Magazine September 8, 2014, Issue

Iraq’s Christian Martyrs

Iraqi Christians pray during Sunday Mass at the Church of Virgin Mary, in Baghdad. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Captive in Babylon, suffering worse than exile

Legend has it that Abgar V, “the Black,” ruler of the small Mesopotamian kingdom of Osroene, was incurably ill. Shortly after 33 a.d., a wanderer came to Edessa, where the king had his throne — a wanderer anointed by the miracle-worker, Jesus, who had recently died and, some said, risen from the grave. The stranger’s name was Addai, or Thaddeus, numbered among the Seventy and sent by the Apostle Thomas, the twin, the doubter. Addai worked a great miracle: He healed the king. Abgar converted to Christianity, as did his kingdom — whereby Christianity came to Iraq.

Not quite 2,000 years

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