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“Turkey Erdogan PM: You must read Byzantium civilization. You have got no excuses” by Bishop George Khodr

Turkey Erdogan PM delivered a speech in front of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo last week.  He said that “Turkey shares with the Arabs the same ideology, culture, and set of values.  In 1453, Mohammad II captured Constantinople and put an end to the Byzantium Black civilization…”

Orthodox Bishop George Khodr reacted and responded in the Lebanese daily Al Nahar on Saturday Sept.24.  I am translated from Arabic a large portion of the article, taking a few liberty. Khodr wrote:

“What was so black in Byzantium civilization that the Ottoman Empire managed to whiten?  What Erdogan means by ideology is Islam. Are the 12 million Christians in the Arab World excluded from sharing in that ideology?  Erdogan said that a rebirth of civilization was erected on the ashes of Byzantium Black Civilization.

Byzantium civilization was the cornerstone for Europe Renaissance and the diffusion of scientific reasoning and investigation.  Byzantium was the leading civilization for 4 centuries before the Arabic Empire and two centuries afterward.  Byzantium disseminated public health and hospitals, primary and secondary schools, instituted universities… Byzantium was leading in medical fields such the eye, teeth, animal medicine…Byzantium spread philosophy, rhetoric, knowledge of public administration, translation of Greek works to Latin…

The Greeks of Byzantium immigrated to Europe and aided in establishing modern societies.  In the first century of Arabic Empire, located in the Capital Damascus, the Omayyad dynasty focused on translating the Greek works  (Math, engineering, music, cosmology, medicine, natural sciences…) into Arabic via the Aramaic language (Syriac) before it expanded and lead the world civilization in all fields till the 15th century…Erdogan PM: You must read Byzantium civilization. You have got no excuses”

The article expanded also on religious topics, which are out of the domain of my blog to disseminate. Fact is, it was during Byzantium Empire (325 AC to 1453) that Christianity started persecuting other Christian sects (named heretics) on the ground of not bowing to the State proclaimed religion.  This centralized tradition in religious affairs was transmitted to Catholic Rome, which imposed the Dark Age in Europe ( particularly the Inquisition) from 400 AC to way after the 17th century.  Catholic Rome prohibited sciences and tamed all kinds of rational thinking and expression of opinions…

Fact is, it was during the Byzantium Empire that Christian sects in the Middle -East suffered the largest waves of immigration to Empires that didn’t persecute on religious ground such as the Persian Sassanian Empire, and even reached China (the Nestorian sect, which translated their Bible into Chinese). (See note 3)

Note 1:  If it were not for the nascent Arabic Empire of the Omayyad dynasty in Damascus, which translated the Greek works into Arabic, most probably Europe would have not found any Greek work left to boast being descendent from…You know, democracy, rational thinking, and all that mythical stuff.  Fact is, it was the Christian scholars in the Near -East who undertook the task of the translation, either directly from Greek or via the language of the land Aramaic (later called Syriac)

Note 2:  You may read

Note 3: Good background to the genesis of Byzantium and State Christian religion




June 2023

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