Phrygian Chrestianity

Phrygia in Classical Antiquity is best known today for its red cap, famously worn by the Magi.

Left: Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men" (named Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar). Detail from: "Mary and Child, surrounded by angels", mosaic of a Ravennate Italian-Byzantine workshop, completed within 526 CE by the so-called "Master of Sant'Apollinare".

This tradition - as with Ravenna in this period - is commonly claimed as Arian, though it is described here as Chrestian.

The Phrygian red cap has other, important associations.

Mithras - the name is a form of Mithra, the name of an Old Persian god - wore the Phrygian red cap. He was worshipped by Roman soldiers and Romans regarded the Mithraic Mysteries as having Persian or Zoroastrian sources.

Phrygia has long been regarded as the home of an ancient and heretical brand of Christianity, which was termed Montanist:

Montanism was an early Christian movement of the late 2nd century, later referred to by the name of its founder, Montanus, but originally known by its adherents as the New Prophecy. It originated in Phrygia, a province of Asia Minor, and flourished throughout the region, leading to the movement being referred to elsewhere as "Cataphrygian" (meaning it was "from Phrygia") or simply as "Phrygian". It spread rapidly to other regions in the Roman Empire at a time before Christianity was generally tolerated or legal. It persisted in some isolated places into the 6th century.

But just as Arianism has no bishop Arius, so Montanism has no Montanus - they are creations of the medieval textual tradition in order to erase Chrestianity from the historical record.

Archaeologists from the 19th century on have studied the Tembris Valley in Phrygia and found many references to Chrestians, starting in the early 3rd century. Later, the eta of Chrest is joined by an iota to make Chreist, then the original eta is either destroyed in some cases, or omitted, and Christ appears.

Phrygia and the Tembris Valley

This Chrestian Church seems to have been the result of the missionary work of Saul, the Herodian agent provocateur working to destroy the Qumran community of James the Just.

The Seven Churches of Revelation, also known as The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse and The Seven Churches of Asia (referring to the Roman province of Asia, not the entire continent), are seven major churches of Early Christianity, as mentioned in the New Testament Book of Revelation.

The location of Phrygia is also interesting in a number of other regards: its close relation to the kingdom of Pergamon, ruled by Lysimachus, the general of Alexander the Great's bodyguard and whose child became co-founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt; as home to the "Great Mother", Cybele, which became popular in imperial Rome; and the worship there of Sabazios, the sky and father-god depicted on horseback. All these may have influenced both Chrestianity and later, Christianity.

A little to the north is the Black Sea port of Sinope and this may not be coincidental, for two men were known as of Sinope who both played in important role in Chrestianity:

Aquila, whom both Jewish and Christian tradition claim as a convert as well as a member of the family of the emperor Hadrian - and as architect of Aelia Capitolina atop the destroyed Jerusalem, banning Jews entry there, may be regarded as instrumental in provoking the Third Jewish-Roman War (the role played by Saul in the First); and 

Marcion, who seems to have led a Chrestian Church in the region in the 3rd-early-4th century. His divine man is Isu Chrestos, not Jesus Christ. Although the Christian textual tradition claims knowledge of Marcion, Marcionites and their faith, little contemporaneous evidence exists for any of it; in this, Marcion appears to be "Pauline", rejecting Jewish Law and tradition.

But the first collector of the Pauline Epistles had been Marcion. No one else we know of would be a good candidate, certainly not the essentially fictive Luke, Timothy, and Onesimus. And Marcion, as Burkitt and Bauer show, fills the bill perfectly.1 2

Marcion therefore probably had an important role in creating the Pauline textual tradition for the Chrestian Church, and which - through imperial sponsorship in the 4th century - was merged with the gospel textual tradition (and The Shepherd of Hermas) to form the New Testament.

It may not be coincidental that the Gothic invasion of the Eastern empire in the mid-3rd century featured a seaborne attack from Scythian Crimea landing at Sinope, entering Roman Asia, a major event for which almost no contemporaneous record now exists.

Emperor worship was prevalent in provincial communities during the Roman empire. Soon after Augustus came to power, temples erected in his honor sprang up across Asia province. The establishment of provincial centers of emperor worship further spawned local cults. These sites served as models followed by other provinces throughout the empire...
The Gothic invasions of the 250s and 260s, part of the Crisis of the Third Century, contributed to failing feelings of security.

Phrygian Chrestianity springs from Saul (who becomes the divine Paul), is imperially sponsored, denies Jewish Law, and develops its own textual tradition which has neither a Jesus, nor Christ.
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