licinius Gallienus Pius Felix Augustus to Dionysius, Pinnas, Demetrius and the other bishops.

I have ordered that the benefits conferred by my gift should be spread throughout the whole world, so that they withdraw from the places of worship. Consequently you too can also use the ruling in my prescript so that no-one harasses you. This was granted by me long ago, as far as it is possible to be fulfilled by you, and therefore Aurelius Quirinius, the magister summae rei, will observce the ruling given by me. (HE 7.13)


Links about persons discussed:

Gallienus Augustus


Update Summer 2017


Update on the podcast for Summer 2017.

Summer 2017 Update

Hello listeners,

My most sincere apologies that you haven’t heard from me in a while. For the past many months I’ve been dealing with something of a podcasting/history/theology burn-out. Its been a bit of an uphill battle to get back into the proper headspace, but I’m getting there. I do plan to continue the podcast and re-ignite my passion and enthusiasm for the subject. Your continued support for the show has been very encouraging to me. As of now I already have scripts for the next 4 episodes that have either been completed, near completed, or outlined. Right now I’m working on an episode release schedule for the Summer 2017 and forward/ that will be more compatible with my schedule. I will be releasing an update on the audio podcast feed soon with further details. Thanks again for your continued support! God bless.

34- The Valerian Persecution

In 257 A.D., the Roman Emperor Valerian launched the second empire-wide persecution of Christianity…





Medieval depiction of Valerian (Left) executing Xystus II of Rome and his deacons (Right)


Laurence of Rome


Fructuosus of Tarraco


Rock-relief at Naqsh-e Rustam Valerian and Philip the Arab before the Persian King of King Shapur I



The History of Rome 112- Captured of Alive by Mike Duncan

Valerian and Gallienus

The English translations I used for the martyrdom accounts of Fructuous, Marian and James, and Montanus and Lucius can be found in the Appendix of Keresztes Imperial Rome and the Christians Vol. 2.

For the Proconsular Acts of Cyprian see A New Eusebius ed. by Stevenson and Frend.

For Dionysius of Alexandria’s letter Against Germanus see here

On Fulvius Macrianus see Dionysius’s letter here and here

Eusebius’ account of the Valerian Persecution can be found in book 7 of the Ecclesiastical History

A very good article on the reason for Valerian’s persecution is: “Imperial Religious Policy and Valerian’s Persecution of the Church, A.D. 257-260”- Christopher J. Haas; Church History, Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jun., 1983), pp. 133-144