Talk:List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East

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Ancient Church of the East Patriarchs[edit]

Why is the list of Ancient Church of the East Patriarchs always getting remove? For neutrality's sake the inclusion of the names is valid, whether from their point of view or the Assyrian Church based in the US. The list of names of both patriarchial line is present in this website[[1]] as well. It is part of the Church of the East history and to omit it is peculiar for this website and does great injustice. To whoever the person who removes it, dont go removing it again without consulting others! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 08:42, 8 August 2006

Dodgy dates[edit]

Some of the names and dates given for the patriarchs during the period 1318 to 1552 are distinctly dodgy. See my article Dioceses of the Church of the East, 1318–1552. What is the source for them?

Djwilms (talk) 08:54, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Name change[edit]

List of Patriarchs of BabylonList of Patriarchs of the Church of the East — The current name seems to be left over from when this was a larger list, but other elements have since been merged elsewhere. Elonka 18:48, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

As there was no objection, I went ahead and took care of the move. --Elonka 22:37, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

The current name change is a definite improvement; I think a more appropriate name would be “List of Catholicos-Patriarchs of the Church of the East” This title is the official description of post of the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. See this helpful website for clarification.

If this website does not work via this link try googling Cnewa and Assyrian Church of the East. Ninevite (talk) 02:44, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Hmm, interesting suggestion. I agree that Catholicos-Patriarch seems to be the title of the modern leader, but from what I'm seeing in the sources, it's a fairly recent inventory. Catholicos was definitely the original title of the pre-split Assyrian Church of the East (back when it was just "Church of the East"), and the Catholicos title started with Papa in the 4th century), but then Patriarch came along shortly thereafter. For example, Mar Yaballaha (13th century) was referred to as, "Behold our Catholicus and Patriarch!" or "we will go and present our homage to our Father and Patriarch the Catholicus Mar Denha". Or in other words, I think the existing title of "List of Patriarchs" is fine. I'm open to seeing other sources though, if you feel that "Catholicos-Patriarch" has stronger use in the sources? --Elonka 07:23, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Elonka (and I too would like to see more sources). "Catholicos" and "Patriarch" are used by the church and by other sources referring to the church; the form "Catholicos-Patriarch" is used by the modern Assyrian Church of the East, but not, apparently, the Chaldean Catholic Church. However some sources do use "Catholicos-Patriarch" for the office prior to the schism (like this one). But of all of them "Patriarch" seems to be the most common. Of course the office isn't called the "Patriarch of the Church of the East", but I think this is a reasonable descriptive title in order to avoid confusion with other Patriarchs of the East.--Cúchullain t/c 19:28, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Historically speaking, the term "patriach" has been borrowed from the Byzantine Church, even if it happened centuries ago. Now I suppose we can keep the title "Patriarch" because it is more clear for a standard user and it is not wrong. A ntv (talk) 23:39, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Catholicos-Patriarch is the official title of the patriarch of the ACOE, Most past historical works in the English language on the Church of the East do not use this exact title. There seems to be some variation on the use of different titles throughout the churches history. As far as finding sources for this title historically since the church’s inception, there are few. The current title is fine, a good portion of modern sources such as Christoph Baumer’s The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity, do use the title Catholicos-Patriarch. I am not sure when the current title became the official name of post; it could be as old as the church itself or it could be relatively modern. I am aware of Bishops, deacons, and students of the Church of the East who confirm the use of this title throughout much of the church’s history and they use it to refer to all the patriarchs of the church. As I have said earlier, the addition of Catholicos is optional; the current title is an improvement over its former label. I am open to suggestions. Ninevite (talk) 23:19, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

