"[W]ilken's book would make a nice addition to the library of a pastor or seminary student seeking an up-to-date overview of the first millennium of Christian history. His writing style makes it easy and interesting to read....His emphasis on the spread of Christianity beyond the Roman empire shows that the gospel has had a global reach from the very beginning of the church's history."--Joel Otto, "Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly"--Joel Otto "Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly "
From the Author
An excerpt from Robert Louis Wilken’s The First Thousand Years:
In the early sixth century, a merchant set out from Egypt to sail to the southern coast of India. Like earlier visitors from the Roman Empire, he had undertaken the long journey to bring home peppercorns from the Malabar coastal region, and he called India the land where “pepper grows.”
The name of the sixth-century traveler was Cosmas, and because of his journey to India he is known to historians as Cosmas Indicopleustes, Cosmas the Indian Navigator. Cosmas was a Christian, and in his Christian Topography he reports on Christian communities discovered in his travels. He spent some time in Malabar, the southwestern coast of India, in present-day Kerala, where he found a church with a bishop appointed from Persia. He also visited Socotra, an island in the Arabian Sea, approximately two hundred miles south of Yemen and east of Somalia, where there were Christians with clergy who received their ordination from Persia. But even more striking, he got as far as Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka) and there he discovered a church composed of “Persian Christians” performing, in his words, the “full ecclesiastical rite.”
Our histories tell us little about the mission to the Far East. As the spread of Christianity to northern Europe was the work of Latin-speaking monks, and the spread of Christianity among the Slavs was the work of Greek-speaking monks, so the spread of Christianity to the east was the work of Syriac-speaking monks from the Church of the East.