Gabriel of Sinjar

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Gabriel of Sinjar (Classical Syriac: ܓܒܪܐܝܠ ܕܫܝܓܪ, Gaḅriyel d'Šiggar) was a court physician of the Sasanian shah Khosrau II. He played a major role in inter-Christian rivalries in the Sasanian empire.

Biography[edit]

Gabriel was born in Sinjar to a Syrian Miaphysite. According to one account he became a court physician after curing the sterility of the shah's favourite wife. The shah's wife, Shirin, later converted to the Syriac Orthodox Church under Gabriel's influence. Shirin also influenced by Gabriel, tried to replace Dyophysitism (Church of the East) with Miaphysitism as the official form of Christianity in the Persian empire.[1]

Gabriel convinced the shah to prohibit the Church of the East from appointing a new leader after the death of its Catholicos, Gregory. He also tried to exploit the fragmentation of the Church of the East in order to weaken it: he convinced Khosrau II to convene a disputation at his court between Miaphysites and Dyophysites, knowing that the Church of the East would have to produce a formula of faith that would not be universally accepted by all its bishops.[2][3]

In the 612 disputation, Babai the Great presented a clear and "official" christology which did as expected cause schisms amongst members of his church.[4] During the disputation George of Izla, a Zoroastrian convert to the Church of the East, objected to Gabriel's expulsion of Dyophysite monks from their monasteries. Gabriel retaliated by accusing George of apostasy from the state religion, which caused the latter's execution by the Sasanian authorities.[2]

Gabriel of Sinjar die not long after. Eventually, as the Sasanians suffered defeat at the hands of the Byzantines, the Miaphysites too fell out of favour and Christians of all sects were persecuted.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Baum 2004, p. 42
  2. ^ a b Casiday 2012, p. 239
  3. ^ Haar Romeny 2012, p. 247
  4. ^ a b Morony 2005, p. 351

References[edit]