Dioceses of the Syriac Orthodox Church

Dioceses of the Syriac Orthodox Church: In the period of its greatest expansion, in the tenth century, the Syriac Orthodox Church had around 20 metropolitan dioceses and a little over a hundred suffragan dioceses. By the seventeenth century only 20 dioceses remained, reduced in the twentieth century to 10. The seat of Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch was at Mardin before the First World War, and thereafter in Deir Zaʿfaran, from 1932 in Homs, and finally from 1959 in Damascus.

Deir Zaʿfaran, the 'saffron monastery', seat of the Syriac Orthodox patriarchs after the First World War

The Syriac Orthodox Church before the Arab InvasionsEdit

When the Syriac Orthodox movement began in the sixth century, the Christian world was organised into five patriarchates: Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem. The Syriac Orthodox movement was initially confined to the eastern provinces of the Roman empire, in the territory of the patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem. Syriac Orthodox Christians envisaged their church as the legitimate patriarchate of Antioch, and appear to have tried to duplicate the hierarchy already existing.

The Syriac Orthodox Church under the CaliphateEdit

 
Map showing historical localities in Northern Mesopotamia and Syria
 
Dioceses of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch during the Middle Ages

Over a hundred Syriac Orthodox dioceses and around a thousand bishops are attested between the sixth and thirteenth centuries. The main source for these dioceses and bishops are the lists of Michael the Syrian, compiled in the twelfth century. Many other dioceses and bishops are mentioned in other literary sources, particularly the works of Bar Hebraeus, written in the second half of the thirteenth century. Several bishops not known either to Michael the Syrian or Bar Hebraeus are mentioned in the colophons of surviving West Syriac manuscripts.

SyriaEdit

Eight Syriac Orthodox dioceses are known to have existed at various periods before the fourteenth century in southern Syria, in the areas covered by the Chalcedonian province of Phoenicia Libanesia and the southern part of the province of Euphratensis. There was a Syriac Orthodox diocese for Damascus, first attested in the seventh century. The diocese persisted into the fourteenth century and appears to have been one of the few Syriac Orthodox dioceses which continued undisturbed into the fifteenth century and beyond.[1] Emesa (Homs) and Palmyra (Tadmor) also had Syriac Orthodox dioceses.[2] There was an ephemeral Jacobite diocese for the coastal port of Laodicea (Latakia) in the ninth century;[3] and an ephemeral Jacobite diocese for Sadad, a town between Damascus and Homs, in the twelfth century.[4]

There was also a Syriac Orthodox diocese for Heliopolis (Baalbek), attested between the seventh and eleventh centuries;[5] and a diocese for Kfar Tab near Homs, attested in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.[6] No record has survived of Syriac Orthodox bishops in the other towns in Phoenicia Libanesia with known Chalcedonian dioceses (Salamias, Evaria, Iabruda, Abila and Chonochora), though Iabruda certainly had a Syriac Orthodox community. As far as the southern part of the Chalcedonian province of Euphratensis is concerned, a Syriac Orthodox diocese is attested for Sergiopolis (Resafa) in the ninth and tenth centuries.[7]

Nine Syriac Orthodox dioceses are known to have existed at various periods before the fourteenth century in northern Syria. The diocese of Apamea, which was the seat of a metropolitan by the eighth century, is attested between the seventh and tenth centuries;[8] Seleucia Pieria in the eighth and ninth centuries;[9] Berrhoea (Aleppo) between the seventh and late-thirteenth centuries;[10] Beth Balesh between the eighth and eleventh centuries;[11] Cyrrhus between the eighth and eleventh centuries;[12] Qenneshrin between the eighth and tenth centuries;[13] Mabbugh between the ninth and twelfth centuries;[14] Gishra between the eighth and tenth centuries;[15] and Karshena (Gudpaï) in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.[16]

The diocese of Gishra was incorporated into the diocese of Mabbugh during the reign of Athanasius IV (987–1003), and Mabbugh in turn was incorporated into the diocese of Marʿash in the Commagene district in 1155. It is unlikely that any of these dioceses, with the possible exception of Aleppo, persisted beyond the early years of the fourteenth century. Although an almost unbroken succession of bishops of Aleppo is attested from the early years of the sixteenth century onwards, no fourteenth- or fifteenth-century bishops of Aleppo are known. It seems likely that the diocese of Aleppo lapsed after the death of its bishop Mikha'il, attested in 1298, and was only revived at the beginning of the sixteenth century.

PalestineEdit

There were two stable Syriac Orthodox dioceses in Palestine between the eighth and twelfth centuries, one for the Golan region (whose bishops sat first at Paneas and later at Tiberias) and the other for Jerusalem. The Syriac Orthodox bishops of Golan resided at Paneas, the classical city of Caesarea Philippi, during the seventh and eighth centuries;[17] and at Tiberias in the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries.[18] Jerusalem was the seat of a Syriac Orthodox bishop at least as early as the eighth century.[19] For most of the period covered by the lists of Michael the Syrian, both dioceses had metropolitan bishops. The diocese of Tiberias lapsed in the twelfth century but the diocese of Jerusalem, whose bishops may have resided in Tripolis for several decades after the recapture of Jerusalem by the Moslems in 1240, seems to have persisted into the fourteenth century. A short-lived Syriac Orthodox diocese of ʿAkko was also established in the Crusader stronghold of Acre in the thirteenth century, which doubtless lapsed after the fall of Acre to the Mamluks in 1291.[20]

