Christian Churches, Monasteries and Patriarchs in Assyria

Researched and compiled by: George V. Yana (Bebla)
This work is based on four major sources:
1- Jean-Maurice Fiey, on Assyria proper
2- William Dalrymple’s “From the Holy Mountain”
3- Christoph Baumer’s “The Church of the East”, and
4- The Internet, for areas within the Assyrian Empire.
1- From: Jean-Maurice Fiey
A concise representation of J.M. Fiey’s work:
“Assyrie chrétienne” (Christian Assyria),
Imprimerie Catholique, Beyrouth, 1965
Jean Maurice Fiey, a short biography
Very few Assyrians may know J.M. Fiey and his contribution to the study of the history
of Assyrian Christianity, its churches, convents, cities, villages and its patriarchs.
His contribution is immense, and he deserves our deepest appreciation, which needs to be
done in a separate article, specifically dedicated to his honor.
J.M. Fiey was born March 30, 1914, in Armentière, France.
He went to the St-Jude College of his city, and later joined the Dominicans of Province,
In 1939 he was sent to Mosul and appointed teacher at the Chaldean and Syro-Chaldean
patriarchal seminaries in Mosul, Iraq. He was the director of the Mosul College from
1944 to 1959.
After 1959 he devoted his time exclusively to the historical research of the Syrian
(Assyrian) Christianity. It was at this time that he began writing his articles in the
“Collection Mossoul chrétienne”, (The Christian Mosul Collection), a work dedicated to
the description of the Christian monuments of the city.
In 1966 he expanded his activities with the publication of the first two volumes of the
book “Assyrie chrétienne”, or Christian Assyria, a work totaling 890 pages. His third
volume followed later. This work is an important contribution to the study of the
ecclesiastic and monastic history and geography of northern Iraq, or Assyria proper.
Fiey, at the same time, published many articles in publications such as “l’Orient Syrien”
(Syrian East), “le Muséon”, “les Analecta Bollandiana”, “Iraq”, and “Sumer”, etc.1
Some of the works by Fiey are listed below:
 Jalons pour une histoire de l’Église en Iraq (Milestones for a history of the Church
in Iraq).
 Nisibe, métropole syriaque orientale et ses suffragants (Nisibis the metropolis of
oriental syriac and its subsidiaries).
J.M. Fiey, Assyrie Chrétienne III, (Librairie Orientale, B.P., 1986, Beyrouth, Liban), first page.
Pour un Oriens Christianus Novus: repertoire des dioceses syriaques orientaux et
occidentaux (For a new oriental Christianity: Index of syriac oriental dioceses).
 Anonymi auctoris chronicon ad A.C. 1234 pertinens, translated by Albert
 Communautés syriaques en Iran et Iraq des origins à 1552 (Syriac communities in
Iran and Iraq, from the origins to 1552).
 Proto-histoire Chrétienne du Hakkari Turc (Early history of Christianity in
Turkish Hakkari).
 Syriens et assyriens (Syrians and Assyrians).
Dr. Joseph Yacoub, an Assyrian living in Lyon, France, and professor of Political
Science and International Relations at the Institute of Human Rights of the Catholic
University of Lyon, told this writer, during his visit to the Professor, that “Fiey was a
The book “Assyrie chrétienne” (Christian Assyria) is in three volumes. Volume one
covers Adiabene, Marga, Nahla and Talana, all in northern Iraq (Assyria).Volume
two deals with Ba Nuhadra, which is north of Adiabene, hence in Assyria, and
volume three covers Babylonia, that is Bet Garmaï, Bet Aramaye and Maišan
(Maishan), all south of Adiabene.
Fiey, in order to determine the scope of his research, begins with the geographic
definition of Assyria.
Fiey writes that Christian Assyria, called Ator by Syriac authors, had, at a certain
period, included the metropolitan provinces of Bet Garmaï, Adiabene and Bet
Arabaye. Hence, this whole area could be called The Greater Adiabene.
According to the “Atlas de la Bible”2 (Atlas of the Bible), the Assyria of Assur
Uballit in 1340 BC, approximately covered the area that was later called Ator by the
Christians. Ator, writes Fiey, is but a part of the Great Syrian Church, either eastern
or western.
MONASTERIES (volume 1, page 13-16)
A great part of “Assyrie chrétienne” concerns the monasteries, and according to Fiey,
there were many of them in northern Iraq. But now, the number of those still standing
can be counted on the fingers of the two hands. Those with monks still living in them
are all near Mosul. Among these three are Chaldean, namely: Rabban Hormizd, Our
Lady of Harvests, and Mar Guorguis (Guivarguis, or George). One of these
monasteries is Jacobite, by the name of Sheikh Matti.
There are monasteries were no monk is living in them, but they are being maintained,
these are: Mār Behnām, Mār Awrāha, Mār Eliya, and Mār Mikhail.
The liturgy of the Church of the East honors Mar Awgin and his companions during
the first Friday of the Dedication, and for those who established holy congregations, it
dedicates five Fridays. The official list of the greatest among the monk fathers and
founders is as follows:
Father Luc H. Grollenberg, L’Atlas de la Bible, (French edition, Elsevier, Paris-Bruxelles, 1955, page 80).
From Ator (Fourth Friday of Moses)
Bar Qusre, Eliya, Mikhail and Goriel.
From Mount Izla (Second Friday of the Dedication)
Abraham, Dadisho, Bawai, Audisho and Jeremiah (Iramia).
From Ba Nuhadra
Sawrisho, Ishoyaw, Yaqub, Adona, Sliva and Apnimaran
From Marga and Dasen (Fourth Friday of the Dedication)
Yaqub de Bet Awe, Bar Khadbshabba, Qamisho, Aprem and Bar Eta.
From Adiabene (Fifth Friday of the Dedication)
Awdisho, Eshozkha, Sargis de Khanaita and Abraham de Natpar.
As to terminology, Fiey uses the word convent for the house of religious women, but
for men he does not differentiate between monastery and convent, just as “the
Chaldean does not differentiate between daira and omra.3
Fiey defines the word monastery, in its original sense, as a place where people live in
solitude. The resident of a monastery is called a monk (monachos, in Greek), and
Ikhidaya in Chaldean (Assyrian), meaning someone living in solitude.
The book, in addition to monasteries, includes historical information about centers of
Assyrian Christianity, such as Adiabene and the cities of Arbil, Karkuk, and others.
