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E. A. WALLIS BUDGE, Litt. D., F. S.















D. D.

E. A. W. B.
The object of the present work is to give in a
convenient form the complete Syriac text of the “Book
of Governors”, together with an English translation
and necessary notes.
The “Book of Governors”, better known as the
“Historia Monastica of Thomas of Marga”, was written
in the Syriac language in the first half of the ninth
century of our era. Its author Thomas was originally
a monk in the famous Nestorian Monastery of Beth
Abhe, which was founded at the end of the sixth
century by Jacob of Lashom, the modern Lasim near
Kerkuk. Beth cAbhe was practically an offshoot of
the “Great Monastery” of Mount Izla near Nisibis, where
the first Christian ascetics of Mesopotamia, under the
direction of Mar Awgin of Clysma near Suez, estab¬
lished themselves in the early part of the fourth century.
It was a building half fortress, half monastery, and it
stood in a forest (hence the name Beth "Abhe, i. e.,
“house of the forest”) upon a mountain peak between
two valleys on the right bank of the Great Zab river.
This monastery had been endowed with large estates
and many possessions by several Persian noblemen, and

to it was given the proud title of the “King of Monas¬

teries”; its society generally contained several members
of noble Persian families. The monks of Beth'Abhe were
renowned for their learning, and under the shadow of
its walls the revision and re-arrangement of the “Hudhra”
or Service-Book for all the Sundays of the Year were
made, and the famous recension of the Syriac version
of the “Paradise” of Palladius was completed. Attached
to the monastery was a fine ecclesiastical library in
which were preserved copies of histories and other
works which are no longer extant. Four, if not five,
of the Patriarchs of the Nestorian Church were edu¬
cated at Beth cAbhe, and during the period of
which we have any written record of its existence,
i. e.} A.D., 595 — 850, at least one hundred of its sons
became Bishops, Metropolitans, and Governors of
Nestorian dioceses in Mesopotamia, Arabia, Persia,
Armenia, Kurdistan and China.
Thomas, afterwards Bishop of Marga and Metro¬
politan of Beth Garmai, entered Beth Abhe A. D. 832,
and for a few years he acted as secretary to Abraham
the Patriarch and Catholicus, who sat at Seleucia from
A. D. 837 to 850. He was a diligent student of the
accounts of the lives of famous Nestorian ascetics who
had been educated in or connected with Beth cAbhe,
and having acquired an intimate knowledge of all
matters concerning their lives and triumphs while they
lived there, and of the details of their subsequent careers,
he was persuaded by the monks severally and collect-

ively, and especially by his friend "Abhd-Isho0, to write

a history of their monastery and of its past inmates.
After many entreaties Thomas undertook the work, and
by making use of histories which are no longer extant,
and of the traditions which he collected from aged men
who were then living in Marga and other places, he
produced a narrative which forms a history of Nestorian
monasticism and asceticism in the countries east of the
Tigris for nearly three hundred years, and which is also
a most precious supplement to the history of the
Nestorian Church during a period of its existence of
which little is known. He describes at some length the
occasions upon which the Nestorian Church came into
contact or conflict with the Persian kings, and he casts
some new light upon events of contemporary history.
The dispersion of the monks from Mount Izla, the
mission of the Nestorian Patriarch to Heraclius, the
apostasy of Sahdona, the stagnation of the Nestorian
Church in the seventh century, the foundation of sixty
schools and the introduction of church-music in Marga, the
conversion to Christianity of the peoples on the eastern
and southern shores of the Caspian Sea, the missions
of the Nestorian propaganda to southern Arabia, Persia
and China, the decline .of the Persian and the growth
of the Arab power, etc., are set forth with much clearness.
Like many Oriental writers Thomas is sparing
in his use of dates, but his allusions to events, the
periods of which are known, enable us to arrange
a chronology of his monastery which is tolerably correct.

The geography of the Book of Governors is a

difficult subject, chiefly because Thomas did not usually
take the trouble to describe the positions of the villages
and towns which he mentioned, assuming that his readers
were well acquainted with them. In the map to this
volume an attempt has been made to indicate roughly
the position of many of the places mentioned therein,
and this has been made possible chiefly by the help
of the invaluable papers upon Mesopotamian and Persian
geography by that illustrious Oriental scholar and
traveller Sir H. C. Rawlinson, and by Prof. Hoffmanns
Ansziige aus Syrischen Akten Persischer Martyrer,
Leipzig, 1880, in which the geography of the Nestorian
dioceses is worked out with masterly ability. Many
places mentioned by Thomas occur in no other book.
The Syriac text of the Book of Governors has
been edited from four manuscripts, all of which agree
in the general arrangement of the text and of its
contents. The differences, be they true variant readings,
or mis-spellings of words, or mistakes or omissions by
the scribes, have been given at the foot of the text,
and in no case has the text been altered without due
notice of the fact being given. The peculiarities of the
Nestorian system of vowel-points and punctuation and
spelling have been reproduced from the MSS. as care¬
fully as possible; emendations of the text and corrections
of a few misprints are given in the notes to the trans¬
The English translation has been made as literal

as possible, my chief aim being to reproduce what

Thomas has said; new words or those of rare occurrence
are discussed in the notes.
In the Introduction an attempt has been made to
put together a series of facts concerning the origin
and growth of Christian asceticism in Mesopotamia,
which will, it is hoped, be useful to the student, for
they bear directly upon the period which immedi¬
ately precedes that with which Thomas, Bishop
of Marga, begins his history; a brief account of the
founding of the Monastery of Rabban Hormuzd at
Alkosh, based upon new information, has also been
added. In places where the facts given by Thomas,
Bishop of Marga, could be advantageously supplemented,
the text of contemporary letters by the Patriarch and
Catholicus, Ishoc-yahbh III. of Adiabene has been
given; his letters concerning the apostasy of Sahdona
and the schism in the Persian Nestorian Church are
of the first importance for the history of these events.
They are also excellent examples of epistolary compo¬
sitions in Syriac by a fluent and able writer, and lin¬
guistically they are of much value. The extracts from
the Syriac version of the “Paradise” of Palladius explain
Thomas’ narrative, and form specimens of the contents
of a work of which, so far as I know, nothing has
hitherto been printed.
To Prof. Guidi of Rome, I am indebted for a collation
of the Vatican MS. of the Book of Governors with the
MS. B, and for marking the variants, and to Prof. Ugolini

of Rome for the copy from the Vatican MS. No. 157,
foil. 52, 55, of part of a letter of lshoc-yahbh III. con¬
cerning Sahdona the apostate. Prof. Hoffmann of Kiel
has generously supplied me with a number of valuable
notes upon points of history and geography and
many suggestions concerning faulty readings of the
text which I have most gratefully adopted. My thanks
are also due to Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench, Triibner
and Co. for undertaking the publication of this work,
and to Mr. Drugulin of Leipzig and Dr. Chamizer for
the care which they have taken in printing it.


London, June 29, 1893.









POTAMIA . cxvii







BOOK I . 15



BOOK IV.. . 192

BOOK V . 252

BOOK VI. 325



The text of the “Book of Governors” by Thomas

of Marga as contained in this volume is edited from
four MSS., indicated respectively by the letters A, B,
C and Vat.
The MS. A belongs to the British Museum, where
it is numbered Oriental 2,316. It was probably written
in the early part of the XVIIth century, and consists
of 182 paper leaves, measuring about 127 in. by 8*.
Each page is occupied by one column of writing,
generally containing 26 lines. The MS. is stained and
damaged by water in places, and the text at the corners
of some of the pages has been rubbed away. The
quires were originally twenty-four in number, and are
signed with letters; the 1st, 9th, 12th, 13th, and 14th—18th
are defective, and quire no. 2 is wanting. Leaves are
wanting after folios 6, 16, 23, 93, 111, 112, 113, 115,
116, 117, 119, 126, 148 and 180, and in several pages
there are lacunae of one, two and more lines. The
volume is written in a fine, bold Nestorian hand, with
numerous vowel-points. The headings of the chapters
and their numbers are written in red ink, and the
ornamental designs
at the end of each of the six books
of the Historia Monastica are in green, red and yellow.

The volume comprises:

1. The History of the Heads of the Monastery of
Beth cAbhe. Foil, i —148. Table of Contents. Fol. 1.
Book I. Fol. 5<2. Chapters 3—16, 33, and 34 are
wanting, and chapters 17, 25 and 32 are defective.
Book II. Fol. 17 a. Chapter 11 is wanting.
Book III. Fol. 53#. This book is in two sections;
the first contains the life of Mar Babhai, and the second
that of Mar Maramammeh. The metrical homily on
M#ar Maran-Cammeh begins on fol. 69^.
Book IV. Fol. 77 b. Chapter 19 is wanting.
Book V. Fol. 106^. Chapters 6, 7, 11 and 17 are
wanting, and chapters 8, 9, 10, 12—16 are defective.
Book VI. Fol. 118a. This book is in two sections;
the first contains the life of Mar Cyprian, and the second
that of Mar Gabriel. In the first section chapters 2,
3, 4 and 5 are wanting, and chapters 1, 6 and 7 are
defective; in the second section the second and last
chapters are defective.
On fol. 148 the MS. ends abruptly with the words
(see the printed text p. 407). On fol. 46^ is
written on the margin ojftwoais? u.***; on fol. 54^ (Book III.
chap. 1) is the remark, ^
^070,1 o-Xp; on fob 67 a (Bk. III. chap. 8) is a verse of
poetry (see the printed text p. 166); and on fol. 122a
(Book VI. chap. 7) is written on the margin frio?

The following glosses occur: is explained

by jSia (fob 25 a); is explained by (fob 25^);
is explained by &*bx (fob 45^); and and
are explained by (fob 178^).
2. The Introduction to a history of Martyrs—in¬
complete. Fob 149^. Begins ro^s^

# gM? :sAo ^pbp isAo K^xyic and ends ^2 A?

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#^Op'bp 4^±l=J ;rAXXip .^1X5 IotSi

3. The History of the persecution and slaughter of

the holy Martyrs whose names we have mentioned above.
Fol. 150 <2. ^oojA^tipo ^oj^oabp &^*{S3 A^oy dp fata.

c^XcoAiop ^XiOwO ^Xba**o ^oXx iSixa ^ipc7i,is2 ^oa^cjiax AA ^iop ^A*2 .Jxl’ap

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For other versions of this History of the Martyrdom

of Simeon bar-Sabbae, Archbishop and Catholicus of
the Eastern Church see Wright, Catalogue of Syriac
MSS. in the British Museum, p. 1133, col. 2. No. 60,
and p. 1140, col. 2. No. 2; and compare Assemani,
Bibliotheca Orlentalls, tom. I. p. 2 ff.
4. The History of Joseph, the son of Jacob, by Mar
Basil. Fol. 1760. Incomplete at the end.

The MS. B is on paper, and is in my posses¬

sion. It was written in 1888, and consists of 186
leaves, measuring 137 in., by 9. Each page is occupied
by one column of writing, generally containing 25 lines.
The quires are nineteen in number, and are signed
with letters. The volume is written in a fine, bold
Nestorian hand, with numerous vowel-points. The
headings of the chapters and their numbers are written
in red ink.
The volume contains the History of the Heads of
the Monastery of Beth cAbhe. Foil. 1 —185.
The colophon reads:—

“| Here] endeth, by the help of our Lord and by

the sustaining of His power, this book which is called
the ‘Book of Governors’, that is, the histories and
noble acts and excellent stories concerning the holy
men and solitaries who have lived in the holy Monastery
of Beth c Abhe, [containing] the separate chapters of the
books which set forth all the histories, which was
composed by the pious man of God and spiritual
philosopher, Mar Thomas, Bishop of Marga. May his
prayers, and those of his master Mar Jacob, and those
of the saints whose triumphs he hath written down be
a high wall [of defence] for all believers, but especially
for the poor scribe, and for him that hath taken care
for and hath paid for the copying of this spiritual
work; and may the Lord God hold them worthy of
the forgiveness of sins in the Day of Judgment, Amen.”
“This book received ending and completion in the
blessed month of Nisan, on the thirteenth day, on the
fifth day of the week, on the eve of the sixth [day]
of the fast which is called ‘[The fast] of Lazarus’,1
in the year one thousand, eight hundred and
eighty-eight of the birth of Christ our Lord. And to

1 I. e., the Thursday evening before Palm Sunday. The

Greek Church celebrated the raising of Lazarus on the Satur¬
day evening before Palm Sunday, but the Nestorians celebrate it
on the Friday. For the “Saturday of Lazarus,” or the “Saturday
of the Resurrection of Lazarus” see Wright, Catalogue of Syriac
MSS. in the British Museum, p. 162, no. 37; p. 168, nos. 88,
89; p. 170, no. 27; and for the “Friday of Lazarus”
see Wright, op. cit., p. 189, no. 49. Compare also Du Cange,
Glossarium, coll. 781, 1314; Payne Smith, Thes., 1963; and
especially Hoffmann’s exhaustive note on this subject in Feige,
Die Geschichte des Mar cAbhdishd, Kiel, 1890, p. 57.

God, the Lord of the universe, the Strengthener of

our feebleness, and Sustainer of our weakness, be praise
and confession and worship for ever and ever, Amen.”
“It was written under [the shadow of] the Church
of the triumphant martyr, the glorious man among the
saints, the strenous athlete, Mar Cyriacus,1 which is
[situated in] the blessed village of Tell Kephe;2 may
its inhabitants be preserved from all harm by the
prayers of him and his companions, yea and Amen.”
“The priest Phransis,3 the man who is priest in name
only, the most despicable and contemptible of all the
human race, the son of Shamo,4 the son of the deceased
Phagho of the family of Beth-Dabbesh, the man of
Tell Kephe, blackened and defiled these pages. It is
not meet that his name should be mentioned in holy
books because of the wickedness of his deeds and the
abominableness of his manner of life, and he only
maketh known his wretched name that he may pluck
prayer for forgiveness from the 'mouth of pious
readers. Prithee pray for him that he may be worthy

1 The Church of Mar Cyriacus is mentioned with that of the

Virgin by Sachau, Reise in Syrien und Mesopotamien, p. 359.
2 More correctly Tell Kef. When Rich visited this village
he found the ruins of seven churches here (see Narrative of a
Residence in Koordistan, vol. ii. p. 103 ff.), but Sachau only
mentions the Church of Mar Cyriacus and the Church of Mart
Maryam el-cadra (Mary the Virgin). According to Sachau (Reise
in Syrien, p. 359) the place contains seven hundred well-built
houses. I visited Tell Kef in 1889 and 1890 and was very
hospitably entreated by the priests.
3 Perhaps “Francis” or a form of the Persian name
mentioned in Bk. ii. chap. 32 (Syriac text, p. 109, 1. 6).
4 Hoffmann thinks that Shamo may be a hypocoristicon• for

of mercy at the last day; that he may stand with

open face before the tribunal of the Creator; and that
he may be placed in order in the series of the priests
of the Lord Jesus, Amen.”
“Blessed be God for ever and ever, and may His
holy name be glorified from generation to generation
for ever and ever, world without end.”

The MS. C is on paper, and is in my posses¬

sion. It was written in 1888, and consists of
316 paper leaves measuring gj in., by Jj. Each
page is occupied by one column of writing, generally
containing 19 lines. The quires are thirty-two in
number, and are signed with letters. The volume is
written in a small, clear Nestorian hand, with numerous
vowel-points. The headings of the chapters and their
numbers are written in red ink.
The volume contains the History of the Heads of
the Monastery of Beth Abhe. Foil. 1—316.
The colophon reads:—“This book received ending
and completion in the blessed month of the latter
Kanon, on the twenty-third day, on the Sabbath, on the
eve of the third Sunday of Epiphany,1 upon which day
they sing the “Come let us marvel”, in the year
one thousand, eight hundred and eighty-eight of the
birth of Christ our Lord. And to God, the Lord of
the universe, the Strengthener of our feebleness, and
the Sustainer of our weakness, be praise and confession
and worship for ever and ever, Amen. O reader, my
master, pray for the sinful scribe Phransis of Tell Kef
who is indued with the grade of the priesthood of
\ - - — -; ' ~

1 The Gospel for the day is St. John 1. 29—40; see Brit.
Mus. Egerton MS. No. 681, fol. 25 col. 2.

Aaron. Blessed be God for ever, and praised be His

holy name from generation to generation for ever and
ever, world without end.”

The MS. Vat. belongs to the Library of the Vatican,1

for which it was acquired by Andrew Scandar, and bears
the number CLXV. It was written in the latter half
of the XVIIth century, and consists of 328 paper leaves,
measuring about 8 in. by 6 in. Each page is occupied
by one column of writing, generally containing 19 lines.
The quires, which usually consist of five leaves, are
thirty-two in number, and are signed with letters;
the 22nd quire is signed ^ instead of The volume
is written in a modern Nestorian hand, and generally
speaking has few vowel-points.
The volume contains the History of the Heads of
the Monastery of Beth cAbhe. Foil. 1—328.
“This book was finished on the sixth day (Friday2)
of the Week of Summer [Sundays], after the Sunday
[in which they sing the “The life full of joys”,
in the blessed month Abh (July), in the year one
thousand, nine hundred and seventy-four of the Greeks
(=A. D. 1663)”.
The other principal MSS. of the Historia Monastic a
of Thomas of Marga preserved in Europe are:—
1 For a description of this MS. see Assemani, Bibliothecae
Apostolicae Vaticanae, tom. iii. p. 33iff.
2 The for the first Sunday of the Week of Summer
Sundays began with the words that for the second
^ A; that for the third that for the fourth
that for the fifth XA* that for the sixth
and that for the seventh No* See Brit. Mus.
Egerton MS. No. 681, fob 158^, col. 1. For the “seven Fri¬
days of Summer” see B. 0., iii. ii. p. 3&3> No. 37-

1. A paper MS. in the Bibliotheque Nationale at

Paris consisting of 307 leaves; it is incomplete, and
the end of the work from Book VI. chap. 6 is wanting.
It was copied from MS. No. CLXV in the Vatican
Library, and was collated with two other MSS.
(CCCLXXXI and CCCLXXXII) which contain the
entire work of Thomas. See Zotenberg, Catalogue des
MSS. Syriapues, p. 216, col. 2. No. 286.
2. The paper MSS. Nos. CCCLXXXI and CCCLXXXII
(A. 124, and A. 125) in the Vatican Library; the
former contains the first four books of Thomas’s History,
and the latter the last two. See Mai, Scriptorum
Veterum Nova Collectio, tom. v. pp. 47, 48.
3. A paper MS. which forms No. 179 of the
collection acquired for Berlin by Dr. Sachau; it was
copied for him in 1882.


Thomas, better known as “Thomas of Marga”, was

the son of one Jacob, a native of the village of Beth
Sharonaye1 which was situated in the diocese of Salakh.
This province was divided into two parts, Inner Salakh
and Outer Salakh, and was under the jurisdiction of
the Metropolitan of Adiabene; Outer Salakh was also
called Salakh dhe Narse, or Salakh dhe Babanes. Inner
Salakh was separated from Adhorbaijan by Mar
Maran-ammeh, and was placed under the jurisdiction

1 Probably identical with the village of Shirwan in the dis¬

trict of Shirwan; see Hoffmann, Atiszuge, p. 220.

of the Bishop of Salakh, in the place of the province

of Debhwar which he had taken from under his
dominion." According to Thomas of Marga2 we may
safely assume that Inner Salakh lay on the border of
Adhorbaijan, and that it was identical with Salak al-Audi;
we are then also probably correct in placing the
bishopric of Salakh in the territory round about Rawandiz,
between Jebel el-Kandil and the mountains which
divide Persia from Turkey, that is to say about thirty
or forty miles N. E. of Hazza or Irbil (Arbela), and
about eighty miles N. E. of Mosul, the town on the
right bank of the Tigris exactly opposite the mounds
of Kouyunjik and Nebi Yunus, which mark the site of
Nineveh. The village of Beth Sharonaye, or Beth
Sherwanaye, was situated in Inner Salakh, and together
with Beth Newa,3 Beth Wark, or Beth Warek,4 Golai,5
and other villages, formed the home of the Shahrighan,
a class of wealthy hereditary, landed proprietors, “who,
although they were nominally Christians, made confession
that Christ was an ordinary man, and said, ‘He was
as one of the Prophets’ ”.6 In ancient days there lived
in this district a number of these noblemen who
professed the religion of the Magians. Nowhere in the
Book of Governors does Thomas give the family name
of his father, and we cannot therefore decide whether
he was descended from a Persian family or not; it is,
however, both possible and probable that he was.
There is no doubt that his father’s ancestors dwelt
among heathen, for Thomas tells us that they had a

1 See Vol. ii. p. 316. 2 See Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. 245.

3 See Vol. ii. p. 308. 4 See Vol. ii. p. 309.
5 See Vol. ii. p. 243. 6 See Vol. ii. p. 310.

tradition that there were people living in the villages

round about them who worshipped a magnificent tree
which they called the “King of the forest”,1 because
of a demon which appeared in it. Of the rank and
position of Thomas’s parents we also know nothing, but
as Thomas became Bishop of Marga, and as his brother
Theodosius attained the dignity of Catholicus, we shall
probably be right in assuming that they were the sons
of parents of some wealth and standing, and that their
family formed a part of that section of the inhabitants
of Salakh who in ancient times were Magians and who
had embraced Christianity, and who had struggled to
build and to maintain churches for the worship of
The exact date of the birth of Thomas is unknown,
but as he himself tells us that he came to the Monastery
of Beth cAbhe when a youth in the 217th year
of the Hijra, i. <?., A. D. 832, he must have been born
after the beginning of the ninth century. In Book I.
chap. 31, of his Book of Governors, and in other places,
Thomas tells us that he used to act as secretary to
Mar Abraham,2 the Catholicus and Patriarch who sat
from A. D. 837 to 850. Mar Abraham was originally
a monk in Beth cAbhe, and he afterwards became
Abbot of that monastery; when he went down to
Seleucia to occupy the patriarchal throne he took Thomas
with him. Here Thomas performed his duties satis¬
factorily, and a few years later he was appointed Bishop
of Marga by his friend and patron the Patriarch Mar
Abraham. Within a very few years Thomas was raised
by Mar Abraham to the dignity of Metropolitan of

1 See Vol. ii. p. 242. 2

See Vol. ii. pp. 103, 448, 462.