CiliciaEdit

Eleven separate Syriac Orthodox dioceses are attested at various periods in Cilicia, the most important of which seem to have been Tarsus, Adana and Anazarbus. Tarsus, the metropolis of the Chalcedonian province of Cilicia Prima, is first mentioned as a Syriac Orthodox diocese in the seventh century, and survived as the seat of a Syriac Orthodox bishop or metropolitan until the end of the thirteenth century, the only Cilician diocese which appears to have persisted for so long.[21] Syriac Orthodox bishops, and later metropolitans, of both Adana and Anazarbus are attested between the seventh and twelfth centuries.[22] Other Syriac Orthodox dioceses attested between the seventh and tenth centuries include Citidiopolis (seventh century), Hamam (ninth to twelfth centuries),[23] Hanzit (ninth century),[24] Kinisa (ninth century)[25] and Irenopolis (ninth and tenth centuries).[26]

As a frontier province of the Roman empire, Cilicia was affected by the varying fortunes of war, and three later dioceses reflected Christian successes against the Arabs. Part of Cilicia was settled by Syriac Orthodox Christians in the tenth century, and a diocese of Gihon, created at this period, persisted into the twelfth century. Its bishops sat in the monastery of Barid, and the diocese is sometimes referred to as 'Gihon and Barid'.[27] A Syriac Orthodox diocese of Kalinag, in eastern Cilicia, is attested in the eleventh century.[28] A Syriac Orthodox diocese for Sis, then under Armenian rule, was established in the second half of the thirteenth century, whose bishops normally resided in the monastery of Gawikath.[29] One of the bishops of Sis claimed the title of patriarch around the end of the thirteenth century and founded a line of patriarchs which persisted into the fifteenth century.

CappadociaEdit

Seventeen Syriac Orthodox dioceses are known to have existed at various periods before the fourteenth century in Cappadocia. The diocese of Melitene, which seems to have been the seat of a metropolitan from the late ninth century onwards, is attested between the seventh and thirteenth centuries; Simandu (also the seat of a metropolitan) between the tenth and twelfth centuries;[30] Zuptara between the eighth and eleventh centuries; Gubos and Qlisura between the ninth and thirteenth centuries;[31] ʿArqa, Gargar, Laqabin and Qlaudia between the tenth and thirteenth centuries;[32] Tel Patriq in the eleventh and twelfth centuries; Hisn Mansur, Hisn Ziyad (Harput) and Semha between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries; Caesarea in Cappadocia in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; and Guma in the thirteenth century. There were also ephemeral dioceses for Arabissus around the end of the tenth century and for Romana in the twelfth century.[33] It is doubtful whether any of these dioceses, with the possible exceptions of Gargar and Hisn Ziyad, persisted into the fourteenth century. The dioceses of Gargar and Hisn Ziyad are again attested from the late fourteenth and mid-fifteenth century respectively, but may have been revived, as no bishops of either diocese are known for more than a century before they are again mentioned.

CommageneEdit

Nine Syriac Orthodox dioceses are known to have existed before the fourteenth century in the Commagene district. The diocese of Samosata, which appears to have been the seat of a metropolitan from the late eighth century onwards, is attested between the sixth and twelfth centuries;[34] Germanicea (Marʿash) between the seventh and twelfth centuries;[35] Urim between the eighth and ninth centuries;[36] Dolikh between the ninth and eleventh centuries;[37] Hadath between the eighth and eleventh centuries;[38] Kaishum between the eighth and twelfth centuries;[16] Zeugma between the ninth and twelfth centuries;[39] Raʿban between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries;[40] and Tel Bshir (an ephemeral diocese in Crusader territory) in the twelfth century.[41] It is doubtful whether any of these dioceses persisted into the fourteenth century.

OsrhoeneEdit

Seven Syriac Orthodox dioceses are known to have existed in Osrhoene before the fourteenth century: the metropolitan diocese of Edessa, attested between the seventh and fourteenth centuries;[42] Callinicus (Raqqa), which also became the seat of a metropolitan in the ninth century, between the eighth and thirteenth centuries;[43] Sarugh (Batna) between the eighth and twelfth centuries;[44] Harran between the seventh and thirteenth centuries;[45] Sibaberek (Severek) in the twelfth century;[46] Khabur between the eighth and thirteenth centuries;[47] and Tella d'Mauzalath (ancient Constantina, modern Viransehir) between the seventh and tenth centuries.[48] None of these dioceses seem to have survived into the fourteenth century.

AmidEdit

Four substantial Syriac Orthodox dioceses are known to have existed before the fourteenth century in the Amid region: the dioceses of Amid and Maiperqat, attested between the seventh and thirteenth centuries;[49] the diocese of Arsamosata, attested between the ninth and twelfth centuries;[50] and the diocese of Hattakh, first mentioned towards the end of the thirteenth century.[51] Bar Hebraeus also mentions a bishop of Aspharin, an ephemeral diocese carved out of the diocese of Amid by the patriarch Iwanis I (740–55), which existed for only a few years in the middle of the eighth century.[52] The dioceses of Amid and Maiperqat persisted into the fourteenth century. The diocese of Hattakh, first mentioned in 1293, is not again mentioned until 1479, and it is not clear whether it survived into the fourteenth century or was later revived.