ADIABENE (volume 1, page 37)
Fiey begins with the geographic definition of Adiabene, recognizing the fact that its
administrative boundaries have varied during the centuries. Consequently, Fiey
chooses the natural boundaries of Adiabene as its limits.
The region of Adiabene resembles a somehow regular diamond, the three sides of
which are as follows:
 The Tigris River on the west, flowing between the Great Zab in the north and
the Lesser Zab in the south,
 The Great Zab forms the northern boundary, flowing from the northeast to the
 The Lesser Zab forms the southern boundary, running almost parallel to the
Great Zab
 The eastern boundary is a line, roughly parallel to the Tigris River, and
running along the Mountain of Adiabene, in the vicinity of the Diocese of
Thus, according to Fiey’s definition, Adiabene is the land between the two Zab
Fiey considers the city of Arbil as the natural, political, hence the religious center
of the region, thus deserving to be studied first.
To this writer Daira is monastery and Omra is Church.
The City of Arbil before its Evangelization (volume 1, pages 39-41)
Arbil was the center of Adiabene, and claims to be the oldest city having been
continuously inhabited. Syrian exegetes (Bible interpreters) after Mar Ephrem
considered Arbil as the Rehobot-Ir of Genesis (10:11) of the Old Testament, one
of the cities built in Assyria by Nemrod, son of Kush, son of Shem.
The site of Arbil has not been excavated by archeologists, and it’s tell (hill), with
the lofty walls of its fortress, have never been searched.
In the third millennium the city was called Urbilum, and then it became Arba ilu,
that is the city of the four gods, and was made the religious capital of the
kingdom, with the famous temple of Ishtar.
The name of Arbil is also connected with the battle of Gaugamele, where in 331
BC Alexander defeated Darius III, the Persian king of the Achaemenid dynasty.
In less than a century the city was conquered by the Parthians, who replaced the
Achaemenids, and was made the royal burial site by Arsaces, the founder of the
Arsacid dynasty in Iran. In 216 AD, Caracalla, the Roman Emperor, took the city,
but until the establishment of the Sassanid dynasty in Iran, the city was contested
by the Parthians, the Romans and the Armenians.
During all this time, the region remained under a more or less independent petty
king, who ruled over the region known as Adiabene, pronounced Khdeyaw by the
Chaldeans (Assyrians). The Arsacids followed by the Armenians, used the
Pahlavi form for the name Adiabene, and called it Nor Shirakan.
In the first century AD one of the queens of Adiabene converted to Judaism,
therefore, some have concluded that a part of its princes, too, seem to have
embraced this religion. In the absence of precise and certain information, Fiey
writes, we are left to assume, that at the time of its Evangelization, during the
second or third centuries, Adiabene had a population which was majority pagan,
with a Jewish minority. This Jewish minority was, probably, minimal, because no
mention of it is made in the stories of Evangelization, except for its role of the
wicked played in the legend of martyrs.
The Christianization of Arbil and Adiabene (volume 1, pages 41-47)
Fiey, citing the works of a number of authors, concludes that the Chronicle of
Arbil is not a reliable source of the Christianization of Arbil and Adiabene.
According to the Chronicle of Arbil, it was the Apostle Addai, who personally
recruited the first converts. Among these converts, there was one by the name of
Paqida (Pkida), who is said to have become the first bishop of Adiabene.
Mingana, who edited the Chronicle of Arbil, believes it was written under the
aegis of Mshikha Zkha.
Fiey writes that even at the beginning of the fourth century, the proportion of
Christians in the population of Arbira (Arbil, in Persian) is not known. But,
Sozomene, author of The Histoire Ecclésiastique (Ecclesiastic History), describes
Adiabene as a region of Persia inhabited by a majority of Christians.
The great persecution of Christians ordered by Shahpour II, the Sassanid king of
Iran, in April of 340, began with the imposition of taxes, the destruction of
churches, and culminated, in 341, in a general butchery, which ended after Easter.
In Adiabene, the persecution began at the same time as in other places, and was
vigorously carried out by Ardashir, the viceroy of the region and the future
successor of his brother Shahpour. The persecution of Adiabene lasted until 376.
Among the victims of the persecution the following rank first.
 Guhishthazad, the Eunuch of the royal house, was executed in the year
 John (Yokhannan), the bishop of Arbil, was executed around October of
343. In a calendar dating from the XIV or XV centuries, and printed in
Urmia in 1894, then in Mosul, by Qasha (priest) Yusif de Qalaita, in1947,
we find the name of Yokhannan de Galmu, commemorated in November
the first. Fiey asks, is this the same John (Yokhannan) ? John is believed
to have participated in the Council of Nicea, and it is for his foreign
involvements that he was later ordered to be decapitated.
 Abraham, the successor of John (Yokhannan), was executed in 345.
 Khnania, a secular, was executed in November 345.
 The priest James (Yacoub); Mary “The Daughter of the Pact”, and her
sister; five other “Daughters of the pact”, all executed in the year of 347.
 Deacon Khadbshaba was executed in 355.
 One of the last martyrs from Arbil is the Persian Mahanoush, who was
baptized Ishosawran. His history was written by the patriarch Ishoyaw III
of Adiabene, who used the information, provided by Ishozkha, the friend
of the martyr. The interesting point here is the role played by those
Christians who enjoyed the friendship of the king, and thus could
intercede on behalf of the accused. Among the most famous of these
protectors is Yazdin, the tax collector, a resident of Kirkuk, and a favorite
of Khosrov Parviz, the king (590-628).
Ishosawran was imprisoned in 605, and martyred in 620/621.
According to Ishodnakh of Basra, twelve more martyrs joined Ishosawran.
Their commemoration used to be celebrated on the third Friday of the
Advent. On their tomb, in Arbil, a convent was built, of which only the
church survived for a while, but was destroyed in 1310.
Metropolitan areas of the Sassanid period (Vol. I, pages 47-56)
Fiey, as menyioned earlier, does not trust the “Chronicles of Arbil”, therefore, based on a
work by Audisho of Nisibis, titled “Collection of Synodical Canons”4, he believes that
around 310-317, under Catholicos Papa, and on the eve of the Council of Nicea, the
bishopric of Adiabene became a metropolitan seat. The metropolitan seat of Arbil or
Adiabene, or in the wider sense, the seat of Assyria, could be ranked fourth among
metropolitan seats, and fifth, if counting the patriarchal seat.
According to this dating, the priest Yokhannan, martyred in 343 and priest Abraham,
martyred in the beginning of 345, were already metropolitans.