Beth Garmai, a large and important church-province,1 2

and it was in this capacity that he was present in 852s
at the ordination of his brother Theodosius, who had
been appointed Bishop of al-Anbar by Sabhr-Isho, and
later Metropolitan of Gunde-Shabhor.
Of the date of the death of Thomas, nothing is



The Book of Governors is the largest and most

important of the works which were written by Thomas,
Bishop of Marga and Metropolitan of Beth Garmai,
and as all the existing MSS. of the work aoree in their
arrangement of chapters and general contents we may

1 For its extent and boundaries see Hoffmann, Ausziige,

P- 253 f.
2 The authority for these statement is ‘Amr ibn-Mattai;
see Assemani, B. 0., iii. 1. p. 210. ^

Compare also l^.^o\ ^./a^

Theodosius was thrown into prison by the Khalifa Mutawakkil
because of an accusation brought against him by Sergius the
physician, who said that he was perpetually sending ambas¬
sadors with information to the Byzantine Greeks. Theodosius
was afterwards examined and was asked to deny the truth of
this statement upon oath, but he declined to take the oath on
the ground that his law did not permit him to swear, where¬
upon he was taken back to prison. Theodosius remained three
years in prison; he lived two years after he was liberated, and
died in October A. D. 858, and was buried in the Monastery
of Kelil-lsho . See Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., ii. coll. 194, 198.

conclude that it has come down to us in the form in

which it left the hands of its author. In one place
Thomas records that he has written accounts of certain
saints in “another book”,1 but it would seem that this
work, which is no longer extant, unless a copy exists
in some remote village in the mountains between Mosul
and Urmi, was merely a supplement to the Book of
Governors, and not a composition of the length and
importance of that of which the complete text is now
published for the first time. It is evident too that
Thomas considered the Book of Governors to be the
most important of his writings, for beyond this solitary
allusion to “another book” he makes no mention whatever
of any other work by him, and all his references and
quotations are made to chapters in the Book of
Governors. His homily upon Mar Maran-ammeh, written
in three hundred and seventy-eight lines in dodeca-
syllabic metre, is included in the third section of the
Book of Governors, and as the words “Here endeth
the third book” follow at the end, it is clear that its
position is not accidental. That so able and learned
a writer as Thomas, who flourished at a period noto¬
rious for its paucity of authors, both Nestorian and
Jacobite, should have limited himself to the production
of the Book of Governors, the Metrical Homily
upon Mar Maran-ammeh, and the other work referred
to above, is incredible; nevertheless other writings by
him are unknown, and none of the enquiries which I
made of priests and scribes at Mosul and in the villages
round about, elicited any information on this matter.
The composition of the Book of Governors must

1 See Vol. ii. p. 655.


have extended over a period of several years. We

know from Thomas himself that when he entered Beth
cAbhe in 832, none of his lives of the holy men of
that house had been written,1 and as he tells us several
times2 that he obtained the information which he is
giving from Mar Abraham while he acted as secretary
to him, the Book of Governors could not have been
finished before Thomas was appointed Bishop of Marga.
As Thomas is described as “Bishop of Marga” in the
title of his work, and not as “Metropolitan of Beth
Garmai”, it is tolerably certain that it was completed,
and that copies of it were in the hands of the scribes,
before Mar Abraham raised him to the latter dignity,
which must, however, have taken place not later than
850, for in that year the Patriarch died.
The Book of Governors occupies an unique position
in Syriac literature, and it fully deserves the veneration
with which it has been and is still regarded by all
classes of Nestorians to whom it is known. It must
not be classed with compendious works like the “Chro¬
nicle” and “Ecclesiastical History” of Bar-Hebraeus, or
with the ordinary “Lives of the Saints”, in which the
writer’s only care is to exalt at every cost the characters
of the saints, and to revel in narratives of miraculous
events3 and visions, or with the ‘smaller histories of
monasteries and their founders, which are frequently
characterized by narrowness of mind and party spirit.
Thomas was a monk in the Monastery of Beth Abhe,

1 See Vol. ii. p. 266. 2 See Vol. ii. pp. 480, 477, 497.
3 For miracles recorded by Thomas see especially pp. 243,
260, 305, and 647—655. That he believed in the appearance
of angels and devils in bodily forms seems certain from pp. 84,
319, 404, etc.

and he shows great love for that house throughout

his work. He was moved to write the histories of its
holy men by the admiration which he felt for them and for
their stern lives, and although in the course of his work he
loses no opportunity of recording any fact which
redounds to the glory of his house or to the praise
of its past inmates, he is at the same time anxious to
record the noble deeds of other ascetics in the countries
round about Marga, and wherever possible to give full
and trustworthy accounts of matters which had a bearing
upon the history of the Nestorian Church generally.
A perusal of the Book of Governors will show that
Beth Abhe was no ordinary monastery, and that its
inmates were often as famous for their high social
position as for their asceticism and learning. Many of
the monks and ascetics therein belonged to noble
Persian and Arab families, and the far-reaching influence
of its sons who had gone forth into all parts of
Armenia, Kurdistan, Babylonia, Arabia, Persia, and even
into remote China, gave that house a reputation which
must have eclipsed that of all others during the period
of its greatest glory. The glory of the monks of the
Scete desert and of the Egyptian solitaries anci ascetics
of the Thebaid was greatly enhanced by the sym¬
pathetic history of Palladius, Bishop of Hellenopolis,
who traversed all Egypt, from Alexandria on the Medi¬
terranean sea-coast in the north to rocky Syene in the
south, in quest of materials for his work; and there is
no doubt that Thomas of Margas ambition was to
write a lasting memorial of the learned and ascetic
band of monks of his beloved Monastery of Beth
Abhe which should be similar in every respect to the
“Paradise” of Palladius. From his earliest youth the

traditions of the wonderful things which Rabban Mar

Isho-czekha, Bishop of Salakh, had wrought in that coun¬
try had been instilled into him,1 and having come to
Beth c Abhe he used to listen to the histories of certain
of its past inmates, and by reason of the fervour which
burned in him, he never failed to make enquiries con¬
cerning them, and endeavoured to learn about each
one of them from the old men who were to be found
there.2 We may be certain from the general accuracy
of his work that he kept careful notes of these tradi¬
tions, and that whenever he met aged monks from
other monasteries, or visited districts where Nestorian
monasteries existed, he lost no opportunity of correcting
his facts or of supplementing them with new matter obtain¬
ed as far as possible at first hand.3 The library of Beth
Abhe contained a large collection of books, many of
which had been bequeathed by pious benefactors,4 and
his frequent quotations prove that Thomas made good
use of them. With one book especially he was well
acquainted, I mean the redaction of the “Paradise” of
Palladius, made by cAnan-Ishoc in the second half of the
seventh century of our era. This learned monk was
originally an inmate of the Great Monastery of Mount
Izla near Nisibis, and as his mind was continually fixed
upon the lives and works of the ascetic fathers, he
determined to visit Jerusalem and the Scete desert,
where “he learned concerning all the manner of the
lives of the ascetic fathers, whose histories and questions
are written in books, and concerning their dwellings,

1 See Vol. ii. p. 267. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 266.

3 See Vol. ii. p. 462.
4 See Vol. ii. pp. 174, 179, 239, 282, 299.

and the places in which they lived”.1 Having returned

from Egypt he came to his old monastery, but soon
after he left it on account of the dissensions which

were taking place there, and came to Beth cAbhe where

he devoted himself to study. His fame for learning

became so great that when the Patriarch Isho-yahbh III.

wished to have the cHudhra, or Service-book for the
whole year, drawn up, he selected cAnan-Ishoc for the
work. In addition to this he wrote a book upon philo¬
sophical divisions and definitions, a treatise upon the
difficult words which occur in the writings of the fathers,
and a work upon the different pronunciation and meaning
of words which are spelt with the same letters. At
the request of the Patriarch George, who sat from
A.D. 661 to 680, he undertook to redact the “Book of
Fathers”, i. e., the “Paradise” of Palladius, and the
example of his work and his personality as exhibited
in it so affected Thomas that in speaking of him he
says, “the love of him is very dear and sweet to me”,2
and, “being inflamed by love for him I have written
down his honourable memorial among the histories of
the holy men who were his fellow-workers and
associates”.3 cAnan-Ishocs work consisted of six hundred
chapters divided into fifteen books,* 4 in each of which
were fifteen sections, four hundred and thirty chapters
upon general matters, and a large number of chapters
which he neither numbered nor arranged in any definite
order. He divided all these chapters into two volumes;
in the first were the histories of ascetics compiled by
Palladius and Jerome, and in the second were the

1 See Vol. ii. p. 175. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 177.

3 See Vol. ii. p. 192. 4 See Vol. ii. p. 190.

narratives of the Fathers and the ‘Questions’ which he

himself had collected. The “Paradise” of Palladius must
have been known in eastern monasteries long before
cAnan-Isho undertook to edit, revise it and add to it,

nevertheless it was Anan-Ish6cs redaction of it which

was “handed down and received in all the monasteries
of the East”, and Thomas says that “the fathers every¬
where praise his ability and applaud his work”. It was
this redaction which Thomas knew thoroughly, it was
from the “Ouestions”1 in the second volume that he
made so many quotations, and it was its concise and
easy arrangement which influenced Thomas in the
ordering of his own book. Making the necessary allow¬
ance for differences of climate and racial characteristics,
there is scarcely an account of the life of a holy man

1 The following are specimens of the ‘Questions’ asked by

a ‘brother’, and answered by an ‘old man’. Who is the pure
monk? He who is remote from the delights of his body, and
who rejoiceth in the love of his neighbours in the love of God;
for as long as need ruleth in the soul, the expansion of the
soul is produced. With what can we overcome desire? By
the remembrance of the good things of the Spirit. If the
desire for the good things which are to come doth not annul
[that for] the things which are here, a man cannot overcome
desire. How doth a man go forth from the world? By for¬
saking the happiness of his desire and by running as much as
he is able in the fulfilment of the commandments; he that doeth
thus shall not fall. By what is love made manifest? By the
fulfilment of works, by the meditation of the spirit, and by the
knowledge of belief. What are works? The keeping of the
commandments of the Lord, and purity of the inner man, together
with the labour of the outer man. What is remoteness from
the world? The mind which overcometh the lust of the body.
For if the body be not trampled down by the desire for endur¬
ance a man cannot conquer in his strife.

at Scete which does not find its counterpart in that

of an ascetic at Beth cAbhe; and when we consider
that the monasticism of Mesopotamia and the surround¬
ing countries was derived directly from that of Scete
and of the deserts of the Red Sea and of the Thebaid
it is clear that it could not be otherwise. The monks
and ascetics of Egypt found their historian in Palladius,
and a true and enduring memorial of those of Beth
rAbhe has been handed down to us by Thomas, Bishop
of Marga.
From several notices scattered throughout the Book
of Governors we may obtain an idea of the plan and
system of the work and how it came to be written.
For many years before Thomas began to write the
histories of the holy men of Beth cAbhe he had been
accustomed to rehearse them before a fellow-monk
called cAbhd-Ishoc, who on hearing them entreated
Thomas to put them in writing to prevent their falling
into oblivion. For many years Thomas declined to
do this, and urged by way of excuse that the Catholic
Church abounded in histories of holy men, and that a
work on this subject by him was unnecessary; he also
pleaded “inexperience of speech”. cAbhd-Jshoc refused
to accept these excuses, and whenever Thomas touched
upon the histories of holy men of Beth cAbhe in con¬
versation, he renewed his pleadings for a collected
history of them; after Thomas had left Beth rAbhe
cAbhd-Ishoc sent “many-lined epistles” to him repeating
his request. At length the gentle water of his entreaty
softened the clay of Thomas’s understanding,1 and by
the united entreaties of Abhd-Ishoc (who came speci-

1 See Vol. ii. p. 18.


ally to the monastery where Thomas lived to urge

them), of Rabban Paul, and of the congregation of monks of
Beth Abhe, he undertook the work, attributing all their
earnestness in the matter to the Divine Will. That
Thomas fully appreciated the difficulties of his task we
may learn from one of his remarks in the second book,1
wherein he tells cAbhd-Ishoc that for many years he
could not be persuaded to write down the histories
which he had been accustomed to sow in his ears, be¬
cause such work entails “severe labours”, and cessation
from daily duties, and the constant urging of the mind
to make it bring into remembrance the things which
have been stored up in it for a long time. Thomas
began his task with the intention of writing the his-
tories of the holy men of Beth cAbhe only, but2 in the
course of the work he found that in order to give
his narrative historical sequence it was necessary to
add to it accounts of some famous men who had not
lived in that monastery.3 Moreover, he felt bound to
include in it the lengthy histories of Mar Maran-ammeh,
Bishop of Adiabene, and of Babhai the Musician, which
he wrote at the special request of Mar Hasan, “the
member of Christ”, and son of Mar Sabhr-Ishoc, Gover¬
nor of Adiabene and Athor.4 Thomas intended as
far as possible to write an original work, but he states
in his ‘Apology’ that although he will turn aside from
the writings of others, yet wherever it is necessary he
will add the record and narrative of others, in order
to piece together and to harmonize the histories, and
also such repetitions as show forth the style and manner

1 See Vol. ii. p. 263. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 286.

3 See Vol. ii. p. 83. 4 See Vol. ii. p. 286.

of the lives of the holy men. The histories which he

records are of two classes:—(i) those which he found
scattered here and there in the narratives of others,
and in the ecclesiastical histories of ancient authors,1
and (ii) those which did not exist in writing, and which
were neither inscribed in works specially devoted to
them, nor in other places, and which he learned from
the aged men2 who were to be found in Beth cAbhe
while he lived there, and from other belief-worthy men
from other monasteries. In short, Thomas was ob¬
liged to have recourse to written narratives for certain
data, but like Palladius he added to these a series of
facts of general importance which they had omitted to
describe, together with many forgotten unwritten tra¬
ditions: “and since”, he says, “in the stories which are
my own I do not repeat untrue things, I shew forth
the trustworthiness of theirs.”3 As, however, other his¬
torians have omitted certain matters at their discretion,
Thomas warns the reader that he claims the right to
do the same.4 To preserve a strictly chronological
order in the arrangement of his histories Thomas finds
a matter of no small difficulty, and he entreats the
reader not to blame him when he finds that “one nar¬
rative is in advance of its correct position, and another
is after it. For not all narratives will admit of being
written down in chronological order, lest peradventure
the root of history being severed, the narrative should
lean to one side, and become like an animal which
trieth to walk upon two of its four legs, a thing which
it is not in any way possible to do.”5 And a little
1 See Vol. ii. p. 21. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 377.
3 See Vol. ii. p. 21. 4 See Vol. ii. p. 83.
s See Vol. ii. p. 217.

farther back1 addressing cAbhd-Ishoc, to whom he dedi¬

cates his work, Thomas says, “Now although the order
of the narratives of our work is destroyed and they
do not possess the chronological sequence which it
was expected they should possess, nevertheless accord¬
ing to my own opinion and according to the historical
tradition which I have received from my fathers, I have
preserved the order of the times, and of those who
lived in them. And even if one person should be
placed a little too late, and another a little too early,
this is not a matter for blame and reproach, inasmuch
as thy wisdom, O cAbhd-Ishoc, did entreat me to go
round the whole circle of the ascetics who have lived
in this monastery and through all the mass of their
histories, and to bring them to light before thee.”
At the very outset Thomas disclaims any wish to
write a history of miracles,2 his intention being to set
down in writing only such things as are accepted by
discreet and prudent men, always provided that they
are not prejudicial to the truth in any particular. The
credibility of the things which Thomas relates must,
he thinks, rest with the reader and be dependent upon
his faith, for “all things which have been, and which
are, and which shall be, inasmuch as we have not been
spectators of them, we must accept the saying con¬
cerning them in faith, for without it no single one of
the things which are related, without seeing could we
accept.3 Those who have themselves laboured in the
virtues of holy men, and have participated in the small¬
est degree in the great joy which is bestowed upon

1 See Vol. ii. p. 213. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 24.

3 See Vol. ii. p. 23.

prosperous toilers in the ascetic life, possess from within

a firm conviction concerning these things, inasmuch as
experience has taught them that these things which
are stated are true.,,I
Although Thomas never loses an opportunity of
praising monks and the profession of the ascetic life,
he likewise when truth requires n^ver shrinks from
recording events which would certainly provoke adverse
criticism on the part of the scoffer or unbeliever. Thus
he gives a long and apparently just account of the
circumstances which gave rise to the expulsion of the
monks who lived in the outer cells of the Monastery
of Izla, and had married wives,2 and of the causes
which led to the departure of Jacob3 the founder of the
Monastery of Beth cAbhe; and although these things
reflected no credit upon any of the principal movers
in the matter Thomas tells the truth concerning them
in plain, unmistakeable language. Another instance of
his fairness is his care to record the history of the
nun who after having “led the life of holy angels for
forty years, fell through the working of Satan.”4 The
deceit practised by certain members of the Church in
raising Gregory of Seleucia to the dignity of Catholicus
instead of Gregory, Metropolitan of Nisibis, as Khusrau
had commanded; the quarrels which took place between
Islkf-yahbh III. and the monks of Beth Abhe ; the
schism in the Persian Nestorian Church caused by
Simon, Metropolitan of Rew-Ardashir and Katar, who
refused obedience to Ishoc-yahbh as his diocesan; the
heresy of the Mesalleyane or monks who, refusing to

1 See Vol. ii. p. 23. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 53.

^ See Vol. ii. p. 59. ^ See Vol. ii. p. 74.

labour with their hands, professed to be able to obtain

the salvation of their souls by prayer alone; the con¬
version of Sahdona to the doctrine of the Jacobites, etc.,
are described with an impartiality which is very un¬
usual in a work like the Book of Governors.
It has been stated above that Thomas modelled
his own work after the manner of that of Palladius,
and it is clear that he was indebted to it for his know¬
ledge of the lives of the principal ascetics of the deserts
of Egypt. From his quotations, however, we see that
he was well acquainted with all the principal Nestorian
writers upon the ascetic life, and that he must have had
access to Syriac translations of works—for there is no
evidence that Thomas knew Greek—containing tradi-
tions not commonly found. Among the traditions may
be mentioned those which assert that Manasseh “estab¬
lished1 in the holy temple an idol with four faces”
r'si ^3d2? jxau ^ai; and that Plato built for
himself “a cell in the heart of the wilderness, beyond
the habitation of man, and that he took the covenant
of the blessed Moses, and meditated on the verse,
‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One’, for three
years, until God the Lord of all saw his toil and trouble
and granted His mercy unto him, and he wrote saying,
‘The God of the Jews is one in nature, and three in
Persons’, and behold this composition on His similarity
of nature and unity, and on the Trinity of Persons and
their attributes is in the books of the Church.”2 Usu¬
ally Thomas gives his authority for every quotation;
the o
greater number of those to which no names are

1 See Vol. ii. p. 58. 2

See Vol. ii. 532.

attached are to be found in the “Questions of the

The version of the Scriptures used by Thomas was
the Peshitta, and his quotations from it are generally
made with such care that we may assume that he did
not rely entirely upon his memory. A quotation made
by him from St. Matthews Gospel (xxviii. 19, 20)
has, however, an interesting variant,1 for we read, “and
behold I am with you all the days in which the world
maintaineth the course of its generations,, ^*4 £2 &o
^•^070^39*3 ^0733 61 ^oc71S& here &&&*>
^07^30*3 is the equivalent of the words c^oiA fris
;*S.L?2 in the Peshitta=euig Trjg cruvreXeiag tou aiwvoc;.
The Book of Governors is divided into six sections,
in which there are 35, 44, 14, 25, 17 and 18 chapters
respectively. The first section begins with the history
of the founding of the Monastery of Mount Izla at the
beginning of the Vlth century, and ends with an
account of the murder of Khusrau A.D. 628; and the
second section treats of events which took place be¬
tween 630 and 754, i. e., of the period of the greatest
wealth and glory of Beth cAbhe. The third section
records the lives of Babhai the musician and founder of
schools, and of Maramammeh, Metropolitan of Adiabene,
which were written at the request of Mar Hasan, a
wealthy Persian noble; Babhai and Maran-ammeh
flourished in the middle of the VUIth century; at the
end of the third section the wonderful deeds of Maran-

1 See Vol. ii. p. 26.

2 Compare the reading in Evangeliarmm hierosolymitanum,
ed. Lagarde, p. 318 uu-og&S ^so 3.3.0 ^007^03 ^03303- ^007 ^2 fao
' •

ammeh are recounted in a poem of four hundred and

sixteen lines. The fourth section deals chiefly with the
lives of Rabban Ishoc-yahbh and of Mar Cyriacus, heads
of the Monastery of Beth cAbhe; these distinguished
ascetics lived in the VUIth century. The fifth section
contains the lives of Shubhhal-Ishoc, Yahbhlaha and
Kardagh his brother, Elijah, Bishop of Mokan and
Narses, Bishop ofShenna; the sixth section is devoted
to the lives of Rabban Cyprian, and Gabriel the Abbot
of the Monastery of Birta, in the country of Marga,
and to a general summary of the names of the ascetics
who flourished in other parts of Marga.