ArzunEdit

The Arzun region had three stable Syriac Orthodox dioceses before the fourteenth century: Arzun, attested between the seventh and twelfth centuries;[53] Armenia (Akhlat), attested between the ninth and eleventh centuries;[54] and Hesna d’Kifa, first attested in the eighth century.[55] A short-lived diocese was also established at the end of the eighth century for Qalinqala (ancient Theodosiopolis, modern Erzerum), 'a city of Armenia'.[56] Wastan, a city on the shore of Lake Van, was also a Jacobite diocese in the second half of the tenth century, but does not seem to have persisted into the eleventh century.[36]

MardinEdit

Four stable Syriac Orthodox dioceses are known to have existed at various periods before the fourteenth century in the Mardin district. The diocese of Mardin is first attested in the seventh century, and has persisted without interruption up to the present day.[57] The diocese of Tel Beshme is attested between the eighth and tenth centuries, and was revived for a few decades in the twelfth century.[41] The diocese of Rishʿaina is attested between the seventh and eleventh centuries;[58] and the diocese of Rish Kipa between the eighth and tenth centuries.[59] An ephemeral diocese of Kfartutha, normally associated with Mardin, is attested in the seventh century, but may have been later revived;[28] and a single bishop is also attested for Baghdashiya in the thirteenth century.[60] In the first half of the twelfth century the dioceses of Dara, Nisibis, Harran, Khabur, Kfartutha and Tel Beshme were temporarily united with the diocese of Mardin owing to a steep decline in the number of Christians in the region. With the exception of Mardin itself, it is doubtful whether any of these dioceses persisted into the fourteenth century.

NisibisEdit

In the Nisibis region, there were dioceses for Nisibis, Dara and Maʿarre.

Tur AbdinEdit

Despite its later central importance in the history of the Syriac Orthodox Church, only two Syriac Orthodox dioceses are known to have existed before the thirteenth century in the Tur ʿAbdin. The diocese of Qartmin, whose bishops sat in the celebrated monastery of Mar Gabriel (Qartmin Abbey), is attested from the sixth century onwards; and the diocese of Tur ʿAbdin, whose bishops sat in the monastery of the Cross near the village of Hah, from the eleventh century. Confusingly, bishops of both these dioceses often bore the title 'Tur ʿAbdin'. By the end of the thirteenth century there was a third diocese, whose bishops sat in the monastery of Mar Yaʿqob the Recluse near the village of Salah, and possibly a fourth, whose bishops sat in the monastery of Mar Abai near the village of Sawro. The dioceses of Salah and Sawro, both of which persisted for several centuries, are first reliably attested in 1283 and 1312 respectively, and references in hagiographies to sixth- and seventh-century bishops of these dioceses cannot be trusted.

IraqEdit

Two Syriac Orthodox dioceses, Beth Nuhadra and Gumal, were established in the ʿAmadiya region before the end of the sixth century, and were among the dioceses placed under the jurisdiction of the maphrians. The diocese of Beth Nuhadra, whose bishops sat initially in the monastery of Nardos near Deir Jundi and later in the town of Maʿaltha near Dohuk, is attested between the sixth and thirteenth centuries, usually under the name Beth Nuhadra but occasionally under the name Maʿaltha. The diocese of Gumal, which seems to have covered the Marga district, is attested between the sixth and tenth centuries, but may have persisted into the thirteenth century. The last-known bishop of Beth Nuhadra was consecrated in 1284, and is unlikely to have had a successor.

A diocese was established for the Mosul region, whose bishops sat in the monastery of Mar Mattai, in the seventh century. This diocese seems to have persisted without a break up to the present day. A diocese was also established for Gazarta in the ninth century.

Two Syriac Orthodox dioceses are known to have existed in the Beth ʿArabaye region between the sixth and fourteenth centuries, centred on Balad and Shigar (Sinjar) respectively. They were among the Syriac Orthodox dioceses placed under the jurisdiction of the maphrians towards the end of the sixth century. Several bishops of Beth ʿArabaye are attested between the sixth and ninth centuries, and again between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. They were variously styled bishops of 'Beth ʿArabaye', 'Balad' or 'the monastery of Mar Sargis', and probably resided in the monastery of Mar Sargis near Balad. Several bishops of Shigar are attested between 630 and 818, but the diocese is not again mentioned until 1277. It is possible that for much of the intervening period Shigar was under the jurisdiction of the bishops of Beth ʿArabaye. The dioceses of Balad and Shigar both survived into the fourteenth century.

In the Erbil region there were dioceses for Beth Ramman and Beth Waziq (seventh to thirteenth centuries) and for Shahrzur. In the second half of the thirteenth century an ad hoc diocese was created for Syriac Orthodox refugees from the Mosul region who settled in and around the Erbil village of Beth Sayyade, with the title of Beth Takshur (a Syriac Orthodox village near Mosul).

In central Iraq, a Syriac Orthodox diocese for Baghdad, the capital of the ʿAbbasid caliphate, is attested between the ninth and thirteenth centuries.[61] There were also Syriac Orthodox dioceses for Tagrit, Karma (seventh to thirteenth centuries), Bahrin, Piroz Shabur, Karsabak, ʿAqula, and the Bani Taghlib Arabs (seventh to tenth centuries).

