The patriarch Sophronius' response to the general Abu Ubayda's capitulation terms were adressed at the caliph Umar. He knew of Umar's personal and leadership qualities that made him feel confident in him. He would not capitulate until Umar himself came to Jerusalem, showing how highly he thought of him. The leader of one of the most powerful armies of the world came in all humility instead of just grabbing what was already his. It is the terror and memory of what had occured a few decades earlier under Persian invasion that made Sophronius capitulate. When the Sassanid Persians seized Palestine, Christians were persecuted and slaughtered, including the clergy. Churches were destroyed and relics confiscated. Jews living under Christian dominion took on the opportunity to avenge centuries of persecution and participated in the killings and lootings. Many Byzantine-Christians, including Sophronius fled to the west. Sophronius would later return once Heraclius defeated the Persians, and was named patriarch of Jerusalem.
When Umar entered Jerusalem, a treaty stipulating the rights and obligations of both partied was redacted and signed by the opposite sides. This is how the Muslims did with all other conquered cities, it wasnt something unique to Jerusalem's case ;
"In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. This is the assurance of safety which the servant of God, Umar, the Commander of the Faithful, has given to the people of Jerusalem. He has given them an assurance of safety for themselves for their property, their churches, their crosses, the sick and healthy of the city and for all the rituals which belong to their religion. Their churches will not be inhabited by Muslims and will not be destroyed. Neither they, nor the land on which they stand, nor their cross, nor their property will be damaged. They will not be forcibly converted. No Jew will live with them in Jerusalem. The people of Jerusalem must pay the taxes like the people of other cities and must expel the Byzantines and the robbers. Those of the people of Jerusalem who want to leave with the Byzantines, take their property and abandon their churches and crosses will be safe until they reach their place of refuge. The villagers may remain in the city if they wish but must pay taxes like the citizens. Those who wish may go with the Byzantines and those who wish may return to their families. Nothing is to be taken from them before their harvest is reaped. If they pay their taxes according to their obligations, then the conditions laid out in this letter are under the covenant of God, are the responsibility of His Prophet, of the caliphs and of the faithful".
It is interesting to note the clause about forbidding Jews to live in Jerusalem, included in the covenant under Sophronius' insistence.
Even in such circumstances Christians still wanted to see the killers of Christ humiliated for Jesus' rejection. It was also a personal revenge for Sophronius who had seen the same Jewish opportunists a few decades earlier entering the city with the Sassanids now among the Muslim troops. He could not stand seeing the wheel turn, especially considering the presence of Jews among the Muslim armies in their conquest of Jerusalem.
For more than 4 centuries, the city would be ruled by the Muslims but remained in essence, Christian. Had the original intent or pattern of conduct of the Muslims been contrary to the terms of the covenant, one would not have found a single Christian remaining in the city nor a church standing, until the invasion and massacre of Muslims by Christ-loving Crusaders.
The only breach of the covenant that occured is Umar allowing a firm Jewish presence in the city and for the first time after a 500 years absence. In addition putting all religious minorities including Jews and Christians as equals under the law. This was a double humiliation for Christians in regards their supremacy over the Jews. A short time before breathing his last, a bitter Sophronius would lament of some Muslims' blasphemous attitude towards Christian beliefs. Anyone familiar with the Quran and the traditions, even on a superficial level knows how Islam forcefully and explicitly rejects the most basic tennets of Christianity.
That era was one of heated debates among religious currents, especially between Christians. When Muslims began mingling with them, these debates intensified with each group convinced of its superiority. Anastasius of Sinai was involved, like many of his peers, including Sophronius in such encounters
"Before any discussion we must first anathematise all the false notions which our adversaries might entertain about us. Thus when we wish to debate with the Arabs, we first anathematise whoever says two gods, or whoever says that God has carnally begotten a son, or whoever worships as god any created thing at all, in heaven or on earth".
Muslim writers, scholars and intellectuals would confront their Christian neighbors on the silliness of their beliefs and their arguments were scandalous to the overly sensitive Christian elite that was worn out with centuries of inter-christian hatred. A Muslim would for example write
"that God is Christ son of Mary and that Christ addressed the disciples 'my brothers', but then if the disciples had sons, God would be their uncle!"
It is interesting to note that the same writer, Jahiz, would complain about Christians and their deceptive modus operandi whenever they are debating religion
"They hunt down what is contradictory in our traditions, our reports with a suspect line of transmission and the ambiguous verses of our scripture. Then they single out the weak-minded among us and question our common people concerning these things, plus whatever they might know of the matter of the heretics".
Throughout the ages, and down to these moder times we live in, little has changed among the disciples of St Paul.