The exact situation of the Monastery of Beth c Ablie

is unknown, but it is quite clear that it must have
stood in the mountains at a short distance from the
Upper or Great Zab, on its right bank, for when
Bastohmagh the Persian nobleman and friend of Jacob,
the founder of Beth cAbhe, went to visit him, he rode
from his estate of Beth Ziwa, which lay on the left
bank, and crossed the river by the King’s Bridge,
and passing by the village of Estwan so came to Beth
'Abhe.1 The monastery was built in the mountains to
the south of Herpa in Saphsapha under Mount Niphates,2
about sixty or seventy miles to the N. E. of Mosul,
and it is probable that a town or village also called

Beth 'Abhe was situated near it. The country in its

immediate neighbourhood seems not to have been
suitable for growing fruit or vegetables which required
1 See Vol. ii. p. 84.
2 See B. 0., ii. p. 420; and Vol. ii. p. 153.

much heat, for Thomas particularly mentions that Rabban

Ezekiel, who founded the monastery called after his
name, used to send to Beth c Abhe “fruits and any good
things which were not to be found here”. On the other
hand it enjoyed a milder climate than Dasen, the
district which extends from Da udija along to the Upper
Zab, for Thomas tells us that when Mar Abraham of
Beth Rabban Zekha-Ishoc became an old man, he left
his monastery on account of the cold and came to
live at Beth rAbhe.2 Like the ancient monasteries in
the mountains near Nisibis, and the Monastery of
Rabban Hormuzd near Alkosh, and the Monastery of
Rabban Mar Mattai on Jebel Maklub, it must have
stood some considerable way up in the mountains.
Unlike many Nestorian monasteries, however, it enjoyed
the great advantage of having near it a spring of
water which flowed by a channel into a tank near the
monastery buildings;3 thus the monks were able to
obtain fresh water daily, and had no need to
collect rain water in stone cisterns hewn out of the
rock. From two passages4 in the Book of Governors
we are able to see that the Monastery of Beth cAbhe
was built upon a mountain peak between two valleys;
in one flowed the river Zab and in the other some
tributary thereof. On one occasion, probably in the spring of
the year (i. e., February and March), when the snows
on the mountains melt, and torrents of water pour
themselves into every channel leading to the Tigris,
both valleys were flooded, and the water rose and

1 See Vol. ii. p. 103. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 214.

5 For the account of the monk who opened the channel in
order to lead water to his olive tree, see Vol. ii. p. 426.
4 See Vol. ii. pp. 83, 404.

threatened to sweep away the monastery buildings; at

this moment Rabban Jacob went forth and by his
miraculous power he adjured the flood until its waters
abated. These two valleys are also mentioned in the
account of the vision which Abba Ishoc-dadh saw when
he was going up from the monastery to “his cell which
was situated on the top of the ridge of the mountain
which is between two valleys, to the right as thou
goest up to the head of the spring, and opposite to
the fortress which is called the “Little”.1 From this it
is clear that the Zab flowed on the eastern side of
the monastery and it is probable that the Little Fortress
was on the other side of the river. The mountain
whereon Beth cAbhe stood must have been well
wooded, hence the name of the monastery Beth cAbhe,
^ “the house in the forest.”2
The exact date when Beth cAbhe was founded is
unknown. It is usually assumed (upon the authority of
Thomas, Bishop of Marga), that it was established by
Rabban Jacob, who was originally a monk in the
Monastery of Mount Izla, and who was born at Lashom,
a village on the great road from Bagdad to Mosul
about thirty miles south of Kerkuk, in the middle of
the sixth century of our era. Assemani thought that
Beth cAbhe was founded by Rabban Bar-hadh-bhe-
shabba, who, when Rabban Jacob came to him on his
way to Beth cAbhe, went with him to that mon¬
astery, and also tarried with him there until he was
established as head therein.3 It is difficult to under-

1 See Vol. ii. p. 404.

2 ^43 renders "IJT rP3 and IJWTrVD in 1 Kings vii. 2, and
Isaiah xxii. 8.
3 See Vol. ii. p. 69.

stand why Thomas says nothing about the earlier

foundation, if it existed. In the life of Rabban Hormizd
it is said that after he had lived in the Monastery of
Bar-cIdta for thirty-nine years he decided to depart
from thence, and that he communicated his decision to
a pious monk called Abraham, who had lived in the
Monastery of Beth "Abhe1 for thirteen years before he
came to the Monastery of Bar-Idta.2 The Monastery
of Rabban Hormizd was consecrated by “the Patriarch
Tomarsa the Second’', of whom the lists of Patriarchs
say nothing, for they only mention one Tomarsa or
Tamuza who sat from A. D. 384—392. Now Rabban
Hormizd died at the age of eighty-seven years, having
lived in his own monastery for twenty-two years—for
he finished building it when he was sixty-five years of
age—and in the Monastery of Bar-Idta for thirty-
nine years, and in the Monastery of Risha for six years.
From these facts it is clear that if the Monastery of
Rabban Hormizd was consecrated by the Patriarch
Tomarsa, the saint must have been living at the
Monastery of BarTdta in the middle of the fourth
century; and as his friend Abraham had lived at the
Monastery of Beth cAbhe for thirteen years before he
came to the Monastery of Bar-cIdta it follows that
the Monastery of Beth cAbhe must have existed at
that early date, and that it flourished contemporaneously
with the Monastery of Mar Awgin near Nisibis, and with
the Monastery of Risha, which was one of the oldest
monastic foundations in the country round about Nine¬
veh. This, however, is impossible, for it is a notorious

1 iSj.33

2 See infra, ‘Rabban Hormizd and his Monastery.'


fact that Christian monasticism was first introduced in¬

to Mesopotamia by Mar Awgin the Egyptian, who for¬
sook his occupation as a pearl fisher in his native
place on the “island of Clysma” near the modern Suez,
and went to live at the Monastery of Pachomius in
Egypt. After a short time he departed for Mesopotamia,
and built a monastery in the mountains near Nisibis.
The period of this saint’s life is well known, for he was
a friend of James of Nisibis, he watched the siege of
Nisibis by Sapor, and in his days the Emperor Con¬
stantine died; Mar Awgin himself died A. D. 362, being
an old man. It must be remembered that Saint Anthony,
the founder of Egyptian monasticism, did not die until
A. D. 356, and it is not credible that the Monasteries
of Rabban Bar cIdta and Beth ' Abhe were flourishing
••• •aCA*
institutions before that date; moreover, if Beth Abhe
had existed in the fourth century the fact would cer¬
tainly have been known to Thomas, Bishop of Marga,
and we have sufficient experience of his desire to
relate matters which redound to the glory of his monas¬
tery to know that he would never have omitted to
place before us the facts which would prove that Beth
fAbhe was not only the “King of Monasteries”,1 but
also that it was one of the most ancient. That Beth
cAbhe was an older foundation than Rabban Hormizd
is almost certain, and that some form of monastic life
was led by monks there before the arrival of Jacob
of Lashom is also nearly certain; it is very doubtful,
however, if the foundation of Rabban Hormizd is older
than the latter part of the sixth century, if as old.
The Monastery of Beth cAbhe is also mentioned

1 See Vol. ii. p. 212.


in a very interesting collection of ecclesiastical histories

from which Prof. Guicli has published some extracts,1 2
but the notice is not sufficiently definite to help us in
assigning an exact date to the founding of Beth c Abhe.
After recording the capture of Dara in the fourteenth
year of Khusrau, and certain particulars concerning the
period in the history of the Nestorian Church when
it was without a patriarch, and concerning Jazdin the
“advocate of the Church”, the writer says
Olio's*).! r<':i:3Cx.T=> r£l:a\ ocna GC\cn
God \ ,T-^3 rdicn .r^Av^r^.l
G.d,^] rCiri' r?r€±<^spc\ .K'i^aG^. gctA oucniX

aao^.1 r^Jr^ XSQrf Ocn

rdlra.i rdAp^ ,T^?3G
V3 vn.3 ,^^73 0 2 .rd-»ins*. rttlfia-jj <^cA &vAd.i
i~x<G r<!xiL»^J
“Now in those days Mar Babhai of Izla (who ruled
that monastery after3 Rabban Mar Abraham of Kashkar),4
and many toiling brethren who went forth from that monas¬
tery, I mean Mar Jacob who founded the monastery
of Beth Abhe, and Mar Elijah who built a monastery5
on the bank of the Tigris near the Hebrew Fortress,6
and Mar Babhai bar-Nesibh[n]aye, were shining brightly
with the life of excellence”.
About the date when Jacob of Lashom first came

1 Un Nuovo Testo Siriaco siilla storia degli idtimi Sassanidi

(Tire des Actes du 8e Congres International des Orientalistes,
tenu en 1889 a Stockholm et a Christiania).
2 Guidi’s emendation of for is certainly correct.
3 This is a mistake, for Dadh-Ishoc succeeded Abraham as
head of Izla; see Vol. ii. p. 42.
4 See Vol. ii. p. 37. 5 /. e., near Mosul.
6 See Vol. ii. pp. 337, 368, and 461.

to Beth cAbhe there is no doubt, for Rabban Ishoc-

zekha, Rabban Bar cIdta and Thomas, Bishop of Marga,
all agree in saying that he arrived there in the fifth
year of the reign of Khusrau, i. e.} A. D. 595 or 596.
The Monastery of Beth c Abhe consisted of a church
and of a number of buildings which were gathered
close around it. In these buildings certain rooms were
set apart for the kitchen and other domestic offices,
for the refectory and “common-room” of the brethren,
for the library, for the entertainment of strangers, etc.
A special “cell” was reserved for the use of the head
of the monastery. It is impossible to form any exact
idea of the size of the church of Beth cAbhe, and our
only information concerning the building itself is derived
from the allusions to it made by Thomas, Bishop of
Marga. During the lifetime of Rabban Jacob, that is
at the end of the sixth century, the monastery con¬
tained eighty men,1 and it is hardly likely that the
church would be a large one; judging by the churches
of monasteries which I have seen in the East the rough
dimensions would be 70 feetx50 feet. In the days of
Ishoc-yahbh III, i.e., about A. D. 650, when the number
of monks had risen to three hundred,2 it was found
necessary to build a new church, and it seems unlikely
that this work would have been undertaken unless the
old church had fallen into ruin or had become too
small for the use of the community. The or
church first built at Beth c Abhe was of clay and unbaked
brick, and during the life-time of Rabban Jacob it was
once almost swept away by a flood which filled both
valleys and threatened to destroy it.3 The constant
1 See Vol. ii. p. 101. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 131.
3 See Vol. ii. p. 83.

wear and tear of the walls by wind and weather, and

the unsettling action of the river floods each spring
upon the foundations induced the monks to build their
second church in another place.
The second church at Beth cAbhe was built by
lshoc-yahbh III., the Patriarch and Catholicus, and son
of Bastohmagh of Kuphlana the friend of Rabban Jacob
the founder (or re-founder) of the monastery, soon
after he became Catholicus, i. e., between 647—657.
Thomas describes it as a “splendid temple” and built
at “great expense**,1 and Mar Sabhr-Jshoc, Metropolitan
Bishop of Beth Garmai, and Mar George, Metropolitan
of Adiabene, and all the Bishops of Athor and Adiabene
were present at its consecration. About a century
later this second church had fallen into decay
and “had become old through the lapse of years”,2 and
Isho-yahbh the head of the monastery, a kinsman and
namesake of Isho-yahbh III., the Catholicus, determined
to pull it down and to build one of lime in its place.
He seems to have set about the work in an able
manner, for having gathered together workmen and
hewers of stone, he took them to a quarry in the
mountain of Debhar Hephton near the Zab, and showed
them where to hew the stone. He next made rafts
for transporting to the foot of the mountain the blocks
of limestone intended for building the great buttress
on the side of the rock upon which the new church
was to stand, and he carried them on the backs of
mules and donkeys to the site of the church. He then
burned the limestone and pounded it into lime, and
collected stones and burned bricks. Having removed

1 See Vol. ii. p. 121. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 396.


the altar and the coffins and bodies ot the holy men
who were buried in the martyrium to the library, he
began to pull down the “wide and massive old walls’’,1
which had been built of stiff clay brought from Ha-
dhatta, a town on the left bank of the Tigris, a little
below the mouth of the Upper or Great Zab. When

the monks of Beth Abhe saw their church being pulled

down they murmured greatly against Isho'-yahbh and
offered the keenest opposition to his work, and to add
to his troubles at this critical juncture the governor
of Mosul, “a greedy and avaricious man”, fined the
monastery fifteen thousand pieces of silver, a sum
equal to about T375 of our money. Thomas tells us
that Isho'-yahbh begun to build in “difficult times”, and
for monks to do such a thing in such times was a sure
sign to the Muhammadan ruler of Mosul that they had
more money than they knew what to do with, and he
therefore acted in the usual manner. Meanwhile the
work was going on, and the walls were rising, and the
day fixed for the payment of the builder drew nigh;
the first contract was for seven thousand ziize, a sum
equal to about T175 of our money and Isho'-yahbh
had not the wherewithal to pay. By a miracle, however,
the money was produced, and when Isho'-yahbh paid
it to the builder he made a second contract for the
completion of the work which was estimated to cost
thirteen thousand zuze, i. e., about T325 of our money.
This large sum was paid in a most providential manner,2
and the rebuilding of the church was completed. Ishoc-
yahbh waited for a year so that the foundations and
walls might settle, and then he put on the roof. He

1 See Vol. ii. p. 400. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 410.


had the intention of building the porter's lodge and

the general buildings of the monastery with stones and
lime, but unfortunately, he died on the second Friday
after the Easter following the completion of his work.

Each of the three churches of Beth cAbhe must

have had a flat roof, above which rose either rectangular
projections or domes, and each must have been lighted
from windows cut high up in the walls.
As no plans or detailed descriptions of these churches
have come down to us we are obliged to have recourse
to the allusions to the various parts of them scattered
through the work of Thomas ofMarga, and to the descrip¬
tions1 of churches of monasteries now standing, to obtain
an idea of their internal divisions and arrangements.

The church of a monastery was oriented to the east, and

contained three main divisions in its longitudinal base.
At the extreme east end stood the altar,2 or
raised upon a step or steps, which was approached from
the —Bnjua; this part of the church was
kept closed by means of the “gates of the Koyxn”
and the vail &io=pr|\a, velum. Strictly speaking,
the was the circular projection from the east wall
of the church in which the altar stood, and the A*
was the space which was raised above the rest of the
floor of the church to the height of three steps and
by which the was approached3; we may see, however,
that the word included both places, for the doors
which led to the are called 1***? and not
1 See Badger, The Nestoricms, vol. I., p. 94ff.; and Peter-
mann, Reisen> t. ii. p. 317.
2 And upon the altar stood a cross; see Bk. V. chap. 15,
Vol. ii. p. 543.
3 Compare frioS 53*3 ^0? A-axo Bk. V. chap. 15, Vol. ii. p. 543.

Above the “gates of the stood the

i. e., qppcxKirig, or screen.' The portion of the
church was approached by three steps called
and on each side of them was the bench-shaped wall
called ^oaV^^^KaidaTpcuiua.
Below the was the i.e., vaoq, which
was set apart for the performance of choral services
by the monks, and into which the laity were not allowed
to enter. In the stood two lecterns; from that on
the south side the or extract from the Old Testa¬
ment or from the Acts of the Apostles, was read by
the deacon, and from that on the north the or
extract from the Epistles of St. Paul, by the sub-deacon.
The or place of the choir of the monastery,2 or
chancel, was raised the height of one step above the
remaining portion of the floor at the west end of the
church, (like the ancient XuAea),3 and was divided from
it by gates (=7ruXcu wpaiai), over which curtains fa™ z&i
were hung.
Below the in that portion of the church called
by the Greeks Trvovaog, sat the male portion of the
laity, and on the south or north side, or on both, but
separated from the Tipovaoc, by a lattice or grating, was
the §4 £s*a or place set apart for women.4
In the south-east corner, in the stood a

1 See Vol. ii. pp. 342, 544.

2 A part of the or all of it, probably formed the is*3
or “place of the service” of Thomas of Marga; see the
Syriac text p. 312, 1. 8, and Vol. ii. p. 551. That it must have
been near the or martyrium we know from Bk. VI.
chap. 7 (Vol. ii. p. 621).
3 See Du Cange, Glossarium, col. 1513.
4 In the larger churches the women also sat in galleries;

smaller altar dedicated to some saint, and close by

stood the font; in or near this corner was the
or place of baptism. In the north-east corner was a
chamber called ^ “house of the saints”, or ^
“house of the martyrs”, where the monks were buried;
a door on its west side led into the ^ or place
where the after-supper service was said. The martyrium
of Beth cAbhe contained a casket in which were pre¬
served the relics of some of the Apostles which Ishoc-
yahbhIII. had stolen from Antioch,* 1 and in it were buried
five metropolitans and eighteen bishops.2 When Ishoc-
yahbh III. built the second church at Beth cAbhe their
bodies were not disturbed, but when his namesake
built the third church a century later they were removed
to the library temporarily.
In front of the church was a portico ?oy&2, i, e.}
(Jioa which usually extended along the entire length of
the front of the church; the space between the pillars
or supports of its roof was called ^9^02 N*, “the place
of pillars”, and the portion of the church immediately
inside the west wall was called or the place
where the office for the night was sung.3
The plan of the arrangement of the various parts
of an ancient Nestorian Church will be better understood
from the following rough plan.4
compare Kcnrixoujueva Yuvaudvrjs Du Cange, Glossarium,
col. 621.
1 See Vol. ii. p. 127. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 238.
3 The positions of these places are indicated by Thomas,
who tells us that as Rabban Cyriacus was going into the por¬
tico from the temple, and as Sergius was going into the temple
from the colonnade, they met each other in the “place of the
watchers” i. j&q* See Vol. ii. p. 431.
4 An excellent account of oriental ecclesiastical architecture


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1 Altar raised on steps or platform. 2 Altar dedicated to some saint.

3 The apse, k6yXH* 4 The bima. 5 Bench-like wall, Kardaxpijupa. 6 The
steps of the apse. 7 The lectern from which the extracts from the Old
Testament or Acts are read. * 8 The lectern from which the extracts from
St. Paul’s Epistles are read. 9 The place where certain services were per¬
formed. 10 The naos, chancel, or choir of the monks. 11 The naos gates.
12 The haikla or ‘temple’ where the male portion of the laity sit. *3 The
place set apart for women. J4 The place of baptism. J5 d he martyrium.
16 The place where compline was said. 17 The colonnade. 18 The portico.

by Brockhaus will be found in Herzog, Encyklop'ddie fur Pro-

testantische Theologie und Kirche, under the heading Baukunst,
Vol. ii. Leipzig, 1878.

