Denha I

Denha I was Patriarch of the Church of the East (sometimes referred to as the Nestorian church) from 1265 to 1281. He was widely suspected of murdering Shem'on Bar Qaligh, bishop of Tus, and was remembered by later generations as Denha Qatola, 'Denha the Murderer'.

Mar Denha I
Senior posting
Based inBaghdad
Period in office1265-1281


Denha I was patriarch when Rabban Bar Sauma and his companion Rabban Markos arrived in Persia, on their pilgrimage from China towards Jerusalem. Denha had his seat in Baghdad at that time, and requested the two monks to visit the court of Abaqa in order to obtain confirmation letters for Mar Denha's ordination as Patriarch. During their journey, Denha appointed Rabban Markos as Bishop.

Later, Denha charged the monks to return to China as his messengers. However, their departure was delayed due to armed conflict along the route. When Denha died, Markos was elected as his successor.

A modern assessment of Denha's reign can be found in David Wilmshurst's The Martyred Church.[1]


  1. ^ Wilmshurst, The Martyred Church, 244–8


  • James A. Montgomery, History of Yaballaha III, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1927).
  • E. A. Wallis Budge, The Monks of Kublai Khan, (London: Religious Tract Society, 1928).
  • Paul Bedjan, Histoire de Mar Jab-Alaha, Patriarche, (1888, 2nd ed 1995; reprint Gorgias, 2007). Syriac text on which the translations of Montgomery and Budge are based.
  • Gregory Barhebraeus, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum, ed. J. B. Abbeloos and T. J. Lamy, (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1877), 3: II, cols.451ff.
  • Wilmshurst, David, The Martyred Church: A History of the Church of the East (London, 2011).

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Makkikha II
Catholicus-Patriarch of the East
Succeeded by
Yahballaha III