John became bishop of Tella in 519, but left for exile only two years later when Justin I enforced the Council of Chalcedon which Syrian Orthodox Christians refused to accept. John became one of Justinian’s most dangerous ecclesiastical opponents by ordaining thousands of deacons and priests who formed the first generation of the Syrian Orthodox hierarchy. In the present text John lays out his faith in a way which gives an inside view of how a non-Chalcedonian bishop of the sixth century located himself and his co-religionists within the Christian tradition and how he understood the foundation of the Church.
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