Shimun XXIII Eshai

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Mar
Eshai Shimun XXIII
His Holiness
Mar-Eshai-Shimun-XXIII.jpg
Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII
Church Assyrian Church of the East
Diocese Patriarchal Diocese of the Eastern United States
See Apostolic See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon (in exile in San Jose and Chicago)
Installed 1920
Term ended 5 November 1975
Predecessor Mar Shimun XXII Paulos (1918–1920)
Successor Mar Dinkha IV (since 1976)
Opposed to Mar Thoma Darmo (1968–1969) and Mar Addai II (1970–1975) (Ancient Church of the East)
Orders
Rank Catholicos-Patriarch
Personal details
Born 28 February 1908
Konak, Hakkari, Turkey
Died 6 November 1975(1975-11-06) (aged 67)
San Jose, California, United States
Nationality Assyrian (Iraqi)
Denomination Christian, Assyrian Church of the East
Residence Chicago, Illinois, United States
Spouse Wife (married 1973)
Children Two
Occupation Cleric

Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII (born 28 February 1908, Konak, Hakkari, Turkey - 6 November 1975, San Jose, California, United States), sometimes known as Mar Shimun XXI Ishaya, Mar Shimun Ishai, or Simon Jesse,[1] was Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East from 1920, when he was a youth, until his murder on 6 November 1975. (The difference in regnal numbers depends on which members of the Shimun family one counts as Patriarchs; Mar Eshai chose to use the regnal number XXIII.)

Biography[edit]

Born into the patriarchal family in Qudshanis, in the village of Van, in Ottoman Turkey on February 26 (not 28th) 1908, at the age of 11 Mar Eshai was chosen as patriarch after the death of his uncle during the Assyrian Genocide. He was educated in England, studying theology at Canterbury and at Westcott House, University of Cambridge.[1] He was the translator or author of several books on the theology and history of the Church of the East. The volatile political environment and uncertainties for the church caused in 1933 by the independence of Iraq from colonial rule forced the patriarch's relocation to Cyprus. In 1940, he relocated again, to Chicago, Illinois in the United States. Mar Eshai became an American citizen about 1949 and settled in the San Francisco area in 1954.

In 1964, a dispute over hereditary succession and church calendars caused the metropolitan of the Church of the East in India (known there as the Chaldean Syrian Church) to break away and Mar Thoma was stopped from his duties in the Church of the East. In 1995 Mar Eshai's successor, Mar Dinkha IV, was able to heal the rift. A small group (the Ancient Church of the East) remains separated from the main body of the Church of the East.

Mar Eshai sought to resign as patriarch for health reasons in the late 1960s, but he was persuaded to remain in office. Some activists within the church wanted the patriarch to take a more active role in pushing for a homeland for the Assyrian people, as he had before 1933.

On a separate track, rumors began circulating with those who consistently went against him decided it was time to have someone new. On 6 November 1975, the patriarch was shot and killed at the door of his home in San Jose, California, by David Malek Ismail.[2] According to trial records, Ismail said he was upset over the patriarch's marriage; however, the records suggest links between Ismail and church dissidents. According to Deputy District Attorney Brian Madden, the murder of the patriarch Mar Shimun was the outcome of a plot among church dissidents.[3]

When the church council met in London on 17 October 1976, it elected as patriarch Mar Dinkha IV (who had been bishop of Tehran).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Foster, p. 34
  2. ^ "Public Proceedings on the Murder of Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII". Web.archive.org. 2004-10-11. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  3. ^ Ibid.
  • Foster, John (1939). The Church of the T'ang Dynasty. Great Britain: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mar Shimun XXII Paulos
Catholicos-Patriarch of the Church of the East
1920–1975
Succeeded by
Mar Dinkha IV Khanania