This chapter provides a background on the life and times of Dionysius of Tel-Mahre, who was was al-Maʾmun's contemporary and a client of his general ʿAbd Allah ibn Tahir. It details how ʿAbd Allah supported Dionysius to retain the patriarchate in the teeth of the complaints of rivals. It also talks about Dionysius' links with ʿAbd Allah that allowed Dionysius to act as a representative of the caliph in Egypt. The chapter details how Christian institutions were strengthened by the support they received from the caliph's government. It mentions that Christian leaders were able to gather tithes and issue legislation that is facilitated by official support in the recognition of an official patriarch and the use of coercion against recalcitrant clergy during an era when the reach of government was becoming deeper and more effective.
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