Chart of the Syro-Phoenician Church from 525 A.D. till 1724
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Eastern Christian Milestones
525 A.D. to 1,724

The Eastern Church's contribution to the Universal Church is often forgotten. The Syro-Phoenician Church was the "mustard seed" that made a "major tree" in the modern world.

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From the martyrdom of Philoxenus, 523 A.D. till the Arab Conquest, 645 A.D.




525 AD Pope Gelasius appointed a Syriac monk Dionysius Exiguus, (='Denys the short') as a translator of his archives. Denys invented the idea of dating from the birth of Christ, viz: anni Domini. (See entry under 532 AD.) [7], p. 63
525 AD
Another disastrous flood at Edessa. Procopius states that about 30,000 people, (a third of the population) were killed in that flood. The chronicle of Edessa also records that the flood destroyed the city for the third time. This was also the fourth time that the walls were destroyed, [41]. Asclepius (Chalcedonian catholic) bishop of Edessa showing his true nature once again, flees the disaster and hides in Antioch were he died on 27th June of the same year.
Euphrasius was patriarch of Antioch at this time, [41].
[33], pp. 96, 124
March 8th
526 AD
Paul who had been deposed from Edessa decided to accept the council of Chalcedon and was restored as bishop of Edessa. Paul died on the 30th October of the same year. Paul was succeeded by Andreas on the 7th February AD 527 [41]
1pm Friday 29th May
526 AD
A massive earthquake destroyed Antioch killing most of the population including Euphrasius the patriarch. He was succeeded by Ephraim of Amida, another Chalcedonian catholic. He sat until AD 545. [41]
[7], p. 72
1st April
527 AD
Death of Byzantine emperor Justin I, who was succeeded by his nephew Justinian. Justinian decreed that a dam should be built to protect Edessa from flood waters and he funded the project.
During the reign of Justinian, a Chalcedonian catholic centre was established at Edessa. This was part of a wider movement led by the emperor, that later would become the Melkite denomination.
The Melkite movement translated its Greek scriptures and other writings into the local Aramaic dialectWestern Aramaic or Christian Palestinian Aramaic, (CPA). The faithful were still speaking western Aramaic in the 6th century and even later is demonstrated by the surviving CPA lectionaries, (see under AD 969 below).
[33], pp. 77, 112, 156
15th November
527 AD
Antioch, or what was left of it after the earthquake the previous year, was destroyed again, this time by a major fire. [41]
530 AD Emperor Justinian tried to Hellenize the Aramean monasteries of the Sinaitic peninsular. Part of this strategy was to establish the Monastery of St. Catherine in that part of the world. [35], p. 85
12th July
531 AD
(AG 842)
Death of Kawad, king of Persia who was succeeded on 12th July AD 531 by Khusraw I Anushirun son of Kawad, [50]. [33], p. 112
[37], p. xii
[50], p. 318 note 3
18th December
531 AD
The Huns defeated the Roman commander Demosthenes at Edessa and invaded and laid waste the Roman territory as far as Aleppo and they came within 12 miles of Antioch. [41]
532 AD
(= 247 anno Diocletiani)
The Sythiac monk, Dionysius Exiguus (translator of Pope Gelasius ) writes a letter to a bishop named Petronius dated 247 anno Diocletiani stating that he had calculated the birth of Christ to have occurred 531 years previously in 1 AD, the start date he was proposing as a new Christian calendar. The non-zero integer arithmetic indicates that if the birth of Christ occurred in 1 AD and 531 years previously, then the date of Dionysius' letter was 532 AD. See entry above under 286 AD. [5], p. 100.
[7], p. 63 Bede read this letter 200 years later and used AD in his book, 'The Ecclesiastical History of the English People' popularizing the AD based calendar in England from the 8th century onwards.
532 AD
Rufinius a Roman patrician makes a peace treaty with the Persians which holds until AD 539 or 540. [41]
532 AD
Andreas bishop of Edessa died. He was succeeded by Addai on 28th August AD 533. [41]
c. 535 AD Cosmas Indikopleustes, an Indian traveler from the island of Socotra sees Syriac Christian bishops and communities living along the coasts of India and Sri Lanka. These Christians had been driven East by the persecution of, and wars between, the Zoroastrian Sassanian kings of Persia and the Arian Byzantine Caesars. [7], p. 153
537 to 538 AD John (bishop) of Tella a Monophysite bishop was arrested and tortured in prison. John had successfully run the Monophysite church for some time, staying on the move to evade capture as long as possible. He died a martyr during torture in 538 AD. [33], p. 96
538 AD Died theologian Mar Severus patriarch of Antioch [22]
5th October
538 AD
Appeared a comet which the chronicler describes as a spear [41]
539 AD
The Persian king Khusraw I Anosharwan invades Byzantine territory, penetrating deep into Syria. He laid waste Shura, and Haleb (Aleppo) and Antioch, and also took possession of Apamea, and turned and came as far as Edessa.
Edessa was besieged by the Persian king who was repulsed and bought off with 200 pounds of gold. A peace was arranged in 562 AD. According to [41], the date of the siege of Edessa was the summer of AD 539, however [33] has AD 544.
[33], p. 113, 158
540 AD
(Kanun II AG 852)
Mar Abha I who had been educated at the School of Nisibis, who later became an eminent professor there, succeeded catholicos Paulus and became East Syriac catholicos. He sat until his death on 29th February AD 552. [45]
[50], p. 318 notes 1, 3, 326, 353 note 5
c. 540 AD The Chronicle of Edessa (here labeled [41]) was written. [33], p. 166
542 AD
[34] has 341 AD
Empress Theodora, wife of Justinian was sympathetic to the Monophysite cause and caused Jacob Bard'aya (or Burd'ana) to become bishop of Edessa, 541 - 578 AD. Jacob gave his name to the Jacobites a West Syriac Monophysite Christian denomination which survives to this day. [33], p. 97
[34], pXXVII
January to July 12th
544 AD
A synod was held presided over by the east Syriac catholicos Mar Abha I. The acts of this synod contain a few gospel quotations taken from an Old Syriac gospel manuscript. Mar Abha who had been educated at the School of Nisibis, later founded a new eastern Syriac theological school in Seleucia, (Baghdad). One of his disciples, a priest called Ishai, became the first professor of biblical exegesis at Seleucia. Ishai wrote a treatise which survives. As is clear from the text, he also used an Old Syriac gospel manuscript in his work.
The 5th year of Mar Abha I began January AD 544 and the 13th year of Kawsrau the king ended on 12th July AD 544. This means that the synod was held sometime within this interval.
[38], pp. 95 – 96
[50], p. 318
545 AD Ephraim of Amida Chalcedonian catholic patriarch of Antioch died. [7], p. 72
550 AD The archives of Edessa were still kept in that city at this time. Assemani, 'Bibliotecha Orientalis' Vol. 1 via [17], p. 142
c. 550 AD Moses of Agel (or Aggil) a Monophysite, mentioned that chorepiscopus Polycarp had translated the NT and David, (Psalms) from Greek into Syriac for Xenaias, (Philoxenus) - see under 508 AD above. Assemani Bibl. Or. t. II, p. 82 via [34], p. XXVIII
c. 550 AD East Syriac catholicos Mar Abha I wrote a book called 'Memre of the soul'.
Mar Abha I who had learned Greek at Edessa, [50] created a new Syriac version of the Old Testament, and perhaps also of the New Testament, (middle of the 6th century, see above under AD 544). According to Mingana Syr 53, Mar Abha also commissioned Thomas of Edessa to translate the liturgy of Theodore of Mopsuestia from Greek into Syriac.
[32], para 34
[33], p. 165
[46], volume 1, column 150
[50], p. 318
fl. c. 550 AD Johannan of Dalyatha (or John Saba) an East (?) Syriac anchorite monk, gathered some monks together and erected the monastery of Dalyatha at Qardu. He wrote a treatise on the monastic life and a collection of epistles. According to [38] these works contain much gospel text quoted from an Old Syriac text, though some have been vulgarized in transmission. This was part of a reaction by the monks to the severe harm done by the East Syriac clergy towards them over the preceding 70 years or so. In general, the reaction of the monks was largely to go their own way. They could rely on the assistance of many ordinary believers to continue their healing and preaching ministries.
Johannan's work has been transmitted by both the Eastern and Western Syriac traditions. CUL 1999 is western and dated AD 1573.
[24], p. 109
[38], pp. 104, 125
BL Orient 4074
CUL Syr. 1999
HSM Syr. 42, 48, 115
552 AD
Mar Abha I East Syriac catholicos died on the second Friday in the month Careme = February, [50]. He was succeeded in May AD 552, [50] by Joseph who sat until being deposed between AD 564 and 567, [50] or in AD 567, [46]. [46], volume 1, column 663 cited from Bar Hebraeus.
[50], pp. 318 note 1, 352 note 1, 353 note 5
553 AD = 1 AE This was year 1 or 2 in the Armenian era (AE) dating system. [44], p. 17
554 AD
An East Syriac synod was held under catholicos Joseph. Joseph had himself been a monk near Nisibis and being the favourite nominated by the Marzban (= Persian governor) of Nisibis, he was made catholicos by king Khusraw I Anosharwan (the same king who had earlier besieged Edessa). In his concluding statement from the synod, Joseph says that East Syriac monasticism had been suppressed and dethroned. This indicates the completion of a process of physical persecution and ideological suppression of asceticism which was begun by Barsauma at the end of the 5th century. Catholicos Joseph behaved despotically and generally badly, throwing some bishops into prison and deposing others, generating a lot of ill will. He was finally deposed, probably in AD 567. Afterwards Joseph was regarded as an illegitimate catholicos.
The persecution of the monks by the clergy resulted in a permanent rift between the two sides. From a gospel text point of view, the monks continued to use the Old Syriac texts they preferred, whereas from this time onwards the East Syriac clergy slowly migrated towards the Peshitta.
[38], pp. 124 – 125
[50], pp. 352 note 1, 354
555 AD The second Armenian council Dvin. The Armenian bishops condemned the church of the Roman empire and formally adopted the Monophysite christology of Cyril of Alexandria. [44], p. 11
c. 560 AD Flourished Moshe Karkhaya, i.e. he was from Karkha in Piruz. Moshe was a disciple of Catholicos Mar Abha I. This places his fl. c. AD 560. His works include a treatise on the two genealogies of Christ as found in the gospels, (A copy of this work can be found in Mingana Syr 148A). [46], volume 1, column 340
c. 560 AD Hind, the daughter of the Arabian king Herta al-Hirah Abu Kabus Numan ibn al-Mundhir a Christian. Hind was also the mother of `Amr Ibn Mudir (AD 554 – 569). She founded a monastery in al-Hira. This monastery contains Christian Arabic inscriptions which indicate that the gospel had already by this time been translated from Syriac into Arabic. [24], p. 129
[38], p. 156
566 or 567 AD Yohannan (John) of Ephesus wrote his 'History of Oriental Saints'. Yohannan was a monk at Amida and became a favourite of the Emperor Justinian. He also persecuted pagan groups in Asia Minor, (Turkey). In his history, Yohannan quotes the gospels from the Peshitta, although some Old Syriac influences can be traced. [38], p. 93
567 AD Joseph catholicos of the east was deposed due to his authoritarian and heavy handed behaviour. [46], volume 1, column 663 cited from Bar Hebraeus.
[50], pp. 352 note 1, 353 note 5
570 AD Mar Hazqiel or Ezekiel became east Syriac catholicos. His election ended a gap of three years which began after the deposition of Joseph. During Hazqiel's episcopate, rabban Henana of Hedhaiyabh flourished in the School of Nisibis.
