Kashkar (East Syrian Diocese)
The Diocese of Kashkar, sometimes called Kaskar, was the senior diocese in the Church of the East's Province of the Patriarch. The diocese is attested between the fourth and the twelfth centuries. The bishops of Kashkar had the privilege of guarding the patriarchal throne during the interregnum between the death of a patriarch and the appointment of his successor. As a result, they are often mentioned by name in the standard histories of the Nestorian patriarchs, so that a relatively full list of the bishops of the diocese has survived.
According to legend, the diocese of Kashkar was the oldest diocese in Persia. It was said to have been founded by the apostle Mari in the first century, several decades before the establishment of a diocese in the Persian capital Seleucia-Ctesiphon. Although a first-century foundation date is highly unlikely, the diocese of Kashkar was certainly one of the oldest dioceses of the Church of the East. The antiquity of the diocese and its claim to an apostolic foundation were recognised at the synod of Isaac in 410, when it was ranked second after the patriarchal diocese of Seleucia-Ctesiphon and its bishop was appointed guardian of the patriarchal throne (natar kursya).
The earliest-known bishop of Kashkar was ʿAbdishoʿ, who was one of several Persian bishops who opposed the claim to precedence put forward by the bishop Papa of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in 315. The last-known bishop of Kashkar was Sabrishoʿ, who was transferred from the diocese of Qaimar to Kashkar by the patriarch Eliya III (1176–90). By 1222 the guardianship of the vacant patriarchal throne, for centuries a privilege of the bishops of Kashkar, was in the hands of the metropolitans of Beth Huzaye.
Bishops of Kashkar
The bishop Paul of Kashkar was martyred between 341 and 350, during the persecution of Shapur II.
The bishop ʿAbda of Kashkar was martyred in 377.
The bishop Maraï of Kashkar was among the signatories of the acts of the synod of Isaac in 410.
The bishop Abner of Kashkar was one of eleven named bishops listed in the acts of the synod of Dadishoʿ in 424 as having been reproved at the synods of Isaac in 410 and Yahballaha I in 420.
The bishop Emmanuel of Kashkar was among the signatories of the acts of the synod of Babaï in 497.
The bishop Isaac of Kashkar assembled a synod of East Syrian bishops in 773 to elect a patriarch after the death of the patriarch Yaʿqob II.
The bishop Abraham of Kashkar was transferred from the diocese of Hamadan by the patriarch ʿAbdishoʿ I (963–86). He was deposed and excommunicated for seven years for misbehaviour, and was eventually restored to his old diocese at the request of the Nestorians of Hamadan.
The bishop Shemʿon, metropolitan of Beth Garmaï when Eliya Bar Shinaya completed his Chronography in 1018/19, was originally bishop of Beth Daraye and later bishop of Kashkar.
The seat of the diocese of Kashkar appears to have been transferred to Wasit by the end of the eleventh century. The bishop Hormizd 'of Wasit' was present at the consecration of the patriarch Makkikha I in 1092.
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