The term catholicus was adopted around the end of the fifth century, though the text of the acts of some of the earlier synods (particularly the crucial synods of 410, 420 and 424) have clearly been edited to push it back to the beginning of the fifth century. The forgers were not systematic, and the survival of the term 'grand metropolitan' in the text of the synod of Isaac (410) gave their game away. The term catholicus is Greek, and signifies 'with universal authority'. Since the important province of Fars (with its extensive network of suffragan dioceses in northern Arabia and India) did not recognise the authority of Seleucia-Ctesiphon at this period, and showed its disdain by using Persian instead of Syriac, it was one of those pious programmatic titles which bore little resemblance to reality. But it stuck. Later on the formula became 'catholicus and patriarch', and then it got shortened to 'catholicus-patriarch'. I would simply use the term patriarch.
Many of the dates in this article are wrong. The standard modern authorities are Jean-Maurice Fiey's Pour un Oriens Christianus Novus (Beirut, 1993) for the period up to 1318 and David Wilmshurst's Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East, 1318-1913 (Louvain, 2001) for the later period. I will set about correcting them when I have a moment. I've started with Timothy I.
Talking of Mar Timothee I, the names of Nestorian patriarchs should also be given in their standard English forms, not in their modern Assyrian spellings or in transliterations of their Syriac forms. Thus Timothy, not Timothee or Timotaos. And there is no need to prefix the name of a patriarch with the honorific 'Mar'. We wouldn't call an Anglican bishop 'Lord', so why privilege Nestorian and Jacobite bishops? This is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not a Christian love-in.
Djwilms (talk) 01:59, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
I've started work on weeding out the numerous factual errors from this list (a lot of the dates are out by one or two years). I have also begun to normalise the spellings of the names of the patriarchs and have removed the otiose honorific 'Mar'. Assyrian nationalists, please don't revert these changes, as I have made them to conform with normal practice in English reference works. I will deal with the relatively uncontentious patriarchs first, and leave the difficult ones till later. There will probably need to be some discussion of what we know, and what we don't know, about some of them.
It will also be fun, I have no doubt, attempting to reach a consensus on who was a legitimate patriarch and who was a godless usurper.
For the purposes of links and article titles, it will probably be preferable to remove the ains from proper names. Thus, an article on the patriarch ʿAbdishoʿ II should probably be titled Abdisho II (Nestorian Patriarch). I've been doing that with my diocesan articles, and it seems to work. But in the body of the article I prefer to include ains in proper names, to indicate the correct spelling and pronunciation of the name in Syriac. This is also the normal practice in modern English reference works.
Djwilms (talk) 01:59, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Inclusion of Chaldean and other patriarchs[edit]

At present this article unreasonably privileges the patriarchs of the Assyrian Church of the East and marginalises the patriarchs of the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Ancient Church of the East. Although I myself have very firm opinions on the subject, it is not the function of an encyclopedia article to adjudicate between the claims of the three modern churches which claim descent from the old Church of the East. All patriarchs, including the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Chaldean patriarchs of Amid (Josephs I to V), the Chaldean patriarch Joseph Audo and his nineteenth- and twentieth-century successors, and Mar Addai, patriarch of the Ancient Church of the East, should be mentioned.

By the same token, there are a few anti-patriarchs who also deserve mention. I also think we should mention a number of completely mythical patriarchs (e.g. the seventh-century patriarch 'Tomarsa II', the alleged founder of the monastery of Rabban Hormizd, invented by the monks to remove the monastery from the jurisdiction of the local bishop, who would otherwise have had the right to demand contributions from them). They neatly fitted him into the twenty-year gap between Gregory and Ishoyahb II.

Djwilms (talk) 06:56, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

I suggest, to avoid PointOfViews, to split the article about ACOE in a article named Church of East up to 1553 (Sulaqa split), and an article about ACOE covering only the history of such denomination after 1553.
In the same way I suggest an article about List of Patriarchs of the Church of East up to 1553 (to be a list with many explanations), and an article about patriarchs of the ACOE after this date, beside the article List of Chaldean Catholic Patriarchs of Babylon (which is not a mere list and include explanations). Here anyway the issue is more complicated: on a historical point of view the Elias line which ended with Y.Hormidz has nothing to do with the ACOE nor with the Chaldean Church: we can keep it separate with a own article (due to the huge confusion among the many Elias, also here it is more appropriate an article than a simple list). A ntv (talk) 18:33, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
You are right, of course, that the Eliya patriarchs in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were Nestorians, not Chaldeans. I think the facts about the various lines are not seriously disputed, and the difficulty is basically how to present them in a way that doesn't trigger an edit war. I don't really like this list idea at all, because it just perpetuates errors and pious myths, and am myself groping towards the idea of an article (see the paragraphs on the main uncertainties I added yesterday. More of this will be necessary when I get to the early patriarchs.
On the other hand, I think the pious myths and the inventions need to be mentioned too. It is, at the very least, interesting that Shemon XXI Eshai (or whatever ordinal they now give him) added the apostle Simon Peter to the list, so I suppose that deserves a sentence. An article would also be more entertaining and informative than a list. And since we have biographical data on most of the patriarchs, it would easily be possible to write a sentence or two on each of them, linked to a longer, biographical article.
It would also be possible, as you suggest, to have three separate articles, dealing respectively with the pre-1553 COE, the AOCE and the Chaldean Church, though the post-1553 groupings get a bit messy at times, and it might be easier to deal with the various permutations within a single article (one paragraph on Sulaqa and his two or three Catholic successors, one paragraph on the Nestorian Eliyas, one paragraph on the Nestorian Shemons, one paragraph on the Catholic Josephs and one paragraph on Yohannan Hormizd and the takeover of the Mosul patriarchate by the Catholics. Let me play around with this idea for a while and see how it works out.
Djwilms (talk) 01:52, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Article or List?[edit]

