Marutha of Tikrit

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Marutha of Tagrit
Maphrian of the Syriac Orthodox Church
Church Syriac Orthodox Church
Archdiocese Maphrianate of the East
Diocese Tagrit
See Tagrit
In office 628–649
Predecessor Office created
Successor Denha I
Orders
Consecration 628
by Athanasius I Gammolo
Rank Maphrian
Personal details
Born 565
Shawarzaq, Sassanid Empire
Died 2 May 649
Tagrit, Rashidun Caliphate
Sainthood
Feast day 2 May
Venerated in Syriac Orthodox Church[1]

Marutha of Tagrit (Syriac: ܡܪܘܬܐ ܕܬܓܪܝܬ‎), was a theologian and the Maphrian of the East of the Syriac Orthodox Church, from 628 until his death in 649.[2]

Biography[edit]

Marutha was born in 565 in the village of Shawarzaq,[2] near Beth Nuhadra in the Sassanian province of Arbayistan in northern Mesopotamia, and was educated at the local Monastery of Mor Samuel. From here he moved to the Monastery of Nardas near Balad where he became the assistant of Mor Zacchaeus, Bishop of Beth Arbaye. At the Monastery of Mor Zacchaeus, near Callinicum, Marutha studied theological sciences, Syriac and Greek for ten years.[2] He later completed his studies in calligraphy at the Mountain of Edessa, under the monk Thomas.[2]

In 605, after finishing his studies, Marutha began teaching theology at the Monastery of Mor Mattai, where he taught Denha, who would later go on to succeed him as maphrian.[2] Not long after, he was called to the court of the Sassanian Shah Khosrau II to serve as chaplain of the convent near the palace, founded by his favourite wife, Shirin. Upon Khosrau II's downfall in 628, persecutions against Miaphysite Christians began and Marutha was forced to the Convent of Beth Rabban Shabor, before returning to the Monastery of Mor Mattai.

At the end of the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, John of the Sedre, Athanasius I Gammolo's secretary, was sent to the court of Khosrau's successor, Kavadh II.[2] Whilst returning from Ctesiphon, the capital of the Sasanian Empire, John invited several bishops and monks, including Marutha, to join him on his return to the patriarch. Upon his arrival, John held a synod to organise the Syriac Orthodox Church within the Sassanian Empire under the authority of a single metropolitan. Marutha was chosen by the synod to become the new Metropolitan of the East or Maphrian and was consecrated by Athanasius I Gammolo in late 628.[2]

Afterwards, Marutha held a synod at the Monastery of Mor Mattai where he issued twenty-four canons and began organising thirteen existing dioceses into the Maphrianate,[2] based at the city of Tagrit, as he was forbidden from Ctesiphon because it was the seat of the Patriarch of the Church of the East.[3] He also later created four more dioceses after the fall of the Sassanian Empire, as the new Rashidun Caliphate allowed the Syriac Orthodox faith greater freedom in Persia.[2]

As maphrian, Marutha founded the Monastery of St. Sergius near Tagrit,[4] the Convent of Beth Ébhré, and a new cathedral in Tagrit. He is known to have imposed the Fast of Nineveh, and served as maphrian until his death on 2 May 649.[2]

Works[edit]

Marutha is known to have written extensively, and his works include an extensive commentary on the Gospels, several supplicatory prose hymns and festal homilies and a polemical treatise against the Church of the East. Marutha also wrote a liturgy.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wainwright (2006), p.157
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Barsoum (2003)
  3. ^ Rassam (2005), p.67
  4. ^ Papaconstantinou & Schwartz (2016), p. 190

Bibliography[edit]

Preceded by
Office created
Syriac Orthodox Maphrian of the East
628–649
Succeeded by
Denha I