Also at this time there was an epidemic of yersinia pestis, (bubonic plague) which decimated Mesopotamia. Things got so bad that a three day fast was instituted in the church calendar, called the Rogations of the Ninevites. This fast is still practised by the Church of the East.
[50], p. 370 note 2
575 AD Ahudemma was martyred by Khusraw king of Persia. His anonymous biographer quotes the gospels in the Peshitta version. [38], p. 93
576 AD
A synod was held presided over by Catholicos Mar Hazqiel or Ezekiel. The acts of this synod contain eight gospel quotations. Of these eight, seven are taken from an Old Syriac gospel manuscript. The first canon concerns the designation of the Messalians (see above under AD 366) as heretics on the grounds of sexual immorality. Also according to the synodal canons, the clergy sought ways to subordinate the monks under their hierarchical authority.
According to [46], Mar Hazqiel had been a disciple of catholicos Mar Abha I and he wrote a commemoration of his master which survives in Mingana Syr 542 A (j).
[38], pp. 95, 125
[46], volume 1, column 997
[50], pp. 368, 368 note 1
578 AD End of the see of theologian and bishop of Edessa, Mar Yacub Baradeus. [22]
[34], p. XXVII
30th June
AD 578
Hormizd IV son of Khusraw I Anosharwan became king of Persia. He reigned until the summer of AD 590.
Reference [37] has a less exact date of 577 or 578 AD.
Reference [50], p. 390 note 1 has February AD 579.
[37], p. xii
[50], pp. 390 note 1, 391 note 2
Between 30th June
and 30th September
581 AD
(AG 892)
Isho`yabh I of Arzon became East Syriac catholicos who died in his 15th year which began late summer AD 595.
Reference [50], p. 370 has the election date as AD 582 or 583.
Reference [50], p. 371 note 3 cites an ancient source who gives the year of his election as AG 892 = between October 1st AD 580 and September 30th AD 581. Based upon the date of the synod in AD 585, the interval of his election can be narrowed down to between the 30th June and the 30th September AD 581.
[24], p. 125
[50], pp. 370 note 2, 371 note 3
30th June and
30th September
585 AD
(In the 8th year of Hormizd the king, and the 4th year of Isho`yabh [50])
A synod was held presided over by the East Syriac catholicos Isho`yabh I of Arzon. The acts of this synod contain sixteen gospel quotations. Of these only a quarter reflect the tenacity of the Old Syriac text type. One canon issued by this synod forbade ordinary Christians from visiting monasteries and cells on Sundays and festivals. This was because many were visiting the monasteries in preference to attending church. Also at this synod, Hannana or Henana of Hedhaiyabh who had dared to challenge some of Theodore of Mopsuestia's teachings was excommunicated by the East Syriac church, (see below under AD 596).
Isho`yabh I of Arzon wrote an historical and theological commentary upon the trisagion of the East Syriac church which is preserved in a 14th century MS, Mingana Syr 561 part C, [46].
Isho`yabh was a friend of the Christian Arab king Herta al-Hirah Abu Kabus Numan ibn al-Mundhir whose daughter, Hind, had founded the Arabic speaking monastery, (see above under AD 560) where Isho`yabh later died in AD 596.
[24], pp. 125, 129, 130
[38], pp. 95, 129
[46], volume 1, column 1043
[50], pp. 391 notes 2, 3, 422 note 2
588 AD Died Abraham of Kashkar an East Syriac monastic reformer. Abraham created a new monastic centre based on the mount Izla monastery he founded near Nisibis, [50], (this monastery was also called the great convent). A Syriac biography of Abraham survives, see Mingana Syr 252 D. Again, the Izla movement was a reaction to the suppression of the monks by the East Syriac clergy. Nevertheless, the monks had certain restrictions placed upon them by the clergy.
Abraham was succeeded by Dadisho` of Beth Qatraya as director of this movement before the death of Abraham. Afterward Abraham lived to a great age and died in this year. Dadisho` of Beth Qatraya composed a number of treatises on various aspects of the ascetic life and translated or edited a commentary upon the 'Paradise of western monks' probably that of Palladius and Jerome. A manuscript copy of his commentary on the Paradise is preserved in the British Library, BL Add. 17264. Despite the fact that it dates from the 13th century, this 142 page manuscript is full of Old Syriac gospel readings, (an example of a Diatessaron quotation can be found in [42], p. 28). The official use of the Old Syriac gospel at the Mount Izla monastery demonstrates that it was preferred by the East Syriac monks and anchorites. Further evidence for the use of the Old Syriac at this monastery can also be seen later, (see below).
Dadisho` also wrote a commentary on the works of Isaiah of Scete. A MS containing this work can be found in Vat. Syr. 496, [47].
A treatise on solitude an prayer also survives, see Mingana, A. 'Woodbrook studies' volume 7, 1934. Vööbus reports that the gospel texts found this treatise have been adapted to the Peshitta, [38].
Dadisho` died in AD 604.
[24], p. 131
[38], pp. 97, 117 – 118, 129
[42], p. 28
[47], volume 3, p. 99
[50], p. 562
27th June
590 AD
Khusraw II Parwez Hormezd became king of Persia.
Reference [37] has the less exact date as AD 589 or 590.
[37] p. xii
Hatch 'Album', p. 212
[50], p. 390 note 1, 391 note 3, 456 note 1
593 AD Died Simon Stylites the Younger.
Simon corresponded with the famous East Syriac writer Isaac of Nineveh. Isaac was a monk of the convent of Mar Matthew in Mosul, then an anchorite who roamed the mountains of Susiana and later he was bishop of Mosul or Nineveh. However, he soon resigned his see and went to the desert of Scete in NW Egypt where he wrote his ascetic works. These are very rich in gospel quotations taken from an Old Syriac manuscript. The Old Syriac quotations in these quotations have occasionally been altered towards the Peshitta during transmission, but much more often, the Old Syriac elements remain in the text. This suggests that the Peshitta readings were added in the margin by later readers and then incorporated in the text when manuscript copies were made.
[24], p. 110
[38], pp. 102 – 103
596 AD
(AG 907, `Amr [50]
AG 906, Eliya [50])
Whilst on a pastoral visit in the area, the East Syriac catholicos Isho`yabh I of Arzon died at the monastery of Hind, who was the daughter of his friend king Herta al-Hirah Abu Kabus Numan ibn al-Mundhir. [24], p. 130
[46], volume 1, column 1043
[50], p. 391 note 3
596 AD Sabhr-isho` I became east Syriac catholicos. He had studied under the direction of Mar Abraham the Commentator at the School of Nisibis. [50], p. 456 note 2
596 AD
Sabhr-isho` I east Syriac catholicos held a synod. [50], p. 456 note 1
596 AD Lived Hnana or Henana or Hannana of Hedhaiyabhe (i.e. Of Adiabene) a theologian and the director of the East Syriac School of Nisibis, (he studied in this school and later became it's 6th director after Mar Narsai). He was condemned as a heretic in AD 585 by Isho`yabha I of Arzon and again in May AD 596 at the synod called by the newly elected catholicos, Sabhr-isho`. As can be seen from his surviving theological treatise, (edited by A. Scher, see Patrologia Orientalis, PO 31), Henana used an Old Syriac manuscript of the gospels. Despite being denounced in this way, Henana's works were extensively quoted by important later East Syriac authors like Isho`dad of Merv, see later under AD 852. [24], p. 125
[32], para 30
[38], p. 96
Isho`dad of Merv
598 AD
Catholicos Sabhr-isho` I received a servile letter from the leaders of the monastic movement in the Shigar region of Persia, west of Mosul, promising obedience and the catholicos wrote a reply. [50], p. 461
October to December
599 AD
An East Syriac manuscript of the four gospels was copied. It was one of the 42 Peshitta manuscripts collated by G. H. Gwilliam for the BFBS Peshitta gospel text. The manuscript is dated 10th year of Khusraw II (AD 588 to 599) and AG 911 (October AD 599 to September 600). The manuscript was copied in Teldainor, in the district of Beth Nuhadra. [20]
BL Add. 14460
Hatch 'Album', p. 211
c. 600 AD Lived Abraham Nethperaya and anchorite monk from Nethpar near Arbela. Abraham's discourses survive in the following manuscripts, BL Add. Cod. 14614 and Orient 6714. In these, Abraham quotes from an Old Syriac gospel manuscript. [24], pp. 111 - 112
[38], p. 97
c. 600 AD Lived Barhadbeshabba who was an Eastern Syriac author and Head Doctor of the school at Nisibis. He wrote, 'The cause of the foundation of the schools'. This survives only in young manuscripts. The oldest reported in [38] is 15th century AD. The gospel text used was originally Old Syriac, but many quotations were vulgarized during 900 years of textual transmission. [38], pp. 94 – 95
Drijvers, H. ‘Bardaisan of Edessa’ p. 106
600 – 620 AD
(Mentioned in AD 612, [50].)
Flourished Shubha-lmaran, who was metropolitan of Karka d-Beth Slokh, (now Kirkuk in Iraq). His approximate period is identified by Dr. S. Brock in his paper 'Gabriel of Qatar's Commentary on the Liturgy', [Hugoye 6.2]. Ancient sources indicate that he participated in an ecclesiastical trial held in the Persian royal court, AD 612, [50]. Later, he was imprisoned for his faith by the Persian king, Khusraw II Parwez [50].
His metrical works are preserved in a Sinai MS, New Finds 20 and he is probably the same person as a monk of the same name quoted in MS Mingana Syr 553. He also wrote ascetic treatises called, 'The book of gifts'. This work has been edited from British Library Oriental Manuscript 6714 by the late Professor David Lane, (this work is currently being prepared for publication by CSCO).
Hugoye on-line journal, Vol. 6, No. 2 July 2003.
[50], pp. 625, 633
For the CSCO edition see:
600 – 620 AD Flourished Gabriel bar Lipeh Katraya, i.e. of Qatar, who wrote an early commentary upon the East Syriac liturgy. His approximate date is identified by Dr. S. Brock in his paper ' Gabriel of Qatar's Commentary on the Liturgy' where Gabriel's commentary is also edited. His commentary is preserved in a unique 13th century MS, British Library, Or. 3336. The commentary is based upon a much earlier one which must have been written before the schisms of the mid 5th century because traces of it can be found in all the Syriac liturgical traditions. An abridgment of Gabriel's commentary was also transmitted under the name Abraham Katraya bar Lipeh. This abridgment has also been published by R.H. Connolly, 'Anonymi auctoris Expositio Officiorum Ecclesiae Georgio Arbelensi vulgo ascripta. Accedit Abrahae Bar Lipeh Interpretation Officiorum,' II (CSCO Scr. Syri 29, 1913). Gabriel's commentary quotes the gospel a few dozen times, and even though the surviving MS is of the 13th century, it is clear from the remaining Old Syriac variants that an Old Syriac gospel text was in use. Hugoye online journal, Vol. 6, No. 2 July 2003.
AD 604
Died east Syriac catholicos Sabhr-isho` in Nisibis, whilst the Persian king Khusraw II Parwez was besieging Dara. In this year this Persian king besieged and captured Dara. This started a war with the Byzantines that lasted 25 years. [24], pp. 125, 133
[50], p. 456 note 2
604 AD Died Dadh-isho` the director of the Izla monastic movement, (see under AD 588). Dadisho` was succeeded as director by Babai the Great or 'the Archimandrite' or 'the Elder' (he lived AD 569-629) . Babai had studied at Beth Zahbdai and at the School of Nisibis where he had also taught. Babai wrote 'The Book of Union' a major statement of East Syriac theology, (see below under AD 612). There are many gospel quotations in this book which he quoted from an Old Syriac gospel manuscript, (only a few quotations have been vulgarized during transmission).
Babai's most important works were his commentaries on the whole bible. These commentaries were thought entirely lost until a copy was found amongst the 'New finds' at Saint Catherine's Monastery, Sinai during refurbishment work in the 1970's. At the time of writing in 2005 this unique manuscript remains unpublished. Also, despite the efforts of the present author, the manuscript remains inaccessible. This situation is greatly to be regretted and hopefully the text will be made available soon.
