|Abgar V of Edessa|
|Ruler of the kingdom of Osroene|
|Spouse||Helena of Adiabene|
|Venerated in||Eastern Orthodox Church, Syrian Orthodox Church, Armenian Apostolic Church|
Abgar was described as "king of the Arabs" by Tacitus, a near-contemporary source. According to Movses Khorenatsi, Abgar was an Armenian. Yet both Robert W.Thomson and Richard G. Hovannisian state Abgar's Armenian ethnicity was invented by Khorenatsi. Most modern academics present the Abgarid dynasty as an Arab dynasty. Consequently, Lucas Van Rompay, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, states that, "as far as the ethnic descent of the Abgarid kings is concerned, we cannot ascertain whether they were Arabs(as some of the names may indicate), Aramean, Parthian, or Armenian". Abgar's nephew, King Sanatruk of Armenia, is also chronicled extensively in Armenian writings.
Abgar V came to power in 4 BC. He became a Roman client, lost his throne in 7 AD and regained it five years later.
Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi, or Moses of Chorene (ca. 410–490s AD), reported that the chief wife of King Abgar V was Queen Helena of Adiabene, the wife of King Monobaz I of Adiabene, and thus the kingdoms of Edessa and Adiabene were linked in some manner. Robert Eisenman suggests Queen Helena as one of the wives of King Abgar V, who allotted her the lands of Adiabene. Professor Eisenman derived this association from Movses Khorenatsi mentioning the same famine relief to Judaea as does Flavius Josephus:
As to the first of Abgar’s wives, named Helena... She went away to Jerusalem in the time of Claudius, during the famine which Agabus had predicted; with all her treasures she bought in Egypt an immense quantity of corn, which she distributed amongst the poor, a fact to which Josephus testifies. Helena’s tomb, a truly remarkable one, is still to be seen before the gate of Jerusalem.
Professor Eisenman goes on to equate King Abgarus V with the Agabus in Acts of the Apostles (Acts 11:27-30), because Agabus was identified with the same famine relief as Queen Helena. By necessity Eisenman then equates the biblical Antioch Orontes with Antioch Edessa, indicating that Paul the Apostle and Barnabas went to Edessa.
On August 24, 2009, the board of the Central Bank of Armenia adopted a decision on introducing a new banknote with a nominal value of AMD 100,000. The new banknote depicts King Abgar V, described as King of Armenian Mesopotamia. The front of the banknote depicts Abgar pointing at the royal flag bearing an image of the Mandylion. The reverse of the banknote depicts disciple Thaddeus of Edessa handing the canvas to King Abgar V and his consequent miraculous healing.
The church historian Eusebius records that the Edessan archives contained a copy of a correspondence exchanged between Abgar of Edessa and Jesus. The correspondence consisted of Abgar's letter and the answer dictated by Jesus. On August 15, 944, the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae in Constantinople received the letter and the Mandylion. Both relics were then moved to the Church of the Virgin of the Pharos.
The account of this enjoyed great popularity in the East, and also in the West, during the Middle Ages: Jesus' letter was copied on parchment, inscribed in marble and metal, and used as a talisman or an amulet. Of this correspondence, there survive not only a Syriac text, but an Armenian translation as well, two independent Greek versions, shorter than the Syriac, and several inscriptions on stone.
A curious growth has arisen from this event, with scholars disputing whether Abgar suffered from gout or from leprosy, whether the correspondence was on parchment or papyrus, and so forth.
The text of the letter was:
Abgar, ruler of Edessa, to Jesus the good physician who has appeared in the country of Jerusalem, greeting. I have heard the reports of you and of your cures as performed by you without medicines or herbs. For it is said that you make the blind to see and the lame to walk, that you cleanse lepers and cast out impure spirits and demons, and that you heal those afflicted with lingering disease, and raise the dead. And having heard all these things concerning you, I have concluded that one of two things must be true: either you are God, and having come down from heaven you do these things, or else you, who does these things, are the son of God. I have therefore written to you to ask you if you would take the trouble to come to me and heal all the ill which I suffer. For I have heard that the Jews are murmuring against you and are plotting to injure you. But I have a very small yet noble city which is great enough for us both.
Jesus gave the messenger the reply to return to Abgar:
Blessed are you who hast believed in me without having seen me. For it is written concerning me, that they who have seen me will not believe in me, and that they who have not seen me will believe and be saved. But in regard to what you have written me, that I should come to you, it is necessary for me to fulfill all things here for which I have been sent, and after I have fulfilled them thus to be taken up again to him that sent me. But after I have been taken up I will send to you one of my disciples, that he may heal your disease and give life to you and yours.