I've just added a section discussing how little we know about the patriarchal succession in the fourteenth, fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. We also know very little about the AOCE patriarchs in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. We also know very little about the first to fourth centuries, except that most of the so-called 'patriarchs' that appear in this list were invented in the sixth century.

There seems to me to be little point in giving a numbered list of patriarchs that is demonstrably inaccurate, and I'm wondering whether it might not be better to turn this into an article, Patriarchs of the Church of the East, with proper discussion of the difficult areas. No serious scholar these days accepts two fourteenth-century Shemons, for example, so why give the non-existent Shemon the factitious authority of featuring in a list? So long as he is mentioned in the discussion ('it was traditionally believed that there were two Shemons ...'), I think that's all that is necessary.

Djwilms (talk) 02:35, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

I think I'm going to follow my instinct and discuss the historicity of this list in a separate article, Patriarchs of the Church of the East, which will cover all East Syrian patriarchs, Nestorians, Chaldeans, Assyrians and Ancients alike. This present list is probably best positioned as the 'traditional' list of patriarchs of the Church of the East, without any discussion whatsoever as to its authenticity, but with a link to the new article. I've corrected all of the dates in the list which are not in dispute, but it's pointless trying to go much further with it.
Djwilms (talk) 08:35, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
I consider your decision a very good idea, and I suggest to follow as guidline the "patriarchal sees", which are more historically easy to define and undisputed, rather than the "churches", which extension/name are not undisputed. A ntv (talk) 08:41, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
I think that's very wise. In fact, I don't think I would even wish to venture an opinion on whether, say, any of the seventeenth-century Eliyas or Shemons was a Catholic or not. What's the evidence? A couple of polite letters to and from the Vatican. It doesn't really add up to much. As you can see from what I've put in so far, I'm dealing with 'Eliyas' and 'Shemons', not Nestorians and Chaldeans.
Djwilms (talk) 08:46, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Expanded Citation[edit]

There's a citation for "Stewart, pg. 15" but no full citation by anyone named "Stewart". Does anyone know what book that citation is referring to, and could they either expand that citation inline or add the full book's citation at the bottom. Jztinfinity (talk) 22:47, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Eliya VI[edit]