During his tenure at Mount Izla, Babai expelled a number of monks. Perhaps there was a dispute, because another monk from Izla called variously Meshiha-zekha, Isho`-zekha or Zekha-Isho` left shortly afterwards and founded the monastery of Beth Rabban Zekha-Isho` or Beth Rabban in the district of Dasen. This would have happened in the first quarter of the 7th century AD. Zekha-Isho` was the author of an ecclesiastical history.
Atiya, Aziz S., 'A History of Eastern Christianity' Methuen, London, 1968
[24], pp. 130, 131, 167
[38], p. 97
605 AD
Grighor, (Gregory) of Kashkar became east Syriac catholicos, he died in the fourth year of his episcopate. He was nominated by the Persian Queen Shirin who also supported the monophysite church. The same month, a Syriac synod was held by the new catholicos. At this synod, the clergy complained in the synodal canons that the monks and anchorites ignored their authority. This was further evidence of the rift that had opened up between the clergy and the monks following the persecution of monks by the clergy.
Barhadbeshabba who had been head of the school of Nisibis was elevated to be bishop of Holwan. His signature appears at the foot of this synod.
[38], p. 125
[50], pp. 471 f., 479
Between October 608 AD and April 609 AD Died the East Syriac Catholicos Grighor, (Gregory) of Kashkar. After his death there was a persecution in Persia until the murder of Khusraw II Parwez Hormezd in AD 628. During this time there was no Catholicos of the East and the leadership role was exercised by Babai the Great. From a political point of view, the Izla ascetic movement was now (temporarily) in charge of Eastern Christianity. ([24] gives Grigor's date of death as 607 AD.) [24], pp. 126, 167
[50], p. 472
609 AD The Persians attack and capture Edessa from the Byzantine empire. [33], p. 95
c. 611 AD Martyrdom of Nathaniel bishop of Siarzour whose crucifixion after an imprisonment lasting 6 years was ordered by king Khusraw II Parwez. He had written a polemic against the Magian religion, (which was the state religion in Persia at that time, see below under AD 620). [50], p. 479
612 AD Giwargis an East Syriac monk was martyred. An account of this man's life and martyrdom was written by Babai the Great who also wrote an account of the martyrdom of Christina. Both of these works also contain gospel quotations quoted from an Old Syriac manuscript.
Also at about this time, Babai the Great entered into a controversy with the brothers `Abhd-isho` Hazzaya and Rabban Joseph Hazzaya i.e. from Hazza = Arbil. Joseph was a disciple of Hannana of Hedhaiyabh who had been excommunicated by the catholicoi Isho`yabh of Arzon and Sabhr-isho`. Babai's theological controversy with Joseph included his important christological treatise, 'The book of Union'. This latter work has been published by Vaschalde A. 'Liber de unione', CSCO 1915. A number of Joseph's works also survive. A 'Letter on the three Stages of Monastic Life' has been published: Patrologia Orientalis, PO 202 (45.2) and others lie in the MSS, including a large work on the Godhead, the trinity, the creation, the judgment and the divine economy found in Mingana Syr 601 part V. Several smaller works by Joseph and others by his brother `Abhd-isho` are also contained in this important MS, [46].
[24], pp. 124-129
[38], p. 98
[46], volume 1, columns 1150, 1152
Between 27th June 612 AD
and 26th June
613 AD
An unusual kind of controversial synod was held by the command of the king. The synod was held in the royal court of king Khusraw II Parwez, in the 23rd year of his reign, between the monophysite physician Gabriel and the bishops of the Church of the East. A record of this meeting was written by the Church of the East side has survived, [50]. This record amounts to a defence of the faith of the church of the East. [50], p. 580
613 - 619 AD Paul (Monophysite bishop) of Tella, flees persecution in Mesopotamia and goes to the Antonine convent in Alexandria, Egypt to work with Thomas of Harkel on translations of the Bible from Greek into Syriac. Paul of Tella translated from Greek into Syriac the LXX OT and the story of the woman caught in adultery found in the Greek gospel of John, [46]. Thomas of Harkel created the Herklensian version of the Syriac NT. And completed it in AD 616, [46]. Thomas mentions the earlier work of Philoxenus and uses that as a basis for his version. Later on, Thomas of Harkel became bishop of Mabbûg, also called Hierapolis . [34], p. X (second intro.)
[46], volume 1, columns 870, 871, 875
613 or 614 AD An East Syriac copy of the Peshitta gospels was made at Nisibis and dated the 25th year of the reign of Khuswaw. Hatch 'Album' p. 212
BL. Add. 14471
614 AD The Persian king Khusraw II Parwez Hormezd attacks, captures and lays waste Jerusalem. This Khusraw looted the wood of the cross and brought it to Persia. [24], pp. 135, 169
[37] p. xii
615 or 616 AD The Persian king Khusraw II Parwez Hormezd attacks and captures Alexandria. [24], p. 135
615 to 628 AD The Persian king, Khusraw Parwez engaged in a campaign of destruction and murder. Due to the suspicions of Khusraw Parwez that the Monophysites living under his reign may be communicating with the Syriac orthodox church of the west, Parwez maintained a persecution campaign which lasted until his death in 627 AD. During this campaign, many monasteries near the royal court were destroyed. [24], p. 134
(Nau, "Ahoudemmeh," p.54, 75.) via [14].
620 to 650 AD In the thirtieth year of Khusraw Parwez (620), thirteen Christians were imprisoned in Adiabene (Modern Arbil and surroundings) for five years and then in 625, crucified at the bridge marking the border of Beth Garme. At about the same time, a bishop by the name of Nathaniel was crucified for writing a polemic against the Magians, (Nathaniel's crucifixion actually happened slightly earlier, see above under AD 611). Chabot, "Chastete,," pp. 37, 39-40, 256, 258. Also Hoffmann, "Persiscer Martyrer" , p. 119, 121
622 on 16th Tammuz
(16/07/622) = 1 AH
This is the first year of the kingdom of the Arabs, that is to say the first year of the Hadj according to the Julian, (not the present Gregorian) calendar. This date AH 1, is used as year 1 for dates given in the Islamic era, (AH). The Islamic calendar is based on the duration of 12 lunar orbits (months) and so it contains 354.358 days, (see reference below) that is to say, about 11 days shorter than the Julian calendar year of 365.25 days. This means that the Islamic new year moves constantly through the solar year, and calculations of the solar date from an Islamic date must take this movement into account.
According to R. M. Tennent, 'Science data book' Publ. for the OU by Oliver & Boyd 1976, p. 38, the present calendar is based upon a corrected Gregorian tropical solar year of 365.242 days = 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45.9747 seconds.
[37], p. xii
624 AD Abbot Paul of Cyprus, who fled to Cyprus to escape the Persian invasion of Syria translated the works of Gregory of Nazianzen into Syriac on the island. According to [38], he used an Old Syriac gospel manuscript and the work is very rich in gospel quotations. These translations can be found in BL. Add. Cods. 12153 and 14549. [24], p. 135
[34], p. LXXI
[38], p. 94
627 AD Byzantines under Heraclius crush the Persians at the battle of Nineveh, ending the war begun by the Persian king in AD 604. [2]
627 to 630 AD Khusraw II Parwez Hormezd was murdered in AD 628 and on 25th February AD 628 was succeeded by his son Sharwe or Kawad II, [37], [50]. He reigned only 9 months as king of Persia after the murder of his father in the same year. He was succeeded in about October AD 628 by Ardisher III son of Khusraw who reigned one year and nine or ten months. [24], pp. 126, 167
[37] p. xii
Hatch 'Album', p. 212
[50], p. 562 note 2
628 AD Marutha became metropolitan of Tagrit. Some 13th century manuscripts containing Marutha's works survive. From a homily in one of these, BL Add. 14727, it appears that Marutha used an Old Syriac gospel text. [38], p. 100
628 AD Isho`yabh II Gedalaya `Arabaya i.e. of Gedhala near Mosul became East Syriac Catholicos. He studied at Nisibis and was bishop of Balad at the time of his elevation. Isho`yabh became Catholicos unexpectedly, since the post was unanimously offered by the bishops to Babai the Great. However, Babai declined the post and Isho`yabh was elected instead. Isho`yabh II wrote a christological treatise in the form of letter to Rabban Abraham of Media which survives, [46]. [24], pp. 167 – 168
[46], volume 1, column 1112
[50], p. 562
630 AD Shahabrez 'the great [and] powerful' ruled Persia for 1 year. This reign seems to have been followed by two very short reigns by Persian Queens, Boran and then Zedemedokat both of whom were daughters of Khusraw. [37] pp. xii – xiii
630 AD Isho`yabh II of Gedhala East Syriac Catholicos, was sent by Boran, daughter of Khusraw II with an embassy to Heraclius, Emperor of Constantinople. He took with him the the cross which had been looted by the Persians when they captured Jerusalem in AD 614. This relic was promptly returned by Heraclius to Jerusalem.
Accompanying him on this journey was Sahdonna of Halamun, (a village in Beth Nuhadhre), afterward called Martyrius bishop of Mahoze dh'Arewan in Beth Garmai. Sahdonna studied at Nisibis and became a monk under Mar Y`aqob, (or Rabban Jacob) the founder of the convent of Beth `Abhe. Whilst Sahdonna was at Beth `Abhe he composed his important works on asceticism which have been published by CSCO. Sahdonna included a great deal of gospel text in his ascetic works, all of it taken from an Old Syriac manuscript.
Also included in this embassy were John the East Syriac bishop of Damascus and Isho`yabh of Hedhaiyabh (i.e. of Adiabene). Isho`yabh of Hedhaiyabh studied at Nisibis and later became bishop of Mosul and then Metropolitan of Hazza, (i.e. Arbel) and Mosul and then Catholicos in AD 647.
[24], pp. 169 – 171
[38], pp. 103 – 104
631 AD Hormezed V, son of Khusraw became king of Persia. [37] p. xiii
632 AD Yesdelrad III, son of Khusraw became king of Persia. [37] p. xiii
637 AD During the reign of Catholicos Yeshuyab II (628-44) the Muslim invaders seized Seleucia-Ctesiphon (near Baghdad) after the battle of al-Qadisiya in 637, and subsequently the whole Persian empire succumbed to their armies. Layard
639 AD Edessa and Harran were captured by the Muslim army commanded by 'Iyad ibn Ghanm the general. Michael the Syriac, commenting on the Muslim conquest, said that the Monophysite church lost much property, but gained relief from the persecution which had been dished out by the Byzantine emperors. [29], p. 110
[33], pp. 99, 100
640 AD Marutha became Monophysite metropolitan bishop of Taghrith (or Tagrit) until his death in AD 649. He compiled a new liturgy and wrote a commentary upon the gospels as well as some discourses and sedras. Small fragments of his gospel commentaries can be found in Mingana Syr 362 and in BL Add 12144. [24], p. 137
Wright 'Catalogue', p. 910
c. 640 AD East Syriac missionaries translate their Syriac Four Gospels into Chinese for the Chinese emperor Tai Tsung [4], p. 72.
641 AD The Muslims capture Alexandria [7]
c. 642 AD Athanasius Patriarch of Antioch writes to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius at the beginning of the Arab invasions. [46], volume 1, column 407
644 AD Ended the see of Isho`yabh II of Gedhala, (near Mosul), East Syriac Catholicos. He was succeeded by Mariemmeh who died in AD 647. [24], pp. 168 – 169, 172
645 AD Yesdelrad III, son of Khusraw was killed by the Saracens, (?) (Syriac: “the Children of S'a-s'an”). This ended the Persian kingdom. [37] p. xiii

