Ignatius Nemet Aloho

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Ignatius Nemet Aloho
Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
ChurchSyriac Orthodox Church
Term ended1576
PredecessorIgnatius Abdullah I Stephan
SuccessorIgnatius David II Shah
Personal details
Birth nameNemet Aloho
BornMardin, Ottoman Empire
Rome, Papal States
ResidenceAmid, Ottoman Empire

Ignatius Nemet Aloho (also Ignatius Ni‘matallah, Latinized as Nehemias) was the Patriarch of Antioch, and head of the Syriac Orthodox Church from 1557 until his forced resignation in 1576. A learned mathematician and astronomer, Ignatius Nemet Aloho I is best known as one of the nine scholars who helped Pope Gregory XIII's commission on the reform of what would become the Gregorian Calendar.


Nemet Aloho was born in the city of Mardin and became a monk in 1535 at a young age at the Mor Hananyo Monastery where he studied Syriac literature and church sciences before becoming a priest. Whilst there he also studied history, logic, astronomy, geodesy, medicine and the art of drawing. In 1555, Nemet Aloho was ordained maphrian and was consecrated patriarch two years later, upon which he took the name Ignatius. In 1562 Nemet went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and ordained nineteen metropolitans and bishops as patriarch.[1]

Nemet's reign as patriarch was troubled by doubts within the church of his contacts with the Papacy that he had established as well as by accusations of atheism from Muslim clerics. In March 1576, at the instigation of the Ottoman governor of the province, Nemet was forced to make a Muslim profession of faith[not in citation given] and resign as patriarch.[2] Nemet left the patriarchal seat to his brother David and fled to Venice via Cyprus or Rhodes, arriving in October 1577.

From Venice, Nemet travelled to Rome where he was received by Pope Gregory XIII and became a Roman Catholic; Nemet also received a pension from the Pope. In 1579 Nemet joined the Pope's committee to reform the Julian Calendar which would come into force in Catholic countries in October 1582 as the Gregorian Calendar. He brought to the committee the works of various prominent Arab astrologists, including Omar Khayyám.

In March 1583, Nemet's translator, Leonardo Abela left Rome for Syria to enter into talks with Nemet's brothers, Ignatius David II Shah and Thomas. However, after three days of negotiations, the talks were inconclusive and the brothers refused to adopt the Gregorian Calendar despite the fact that Nemet had participated in its creation.


Nemet's works include a tract describing the kingdoms of Europe, particularly Italy, from 1580 and a treatise on the Gregorian calendar. He also wrote poetry in Syriac, however only fifty lines have survived.


  1. ^ The Scattered Pearls: A History of Syriac Literature and Sciences - Ignatius Aphrem I Barsoum.
  2. ^ Calendars of the Syriac Orthodox Church
Preceded by
Ignatius Abdullah I Stephan
Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch
Succeeded by
Ignatius David II Shah