Egeria wrote of the letter in her account of her pilgrimage in Edessa. She read the letter during her stay, and remarked that the copy in Edessa was fuller than the copies in her home (which was likely France).
In addition to the importance it attained in the apocryphal cycle, the correspondence of King Abgar also gained a place in liturgy for some time. The Syriac liturgies commemorate the correspondence of Abgar during Lent. The Celtic liturgy appears to have attached importance to it; the Liber Hymnorum, a manuscript preserved at Trinity College, Dublin (E. 4, 2), gives two collects on the lines of the letter to Abgar. It is even possible that this letter, followed by various prayers, may have formed a minor liturgical office in some Catholic churches.
This event has played an important part in the self-definition of several Eastern churches. Abgar is counted as saint, with feasts on May 11 and October 28 in the Eastern Orthodox Church, August 1 in the Syrian Church, and daily in the Mass of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Armenian Apostolic Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, is named after Saint Abgar (also spelled as Apkar).
The scholar Bart D. Ehrman cites evidence from Han Drijvers and others for regarding the whole correspondence as forged in the third century by orthodox Christians "as an anti-Manichaean polemic", and entirely spurious.
A number of contemporary scholars have suggested origins of the tradition of Abgar's conversion apart from historical record. S. K. Ross suggests the story of Abgar is in the genre of a genealogical myth which traces the origin of a community back to a mythical or divine ancestor. F. C. Burkitt argues that the conversion of Edessa at the time of Abgar VIII was retrojected upon the Apostolic age. William Adler suggests the origin of the story of the conversion of Abgar V was an invention of an antiquarian researcher employed by Abgar VIII, who had recently converted to Christianity, in an effort to securely root Christianity in the history of the city. Walter Bauer, on the other hand, argued the legend was written without sources to reinforce group cohesiveness, orthodoxy, and apostolic succession against heretical schismatics. However, several distinct sources, known to have not been in contact with one another, claimed to have seen the letters in the archives, so his claim is suspect. 
Significant advances in scholarship on the topic have been made by Desreumaux's translation with commentary, M. Illert's collection of textual witnesses to the legend, and detailed studies of the ideology of the sources by Brock, Griffith, and Mirkovic. The majority of scholars now claim the goal of the authors and editors of texts regarding the conversion of Abgar were not so much concerned with historical reconstruction of the Christianisation of Edessa as the relationships between church and state power, based on the political and ecclesiological ideas of Ephraem the Syrian. However, the origins of the story are far still from certain, although the stories as recorded seem to have been shaped by the controversies of the third century CE, especially as a response to Bardaisan.
Lucius Aelius Megas Abgar IX was an Arab ruler of Osroene from AD 177 to 212.
Andrew Louth in his "Who's Who in Eusebius" at the end of G. A. Williamson's translation of Eusebius of Caesarea's Ecclesiastical History gives the dates of Abgar's reign as from 179-214.
During the reign of Abgar the Great, Christians were favored in the realm of Osroene. It is thought by some that this led to the story of the letters between Abgar V and Jesus of Nazareth. In 1904, Adolf von Harnack proposed that Abgar IX may have been the origin of the story in Liber Pontificalis that King Lucius of Britain wrote to Pope Eleuterus.Abgarid dynasty
The Abgarid dynasty or Abgar dynasty was a dynasty of Nabataean Arab origin. Members of the dynasty, the Abgarids, reigned between 134 and 242 over Edessa and Osroene in Upper Mesopotamia, "first a buffer state between Rome and the Parthians and later a vassal state of Rome". Some members of the dynasty bore Iranian names, while others had Arab names. J.B. Segal notes that the names ending in "-u" are "undoubtedly Nabatean". The Abgarid dynasts spoke "a form of Aramaic". Following the Battle of Carrhae (53 BC), members of the dynasty pursued a broadly pro-Parthian policy for about two centuries. At the turn of the 2nd century AD, the Romans turned Osroene into a Roman client state. During Caracalla's reign (r. 198–217), most likely in 214, Abgar IX Severus was deposed and Osroene was incorporated as a Roman province (colonia). Thereafter, Abgarid dynasts only ruled "in name". Abgar X Frahad, the last nominal Abgarid ruler, settled in Rome together with his wife.Abuna
Abun (or Abuna, which is the status constructus form used when a name follows: Ge'ez አቡነ ’abuna/abune, 'our father'; Amharic and Tigrinya) is the honorific title used for any bishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as well as of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. It was historically used solely for the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Ethiopia during the more than 1000 years when the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria appointed only one bishop at a time to serve its Ethiopian flock. When referred to without a name following, it is Abun, and if a name follows, it becomes Abuna ... (e.g., Abuna Paulos).Acts of Thaddeus
The Acts of Thaddeus (Greek: Πραξεὶ̀ς τοῦ Θαδδαίου) is a Greek document written between 544 and 944 CE which purports to describe correspondence between King Abgar V of Edessa and Jesus, which results in Jesus' disciple Thaddeus going to Edessa.Aggai (bishop)
Aggai was a 1st-century primate of the Church of the East, and a disciple of Mar Addai, who is believed to have sat from 66 to 81.