Iran and Central AsiaEdit

In western Iran there were dioceses for Adarbaigan and Tabriz.

Four substantial Syriac Orthodox dioceses are known to have existed before the fourteenth century in eastern Iran and Central Asia: Zarang (or Segestan), attested between the seventh and thirteenth centuries;[62] Gurgan (later renamed Abaskun) to the south of the Caspian Sea between the eighth and tenth centuries;[63] Aprah in Segestan between the eighth and eleventh centuries;[64] and Herat, also between the eighth and eleventh centuries.[65]

Two other dioceses are mentioned only once, and may have been ephemeral. The unlocalised diocese of Khorasan, apparently to be distinguished from both Aprah and Herat, is mentioned in the first half of the ninth century in the lists of Michael the Syrian.[25] The diocese of Beth Parsaye (literally, 'the country of the Persians') also features in the lists of Michael the Syrian for the same period, and has been tentatively localised by Dauvillier in eastern Iran.[66]

Ephemeral and unlocalised diocesesEdit

Several other Syriac Orthodox dioceses appear to have been ephemeral, including Ibidinge (in Isauria) in the seventh century,[67] Junia (Lebanon), Gulia (in the Melitene district), Kfar Bat (unlocalised) and Kfar Kila (in Lebanon) in the ninth century,[68] Halys (in northeast Turkey) and Hassassa (near Tagrit) in the tenth century,[69] Gudpaï (southern Turkey), Hauran (near the Syrian border with Jordan) and Hezza (near Maiperqat) in the eleventh century,[70] and Hisn Jaʿbar (on the Euphrates, in Iraq) in the twelfth century.[71]

Several Syriac Orthodox dioceses mentioned in the lists of Michael the Syrian cannot be even approximately localised: Harara (attested in 685),[24] Dirig (end of the eighth century),[72] Deboraitha (ninth century),[73] Dula (ninth and tenth centuries),[37] Helbon (ninth to eleventh centuries),[74] Qadmanaye (eighth and ninth centuries),[75] and Shalabdin (twelfth century).[76]

The Syriac Orthodox Church in the Mongol and Post-Mongol PeriodEdit

It is clear that the late thirteenth century was a period of disruption for the Syriac Orthodox Church. According to a famous passage of Bar Hebraeus, several Syriac Orthodox dioceses were depopulated in the 1270s, and some (though not all) may never have recovered:

Even if I wanted to be patriarch, as many others do, what is there to covet in the appointment, since so many dioceses of the East have been devastated? Should I set my heart on Antioch, where sighs and groans will meet me? Or the holy diocese of Gumal, where nobody is left to piss against a wall? Or Aleppo, or Mabbugh, or Callinicus, or Edessa, or Harran, all deserted? Or Laqabin, ʿArqa, Qlisura, Semha, Gubos, Qlaudia and Gargar—the seven dioceses around Melitene—where not a soul remains?[77]

As with the Church of the East, it seems likely that a number of Syriac Orthodox dioceses in Mesopotamia came to an end in the fourteenth century. Only six Syriac Orthodox dioceses which existed at the end of the thirteenth century definitely persisted into the sixteenth century: Amid, Damascus, Gazarta, Hah, Mardin and Qartmin. Other dioceses, such as Homs, Jerusalem, Aleppo (for which no bishops are known for the whole of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries), the monastery of Mar Mattai (for which no bishops are known for the whole of the thirteenth century), Gargar (for which no bishops are known for the whole of the thirteenth century), Hisn Ziyad (for which no bishops are known for the whole of the fourteenth century), and Maiperqat, may also have persisted undisturbed, but at present there is insufficient evidence to be certain, and they may all have been revived after lapsing for long periods. The diocese of Edessa seems to have come to an end after the city's depopulation in 1283, and by the beginning of the sixteenth century Edessa was included in the title of the metropolitans of Gargar.[78]

Several dioceses in Iraq came to an end during the fourteenth century, some possibly during the terrible campaigns of Timur Leng. In 1330 the dioceses of Beth ʿArabaye and Sinjar were combined, with the consecration of a bishop 'of the monastery of Mar Sargis and Sinjar', who probably resided in the monastery of Mar Sargis near Balad. This diocese is not mentioned again, and by the sixteenth century the small Syriac Orthodox communities remaining in the Beth ʿArabaye region came under the authority of the bishops of Tur ʿAbdin, who occasionally included Sinjar in their titles.

 
Syriac villages and monasteries in Tur Abdin.

