Shimun XXI Eshai
Eshai Shimun XXI
Mar Eshai Shimun XXI
|Church||Assyrian Church of the East|
|Diocese||Patriarchal Diocese of the Eastern United States|
|See||Apostolic See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon (in exile in San Jose and Chicago)|
|Term ended||5 November 1975|
|Predecessor||Mar Shimun XX Paulos (1918–1920)|
|Successor||Mar Dinkha IV (1975–2015)|
|Born||26 February 1908|
Konak, Hakkari, Ottoman Empire (now Hakkari Province, Turkey)
|Died||6 November 1975 (aged 67)|
San Jose, California, United States
|Denomination||Christian, Assyrian Church of the East|
|Residence||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
Mar Eshai Shimun XXI (26 February 1908 – 6 November 1975), sometimes known as Mar Shimun XXI Ishaya, Mar Shimun Ishai, or Simon Jesse, was Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East from 1920, when he was a youth, until his murder on 6 November 1975. (The difference in regnal numbers depends on which members of the Shimun family one counts as Patriarchs; Mar Eshai chose to use the regnal number XXIII.)
Born into the patriarchal family in Qudshanis, in the village of Van, in Ottoman Turkey on February 26, 1908, at the age of 11 Mar Eshai was chosen as patriarch after the death of his uncle during the Assyrian Genocide. He was educated in England, studying theology at Canterbury and at Westcott House, University of Cambridge. He was the translator or author of several books on the theology and history of the Church of the East. The volatile political environment and uncertainties for the church caused in 1933 by the independence of Iraq from colonial rule forced the patriarch to be exiled to Cyprus away from the new see in Bebadi. In 1940, he relocated again, to Chicago, Illinois in the United States. Mar Eshai became an American citizen about 1949 and settled in the San Francisco area in 1954.
In 1964, a dispute over hereditary succession and church calendars caused the metropolitan of the Church of the East in India (known there as the Chaldean Syrian Church) to break away and Mar Thoma was stopped from his duties in the Church of the East. In 1995 Mar Eshai's successor, Mar Dinkha IV, was able to mostly heal the rift. 17% (the Ancient Church of the East) remain separated from the main body of the Church of the East.
Mar Eshai sought to resign as patriarch for health reasons in the late 1960s, but he was persuaded to remain in office. Some activists within the church wanted the patriarch to take a more active role in pushing for a homeland for the Assyrian people, as he had before 1933.
On a separate track, rumors began circulating with those who consistently went against him decided it was time to have someone new.[clarification needed] On 6 November 1975, the patriarch was shot and killed at the door of his home in San Jose, California, by David Malek Ismail. According to trial records, Ismail said he was upset over the patriarch's marriage; however, the records suggest links between Ismail and church dissidents. According to Deputy District Attorney Brian Madden, the murder of the patriarch Mar Shimun was the outcome of a plot among church dissidents.
- Foster, p. 34
- "Public Proceedings on the Murder of Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII". Web.archive.org. 2004-10-11. Archived from the original on October 11, 2004. Retrieved 2011-12-17.
- Baum, Wilhelm; Winkler, Dietmar W. (2003). The Church of the East: A Concise History. London-New York: Routledge-Curzon.
- Baumer, Christoph (2006). The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity. London-New York: Tauris.
- Coakley, James F. (1996). "The Church of the East since 1914". The Bulletin of the John Rylands Library. 78 (3): 179–198.
- Foster, John (1939). The Church of the T'ang Dynasty. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
- Mooken, Aprem (2003). The History of the Assyrian Church of the East in the Twentieth Century. Kottayam: St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute.
- Official site of the Assyrian Church of the East
- Mar Shimun website
- "Patriarchs of the East" at friesian.com
- Biography of Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII to 1970
- Summary of the trial record for the patriarch's murder at the Wayback Machine (archived March 6, 2001)
|Assyrian Church of the East titles|
Mar Shimun XX Paulos
| Catholicos-Patriarch of the Church of the East
Mar Dinkha IV Khanania