About the middle of the seventh century the altar

ofBeth'Abhe was dressed with cloths which had been
specially woven for the purpose in the island of Diren
in the Persian Gulf by the command of George the
Catholicus,1 and in the days of Timothy the Catholicus
(A. D. 780—820), the monastery received a gift of
curtains for the choir, vestments, etc., which had been
specially woven in Gilan and Dailom for Mar Shubhhal-
lshoc who was originally a monk at Beth cAbhe. This
zealous man had been carrying on the Nestorian pro¬
paganda among the heathen living in the mountainous
districts near the Caspian Sea, and was returning to
his beloved monastery laden with gifts, “and every¬
thing which befitted the honour of his monastery”,2 when
he was set upon by robbers and murdered.
Of the internal decoration or ornament of the church

of Beth Abhe we know nothing, but it is very probable

that the interior of the first church was quite plain;
whether the wealthy Isho'-yahbh III. brought back from
Asia Minor pictures for the second church which he
built or not is an open question. The modern Nes¬
torian churches are, in my opinion, greatly disfigured
by the bad oleographs of saints which are hung about
the walls.
The congregation of monks was summoned to the
church by the sacristan by the sound of a board struck, and
this means of assembling the monks was also used on all

1 See Vol. ii. p. 188. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 484.

3 Some interesting descriptions of modern Nestorian churches
are given by Perkins, A Residence of Eight Years in Persia,
p. 177; Southgate, Narrative of a Tour through Armenia, Kur¬
distan, Persia and Mesopotamia, vol. ii. p. 235; and Smith and
Dwight, Researches in Armenia, vol. ii. p. 210.

special occasions, as for instance when Mar Elijah

exposed the monks who had been living with their
wives in the outer cells of the monastery,1 and when
the Catholicus Selibha-zekha attempted to steal the
Evangeliarium set with gold and precious stones from
the monastery.2 The order for striking the board was,
however, only to be given by the head of the mon¬
The daily services in the church were seven in
number, and the monks were careful to imitate the
Psalmist who said,

“Seven times a day do I praise thee,

“Because of thy righteous judgments”.4

The principal times of prayer were just before sunset,

at dusk, at midnight, at day-break, and in the morning;
the recluses and ascetics considered it to be their duty
to pray always. At the services extracts from the
Old and New Testaments were read; collects were said,
and hymns, anthems and responsories were sung.5 The
Psalter was divided into a number of Cathismata6 or
NSooi a certain number of which were sung each day. At
Beth Abhe particular attention was paid to the singing,
and several of its inmates were famous for their fine
voices and for their knowledge of music. At the con¬
secration of the second church at Bethf Abhe a young
man called Jacob of Beth Nuhadhra was sent up to the
v+z i. e., prjjua, or raised portion of the church before
the altar, to sing the psalms for the day, and his sweet

1 See Vol. ii. p. 55. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 229.

^ See Vol. ii. p. 55. 4 Psalm cxix. 164.
5 Badger, Nestorians, vol. ii. p. 23.
6 See Vol. ii. p. 292.

voice and fine sinofinu

so attracted the attention of a
learned doctor, who had gone out to the porch to
meditate upon the points of his discourse, that he was
afterwards fain to confess that all the thoughts which
he wished to gather together had been driven out of
his mind.1 When Ish6c-yahbh III. was Metropolitan of
Arbela and wished to draw up in order the Canons of
the Hudhra or service book, he was obliged to send
to Beth cAbhe to obtain the help of cAnan-Ishoc because
he found that he alone possessed in a sufficient measure
the art of literary composition and a good knowledge
of music.2 To these two able monks of Beth Abhe
the Nestorian Church owes the arrangement of its
“Cycle”3 of services for every Sunday in the year, and
for Lent and for the Fast of Nineveh, which has
remained in use with comparatively little alteration
until the present day. The condition of the services
in the days of Isho-yahbh III. must have been very
low, and no systematic arrangement of hymns and
anthems seems to have existed; it is possible that he
obtained new ideas on these subjects when he visited
the churches at Antioch and Apamea, and that on his
return to his diocese he endeavoured to introduce
a system of choral services resembling that which was
in use in the Byzantine churches.4 But if the services
of the church were in a relaxed and confused condition
in the days of Isho-yahbh III., their state was worse

1 See Vol. ii. p. 120.

2 See Vol. ii. pp. 177, 189. 3
4 On the origin of church poetry and music see the valuable
work of Krumbacher, Geschiclite der Byzantinischen Litteratur,
Munich, 1891, pp. 288, 323 ff.

when Babhai the musician took them in hand; this

man was of commanding stature and fine presence, and
had a “high, sweet voice like a trumpet”.1 He lived
in the early part of the eighth century and was a native
of Gebhilta, a town situated on the east bank of the
Tigris, about eighteen miles from Karh Samarra on the
road to Mosul. The condition of the musical portions
of the services was deplorable: all the tunes, melodies,
airs, musical signs and accents (?), the final clauses of
the prayers, the “stations” in the Psalms, the responses
and anthems were confounded.2 Each country and
town and monastery and school had its own tunes
and sang them in its own way, and if a teacher or a
scholar happened to be away from his own school he
was obliged to stand silent like an ignorant man. In
those days the people were like the Jews when they
were in Babylon, for they did not know how to perform
the praises of the Lord.3 Into this confusion Mar
Babhai, who must have been endowed with considerable
musical talent, infused order, and he succeeded in
making the nobles of the districts round about provide
money to found and maintain at least twenty-four
schools,4 wherein the pupils were especially taught to
perform the musical portions of the services of the
Church in a careful and accurate manner. Every six
months he made an inspection of each school and took
care that the teaching and discipline were not relaxed;
his method of teaching became so famous that it was
called the “musical system of Rabban Babhai”. Not¬
all the care and attention which Babhai

1 See Vol. ii. p. 289. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 293.

3 See Vol. ii. p. 290. 4 See Vol. ii. p. 296.

had Q-iven
to the musical education of scholars within
a very few years the effect of his labour had dis¬
appeared and his teaching was forgotten. Even in the
well-kept Monastery of Beth Abhe the standard of
musical learning was sinking very low, and one night
Mar Cyriacus had a vision1 in the refectory in which
it was shown to him that his monastery, which was at
that period flourishing with wise and understanding
men, and teachers, and expositors, should be brought
low and humbled in everything, until the time when
on account of the ignorance of the monks, it would
be necessary to hire men to sing the nocturns and the
other musical portions of the service, and to revise
and arrange the tunes with refrains which were sung
to the psalms and hymns. And this state of things
actually came to pass, for the monks of Beth Abhe
were at length obliged to hire Solomon, surnamed
Mahdi, of Beth Garmai, and Bauth to teach the brethren
how to read the service-books, and how to sing the
hymns and responses, and also how to sing the hymns
of consolation which were to be sung at the vigils of
the dead. It is difficult to understand why the singing
of the services in the churches of towns and villages
should have become poor, for the clergy were permanent,
and there were excellent male voices in each con¬
gregation with which a good choir could be formed,
as any one who listens to the singing in such a church
as that of Tell-Kef near Mosul will understand.

the monasteries, however, it was different. The voices
available for the choir must usually have been chosen
from among the young men who were serving their

See Vol. ii. p. 445.

three years’ probation in the monastery; at the end of

their period they would depart to their separate cells,
and their places might or might not be satisfactorily
filled. The habits of the ascetic life were not calculated
to promote good singing, and unless the vacancies in
the choir could be filled from the novices the music
of the services must necessarily suffer. Without some
strong and energetic outside influence it was morally
impossible for good singing to be maintained in any
Oriental monastery for a length of time.
One of the most interesting portions of Bethc Abhe
must have been the Library, of the Monastery;
we have, unfortunately, no list of the books which were
preserved there, but we may gain some idea of its
contents from the allusions to it made by Thomas,
Bishop of Marga. That it would contain copies of the
Old and New Testaments (some of them being probably
written upon vellum), and Psalters and Service-Books
of all kinds is only to be expected, but this would not
be at the beginning of its formation. The first gift of

a book to the Monastery of Beth c Abhe was made by

Shamta the son of “Yazdin (or Yezdin), the tax-gatherer”,
the “advocate of the Church, like Constantine and
Theodosius, who built churches and monasteries in all
the world, who was more beloved by Khusrau than was
Joseph in the eyes of Pharaoh, from which cause he
was renowned and famous in the kingdoms of the
Greeks and Persians, and of whom it is said that he
sent every morning regularly one thousand staters to
the king”.1 When Khusrau had built his convent in
honour of his Greek wife Shirin, “the Christian woman”,2
1 For the text see Guidi, Un Nuovo Testo, p. 17.
2 See Vol. ii. p. 80.

he sent Shamta, the son of Yazdin, to the city of Edessa

to bring from thence copies of the Scriptures, and Prayer
Books, and Lectionaries to place in it. On his return
with these he also brought back as a gift for Rabban
Jacob of Beth cAbhe a large Service Book from which
Rabban Jacob with his own hands made a number of
copies for use in his monastery; and Thomas relates
that in the greater number of them might be found
written, “Mar Shamta, the son of Yazdin, the prince of
believers, gave this service book”.1 From this it appears
that these copies existed in Thomas’s days. Many of
the books in the Library were written in the Great
Monastery of Mar Abraham at Izla near Nisibis, and
these must have been copied from manuscripts which
had either been copied from works in the libraries of
the monasteries founded by the disciples of Mar Awgin,
or brought direct from Egypt by Mar Abraham when
he returned from his visit to the Desert of Scete.2
Among these must be mentioned the works of CA nan-
Isho'3 the redactor of the “Book of Paradise”, the editor
of the Hudhra, and the author of (i), a volume of philo¬
sophical divisions and definitions, with a copious com¬
mentary, which he dedicated to his brother and entitled,
“A Letter which a brother wrote to his brother; to
the excellent and holy Mar Ishoc-yahbh the Bishop [of
Shenna dhe Beth Ramman]”: (2) a work on the correct
reading and pronunciation of difficult words in the
writings of the Fathers; (3) a work on the different
pronunciation and signification of words that are spelt

1 See Vol. ii. p. 82. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 39.

3 See Vol. ii. pp. 174—177.

^ A

with the same letters.1 cAnan-Ishoc and his brother

Ish6c-yahbh wrote many original works and it is very
probable that they possessed many books which they
had copied with their own hands; all their literary
possessions came into the hands of their nephew John,
who afterwards became Metropolitan of Adiabene, and
he transferred them as a gift to the Library of Beth
cAbhe.1 2 Mar John had a syncellus called Dindowab
whom he appointed Bishop of Macalltha and Henaitha,3
and he also bequeathed his library to the Monastery
ofBeth'Abhe. His successor Mar Sergius, a pious and
learned monk ofBethcAbhe, forsook his episcopal charge
on the occasion of a raid made in his district by the
savage dwellers in the country to the east and south¬
east of the Caspian Sea, and hoping for the repose
of peace and for refreshing of spirit, he took all his
books and came to Beth cAbhe,4 where he died and
was buried, having bequeathed his books to its li¬
brary. Another benefactor of the Library of Beth
c A

Abhe was Babhai, the musician and founder and

organizer of schools, who wrote twenty-two funeral
Orations arranged alphabetically, and Consolations, and
Epistles, and Hymns of Praise, and “Blessings” upon
brides and bridegrooms, and twenty-two hymns upon
Rabban Jacob of Beth cAbhe, and a metrical homily
upon Nestorius, etc.; all these works were to be found
at Beth cAbhe.s But apart from books bound in ordinary
leather the Library possessed at least one the binding
of which was sufficiently valuable to arouse the cupidity

1 See VoL ii. p. 178; Wright, Syriac Literature, p. 843; and

Hoffmann, Opuscula Nestoriana, pp. 2—49.
2 See Vol. ii. p. 236. 3 See Vol. ii. p. 238.
4 See Vol. ii. p. 282. 5 See Vol. ii. p. 299.

of the Catholicus himself. This book was a “Golden

Evangeliarium”, “splendid and beauti¬
ful”, bound in fine gold and set with precious stones,
which had been bequeathed to
the monastery by Isho'-yahbh III. the Catholicus. The
Patriarch Selibha-zekha,1 “a proud and avaricious man”,
heard of the book, and went to Beth cAbhe, intending
to take it away with him to his seat at the Medhinatha
dhe Beth Armaye, i. e., Seleucia and Ctesiphon.2 The
monks received him with the honour due to him and
to themselves, and when he asked them to show him
the book, Rabban Joseph, the head of the monastery,
had no power to refuse to do so, for by the order of
the Patriarch Ishoc-yahbh II. of Gedhala,3 Beth cAbhe
had been removed from the jurisdiction of the bishop
of the diocese4 in which it was situated, and was
placed under that of the Patriarch. When the Patriarch
had taken the book in his hands he was “consumed
with desire for it, and he took it and placed it in his
saddle-bags”. Rabban Joseph remonstrated, but the
Patriarch replied, “Ye solitaries have no need of this
Book”, and gave his men orders to set out on their
journey as soon as possible. Meanwhile the board by
which the congregation was assembled was struck, and
the young men ran after him with sticks, and when
they came up with him they buffeted him with their
hands, and took the book away from him. The elders
of the monastery apologized to him for the acts of
their young brethren, and Rabban Joseph resigned the
headship of the monastery.

1 He sat from A. D. 701—729.

2 See Vol. ii. p. 229. 3 He sat from A. D. 628—644.
4 See Vol. ii. p. 21.

From the bequests recorded above it is clear that

a monk had the power to dispose of his books as he
pleased, and that they did not belong by right
to his monastery, which had, no doubt, a common
library; it is also clear that it was not the custom
of the monks to approve of the sale of books. The
only mention of such an act in the Book of Governors
is found in the history of John of Dailom,1 where we
read that after the death of this ascetic in the mountains
of Dasen one of his disciples took the books which he
had written, and went down to the villages to sell
them. On the other hand, the monks of the Scete
desert held the view that monks ought not to possess
many books, and “once when Abba Serapion the bishop
went to visit one of the brethren he found [in his cell]
a window full of books. And that brother said to him,
‘Speak one sentence to me in which I may live’. And
the old man said, ‘What have I to say to thee? Thou
hast taken that which belongeth to the orphans and
the widows and hast laid it up in the window’.
Abba Theodore of Pharme (?) brought down some
beautiful books and went to Abba Macarius and said
to him, ‘Father, I have three books and they are
superfluous for me, and the brethren ask me for them
and they are superfluous for them: tell me then what
I shall do’. The old man answered and said. ‘The
virtues of the ascetic life are beautiful, but the greatest
of them all is poverty’. And when Theodore heard
this he went and sold them and gave their price to
the poor”.2

1 See Vol. ii. p. 227.

2 .£2 a** ^3*3 Sil .^o,£U332 ?32 0067 t*a^o2

When we consider the number of the Syriac writers

who flourished during the first eight centuries of our
era it seems very probable that when Thomas was an
inmate of Beth cAbhe early in the ninth century the
Library contained between seven hundred and a
thousand volumes.
In the buildings at Beth f Abhe which surrounded
the church and formed the monastery proper, ^ Nj?,
i. e., “house of the community”, a special cell was set
apart for the head of the monastery, and apartments
for the porter near the gate, and sleeping accommodation
for the novices; it is also certain that a guest chamber
was reserved for the use of strangers. The food for
the monks was cooked in the kitchen £4 ^*=>,x which
was cleaned and attended to by the who may
be compared to the ephojuabapioi whose duties lasted a
week at a time; in an oven in the kitchen the
bread was baked.2 Near the kitchen was the butler’s
pantry ^ where those who laid the tables and
took the food to them obtained supplies, and close by
was the wine cellar n*-? wherein the wine was stored
in skins.3 The brethren sat together and ate their

.ojn £**2p A sSol 007 A o>*>o2o 4:5X3 A ^Aiop 23** 03

XhaxSo 0 32po X.*p X^tixp i>ip2p A £s*2 } A i.ioio

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fo A •A=5op fO .3*)2o ,33i.2 }i.iO ?JL3C7 A 3ip2 .^3^°

#1*3.CxxA ^Ao*\, 307*0 ^Oi2 r3#o A*2 ^007 W.SX3X 330 .^07 lX<Xb3&X) ^oA^

From the Sayings of the Fathers by Palladius. On Poverty,

Nos. 160, 161.
1 See Syriac text pp. 60, 1. 9; 67, 1. 6; and Vol. ii. p. 442.
2 See Vol. ii. p. 108. 3 See Vol. ii. p. 437 f.

food in the common-room £i and here on feast-

days also came the ascetics who lived in separate cells.

The Monastery of Beth Abhe seems to have been

supported by endowments made by pious benefactors,
and not by a system of collecting alms from the faith¬
ful. As a large number of the monks who lived there
from generation to generation were related to noble
Persian families it is more than probable that they
handed over to the common funds, lands or vineyards
or olive trees or cattle or money for their maintenance.
In the days of Rabban Jacob the monastery seems to
have had few or no possessions, for Gabriel, the Metro¬
politan of Kerkuk, taunts the monks with the remark
that Jacob “left them no possession in the land”.1
Bastohmagh, the Persian nobleman, was a friend of Jacob,
and often visited him in his monastery, and his son
Isho -yahbh, who afterwards became Catholicus, endowed
the monastery with great and valuable possessions.
A close friend of Isho'-yahbh, George of Kaphra in
Beth Garmai, who likewise became Catholicus,2 also
endowed it with one of his estates called Beth Habba,3
which seems to have been situated near Beth 'Abhe;
as long as these friends were alive, or their immediate
relatives, it is unlikely that the monks would ever be
in want. The Monastery of Beth cAbhe was in the
zenith of its glory in the middle of the seventh cen¬
tury, but towards the end of it its prosperity dwin¬
dled and evil days drew nigh. The Muhammadan power
was in the ascendant and that of Persia on the wane,
and although Muhammadan rulers might leave an ancient

1 See Vol. ii. p. 247. 2 He sat from A. D. 661—680.

■3 See Vol. ii. p. 180.

Christian monastery unmolested, or even tolerate its

existence, they would never supply funds for its mainte¬
nance. Moreover, the favour of local chiefs and gover¬
nors which, in the East, is as subtle and as fleeting
as a breath, would be suspended or quietly withdrawn,
until it was seen how the Christian monasteries were
treated by the victorious followers of Muhammad the
Prophet. Making allowance for exaggeration or over¬
statement of the case, we may obtain an idea of the
state to which Beth °Abhe had come in the beginning
of the eighth century from the following description of
Gabriel, Metropolitan ofKerkuk:—“Of everything which
they possessed, that is to say the estates which their
fathers Mar lshoc-yahbh the Catholicus, and Mar George
the Catholicus, bequeathed to them, behold they are
entirely destitute. No person is so utterly destitute as
are they, and although they labour, that is to say,
although they gather in and carry out, in seed time
and in harvest, there is no profit to him that toileth
therein”.1 Now Gabriel was appointed Metropolitan by
the Catholicus Selibha-Zekha, and if he reported such a
state of affairs at Beth cAbhe there is small wonder
that the Catholicus thought that its monks had no need
of an Evangeliarium bound in fine gold and set with
precious stones. Truly the glory of the “king of mon¬
asteries” had departed!
One of the chief causes of the decay of the Mon¬
astery of Beth cAbhe was the levying of taxes and
tribute upon it by the Muhammadan governors; thus
when Isho-yahbh the head of the monastery was
straining every nerve to find the means for building

1 See Vol. ii. p. 248.


the third church at Beth c Abhe, the governor of Mosul

mulcted the congregation of fifteen thousand pieces of
silver, a sum equal to about ^ 375 of our money.1 In
the earlier parts ot the history of Beth ‘ Abhe Thomas
makes no mention of the payment of taxes, but in the
days of Mar Cyriacus, the head of the monastery at
the end of the eighth century, we read that this ascetic
was himself obliged to carry the “imperial tribute”
due from the monastery to Yazdinbadh, a
village of Marga;2 the monk who accompanied him
on his journey speaks of it as “all this money”, but
we cannot say how much it was. And on another
occasion George, the head of the monastery, was obliged
to go to Mosul about the taxes,3 but whether it was
to beg for their remission or to pay what was due is
not said. Mar Cyriacus was greatly troubled by an
Arab chief called 'Amran bar-Muhammad, who had by
force taken many of the villages of Marga, and who
also wished to gain possession of the Monastery of
Beth cAbhe by forcing the monks to sell both it and
its estates4 on very disadvantageous terms; Cyriacus,
however, rejected his advances and put him to shame.
One day when this Arab chieftain had sent horsemen
to bring certain of the monks to him that he might
negotiate with them for the possession of the monas¬
tery without being hampered by the presence of Mar
Cyriacus,5 before the horsemen arrived with them at
Amran’s habitation, Mar Cyriacus was carried there
miraculously, and hid himself; when the monks had
entered the room Cyriacus suddenly revealed himself,

1 See Vol. ii. p. 402. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 441.

3 See Vol. ii. p. 465. 4 See Vol. ii. p. 451.
5 See Vol. ii. p. 452.

to the great astonishment of the horsemen who had

left him standing in the porch. “At that time”, says
Thomas, “when there was no king, the Divine power
worked on behalf of this poor monastery”.1
After the death of Mar Cyriacus, and during the
lifetime of Mar Timothy the Catholicus, an attempt was
made to lift the Monastery of Beth cAbhe out of its
troubles by Shubhhal-Ishok This man was descended
from an Arab family of Herta-dhe-Nacman, near Meshed
cAli, which had removed to the “Hebrew Fortress”,2
where Shubhhal-Ishoc was born. He entered Beth c Abhe
as a monk, and when he had served three years in
the monastery he asked the brethren to allow him to
farm their estate of Beth Habba, which had been given
to them by George of Kaphra, who afterwards became
Catholicus,3 and he promised to give them farm produce
of all kinds equal in amount to that which they obtained
from Beth Ziwa. He next bought oxen, and hired
ploughmen for whom he built a farm house, and he
began to sow and to reap; his work was crowned with
success and he began to give gifts to the monks in
addition to what he had agreed to give, and the poor
and the needy found in him a benefactor. When he
had done this for a few years, and the monks had
forgotten their times of stress, they began to cheat
him by making their corn-measures larger than those
in use among the merchants; but this he endured
cheerfully.4 One year, however, when the harvest was
nearly ripe the monks made a plot to kill him, and
had lie not been warned of their intention, his life

1 See Vol. ii. p. 453. 2 See Vol. ii. pp. 337, 461.
2 See Vol. ii. p. 470. 4 See Vol. ii. p. 473.

would have paid the penalty for his kindness to them;

as it was the man who had spent all his wealth on the
Monastery of Beth cAbhe was obliged to flee, having
with him nothing but his tunic and cloak and a wallet
with three cakes of bread which had been Qfiven to
him by a friendly monk. When Mar Timothy the
Catholicus heard this he was sorry, for he loved Beth

cAbhe, and “honoured it with many gifts”,1 because it

was first pointed out to him there2 that he should
become Catholicus; and when the monks went down
to him as usual to ask for help he enquired of them
how they and their crops did. They appear to have
gained nothing by the flight of Shubhhal-Ishoc which
was caused by their attempt to murder him, for as soon
as the crops of Beth Habba were ripe a cloud of locusts
came and devoured them; this happened year after year
and in a short time the monks were in their old destitute
condition. Soon after the beginning of the ninth cen¬
tury the thievish Kurds from Kartaw plundered Beth
cAbhe and carried away every thing of value from the
monastery and from the cells. Under the rule of the
Abbots Shubhhal-Maran and Joseph the power and
resources of the famous house practically disappeared,
and there is little doubt that when Thomas entered it
as a monk in 832 the disbanding of its society was
close at hand. Of its subsequent history we know
nothing, but it is probable that its buildings would
afford a home for a few ascetics for many years.

