Chronicle of Seert

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Chronicle of Seert
Author(s) anonymous Nestorian author
Ascribed to Ishoʿdnah of Basra
Language Arabic
Date 9th century?
Genre ecclesiastical history
Subject history of the Church of the East
Period covered fifth to seventh centuries
Sources Greek or Syriac histories

The Chronicle of Seert (or Siirt) is an ecclesiastical history written in Arabic by an anonymous Nestorian writer, at an unknown date between the ninth and the eleventh century. There are persuasive grounds for believing that it is the work of the Nestorian author Ishoʿdnah of Basra, who flourished in the second half of the ninth century.

Only part of the original text has survived. The surviving text consists of two long extracts, covering the years 251–422 and 484–650 respectively. The portion of the text covering events beyond the middle of the 7th century has been lost.[1]

The Chronicle deals with ecclesiastical, social, and political issues of the Persian Christian church giving a history of its leaders and notable members. It details the growth and prospering of the Nestorian Church despite alternating periods of persecution and toleration under the Zoroastrian rulers of Sassanid Persia. The work then celebrates the triumph of the Muslim conquerors in the 7th century as liberators from increasing Zoroastrian oppression.

"The Arabs treated them with generosity and by the grace of God (may He be exalted) prosperity reigned and the hearts of Christians rejoiced at the ascendancy of the Arabs. May God affirm and make it triumphant!"

It is not clear when the Chronicle of Seert was written. It cannot have been written earlier than the ninth century, as at one point in the text the author quotes the Nestorian patriarch Ishoʿ Bar Nun (823-4). Some scholars believe that the Chronicle is the work of the ninth-century author Ishoʿdnah of Basra, who is known to have written a three-volume ecclesiastical history. Others put the date of composition as late as the eleventh century.

The Chronicle of Seert was edited by Addai Scher, Chaldean archbishop of Seert, and published as several fascicles (Arabic text with French translation) in the series Patrologia Orientalis between 1910 and 1919.


  1. ^ A History of Christianity in Asia, 2nd Edition, Orbis Books, April 1998.

Editions and translations[edit]


  • Moffet, Samuel Hugh, A History of Christianity in Asia, Orbis Books; 2nd edition (April 1998) ISBN 1-57075-162-5