However, the picture was not all gloom. Several Jacobite dioceses were created or revived between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, particularly in the Tur ʿAbdin region, which increasingly became the heartland of the Syriac Orthodox Church. In Lebanon, which had never previously been the seat of a Jacobite bishop, two Jacobite dioceses are attested in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, one for Hama and Hardin and the other for Tripoli.[79] A Jacobite diocese was also established in Cyprus in the thirteenth century, initially for Jacobite refugees and later for Jacobite merchants from the Mosul region, which persisted into the seventeenth century despite sporadic Latin persecution.[80] In northern Mesopotamia new dioceses were created for Maʿdan towards the end of the fourteenth century, and for Zargel (whose bishops sat in the monastery of Mar Quriaqos) by the middle of the fifteenth century.[81] The monastery of Mar Mushe the Ethiopian near Nebek was restored in 1556 and became the seat of a bishop shortly afterwards.[82]

Five dioceses were created in the Tur ʿAbdin region during the Mongol and post-Mongol period. The diocese of Salah, whose bishops sat in the monastery of Mar Yaʿqob the Recluse, is first mentioned in 1283, and was probably created in the second half of the thirteenth century.[83] The diocese of Sawro, whose bishops sat in the monastery of Mar Abai, is first mentioned in 1312.[84] A third diocese, Beth Rishe, whose bishops sat in the monastery of Mar Malke near the village of Hbab, is attested before the end of the fourteenth century.[85] A fourth diocese, Natfa near Mardin, was created in the fourteenth century and persisted into the nineteenth century.[86] A new diocese seems to have been created for Midyat in the fourteenth century.[87] The title of the diocese also included Hesna d'Kifa, whose Syriac Orthodox diocese lapsed in the eleventh century, and it is not clear whether its bishops sat in the monastery of Mar Abraham near Midyat or in the monastery of the Cross near Hesna d'Kifa. By the end of the sixteenth century the diocese was divided, and thereafter both Midyat and Hesna d'Kifa had their own bishops, with the bishops of Hesna d’Kifa sitting in the monastery of the Cross at al-ʿItafiya.[88]

In the Mosul region, which had long had only the single diocese of the monastery of Mar Mattai, a new diocese was created in the middle of the sixteenth century, whose bishops sat in the monastery of Mar Behnam near Beth Khudaida (Qaraqosh).[89]

By the sixteenth century certain names had become relatively firmly associated with particular dioceses, and were almost invariably taken by their bishops. The name Yohannan, for example, was associated with the diocese of Qartmin, and Dionysius with Aleppo.

The Syriac Orthodox Church in the nineteenth centuryEdit

In 1792 or 1793 a separate Syriac Orthodox diocese was created for Mosul, hitherto under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Mar Mattai, in response to the consecration of a Syriac Catholic bishop for Mosul in 1790.[90]

In the 1840s, shortly after it recovered the ancient monastery of Mar Awgin from the East Syrians, the Syriac Orthodox church revived the old diocese of Nisibis. Four Syriac Orthodox bishops of Nisibis sat in the monastery of Mar Awgin up to the outbreak of the First World War.[91]

The Syriac Orthodox Church in the twentieth centuryEdit

 
Syriac village of Kafro, recently resettled by European Syriac returnees

The Syriac Orthodox dioceses of Amid, Mardin and Gazarta were ruined in the First World War (Dioscorus Bar Sawma, the Syriac Orthodox bishop of Gazarta, was among the members of the Syriac Orthodox hierarchy murdered by the Turks and their Kurdish auxiliaries in 1915), and were not revived after the war.

In 1921 there was a large migration of Syriac Orthodox refugees from Turkey into the new French mandate of Syria. As a result, the Syriac refugee population of the districts around Hassakeh, ʿAmuda and Ra's al-ʿAïn was placed in 1929 under the jurisdiction of the bishop Athanasius Thomas Qsir of Aleppo, who took the title Aleppo, Jazira and Khabur. In 1933 these districts were detached and organised into a separate diocese of Jazira and Khabur (renamed Jazira and Euphrates in 1943), whose bishops sat in the town of Hassakeh.[27]

Since the Second World War the Syriac Orthodox Church has established a number of dioceses and patriarchal vicariates for its diaspora in America and Europe. In America the church established a diocese for North America and Canada in 1957, and patriarchal vicariates for Brazil and Argentina in 1982. In Europe the church established a diocese of Central Europe and Benelux in 1977 and a diocese for Sweden and Scandinavia in 1978. In 1987 a separate diocese was created for the United Kingdom, previously part of the diocese of Sweden. The church also has a 'diocese of patriarchal institutions', whose bishop sits at ʿAtshaneh in Lebanon.[92]

According to a Catholic statistic of 1962, the Syriac Orthodox Church at that time had a total of 130,000 members, of whom 115,000 members lived in the Middle East.

Jurisdiction of the PatriarchateEdit

The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch originally covered the whole region of the Middle East and India. However, in recent centuries, its parishioners started to emigrate to other countries all over the world. Today, the Syriac Orthodox Church has several Archdioceses and Patriarchal Vicariates (exarchates) in many countries covering six continents.

AsiaEdit

Middle East

Syriac Orthodox Christians in the Middle East, known simply as Assyrians/Syriacs (Suryoye), are an ethnic [93] subgroup who follow the West Syrian Rite Syriac Orthodox Church in the Middle East and the diaspora, numbering between 150,000 and 200,000 people in their indigenous area of habitation in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey according to estimations.

The community formed and developed in the Near East in the Middle Ages. The Syriac Orthodox Christians of the Middle East speak Neo-Aramaic (their original and liturgical language) Arabic, and in the case of Syriacs from Turkey, sometimes Turkish. The traditional cultural and religious center of the Syriac Orthodox is Tur Abdin, regarded as their homeland, in southeastern Turkey, from where many people fled the Ottoman government-organized genocide (1914–18) to Syria and Lebanon, and Mosul in northern Iraq.