Edited and translated in Latin by Aloys Assemani, treatise VIII, chapter XV, year 1316.
During the synod of Isaac, in 410, Arbil had still maintained its rank, and appeared with
the list of its subordinate dioceses. The eparchy of Adiabene, comprising six dioceses,
covered an area that largely surpassed the area of Adiabene proper.
The bishop of Arbil, metropolitan of Adiabene, had jurisdiction over the entire north of
present day Iraq.
The first three dioceses common to the Synodicon and the Chronicle of Arbil, are Ba
Nuhadra, Beth Beghash, and Beth Dasen. The names of the other three have disappeared,
but Fiey proposes Ramonin, Dabarinos or Rabarin Hesn, and Beth Mahrqart.
With regard to the list of the bishops of Arbil, after the martyrs John and Abraham, Fiey
notes that the first list of non-localized metropolitans mentioned in the diptychs5, in fact
represents the succession of the metropolitans of Assyria. Now, since the seat of Assyria
was first at Arbil, therefore, the list that has come down to us represents the succession of
fifty one metropolitans.
The Diptychs of Karamlis (a village near Mosul), provide a list of thirty five names,
which this time, are bishops, and not metropolitans. The locations of service of these
bishops are not given, only mention is made that “they were from our country.”
It becomes clear, Fiey asserts, that this is a list of the bishops of Nineveh.
As for the date of the list, we see that the series of deceased patriarchs, which precedes
that of the metropolitans, goes up to Denkha II (1332-1364). On the other hand, the last
known emir, mentioned in the list of Karamlis, is Hassan, which is attested at 1361.
Now, according to the diptychs, this emir had already deceased, which, then, fixes the
date of the compilation of the text of Karamlis to the year 1364, that is, during the reign
of Simon II. It is, also, reasonable to believe that the lists of metropolitans and episcopals
(bishops) extends up to the same date of 1364. Unfortunately, the author of these lists is
unknown, and we could, propose the name of Audishoo of Nisibis (deceased 1318), who
is the author of the rest of the volume.
Of the first metropolitans mentioned in the list, only the names are known, and some are
mentioned during the commemoration of the metropolitans of Arbil, celebrated during
the services of the Church of the East, at the third Friday of Easter.
Here is a list of the metropolitans, in the order mentioned in the dipthycs, followed by
[1] SLĪMŪT (or Salimōt), also mentioned in the liturgy
[2] ĀDŌNA, also mentioned during office.
What is not clear here is that which of the three Daniels is the one mentioned with Slimut
and Adona, during the commemorations? Also not clear is the question of which Daniel
Diptych is a hinged two-leaved tablet used in ancient times to writing with a stylus.
participated at the synod of Issac, in 410, and the synod of Dadisho in 424, but did not
participate in the synod of Yahwalaha in 420? The Chronicle of Arbil mentions illness as
the cause for his absence. The same chronicle tells us that Daniel was from Tahal, his
father was a pagan and his mother a Christian.
One of these Daniels, according to the Chronicle of Arbil, had succeeded Rakhima (?),
and it was during his rule that Nestorianism (The Church of the East) was established in
Adiabene. But, the establishment of Nestorianism in Adiabene was not made easily. The
patriarch, Acace, had to write a constitution for Adiabene, in which, the canons show that
the difficulties concerned the stability of the faith and the respect for morals.
The faith that Patriarch Acace was professing had a Nestorian ring, and the morality
corrections established the right to marriage for the clerics, and a stop to the wandering
monks. There were bishops from Adiabene, who participated in the synod of Acace, in
486, but the name of the metropolitan is not among the signatories.
The list continues below:
[12] IYYU (Job)
According to Fiey, this Joseph seems to be the same person that appears in all the three
lists of Bawai, in 497, bearing the title of “Bishop of Arbil, Metropolitan of Adiabene.”
The third list contains the following note: “I, Sidoura, notary, have received from Abušta
(Abushta), metropolitan bishop of Khadiab, orders to sign. Chabot thinks that this note is
a later addition. According to the Chronicle, Abushta ruled from 450 until 499, and his
absence from the synod is explained by his old age. Therefore, his priest, Joseph, signed
in his place, followed by Sidoura his notary. The following year, Joseph succeeded
Abushta and held the seat until 511.
[14] BĀWAI
[15] ŠAWTA (Shawta)
[16] ŠIM’UN (Shimun, Simon)
[17] QAŠŠIŠA (Qashisha) or QAŠA (Qasha)
The above metropolitans, who lived in the first half of the sixth century, are mentioned in
the diptychs, and no more than their name is known.
[18] Hnana I (Khnana), participated in the synod of Ābā I in 544. Fiey concludes that this
Khnana has been confused with the Khnana of Adiabene, who was the doctor of the
school of Persians at Nisibis (Church of the East).
Fiey thinks that he is the same person as the MEŠAWHA (Meshawkha) mentioned in the
Synodical, who participated in the Synod of Joseph in 554.
[20] HNĀNA II (Khnana)
Khnana II was present in the Synod of Ézéchiel in 576, and in the Synod of Īšōyaw I, in
585. In this last synod, Bār Ābā, his archdeacon signed in his place.
[21] ABRAHAM. The name of this Abraham appears only in the diptychs.
Yonadab, the metropolitan of Adiabene is one of the prominent figures in the history of
Arbil, in the beginning of the seventh century.
He fought all the forces that, at the dawn of Islam, were aimed at the destruction of the
Nestorian Church. These forces were the infiltration of Jacobites, the persecutions of
Chosroes II, and the error of Messalianism6.
Yanadab participated in the Synod of Gregory I, in 603, and was part of the commission
that selected the replacements of the Catholicos during the forced leaves of the years 609
to 628. He, also, participated in the discussions with the Jacobites, which took place at
the court of Chosroes, in 612.
Yonadab, it seems, had successfully curbed the advance of the heretics in his domain.
Only in the year 1262 Bar Hebraeus mentions the construction of a Jacobite Church in
Arbil. That’s how successful Yonadab was in his struggle against hostile forces.
[23] PAUL
Paul accompanied Patriarch Ishoyaw II of Jidal, as the representatives of Queen Boran,
the spouse of King Siroes, to the court of Heraclius
[23a] MAKKĪHA.
After Paul, Makkikha replaced him as the metropolitan of Arbil, and was replaced by
Ishoyaw of Adiabene. When Ishoyaw left Nineveh, Mar Emmeh replaced him before the
Arab conquest of Mosul in 637. Therefore, the extreme dates of Makkikha must be 630
and 637.