1 See Vol. ii. p. 477. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 383.





Jacob, the first Abbot of Beth Abhe, was bom at

Lashom1 in Beth Garmai about the middle of the sixth
century. Having studied the Scriptures for many years
and taught them to other people, he became a monk
in the Great Monastery of Mount Izla when Dadh-Isho
was the head thereof; during seven years of his stay
here he was the syncellus of Jacob, Bishop of Nisibis. He
was a meek, humble man, and made himself the servant
of his monastery. During the rule of Mar Babhai, the
third head of the Great Monastery, it was found that
a number of the monks who dwelt in the outer cells
there, following the custom of earlier times in Mesopo¬
tamian monasteries, had married wives and that they
were living with them and their families in them. Mar
Babhai expelled these men and burnt their cells with
lire, and believing that Jacob had known of their prac¬
tices for some time past, he at once drove him out of
the monastery with denunciations and execrations; Jacob
took with him an old friend and disciple called Bar-Non
and set out for the mountains of Kardo, which were situated
on the left bank of the Tigris, over against Geziret ibn
cOmar, to lead the life of an anchorite. The ban which Mar
Babhai laid upon Jacob was of such a nature that Thomas,
Bishop of Marga, gives no details of it on account of his
respect for Mar Babhai, but refers the reader to the letter
which Ishoc-yahbh of Gedhala, who afterwards became
Catholicus (he sat from A. D. 628—644), wrote to Jacob.
The monks of Mount Izla were perhaps a little tired
1 In the days of Khusrau, the bishop of this town was called
iao Sabhr-Ishoc; see Guidi, Nuovo testo, p. 8.

of the violent temper of Mar Babhai, and when they

saw the act of injustice which had been done to the
meekest and most longsuffering of men they rebelled,
and told their superior that either he must send and
bring Jacob back or they would leave the monastery;
as Babhai knew not whither Jacob had gone his position
was one of difficulty. This quarrel in the Great Mon¬
astery cansed more serious dissensions to arise, and
finally a number of the monks left it and went and built
monasteries of their own at Nineveh and Erzerum and
in the country which lies between the Upper and Lower
Zab rivers; six of the brethren went to the Monastery
of Beth cAbhe, from which statement we may probably
assume that that monastic house was at that time
already in existence. When Jacob arrived at Mount
Kardo he took up his abode on a rock near the dwel¬
ling of another ascetic, and one day when he had gone
down from his dwelling his neighbour went down and
placed therein some of the herbs upon which he lived.
On his return Jacob found the herbs, and thinking that
they had been placed there by an angel he began to
praise God; as he took up his Book of the Gospels to
read therein a serpent, which he believed to be the
Devil, dropped out, and by reason of his terror the
book fell from his hands. Jacob’s neighbour ran down
to him, and rebuking him for being so soon overcome
by the Enemy, told him to go from mountain to mountain
until he should find a woman who would tell him what to
do; when he had found her she told him to go back
to the Great Monastery, and to be of good cheer, for
it was decreed that he should found a monastery which
should be great and famous throughout the East. She
then crave him her much-worn Book of the Gospels

and took his in return; and Jacob returned to his cell

on Mount Izla. After he had lived there a short time,
strife again broke out, and Jacob left his old home,
and together with nine brethren set out for Bethf Abhe;
on his way thither he came to Rabban Bar-hadh-
bhe-shabba, who had been a monk in the Great
Monastery, and who had left it among those who went
forth therefrom after the expulsion of Jacob, and he
tarried with him in the large monastery which he had
built above his native village of Hadhodh until he went
to Beth cAbhe. Rabban Bar-hadh-bhe-shabba accom-
panied Jacob and his disciples to Beth cAbhe, and he
helped them to found (or refound) that monastery; when
his own monastery was becoming a ruin, his body, which
had been buried there, was removed to the martyrium
of Beth rAbhe. When Jacob arrived at Beth cAbhe he
was welcomed with great joy by the brethren Benjamin,
Peter, Paul, John, Adada and Jesse, his old friends at
the Great Monastery, who had set out for Beth Abhe
soon after he had left that house with his disciple Bar-
Non on his way to Mount Kardo.
According to Thomas, Bishop of Marga, and the
authorities which he relies upon, Jacob came to Beth
Abhe in the fifth year of Khusrau II. Parwez, i. e.,
A. D. 595. Jacob was a friend of several Persian noblemen,
and Bastohmagh, the father of lsho'-yahbh III., the Catho-
licus, and Shamta, the son of Yazdin, helped him to
provide for the needs of his monastery. In the days
of Jacob the church of Beth cAbhe was built of mud,
and both it and the monastery were nearly destroyed
by fire and flood; in the extinguishing of the fire Jacob
took an active part, and his adjurations1 caused the
1 InVol. ii. p.83,1.6, for “he set bounds to it”, read “he adjured it.”

waters of the flood in the two rivers to subside. During ^ o

the life-time of Jacob, the Monastery of Beth cAbhe

was visited by Mar Babhai the Great, who had been
appointed by the Metropolitans of Nisibis, Adiabene, and
Kerkuk, to inspect the Nestorian monasteries and to root
out from them all such monks as held the doctrines of the
Mesalleyane or “praying” monks, who professed to pass
all their time in prayer, and who refused to do any
work whatsoever; these men wandered about the towns
and villages with women who were attached to their
sect, and were a disgrace to the Church. At Beth
rAbhe Babhai found all things satisfactory, and he con¬
tented himself with suggesting certain alterations in the
service, which, owing to a miracle which was worked
in the church there, were not carried out.1 Jacob died
when he had ruled Beth cAbhe for about twenty-five
or thirty years, i. e.} probably between 615—625, at
which time the monks in his monastery were numbered
at eighty. He was a man of humble mind and gentle
temper, and the first success of the Monastery of Beth
‘Abhe was due to his personal influence over those with
whom he came in contact there. His life and labours
were written by many Nestorians, among whom may be
mentioned Aphni-Maran, a disciple of Kam-lshoc, the
fourth Abbot of Beth cAbhe, about A. D. 630;2 Solomon
bar-Garaph, of the Monastery of Bar-Tura near Beth
"Abhe, who lived about A. D. 690;3 Ishoc-zekha who
lived “in the days of the last Mar lshoc-yahbh, who
built the new temple”4 (about A. D. 650?); Sahdona the

1 See Vol. ii. p. 97k 2 See Vol. ii. pp. 74, 83.
3 See Vol. ii. p. 72.
4 I am not certain whether Thomas refers to Jshoc-yahbh III.,
the Catholicus, who built the second temple at Beth ‘Abhe, or

Apostate, a disciple of Jacob, who also wrote a funeral

oration upon him;1 Gabriel, Metropolitan of Kerkuk,
who lived at the end of the eighth century;2 and Babhai
the musician.3
During the lifetime of Jacob the Nestorian Church
suffered greatly through the harsh treatment which it
received at the hands of Khusrau II. Parwez. When
this king ascended the throne of Persia Ishoc-yahbh of
'Arzon was Catholicus,4 and between him and Khusrau
there was great friendship, but since the Catholicus
refused to go with Khusrau to the Greek emperor
Maurice in Asia Minor, the king was wroth with him
and all his love for him turned to hatred. Soon after
Khusrau had gained the victory over Vararanes Isho-
yahbh went down to visit Numan, the Arab king of
Herta, and when he arrived at the village of Beth Kusai
he fell sick and died; when Hind the sister of Nu man
heard this she went out and brought his body to the
new convent which she had built, and buried him therein
with great honour. Khusrau then appointed Sabhr-
lshof, Bishop of Lashom, Catholicus, and he was much
honoured by him and by his two Christian wives,5 Shinn
the Aramean woman and Mary the Greek. When Sabhr-
Ishoc died6 Khusrau ordered that Gregory of Kashkar,
Metropolitan of Nisibis, should be appointed Catholicus.
Now this man had shown his zeal by attempting to
correct the lives of certain members of the clergy, and

to Isho'-yahbh, the Abbot of Beth cAbhe, who built the third

temple of stones and of lime.
1 See Vol. ii. p. 112. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 247.
3 See Vol. ii. p. 299. 4 He sat from A. D. 581—595.
s u.c7axi; see Guidi, Njiovo testo, p. 10.
6 He sat from A. D. 596—604.

by driving out from the mountains round about Sinjar

the Mesalleyane or “praying” monks, and he incurred
great displeasure by applying some opprobrious epithet
to a well-known man of Nisibis, called the “son of foxes”,
whom he found sacrificing a cock in a wood outside the
city. Accusations against him poured in from all quarters,
and at length Khusrau sent for him and ordered him
to dwell in the Monastery of Shahdost; Sabhr-Ishoc wished
to get rid of him from the church, but the bishops
would not agree to the proposal. Finally the king or¬
dered that he should go back to Kashkar, and there
he built a monastery in a place called When
Shirin the wife of Khusrau knew of her husband’s order
to appoint Gregory Catholicus she exerted her influence
and succeeded in obtaining the election of her country¬
man Gregory the Parthian to the headship of the Church;
but her nominee behaved improperly and died after
holding his office a few years.1 When Khusrau saw
what had been done by his wife he swore an oath2

1 He died A. D. 607.
' • A AC
2 The following is the text of a letter written by ] sho -yahbh III.
to Henan-Isho a monk “his brother” soon after Khusrau had
taken this oath; it forms no. 3 of the series written whilst Isho -
yahbh was Bishop of Mosul.
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by the Sun that there should never be another Catho-

licus appointed as long as he lived, and so for many
years the Nestorian Church was without a head. At
this juncture the archdeacon Mar Abba from Ctesiphon
was elected to carry on the business of the patriarchate
in the south, and Mar Babhai the Abbot of the Great
Monastery directed affairs in the north. In this unsatis¬
factory state the Nestorian Church languished until
A.D. 628, when Khusrau was murdered by his two sons
at the instigation of Shamta,1 the son of Yazdin, whose
property Khusrau had confiscated, and whose wife he
had maltreated.


John of Beth Garmai, the second Abbot of Beth

Abhe, was a friend and companion of Rabban Jacob,
but it was only by his express command that he under¬
took the rule of the monastery. He was probably one

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x See the account in Guidi, Nuovo Testo, p. 24.

THE ABBOTS OF b£tH ABIi£ lxxvii

of the six monks who went to Beth rAbhe when the

great quarrel between the Abbot Babhai and the con¬
gregation took place, and when Jacob died he was
nearly seventy years of age; he had taught in the schools
of Mesopotamia for at least thirty years, and had been
a monk for thirty years. He was an author of some
repute and had written:—a brief chronicle, rules for
novices and certain maxims, a history of Mar Khodhah-
wai the Persian, the founder of the Monastery of Beth
Hale near Mosul, etc. When he had been Abbot for
about six months he left Bethc Abhe secretly and went
to a mountain near Dakok, where Mar Ezekiel after-
wards built his monastery: he entered this house and
led a life of contemplation there until he died.1 Thomas,
Bishop of Marga, gives no reason why John left his monas¬
tery, but from a long and interesting letter which Isho-
yahbh of Adiabene wrote to the monks of Beth 1 Abhe
when he was Bishop of Mosul before A. D. 628, it is
clear that certain of them resisted the appointment of
the pious old man; this letter gives an insight into the
connexion which existed between the son of Bastohmagh
and Beth cAbhe, and helps us to understand the part
which he took in the direction of its affairs. The Syriac
text is printed in Vol. ii., pp. 104—106, and the translation
is as follows:—

“To the brethren in his monastery concerning the appoint¬

ment of a Head, to the dear and beloved God-loving brethren,
Simon, John, Kam-Isho, Bar-Denha, Daniel, Beraz-Sorin, Bar-
Non, Isho'-zekha, Aphni-Maran, and to all the holy brethren
who are in the Monastery of Beth Abhe, individually and
collectively, Isho'-yahbh your brother in the Lord, Peace.

1 See Wright, Syriac Literature, p. 843, note 22.


“I have been waiting to be informed, O men [and] brethren,

through the earnestness of your love, of the glorious departure
of that holy head from this life in the flesh to the haven of
everlasting life, and if I had not been fully acquainted with the
wont of [your] community, and if I could have subdued with a
mighty hand [my] love for those by and with whom I have been
brought up, I might easily have been justly offended by such
an act of contempt as this, not because of [the insult to my]
position in the Church and to my renown, but because of the
[breach of a custom] usually observed by those who are brethren
and who have been brought up together. O [my] God-fearing
brethren, may our Lord forgive and pardon you all these things
in which ye have fallen short of the law of divine love in this
matter, and may He confirm your hearts in true love always,
“Now as concerning that which I have heard that the matter
of the headship of the monastery is still in the shipwreck (^ow
= vauorfia) of doubt as far as ye are concerned, and that which
was delivered to you in an everlasting covenant with the living
word by your holy father ye have not unanimously confirmed
and ratified, and that other [plans] have, by your consent, been
considered and thought upon among you, I was anxious to
come myself to you that we might discuss what was best for
the community and also what was most glorious for God’s holy
name. But inasmuch as I was not able to do this, for I had
already decided upon [going] a journey to the Patriarch, it
appeared to me that I might be of service to you by [writing] a hur¬
ried epistle according to the law of spiritual love. Remember me,
then, O pious men, me the participator in your love and the
fellow disciple of your rules—for according to what I think, it is
necessary for you to remember these things, because, as it
seemeth, the affairs of [your] brotherhood are in an unhealthy
state. Why hath the appellation of “Bishop” prepared for me
alienation [from you] ? Why hath the laying on of hands se¬
parated me from mingling with [your] community ? Why hath
the departure from the place [wherein ye are] begotten the
departure of [your] minds [from me]? Why, I say? Hath any
man among your number ever meditated or spoken or wrought
THE ABBOTS OF b£tH CABh£. lxxix

in those things which were beneficial for your community and

which conduced to the glory of God more than myself? I
speak as a fool, but everything which any man among you would
have dared to do in those things which were meet for your
glory and honour I myself have done, not merely in the mea¬
sure which was your due, but in a much more glorious manner.
Why then in this matter, which at the present moment is more
worthy of anxious thought and care than any other, have ye
allowed yourselves to be so overcome by [your] accustomed
neglect [of myself] as not to invite me, your brother, to the
general council of [your] monastery at the time which was
proper? For I have in my possession the living testament which
was made by the blessed mouth of your holy father, with
steadfast speech, a few days before his death, concerning him who
was fit to stand in the place of his ministration, and concerning
whom-—according to what I have heard—he also commanded
on the day of his death. For fearing lest it might happen that
his death would take place suddenly in such a way that he
might be prevented from saying what he had meditated doing,
he had delivered to me privately beforehand words concerning
this matter—for he never imagined that after his death ye would
allow yourselves to do anything without me, even as ye have
at this present neglected to do what was necessary. And al¬
though I laid up in my mind our blessed father’s speech that
I might utter it at the proper time, yet nevertheless the grace
of God which led him peacefully into the path of life gave him
quietness of mind and understanding to tell it to you also on
the day of his departure. And inasmuch as ye lived with him in
peace for a long time he was already a head and a governor to you,
and inasmuch as he hath appointed and established him to be
your head (read ?«) ye have acquired a head and a governor
peacefully. Let no man, then, among you imagine that he left
him without the secret armour of prayer and departed, nay,
from the time when he set his heart upon him, and appointed
him by his word, he committed to him the discipleship of his
piety, by the hands of God. And if any man shall voluntarily
alienate himself from the guardianship of this man, it must
arise from fear, and if he doth not destroy the succour of the

prayer of the righteous man—even if he doth not also meditate

any opposition and resistance—to which of the prudent and
understanding men will he not appear a shameful and blame¬
worthy person, besides [having to suffer] the torturing pain of
the soul which smiteth him without advantage [to himself]?
But God forbid that the pure sons of a righteous father, and
of the pure discipleship of a holy head, and my own beloved
brethren and fellow disciples should ever suffer such things at
all, or that they should be heard of among them; nay [con¬
cerning them let there be heard at all times] those things which
are fair and which appertain to brethren, and which produce
benefit for the community and praise to God’s name. Take
heed then, O beloved brethren, to your God-loving brother Mar
John the elder—to the testing of whose virtues a period but
little short of seventy years hath been given, of these he hath
passed [the last] thirty in leading blamelessly the life of a soli¬
tary, and the other years before these he hath passed in lead¬
ing the perfect life of an instructor in the schools—and to your¬
selves, but especially to the old and honourable man who is in
your midst. He was a receiver of instruction and a teacher
who was associated with our blessed father, and now, by the
command of our father, he hath been crowned over all these
things with the crown of headship. Receive then this man as
one who hath been appointed by God by an excellent election
in the Lord with all joy like pure children of God, and with
your hands and lips, but especially with your hearts, confirm to
him the matter of headship by the help of God. And the
God of peace shall be with you, and He shall confirm you in
the monastery in which ye shall live unmoved all the days of
your lives; and in your inner man Christ shall dwell in belief,
and in your hearts in love; and your root and foundation shall
be firm, so that ye may be able to attain with all the Saints
the hope of everlasting life by the grace and mercy of our
Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever, Amen. But
now since the Enemy of our good deeds is accustomed to cast
the seeds of his wiles and crafts upon clean fields, the matter
is one worthy of fear lest he also cast among you a stumbling-
block to your merit as [he did] among the Apostolic band.

Take heed then, O my brethren, lest any one of you be over¬

taken by such folly, and he rend your worthy dignity dis¬
cordantly, and the God-loving head who hath been appointed
to you by our Lord, do ye who are in the Spirit establish
with a humble spirit, until he be delivered from the snare of
Satan in which he hath been snared by his own will; and be
ye perfect in one spirit for the work of righteousness, even as
ye have been called with the one hope of your calling to the
glory of God and for our consolation. And as for myself, in¬
asmuch as I am well acquainted with the multitude of obstacles
which are wont to come in the way in matters like unto this,
and because also I cannot remain here [merely] to be able to
administer, according to my power, healthful corrections of
each matter which breaketh out in a refractory manner among
you, I am compelled to write you a brief letter, not in my
capacity as head and governor, but as an elder brother. If
any man would contend with the God-loving head who hath
been appointed to you by the command of Rabban and by the
will of God, let him not continue in Beth 'Abhe, that he may
neither disturb his brethren nor do harm to himself, but let
him depart quietly and in peace and without anger, to the place
where he can find rest and profit. And if it happeneth that
such an one shall, through lack of understanding, be able to
speak against this word because of myself, saying, “Who is
this [man] who hath commanded us to do these things?” he
will afterwards learn from events [themselves] and become in¬
formed, if he be a fearer of God; perhaps also he may be in
need of some little repentance that he may be able to find
the freedom of speech of the children of peace. God hath
called us, O men and brethren, to peace, therefore let us pursue
peace and the building up one of another. And let these few
things which I have written to you be sufficient to show you
the wish of my mind in the desire for your welfare, and that
all my anxious care is that ye may be fair and that ye may
speak fair, and that God may be praised in you, that I also
may be glad. Whatever is necessary concerning this matter I
will make known in a letter to our God-loving father Mar
Metropolitan, and I am also about to inform our father Mar

Patriarch with the living speech, God helping me. And ye your¬
selves, knowing these things, be diligent both to preserve the
unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, and to excel in the
work of the Lord. May He in His grace perfect you in every
good work so that ye may do His will at all times, Amen.
Pray also for me that I may pass the rest of my days in a
life pleasing to the will of God.”