From the Arab Conquest, 645 A.D. till 1724
Muslim Arab armies invaded the area occupied by Syriac speaking Christians from the early 7th century AD onwards. According to an ancient account by Michael the Syriac, the Christians had been oppressed so hard by the Persians in the East and the Byzantines in the West that they welcomed the Muslims! [22]
[38], p. 99
c. 645 AD `Anan Isho`, (later called Shenna dheBheth Remman) a distinguished scholar was originally a native of Adiabene who studied in Nisibis. He then became an East Syriac monk when he entered the Great Monastery of mount Izla. Afterwards, according to Wright [24], `Anan Isho` travelled to Egypt and Palestine gathering information about ascetic life in those regions. According to Thomas, bishop of Marga, (via Budge) `Anan Isho` then returned to Mesopotamia and came to the convent of Beth `Abhe whilst his friend Isho`yahb was still Metropolitan of Arbela, that is to say, before Isho`yahb became the Catholicos, Isho`yahb III.
When `Anan Isho` came to the convent of Beth `Abhe he assembled his version of 'The Paradise of the Fathers' from the sources which he had collected during his travels in Scete, (Egypt) and in Jerusalem. `Anan Isho`'s recension of the 'Paradise' is a large work in two volumes. These volumes contain around 80 scattered quotations taken from an Old Syriac gospel manuscript.
According to [38], `Anan Isho`'s name was Enanisho and he worked for a later Catholicos, Gewargis I. However, according to Thomas bishop of Marga, `Anan Isho` came to Beth `Abhe before Isho`yahb III became Catholicos. Therefore, it is most probable that `Anan Isho` edited the Paradise whilst the information which he had gathered during his travels was still fresh in his mind. Therefore, `Anan Isho` probably completed his recension of the Paradise in around AD 645, soon after he came to the convent of Beth `Abhe rather than 15 years later during the patriarchate of Giwargis I.
`Anan Isho` also composed a lexical work which survives with the additions made by Honain ibn Ishak al-`Ibadi of Herta who died AD 873. This has been published by Hoffmann, 'Opuscula Nestoriana' from two MSS, [24]. Another MS copy can be found in Mingana Syr 420.
[24], pp. 174 – 175
'Historia Monastica' by Thomas b. of Marga. c. AD 850 via Budge, “Paradise” 1904, pp. vii – viii
[38], p. 104
647 AD Isho`yabh III of Hedhaiyabh (i.e. of Adiabene) who had formerly been Metropolitan of Arbela and bishop of Nuhadraye was elected Catholicos of the East. This Isho`yabh ordered the (re-)arrangement of the Hudra, (or order of service) and seems to have suffered widespread dissent from his bishops. Attributed to him is a theological and liturgical series of questions and answers which includes historical details, see MS Mingana Syr 566.
The actual work on the Hudra was done by Isho`yabh's friend, the distinguished scholar `Anan Isho`. `Anan Isho` also produced some books explaining how to pronounce difficult Syriac words used by the church fathers based upon pioneering work by Joseph Huzaya, who was the first Syriac grammarian and a disciple of Mar Narsai.
[24], pp. 115, 116, 172, 174, 175
649 AD Died Marutha, who had been Monophysite metropolitan of Tagrit since AD 640. He was succeeded by Denha. The latter wrote a biography of his predecessor in which he also commented upon the situation in the East Syriac church in his area, (this has been edited by Nau, F. 'Denha, histoire de Marouta', PO III, 1 Paris 1905). He said that the East Syriac monks were very keen to establish schools in every settlement and that very many schools were established an ran by them.
One of the most famous of these founders of schools in and around Marga was Rabban Babai of Gebiltha. It is highly likely that the monks taught from their Old Syriac gospel texts in many of these schools.
[24], pp. 136, 137
[38], pp. 100, 131
650 AD Many monks and ascetics were killed by the army of Sa'd along the Byzantine border, especially in the monastery called "The daughters of Five Churches" at Ra's Ayn (in modern Syria). (Michael G. Morony, Iraq after the Muslim Conquest, 1984, p. 379, Also J.B. Chabot, CSCO, Scr. Syri 56, Louvain, 1937) 
653 or 654 AD Gabriel was consecrated bishop of the Monophysite monastery of Qartamin in Tur `Abdin by Athanasius the patriarch. This happened during the Caliphate of Omar. As appears from the gospel quotations in the 13th century manuscript which preserves this record, the gospel text in use at Qartamin at this time was an Old Syriac text of considerable age. [38], p. 115
657 or 658 AD Died East Syriac Catholicos Isho`yahb III, formerly Metropolitan of Arbela. Many of his letters survive. These contain gospel quotations partly from the Peshitta and partly from Old Syriac texts. One of Isho`yahb's works, presumably written around AD 640 before his elevation, was a biography of Isho`sabran who was the last martyr of the Sassanid era, (the power of the Sassanids ended in AD 637). This earlier work exhibits quotations from an Old Syriac gospel. [38], p. 102
658 AD Mar Gewargis I, (George) succeeded Isho`yahb III as Patriarch. He sat until AD 680 – 681. Reference [50] gives the date of his election as either 658 or 660 AD. Gewargis had been a monk of Beth `Abe [38], p. 102
[50], p. 480 note 1
660 AD Died Denha, Monophysite metropolitan of Tagrit. [38], p. 131
668 or 669 AD Athanasios, a Monophysite priest from Nisibis translates the letters of Severus, Patriarch of Antioch from Greek into Syriac. Athanasios used the Peshitta gospel text to replace the gospel quotations in the Greek original. [38], p. 101
677 AD
(Iyar 57 AH)
There was a synod under the East Syriac catholicos Giwargis I. The synodal canons are dated in the month Iyar = May of the Islamic year AH 57, [50]. Now, the year AH 57 began on the 12th November 676 AD, (see details under AD 622 above).
The synodal canons quote the gospel using the Peshitta text, however a number of Old Syriac variants are also present. Reference [38] gives two differing dates for this synod, or perhaps two synods actually occurred? The canons of this synod indicate that the clergy were still trying to subordinate the monks and anchorites under their own authority. The monks had essentially split away from the church hierarchy following years of persecution at the hands of the clerics. This situation was very important for the history of the Old Syriac gospel text which was the gospel text preferred by the monks. As was typified by the gospel quotations in the canons of this synod, the clerics increasingly preferred the Peshitta text.
[38], p. 102, 125, 126
[50], p. 482
c. October
679 AD
Catholicos Giwargis I wrote a treatise in reply to several letters from Mina who was a priest and bishop in the Church of the East. [50], p. 490
c. 680 AD Flourished Shem`on of Taybutheh surnamed 'Luka' who was a monk and a physician, (hence the surname) and a disciple of Rabban Shabor Huzaya. A treatise by him survives in Mingana Syr 601 part E. [46], volume 1, column 1148
680 or 681 AD Died catholicos Mar Gewargis I. [50], p. 480
684 - 687 AD Jacob became Monophysite bishop of Edessa. He sat only a few years and then resigned in order to teach. [24], p. 142
[33], p. 211
686 AD Giwargis (George) became Monophysite bishop of the Christian Arab tribes. Giwargis wrote many metrical (poetical) works which preserve allusions to an Old Syriac gospel text. From comments made in [38] his gospel text was probably the Diatessaron harmony. [38], pp. 100 – 101
687 AD Henanisho I became East Syriac Catholicos. [46], volume 1, column 54
c. 700 AD Jacob of Edessa and John the Stylite corresponded about this time. Jacob was busy revising the Peshitta version of the Old Testament. [32]
700 AD Died East Syriac Patriarch Henanisho` I. Letters, civil and synodal canons written by Henanisho` survive in Mingana Syr 586. [32], para 31
[46], volume 1, columns 54, 1115, 1121
705 AD Ya`qob (Jacob) of Edessa completed his revised Syriac text of the Old Testament.
Ya`qob was a distinguished scholar. He was responsible for creating new monastic centres of Greek learning at Kaisum, Eusebona and Tell `Adda. In his writings, Ya`cob used the Peshitta as his gospel text.
[33], p. 211
[38], p. 100
708 AD Died Ya`qob, (Jacob) who was for a few years, Monophysite bishop of Edessa. [24], p. 143
[33], p. 211
[38], p. 100
714 - 718 AD Giwargis, (George) Monophysite bishop of the Arabs wrote in a letter about the identity of the fourth century 'Persian sage' we know as Aphrahat.
724 AD End of the see of Giwargis, Monophysite bishop of the Christian Arab tribes. [38], p. 100
c. 740 AD Flourished the East Syriac Mystical writer Abraham Bar Dashandad. A letter of his survives in Mingana Syr 601 part C. [46], volume 1, column 1147
741 AD Mar Abha Bar Berikh-sebhyaneh of Kashkar bishop of Kashkar became East Syriac Catholicos. He sat until his death in AD 751 at an age of 110 years. He is quoted at least ten times by Isaac Shebadhnaya, also known as Asco in his sedras, see AD 1440 and Wright's catalogue of the Cambridge MSS, page 441. Mar Abha of Kashkar was succeeded by Sourin as catholicos of the east, [50]. [24], p. 186 f.