The list jumps from Eliya V to VII. I realise that this is also done in The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East, 1318-1913 but Eliya VII is called Eliya VI in Dietmar's The Church of the East: A Concise History. What is the reason behind this?--Rafy talk 23:39, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Please be aware that the ordinal numbers of the patriarch are a modern issue of people concerned in lists, while at the patriarch's time no numeral was used at all (that with deliberate decision), making so extremely difficult for scholars not only to find the correct ordinal number, but also to determine the existence of some patriarch. So I've almost never seen two equal scholar list. As wiki editor we shall use the more complete scholarship text (which for completeness and deep in research is for sure the Wilmshurst's The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East, 1318-1913), and add such reference to the single patriarch, as this article does. However be free to add in the note on Eliya VII also that Eliya VII is called Eliya VI according to Dietmar's The Church of the East: A Concise History. A ntv (talk) 07:30, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
I realise that the ordinal numbers are based on modern "reconstrucion efforts". There is no doubt that Wilmshurst's is the most comprehensive work to date, but I still can't find any mention of an "Eliya VI" in his book, at least not in what I could salvage from what is made available in Google Books.--Rafy talk 12:23, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Hi, Rafy. Eliya VI didn't exist, and I suggest you use my latest statement of the facts, in my recent book The Martyred Church:
"Shem'on VII Isho'yahb died himself shortly afterwards [i.e. after the death of Sulaqa], in 1558, and was succeeded by his nephew and natar kursya Eliya VII (1558–91). Some compilers of patriarchal lists have inserted at this point the patriarchs 'Shem'on VIII Denha (1551–8)' and 'Eliya VI (1558–76)'. 'Shem'on VIII Denha' was part of the tangled web of deceit woven by Sulaqa’s supporters in 1552. After killing off the impious Shem'on Bar Mama in 1551, they needed to explain the fact that Shem'on VII Isho'yahb was still sitting securely on his throne when Sulaqa was elected. They therefore invented 'Shem'on VIII Denha', a fictitious relative of the dead patriarch, who usurped the patriarchal throne from their own, legitimately-elected, candidate. 'Eliya VI' seems to have been conjured out of thin air, as it is quite clearly stated in Eliya VII’s epitaph in the monastery of Rabban Hormizd that his reign began in 1558 and ended in 1591. Neither of these two phantom patriarchs existed." (Page 319)
I return to the subject on page 472, in my Appendix on The Patriarchs of the Church of the East:
"The following list provides a convenient summary of the present state of knowledge of the patriarchal succession of the Church of the East. The list only contains the names of individuals who (a) actually existed, and (b) are generally recognised as primates of the Church of the East. It does not include Saint Peter, who had no connection whatsoever with the Persian Church; nor the apostle Mar Addai, whose legend was invented between the third and sixth centuries; nor the second-century patriarchs Abris, Abraham and Ya'qob, who were invented in the ninth century; nor the third-century patriarchs Shahlufa and Aha d'Abuh, two historical bishops of Erbil who were retrospectively promoted. Neither does it include 'Denha III (1359–68)', invented by the priest Joseph Qellaita in the 1920s; nor 'Shem'on VIII Denha (1551–8)', invented by Yohannan Sulaqa’s supporters in 1552 to conceal the fact of their rebellion against the reigning patriarch Shem'on VII Isho'yahb (1539–58); nor 'Eliya VI (1558–76)', whose existence is disproved by the epitaph of Eliya VII (1558–91). Augustine Hindi, the self-styled patriarch 'Joseph V' who administered the Amid patriarchate between 1802 and his death in 1827, does not strictly speaking qualify, as he was recognised by the Vatican merely as administrator of the Amid patriarchate and was never formally accorded the title of patriarch; but he is conventionally listed as a patriarch, and I have bowed to this convention." (Page 472)
Djwilms (talk) 01:44, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
