Thomas the Presbyter

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Thomas the Presbyter was a 7th-century Middle Eastern Jacobite author whose manuscripsts are preserved in the British library of Syriac Manuscripts.

Syriac Orthodox Church The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, or Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is an Oriental Orthodox Church tracing its origin‎ to Antioch by Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the 1st century.

The Syriac Orthodox Church, or Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is an autocephalous Christian church within the wider communion of Oriental Orthodoxy. It was established by Severus of Antioch in Antioch in 518 A.D., influenced by Jacob Baradaeus, while tracing its history to Antioch by Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the 1st century, according to its tradition. The Church uses the Divine Liturgy of Saint James, associated with Saint James, the "brother" of Jesus and patriarch among the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem. Syriac is the official and liturgical language of the Church based on Syriac Christianity. The primate of the church is the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch currently Ignatius Aphrem II since 2014, seated in the Cathedral of Saint George, Bab Tuma, Damascus, Syria.

The writings provide an eye witness account to the Islamic conquest in the mid-7th century:

In the year 945, indiction 7, on Friday 4 February at the ninth hour, there was a battle between the Romans and the Arabs of Muhmd in Palestine twelve miles east of Gaza. The Romans fled, leaving behind the patrician bryrdn, whom the Arabs killed. Some 4,000 poor villagers of Palestine were killed there, Christians, Jews and Samaritans. The Arabs ravaged the whole region. [1]
In the year 947, indiction 9, the Arabs invaded the whole of Syria and went down to Persia and conquered it. The Arabs climbed the mountain of Mardin and killed many monks there in [the monasteries of] Qedar and Bnata. There died the blessed man Simon, doorkeeper of Qedar, brother of Thomas the priest. [2]

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Robert G. Hoyland is a scholar and historian, specializing in the medieval history of the Middle East. He is a former student of historian Patricia Crone and was a Leverhulme Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is currently Professor of Late Antique and Early Islamic Middle Eastern History at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, having previously been Professor of Islamic history at the University of Oxford's Faculty of Oriental Studies and a Professor of history at the University of St. Andrews and UCLA.