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August 27, 2006


Fr. John Zuhlsdorf refered to St. Alypius a couple of weeks ago. I was intrigued


how similar his name sounds to Alopen, an early syriac Christian whose distant travels in NorthEastern Asia are recorded on the Xi-an stele in Hebei, China (from “Le Christ Chinois, Héritages et espérance” Collection Christus No. 87 Essais, Desclée de Brouwer, Bellarmin, Paris, 1998,)

Your spelling Theresa intrigues me all the more, for it could be read al-pius "the reverent one." Perhaps Augustines friend gives us an indication of where the honorific for Christian pastors (commonly abbreviated Rev.) originated? If so, the name on the monument in China might simply mean Priest, not as I had surmised a proper name of the person himself.

The fate of the syriac-liturgical Christians is certainly shrouded in mystery, a promising field for ecclesiastical anthropologists and archeologists. Pray for peace in the Middle East that our sacred heritage not suffer pillage and loss under violent conflicts (the Christian antiquities minister in Irag fled for his life just this week, so sad).

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