Melitene (West Syrian Diocese)

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The city of Melitene (modern Malatya) was an archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church, attested between the ninth and thirteenth centuries but probably founded as early as the seventh century. More than thirty Syrian Orthodox bishops or metropolitans of Melitene are mentioned either by Michael the Syrian or in other Syrian Orthodox narrative sources. The archdiocese is last mentioned towards the end of the twelfth century, and seems to have lapsed in the early decades of the thirteenth century.

Bishops and metropolitans of Melitene[edit]

Seventh- and eighth-century bishops[edit]

The names of four early Jacobite bishops of Melitene are known. Michael the Syrian provided a cursory list of 28 undated bishops and metropolitans of Melitene, most of whom were Jacobite bishops consecrated between the ninth and twelfth centuries who featured in his regular lists. The first five names (Leontius, Otreius, Acacius, Mama and Domitian) were of bishops who flourished before the seventh century. According to Michael, these men were followed 'long afterwards' by the Jacobite bishops Thomas, Ezekiel, Gregory and Ahron, presumably to be dated to the seventh and eighth centuries.[1]

Ninth- to twelfth-century bishops[edit]

Twenty dated Jacobite metropolitans of Melitene between the ninth and the twelfth centuries are mentioned in the lists of Michael the Syrian.[2]

Name From Consecrated in the reign of Place of consecration
Daniel Monastery of Mar Bar Sawma Dionysius I Telmaharoyo (818–45) not known
Thomas Monastery of Mar Bar Sawma Dionysius I Telmaharoyo (818–45) not known
Thomas Unspecified John III (846–73) not known
Ezekiel Monastery of Mar Atonos Ignatius II (878–83) not known
Eliya Monastery of Beth Botin Dionysius II (896–909) not known
Yohannan Monastery of Mar Bar Sawma, Melitene John IV Qurzahli (910–22) not known
Gregory Unspecified Basil I (923–35) not known
Iwanis Unspecified John V (936–53) not known
Eliya Monastery of Zuqnin Iwanis II (954–7) not known
Ezekiel Unspecified Dionysius III (958–61) not known
Ignatius Unspecified John VI Sarigta (965–86) not known
Iwanis Monastery of Barid Athanasius IV Laʿzar (987–1003) Not known
Ignatius Monastery of Qainan of Hadeth John VII bar ʿAbdon (1004–30) not known
Yohannan Monastery of Mar Shayna Dionysius IV Heheh (1032–42) Not known
Ignatius Not specified Athanasius V Haya (1058–64) not known
Yohannan Saʿid bar Sabuni Unspecified Athanasius VI bar Khamara (1091–1129) Not known
Iwanis Elishaʿ Unspecified Athanasius VI bar Khamara (1091–1129) Marʿash
Ignatius Unspecified Athanasius VII bar Qutreh (1139–66) not known
Dionysius Gripas bar Samka Patriarchal residence Michael I (1166–99) not known
Iwanis bar Qanun Unspecified Michael I (1166–99) not known



  1. ^ Michael the Syrian, Chronicle, iii. 497
  2. ^ Michael the Syrian, Chronicle, iii. 451–82 and 497


The main primary source for the Syrian Orthodox metropolitans of Melitene is the record of episcopal consecrations appended to Volume III of the Chronicle of the Syrian Orthodox patriarch Michael the Syrian (1166–99). In this Appendix Michael listed most of the bishops consecrated by the Syrian Orthodox patriarchs of Antioch between the ninth and twelfth centuries. Twenty-eight Syrian Orthodox patriarchs sat during this period, and in many cases Michael was able to list the names of the bishops consecrated during their reigns, their monasteries of origin, and the place where they were consecrated. For the thirteenth century, Michael's lists are supplemented by several references in other Syrian Orthodox narrative sources.

  • Abbeloos, Jean Baptiste; Lamy, Thomas Joseph, eds. (1877). Bar Hebraeus, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum (3 vols). Paris. 
  • Fiey, J.M. (1993). Pour un Oriens Christianus novus; répertoire des diocèses Syriaques orientaux et occidentaux. Beirut. ISBN 3-515-05718-8. 
  • Jean-Baptiste Chabot, Chronique de Michel le Syrien, Patriarche Jacobite d'Antiche (1166-1199). Éditée pour la première fois et traduite en francais I-IV (1899;1901;1905;1910; a supplement to volume I containing an introduction to Michael and his work, corrections, and an index, was published in 1924. Reprinted in four volumes 1963, 2010).