The point is that when Sophronius complained of "blasphemy", it does not entail violence and persecution, especially in this atmosphere of passionate religious febrility. He says nothing of physical violence occuring in Jerusalem. He instead refers to some vague destructions and violence comitted by Muslims in unnamed places. That passage is self serving in his lengthy sermon in which he chastises Christians for their irreligious behavior and consequent defeat by a "God-less people". He transposes biblical prophecies of destruction onto contemporary events, grossly amplifying them so as to incite fear and repentance. He promises that should people mend their ways then
"we would rejoice over the fall of the Saracen enemy and observe their near ruin and witness their final demise".
These Saracen enemies were to him but an evangelizing tool to sermon the people in a time of crisis of faith. In those days, correct spiritual beliefs entailed divine political and military support. With the Byzantine empire crumbling down as a result of Muslim invasions, Anastasius was obsessed with the possibility of having disillusioned Christians apostise. So just like Sophronius a few years prior, Anastasius would resort to fear mongering. The Muslims are now in league with the demons
"Note well that the demons name the Saracens as their companions. And it is with reason. The latter are perhaps even worse than the demons. Indeed, the demons are frequently much afraid of the mysteries of Christ, I mean his holy body ... , the cross, the saints, the relics, the holy oils and many other things. But these demons of flesh trample all that is under their feet, mock it, set fire to it, destroy it".
This isnt speaking of physical destruction of religious sites and relics by Muslims. Anastasius backs this argument with examples of demon posessions and demons assisting Muslims in their tasks, including military campaigns against fellow Christians and the clearing work upon Temple mount. Anastasius even affirms to have witnessed himself demonic activity on the site.
Early Christianity's hatred for Jewish Christ-killers, 700 years after Jesus was still fresh. This clearing work, commissioned by the Muslim authorities meant that Christianity's cynicism came to an end. The humiliating sight of the Jewish holiest site buried under garbage, a reminder of Christianity's victory over Judaism, was over. Sophronius earlier would even excommunicate Christians caught working for the Muslims on the site. Among Anastasius's other "testimonies" of Muslim/satanic partnership was that of Christian sailors who
"arrived at the place where those who have reduced us to servitude have their stone and their cult".
This obviously speaks of the Kaaba and the black stone. The sailors, still having their mysoginistic biblical passages in mind witnessed
"an indecent and horrible old woman rise from the ground".
She proceeded to gather the sacrifices made at the altar then took them underground with her.
Going back to Sophronius, had the events spoken of in his sermon occured in Jerusalem he wouldn't have hesitated saying it. Had the scale of bloodshed been anywhere near the level implied in his polemic, he wouldnt have been left free to pronounce such a speech, nor would there be a Christian audience left which he would address. Sophronius himself would have been dead or at best exiled as had happened to him under Persian rule a few decades earlier. He would have later been honored as a martyr by the Byzantine church instead of a saint. This institution was at the time victimizing its deaths to the extreme, whenever they occured as a result of Muslim-Christian conflicts. Among their distortions are the celebrated 60 martyrs of Gaza. But the Christian clerical insitution lived on under Muslim rule for centuries, living to tell the tale. This is evidence that the terms of the pact were implemented.
It is interesting to note that in this atmosphere of eschatological febrility, the Jews saw the "Ishmaelites" too as God's instrument. Not as a rod of punishment to sinful Christians as in Sophronius' sermon but as a deliverance of the Jewish people. A contemporary rabbinic apocalypse reads
"Since he (Simon) saw the kingdom of Ishmael that was coming, he began to say: "Was it not enough what the wicked kingdom of Edom (Byzantines) has done to us, but [we deserve] the kingdom of Ishmael too?" At once Metatron, the foremost angel, answered him and said: "Do not fear, son of man, for the Almighty only brings the kingdom of Ishmael in order to deliver you from this wicked one (Edom). He raises up over them (Ishmaelites) a prophet according to His will and He will conquer the land for them, and they will come and restore it to greatness, and a great dread will come between them and the sons of Esau".
Anastasius of Sinai, a few decades after Sophronius, answers Jewish mockeries at their former persecutors now under the dominion of another nation
"What place out of those God gave to you do you hold today? Rather all have been taken from you and He has given them to us. For if you say Mount Sinai, where you received the law though took no notice of it, Christ is glorified there today. And if you say the Jordan, where your people then crossed, Christ was baptised there and he is glorified by us there. And if you say Jerusalem and Zion, Christ was crucified there and his sufferings are celebrated there today. Or if you say the Mount of Olives ... Bethlehem .... But why do I say Bethlehem, Zion and Jordan; traverse the West, survey the East, scan all the [lands] under heaven-the Britannic islands, those furthest western regions of the world-and you will find the [rites] of the Jews and Hellenes antiquated and annihilated, but those of Christ given credence, honoured and confirmed".
He uses Jerusalem as evidence that despite being dominated, Christianity is freely celebrated. It would have defeated his argument had he been referring to a place where Christianity was humiliated and violently persecuted.