The Churches of Arbil (Volume I, pages 56-58)
It is not clear which is the oldest church in Arbil, writes Fiey, but there is a church that
dates from the early seventh century, and is called “The Church of the Lone Ishosawran,
and His Twelve Martyred Companions.” This church stood in the open country, and was
first part of a convent.
When the convent disappeared, the church survived alone. Fiey says, it is probably this
church that, in 1600, is mentioned as “The Church of Martyrs”, which might indicate that
it had been reconstructed after its ruin in 1310. It appears that, Denkha II must have
transported the relics of the church to Karamlis.
According to The Chronicle of Arbil, the Church of Saint Isaac would be the most
ancient, as it was, supposedly, built by Bishop Isaac, between the years 135 and 148.
The church, it is said, was still standing during the life of the author of the Chronicle, but
is not mentioned among the churches destroyed in the year 1310, and was still standing in
The Chronicle of Arbil adds a second church to the list, namely, the Church of Nookh
(Noah), built in 179, after the death of a bishop of the same name.
Fiey mentions a text in a book titled “The Book of the Caves of Treasures”, where it is
written that “Anania , the disciple of John, used to teach in Damascus and Arbil. Pol, the
general of Aretas (Aristus7,) put him to death. He was buried in his church, in Arbil.”
Messalians, is the name given to a group of wandering, roaming people, who, opposed every form of
material ownership, refused to work, and lived on the streets by begging. They believed only in prayer, and
for that reason, they were called, in Syriac, Messalians (M’saliani), meaning “those who pray”. They called
themselves “The Spirituals”. They preached against the Sacraments and the ecclesiastic hierarchy. They
were in Mesopotamia, in Edessa (in the time of Ephrem), and they spread to Cappadocia and elsewhere.
Aretas (Al-Harith ibn Jabalah), king of Ghassan, mid sixth century. Ghassan, in present day Jordan, was a
subject of the Byzantine Empire. Ghassanids were Monophysite Arab Christians.
Fiey concludes that in the sixth century, the date of the “Book of the Caves”, there was a
church in Arbil, by the name of “The Church of St-Khnania. If that is correct, he goes on,
then I have the tendency to think that the church was named after the secular martyr of
Arbil in 345 AD, rather than a hypothetical disciple of an unknown St. John.
There is another church called “The Church of Ma’Anyo”, which, according to “The
History of Yabalaha”, was destroyed in 1310. The titular Saint of this church is “The
Holy Daughter of Ma’anyo”, who, with “The blessed martyr, sister of Sāma”, appears in
one of the hymns sung, for the holy women, in the liturgy of oriental Syrians (Assyrians).
The hymn is recited at the “Sapra” of the feast for the praises of the Holy Virgin, the
Friday after Christmas. In most of the texts of this hymn the phrase “their remains were
laid at the blessed location of Khdeyaw.
The School of Arbil (pages 58-60)
Assemani has a dissertation entitled “The Old and Recent Schools of Syrians, Chaldeans
and Persians”, where he has devoted one paragraph for the schools of Adiabene, to which
he adds the school of Marga. Concerning Adiabene proper, history has retained three
names, only.
1- The school of Arbil,
2- The school of Quplana, and
3- The school of Kafar ‘Uzail.
The origins of the school of Arbil, or the school of Adiabene, are found only in the
Chronicle of Arbil. The founder of this school is said to be Doctor Paul, the former
professor of the school of Nisibis, and he was loaned to Bishop Khnana of Adiabene, by
the dean of the school of Nisibis, Abraham B. Rbban (509-569).
According to the Chronicle of Arbil, the school was founded for young children, in order
to inculcate the faith in their minds and to protect them from heretics and Messalians.
According to the list of Awdisho of Nisibis, one of the Doctors of the school of Adiabene
was Serge (Sargis), who probably succeeded Paul, the founder, and was a disciple of
Patriarch Mar Aba. Assemani places him around 500 AD, but Fiey thinks the date can be
moved back to the mid-sixth century.8
The book of Chastity mentions the names of some of the famous students of the school of
Adiabene, as follows:
 Mar Sawrisho, the future founder of the Āwa Shapira monastery.
 Mar Dadisho, disciple of Abraham the Great.
 Gregory, author and future metropolitan of Nisibis (consecrated between 596 and
604). For some time he was professor and interpreter [of the Bible] in Arbil.
 Daniel, professor at the school of Arbil, is mentioned around the end of the
Sassanid period. After that, there is no mention of the school.
Metropolitans of the end of the VIIth century (pages 60-65)
At the end of the seventh century, Arbil was in an important transition period, and saw
three high class bishops, all of whom became patriarchs.
This writer thinks that if, according to Fiey, the date of 500 AD can be moved back to the middle of the
preceding century, then it should be the fifth century, rather than the sixth. The middle of the sixth century
would be around 550 AD, and would not be a move to the past.
[24] Ishoyaw of Quplana.
Ishoyaw was born in Quplana, a village in Adiabene, and was known as Ishoyaw of
Adiabene or Khazza. He is one of the best known figures in the Syriac literature.
He was of noble origin, educated at the school of Nisibis, and was affiliated with the
monastery of Bet Awe. All this placed him in a separate rank, since the very beginning of
his career.
When he was the bishop of Nineveh, he was sent with the delegation mentioned above,
he took part in the nomination of bishops, and he maintained friendly relations with the
influential people of his community, clerics or laity.
Ishoyaw was an ardent Nestorian and fought against the influence of Jacobites, and paid
attention to the reforms of monks.
Ishoyaw showed his humility by first rejecting the offer by Archdeacon John, and “the
Prince of the Faithful of Arbil”, Tani, to accept the position of Metropolitan of Arbil. He
finally accepted the offer and became the Metropolitan of Arbil.
At the Arab conquest of 637, unlike the Christians of Mosul and Takrit, who opened the
gates of their city without combat, Ishoyaw was more prudent, and less enthusiastic than
the old Mar Emmeh of Nineveh. But, he was sufficiently clever to be considered persona
grata, and get the second round of approval for his seat.
Ishoyaw became patriarch in 647 or 650.
[25] George [Givargis] of Kafra
George was the disciple and friend of Ishoyaw, and succeeded him. He was a noble, too,
and first became a monk in B. Awe, but left it to follow Ishoyaw first in Nineveh, then in
Arbil, where he became the Metropolitan.
