by Jules Gomes • ChurchMilitant.com • March 2, 2021
Francis will pray with Peacock-Angel-worshipping Yezidis in Iraq
VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) -
Pope Francis will be the first pontiff in history to pray with members of a syncretistic sect who worship a "fallen angel" depicted as a peacock and identified with the Devil.
The Yezidis — persecuted to the point of genocide by the Islamic State (ISIS) as "Devil worshippers" — will participate in the pope's Saturday interreligious service in Ur with Muslims, Mandaean-Sabeans and members of Iraq's other religious communities.
While the mainstream media and some religious scholars vigorously reject the "sensational epithet" of "Devil worshippers" as a "term used both by unsympathetic neighbors and fascinated westerners," recent scholarship explains how the Yezidi deity — the Peacock Angel — simultaneously embodies "both god and demon."
Yezidism blends elements of Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Gnosticism, Christianity, Sufism and Islam, adopting a "holy trinity" comprising of the Peacock Angel, Sheikh 'Adi (founder of the proto-Yezidi religion) and Sultan Yezid or Êzî (the Umayyad caliph Yazid ibn Mu'awiya).
The Peacock Angel (Malak-Tāwūs) is the chief deity of the Yezidi holy trinity, while 'Adi and Êzî are deified versions of their historical counterparts. On the one hand, the peacock symbolizes grandeur and magnificence, but it conjures pride and passion on the other. This makes it a fitting embodiment of both god and demon at the same time.
Iranian-born Armenian Prof. Garnik S. Asatrian from Yerevan State University and Prof. Victoria A. Arakelova from the RAU Institute of Oriental Studies, Armenia, agree that Yezidis have been persecuted "as pagans, heretics or Devil-worshippers" because of their "religious idiosyncrasy."
However, in their monograph The Religion of the Peacock Angel: The Yezidis and Their Spirit World, Asatrian and Arakelova argue that Yezidism is "monotheistic," despite the "minor deities of the Yezidi pantheon" (including spirits and demons) because its "component deities" are "unambiguous manifestations of the one god worshipped by adherents."
The Armenian scholars explain how Yezidis regard Malak-Tāwūs — a sort of demiurge Peacock Angel — as "the fallen angel expelled from paradise for disobedience to the will of god," as in the biblical and Islamic traditions.
In Yezidism, however, Satan as the angelic head is only "temporarily overthrown as a punishment, but, in time, becomes a recipient of mercy," and, in Yezidi mysticism, Satan is "eventually exonerated or his deed not regarded as sin in any way," they stress.
The esoteric Yezidis, like Sufis, "accept evil as one of the necessary principles of creation, 'unjustifiably' condemned by the dogmatic religions, without which it is impossible to comprehend the source of energy per se," Asatrian and Arakelova explain.
Baltimore Catechism:How does a Catholic sin against faith? A Catholic sins against faith by apostasy, heresy, indifferentism, and by taking part in non-Catholic worship.