Syria
The Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, the Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church Ignatius Aphrem II.
  1. Patriarchal Office Director in Damascus Archbishop Timotheus Matta Al-Khoury.
  2. Archbishopric of Jazirah and Euphrates under the spiritual guidance and direction of acting Archbishop Maurice Amsih.
  3. Archbishopric of Aleppo under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim.
  4. Archbishopric of Homs & Hama under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Selwanos Petros AL-Nemeh.
  5. Patriarchal Vicariate for the Archdiocese of Damascus under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Timothius Matta AlKhouri.

Syriac Orthodox Church is one of eight Christian denominations in the country. They are most heavily concentrated in Al Hasakah Governorate (or the Jazira region) in villages along the Khabur river such as Tal Tamer where they make up a majority along with other Syriac Christian people groups. They also established the cities of Hasakah and Qamishli[94] in the Governorate after the 1915 massacres, when many Christian people fled Turkey.[94] In the mid-1970s it was estimated that 82,000 Syriac Orthodox lived in the country,[95] but this number is now estimated at 400,000 in 2016 including other Assyrian groups. Part of the reason for this increase is due to an influx of Iraqi refugees after the 2003 invasion along with natural population growth over a 40-year period.[94] Other centers of Syriac Orthodox people outside of Jazira include Fairouzeh, Al-Hafar,[96] Kafr Ram,[97] Maskanah, Al-Qaryatayn, Sadad[98] and Zaidal. Other cities include Damascus, where Their Patriarchate is centered in since 1959.,[99] and Homs. The shelling of Homs in 2012 damaged the city and dispersed much of its population, which was until then home to a large Christian community of various denominations.[94]

Holy Land
  1. Archbishopric of Israel, Palestine and Jordan under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Gabriel Dahho .[100][101][102]
Iraq
  1. Archbishopric of Baghdad and Basrah under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Severius Jamil Hawa.
  2. Archbishopric of Mosul, Kirkuk and Kurdistan under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Nicodimus Dawood Sharaf. Served previously by the retired Archbishop but currently Patriarch Advisor Gregorius Saliba Shamoun.
  3. Archbishopric of St Matthew's Monastery under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Timothius Mousa Shamani.

The Syriac Community in Iraq mainly live in Mosul[103] and the Nineveh Plains region of Northern Iraq in the towns of Merki, Iraq, Bartella, Bakhdida, and Karamlesh. An estimated 15–20,000 Syriac Orthodox Christians lived there in 1991.[104] Since the 1960s many have moved south, to Baghdad.[103] The most recent estimations (2014) of their total population in Iraq number between 30,000–40,000 or 50,000–70,000.[103] Historically, The Syriacs of the Nineveh Plains and Northern Iraq originated from Tikrit, but immigrated to the north during a period between 1089 and the 1400s due to persecution and a genocide by Timur.[105][106]

Lebanon
  1. Archbishopric of Mount Lebanon under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Theophilos George Saliba.
  2. Patriarchal Vicariate of Zahle under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Justinos Boulos Safar.
  3. Archbishopric of Beirut & Benevolent institutions in Lebanon under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Clemis Daniel Malak Kourieh.
  4. The Patriarchal Institutions in Lebanon under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Chrysostoms Michael Shamoun.

Syriac Orthodox Christians are one of several Christian minority groups in Lebanon. A Jacobite community settled in Lebanon among the Maronites after Mongol invasions in the Late Middle Ages, however, this community was either dispersed or absorbed by the Maronites.[107] Assemani (1687–1768) noted that many Maronite families were of Jacobite origin.[107] A Jacobite community was present in Tripoli in the 17th century.[107] The 1915 events forced Syriac Orthodox from Tur Abdin to flee to Lebanon, where they formed communities in the Beirut districts of Zahlah and Musaytbeh.[108] Syriac Refugees from French Cilicia arrived in 1921 to bolster their numbers.[108] In 1944 it was estimated that 3,753 Syriac Orthodox lived in Lebanon.[109] Prior to the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), there were 65,000 Syriac Orthodox in the country.[108] Half of the community emigrated as a result of violence, with many going to Sweden which protected "stateless people".[108] As of 1987 there were only a few thousand Syriac Orthodox in Lebanon.[110] The Syria conflict has resulted in an influx of Syrian Christian refugees, with many being Syriac Christians.[108]

Turkey
  1. Archbishopric of Istanbul and Ankara under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Filüksinos Yusuf Çetin.
  2. Patriarchal Vicariate of Mardin under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Filüksinos Saliba Özmen.
  3. Patriarchal Vicariate of Turabdin under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Timotheus Samuel Aktaş.
  4. Archbishopric of Adiyaman under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Gregorius Melki Ürek.[111]

The Syriac community of Turkey identifies as Sūryōyō, historically as Sūrōyō or Sūrōyē (until 20 years ago).[112] The identity characteristics defining the Tur Abdin Syriacs is the Neo-Aramaic language and the Syriac Orthodox Church, and their religious identity correlates to an ethnic identity. Intermarriage between Syriacs and other Christian groups (Armenians and Greeks) is therefore very rare.[113] Unlike some other Syriac Christian religious communities in the Middle East, the Syriacs in Turkey still speak Neo Aramaic languages, specifically the Turoyo language. However, some also speak Turkish, and the community in Mardin traditionally speaks Arabic due to historical reasons.[114] Intermarriage between Syriacs and other Christian groups (Armenians and Greeks) is very rare as well.[113]