Of Paul, the third Abbot of Beth cAbhe, we know

nothing, except that he was one of the first party who
left the Great Monastery and came to Beth Abhe; he
must have been an old man when elected to the head¬
ship of the monastery, and as Thomas, Bishop of
Marga, says nothing about him except that he was the
third Abbot, we may conclude that he was neither
remarkable for learning nor ability. From the twelfth
letter of the series which lshoc-yahbh of Adiabene wrote
while he was Bishop of Mosul we may gain some idea
of the difficulties of Paul as Abbot of Beth r Abhe, and
we may see that he was a little angry that Paul did
not come and discuss them with him and take his
advice upon them. Paul, it would seem, had been in
the habit of speaking the truth plainly to the brethren
concerning the manner of their lives, and he had acted
the part of a master overmuch. “As regards the
brethren', says the Bishop, “be not to them a teacher
as unto thyself, but only a monitor of the commands
of our Lord and of the doctrines of the Fathers; and
when thou hast reminded them persuade them to keep
them. If they are negligent judge them in love, and
if they are contumacious testify to them concerning thy
departure. If they entreat thee to remain, persuade

them to keep the commandments; and if they do not

keep them, they have then already informed thee that
it is unnecessary for thee to remain with them. If it
be necessary to depart, lay before them plainly the
causes of [thy] departure, and depart blamelessly and
without anger, and without leaving behind thee any just
cause of accusation for hasty tongues.And
as regards the former customs of the place which it
may be necessary to change, fight against them by
degrees, first of all permitting to remain that which is
good, and then abrogate that which is less good.”1

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Here must be given a brief record of the life of

Isho -yahbh, the son of Bastohmagh, the Persian nobleman
of Kuphlana in Adiabene. Bastohmagh had been an
intimate friend of Rabban Jacob, and a supporter of
his monastery, and the welfare and glory of Beth
Abhe depended for many years upon the frequent
gifts which this enlightened man and his generous son
made to it. With the management of the internal
affairs of the monastery Bastohmagh had probably little
to do, but his son Ishof-yahbh took a very active and
personal part in its administration, and whenever possible
he tried to keep the appointment of Abbot in his own
hands. The history of the advancement of Isho -yahbh
is practically the history of the progress of Bethc Abhe.
Ishoc-yahbh was a disciple of Rabban Jacob of
A f

Beth Abhe in the early part of the seventh century, and

he had studied at Nisibis where his syncellus bore the
name of Hormizd;1 at a comparatively early age he

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was appointed Bishop of Mosul, where he lived until

at least 628. After this period he became Metropolitan
of Arbela and Mosul, and in 644, on the death of
Mar ammeh, he was elected Catholicus. He lived through
many of the troubled years of the wars of Khusrau
with the Greeks,1 and he was an eye-witness of the
calamities which befell the Nestorian Church on the death
of Yazdin,2 the “advocate of the Christians”, and he was

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well acquainted with the events which led to the

murder of Khusrau; his letters to his friends upon these
and other matters are of considerable interest, and have
in addition philological value. At Mosul he was very
zealous in the cause of the Nestorians, and he succeeded
in preventing the Jacobites from building a church
there; according to Bar-Hebraeus he effected this by
bribery. In 630 he was sent on a mission to Heraclius
by Boran, the daughter of Khusrau, under the direction
of Ishoc-yahbh II. the Catholicus, the object of which
was to promote peace between the Persians and the
Greeks, and with him was Sahdona the Apostate.
The mission was successful in every way, and Ishoc-
yahbh took the opportunity while passing through
Antioch of carrying off a chest containing relics of the

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THE ABBOTS OF B&TH f ABHk. lxxxvii

Apostles, which he brought to Beth Abhe and deposited

in the martyrium. On the return journey an event
took place which disturbed the Church for many years,
that is the conversion of Sahdona, Bishop of Ariwan
in Beth Garmai, to the opinion of the Jacobites and
to the Monophysite doctrine. While they were passing
through Apamea they set out with John, Bishop of the
Scattered of the country of Damascus, to hold a dis¬
cussion with the monks of a certain Jacobite monastery
there, and having been beaten in argument the monks
invited them to go into their monastery to see their
abbot; John the Bishop and Ishoc-yahbh declined to en¬
ter, but Sahdona feeling himself equal to the occasion
went in, and after a very short time was converted
by the abbot. Thomas, Bishop of Marga, thinks that
Sahdona was bewitched by the abbot, who is reported
to have been a sorcerer, and that as soon as he bowed
his head under the old mans hand, he lost his reason.
Sahdona was a disciple of Rabban Jacob of Beth c Abhe
and the author of several works, and the adoption of
the dogma of the Jacobites by a man of such ability,
and by one who stood in such a position, was a serious
blow to the Nestorian interest. lshof-yahbh his friend
appears to have had some influence in appointing him
to the orthodox city of Mahoze dhe Ariwan, and his
defection was a great grief to him. In five very interesting
letters1 written by Ishoc-yahbh while he was Metropolitan of
Arbela and Mosul, he explains the circumstances which
led up to his apostacy, and from one of them we are
able to see clearly that Sahdona’s doubts about the
dogma held by the Nestorians of the two Natures of

1 The text is given in Vol. ii. pp. 132—147.


Christ, were not of long standing. Ishof-yahbh accuses him

of having held secretly the views which afterwards
made him so infamous to the Nestorian Church until
he saw that there was no possibility of his being
appointed to the post which he most desired, viz., the
bishopric of Adiabene, and that when he saw that this
prize had slipped through his hands he cast in his lot
with the Nestorian community of Ariwan and became
their bishop. After stating in brief what is the sub-
. stance of the doctrine of the two Natures of Christ,
lshoc-yahbh goes on to refer to the “absurd composition”
which Sahdona wrote, entitled the “Fictitiousness of
Faith”, and which he hid from him. But Ishoc-yahbh
heard rumours of the work and asked him if he had
written it, and when he admitted that he had, he asked
him to produce it; when he had read it he privately
rebuked Sahdona, who straightway promised amendment.
Shortly afterwards lsho-yahbh heard that he had not
fulfilled his promise, whereupon he sent two dear
brethren to him with a letter of further rebuke; when
Sahdona had read this he brought forth his work and
expunged sixteen chapters in their presence, and wrote

a letter of grateful thanks to lsho-yahbh. Notwith¬

standing this recantation Sahdona betook himself to his
chief supporter, who appears to have held a high
position in the Church, and according to lshof-yahbh,
endeavoured to stir him up to enmity against himself.
ishof-yahbh refers to his work ^007 “Refutation of
heretical opinions”, and advises the clergy and people
of Ariwan to read both it and another work which he
had written against Sahdona s opinions when they first
appeared in the Church, and he urges them to dismiss
that “silly man” from his office of bishop. The letter
THE ABBOTS OF b£tH ' ABh£. lxxxix

in which the whole matter is briefly described is of

great interest for the study of the ecclesiastical history
of the time, and a running version of it is as follows:—

To my beloved brethren the God-loving, venerable, believing

and renowned Clergy in the holy Church of Mahoze dhe Ariwan,
Isho-yahbh your brother in the Lord. Peace.
O my brethren, we have committed a fault, both ye and
I, which is worthy of absolution. And now that this fault
hath through itself become revealed, and hath, although having
perceived it I tried to hide it, kicked out, causing great con¬
fusion and tumult, and hath cast away from it the covering of
its shame, and hath stood forth impudently in the sight of all,
it is necessary that I myself should come to you that we may
together meditate upon what it is needful to do, and that we
should give a healthy mending to the injury which hath been
done. For we erred when we raised to the exalted position
of headship, by reason of a small outward manifestation of
excellence of conduct and a hope [for further excellence], a man
lacking in understanding, who varied the instability of his thoughts
by a multitude of changes of opinion, [through] not having
perceived beforehand his defection from the orthodox faith
which happened in a secret chamber a short time before, when
by the evil desire of the love of dominion he was drawn to
corrupt [p. 133] the confession of truth by his stupid subtleties.
Only in this he was very crafty, and he hid in secret that silly
treatise on the perversion of his opinion until he had, with an
abandonment worthy of suffering, seized the dominion over you.
But, as I have said,1 we deserve forgiveness because we were
carried away by error, and because the disease of changeableness
of the man was not of long standing, and because this change¬
ableness took place suddenly and was wrought in a secret
chamber, and because we never had been acquainted with this evil
habit of instability in him, and because also with diabolical
craft he manifested his foul belief only before those who were
able to bestow upon him in return that which he was most

1 Read Xaiola.


anxious to possess, namely the Bishopric of Adiabene. And

having fallen from this with the loss of his hope, an evil fate
cast him into an orthodox city, that is to say to you, who have
with strivings even unto blood, cleansed through a length of
years the evil seed of Satan from among you. And ye have
purified the dwelling-place of your habitation and your believing
Church from all the error of a plurality of forms of those who
with the oneness of Person (^oia), that is to say oneness of
Nature (^a), destroy the confession of our belief with the corrup¬
tion of their blasphemies. And behold ye are this day by
the grace of God one body of orthodox men which shineth
gloriously with the rays of the vivifying light of the one ador¬
able and glorious Person of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Who is God over all; Who hath equality of utterance with His
Father in a perfect Person (;iooj.a), and Who hath also equality
of utterance with us in the perfect speech of Person (^oouj);
Who showeth forth the unity of the manifestation of Lordship
perfectly in the glorious Person of two forms; Whose
human body when shining with the rays of Godhead appeareth
to the eyes to be man, but to the mind God, the sustainer
of the universe. And in the unity of the Divine Image every
one shall recognize God, and every knee shall bow, and every
tongue shall confess Him. No man then shall teach his fellow-
citizen, or his brother, and say, “Know the Lord o)”, for
we all know Him and we all adore Him. This then, in a few
words, is the name and power and scope of the unity of our
Lord. But certain erring men in time past through their
lack of understanding, that is to say audacity, having fallen from
this mystery, have set many stupid obstacles against the word
of truth, and having become foolish in their mind have become
aliens from the life of God. And moreover also the written
and unwritten Divine word, which is in the Holy Church, hath
in the mouth of her ministers in all generations led the objection
of daring men from the pasture of the inheritance of the Lord,
until this time of our sojourning, which is the old age of the
world. And I was thinking, O my beloved brethren, that now
that the world hath become worn out and old and very aged,
and hath already declined, that is to say [now that] the human

understanding hath also perished and can no longer be a discoverer

of evil, that is to say a silly receiver of vain imaginations,
such stumbling-blocks as these must remain of necessity, and
we, that is all of us who are under the wings of orthodoxy
and to whom hath come the lot of inheritance in the holy
house of God, would rest a little from the injury of their offence.
But now that the error of ignorance [p. 134] hath broken out
at this time from a foolish, old, worn out and shaken mind
through a man void of understanding, whom a temporary fate
hath brought [read 0^*2] to the city of your habitation in the
name of governorship, it is necessary for our reconciliation that
it be disturbed, and that we should give the necessary expla¬
nation for this stupid offender. Now he was a lover of this
species of heresies, and [desired] that they should acquire in the
world through him the evil fame of renown, and therefore that
silly man was himself led astray and turned aside to contemp¬
tible folly. And he wrote an absurd composition, entitled “The
fictitiousness of faith”, without either entreaty on the part of
men or the need of necessity, which he hid from myself and
from all those who are like unto me until that time of which I
have spoken before. And with difficulty and after that he had
received the service of dominion over you, when by the command
of the rulers of the age time brought us all to the city of
your habitation, on remembering slightly some rumour which
[I had heard] a short time before I asked him if he had written
anything according to what I had heard. And having con¬
fessed that he had written something I asked him why he had
hidden it from me. Then being near and he having uttered
some feeble apology for this I demanded that he should bring
before me what he had written. And when he- had brought it
and I had found it to be of an evil nature, I rebuked him
privately and secretly with a severe reproof, and being moved
by the severity of the reproof, he promised, but untruthfully,
to correct the things which he had wickedly written. And
having believed him to be a man who had but recently erred
I hoped that he had corrupted his belief not from natural
wickedness of mind, but from the evilness of pride; and I
defined for him a time for amendment which was more than the

need of the matter required, and I departed from thence, having

hidden his error in silence. Now he did not only not fulfil his
promise, but he also went to his supporters who made him
confident by their speeches, and he was strengthened to confirm
his babble (oum) by the help of those whom he imagined to be
sufficiently powerful to support him. And when I heard of the
fraud which he had practised upon truth I wrote an exhor¬
tation and entreaty to him in brotherly feeling, and I made two
dear brethren and fellow-disciples of his and mine participators
in the secret of the matter, and I sent them to him promptly,
and I commanded them not to inform any one of you concern¬
ing these things, in order that I might not make an evil cause
for the man who was seeking an evil cause. And when he
had read those things which I wrote to him, and had heard
also those things which were said to him by those God-loving
brethren, he manifested a deceitful pretence and brought forth
this silly book, and at their instigation expunged sixteen chapters
in the presence of the brethren, and he dismissed them in peace
with a letter of gratitude to myself. And when those God-
loving brethren had arrived and had informed me concerning
the obedience of the silly man, I rejoiced and thanked our Lord
that He had not allowed His feeble servant to fall from the
good hope of orthodoxy of belief. And that silly man, wishing
to reprove me because I had erred [in believing] in him in vain,
and to make known to every man that he was working the will
of Satan, rose up straightway after the departure of those
God-loving brethren from him [p. 135], and took my letter to
him and carried it diligently to that honourable head, through
relying upon whom he had dared to fall into that silly wicked¬
ness. Now this he did with wicked craft and diabolical artifice
that he might stir him up to enmity against me, and to fight
against me, and this was, as ye have already heard, the cause
of the sedition (OTacns) against me from which arose wickedly
all those things which have troubled the world. These things
then did that stupid man work by the agency of Satan, and he
set himself [to be] an occasion of evil to all those who wished
to try and to know if there existed among the children of the
Church, that is to say among the supporters of truth, any love
the abbots of b£th abh£. xciii

of belief. So then if the zeal of the love of the truth which is

in you, that is the zeal of the whole Church of God, be stirred
up, and reject and cast out from among you that man lacking
in understanding, those [who are like unto him] will be warned
and will cease to make manifest themselves in such like things.
But if you, that is the whole Church of God, cease from that
silly man, and allow him to remain in the honourable position
of headship, like unto one who hath in no way offended, then
will those men be strengthened and encouraged to advance in
opposition until they dare to attempt greater things. Thus even
as now shall be fulfilled that which is said, “Shall the Son of
Man come and find faith on the earth?” (St. Luke xviii. 8).
It is necessary then, O beloved brethren, those whom God hath
reared in a noble discipleship from of old until this present,
for you to be a chaste spectacle and a beautiful form to all
believing men in every place. For many generations ye have
preserved uninjured the surety of orthodoxy, and the fair fame
of your correctness of belief hath flown into every soul of the
Church, and especially because I, the feeble one, have also
preached the testimony of your excellence everywhere, and
I have shown my fellow-disciples and companions in orthodoxy
to all men, must ye, in very deed, manifest the might of your
belief by the proof of deeds, and ye must not allow to exist
among you a place for corrupt faith to enter therein through
a stupid man whom time and occasion have brought to you.
For ye know, O truly wise men, that from a small spark a fire
is kindled, and from this evil entrance of the [doctrine of] the
unity of the Person of Christ many forms of blasphemies against
God and against His government [will arise], and wretched men
will lapse into wickedness. For that one Person (from) must,
of necessity, indicate one Nature, ye all know like teachers of God,
although that ignorant and stupid man thought it to be impossible
and that by this from we should understand the word
that is to say by the word fram, even as that silly writer
was himself anxious to demonstrate, the necessity of the ancient
opinions upon the words forbiddeth, even as ye also know and
every man is acquainted with [this fact], although that man void
of understanding doth not possess any such opinions. And

that a single constitution and a single ;*oai.a are not able to

arise from Godhead and manhood, even as that stupid writer
hath stated, the impossibility of matters proclaimeth as it were
with a loud voice to all men; the silly man then, vainly laboured
[p. 136] to beat down the bounds of impossibility with stupid
assistance. And had he not been the most ignorant of men
he would never have dared to have written error like unto this
in a book, but would have kept it in his heart, although he
talked freely about the stupidity of his being entrapped by error
like unto this, even as others who have fallen sick in such
matters have reserved them for their opinion and speech only,
and have never dared to commit them to writing. Now there¬
fore, O beloved brethren, inasmuch as the diabolical error
against the true belief began to manifest itself among you it
is your very right and bounden duty, more than all [other]
men to stand mightily against it, that by the little breath of the
fire of your zeal ye may quickly persuade the stirrer up of the
war [to desist from his] opposition against the truth, and that
by the outcome of matters ye may confirm to yourselves all
the fair renown which ye have acquired, and that ye may find
for me your beloved friend—but rather for the whole Church
of God—a subject for boasting against error, and a matter for
joy of the soul, and a cause for thanksgiving and praise to
God. Behold now ye have with you by the grace of God
also that little book which is called Huppakh Hushabhe, which
was composed many years before this senseless opinion spread
abroad, about the time when this error began to appear in the admoni¬
tion of certain men, and it sufficiently rebuketh the lack of under¬
standing of those who err by the refutation of rational opinions.
Behold, moreover, I sent to you with this little book also a
copy of that little book which I wrote to correct the writings of
that stupid man, at the time when I still had good hope of
him, which he like a seditious man who stirreth up strife (?)
and who uncovereth his shame, in the madness of his mind
carried whither he did carry them with an evil intent, and to
such a degree that he became the originator of this tumult
which hath been stirred up against me, as well as of that against
the whole Church of God. And it is a marvellous thing that

being absolutely ignorant of every thing concerning what was

right, there should be found in him sufficient knowledge [to
perform] this work of making a tumult in the Church of God.
Read then that work in order that ye may know what things
happened through my care for him, and of his wicked cunning
against the truth, and whatsoever is meet for the fear of God
and for the love of the truth which is in you, and for the
good hope of the whole Church of God concerning you, be
ye diligent to carry out by the help of God. And may that
merciful God by Whose hands cometh every good thing with
which He maketh those who fear Him to abound, perfect you
in all good to work His will always, all the days of your lives,

lshoc-yahbh became Catholicus in 647, and as soon

as he was established in his new office he built at Beth
c Abhe “a splendid temple, at great expense, and provided it
with everything necessary for making the service glorious
and impressive. Wishing to form a source of supply
of monks for the service of the monastery generally and
for his new church, he formed the intention of founding
a school there near his cell into which he might im¬
port “teachers and masters and expositors”, and where
might gather together “many scholars’. The monks,
however, objected to this, and Kam-lsho represented
to the Catholicus that the monastery was intended to
be a place where they were to pass their lives in
weeping and mourning, and not a school for children,
and that they could not lead a life of contemplation if
the noise of the voices of the boys learning to sing
the chants and hymns was always ringing in their ears.
Finally, they added, that if he wished to build a school
at all, it must be somewhere else in the land of Persia,
the whole of which was under his dominion. To this
the Catholicus answered that he intended to carry out

his plan, firstly because with his wealth he had endowed

the monastery with earthly possessions, and secondly
because he was, spiritually, lord of all monasteries and
convents. When Kam-lsho' saw that the Catholicus
had determined to build a school at Beth cAbhe, he
and Beraz Surin and seventy monks of the congregation
went into the martyrium, and taking the coffin of Rabban
Jacob they left the monastery by night in tears, and
went forth to Herpa, a village of Saphsapha, and
gathered together stones to build a monastery there.
On the night, however, in which the monks departed,
the Catholicus saw in a vision a mighty eagle bearing
many eaglets upon his back flying away from the place
in the martyrium where Rabban Jacob was buried, and
he seemed to hear cries from the young ones as if
their food had been taken away from them. When he
came to himself he sent for the sacristan, who told him
that Kam-Ishoc and Beraz Surin and seventy monks had
already departed, and that the whole body of monks
was making ready to follow them; believing this vision
to be a Divine indication that he was not to build the
school in the monastery, he departed and built it in
his native village of Kuphlana in Adiabene, and the
monks returned to their cells.
Shortly after Isho'-yahbh left Beth cAbhe, Simon,
the Metropolitan of Rew-Ardashir in Persia and of the
Katraye, or Arabs of Katar on the Persian Gulf, refused
to acknowledge his authority, and the ingenuity of the
Catholicus was taxed to the utmost to keep this impor¬
tant section of the Nestorian Church from breaking-
away for good and all. In a series of seven letters1

1 The text is printed in Vol. ii. pp. 154—174.


he expostulates with Simon and with the various con¬

gregations under his charge, and he succeeded in healing
the breach, at least for a time. In spite of the excuse
which Ishoc-yahbh made when Kam-Ishoc asked him to
write a life of Rabban Jacob, that the compiling of
books required “leisure of mind”, he found time to write
the history of Ishoc-sabhran, a convert from the religion
of Zoroaster and a Christian martyr;1 the “Refutation
of Heretical Opinions”; and a number of exhortations,
services, hymns, and offices of baptism, absolution and
consecration. Three series of letters written while he
was Bishop of Mosul, Metropolitan of Arbela, and Catho-
licus respectively, the texts of many of which are print¬
ed in this volume, attest his untiring zeal for the Church,
and his careful watchfulness of every part of it even
in the most remote lands. One of the greatest services
which he did for the Church was the arrangement of
the Hudhra, or Service-book for the Sundays of the
whole year, for Lent, and for the fast of Nineveh,
which he drew up with the help of Anan-Isho, the
redactor of the Book of Paradise of Palladius. During
the life-time of Ishoc-yahbh the Monastery of Beth Abhe
reached its highest point of glory and renown, and here
he was buried when he died in 658.


Of Kam-lshoc the fourth Abbot of the Monastery

of Beth cAbhe, in the second quarter of the seventh
century, we know very little, but Thomas, Bishop
of Marga, tells us that he was Abbot “for many years”,

1 See Wright, Syriac Literature, p. 843.


and that he was the teacher of such famous ascetics

as Jacob of Beth Nuhadhra, who became the Abbot
of the Monastery of Rabban Isho'-yahbh at Mosul, and
of Aphni-Maran, the author of many works and the
founder of a famous monastery.1 Shortly after he became
head of BethcAbhe he wrote to lshoc-yahbh, Bishop of
Mosul, saying that he felt unequal to perform satis¬
factorily the great task which he had undertaken, and
among other things asking him to write a life of Jacob,
the founder of Beth cAbhe; Isho'-yahbh’s answer is
fortunately extant and forms No. 18 of the series of
letters which he wrote while Bishop of Mosul. In it he
begs the new head to be of good cheer, and to bear
patiently and with courage the load which has been
laid upon him, and he declines to write the life of Jacob
on the ground of many daily distractions, pointing out
that the work of compiling books needs leisure of mind
He refers in slighting terms to the negligent
ways of the Metropolitan, and advises him either to
bear the temptation and trouble which a certain
‘‘neighbour” is causing, or to appeal direct to the
Patriarch; in either case he wishes him to make up
his mind quickly.2

1 See B. 0., iii. I. p. 187, col. 2, at the foot.

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Under the direction of Kam-Ishoc, the Monastery of

Beth LAbhe attained a splendour which was never after¬
wards equalled, and the number of monks which at the
death of Rabban Jacob had been eighty now rose to
a total of three hundred. For the new church and its
furniture, and for continual gifts and support, the mon¬
astery was indebted to its generous and wealthy patron
lshoc-yahbh, Bishop of Mosul, the son of the Persian
nobleman Bastohmagh; but Kam-Ishoc, at a very early
stage in his rule, showed this excellent man that there

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were certain matters connected with the monastery

which the Abbot and his monks would only allow to
be decided by themselves. Thus when Isho-yahbh III.
determined to build a school there for training boys
to become monks, Kam-Isho" and Beraz Surin resisted
him boldly, and when the Catholicus persisted in his
intention, they, together with seventy of the monks of
the congregation, took the body of Rabban Jacob from
the martyrium, and departed to Herpa in Saphsapha
where they began to build a monastery; warned in a
vision Isho'-yahbh gave up his plan and the monks
returned to their monastery. In the days of Kam-
lshoc lived cAnan-Ishoc the redactor of the Book of


Beraz Surin, the fifth Abbot of Beth r Abhe, probably

lived in the third quarter of the seventh century under
the Catholicus George, who sat from A. D. 661 — 680;
he was one of the most active of the monks who
opposed the building of a school in the monastery there
by the Catholicus Isho-yahbh III. George the Catholicus
had been a great friend of Isho -yahbh III., to whom he
owed his promotion in the church, and he had endowed

the Monastery of Beth cAbhe with a fine estate called

Beth Habba. His care for this house was so oreat

that he took pains while tarrying at Diren, a place on the

chief island of Bahren in the Persian Gulf, to have
cloths for the altar specially woven, and when his return
from his patriarchal visitation was announced, a deputa¬
tion of monks, led by Simon the “Beardless”, went down
to meet and salute him on his arrival at Ctesiphon
and Seleucia. George was the author of some hymns

and songs of praise, and prayers, and a few discourses

and canons/ and he wisely employed die famous cAnan-
Ishoc, who in his later days became a monk at Beth

c Abhe, to redact the Book of Paradise of Palladius and

to make such additions to it as he was able.
About this time there flourished Rabban Sabhr-lsho,
who was surnamed Rostam, and who wrote histories of
many famous ascetics.2


Here, for convenience only, for no exact data con¬

cerning his period are extant, must be mentioned Rabban
Mar Abraham, the Abbot of the Monastery of Rabban
Zekha-lshoc, who on account of the cold of the country
of Dasen, where it was situated, came when an old
man to Beth cAbhe and was elected Abbot. He was
originally a monk in the Great Monastery of Izla, and
he afterwards became the Abbot of the Monastery of
Rabban Zekha-Ishok Thomas, Bishop of Marga, places
his history after that of the Abbot Gabriel, who suc¬
ceeded Bar-Sauma, but he tells us expressly that it
should have been o
ofiven earlier in the book.3 When

he came to Beth c Abhe he directed the affairs of that

house and those of his own old monastery with great
success, and the arrangement which he made that one
steward should minister unto both monasteries continued
in force for some time.


