Eliya Abuna

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Eliya Abuna, ca. 1920

Mar Eliya Abuna of Alqosh (1862 – 1955 in Kirkuk) was a Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East and Chaldean Catholic Church.


Gewargis d'Beth Abuna came, as the last name says, from the house in which up to the first generation after unification of the "Patriarchate of the plains" with the Pope in Rome, the charge of Catholicos-Patriarch of the Chaldean Church based in Alqosh had been. He was educated at the Chaldean Catholic seminary in Mosul, and in 1887 or 1888 was ordained a priest in the Chaldean Catholic Church. Thereafter, he worked in various places in rural Alqosh and in 1908 returned to the urban community of Assyrian Catholics.

On May 2, 1909, he was consecrated in Qudshanis as Metropolitan of Alqosh, by Catholicos Patriarch Mar Shimun XXI and given the name Mar Eliya (Elijah). He was unable to establish a diocese and so returned to Qudshanis. 1912, Mar Shimun XXI entrusted him with the Diocese of Taimar, in the area around Van, in what is today's southeastern Turkey. There, in January 1916, he joined as a companion of the Catholicos-Patriarch in his negotiations with the Russians, and then apparently took on the expulsion of the Assyrian mountain tribes in the Assyrian Genocide. After the killing of Shimun XXI, Mar Eliya directed the burial of the Patriarch on 6 March 1918 in the cemetery of the Armenian Church of Khosroabad (Khosrova) and belonged to the Co-consecrators of Mar Polos Shimun XXII on 14 April 1918 in Urmia. In October 1920, he signed the letter of appointment of Mar Abimalek Timothy from India to the Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Shimun XXIII.

The following year, in 1924, he left the Assyrian Church of the East and returned to the Chaldean Catholic Church, where he was ordered to be the Patriarchal Vicar for the diocese Aqra; this service took less than two years. He spent the following three decades in Alqosh and elsewhere with his relatives until his repose in 1955.


Eliya Abuna authored a series of books: A History of the Eastern Patriarchs in two volumes, one in neusyrischer language, the second in Syriac (Harvard College Library, Library Houghton Syriac MS 182 and 183) and an astronomical treatise in Arabic (Houghton Arabic Library MS 394). The historic church will now work through Hermis Aboona has been published.


From the early 1920s, in: JF Coakley:The Church of the East since 1914. In: Bulletin of the John Rylands Library of Manchester 78, 3 (1996) 184.