It was estimated in 2016 that there were 10,000 Syriac Orthodox in Turkey, with most living in Istanbul.[115] The Tur Abdin region is an historical stronghold of Orthodox Syriacs.[116] Prior to the 1970s and the Kurdish–Turkish conflict the Tur Abdin region was the epicenter of the Syriac population of Turkey, with 50-70,000 Assyrians and Syriacs being recorded as living there prior to their exodus.[117][116] As of 2012 2,400 live in Tur Abdin,[118] although it might be around 3-5,000 now due to refugees from Iraq and Syria settling there, and Syriacs from the diaspora gradually returning.[119]

UAE
  1. Patriarchal Vicariate of UAE and Arab States of the Persian Gulf under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Bartholomaus Nathanael Youssef.
India
  • Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christian Church
The Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, one of the various Saint Thomas Christian churches in India, is an integral part of the Syriac Orthodox Church, with the Patriarch of Antioch as its supreme head. The local head of the church in Malankara (Kerala) is Baselios Thomas I, ordained by Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas in 2002 and accountable to the Patriarch of Antioch. The headquarters of the church in India is at Puthencruz near Ernakulam in the state of Kerala in South India.
Simhasana Churches and Honavar Mission is under direct control of Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II.
The Indian or Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, is not affiliated with the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church.
Unlike most other patriarchal churches abroad, the language of the Syriac Orthodox Divine Liturgy in India is mostly in Malayalam along with Syriac. This is because almost all Syriac Christians in India hail from the State of Kerala, where Malayalam is the native language of the people.
  • Knanaya Arch Diocese
The Knanaya Syriac Orthodox Church is an archdiocese under the guidance and direction of Archbishop Severious Kuriakose with the patriarch as its spiritual head. They are the followers of the Syrian merchant Knāy Thoma (Thomas of Cana) in the 4th or 8th century, while another legend traces their origin to Jews in the Middle East.[120][121][120][122]
  • Evangelistic Association Of The East
E.A.E Arch Diocese is the missionary association of Syriac Orthodox Church founded in 1924 by 'Malphono Naseeho' Geevarghese Athunkal Cor-Episcopa at Perumbavoor.[123] This Arch Diocese is under the direct control of Patriarch under the guidance of Chrysostomos Markose, It is an organization with several Churches, Educational Institutions, Orphanages, Old Age Home, Dayara, Convent, Publications, Mission Centers, Gospel Team, Care Mission, Missionary Training Institute. It is registered in 1949 under Indian Societies Registration Act. XXI of 1860.(Reg. No. S.8/1949ESTD 1924)[124][125][126]

AmericasEdit

North America
Region Diocese Metropolitan
United States Patriarchal Vicariate of the Eastern United States Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II and assisted by Archbishop Dionysius Jean Kawak[128][129]
Patriarchal Vicariate of the Western United States Archbishop Clemis Eugene Kaplan.[130]
Malankara Archdiocese of North America Archbishop Titus Yeldho
Canada Patriarchal Vicariate of Canada Archbishop Athanasius Elia Bahi[131][132]
Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and Venezuela
Guatemala Archdiocese of Central America, the Caribbean Islands and Venezuela Archbishop Yaqub Eduardo Aguirre Oestmann.[133][134][135]
South America
Argentina Patriarchal Vicariate of Argentina Archbishop Chrysostomos John Ghassali[136][137][138]
Brazil Patriarchal Vicariate of Brazil Archbishop Nuncio Theethose Bolous Toza[139]

EuropeEdit

Earlier in 20th century many Syrian Orthodox immigrated to Western Europe diaspora, located in the Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland for economic and political reasons.[140] Dayro d-Mor Ephrem in Netherlands is the first Syriac Orthodox monastery in Europe established in 1981.[141] Dayro d-Mor Awgen, Arth, Switzerland, Dayro d-Mor Ya`qub d-Sarug, Warburg, Germany are the other monasteries located in Europe.

Europe
Region Diocese Metropolitan
Belgium Patriarchal Vicariate of Belgium, France and Luxembourg Archbishop George Kourieh[142][143]
Germany Patriarchal Vicariate of Germany Archbishop Philoxenus Mattias Nayis
Ecumenical Movement in Germany Archbishop Julius Hanna Aydın
Netherlands Patriarchal Vicariate of the Netherlands Archbishop Polycarpus Augin (Eugene) Aydın[144]
Spain Patriarchal Vicariate of Spain Archbishop Nicolaos Matti Abd Alahad
Sweden Archbishopric of Sweden and Scandinavia Archbishop Julius Abdulahad Gallo Shabo
Patriarchal Vicariate of Sweden Archbishop Dioskoros Benyamen Atas
Switzerland Patriarchal Vicariate of Switzerland and Austria Archbishop Dionysius Isa Gürbüz[145]
United Kingdom Patriarchal Vicariate of United Kingdom Archbishop Athanasius Toma Dawod
Gallery

