Although Shahlufa is included in traditional lists of primates of the Church of the East, his existence has been doubted by J. M. Fiey, one of the most eminent twentieth-century scholars of the Church of the East. In Fiey's view, Shahlufa was one of several fictitious bishops of Seleucia-Ctesiphon whose lives were concocted in the sixth century to bridge the gap between the late third century bishop Papa, the first historically attested bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, and the apostle Mari, the legendary founder of Christianity in Persia.
Brief accounts of the life of Shahlufa are given in the Ecclesiastical Chronicle of the Jacobite writer Bar-Hebraeus (fl. 1280) and in the ecclesiastical histories of the Nestorian writers Mari (twelfth-century), ʿAmr (fourteenth-century) and Sliba (fourteenth-century). These accounts differ slightly, and these minor differences are of significance for scholars interested in tracing the various stages in the development of the legend.
Life of Shahlufa
The following brief account of the life of Shahlufa is given by Bar-Hebraeus:
After Ahadabui, Shahlufa. He was a native of Kashkar. After the death of Ahadabui, the Eastern bishops assembled and consecrated him. He was the first catholicus to be consecrated by the Eastern bishops. He died at Seleucia after fulfilling his office for twenty years.
- Fiey, Jalons, 64–5
- Bar Hebraeus, Ecclesiastical Chronicle (ed. Abeloos and Lamy), ii. 26–8
- Abbeloos, J. B., and Lamy, T. J., Bar Hebraeus, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum (3 vols, Paris, 1877)
- Assemani, J. A., De Catholicis seu Patriarchis Chaldaeorum et Nestorianorum (Rome, 1775)
- Brooks, E. W., Eliae Metropolitae Nisibeni Opus Chronologicum (Rome, 1910)
- Fiey, J. M., Jalons pour un histoire de l'Église en Iraq (Louvain, 1970)
- Gismondi, H., Maris, Amri, et Salibae: De Patriarchis Nestorianorum Commentaria I: Amri et Salibae Textus (Rome, 1896)
- Gismondi, H., Maris, Amri, et Salibae: De Patriarchis Nestorianorum Commentaria II: Maris textus arabicus et versio Latina (Rome, 1899)
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