The Kurdish People and Christianity

I am fascinated by the Table of Nations listed in Genesis Chapter 10. In it, we find that the nations of the world are descended from the three sons of Noah: Ham, Shem, and Japheth.

Being of Greek descent myself, I have zeroed in on the line Japheth, who according to this narrative, is the father of the Indo-European peoples. (Ham being the patriarch of the Canaanites, Egyptians, and Africans and Shem being the progenitor of the Semitic peoples.)

So, concentrating on Japheth, we read that he had seven sons: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek, and Tiras.

According to many exegetes, each of these sons was the originator of the following nations (in order): (1) Gomer, the Armenians and Cimmerians; (2) Magog, the Scythians; (3) Madai, the Medo-Persians and Kurds; (4) Javan, the Greeks and Italians; (5) Tubal, the Turks and Finno-Ugric peoples; (6) Meshek, the Slavs; and (7) Tiras, the Etruscans and Anatolians (including the Hittites).

We can have a lot of fun with this: for instance Tubal is also considered to be the father of the Iberians (Basques and the Georgians), while the Scythians are often confused with the Scots. But as you all probably aware, that’s a story for another day.

Today, Gail and I would like to introduce you to a friend of ours, Monk Madai. When we first met him, we assumed that he was Georgian. In truth, Fr Madai is a Kurd, who was born in Georgia.  In addition to Kurdish and Georgian, he speaks Russian and Greek fluently. He’s learning English but for now I mostly converse with him in Greek.  [Editor Note: I use charades to talk to him and he is very fluent in that, as well. Mrs. M] 

Fr Madai is an intelligent man with a visage that can make one think that he stepped out of a museum that had Assyrian artifacts. Many things drew us to him, however, among them an aura of innocence and a heart for evangelism. He’s also got that phronema we all talk about.  He is a jovial sort. 

Another funny story that is telling about him happened last Halloween.  Gail had to step out for a little and I tried to explain the concept of Halloween, basically telling him that this was a cute shake-down racket in which kids get free candy. Bemused, he asked me after the third or fourth doorbell, if he could hand out the candy to the kids, too. Not being one to disappoint, I said “sure!” He got a total kick out of it but we both had a belly laugh when one child told him “Hey, I like you’re costume! Who are you supposed to be?”

Seriously, the reason the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to write about all this “…and he begat” stuff was to prepare Israel for its greatest task, which was to birth the Messiah, who would save the entire world, not just the Israelites. The Table of Nations is a testimony to the continued outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the nations of man.

Though we live in dark times and the Ark of Salvation may be grounded upon the rock of schism, there is always hope. Christ Himself said that his Bride would endure until the end of time when he would come back to reclaim her.

So we should remember that, while going forward “baptizing all nations, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”.

The interview below is a testimony that the Gospel of Christ, belongs to all nations.


  1. ‘ …one child told him “Hey, I like you’re costume!
    Who are you supposed to be?” ‘

    My Godfather, who is a priest-monk (besides being a very tall man), was once walking through the leafy lanes in the West-End of Glasgow when he came across two teenage girls dressed as Goths (the modern ones – black clothes, black lipstick, white powdered faces, etc). As he approached them, they fell silent. As he passed, he heard one say to the other:

    Concerning the Kurds, whenever I hear the claim that Kurds are simply “Mountain Turks”, I like to point out that they had been settled in Kurdistan for over a thousand years before the first Turk rode out of Central Asia.
    “How can you say that?” I was once asked.
    “Because I have read the Anabasis of Xenophon. He and his Ten Thousand had to fight their way through the Kurds (Carduchians) to get to the Black Sea and safety.”

    Of the Yezidis, I knew (or thought I knew) little. Having read Monk Madai’s account,
    I now realise I knew even less than I thought I did. A salutary lesson indeed.

    It was an interesting article and an even more interesting reference.
    Thank you George.

  2. Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

    Thank you, George for this beautiful story of Father Madai. This is inspiring and a wonderful example of evangelism and the continued work of the Holy Spirit continuing to guide the Church in all things.

  3. Michael Bauman says

    Just a little whimsy my diseased imagination could not resist:

    George you have a certain way talking of the Kurds. It is light and breezy without being cheesy

  4. George Michalopulos says

    Fr, Brendan, you’re quite welcome.

  5. This was really neat. God bless Fr. Madai and may their monastery continue to bear fruit.

    Speaking of St. Iakovos and the Georgians, at least their synod has issued more sound reasoning about the vaccine:

  6. There is a blog called Just Genesis that is loaded with all things Genesis. It is worth a visit.

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