[50], p. 515 note 4
c. 754 AD Sourin catholicos of the east was deposed, [50]. [50], p. 515 note 4
October 1st
759 AD and September 30th
Ya`qob metropolitan of Gundi-Shapor was elected Ya`qob II catholicos of the east. His election ended a four year gap which began with the deposition of his predecessor, Sourin. [50], p. 515 note 4
759 or 760 AD A dated inscription in a stone sepulchre was found near Amida containing three quotations from an Old Syriac gospel. [38], pp. 110 - 111
760 AD Was born Job of Edessa. [33], p. 212
October 1st
764 AD and September 30th
Ya`qob II catholicos of the east was imprisoned and within two years, he died. After his death, there was no catholicos of the east for nine years until the election of Henanisho` II. [50], pp. 515, 515 note 4
767 AD An East Syriac copy of the Peshitta NT was copied in the convent of Rabban Mara Sabar Yeshua, or Beth Quqa near the river Zaba Rabba in Adiabene. Hatch 'Album', p. 214
773 or 774 AD Lazar of Qandasa, (or Kandasa), a Monophysite monk who lived in the mountains near Edessa wrote a commentary upon the gospels of Mark and John. From these it is clear that Lazar used the Peshitta text. [38], p. 113
774 - 779 AD When the Caliphs conquered the old Sassanid (Persian) metropolis of Seleucia-Ctesiphon and built their new capital Baghdad between the years 762 and 766, the East Syriac catholicos Henanisho` II (774-9) considered it expedient to move the Patriarchate in 775 to that city though still reserving the old title of Seleucia-Ctesiphon. As head of one of the richest and influential communities in the Islamic Empire, his position in the central administration became one of relative importance, sometimes through favour with the Caliphs themselves and sometimes through bribery and gifts, [Atiya]. Henanisho` II died in AD 780, [46]. Atiya, Aziz S., 'A History of Eastern Christianity' Methuen, London, 1968
[46], volume 1, column 1202
775 AD Mohammed El-Mahdi became Islamic Caliph of Baghdad. [50], p. 516
Between October 29th
775 AD and October 16th
776 AD
The East Syriac catholicos Henanisho` II held a synod. The synodal acts contain gospel quotations which mainly follow the Peshitta text, though a few Old Syriac variants are still to be seen. The synodal record is dated to 'AG 1087 which is also AH 159', [50]. This provides an early confirmation of the mathematical link between the Greek and Islamic calendars in use at that time.
Henanisho` had been bishop of Lashom prior to his election as catholicos. His election was schismatic: not all east Syriac bishops supported him. Nevertheless, according to [50], it is his name which appears on the Singan-fu Syriac inscription found in China which is dated AD 781. The present author has not yet been able to verify this claim, or the date of the inscription.
[38], p. 116
[50], p. 515
775 - 776 AD A monk from a monastery near Amida writes 'The chronicle of Zuqnin', which covers the period AD 488 - 775. [32]
September 779 AD Died east Syriac catholicos Henanisho` II. Henanisho` was poisoned and died when he tried to recover some church property lost during the interregnum. [46], volume 1, column 1202
[50], pp. 515 note 3, 603 note 5
Sunday 7th May
780 AD
After 8 months of wrangling, Henanisho` II was succeeded by Timothy I, who was elected on Sunday 7th May AD 780. Prior to his election, Timothy had been bishop of Beth Bagash. Timothy came originally from Hazza in Adiabene. [50], p. 603 note 5
780 to 823 AD Timothy Catholicos of the Church of the East corresponded with Sergius who was later metropolitan-bishop of Bet-Lapat or Gundishapur in the Persian province of Elam. Timothy was a favourite of the Caliphs al-Mahdi and Harun al-Rashid. About 200 of Timothy's letters survive and when he quoted the gospel, he quoted from the Peshitta. Some of these letters can be found in Mingana 47, section mm. [32], paras 24ff.
[38], p. 115
785 AD Died Mohammed El-Mahdi, Islamic Caliph of Baghdad. He was succeeded by Harun al-Rashid, (see above). [50], p. 516
Between May 19th
790 AD &
May 7th
791 AD
Timothy I catholicos of the east, held the first of two synods.
Catholicos Timothy I tried a cleric, Nestorius priest of the Monastery of Mar Yozedeq, [50] who was accused of being a Messalian, that is to say, a member of an ascetic sect which originated in the 4th century AD, [46]. Nestorius subsequently retracted this belief in a letter dated in this year, AH 174, [50]. Subsequently, Nestorius was made bishop of Beth Nuhadran or Nuhadraya. A treatise by this Nestorius can be found in Mingana Syr 601 part S, [46].
[46], volume 1, column 1115, 1118-9
[50], pp. 603 note 4, 608 note 3
791 or 792 AD The scholar Theodore bar Koni of Kashkar nephew of (presumably Catholicos) John IV, completed his 'Liber Scholiorum'. This book contains much theological, apologetical and historical information. The text is richly studded with the gospel text quoted from a revised version of the Peshitta. Vööbus shows that the Peshitta text used by Theodore had been revised towards the Greek text, [38]. Theodore was promoted by his uncle to be bishop of Lashom in AD 893.
In his 'Liber Scholiorum' Theodore gives an account of the Diatessaron and a brief quotation. He says, (I translate from the Syriac): ‘And finally came Tatianos the Greek, and he saw in the Separate Gospels that the episodes were described two or three times, and he took to write them down, one by one, and gathered from the four of them, one book. He called it "Diatessaron". And when he came to the reading of the resurrection, he saw that the testimonies of the four differed, because each caused to write that He was risen from the dead at the time that our Lord appeared to him. And, so as not to have to choose one testimony and omit three, he spoke thus in order to take account of the testimony of all four: "In the night when the first day of the week dawned, our Lord rose from the dead." ‘
[24], p. 222
[38], p. 116
Petersen “Diatessaron” p. 51
793 AD Kyriakos or Cyriacus became Patriarch of Antioch. Cyriacus had been a monk at the convent of Bizona or 'the pillar' near Callinicus. He sat until AD 817 when he died in Mosul. [24], p. 165 f.
Bar Hebraeus, 'Nomocanon'
After 797 AD A work written about the three founders of the Monophysite monastery of Qartamin in Tur `Abdin which quotes the gospel from an Old Syriac text. [38], p. 113
c. 800 AD Died David, an East Syriac monk of Beth Rabban Paulos, i.e. of the convent of Zekha-isho` who later moved and lived in the convent of Beth `Abhe. David wrote a monastic history called 'The little paradise' used as a source by Thomas bishop of Marga. He also wrote a geographical treatise and some poorly styled acrostic poems on wisdom and learning. [24], pp. 183 f.
[46], volume 1, column 902
December 5th
804 AD & 25th November 805 AD
Lived the East Syriac Catholicos Timothy I, see above under AD 780. Civil and ecclesiastical canons created by Timothy were enacted in a second synod which occurred in this year, (AH 189, [50]). A large collection of 59 letters and some canons written by Timothy are preserved in Mingana Syr 587. The treatise by Timothy on ecclesiastical law dated AD 805 and another treatise on the soul can also be found in Mingana 47, sections jj and ll, [46]. [46], volume 1, column 1115, 1118-9
[50], pp. 603 note 4, 608 note 3
817 AD End of the see of Kyriakos or Cyriacus, Patriarch of Antioch. Bar Hebraeus, “Nomocanon”
c. 817 AD Job of Edessa, (or Job al-Abrash) the East Syriac, teaches Syriac studies in Baghdad, and wrote 'The book of treasures', (essentially a Syriac encyclopedia). [33], p. 212
818 AD Dionysius of Tell-Mahre became patriarch of Antioch and wrote histories that preserved the Chronicle of Edessa and the chronicle of Joshua Stylite. He dedicated his historical work to Iwannis Patriarch of Dara, (see below). [33], p. 212
Hatch, “Album” p. 114
819 AD Jacob became patriarch of Alexandria. He sat until AD 836 Hatch, “Album” p. 114
820 AD Died Theodore Abu Qurra, bishop of Harran. Abu Qurra was from Edessa and had been a monk at the monastery of Saba. He says of himself that he wrote both in Syriac and in Arabic. His Arabic works are extant and display clear Old Syriac gospel quotations [38] [24]. Interestingly, he tells us that he is quoting from the separate gospels because he explicitly mentions the end of Matthew's gospel in connection with one of his quotations. So we have here some evidence that the early Arabic gospels were translated from the Syriac Evangelion daMepharreshe, not from the Peshitta. [38], pp. 158 – 159
[42], pp. 24, 53
Friday 9th January
823 AD
Died Timothy I, catholicos of the east aged 95 years. He had been catholicos for 43 years and 7 months. (There is perhaps an error in [50] here. Either Timothy died on 9th January 824 after he had been catholicos for 43 years and 7 months, [50], or he died on 9th January 823, [50], after he had been catholicos for 42 years and 7 months.)