Despite the fact that George and Ishoyaw were friends, but, no letters from Ishoyaw
addressing George have been found. On the other hand, we know that Ishoyaw was very
busy with his flock in Persia and Qatar, that were threatening cessation from the church.
George ruled the church from 647 or 650 until 661.
The diptychs mention the following names, for whom we have no information:
[26] Sargis (Serge)
[27] Yonan (Jonas)
[28] Istapanos (Stephan)
[29] Shmuel (Samuel)
This list does not mention Sliva Zkha, who was the metropolitan of Arbil, who then
became the patriarch in 714. He was born in Tirhan, a district between Samarra and
Takrit, in Bit Garmaï, and was nominated bishop of Anbar, by the patriarch Khnanisho I,
between 685 and 691.
Metropolitans of the VIIIth Century (pages 65-70)
[30] Shimun
When Mosul was not yet united with Arbil, there is proof of a bishop of Mosul named
Shimun, who also played a role in the history of Sliva Zkha. During that same period we
find the name of a Shimun on the throne of Adiabene. If these two Shimuns are one and
the same persons, then we can assume that, when Sliva Zkha became the patriarch in 714,
he promoted the bishop of Mosul to Arbil, as an expression of appreciation for the help
he had provided in the return of Khnanisho.
[31] Yokhannan (John)
After the death of Shimun, the work of choosing the bishops, and the government of
Adiabene fell on the shoulders of Yokhannan. Yokhanna, first became bishop of Bġāš
(Bghash), then, was promoted by Patriarch Sliva Zkha, to the post of metropolitan of
Arbil (714-721). Yokhannan was a very saintly person; he started the practice of not
residing in Arbil, a custom that was followed by several of the metropolitans after him.
He lived in his convent, where he used to sit and meditate in peace. At the same time, he
remained in charge of Bit Awe for many years, and died in peace.
[32] Akha
Akh’kha was first a monk at Bit Awe, and Thomas of Marga is praising him for that.
When he took charge of the monastery, his method of governing was hurting the future of
his diocese, because he delegated to others the management of the monastery, and the
task of meeting with the princes, and preferred to stay in the comfort of the patriarchal
hall. Nevertheless, when Yokhannan died, the faithful of Adiabene, that is the land
owners and nobles, went to Mar Aba II, the catholicos (741-751), who made him to
accept the responsibility of metropolitan. Akh’kha does not seem to have stayed in Bit
Awe, because a new director was appointed to the monastery. After that Akh’kha began
visiting his villages.
Akh’kha was famous for his miracles and prophecies, but he became more popular for
the role he played in the struggle between Jack (Yacoub) and Surin, for the position of
patriarch, in 754. His tactfulness and skill in addressing his audience, plus his reputation
of holiness led the bishops to confirm Jack (Yacoub) and to reject the intruder.
Akh’kha died during one of his apostolic visits to the village of Shalmat, in Sapespa of
Marga9, where the church is still dedicated to his name.
[33] Maran ‘Emmeh D’Awakh
Maran ‘Emmeh was first a Doctor (theologian) of the school of Kafar Uzail. Next, he was
made bishop of Salakh by Mar Akh’kha, the metropolitan, whom he succeeded during
the reign of Jack (Yacoub), the catholicos, between 754 and 773.
The new metropolitan of the whole of Adiabene, of Marga and Hevton, propped up his
position by a miraculous solution to a dispute about the ownership of a mill.
The way he rectified the boundaries of certain dioceses of his province, is proof of his
sense of organization.
When he was at an advanced age, Maran ‘Emmeh confronted the perils of the road and
went to Mosul, “The City of the Atoraye”, and the territory of Nineveh, to collect
donations for a famine that had devastated Adiabene. The date of the draught is given as
819/820 by “The Book of Superiors”, but other sources show that Maran ‘Emmeh was
dead when, in May first of 783, Timothy I was elected patriarch. Maran ‘Emmeh was
taken for a cure to the waters near the Ba Reqna Monastery, but the try was unsuccessful,
and the metropolitan was heaved up on a horse to return to Arbil, when he died en route.
The district of Marga is north of Adiabene and north of the Great Zab River.
[34] Ishoyaw of Marga
Ishoyaw succeeded the “Marvelous” Maran ‘Emmeh, and Thomas of Marga does not
give him any attributes other than he was metropolitan.
Ishoyaw was first the director of the Bit Awe monastery, then, at the time of Metropolitan
Mar Akh’kha, he became the bishop of Nineveh.
At the time of the death of Khnanisho II, in 780, Ishoyaw almost got the chance of
becoming the patriarch, but Timothy, the ambitious bishop of Bit Bghash, brought up his
advanced age, and how it would be difficult for him to vigorously counter the attacks of
the envious trouble makers. Ishoyaw withdrew and Timothy was elected patriarch.
A few days later, Timothy kept his promise and nominated Ishoyaw “Bishop of the
Church of Adiabene and Metropolitan of all its dependencies.”
But, the notables of Adiabene, the Shahrigans of Kafar ‘Uzail, and the residents of the
district of Bit Aro’é, were vexed for not being consulted regarding this nomination. They,
thus, united with the adversaries of Timothy, and dragged along the old bishop Shlimun
of Hadisa. They formed a schismatic council at the “Convent of Pisé”, and nominated
Rustam, the bishop of Hnisa, as the metropolitan of Adiabene, which, in this case, they
called “Bet Mar Qardagh”.10
The word of this interference reached Ishoyaw when he was at the point of moving into
his eparchy (province). After some hesitation and at the advise of Timothy, he went
ahead to visit his territory. Because the region of Arbil was controlled by his adversaries,
he decided to first go alongside the eastern boundary of his diocese, proceeding south to
north, first to Baniqaye, then to the inhabitants of the mountain of Adiabene, then the
region of Hevton, and, finally to Marga, where celebrations were held in his honor.
After the death of the impious Rustam, and the disbanding of his supporters, the pious
Shlimun repented, and the Shahrigans asked for pardon. It was at this time that Ishoyaw
was able to enter into his capital. Ishoyaw was buried in Arbil.
The pious Nestorus, assisted in the Synod of Timothy in 790, where he signed:
“Metropolitan of Assyria.” Fiey writes that it is the first time we come across this title. It
is remarkable to note that in 790 AD (and not in the nineteenth century) the people of
Adiabene were aware of their history.