Bar-Sauma, the seventh Abbot of Beth'Abhe, flourish¬

ed under the Patriarch Henan-Ishoc, who sat from

1 See B. 0., iii. i. p. 153. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 210.

3 See Vol. ii. p. 213.

686—701. Thomas of Marga distinctly states1 that Bar-

Sauma succeeded Beraz Sunn, otherwise it would seem
that we ought to place Simon the “Beardless” sixth in
the list of Abbots of Beth Abhe, for when that mon¬
astery sent a deputation to its patron George the Catho-
licus, we read that the elders chose “suitable men to
meet him and to salute the father of fathers, and they
all entreated this honourable head of the monastery,
Abba Simon, to be the agent by whose means the
homage due to his holy fatherhood might be conveyed
to him”. Of Bar-Sauma Thomas says nothing.


Gabriel, surnamed the “Cow”, came from the country

between Arbela and Hamadan and was educated in the
schools, at Nisibis, and afterwards became a monk
in the Great Monastery on Mount Izla. He was a
learned man and a good debater, and wrote several
successful treatises against the “shorn2 followers of
Severus of Antioch”, who lived in the Monastery of
Kartemin, which lay to the east of Mardin. When
Sahdona had been expelled from the Nestorian Church
by Isho'-yahbh III., Gabriel went to him at Edessa, and
held a controversy with him and defeated him. He
wrote a discourse to be read at Easter and several
small narratives, but his chief work was a history of
• the martyrs of Tur Berain. He loved the Monastery
of Beth Abhe exceedingly, and revered its founder, for
at the end of his life of Narsai, an Abbot of the Great

1 See Vol. ii. p. 212.

2 A term of contempt applied to the monks who shaved
the whole head.

Monastery, he says, “It is sufficient for me to say in

praise of Rabban Mar Abraham and his congregation,
that the holy Rabban Jacob, the founder of the Mon-
astery of Beth Abhe, went forth from it, for the Lord
hath builded by his hands the king of monasteries”.
Gabriel was Abbot of the Great Monastery for a
short time, but for some reason he left and came to
Beth Abhe.


Of George of Neshra or Nishra, a village in Adiabene,

who was surnamed “Bar-Sayyadhe”, i. e., “son of fish¬
ermen”, little is known; he lived under the Patriarch
Henan-Ishoc, who sat from 686—701, and according to
cAbhdTshoc wrote the “Book of Obedience.”1 The life
of George was the first in the “Book of the Little
Paradise”, which was written by David, Bishop of the
Kartaw Arabs, who flourished under the Patriarch
Timothy (he sat from 780—828), at the request of
• a believer from the village
7 o of Bashosh
• A c A
near Mosul. During the rule of George at Beth c Abhe
three monks, Abha, Thomas, and Bar-Idta, from the
Monastery of Rabban Selibha, which was near Heghla
Omed, a village on the Tigris, were falsely accused by
their brethren of belonging to the sect of the hateful
heretics called Mesalleyane, and letters were sent to
the Patriarch Henan-lsho informing him of this accusation.2

1 £j£sa

2 The letters of accusation were sent to Henan-lsho while

he was staying in the Monastery of Jonah near Mosul. This
unfortunate man had been deposed for nearly two years through
the machinations of John of Dasen, Bishop of Nisibis, and after

The Patriarch wrote to their accusers saying that he

had personally no knowledge whatever of the matters
of which these three men were accused, and that he
never interfered in the affairs of monks, but that as the
accusation must be enquired into he wished this to be

done by the Abbot and monks of Beth Abhe. George

and his colleagues examined the three monks, and
finding that there was no ground for the accusation,
reported this fact to the Patriarch, and the men returned
to their cells by his order. George was buried at Beth
Abhe in that part of the church called i. e,,
“place where the after-supper service” (or compline)
was sung, which lay to the north of the choir.


Sama, the tenth Abbot of Beth cAbhe, was the

brother of George surnamed Bar-Sayyadhe; his life
was written in the “Book of the Little Paradise” by
David, Bishop of the Kartaw Arabs, and he was buried
in the church at Beth 'Abhe near his brother.


Nathaniel, the eleventh Abbot of Bethc Abhe, flourish¬

ed under the Patriarch Henan-Isho, and his life was

being thrown into prison for some days, was released and sent
to a monastery in the mountains in charge of two of John’s
disciples. On the way these men threw him down a precipice
and injured or broke one or both of his legs; for this reason
he was surnamed the “Lame”. The men thought he was dead
and left him, but he was found by some shepherds who nursed
him and brought him to the Monastery of Jonah, where he was
buried in 701.

written in the “Book of the Little Paradise” by David,

Bishop of the Kartaw Arabs; he was buried in the
church of Beth cAbhe. He wrote polemical treatises
against the followers of Severus of Antioch, and the
Manicheans (JJw), and the people of the Arab district
of Kanda (%&a), and the Mandaraye,1 and a commen¬
tary on the Psalms of David.



Selibha, the twelfth Abbot of Beth 'Abhe, probably

came from the country to the north of Bagdad ;
he flourished under the Patriarch Henan-lshoc, and
his life was written in the “Book of the Little
Paradise” by David, Bishop of the Kartaw Arabs. He
was buried in the church at Beth cAbhe. During the
lifetime of Selibha a serious famine took place in the
country of Marga, and some of the monks were obliged
to retire to the mountainous districts where they could
find berries to eat.2


Gabriel, the thirteenth Abbot of Beth Abhe, flourish¬

ed at the end of the seventh century, and his life
was written in the “Book of the Little Paradise” by
David, Bishop of the Kartaw Arabs; he was buried in
the church at Beth Abhe.


Joseph, the fourteenth Abbot of Beth Abhe, came from

the country of Siarzor or Shahrazur, and was a kinsman

1 The took their name from the Arab king ;
see B. 0., iii. I. p. 224, and Payne Smith, Thes., col. 2171.
2 See Vol. ii. p. 225.


of Gabriel, surnamed the “Dancer’’, Bishop of Beth

Garmai; he came to the monastery during the lifetime
of this old man, probably about A. D. 720. He lived
a strict ascetic life, and was a man of lowly mind, and
his virtues induced the brethren to make him their
abbot. When he had held this office for four years
the Patriarch Selibha-zekha, who succeeded Henan-Isho
in 701, came to Beth 'Abhe with the intention of car¬
rying off a beautiful Evangeliarium bound in gold and
set with jewels,1 which had been bequeathed to the
monastery by its famous patron the Patriarch, Isho -
yahbh III. of Adiabene. Rabban Joseph resisted the
Patriarch and rebuked him for his cupidity, and when
he tried to remove it by force, the young coenobites
fell upon him and buffeted him and took it away;
the elders apologized to the Patriarch for the rough
handling which he had received, but Rabban Joseph
resigned his office, and left the monastery, and became
the Abbot of the Monastery of Bar Idta. Soon after
he came there an Arab called Ayas, a member of the
tribe of Dhuhl, the storekeeper of the monastery, asked
and obtained permission from the monks to build a
house for his cattle on their estate, and little by little
he seized upon the fields round about it, and made
them his own. For some reason he slew the steward
and cast his body into a well, and next threatened the
life of the Abbot Joseph. When Joseph heard this he
went to Baladh, a town situated on the east bank of
the Tigris, about forty miles north of Mosul, where he
founded the monastery which is called after his name.2

1 See Vol. ii. p. 229.

2 See Vol. ii. p. 233, note 5.


John, the fifteenth Abbot of Beth Abhe, was a

nephew of Anan-Isho, who redacted the Book of
Paradise for the Patriarch George (he sat from 661—680),
and he entered the monastery as a youth during his
uncle’s lifetime. He was admirably constituted for
leading the life of an ascetic, and the renown of his
piety and abstinence caused him to be elected abbot
of his monastery, and later Bishop of Beth Beghash
on the Upper Zab, and finally Metropolitan of Adiabene
by the Patriarch Selibha-zekha, who died in 728. He
bequeathed to the library of Beth Abhe all the books
which he had inherited from his uncle, and he showed
his affection for that house in many other ways. John’s
syncellus was called Dindowai, and him he appointed
Bishop of Ma alltha and Henaitha; this pious man like¬
wise bequeathed his books to the library of Beth Abhe.
John ruled as abbot for many years, and he was buried
by the door of the screen = qppaKiris) of the
About the period of John's rule the glory of Beth
Abhe was much diminished, and Gabriel, surnamed the
Dancer, a monk there who afterwards became Metropolitan
Bishop of Kerkuk, says in a work which he composed that
of all the estates which the Patriarchs Isho-yahbh III.
and George bequeathed to them nothing whatever was left.1


Aha, the sixteenth Abbot of Beth ' Abhe, was born at

Awakh, in the district of Talana, in the country of Marga;

1 See Vol. ii. p. 248.


he and his brother Shubhhal - Maran were educated


at Shalmath1 and afterwards entered Beth Abhe;

when John was elected Bishop of Beghash Aha was
elected Abbot of Beth Abhe. He was a man of fine
presence but of humble and lowly mind. He lived a
strict ascetic life and ate only a little bread and onion
with some water each evening; in - church he never
lifted his eyes from the tops of his sandals from the
beginning of the service to the end. Under the rule
of the Patriarch Mar Abha this Abbot was elected
Metropolitan of Athor and Adiabene; his consecration
took place between 740—750. Aha took part in the
deposition of Surin the Patriarch in 75 4,2 and he seems
to have played his part in this difficult business with
tact and skill; he lived a short time after this event,
and died and was buried at Shalmath in Marga.
About this time flourished Babhai of Gebhilta in
Tirhan, who devoted himself to the task of founding
schools in the country of Marga, and of improving the
musical portions of the Nestorian church-service; what
Isho-yahbh of Adiabene did for the service-book that
did Babhai for church music. Each country, town, and
monastery had its own hymn and psalm tunes and
sang them in its own way, and if a man happened to
be in a church away from his home he could not join
in the service, but had to stand silent like one ignorant.
Babhai arranged the versicles, responses, final clauses,
tunes for psalms and hymns, and drew up a set of

1 For his dream in which he foresaw that he would become

a bishop, see Vol. ii. p. 263.
2 hasa opo .... wOlAcjs

jbiisatsi Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., ii. col. 155.


directions to teach people how to use them. Being

fully aware that any wide-spread system of reform
flourishes best when it can be taught in schools, Babhai
induced various Persian noblemen to supply money,
and he succeeded in establishing at least twenty-four
schools1 wherein the “musical system of Rabban Babhai”
was taught in the days of Aha the Metropolitan. As
five of them were founded in monasteries it seems that
all monks did not so seriously object to the noise of
the boy’s voices as did Kam-Ishd, Abbot of Beth
Abhe.2 Babhai was the author of many metrical com¬
positions arranged alphabetically, and of “Consolations”
and “Blessings”.3
Here must be mentioned Marari-ammeh of Hatre,
or Hatra, in Tirhan, one of the disciples of Babhai the
musician. This man was appointed teacher of the
school of the village of Kephar ' Uzzel, and his life there
was in every way so remarkable that Mar Aha the
Metropolitan elected him to the Bishopric of Salakh
in the room of Mar Isho-zekha. Salakh, the
native country of Thomas, Bishop of Marga, abounded
at that time in Magianism, and the inhabitants thereof
worshipped the sun, moon and stars, and trees of
beautiful foliage, and here Maran -ammeh began to work
a series of miracles, the narrative concerning which
forms an important section of the Book of Governors.
According to Thomas, Bishop of Marga, he converted
many of the Shahrighan, a sect which regarded Christ as
“one of the prophets” and as having no divinity; he

1 For their names see Vol. ii. p. 295.

2 See Vol. ii. p. 148.
3 The text of one of his hymns is given on p. 300.

destroyed an ants’ nest in the wall of the church at

Nehshon by having it sprinkled with water in which
he had washed the cross which he wore; he raised
the son of a widow to life, and performed many miracles
of a like nature; and he prophesied the downfall of
the Shahrighan, who were great land-owners in Salakh,
and their utter destruction by Hatim bar-Salih, who
was as yet unborn. On the death of Mar Aha he was
appointed Metropolitan Bishop of Adiabene by the
Patriarch Jacob, who sat from 753—772, and soon after
he had taken office he made a re-distribution of the
dioceses under his rule. In his day many members of
religious houses had given themselves over to a vicious
course of life, and Maran- animeh received a revelation
to go and destroy the villages wherein they lived. He
pleaded with the angel of the Lord that he could not
destroy his own flock, and when he saw that the com¬
mands which he brought to him must perforce be carried
out he fled to the desert and took refuge in a reedy
swamp whither the spiritual being followed him, on the
choice of being burned with fire in the reeds or going
to fulfill his Lord’s behests being placed before him
once more, he promised with tears to execute the
judgment which was decreed upon the wicked. When
he had given his word the angel placed him back in
his cell in one moment. Soon after this he set out
from his monastery, and crossing the Zab made his
way into the mountainous country east of Marga; here
by his means the village of Birta was burned with fire;
Beth Tehunai was swallowed up in the earth amid
thunders and lightnings; Beth Ainatha was destroyed
by the blasts of a mighty wind; Habbushta (or Hebh-
shushta) was destroyed by his curses; Beth Edhre was

raided by the northern barbarians and its people were

slain; Maya Karire decayed and the estates there passed
into other hands; at Beth Kardagh the tower in which
a Jacobite pillar-saint1 lived was struck by the lightnings
from a storm which rose in Gebel Maklub, and
the pillar-saint himself was killed, according to the
prophecy of Maran-ammeh; and the village of Hetre
became a ruin. In the days of Maran- ammeh there
was a great famine, and the good man took a very
active part in administering relief to the widows and



lsho-yahbh, the seventeeth Abbot of Beth Abhe,

was a kinsman of lsho-yahbh III. the Patriarch, and
was born at Telia in the province of Birta, and he entered
the monastery when John, Metropolitan of Adiabene,
was abbot. When Aha was made Metropolitan of
Adiabene in the room of John, lsho-yahbh suc¬
ceeded him as abbot, and when Abraham, Bishop
of Nineveh, died lsho-yahbh was elected to fill his
place. Here he lived until he became an old man,
and he performed the episcopal office with such success
that on the death of Henan-lsho II., who sat from
774—780, the Bishops and Metropolitans made all
arrangements to elect him to the patriarchate.3 When

1 On the origin of pillar-saints see the interesting article on

Simeon Stylites (A. D. 395 by Noldeke in his Sketches

from Eastern History, English translation by J. S. Black, M.

A., Edinburgh, 1892, p. 214.
2 See Vol. ii. p. 338 f.
3 On p. 379, . 15, for “so that he became the Patriarch”,

read “so that he might become the Patriarch”.


Timothy, Bishop of Beth Beghash, saw that it was the

general wish to make Isho -yahbh the Patriarch, he went
to him secretly, and persuaded him that as he was an
old man he would not be able to resist the attacks
of Ephraim, Metropolitan of Gunde-Shabhor, and of
Thomas, Bishop of Kashkar, both of whom were, with
Timothy, candidates for the patriarchate; Timothy also
promised to make him Metropolitan of Adiabene, and
thus succeeded in causing him to refuse to be appointed
Catholicus and Patriarch. Shortly after this, by some
means or other, Timothy became Patriarch and in a
few days he elected Isho -yahbh Metropolitan of Adiabene.
When the people of Adiabene saw that they had not
been consulted in the election of Isho -yahbh they refused
to acknowledge him as their head, and being stirred
up to rebellion by Joseph, Metropolitan of Merv, they
took Rostam, Bishop of Henaitha, and made him Metro¬
politan of Arbela in the Mud Convent which is on the
Tigris, below the Hebrew Fortress in Nineveh, and
the Shahrighan seated him on the Metropolitan throne
of Beth Mar Kardagh. Rostam at once seized upon
the revenues of the see and gave himself up to a
luxurious life, and one day when riding on a mule on
his return from a drunken feast the dogs of Beth Mar
Kardagh surrounded the animal and he could not go
on; Rostam was at last obliged to dismount, and as he did
so these animals rushed upon him in a body and
bit and worried him to death. When the people of
Adiabene saw the fate of their unconsecrated bishop,
they repented of their folly and inducted Isho-yahbh
with great honour.
In the days of Isho -yahbh the church of Beth ' Abhe,
which had been built by his great namesake the Patriarch

from Adiabene, had become old and ruined, and the

Abbot saw that it was necessary to rebuild it. He
brought workmen and hewed limestone in the mountain
of Debhar Hephton, and brought it in rafts to the foot
of the mountain peak upon which the Monastery of
Beth 'Abhe stood; from the river it was carried to the
site of the church by donkeys and mules. The altar
and the coffins and bodies of the men who had been
buried in the martyrium were removed to the library,
and the walls of the church, massive even in their
decay, were pulled down. Notwithstanding the active
opposition of the brethren Isho -yahbh continued his
work, and was, by a miracle, enabled to pay the heretic
contractor whom he employed, two sums of seven and
thirteen thousand pieces of money (z. e., about T500)
respectively. When the church was finished he intended
to rebuild the other parts of the monastery and the
porters lodge, but he died shortly after Easter and
was buried in Beth Mar Kardagh in Adiabene. During
lshoc-yahbh,s abbotship the governor of Mosul mulcted
the monastery of fifteen thousand pieces of silver, a
sum equal to about T375 of our money.