It was said that Aggai was one of the seventy apostles, and was assigned the East as far as the border of India as his mission field. Mar Addai, the traditional apostle of Mesopotamia, appointed him his successor shortly before his death. Like Addai before him, Aggai preached in various regions of the East.Armenian dram
The dram (Armenian: դրամ; sign: ֏; code: AMD) is the monetary unit of Armenia and the neighboring unrecognized Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). It was historically subdivided into 100 luma (Armenian: լումա). The word "dram" translates into English as "money" and is cognate with the Greek drachma and the Arabic dirham, as well as the English weight unit dram. The first instance of a dram currency was in the period from 1199 to 1375, when silver coins called dram were issued.Coptic monasticism
Coptic Monasticism is claimed to be the original form of Monasticism as St. Anthony of Egypt became the first one to be called "monk" (Gr: μοναχός) and he was the first to established a Christian monastery which is now known as the Monastery of Saint Anthony in the Red Sea area. St. Anthony's Monastery (also known as the Monastery of Abba Antonious) is now the oldest monastery in the world.
Although Saint Anthony's way of life was focused on solidarity, Saint Pachomius the Cenobite, a Copt from Upper Egypt, established communal monasticism in his monasteries in upper Egypt which laid the basic monastic structure for many of the monasteries today in many monastic orders (even outside Coptic Orthodoxy).Ethiopian Orthodox Coptic Church of North and South America
The Ethiopian Orthodox Coptic Church of North and South America is an independent Oriental Orthodox body which is not recognized by or in communion with any of the autocephalous Oriental Orthodox churches including the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Holy Synod in Exile, headed by then-Patriarch in exiled Abuna Merkorios, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Holy Synod in Ethiopia led by Abune Mathias. Instead, it is associated with number of organizations of episcopi vagantes including the Apostolic Episcopal Church, the African Orthodox Church and the Russian True Orthodox Church of North America.Ethiopian ecclesiastical titles
Ethiopian ecclesiastical titles refers to the offices of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, a hierarchical organization. Some of the more important offices are unique to it.Ezana of Axum
‘Ezana of Axum (Ge'ez: ዒዛና ‘Ezana, unvocalized ዐዘነ ‘zn; also spelled Aezana or Aizan) was ruler of the Kingdom of Aksum (320s – c. 360 AD) located in present-day northern Ethiopia, Yemen, part of southern Saudi Arabia, northern Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and parts of Sudan. He himself employed the style (official title) "king of Saba and Salhen, Himyar and Dhu-Raydan". Tradition states that ‘Ezana succeeded his father Ella Amida (Ousanas) while still a child and his mother, Sofya served as regent.French Coptic Orthodox Church
The French Coptic Orthodox Church (French: Métropole copte orthodoxe de France) is a Coptic Orthodox church centered in France. It is within the Oriental Orthodox tradition.Helena of Adiabene
Helena of Adiabene (Hebrew: הלני מלכת חדייב) (d. ca. 50-56 CE) was a Persian or Magian queen of Adiabene (modern-day Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan) and Edessa (modern-day Urfa, Turkey) and the wife of Monobaz I, her brother, and Abgarus V. With her husband, Monobaz I, she was the mother of Izates II and Monobaz II. Helena became a convert to Judaism about the year 30 CE. The names of some of her family members and the fact that she was married to her brother indicate an Iranian, Zoroastrian or Magian origin. According to Josephus, Helena was the daughter of King Izates, and according to both Josephus and Moses of Chorene, she was the chief wife of Abgar V king of Edessa.Mar Awgin
Mar Awgin (died 363 AD), also known as Awgin of Clysma or Saint Eugenios, [Armenian Մարուգէ] founded the first cenobitic monastery of Asia and is regarded as the founder of monasticism in Mesopotamia.Miaphysitism
Miaphysitism is Cyril of Alexandria's Christological formula holding that in the person of Jesus Christ, divine nature and human nature are united (μία, mia – "one" or "unity") in a compound nature ("physis"), the two being united without separation, without mixture, without confusion and without alteration.Historically, Chalcedonian Christians have considered Miaphysitism in general to be amenable to an orthodox interpretation, in contrast to Monophysitism. Since 1142, Oriental Orthodoxy uses the term "Miaphysite" for themselves but prefer to call themselves non-Chalcedonians.Nine Saints