When, on the order of Timothy, Nestorus went to Bet Awe to consecrate monk Elijah, as
bishop of Muqam in Dailam11, Thomas of Marga called him “Metropolitan of Adiabene.”
It is not clear how long he reigned, but Fiey estimates that the maximum possible length
of time could be the date of the death of Timothy in 823.
The Centuries of Lethargy (pages 70-74)
During the period between the ninth and the twelfth centuries, the old and illustrious city
of Arbil lost its importance and was forgotten. Its name ceased to appear in the chronicles
Fiey notes that Thomas of Marga begins mentioning “the Throne of the Country or the House of Mar
Qardagh, from the reign of Timothy I (780). Therefore, he writes it is tempting to believe that it was from
the end of the eighth century that the legend of Mar Qardagh began to take root and become popular.
Dailam is south of the Caspian Sea, around Gilan, northern Iran. In the tenth century the Buyid dynasty
rose from Dailam.
and, in the middle of the tenth century Bar Bahlul refered to it as “a village from the
country of Hazza that has given its name to the metropolitan eparchy of Mosul.”
Arbil became a district in the province of Halvan, then a dependency of the Jazira and the
province of Mosul, as Mosul acquired great importance during the ninth century.
Evidently, the ecclesiastical organization followed along the same lines. During the ninth
century Mosul became the metropolitan seat, and its bishop carried the titles of Assyria
and Mosul, or sometimes Mosul and Arbil. It is from this time that the title of “Nineveh”
and the old title of “Adiabene” disappears. Following these developments, the
metropolitan appears to reside in Mosul, and Arbil is governed from afar.
According to Awdisho of Nisibis the decision to make these important changes is
attributed to Isho Bar Nun (823-829).
This merging in favor of Mosul lasted until 1176.
Henceforward, the Episcopal lists mention Arbil indirectly; therefore, a schematic list is
presented below.
[36] Awdisho
[37] Iskhaq (Isaac)
One of these two bishops mentioned in the diptychs must be the first metropolitan of the
new see. After these two bishops, there are two metropolitans that, although very well
attested, have not been mentioned by the diptychs. It may be that the copyist forgot to
include them, or, it can be assumed that since these two became patriarchs, that the two
names under 36 and 37 above, were the names of the successors at the time they were
metropolitans of Athor.
[37a] Enos, is the first known metropolitan of Mosul, and was appointed by Patriarch
George I (860-872). Enos became patriarch in 877.
[37b] Yokhannan Bar Narsai was transferred, by Enos I (877-884), from Khanigar (Tuz
Khurmatu) to Mosul. He became patriarch in 893.
[38] Yokhannan Bar Bokhtisho reigned from 893 to 905. The Syriac Codex No. 354 of
the National Library of Paris calls him “The Metropolitan of Arbil.”
[39] Luke was nominated by Abraham III (905-936).
[40] Isra-il, was the predecessor of George Bar Tobi.
[41] George Bar Tobi, is better known as George of Arbil. He is sometimes referred to as
the “metropolitan of Mosul”, or “metropolitan of Athor”, or metropolitan of “Arbil and
Mosul.” He was nominated to his poste by Emmanuel I (937-960), and became an
unsuccessful candidate in 960, 963, and 987.
[42] Ishoyaw, also known as Ishoyaw of Arbil, succeeded Bar Tobi and was transferred
by Mari II (987-999), from the bishopric of Hadisa to the metropolitan of Mosul.
[43] Gabriel, was transferred by Patriarch John Bar Nazuk, from the bishopric of Arzun
to the metropolitan of Mosul, on January 10, 1012.
[44] Elijah’s presence on the seat of Mosul is attested in 1020 and 1029.
[45] Awdisho Bar Bahriz succeeded Elijah, but before, he was the director of Dair Sa ‘id
(Mar Iliya) in Mosul, where he was known as Abu Sa’id. He failed as a patriarchal
candidate in 1028, but later, became the metropolitan of Assyria. His canons have been
preserved in the official law of the Church of the East.
[46] Gabriel Bar Rakwa was transferred, in 1064, from the bishopric of Tirhan to become
the metropolitan of Mosul. He died soon after.
[47] Yahwalaha, known as Abu Darah, was the bishop of Ma’alta when he succeeded
Gabriel, and remained on the seat from 1064 until 1085.
[48] Hormizd, according to Fiey, is probably, the same as the future patriarch Makkikha,
son of Sleiman (Suleiman), who in 1085 became the metropolitan of Mosul. In 1092 he
was elevated to the seat of the patriarchate.
[49] Elijah Bar Moqli began his duties as Metropolitan of Mosul in 1092, and then
vacated his seat to become patriarch in 1111.
[50] Yohannan Ibn Al Haddad’s record as metropolitan of Mosul is attested in 1134,
1138, and 1139.
[51] Tittos was the director of Bit Qoqa, and was made metropolitan of Mosul by Elijah
III (1176-1190).
2- From Various Sources.
Syriac Orthodox Churches and Monasteries
1- Mor Hananyo (Kurkmo Dayro/ Dayr ul-Za’faran), Mardin, Turkey
2- Mor Gabriel, Midyat, Turkey
3- Mor Awgen, Mt. Izlo, Turkey
4- Mor Barsawmo, Borsum Kalesi, Turkey
5- Mar Hadbeshabo, Ain Wardo, Tur Abdin, Turkey
6- Mar Shmuni , Tur Abdin, Turkey
7- Beth Slutho, Tur Abdin, Turkey
8- Mor Dimet, Zaz, Tur Abdin, Turkey
9- Mor Eusebona, Qal’at Sim’an
10- Monastery of Qenneshre
11- Monastery of Tell’Ada
12- Mor Mattay, Mosul, Iraq
Churches and Monasteries of the Church of the East
1- St. Peter’s cave church, Antakia (Antioch), Turkey.
2- St. Jacob Church, Nisibis (Nusaybin), Turkey.
3- Mar Shmuni, Beth Bedeh, Northern Iraq.
4- Mar Abraham, Deir Aboun, Northern Iraq.
5- Mar Giwargis Church, Bidial, northern Iraq.
6- The Church of Mar Giwargis, Khosrow Abad (Khusrava), northwestern Iran.
7- The double church of St. Sergius and St. Bacchus, Bos Vatch, Urmia, Iran.
8- Rabban Hormizd Monastery, Alqosh, northern Iraq.
9- Monastery of Mar Behnam, near Mosul, Iraq.