[50], p. 603 note 5

823 AD
(AG 1134)
Date of the earliest extant MS containing the Philoxenian version of 1, 2 and 3 John, James, 1 and 2 Peter and Jude. Written in Egypt by Aaron, a monk from Dara, near Mardin, and presented 30 years later to the monastery of Theotokos in the Nitrian desert. Br. Lib. Add. 14623 and acquired from Nitria by the British Museum between 1839 - 47. [34], pp. XXIII, XLIII
828 AD Died the East Syriac patriarch Isho` Bar Nun. [46], volume 1, column 1212
fl. c. 830 AD Iwannis (Monophysite) Bishop Metropolitan of Dara, (or John of Dara). Iwannis wrote (amongst other things) four books on the Priesthood. In these particular books, he quotes a large amount of Gospel text taken from an Old Syriac, gospel including variants not found in the Sinaitic or Curetonian manuscripts. [24], pp. 200, 204f.
[38], p. 108
fl. c. 830 AD Nonnos, a contemporary of Iwannis and an arch-deacon of the Monophysite Church at Nisibis wrote a theological treatise whilst in prison. From his treatise it can be seen that Nonnos used the Peshitta gospel text. [24], pp. 205 – 206
[38], p. 109
830 AD Died Basil, bishop of Tagrit. Hatch 'Album' p. 114
832 AD Sabhr-isho` II became East Syriac Catholicos, he sat until AD 836. In this same year, Thomas who was later bishop of Marga, entered the convent of Beth `Abhe. [24], pp. 216, 219
837 AD Abraham became East Syriac Catholicos and had Thomas as his secretary, promoting him to be bishop of Marga and afterwards metropolitan of Beth Garmai. [24], pp. 206, 219
fl. c. 837 to 858 AD Thomas bishop of Marga and East Syriac metropolitan of Beth Garmai wrote his 'Historia Monastica' or 'Book of Governors' at the request of a monk `Abhd-isho` in about AD 840. This work uses the Peshitta gospel text and there are very few Old Syriac variants. [24], pp. 205 – 206, 220
Budge, “Paradise” 1904 p. viii
[38], pp. 115 – 116
845 or 846 AD Ephraem Stylite from the village Kephar-Tauetha near Zeugma copied a manuscript BL. Add. 12153 partly using Serta, and partly using the Estrangela Syriac script. Hatch, “Album” p. 152
845 AD Died Dionysius of Tell-Mahre patriarch of Antioch. In AD 846 or 847 he was succeeded by John III. [33], p. 212
[38], p. 108
Hatch, “Album” pp. 114, 156
850 AD End of the see of Abraham, Eastern Catholicos. [24], p. 206
852 AD Theodosius (who was the natural brother of Thomas b. of Marga) became East Syriac Catholicos. Prior to his elevation he was bishop of al-Anbar and then metropolitan of Gunde-Shabhor.
A rival of Theodosius for the post of Catholicos was Isho`dad of Merv, bishop of Hedhatta. Isho`dad wrote commentaries on each book of the Peshitta New Testament and (at least) Genesis and Exodus in the Old. There are some Old Syriac relics in his work which he inherits from older authors, but in general his great work demonstrates the decline of the Old Syriac gospel text type in use amongst the East Syriac clergy. Nevertheless, Isho`dad makes some interesting comments about the Diatessaron in the prologue to his commentary upon Mark. He says, (I translate from the Syriac): ‘Tatianos who was the disciple of Justianos the philosopher and martyr, he selected from the four evangelists. And he mixed [them] and set down the gospel. And he called it "Diatessaron," that is "The mixed". And upon the divinity of the Christ he did not have cause to write. And Mari Ephrem commented to this.’
Isho`dad implies from his remarks that the Diatessaron had an Arian or low christology. This remark is not born out by the fragments of the Diatessaron which survive. Isho`dad's comment and the way he occasionally quotes excerpts from the Diatessaron in his commentaries of the gospels and Acts suggest that he had no complete copy of the Diatessaron to study. On the other hand, Isho`dad often quotes verbatim from a copy of Ephraem's commentary, which suggests that Ephrem's critical analysis was his primary window upon the Diatessaron. So, despite what he tells us about his strenuous efforts to locate manuscripts, it would seem unlikely that Isho`dad found even a single copy of the Diatessaron. This demonstrates the scarcity of Diatessaron manuscripts by the mid 9th century.
[24], pp. 206, 220

