Shimun XXIII Eshai
Eshai Shimun XXIII
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 nd Chicago)|
|Term ended||5 November 1975|
|Predecessor||Mar Shimun XXII Paulos (1918–1920)|
|Successor||Mar Dinkha IV (1976–2015)|
|Born||28 February 1908
Konak, Hakkari, Ottoman Empire
|Died||6 November 1975
San Jose, California, United States
|Denomination||Christian, Assyrian Church of the East|
|Residence||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII (28 February 1908 – 6 November 1975), sometimes known as Mar Shimun XXI Ishaya, Mar Shimun Ishai, or Simon Jesse, 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.)
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. 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.[clarification needed] On 6 November 1975, the patriarch was shot and killed at the door of his home in San Jose, California, by David Malek Ismail. 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.
- Foster, p. 34
- "Public Proceedings on the Murder of Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII". Web.archive.org. 2004-10-11. Retrieved 2011-12-17.
- Foster, John (1939). The Church of the T'ang Dynasty. Great Britain: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
- Mar Shimun website
- "Patriarchs of the East" at friesian.com
- Biography of Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII to 1970
- Summary of the trial record for the patriarch's murder at the Wayback Machine (archived March 6, 2001)
Mar Shimun XXII Paulos
|Catholicos-Patriarch of the Church of the East
Mar Dinkha IV Khanania