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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Was There a Church in Mecca?
Quite likely of course. Christianity became the Roman state religion
and expansion was inevitable on the edges of the empire. Natural
support would be available. That it was then suppressed is also a
certainty after Mohammed.
In the long term the Roman agenda of using Christianity (unwitting or
otherwise) to pacify the barbarian marches succeeded brilliantly. It
was not in time to resolve the short term pressures it faced or Arab
barbarians turning the idea to barbarian account.
If you were an alien from outer space though, or with a Chinese sense
of perspective, one can be forgiven for mistaking result for long
term intent. Particularly since claims of Christian decline looks
like a smoke screen obscuring its rapid adoption globally.
The real fear of Islam today is simply that political freedom of
worship and the emancipation of women in Islam will actually doom
Islam simply because Christianity at its best supports such freedom
and rights. And Christianity will always be there with an active
Perhaps it is time to start an association to locate and restore such a church in Mecca. If that idea appeals to you, formally join this blog (block with all the thumbnails) and leave a note when you do so I know you have an interest. If enough go for it i will then post to organize it.
Was there a church in Mecca? Chiselled stonework with
'Christian figure' discovered at holy site in Yemen
Stone carving found in
Zafar, some 581 miles to the south of Mecca
Thought to have been
made in the era of the Prophet Muhammad, in 530AD
Yule concluded that Zafar was centre of a 772,000 sq mile Arab
territory that exerted influence all the way to Mecca
An Archaeologist has
discovered what he believes to be the ruins of a buried Christian
empire in the highlands of Yemen.
The find has led to
theories that there may have once been a Christian church in Mecca.
A stone carving of a
Christian figure was found in Zafar, some 581 miles south of the Holy
City, and is thought to have been made in the era of the Prophet
Paul Yule, an
archaeologist from Heidelberg in Germany, has dated the 5ft 7in
relief - which shows a man with chains of jewellery, curls and
spherical eyes - to around 530AD.
After excavating sites
in Yemen, the German archaeologist concluded that Zafar was the
centre of an Arab tribal confederation, an area that covered 772,000
sq miles and exerted its influence all the way to Mecca.
The figure is
barefoot, a pose typical of Coptic saints. He is holding a bundle of
twigs, a symbol of peace, in his left hand, and there is a crossbar
on his staff, making it look like a cross.
The crown on his
head is similar to the ones worn by the Christian rulers of ancient
Ethiopia, reported ABC News.
All this led Mr Yule
to believe the statue depicted the descendant of conquerors from
Africa who came to the region in 525AD to spread Christianity.
Led by the King of
Aksum, these warriors travelled across the Red Sea to capture large
parts of Arabia.
According to Mr Yule,
the confederation became a superpower between the 3rd and 5th
It controlled the port
of Aden, where precious commodities including Indian spices were
Mr Yule found wine
amphorae, the remains of precious fish condiments and palaces
decorated with sphinxes and lions - suggesting it was a place with a
taste for luxury.
Zafar had a large
Jewish community as well as Christian and Arab residents.
But the peaceful,
multicultural community that lived there descended into conflict as
tensions mounted in the 5th century.
To stop the advance of
Christianity, Arab kings converted to Judaism and the ruling class of
the realm followed suit.
Then in around 520AD,
they attacked the Christian colony of Najran.
The relief of the man
from Zafar is thought to have been created during this period of
There is also
historical evidence, in the form of a rock inscription, that raids
were conducted against defiant Arab tribes near Mecca in 552AD –
thought by a few western historians to be the year of Muhammad’s
The rock inscriptions
could be interpreted to mean that the tribe of Kuraish, to which the
Prophet belonged, sometimes fought for the Christians.
Mr Yule claimed there
are indications this could be true, but added that many aspects of
the find remain unclear.