OceaniaEdit

Australia and New Zealand

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Fiey, POCN, 187–90
  2. ^ Fiey, POCN, 211–12 (Emesa) and 251 (Palmyra)
  3. ^ Fiey, POCN, 227
  4. ^ Fiey, POCN, 261–2
  5. ^ Fiey, POCN, 173
  6. ^ Fiey, POCN, 223–4
  7. ^ Fiey, POCN, 261
  8. ^ Fiey, POCN, 167
  9. ^ Fiey, POCN, 265–6
  10. ^ Fiey, POCN, 159–60
  11. ^ Fiey, POCN, 175–6
  12. ^ Fiey, POCN, 186–7
  13. ^ Fiey, POCN, 256
  14. ^ Fiey, POCN, 229–30
  15. ^ Fiey, POCN, 201–2
  16. ^ a b Fiey, POCN, 225
  17. ^ Fiey, POCN, 176
  18. ^ Fiey, POCN, 274
  19. ^ Fiey, POCN, 218–22
  20. ^ Fiey, POCN, 157–8
  21. ^ Fiey, POCN, 271
  22. ^ Fiey, POCN, 158 and 166
  23. ^ Fiey, POCN, 206–7
  24. ^ a b Fiey, POCN, 207
  25. ^ a b Fiey, POCN, 226
  26. ^ Fiey, POCN, 217–18
  27. ^ a b Fiey, POCN, 193
  28. ^ a b Fiey, POCN, 224
  29. ^ Fiey, POCN, 269
  30. ^ Fiey, POCN, 268
  31. ^ Fiey, POCN, 202 (Gubos), 257 (Qlisura)
  32. ^ Fiey, POCN, 169–70 (ʿArqa), 199–200 (Gargar), 227–8 (Laqabin) and 256–7 (Qlaudia)
  33. ^ Fiey, POCN, 168–9 (Arabissus) and 260–1 (Romana)
  34. ^ Fiey, POCN, 263
  35. ^ Fiey, POCN, 232–3
  36. ^ a b Fiey, POCN, 279
  37. ^ a b Fiey, POCN, 194
  38. ^ Fiey, POCN, 203–4
  39. ^ Fiey, POCN, 282–3
  40. ^ Fiey, POCN, 258
  41. ^ a b Fiey, POCN, 272
  42. ^ Fiey, POCN, 194–6
  43. ^ Fiey, POCN, 258–9
  44. ^ Fiey, POCN, 264
  45. ^ Fiey, POCN, 207–8
  46. ^ Fiey, POCN, 266–7
  47. ^ Fiey, POCN, 184–5
  48. ^ Fiey, POCN, 273
  49. ^ Fiey, POCN, 162–3 (Amid), 240–2 (Maiperqat)
  50. ^ Fiey, POCN, 170
  51. ^ Fiey, POCN, 209–10
  52. ^ Bar Hebraeus, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum (ed. Abeloos and Lamy), i. 310; Fiey, POCN, 171
  53. ^ Fiey, POCN, 170–1
  54. ^ Fiey, POCN, 169
  55. ^ Fiey, POCN, 214–15
  56. ^ Michael the Syrian, Chronicle, iii. 451; Fiey, POCN, 253
  57. ^ Fiey, POCN, 233–8
  58. ^ Fiey, POCN, 259–60
  59. ^ Fiey, POCN, 260
  60. ^ Fiey, POCN, 174
  61. ^ Fiey, POCN, 172–3
  62. ^ Fiey, POCN, 281
  63. ^ Fiey, POCN, 157 and 203
  64. ^ Fiey, POCN, 167–8
  65. ^ Fiey, POCN, 210–11
  66. ^ Fiey, POCN, 178–9
  67. ^ Fiey, POCN, 217
  68. ^ Fiey, POCN, 203 (Gulia) and 223 (Kfar Bat and Kfar Kila)
  69. ^ Fiey, 207 (Halys) and 208 (Hassassa)
  70. ^ Fiey, POCN, 202 (Gudpai) and 210 (Hauran and Hezza)
  71. ^ Fiey, POCN, 214
  72. ^ Fiey, POCN, 191
  73. ^ Fiey, POCN, 190–1
  74. ^ Fiey, POCN, 210
  75. ^ Fiey, POCN, 253
  76. ^ Fiey, POCN, 267
  77. ^ Bar Hebraeus, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum (ed. Abeloos and Lamy), ii. 460
  78. ^ Fiey, POCN, 195 and 200
  79. ^ Fiey, POCN, 206–7 (Hama and Hardin) and 275 (Tripoli)
  80. ^ Fiey, POCN, 184
  81. ^ Fiey, POCN, 230–1 (Maʿdan) and 281–2 (Zargel)
  82. ^ Fiey, POCN, 247
  83. ^ Fiey, POCN, 262
  84. ^ Fiey, POCN, 264–5
  85. ^ Fiey, POCN, 231–2
  86. ^ Fiey, POCN, 248
  87. ^ Fiey, POCN, 243–4
  88. ^ Fiey, POCN, 214–15 and 243–4
  89. ^ Fiey, POCN, 177
  90. ^ Fiey, POCN, 245–6
  91. ^ Fiey, POCN, 250
  92. ^ Fiey, POCN, 284
  93. ^ Donabed & Mako 2009; Jongerden & Verheij 2012, p. 223; Romeny 2012; Romeny 2005
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ReferencesEdit