858 AD

End of the see of Theodosius, Eastern Catholicos. [24], p. 206

861 AD

Severus, a monk who lived in the monastery of Barbara in the hill of Edessa during the days of Johannan the Patriarch wrote a catena patrum, that is to say, a collection of sayings by the church fathers. The compilation was completed in AD 861. This work contains gospel quotations using the Peshitta text. [38], p. 113
c. 863 AD Moshe bar Kepha was born in Balad in about AD 813. He was taught from his early youth by Rabban Cyriacus who was abbot of the convent of Mar Sergius near Balad where Moshe became a monk. Later he became Monophysite bishop of Mosul, Beth Kiyonaya and Beth Raman and took the name Severus. He sat for 40 years until his death in AD 903. Moshe was a prolific Syriac author, but his principal work was his commentary upon the bible. Fragments of his gospel commentaries are preserved in only two European MSS; BL Add. 17274 and Cambridge Syr. 1971 and in a single Harvard MS, Syr 41. In these he quotes the Peshitta text. He also wrote metrical homilies which also contain gospel quotations. It is noticeable that some of the shorter quotations in his homilies were taken from an Old Syriac gospel source. [24], p. 207 f.
[38], p. 109
873 AD Died Honain ibn Ishak al-`Ibadi of Herta the famous East Syriac physician. [24], pp. 211, 215
[46], volume 1, column 501
873 or 874 AD Died John III, patriarch of Antioch. Hatch, “Album”, p. 156
887 AD Romanus the physician, a monk from Kartamin was elected as Monophysite patriarch of Antioch, ([24] says Amid) and took the name Theodosius. He wrote a commentary on a work called 'Pseudo-Hierotheos' which he dedicated to Lazarus, bishop of Cyrrhus. Both Theodosius' commentary and the book he commented upon, quote many times from the Diatessaron gospel harmony. The textual pattern of the gospel quotations has been ascertained from agreements with earlier Diatessaron witnesses, from the free harmonizations found and also from some non-canonical elements only found in the Diatessaron. Theodosius died in AD 896. [24], p. 206
Marsh, “Hierotheos” 1927
c. 880 - 890 AD Flourished the distinguished Syriac lexicographer Isho` Bar `Ali Arabic name, Isa ibn `Ali who was a pupil of Honain ibn Ishak al-`Ibadi of Herta the famous physician, (Honain died in AD 873). An example of his lexical work based upon earlier lexicographers can be found in Mingana Syr 474. Isho` Bar `Ali also created a new Syriac recension of the Diatessaron by vulgarizing its readings using the Peshitta. This vulgarized Syriac recension was used later in the 11th century to create the Arabic Diatessaron, (see below, under AD 1043). [24], pp. 211, 215
Petersen “Diatessaron”, pp. 135 – 136
900 AD John bar Heghire became East Syriac Catholicos. [24], p. 230
903 AD Died Moshe bar Kepha, Monophysite bishop of Mosul, Beth Kiyonaya and Beth Raman. After he became bishop, he was known as 'Mar Severus'. [24], p. 208
[38], p. 109
Hatch 'Album', p. 186
905 AD Died John bar Heghire, also called John V bar Abgare, East Syriac Catholicos, he was succeeded by Abraham. Abraham sat until AD 936 or 937. The ancient sources of this data are Bar Hebraeus, from his 'Chron. Eccl.' and the MSS of the Mingana collection, [46]. [24], p. 230
[46], volume 1, columns 925, 1120
c. 922 AD Flourished Elias of Anbar, the East Syriac bishop of Peroz-Shabhor. He corresponded with Catholicos Abraham. He wrote a collection of metrical homilies, an apology, letters and some prose discourses. There is a legible photograph in the BFBS catalogue of two pages from his collection of memre upon knowledge and wisdom. There is also an edition: Juckel A, CSCO vols 559, 560 published by Peeters 1996. [24], pp. 228, 230
BFBS manuscript 449 dated 1733. See BFBS catalogue p. 215
932 AD Moses of Nisibis, (906 - 943 AD) had a library of over 250 manuscripts. There was also a large library at Dayr al-Suryan in the Monastery of Theotokos of the Syriacs in the desert of Scetis, (lower Egypt). Many of the surviving MSS were bought by the British Museum in two batches, the first in 1842. These MSS form the majority of the Syriac MSS now in the British Library. [32]
937 AD Died Abraham, East Syriac catholicos. [24], p. 230
963 AD `Abhd-Isho` I was elected East Syriac Catholicos. He sat until AD 968.
Present at his consecration was Emmanuel bar Shahhare. Emmanuel was the teacher in the school of Mar Gabriel in the convent of Daira `Ellaita (the 'Upper Monastery') at Mosul. He died in AD 980. He wrote 28 metrical discourses upon the six days of creation called the 'Hexaemeron'. This work survives in many manuscripts and includes gospel readings from the Peshitta as well as a significant number of Old Syriac readings and even some Old Syriac variants not found in the Sinaitic and Curetonian Old Syriac gospel manuscripts.
Also present at `Abhd-Isho`'s consecration was the scholar Isho` bar Bahlul, whose Arabic name was Abu 'l-Hasan 'Isa ibn al-Bahlul. Bar Bahlul created an important Syro-Arabic lexicon. MSS copies of his lexicon can be found in Mingana MSS Syr 249 B and 571.
[24], pp. 228, 230 – 231
[38], p. 117, 139
969 AD The Greeks recaptured Antioch from the Muslims. Afterward, Antioch became a centre for the Melkite Christians of the East. The gospels and other parts of the NT originally used by the Melkites were written in Western Aramaic or Christian Palestinian Aramaic, (CPA). CPA is a dialect of western Aramaic, similar to the Samaritan and Jewish Palestinian dialects which were current before the Muslims invaded Palestine. CPA has its own distinctive semi cursive script, which looks like an Estrangela written with much squarer letters Hatch 'Album', pp. 249, 250
979 AD Died Rabban Joseph Busnaya in the East Syriac monastery of Rabban Hormizd situated near Alkosh. Around this time, Joseph's biography was written by one of his disciples, Johannan or John bar Kaldun. The biography is long and often quotes the gospel text from an Old Syriac manuscript. [38], p. 138
BL MS Orient 9387 of the 19th cent.
Mingana Syr 66
c. 990 AD John was bishop of the convent of Qartamin in Tur `Abdin at the end of the 10th century AD, (source Barhebraeus). At this time, John revived the Estrangela script which was used for copying manuscripts once more. Hatch 'Album' p. 26
1008 AD Eliya or Elijah Bar Shinaya became East Syriac Metropolitan of Nisibis in AD 1008. Elias wrote that within 40 years of `Abhd-Isho`'s episcopate , that is by AD 1008, Eastern Syriac monasticism had collapsed to a very small contingent of monks and monasteries, [38]. According to Wright, [24] Elias Bar Shinaya was born in AD 975. He became a monk near Mosul and was later appointed Bishop of Beth Nuhadhre in AD 1002 and then Metropolitan of Nisibis on AD 1008. He was a prolific author who wrote many works both in Arabic and in Syriac. His greatest work was a history called, 'Annals' or Chronicle', (according to Wright, the only copy is found in BL Add. 7197). Eliya also wrote a lexical work which survives in Mingana Syr 420 E. [24], p. 235 ff.
[38], p. 140 – 141
1012 or 1013 AD Johannan VI Bar Nazol was promoted from Bishop of Herta to become East Syriac Catholicos. He sat until AD 1020. During his days there were mass conversions of Christians to Islam following many losses from Arab tribal warfare and Kurdish raiding parties. [24], p. 236
[38], p. 139
1020 AD Isho`yabh Bar Ezekiel became East Syriac Catholicos. He sat until AD 1025. [24], p. 236
1028 AD Elias I or Eliya I of Karkha d'Gheddan in Beth Garmai became the East Syriac Patriarch. Eliya collated the East Syriac synodicon and the canons of the church, (see Mingana Syr MSS 586, 587). He was previously bishop of Tirha and during this time he composed grammatical treatises. He sat as Catholicos until AD 1049. [24], pp. 233, 236
1043 AD Died `Abdu’llah ibn at-Tayyib who had been the secretary of the East Syriac Patriarch, Eliya I. `Abdu’llah translated a Syriac copy of the Diatessaron into Arabic. Unfortunately the critical value of this translation was diminished because the majority of the Syriac readings in the copy he used had already been adapted to the Peshitta. The vulgarized Syriac Diatessaron had been created earlier by the distinguished Syriac lexicographer’ Isa ibn `Ali who flourished around AD 890. [24], p. 238
Petersen “Diatessaron”, pp. 135 – 136
1089 AD The monasteries of Tur `Abdin were destroyed and the monks were killed. This catastrophe was recorded in a dated inscription. Even so, there is manuscript evidence that not everything was destroyed, see under AD 1133 and 1184 below. [38], p. 140
1090 AD Died East Syriac Catholicos `Abdisho` II. [46], volume 1, column 1158
1125 AD Mar Johannan became Metropolitan of Marde. He wrote that in the year he became metropolitan there was not one monk in Marde nor any at all in Tur `Abdin and that no one even remembered how the monks had lived. [38], p. 141
1133 AD Lazarus bar Saba, a native of Beth Severina in Tur `Abdin recorded his name and address in the colophon of a manuscript, BL. Add. 14498. This manuscript contains anaphoras and prayers from the liturgy and demonstrates that perhaps not all of the Syriac books at Tur `Abdin were destroyed in the disaster 44 years earlier, (see above AD 1089). Hatch 'Album' p. 178
1166 AD Michael the Great became Michael Patriarch of Antioch. He sat until AD 1199. Michael's most important work was a chronicle from the creation down to AD 1196. This chronicle survives in Armenian and in AD 1894 a Syriac copy was said to exist in the library of the Zafaran monastery near Mardin, Turkey, [24]. According to Bar Hebraeus, Michael also wrote an ecclesiastical history, (now lost). However, it is likely that the contents of Michael's ecclesiastical history were re-used by Barhebraeus in his own historical writings. [24], p. 251 ff.
[48], volume 3, p. 1137
1166 AD Dionysius bar Salibi of Melitene, was Monophysite metropolitan of Amid from 1166 - 1171 AD. He wrote an important commentary on the four gospels in Syriac. Much of his material comes from an earlier commentary written by Moshe bar Kepha in the 9th century AD. For Dionysius' gospel commentary, see the MSS; BL Add. 7184, Vat. Syr. 155, 19-24, Vat. Syr. 156, 275 to 279, Paris Anc. fonds 33, 34 = Zotenberg catalogue numbers 67 – 68, Bodleian Lib. MS Or. 703, 2, St Matthew, Bodleian Hunt. 247. These commentaries have also been published by CSCO, Peeters, Louvain. He also wrote commentaries upon the Acts, letters of Paul and the Revelation, (these can be found in Bodleian Lib. MS Or. 560 and Brit. Lib. MS Rich 7185). All these commentaries are based upon the Peshitta text, however Old Syriac quotations and variants can still be found. [24], p. 247
[34], p. XXIII
[38], p. 135
1171 AD Died Dionysius bar Salibi, Syriac author, biblical commentator and bishop. [32], para 51
[34], p. XXIII
[38], p. 135
1177 AD Athanasius Abu Ghalib, bishop of Gihan wrote a work on chastity in AD 1177 which is preserved in Mingana Syr 118. He was ordained by Michael the Great in AD 1169. It is stated in this work that the West Syriac monks of this time were engaging in unchastity. [46], volume 1, column 281
1184 AD A book of hymns was copied and dated in the village of Kaper Rac`a in Tur `Abdin. BL. Add. 14719 Wright 'Catalogue' p. 275
1199 AD Died Michael Patriarch of Antioch or Michael the Great, who had been Monophysite bishop of Amid and who moved his see from Amid to Mardin. Syriac author. Michael created a NT in Syriac except the book of Revelation. [32]
[34], p. XLV
[48], volume 3, p. 1137
c. 1200 AD Flourished John bar Zubi, an East Syriac monk of Beth Kuka in Hedhaiyabh (=Adiabene) who tutored Shakko or Shikko, also known as Severus, bishop of Mar Matthew, (see below under AD 1241). John wrote a Syriac grammar, a number of copies of this work survive in the Mingana collection. John's teacher was Shem`on Shaklawaya, i.e. from Shaklabad who composed a work on church Chronology in response to a request from John, [46]. [24], p. 258
[46], volume 1, column 1030
1206 or 1207 AD An East Syriac gospel lectionary manuscript, BL. Egerton 681 was copied during the days of Yab-alaha II Catholicos of Seleucia Ctesiphon. The lectionary was arranged after the usage of the lections in the convent of Beth `Abhe which was founded by Rabban Jacob, (see earlier under AD 630). A similarly dated gospel lectionary from Beth `Abhe can be found below, see under AD 1218.
At around this time in the Mar Gabriel monastery near Mosul, the liturgy was restructured and the Old Syriac elements were removed. Henceforward only the Peshitta text was used in the church services. The changes in the liturgy in favour of the Peshitta and the destruction of East Syriac monasticism dealt a fatal dual blow to the use of the Old Syriac text.
Wright “Catalogue” p. 193
[38], p. 142
1215 AD Isho` bar Abraham bar Elijah of Melitene died in AD 1215. He was a Monophysite and the nephew of Michael I, also known as Michael the Great. [46], volume 1, column 273
Between March and September1218 AD An East Syriac lectionary of the gospels was written in the convent of Beth `Abhe which was founded by Rabban Jacob, (see earlier under AD 630). The dates given in the MS are AG 1529 and AH 615. These two dates narrow down the date of the manuscript to between March and September AD 1218. A similarly dated gospel lectionary from Beth `Abhe can be found above, see under AD 1206. CBL MS 704
Hatch 'Album', p. 222
1222 AD East Syriac Patriarch Yabh-Alaha or Sabrisho` IV was elected. He sat until AD 1225. [46], volume 1, column 998
1225 AD Flourished Giwargis Warda from Erbil who wrote Syriac poems, (two are dated; AD 1225 and AD 1254, [46]) and hymns. According to Vööbus [38], some of these are based on the Old Syriac gospel and some on the Peshitta. The MSS studied by Vööbus were Cambridge Syr 1982 and Vatican Syr 184 with an edition by Hilgenfeld. Other MSS include Mingana Syr 197 C and Mingana Syr 505 dated around AD 1500. [32], para 55
[38], p. 137
[46], volume 1, column 931
1241 AD Died the West Syriac author and disciple of the John bar Zubi, Jacob bar Shakko, or more exactly, Yaqob of Bartilla, Bar Shikko, also known as Severus, bishop of Mar Matthew. Some of his work called, The 'Treasures' written in AD 1231 can be found preserved in Mingana Syr 100. Note that Shikko was a West Syriac, despite being a disciple of John bar Zubi who was East Syriac. [32], para 52
[46], column 246
1249 AD Died the West Syriac Patriarch Michael II, formally known as Isho` Bar Shushan. His copy of the gospels was Old Syriac in character as can be seen from a gospel interpolation after Mt20v28 which can be found copied into Mingana Syr 497, a copy of the Harklean gospels. The same interpolation can be found in the Curetonian Old Syriac codex which dates from the 5th century AD. [46], volume 1, column 917

1256 AD

Died East Syriac Patriarch Sabrisho` V Bar Meshihaya. [46], volume 1, column 931
1270 AD Died John of Mosul who was an East Syriac monk in the monastery of Mar Michael near Mosul. John wrote a work entitled 'Book of good manners' in AD 1245. Several MSS are known to the present author, BL Orient 2450 and Mingana Syr 488 A, 493 A. An edition of unknown exactness was published by Millos, E. J., Archbishop of Akra, 'Directorium spirituale', Rome 1868. [24], p. 285
1271 AD Died East Syriac Metropolitan `Abdisho` Bar Mashk who renovated the church of the Monastery of Mar Eugenius. This monastery was situated on Mount Izla. [46], volume 1, column 373
1286 AD Died Gregory Barhebraeus Abdu al-Faraj, Monophysite and prolific Syriac author, biblical commentator and scholar. Gregory exclusively used the Peshitta text of the gospels in his many works. His most important historical work was his, 'Book of Directions', more commonly known as 'The Nomocanon'. This is a large collection of synodal canons from previous eras. In Erbil at this time and writing hymns was Khamis bar Qardahe or Kardahé. Khamis' life can be pinned down to the vicinity of this date because he wrote a metrical eulogy in memory of Barhebraeus which is preserved in Mingana Syr 156, a 19th century MS copied from an exemplar dated AD 1293, i.e. a MS roughly contemporary with the author. A complete collection of Khamis' works can be found in Mingana Syr 149B and some hymns of his can also be found in Mingana Syr 130. [32], para 52
[38], p. 135
Hatch 'Album', p. 196
[46], volume 1, column 360
1317 AD Died Mar Jahbalaha an East Syriac monk who lived in Peking, China, and who later became the Nestorian Patriarch of China, Mar Yahb-Alaha III (AD 1281 – 1317) based at the Patriarchal residence at Maragha. His biography contains gospel quotations from an Old Syriac text, including variants not found in the two surviving Old Syriac gospel manuscripts. The two variants given in [38] can be traced to Justin Martyr and other witnesses to the text of the Diatessaron. This suggests that the gospel text used by the biographer may have been a copy of the Diatessaron.