10- Monastery of of Rabban Booya, near Shaqlawa, northern Iraq.
11- Church of St. George of the Ancient Church of the East, Hazaneh, northern Iraq.
12- The Khinnis Cave Monastery, Khinnis, north Iraq.
13- Qayyoma , Monastery, near Duri, Iraq.
14- Mosque of Nabi Yunus, Mosul, Iraq.
15- Shrine of Sheik Adi, Lalish, northern Iraq.
16- Meskinta Cathedral, first Nestorian, now Chaldean, Mosul, northern Iraq.
17- Chapel of Rabban Hormizd, Dasgir, west of Urmia, Iran.
18- Mar Shalita Basilica of Kotchannes, Hakkari, southeastern Turkey.
19- Mar Giwargis Church, Ardishai, Urmia, Iran.
20- Chapel of Mar Yacub, near Salmas, Iran.
21- Chapel of St. Stephen, Diana, northern Iraq.
22- Mar Shalita Cathedral, Kotchannes, Turkish Hakkari.
The description of a selected number of monasteries follows:
Mor Hananyo (The Safran Monastery)
This monastery, situated 6 km (3.75 miles) southeast of Mardin, in the west of the region,
is considered to be the most important center in Tur Abdin. The name Zafaran (Safran),
or Kurkmo in Syriac, comes from the yellowish color of the stone, from which the
monastery was built. Founded in AD 493, the monastery became the residence of the
patriarch from 1160 to 1932. The patriarch now lives in Damascus, but the monastery
still contains the patriarchal throne, and the tombs of seven patriarchs and metropolitans.
Today the monastery is maintained by two monks and some lay assistants, and is a school
for orphans. 12
This monastery was rebuilt by Bishop Ananias shortly after 793 AD13
Mar Gabriel’s Monastery, Tur Abdin (The mountain of the Servants of God)
Mar Gabriel is near Midyat, 39 miles northeast of Mardin, and about 85 miles southeast
of Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey. The church was built by Emperor Anastasius in 512,
yet some parts of the monastery date back to 397 A.D. 14
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (
Christoph Baumer, The Church of the East, An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity. (Published in
2006 by I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd), page 102.
William Dalrymple, “From the Holy Mountain” (Henry Holt and Company / New York).page 100.
It is the largest of the surviving Syrian Orthodox monasteries in the southeast. The Syrian
Orthodox Church, that is the ancient Church of Antioch, split off from the Byzantine
mainstream at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. They were accused of being
heretical Monophysites, and persecuted. The persecutions by the Byzantine Emperors
drove these Aramaic speakers to the barren hills of Tur Abdin. There, they were able to
maintain their three hundred monasteries, and the ancient Antiochene liturgies in the
original Aramaic. They were concentrated around the Patriarchal seat at Deir el-Zaferan
(the Safran Monastery).15
Dalrymple recites a very interesting event he witnessed at the Mar Gabriel Church:
“Slowly the church began to fill up; soon the line of boys stretched right across the
length of the nave. Another monk, Abouna Kyriacos, appeared and walked up the
sanctuary. He started chanting at another lectern, parallel but a little to the south of the
other, echoing the old monk’s chant: a phrase would be sung by the first monk, then
passed over to Kyriacos who would repeat it and send it back again. The chant passed
from lectern to lectern, quick-paced syllables of Aramaic slurring into a single elision of
sacred song…Before long an unseen hand was pulling back the curtains from the
sanctuary; a boy holding a smoking thurible rattled its chain. The entire congregation
began a long series of prostrations: from their standing position, the worshippers fell to
their knees, and lowered their heads to the ground so that all that could be seen from the
rear of the church was a line of upturned bottoms. All that distinguished the worship from
that which might have taken place in a mosque was that the worshippers crossed and
recrossed themselves as they performed their prostrations. This was the way the early
Christians prayed, and is exactly the form of worship described by Moschos in “The
Spiritual Meadow.” In the sixth century, the Muslims appear to have derived their
techniques of worship from existing Christian practice. Islam and the Eastern Christians
have retained the original Christian convention; it is the western Christians who have
broken with with sacred tradition.”16
Mor Gabriel is the most vital Orthodox monastery in Turkey, with seven nuns and four
monks occupying separate wings, as well as a fluctuating number of local workers and
guests from overseas. It is also the seat of the metropolitan bishop of Turabdin, who
speaks good English, and with whom you may be granted an audience. Mar Gabriel is a
working community set amongst gardens and orchards. The monastery’s primary purpose
is to keep Syrian Orthodox Christianity alive in the land of its birth by providing
schooling, ordination of native-born monks, and – if necessary – physical protection to
the faithful. The high walls of the compound have retained their medieval function as
barriers to marauders, since the Syrian Orthodox communities of the Turabdin live in fear
of attacks from both the PKK and Islamic fanatics.17
Mor Awgen, or Mar Augin
This Monastery, situated 15 kilometers (9.4 miles) northeast of Nisibis and 22 kilometers
(close to 14 miles) southeast of Midyat, is thought to be founded by Saint Awgen (died
363 AD), an Egyptian monk, who was the disciple of Saint Anthony, and a propagator of
monasticism in Mesopotamia. The monastery had to be rebuilt several times, and its
Dalrymple, p.91, 100.
Ibid, page 105.
Syriac Orthodox Resources (
present form appears to date from the thirteenth century. The monastery sits near a cliff
with an admirable view. Mar Awgen’s monastery was still active during the beginnings
of the century, but was pillaged several times, and then set on fire. Now, although the
monastic life has been interrupted, the monastery is being guarded.18
The monastery of Mar Augin, founded by East Syrian monks in the early fourth century,
was until 1629 a stronghold of Nestorian monasticism. The last Syrian Orthodox monk of
Mar Augin died in 1974. Near Mar Augin stand the ruins of the formerly Nestorian
monasteries of Mar Yuhanon, Mar Abraham the Elder and Mar Malke.19
Mar Shmuni
This Nestorian Church, which is situated in Beth Bedeh, northern Iraq, was destroyed by
dynamite in 1988.20
This writer knows a church in Khosrovabad (Khusrava), Azarbaijan, Iran, which was a
small room made of clay, inside a walled yard, which also had a residential house. It was
called Bra Shmuni.
Rabban Hormizd
This monastery, founded by the Nestorian Rabban Hormizd, around 630, is situated
northeast of Alqosh, northern Iraq. This monastery of the Church of the East was, from
1504 to 1804, alternately with Alqosh, the seat of the patriarchs of the Abouna family.