LOL, I recommend we use this learned smackdown in our explanation for why the ordinals don't match up in different sources. AFAICT there's no better modern source for this than this book.Cúchullain t/c 02:19, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Hi, Rafy and Cuchullain,
Nice to know that my work is appreciated! It was necessary to draw a distinction between fictitious and genuine patriarchs, given the alarming amount of legendary material in the list of patriarchs. Since The Martyred Church has not yet been pirated like EOCE, though no doubt it will be in due course, you may want to have my list of patriarchs. I have given careful thought to the dating, and if the dates don't stack up with the ones you have, I would be happy to explain why on a case-by-case basis:
The Bishops of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, c.280–399: Papa bar Aggai (c.280–329); Shemʿon bar Sabbaʿe (329–44); Shahdost (344–5); Barbaʿshmin (345–6); Vacant, 346–88; Tomarsa (388–95); Qayyoma (395–9).
The Metropolitans of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, 399–421: Isaac (399–410); Ahai (410–14); Yahballaha I (415–20); Maʿna (420); Farbokht (421).
The Catholici of the Church of the East, 421–1558: Dadishoʿ (421–56); Babowai (457–84); Acacius (485–96); Babai (497–502); Shila (503–23); Narsai (524–39); Elishaʿ (524–39); Paul (539); Aba I (540–52); Joseph (552–67); Vacant, 567–70; Ezekiel (570–81); Vacant, 581–5; Ishoʿyahb I of Arzun (585–95); Sabrishoʿ I (596–604); Gregory (605–8); Vacant, 609–28; Ishoʿyahb II of Gdala (628–45); Maremmeh (645–8); Ishoʿyahb III of Adiabene (649–59); Giwargis I (660–80); Yohannan I bar Marta (681–3); Hnanishoʿ I (686–98); Yohannan the Leper (691–3); Vacant, 698–714; Sliba-zkha (714–28); Pethion (731–40); Aba II (741–51); Surin (753); Yaʿqob II (753–73); Hnanishoʿ II (773–80); Timothy I (780–823); Ishoʿ Bar Nun (823–8); Giwargis II (828–31); Sabrishoʿ II (831–5); Abraham II (837–50); Theodosius (853–8); Sargis (860–72); Vacant, 872–7; Enosh (877–84); Yohannan II (884–92); Yohannan III (893–9); Yohannan IV (900–5); Abraham III (906–37); Emmanuel I (937–60); Israel (961); ʿAbdishoʿ I (963–86); Mari bar Tuba (987–99); Yohannan V (1000–11); Yohannan VI (1012–20); Ishoʿyahb IV (1020–5); Eliya I (1028–49); Yohannan VII bar Targhal (1049–57); Sabrishoʿ III (1064–72); ʿAbdishoʿ II ibn al-ʿArid (1074–90); Makkikha I (1092–1110); Eliya II (1111–32); Bar Sawma (1134–6); ʿAbdishoʿ III (1139–49); Ishoʿyahb V ibn al-Hayik (1149–75); Eliya III Abu Halim (1176–90); Yahballaha II (1190–1222); Sabrishoʿ IV bar Qayyoma (1222–4); Sabrishoʿ V (1226–56); Makkikha II (1257–65); Denha I (1265–81); Yahballaha III (1281–1317); Timothy II (1318–c.1332); Denha II (1336/7–1381/2); Shemʿon II (c.1385–c.1405); Eliya IV (c.1405–c.1425); Shemʿon III (c.1425–c.1450); Shemʿon IV Basidi (c.1450–1497); Shemʿon V (1497–1502); Eliya V (1503–4); Shemʿon VI (1504–38); Shemʿon VII Ishoʿyahb (1539–58).
The Uniate Patriarchs, 1553–1600: Yohannan Sulaqa (1553–5); ʿAbdishoʿ IV Maron (1555–70); Shemʿon VIII Yahballaha (1570–80); Shemʿon IX Denha (1580–1600).
The Mosul Patriarchs, 1558–1804: Eliya VII (1558–91); Eliya VIII (1591–1617); Eliya IX Shemʿon (1617–60); Eliya X Yohannan Marogin (1660–1700); Eliya XI Marogin (1700–22); Eliya XII Denha (1722–78); Eliya XIII Ishoʿyahb (1778–1804).
The Amid Patriarchs, 1681–1827: Joseph I (1681–93); Joseph II (1696–1713); Joseph III (1713–57); Joseph IV (1757–96); Augustine Hindi (patriarchal administrator, 1802–27, self-styled patriarch 'Joseph V').
The Kochanes Patriarchs, 1600–1918: Shemʿon X (1600–38); Shemʿon XI (1638–56); Shemʿon XII (1656–62); Shemʿon XIII Denha (1662–1700); Shemʿon XIV Shlemun (1700–40); Shemʿon XV Mikha’il Mukhtas (1740–80); Shemʿon XVI Yohannan (1780–1820); Shemʿon XVII Abraham (1820–60); Shemʿon XVIII Rubil (1861–1903); Shemʿon XIX Benjamin (1903–18).
The Patriarchs of the Assyrian Church of the East since 1920: Shemʿon XX Paul (1918–20); Shemʿon XXI Eshai (1920–75); Dinkha IV Hnanya (since 1976).
The Patriarchs of the Ancient Church of the East since 1968: Thomas Darmo (1968–9); Addai II Giwargis (since 1972).
The Chaldean Patriarchs of Babylon since 1780: Yohannan VIII Hormizd (patriarchal administrator, 1780–1830; patriarch, 1830–7); Nicholas I Zaʿya (1840–7); Joseph VI Audo (1848–79); Eliya XII ʿAbulyonan (1879–94); ʿAbdishoʿ V Khayyat (1895–9); Emmanuel II Thomas (1900–47); Joseph VII Ghanima (1947–58); Paul II Cheikho (1958–89); Raphael I Bidawid (1989–2003); Emmanuel III Delly (since 2003).
Djwilms (talk) 02:20, 6 August 2012 (UTC)