The Nine Saints were a group of missionaries who were important in the initial growth of Christianity in what is now Ethiopia during the late 5th century. Their names were Abba Aftse, Abba Alef, Abba Aragawi, Abba Garima (Isaac, or Yeshaq), Abba Guba, Abba Liqanos, Abba Pantelewon, Abba Sehma, and Abba Yem’ata. Although frequently described as coming from Syria, only two or three actually came from that province; according to Paul B. Henze, others have been traced to Constantinople, Anatolia, and even Rome.The Ethiopian historian Tadesse Tamrat speculates that they may have been connected with the anti-Monophysite and anti-Miaphysite persecutions that followed the Council of Chalcedon, which adopted Dyophysitism. Tradition states that upon arrival they were welcomed by the Axumite king Ella Amida. Their activities spread Christianity beyond "a narrow corridor between Adulis and Aksum along the caravan routes." Besides converting the local inhabitants to Christianity, they also founded a number of monastic houses that followed the rule of Saint Pachomius: Abba Aftse founded the monastery at Yeha; Abba Alef the northernmost establishment at Bi'isa on the south bank of the Mareb River; the foundation of the important monastery of Debre Damo is attributed to Abba Aragawi; Abbas Liqanos and Pantelewon are credited with establishing Pentalewon Monastery in Axum; Abba Garima founded Abba Garima Monastery north of Adwa; Abba Guba the one at Madara; Abba Sehma one at Sedenya; and Abba Yem’ata founded the southernmost one of the group in the Gar'alta, noted for its Abuna Yemata Guh church named after him.Osroene
Osroene, also spelled Osroëne and Osrhoene (Arabic: مملكة الرها; Classical Syriac: ܡܠܟܘܬܐ ܕܒܝܬ ܐܘܪܗܝ "Kingdom of Urhay"; Ancient Greek: Ὀσροηνή) and sometimes known by the name of its capital city, Edessa (now Şanlıurfa, Turkey), was a historical kingdom in Upper Mesopotamia, which was ruled by the Abgarid dynasty of Arab origin. It enjoyed semi-autonomy to complete independence from the years of 132 BC to AD 216, and a Roman province from 216 to 608, from 318 a part of the Diocese of the East.
By the 5th century, Edessa had become a center of Syriac literature and learning. In 608, the Sasanian emperor, Khosrow II, took Osroëne. In 638, it fell to the Muslims as part of the Muslim conquests.Thaddeus of Edessa
According to some Eastern Christian traditions, Thaddeus, (Syriac: Addai or Aday (ܐܕܝ) (sometimes Latinized as Addeus)), was one of the seventy disciples of Christ, possibly identical with Thaddeus (Jude the Apostle) of the Twelve Apostles.Third Council of Ephesus
The Third Council of Ephesus was held in the Anatolian city of Ephesus in 475. It was presided over by Pope Timothy II of Alexandria, and also attended by Peter the Fuller, then Patriarch of Antioch, Paul the Exarch of Ephesus and Anastasius I of Jerusalem. There were reportedly 500-700 bishops present at the council. It ratified a recent encyclical of Emperor Basiliscus which condemned the Council of Chalcedon and particularly the Tome of Leo. This council thus constitutes one of the most significant synodical condemnations of Chalcedon for the Oriental Orthodox. In response to the accusations of certain Chalcedonians that they, the Non-Chalcedonians, had adopted the erroneous teachings of Eutyches, the attendees of Ephesus III summarily anathematized Eutyches and those of his teachings which compromised the humanity of Christ. Additionally, the council restored the complete autonomy of the Exarchate of Ephesus (corresponding to the civil Diocese of Asia), which had been compromised at Chalcedon by ascribing authority to the Patriarch of Constantinople over Thrace, Pontus, and Asia.Yared
Saint Yared (Ge'ez: ቅዱስ ያሬድ; April 25, 505 – May 20, 571) was a legendary Ethiopian musician from Tigray credited with inventing the sacred music tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Ethiopia's system of musical notation. He is responsible for creating the Zema or the chant tradition of Ethiopia, particularly the chants of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which are still performed today. He is regarded as a saint of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church with a feast day of 11 Genbot (May 19). His name is from the Biblical person known in English as "Jared" (Gen. 5:15).