In Life and Letters in Roman Africa page 117, it is mentioned that Cyriacus, the Archbishop of Carthage was arrested by Arab rulers on complaints by his own Roman Catholic followers.

I find it very odd that Christians complained to Muslim Arab rulers about their own Archbishop. He was of course not teaching something heretical as Pope Gregory VII took his side which means he wasn't doing anything considered thoelogically wrong.

What were those complaints which lead to his arrest by the Arab authorities?

1 Answer 1


Turns out that he

[R]efused to perform uncanonical consecration, and for this reason some of his flock accused him before the Saracenic emir, who tortured him in a cruel manner.



Another side to ecclesiastical appointment was the increasingly common pattern [...] in which the appointment of church officials was confirmed by Muslim authorities. This not only entailed frequent intrigue and cajoling at the caliphal court but also the accordance of caliphal decrees in exchange for payment.

This is from page 117 of A Common Justice: The Legal Allegiances of Christians and Jews Under Early Islam by Simonsohn. Google Books link

  • 1
    +1 For the reason behind the complaint but can you add what exactly were the accusations? When I picture Christians going to Emir with complaints about their bishop's refusal to perform uncanonical services, I can see him rolling his eyes.
    – NSNoob
    Oct 26, 2016 at 13:17
  • @NSNoob Presumably there was something in it for the emir. Just as a pure guess: if a new bishop has to give valuable gifts to the emir as thanks for his appointment, it's in the emir's interests to appoint new bishops as often as possible... But I doubt it's possible to know the full details of the case now. Oct 26, 2016 at 13:19
  • In that case, Would you perhaps like to add a reference to establish that such a practice existed? IIRC, Arabs did not receive gifts from the Clergy on their appointments. They however took Jizya from general non-Muslim populations. Nor did they interfere in appointments of the clergy
    – NSNoob
    Oct 26, 2016 at 13:22
  • @NSNoob Of course they did :) I am adding a reference. Oct 26, 2016 at 15:54
  • Have you found a reference for the incentive involved for the Emir? Ping me when you do so that I can mark it as the correct answer
    – NSNoob
    Oct 27, 2016 at 6:47

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