Addai Scher

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Addai Scher
Archbishop of the Eparchy of Siirt
Addai Scher 2.jpg
SeeArcheparchy of Siirt
In office13 November 1902—21 June 1915
PredecessorYousef VI Emmanuel II Thomas
SuccessorCeased to exist
Ordination15 August 1889
Personal details
Born3 March 1867
Died21 June 1915(1915-06-21) (aged 48)
Previous postPriest

Addai Scher (Syriac: ܐܕܝ ܫܝܪ‎, IPA: [ʔadðˈðaːj ʃeːr]) Also written Addai Sher, Addaï Scher and Addai Sheir (3 March 1867 – 21 June 1915), an ethnic Assyrian, was the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Siirt in Upper Mesopotamia.[1] He was killed by the Ottomans during the 1915 Assyrian Genocide.

Early life[edit]

Addai was born in Shaqlawa to an ethnic Assyrian family who were adherents of the Chaldean Catholic Church on 3 March 1867. His father was the local priest of the village, and he helped him at teaching Assyrian language at a young age.[2] The early death of his mother made him concentrate on ascetic life and he joined the Dominican Seminar in Mosul in 1880 where he studied Syriac, Chaldean, Arabic, French, Latin and Turkish as well as theology and philosophy. Nine years later he was appointed a priest and sent to his home town Shaqlawa, where he once more worked as a teacher in the Church's school.[2]

Priest and bishop[edit]

He was later appointed as a bishopric assistant in Kirkuk and he spent his time learning Hebrew, Greek, Persian, Kurdish and he authored as well in German and English.[2]

On 13 November 1902, he was elected as the next bishop of Siirt, a position that had been vacant for two years. In 1908 he journeyed to Istanbul where he met the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II. From there he took off to Rome and met pope Pius X, and during his stay in Paris he managed to make contacts with French orientalists and print some of his works.[2]


In 1915, the Ottoman Army was initially defeated in the Caucasus during the World War I, and fearing an internal uprising from its Christian population orders were given to exterminate the Armenian, Greek, and Assyrians population of Anatolia. Initially Addai Sher managed to bribe the governor of Siirt with 500 pounds of gold in order to save his congregation. This enabled some of the Chaldean Christians of the city to flee. The bishop himself was helped by a Kurdish Agha who hid him in his house.[3]

Some Kurds, subjects of Osman, Agha of Tanze, chief of the tribes Hadide and Atamissa, great friends of the Archbishop's and protectors of the Christians, disguised him as a Kurd and got him away by a secret door of his residence. For some days he remained with his friend the Kurdish Agha, but an Ottoman regiment learning of his flight, attempted to trace him. Knowing that the Kurd chief had concealed him they summoned him to surrender the Archbishop, set fire to his house, and threatened him with death. The Kurdish Agha fled with his family. The Kurds who remained, tired of the struggle, were obliged to indicate the hiding place of the prelate, whom the soldiers seized and killed with eight shots.[citation needed]

The Archbishop remained hidden for several days, but eventually a band of Kurdish mercenaries who worked with the Ottoman Turkish army discovered his hideout. After being captured, a witness described the last hours of Addai Scher's life:[4]

One day when we were at Sairt I was present at a horrible scene, the chief figure in which was His Grace, Mar Addai, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of that town. He was in a pitiable state, pale and thin. The soldiers began by jeering at him, pulling his beard and striking him with their rifle butts, firing their revolvers into the air in front of him. They then took the Archbishop outside the town, and, having slain his protector, Osman Agha, killing him with a fatal blow on the head, the butchers cut off the head of the Archbishop in order to show it to the Governor.

— Joseph Naayem, Shall This Nation Die?

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bishop of Seert (Chaldean),
  2. ^ a b c d "المطران أدي شير". Archived from the original on 2011-05-01. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
  3. ^ ephrem-isa yousif. "Le Destin des Assyro-Chaldéens". Retrieved 2011-05-05.
  4. ^ Naayem, Joseph (1920). Shall This Nation Die?.