The colophon of a manuscript, Mingana Syr 156 written in AD 1293 states that it was written in his days.
The text of his vita has been published by Bedjan, Paris 1888, [24].
[24], p. 289
[38], p. 137
[46], volume 1, column 359
1318 AD Timothy II became East Syriac catholicos. He sat until AD 1353, [46] (although Wright gives the date of his death as AD 1328, [24] ). He had previously been metropolitan of Mosul and Irbil under the name Joseph. From these remarks it is possible that that Wright has confused two near contemporary people of different dates. [24], p. 290
[46], volume 1, column 47
1318 AD Died `Abdisho` Metropolitan of Nisibis, son of Berikha who was a prolific East Syriac author and scholar. `Abdisho` said that Tatian's Diatessaron was, “An admirable gospel,” although it is unclear whether he had access to this book in its original format. His comment is more likely to be describing the Arabic Diatessaron, (see above under 1043 AD). [24], p. 285
[32], para 54
[38], p. 23
[42], p. 58
1353 AD Died Timothy II, East Syriac Catholicos. Timothy wrote a book called, 'The causes of the sacraments. Thirteen canons written by Timothy II can be also be found in Mingana Syr 121 part F. [24], p. 290
[46], volume 1, column 47
14th cent? Lived Yeshua` bar Selibha dhe-khairon from Hah in Tur `Abdin a Monohysite scholar who wrote memre in twelve syllable metre. He quotes Barhebraeus who died in AD1286 and his memre are in a manuscript dated AD 1452. Therefore, he seems to have lived in about the 14th century AD. CUL Add. 2019
1382 AD Died East Syriac Catholicos, Mar Dinha II. According to a note in Mingana 561, during his period there were many 'wars and devastations'. [46], volume 1, column 1044
1440 AD Lived the priest and East Syriac author Isaac Shebadhnaya, also known as Asco. As well as being a priest, Asco was a smith. He came from the country of the Sindayé, a region north east of the modern town of Zakho. [46], volume 1, columns 77, 303, 347
1454 AD Died the West Syriac Ignatius V Behnam bar Yohannan Hedhlaya [46], volume 1, columns 194 and 718
15th cent? Lived John bar Pinkaya an East Syriac scholar, writer and composer of 15 metrical works in seven syllable metre. Mingana Syr 488 B dates from about AD 1570 and CUL Add. 1998 is 16th century and Add. 2018 is dated AD 1677. Rylands Syr 68 is roughly 15th to 17th century. HSM Syr 42 is 16th to 17th century. John also wrote a book called, 'The Merchant' of which a large fragment can be found in Mingana Syr 47. CUL Add. 1998
CUL Add. 2018
Wright 'CUL Catalogue' pp. 443, 568
Coakley 'Rylands Catalogue', pp. 168, 200

1481 AD
6989 Cr

Died Abu L'Ma-ani `Aziz bar Sabtha also known as Ignatius VII, the west Syriac patriarch of Tur `Abdin. He wrote a commentary on the mystical sayings of John Dalyatha, also known as John Saba, (see Mingana Syr 49). Mingana says that this commentary quotes some otherwise lost sayings by John of Dalyatha. Ignatius also wrote another mystical piece on 'The ascent of the mind', (copies of which can be found in Mingana Syr 79 part B, and Syr 616).
A Melkite MS that is dated AD 1481 is also dated to the 6989th year of the creation, [46], volume 2, p. 184.
[46], volume 1, columns 140, 199, 227
[46], volume 2, p. 181

1483 AD

Died the Monophysite Patriarch Ignatius Khalaf Ma'adanaya who resided in the Zafaran monastery. [46], volume 1, columns 678 and 695.

1504 AD

Died East Syriac patriarch Elijah who was succeeded by Shem`on. [46], volume 1, column 1064

1509 AD

Died monophysite patriarch Ignatius Noh who was from the village of Bakofa. [46], volume 1, column 1108

1555 AD

Ignatius `Abd-Allah was Monophysite patriarch and Basil Nimat-Allah from Mardin was Mephrain of the East. MS Mingana Syr 607 is dated AD 1555 and was written in the days of these leaders. [46], volume 2, p. 170
1560 to 1573 AD Ignatius Nimat-Allah was Monophysite patriarch of Antioch and Basil `Abed Al-Ghani was Maphrian of the East.
MS Mingana Syr 474 is dated AD 1560 and was written in the days of these leaders, and in the Zafaran monastery.
The colophon of an exemplar used by the Mingana Syr 385 was dated AD 1568 and again gives the names of these leaders in full.
MS CUL 1999 dated AD 1573 was written in the convent of Mar Hananya and Mar Eugenius near Mardin, which is nowadays called the Zafaran Monastery. This MS contains the works of John Saba also called John of Dalyatha and some letters of Philoxenus, bishop of Mabbog.

Mingana Syr 474 colophon
Mingana Syr 385 colophon
CUL Add. 1999 colophon
1577 to 1586 AD Ignatius David Shah was west Syriac Patriarch and Gregory Pilate was Mephrain of the east. According to the colophons of MSS Mingana Syr 473 and Syr 612 [46], volume 1, column 850
[46], volumn 2, p. 179
1591 AD Lived the priest and Eastern Syriac author, Israel of Alkosh. Some of his work can be found in Mingana Syr 129B, 130J and 149G [46], volume 1, column 77
1601 AD Lived an East Syriac Patriarch called Elijah. His name is recorded in the colophon of a dated MS. [46], colume 1, column 998
c. 1650 Died Shim`on Patriarch of Tur `Abdin. Shim`on, a West Syriac, wrote a Syro-Arabic lexicon. [46], colume 1, column 913
1654 AD The first West Syriac patriarch converts to Roman Catholicism. This record is given in a contemporary note in Mingana MS 46 [46], volume 1, column 121.
1677 AD Peter Gorgis of Mosul became West Syriac Patriarch. He sat until AD 1708. [46], volume 1, column 708
1681 AD Lived West Syriac Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius `Abd Al-Masih and Mephrain Basil Yalda. [46], volume 1, column 1062
1689 AD The Monastery of Zafaran (= of Safron) near Mardin was restored under the care of the Patriarch Ignatius George, (for details of his date, see above under AD 1677). [46], volume 1, column 98
1693 AD Lived another East Syriac Patriarch called Elijah, probably Elijah VIIth who sat until AD 1700. [46], volume 1, columns 994, 1134
1724 AD The Melkite Church split into the Greek Orthodox and the Melkite Greek Catholic churches after the death of the Byzantine Antiochine Patriarch Newphietios Sakzi in 1724. [51]

Adapted from an anonymous writer(s) -- incommunicado, contact or e-mail unknown and who holds � copyright


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    29. 'Pagan Syriac monuments in the vilayet of Urfa' J. B. Segal JBIAA London 1953. (Bound with [30])
    30. 'Some Syriac inscriptions of the 2nd-3rd century' J. B. Segal Bulletin of the SOAS 16/1 1954
    31. 'Remains of a very ancient recension of the Four Gospels in Syriac' William Cureton, Publ.: John Murray, London 1858
    32. 'Past and present perceptions of Syriac literary tradition' Lucas Van Rompay, Hugoye Vol. 3, No. 1.
    33. 'Edessa, the blessed city' J. B. Segal, Publ.: Cambridge University Press 1970
    34. 'Remnants of the later Syriac versions of the Bible' John Gwynn Publ.: Williams & Norgate, London 1909.
    35. 'Christianity among the Arabs in pre-Islamic times.' J. Spencer Trimingham. Publ.: Librairie du Liban 1990
    36. 'Woodbrook studies', Mingana A
    37. 'Acta Martyrium et Sanctorum Syriace' volume 2, Paul Bedjan. Publ. Leipzig, Harrassowitz 1891. In particular, a Syriac chronicle found there and edited from Syriac texts by Elias of Nisibis and Gregory Bar Hebraeus.
    38. 'Studies of the History of the Gospel Text in Syriac', Vööbus, A. Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium: Subsidia, Tome 3, Louvain 1951 (volume 1) and 1987 (volume 2)
    39. 'The history of the church' Eusebius of Caesarea, Tr. Williamson, G. A. Ed. Louth, A. Publ. Penguin Classics 1989
    40. 'A catalogue of the Syriac manuscripts in the library of the University of Cambridge', 2 vols. Wright, Wm.
    41. 'The Chronicle of Edessa' The Journal of Sacred Literature, New Series [=Series 4], vol. 5 (1864) pp. 28-45. The text is available on line with thanks to Roger Pearse.
    42. 'Researches on the circulation of the Peshitta in the fifth century', Vööbus, A. Publ.: Baltic University, Pinneberg 1948
    43. 'The bible in the Armenian tradition' Vrej Nersessian Publ.: British Library 2001 ISBN 0-7123-4698-8
    44. 'A treatise on God written in Armenian by Eznik of Kolb' M. J. Blanchard and R. D. Young Publ.: Peeters 1998 ISBN 90-429-0013-X
    45. Nestorian history website at:
    46. Mingana, A. 'Catalogue of the Mingana collection of manuscripts', 3 volumes, Publ.: 1933, 1936, 1939 by W. Heffer & Sons Ltd, Cambridge.
    47. Vööbus, A. 'A history of asceticism in the Syrian orient', 3 volumes. Publ.: until 1988 by CSCO
    48. 'A catalogue of the Syriac manuscripts in the British Museum' Wright, Wm. 3 volumes. Publ. London 1870, 1871, 1872.
    49. 'The first Christian centuries' P. McKechnie Publ.: Apollos / IVP 2001 ISBN 0-85111-479-2
    50. 'Synodicon orientale ou recueil de synodes Nestoriens' Jean Baptiste Chabot, Publ. Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1902.
    51. Nasrallah, J. Mgr, "Histoire de l'Eglise Mellchite des origines à nos jours."

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