- For the verb "to mar", see wikt:mar
Mar or Mor (as pronounced respectively in eastern and western dialects, from Syriac: ܡܪܝ, Mār(y), written with a silent final yodh) is a title of respect in Syriac, literally meaning 'my lord'. It is given to all saints and is also used before Christian name of bishops. The corresponding feminine form given to women saints is Mart or Mort (Syriac: ܡܪܬܝ, Mārt(y)). The title is placed before the Christian name, as in Mar Aprem/Mor Afrem and Mart/Mort Maryam. This is the original meaning of the name Martha 'A Lady'.
The variant Maran or Moran (Syriac: ܡܪܢ, Māran), meaning 'Our Lord', is a particular title given to Jesus, either alone or in combination with other names and titles. Likewise, Martan or Mortan (Syriac: ܡܪܬܢ, Mārtan, 'Our Lady') is a title of Mary.
Occasionally, the term Maran or Moran has been used of various patriarchs and catholicoi. The Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, the Malankara Orthodox Catholicos and the Syro-Malankara Major Archbishop Catholicos use the title Moran Mor. Sometimes the Indian bearers of this title are called Moran Mar, using a hybrid style from both Syriac dialects that reflects somewhat the history of Syrian Christians in Kerala. The Pope of Rome is referred to as Mar Papa by the Nasranis (Saint Thomas Christians) of India.
The obscure variant Marya or Moryo (Syriac: ܡܪܝܐ, Māryā) is used in the Peshitta Old Testament to render the Tetragrammaton. Although this word is clearly a derived form of the above, there is a fanciful derivation found in early Syriac lexica, that the word is an initialism as follows:
- ܡ — ܡܪܘܬܐ, māruṯā, 'lordship'
- ܪ — ܪܒܘܬܐ, rabbuṯā, 'majesty'
- ܝ ܐ — ܐܝܬܝܐ, iṯyā, 'self-existence'
In Mishnaic Hebrew through to date this Aramaic word is pronounced [mar] (Hebrew: מָר), and it is used as a formal way of addressing or referring to a male person. In Rabbanical circles of Jews from the Middle East, the Aramaic word מָרָן (Aramaic: our lord) is a title to a highly appreciated Rabbis, such as Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of Shas party. But some interpret this title, מָרָן, as an abbreviation of the expression מֵאָה רַבָּנים נִסְמָךְ ('is ordinated by 100 rabbis'), which is, of course, a backronym.
- "Mor (or Mar) is an honorific title used both for bishops and for saints" (Sebastian P. Brock, An Introduction to Syriac Studies (Gorgias Press 2006 ISBN 978-1-59333-349-2), p. 1). "Mar, literally 'My Lord', a usual title of ecclesiastics and saints. This title always occurs in the commentaries when the Commentary of Ephraem is referred to" (Society for New Testament Studies, New Testament Studies, vol. 8 (1962), p. 294). "It was pointed out that the title 'Mar' or Saint is commonly used for prophets as well as saints (See above, p. 15. In the second Syriac inscription, Appendix I, the title is used for Bishop Diskoros)" (Erica Dodd, The Frescoes of Mar Musa al-Habashi (Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies 2001 ISBN 978-0-88844-139-3), p. 23).
- Catafago, Joseph (1873). An English and Arabic dictionary. Quaritch.