It is home to the graves of nine patriarchs. The Kurds have plundered the monastery
many times, which, in 1850, resulted in the loss of the large collection of manuscripts.
Today it belongs to the Chaldean Church.21
Mar Mattai Monastery
This monastery, which originally belonged to the Church of the East, was founded in
370. It is located about 22 miles east of Mosul, northern Iraq. The monastery changed
hands between the Church of the East and the Syrian Orthodox Church. Beginning in 540
it became a stronghold of the Jacobites. Like other monasteries of this region, Mar Mattai
has suffered numerous attacks and plunders from the Kurds. In 1795 and 1843 it was
entirely restored. Mar Mattai forms its own diocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church.22
According to the hagiographic tradition, a saint named Mattai lived in this mountain.
Behnam, the son of a local king, meets the saint during a hunting expedition and is
converted to Christianity. Next, Behnam’s sister, too, is converted and are both baptized
by Mor Mattai. When the king hears the news he is enraged and orders their execution.
After this, the king becomes seriously ill, and is cured only after Behnam comes to his
mother’s dream and advises her to go to Mor Mattai and ask him to cure the king.
After the king was cured, to show his gratitude, he orders the construction of a monastery
in the mountain. The monastery is famous for its magnificent library. In 1171 the Kurds
attacked the monastery and several of the manuscripts were damaged. Those manuscripts
that had survived were taken to Mosul by the monks.
Christoph Baumer, page 24.
Ibid, page 76
Christoph Baumer, page 97.
Ibid, page 101.
In 1369 another attack by the Kurds damaged more manuscripts. Today, the manuscripts
of this monastery can be found at the British library in Cambridge, and in Berlin. During
the course of the 19th century the Kurds pillaged the monastery several times.
The Church is a big flat building, famous for the tomb of Barhebraeus, nicknamed “the
Encyclopedia of the 13th Century.” In the vicinity of the Church there is a building where
several Syrian bishops are buried. The Beth Qadishe (Home of the Saints) contains the
remains of six maphrians23, many bishops and saints, among whom are Mor Mattai, Mor
Zakka, Mor Abraham, and Bar Ebroyo. The monastery has more than fifty rooms, three
halls to welcome the visitors, and one church. At the left of the monastery there is a huge
cave with spring water dripping from its ceiling.24
The Church of Mar Giwargis
The Church of Mar Giwargis is in Khosrow Abad (Khusrava) near Delemon (Salmas),
Azarbaijan, Iran. According to tradition its bishop participated in the Council of Nicea in
325. The inscription in the stone above the portal indicates that the first structure was
erected in 520. The church which dates from the eleventh century, and was restored by
Catholic missionaries in 1845, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1930.25
This writer has spent four years of his childhood in the village of Khosrovabad, and has
seen many times the Mar Givargis Church. Near that church there was (or still there is)
another church, built of baked brick, called the Chapelle (chapel). It was built by the
French missionaries.
It was during WWII and the Soviet Army had their barracks in the city of Shahpour
(Salmas), about three kilometers (two miles) from the village. The army apparently
needed brick for improvements in their barracks; therefore, they started carrying away
cart loads of the brick. This writer does not know whether or not this dismantling of the
remains of the church was authorized by the elders of the village.
One day, a soldier with his two horse cart full of brick, stopped by the shop of this
writer’s grandfather to buy something. The front wheels of the cart were resting against
flagstones that were placed across the street for rainy and muddy days. When the Soviet
soldier came back and whipped the horses to move the cart forward, they were not able,
despite all the force they were using. The soldier kept whipping and the horses were
struggling hopelessly. During one of these whippings, the horse that was right in front of
the soldier, gave a hard kick right to the chest of the soldier, who became pale and I saw
blood from his mouth. The soldier finally managed to move the cart but he was hardly
holding himself on the seat.
Nabi Yunus (Prophet Jonah)
The Mosque of Naby Yunus in Mosul, northern Iraq, was built over the grave of the
Nestorian patriarch Henanisho I (685-701). This used to be a Christian monastery
founded in the end of the fourth century, but was converted to a mosque in the tenth
century. In 1349 the allegedly uncorrupted body of the patriarch, dead more than six
This is the Anglicized word for the Syriac Maphryānā, meaning “one who bears fruit”. In the Syriac
Orthodox Church he designates the prelate holding second rank after the patriarch.
Communauté Syriaque Orthodox de France (
Christoph Baumer, page 81.
centuries ago, was found and identified with the prophet Jonah, who was sent by God to
go to Nineveh and invite the Ninevites to repent.26
The Double Church of St. Sergius and St. Bacchus
This Nestorian double church stands in the village of Bos Vatch, eight kilometers southwest of the city of Urmia, the province of Azarbaijan, Iran. Baumer writes that the region
of Urmia remains a stronghold of the Church of the East, where over 100 East Syrian and
Chaldean churches and chapels are found. Many of them have been closed for security
reasons due to widespread vandalism, and are opened once a year on the feast day of their
patron saint.27
Mar Shalita Cathedral
This cathedral, situated in the Kotchannes, in the Turkish Hakkary Mountains, has been
abandoned since 1915, is symbolic of the Church of the East. Baumer writes: “The
faithful were driven out, but the church walls still stand like a lonely Christian
watchtower. It is hoped that, upon the eventual admission of Turkey into the European
Union, the domestic political situation will improve to the point that the former
patriarchal basilica may be rebuilt and the Assyrians living in Syrian, European and
American exile may return to the homeland of their forefathers. The return of the
descendants of the one-time mountain Nestorians of Hakkari and the reconstruction of
the Mar Shalita Cathedral would be clear signs of the guarantee of genuine religious
freedom in Turkey.28
Christoph Baumer, page 145.
Ibid, page 103.
Christoph Baumer, page 283.
Bishops with dioceses under their jurisdiction.
Each diocese could have several priests and
Diocese (Greek dioikesis, “administration”), the territory over which a bishop exercises
ecclesiastical jurisdiction.29
Priest (Greek presbyteros: “elder”. A priest is intermediary between a bishop and a
deacon. In Syriac: Qasha.
Deacon (Greek diakonos: “Servant or helper”). In Syriac: Shamasha.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2004.
Mor Mattai Monastery , Mosul, Iraq.
Image from: Communauté Syriaque Orthodox de France.
Rabban Hormizd Monastery, Alqosh, northern Iraq.