• A
Cyriacus, the eighteenth Abbot of Beth Abhe, was
born at Gebhilta in Tirhan, and was the son of wealthy
Christian parents; he was a disciple of Gurya, a disciple
of Babhai the musician, and afterwards entered the
Monastery of Beth ' Abhe when Mar Aha was the abbot,
probably between 74° and 75°* When he had passed
through the three years of his novitiate he went to
live in a cell by himself, and practised the most rigid

austerities. His daily food consisted of a dry crust

which he ate at eventime dipped in salt and water,
and when he was sitting, reading, eating or sleeping
he used to bind his knees round with a thick leather
strap, so that he could not by any means stretch mt
his legs. At night, when keeping vigil, he used to
bend one knee like a camel and fasten a leather strap
round the bent foot and thigh, and holding a rod,
he stood all night in that painful position, like a crane
standing on one foot; worn out by exhaustion he some¬
times fell down fainting and when he had recovered
himself he fastened the strap round the other foot and
leg, and continued his watching until the day breathed.
When the abbot lshoc-yahbh died the choice of the
brethren fell upon Cyriacus, who having been appointed
abbot, at once deputed the temporal affairs of the house
to the charge of one of the brethren, so that his own
ascetic manner of life might not be interrupted. For
some reason or other at this period of its history Beth

Abhe fell into great trouble: the locusts ate up the

seed corn, and food became scarce, and Cyriacus himself
was obliged to go to Mosul (?) to borrow from the
merchants there, eight thousand zuze, a sum equal to about
£200 of our money, and to pay interest thereon. While the
monastery was in this pitiable condition Cyriacus healed
the son of an Arab of Mosul who was sick unto death,
and the grateful Arab in return paid the debt owed
by the monks, and left two thousand zuze (£ 50) with
them for their most pressing needs. Notwithstanding,
however, all the virtues of Cyriacus, the Monastery of

Beth Abhe sank little by little into a deplorable con¬

dition under his rule, and within a few years after his

death the house which had educated four Patriarchs,1

and had produced the editors of the Nestorian service-
book for all the Sundays of the year, and the redactor
of the “Book of Paradise” of Palladius, and the authors
of works which for their learning and excellence were
standard authorities on all spiritual and temporal matters
throughout the length and breadth of the land, was
obliged to hire the services of Solomon of Beth Garmai
and of Ba’uth to teach its monks how to read the
service-books and to sing the hymns and responses.
In a vision one day Cyriacus foresaw that forty-two
of the monks were to become rulers in the Nestorian
Church at home and abroad, now this actually came
to pass, for Cyriacus became Bishop of Baladh, George
and Abraham became Patriarchs, ten were made Metropo¬
litan Bishops and Bishops of Gilan and Dailom near the
Caspian Sea, one became Bishop of Mukan, one became
Metropolitan of China,2 one became Bishop of Yemen and

1 Isho'-yahbh III. of Adiabene, George I. and George II.,

and Abraham who sat from 837 to 850. It is almost certain
that Timothy was educated at Beth cAbhe.
2 £1*^ The first Nestorian missionary arrived in China
in the early part of the seventh century, although it seems that
Christianity must have penetrated that country long before this
time. Tradition assigns the evangelization of China to St. Thomas,
and although this may be somewhat doubtful there is no doubt
that Arnobius, who wrote about A. D. 300, reckoned the people
of the Seres as Christians; compare “Enumerari enim possunt,
atque in usum computationis venire, ea quae in India gesta sunt,
apud Seras, Persas et Medos” etc.: Adversus Gentes, Leyden,
1651. lib. ii. p. 50. See also Le Quien, Oriens Christiatms,
tom. ii. col. 1269; Assemani, B. 0., iii. ii. p. 403; Kircher,
China Illustrata, pp. 57, 92; Raulin, Hist. Eccles. Malabar,
Rome, 1745, p- 7; Du Halde, Description de la Chine; and

San a, one became Metropolitan of Kerkuk, four became

Bishops of Beth Garmai, one became Bishop of Shoshan
in Elam, two became Bishops of Beth Beghash, three
became Bishops of Marga, one became Bishop of Nineveh,
one became Bishop of Shenna, and two became Bishops
of Khanishabhor.1 There is little wonder that Thomas,
Bishop of Marga, was proud of the monastery which
might be called the “Mother of Patriarchs and Bishops”,
and we may judge of the old reputation of the house
for piety and learning by the fact that its sons were
accepted without question as rulers of the churches even
in remote Yemen and China.
In the days of Cyriacus an Arab calledc Amran bar-
Muhammad made his way into Marga, and having seized
many of the villages round about he tried to force the
brethren of Beth 'Abhe to sell the monastery and its
estates to him. The Abbot refused to entertain the
proposition, and predicted a wretched fate for Amran,

Gibbins, Authentic Memoirs of the Christian Church in China,

Dublin, 1862, Introduction. The famous bilingual Chinese-Syriac
inscription of Singan-fu (see Vol. ii. p. 379) was discovered
in 1625, while some excavations were being made, and it is
dated A. Gr. 1092 = A. D. 780—781. It is rectangular in
shape and measures about p/2 ft.X3I/2 ft.X9 in., and has upon
it a figure somewhat like the Maltese Cross. “5 palmis lata,
uno crassa, longa fere decern;.tenet crucisfiguram, non
absimilem ei, quam Equites portant Melitenses” (Kircher, Pro-
ctromus, p. 52). The question of the genuineness of the Chinese
part of the inscription has been raised by some writers, but I
am assured by the Chinese scholar Prof. R. K. Douglas, Keeper
of Oriental MSS. in the British Museum, that there is no doubt
about it whatever.
1 For their names see Vol. ii. p. 447. The names of the
eleven others Thomas was unable to give.

whereupon this Arab sent men to lie in wait about

the monastery to slay him; the men were unable to
carry out their orders, for they were afraid of the
miraculous fire which protected the abbot’s body and
which made his cell full of light. When Cyriacus had
lived fifty years at Beth Abhe he was elected Bishop
of Baladh, but he only ministered in his new office for
fifty days; he died about A. D. 800.


The nineteenth Abbot of Beth Abhe was Shubhhal-

Maran of whom Thomas tells us little.

xx. Joseph 11.


The twentieth Abbot of Beth Abhe was Joseph, a

native of Beth Meshainane on the Lower Zabh in Beth
Garmai. He lived a strictly ascetic life and fasted for
many days at a time; for forty years he neither lifted
up his head nor saw the ceiling of the temple. During
the period of his rule Beth Abhe was plundered by
the Kurds of Kartaw who carried off everything of
value while he was peacefully sleeping his mid-day
sleep in his cell. Joseph is the last Abbot of Beth
Abhe mentioned by Thomas, and it is doubtful if he
had a successor; he died in the year 832.



Of the origin of monasticism and of the causes

which first led men to lead an ascetic life nothing

seems to be known with certainty. Thomas, Bishop

of Marga, adopting the opinion of other Christian
writers, states boldly that Moses and Elijah the Great
were the first ascetics, and that Christ and His Apostles
and John the Baptist were their successors, and that
the life of “virginity and holiness” (by which he means
the “ascetic life”) led by Moses und Elijah was the
counterpart of that led by Christ and His Apostles.1
At the same time, however, he says that “virginity
and holiness descended from hand to hand among all
nations, but especially among the pious armies of monks
that exist in all quarters of the earth”,2 and it is clear
that he wishes it to be understood that the successors of
Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and the “sons of the prophets”,3
and John the Baptist were the Christian monks. In the
fifth book4 of the “Book of Governors” Thomas goes
more fully into the question of the life of silence and
contemplation led by heathen philosophers, and he quotes
examples showing that certain eminent Greeks pursued
a life of solitude, and he attempts to prove that they
“became gods among men” thereby. The four Greeks
to whom he refers are Pythagoras, Homer, Plato, and

1 See Vol. ii. pp. 26, 27. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 27.
3 In a chapter on the origin of the ascetic life rso ? *07

0,1*0 ^soo ;cso^3.i.^o 1201 £*2, by cAbhd-Isho' of

Nisibis it is said distinctly that the band of monks were an¬
ciently called “Sons of the Prophets”
■0007 0 uas, and that they bore this name until they re¬
ceived the Gospel when they became known as i. e., men
who had “gone forth from the world”. When the belief in Christ
grew and increased they applied to themselves the appellation
j2>oaoio», 1. e., povaxoq.
4 See Vol. ii. p. 530.

Hippocrates, but many of his statements concerning

them are traditions, in support of which there seems
to be no evidence forthcoming. Thus he makes
Homer an alchemist and states that he could transmute
metals1 and make precious stones; Plato built himself
a cell in the heart of the desert and taking the Old
Testament with him, meditated for three years upon
the verse “Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One”;2
and Hippocrates by means of a life of solitude and
silence learned how the child was formed in the womb
of its mother. On the other hand his remarks con-

cerning Pythagoras have the appearance of being taken

from a more trustworthy source:—“Pythagoras, the
master of philosophers, from the experience which he
had gained during a long interval of time, said, ‘Without
the lying fallow of the body in restraint, and the silence
of the tongue from speaking, philosophy3 can never be
acquired/ And he commanded all those who were being
taught in his school to keep silence for five years, and
the entrance to wisdom was taught by him in that school
by hearing and sight only”. That Pythagoras did in¬
culcate the doctrine of silence for several years is well
known, and it seems that his “school”, entrance to which
was obtained after probation only, which was to all

1 See especially the excellent article Chemie by Hoffmann

in Ladenburg’s Handworterbuch der CJnmie, Breslau 1884, Bd.
XVI. p. 2, pp. 516—530.
2 Deuteronomy vi. 4. On the mythical nature of this and
other similar statements concerning Plato see Zeller, Plato and
the Older Academy (English translation by Alleyne and Good¬
win), London 1876, p. 14.
3 Thomas uses qpiXocroqpeiv to signify the practice of as¬

intents and purposes a religious institution wherein many

of the members were celibates,1 and several abstained
from animal food, and had all things in common, is
a nearer approach to the later Christian monastery
than any thing else known to us at that early time.2
Coming nearer to the Christian era, the Essenes
or Therapeutae,3 as they are indifferently called, came
very near to the ideal of the monastic life. They
lived among the palm trees near the Dead Sea,4 and
devoted themselves to the study of divine philosophy,
they gave their property to their relatives, they relin¬
quished all business, they ate sparingly, they eschewed
marriage, and passed their days in their monasteries
celebrating sacred mysteries and praising God5 Almighty.
1 On these points see particularly Zeller, History of Greek
Philosophy, (translated by Alleyne), London, 1881. Vol. i.
pp. 306—532; Roth, Geschichte unserer Abendlandischen Philo¬
sophies two parts, Mannheim, 1846—1858; Chaignet, Pythagore
et la Philosophie Pythagoricienne, 2 vols. Paris, 1873; and for
statements on Pythagoras by classical writers see Ritter and
Preller, Historia Philosophiae Graecae et Romanae, 1878.
2 I. e., about the end of the sixth century B. C. On the
date of the birth of Pythagoras see Zeller, op. cit., vol. 1,
p. 325, note 1. Compare the description of the lives of Egyptian
priests in Porphyry, De Abstinentia, lib. iv. §6ff.
3 See Smith and Wace, Dictionary of Christian Biography's
vol iv. art. Philo.
4 Ab occidente litora Esseni fugiunt usque qua nocent, gens
sola, et in toto orbe praeter ceteras mira, sine ulla femina,
omni venere abdicata, sine pecunia, socia palmarum. In diem
ex aequo convenarum turba renascitur large frequentantibus
quos vita fessos ad mores eorum fortunae fluctibus agitat. Ita
per seculorum milia (incredibile dictu) gens aeterna est, in qua
nemo nascitur, tarn fecunda illis aliorum vitae paenitentia est.
Pliny, Nat. Hist. v. 17.
5 Sozomen, Hist. Ecclesi. 12.

Whether these people were Jews as Philo says, or whether

they were Christians who had been converted by St. Mark
as some have thought, it in nowise disturbs the fact
that a set of men1 lived an ascetic life near the Dead
Sea. According to Josephus (Antiquities, xviii. i. 5) they
were about four thousand in number.
The home of Christian monasticism was Egypt,
and the lives, habits and dress2 of the strict ascetics
of this country were diligently copied by monastic
communities in all parts of the world. The first famous
Egyptian ascetic was Paul of Thebes, the auctor vitae
monasticae, who retired to the desert about A. D. 250
and died about 342, aged 113 years; Paul, however,
strictly speaking belonged to the class of monks called
“anchorites”, and he seems to have trained no disciples;
we must therefore consider Antony the Great to be
the first Christian who succeeded in reducing the
monastic life to a system,3 and who left behind him
a number of followers.4 Soon after the profession of

1 See Hospinianus, De Monadlis (De Ethnicorum Monachis),

Zurich, 1609, p. 10.
2 On this point see Holstenius, Codex Regularum, Rome,
1661. Pars. ii. p. 565; Hospinianus, op. tit., p. 58^; Evagrius,
Capita Practica (in Migne, Patrologiae, tom. 40, col. I222ff);
Cassianus, De Institntis Coenobiorun, lib. 1, capp. 3, 4.
3 Verum certum est primo, ante S. Antonium monachorum
patrem, nec coenobia, nec coenobitas in Aegypto aut alibi exstitisse;
Assemam, B. 0., iii. ii. p. 303. For his “Rules” see Holstenius,
Codex Regularum, pars. i. p. iff.; for his “ Twenty Discourses
to his sons the monks”, and other works see Migne, Patrologiae,
Ser. Graec. tom. 40, col. 963 ff. and col. 1067; and compare
Hospinianus, De Monachis {De Origme et primis authoribus
Eremiticae vitae), pp. 15^, 18 <2. See also Vol ii. p. 30.
4 Sozomen, Hist. Eccles., i. 13.

the ascetic life became firmly established the monks

divided themselves into two great classes,1 namely, the
solitaries or anchorites, and those who lived in com¬
munities. The monk juovaxog,2 lived alone in a mona¬
stery or cell juovoKTiriptov,3 which in Egypt might be
made of mats, or reeds, or hewn out of the rock; a
collection of such cells was called a laura Xaupa;4 and
the place where a number of monks lived under one
roof and under one control was called a coenobium,
Koivofhov.5 The solitary monk usually established himself
in a place at no great distance from running water,
and the laura and the coenobium were frequently built
near a river or stream, or in some place near a spring;
the laura and coenobium always contained a church.

1 John Cassianus (Collation xviii. cap. iv. p. 513. ed. Rome

1588) divides the monks into three classes:—Triasunt in Aegypto
genera monachorum, quorum duo sunt optima, tertium tepidum
atque omnimodis evitandum. Primum est coenobitatum, qui
scilicet in congregatione pariter consistentes, unius senioris judicio
gubernantur, cujus generis maximus numerus monachorum per
universam commoratur Aegyptum. Secundum anachoretatum,
qui prius in coenobiis institute jamque in actuali conversatione
perfecti, solitudinis eligere secreta.Tertium reprehensibile
Sarabaitarum est .... . (on this last class see Collation xviii.
cap. 7).
2 Graeca vox est, et significat hominem solitarium, qui solus
vivit, et vitae solitariae genus elegit; Hospinianus, De Monachis,
p .la.
3 See Du Cange, Glossarium, coll. 792, 947, 948. f Abhd-Isho
explains by ; see Mai, Nova collection tom. x.,
p. 287.
4 See the introduction to Gregory Smith’s Christian Mon-
asticism, London, 1892.
5 See Hospinianus on the words monastery and coenobium,
in De Monachis, p. 3 b.

The founding of the first coenobium is attributed to

Pachomius.1 The description of the lives, habits, dress,
heresies, beliefs, etc., of the early monks of Egypt has
been so often set forth2 that we may at once call
attention to the facts connected with the establishment
of Christian monasticism in Mesopotamia.
During the early years of the fourth century Antony
the Great of Egypt had a wise disciple called Hilarion,
who, having imbibed the system of divine philosophy
from his master, set out for his native land of Palestine,
and established there the monastic life and institutions
similar to those of Egypt.3 He lived near Gaza in a
cell which was so small that he could neither stand

1 See Vol. ii. p. 396; for his “Rules” see Cassianus, De in-
stitutis renuntiantium, Rome, 1588, p. 649 ff; and Holstenius,
Codex Regularum, p. 63 ff.
2 Sozomen, Hist. Eccles. i. 12—14; vi. 31; Hospinianus, De
Monachis, pp. I—63; Thomassin, Dictionnaire de Discipline
Ecclesiastique, Paris, 1856; Helyot, Dictionnaire des Ordres
Religieux, Paris, 1846. (in Migne’s Encyclopedie Theologique,
tomi 20—23); Rufinus, Vitae Pairum; Cassianus, De Institutis
renuntiantium, Rome, 1588; Palladius, Hist. Laus. (in Migne
Patrologiae, Ser. Graec. tom. 34). If we may believe the accounts
of those who visited the various abodes of the monks in Egypt,
the numbers of men and women who retired to them were
very great. Thus in the Monastery of Pachomius in the Thebaid
fourteen hundred monks lived; at Oxyrhynchus there were
twenty thousand monks and ten thousand nuns; the Natron
Valley, Palladius tells us, was inhabited by five thousand
ascetics of different kinds; and three thousand monks used to
sit at the feet of Abba Or. Rufinus, who visited Egypt about
A. D. 372, says that there were almost as many monks living in the
deserts as there were in the towns; Quanti populi habentur in
urbibus, tanta paene habentur in desertis.
3 Sozomen, Hist. Eccles., iii. 14.

upright nor lie down at full length in it, but his teaching
was very successful, for in a short time he had a follow¬
ing of two or three thousand monks.1 Into Syria the
ascetic life was introduced by Aones very early in the
fourth century, and the life led by his followers lacked
nothing of the hardness of that of the monks of Egypt.
They lived on grass and ate neither bread nor meat,
they drank no wine,2 they had neither house nor hut
to dwell in, but lived on the open mountains day and
night praising God. The monk Batthaeus, by long
abstinence from food, had worms generally between
his teeth; Halas did not taste bread until he was seventy
years of age; and Heliodorus passed many nights
without yielding to sleep, and only partook of food one
day in seven.3 From Syria Christian monasticism rapidly
spread to Mesopotamia and Persia, and on the congenial
soil of those countries it grew and throve. Before
A. D. 325 James, Bishop of Nisibis, led the life of an
ascetic, and in A. D. 330 began the fierce persecution
of the Christians by Sapor, wherein monks perished by
thousands. In the reign of this tyrant Mar Mattai, the
founder of the famous Monastery of Mar Mattai on
Gebel Maklub near Mosul, was put to death. These
facts prove that many monasteries existed in the East
even at that early period.

1 Necdum tunc monasteria erant in Palaestina, nec quisquam

monachum ante sanctum Hilarionem in Syria noverat: ille
fundator et eruditor hujus conversationis et studii in hac pro-
vincia fuit. Habebat Dominus Jesus in Aegypto senem Antonium,
habebat in Palaestina Hilarionem juniorem. St. Jerome. Vit.
2 Sozomen, Hist. Eccles., vi. 33.
3 Sozomen, Hist. Eccles., vi. 34.

It seems that the first Christian monastic settlement

in Mesopotamia was made near Nisibis by an ascetic
called Aw gin, and from the life1 of this remarkable
man we may glean some interesting facts which help
to fill up gaps in the history of the transplanting of
Christian monasticism and asceticism to Mesopotamia.
Awgin sprang from an Egyptian family who came from
“Clysma an island of the sea” £4? <*>, which
seems to have been situated near the modern town
of Suez, and by trade he was a pearl-fisher.2 One day
when he was about to dive into the sea a divine mani¬
festation appeared to him in the form of a fiery star
which shone like the disk of the sun and ran along
before him on the water, and he understood it to be
a sign of divine protection. When he had followed
his trade for twenty-five years he was able to still
tempests and to save shipwrecked mariners by his
spiritual gifts; he determined, however, to set out for
another place and so made his way to the Monastery
of Pachomius £*9^, where he became a baker
of bread. Here he took his place among the brethren
who attended to the table and cooked the food
and astonished them one day by going into the
red-hot furnace ?*=<?*, whence having knelt down and
prayed he came forth uninjured; when the congregation
knew what had happened all the monks came forth
with the abbot at their head, and were blessed by him.
On this Awgin left the monastery and came to Egypt,

1 The Syriac text has recently been published by Bedjan

in the third part of his £uati?o {Acta Martyrum et
Sanctorum), Paris, 1892, pp. 376—480.
2 £00 »Q7Q,i±oa<* tso ^007 wfitoipo ftwio }ooi

where, having been informed by divine agency of his

arrival all the monks came to meet him; having chosen
seventy of these men he set out with them to go to
“the dominion of the city Nisibis, in the country of
Mesopotamia” i is-*? When
they came near Nisibis they crossed the Maskas river
(^o,1 i. e., MatfKas of Xenophon), and “went down and
passed over it at the south of the city, and they found a
bed of reeds ^oi.,2 by the side of the river wherein
they lived for seven days’''. While here Awgin worked
a miracle which raised a tumult in the city, and he and
his brethren departed to Mount Izla, on the south
of the city, where they found a cavern wherein they
lived for thirty years; his fame spread abroad and
monks were gathered together to him from Egypt3
and from the “remote islands of the sea”, and their
number amounted to 350 men. The brethren devoted
themselves to good works, and they purchased 300
earthen jars which they filled with water each day
and gave to thirsty travellers. Awgin took an import¬
ant part in the appointment of Jacob, Bishop of Nisibis,
and he possessed great influence over several wealthy
people in Nisibis whose diseases he had cured. When
he had worked several miracles and had wrought many
cures the governor of the district wrote to the Emperor
Constantine and informed him concerning them, and
how his son had been restored to life having been

1 See Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. ly i; Wright, Catalogue of

Syr. MSS. in the British Museum, p. 1129. A variant quoted
by Bedjan calls the river **5:607.
2 Var. A£> fV^o^o
3 Compare B. 0.} iii. ii. p. 864.

dead. In reply Constantine wrote:—“There are three

persons in the world whom our Lord hath set as pillars
in the four quarters thereof, who shine with the heavenly
rays of light which have risen upon our manhood, who
enlighten darkened minds, who reject and cast out from
the understandings [of men] opinions of blackness and
all the evil passions which the wicked husbandman
hath sown in them, and they cultivate and cleanse the
fields of their souls, and sow in them the good seed
of the doctrine of Jesus our God; now these three
marvellous men, who are in outward appearance feeble
folk, pursue and abase the hosts of illustrious mighty
men. With these strangers and needy men who make
others rich, with these three combatants hath
our empire been long acquainted, [I mean] Antony in
the land of Egypt, Hilarion on the sea-coast,1 and
Mar Awgin who hath departed from Egypt and hath
come and dwelt in your quarter of the world which
he enlighteneth. And we pray and entreat him to
pray before our Lord that we and all the dominion of
our empire may be preserved, and in the day when
the mercy of the Sun of Righteousness, Jesus Christ,
riseth upon us, may we be worthy [to receive] with them of
the heavenly kingdom through their prayers to God which
shall have been answered”.2 A short time before this
letter was written Jacob, Bishop of Nisibis, began to
build a church for Awgin, and Mar Milos of Jerusalem
contributed three hundred dinars towards the expenses.
For some time before Jacob became Bishop of
Nisibis he had had the desire to go to Mount Kardo

1 See supra, p. cxxiii.

2 For the Syriac text see Bedjan, op. cit., p. 425.

to seek for the ark of Noah, and now he determined

to ask Awgin to go with him thither in quest of it;
Awgin was unable to accompany him, but he foretold
that the search would be successful. Jacob set out on
his journey, and when he arrived at the foot of the
mountain, an angel appeared to him and led him to
the place where the ark was buried, and putting his
hand in the earth he drew forth a plank and gave it to
him, and dismissed him; Jacob returned to Awgin and
showed him the plank, and from a piece thereof
Awgin made a cross which he placed in his cell, and
which he afterwards buried in his monastery. Jacob
next built a large monastery1 on Mount Kardo over
the spot where the ark was buried, and invited Awgin and
his congregation to assist at its consecration. When Julian
the Apostate arrived with his hosts at Nisibis, on the
way to Ctesiphon, Awgin had an interview with Jovianus,
the captain of Julians lifeguards, who promised to
help and to protect the Church, and to whom Awgin
prophesied future glory.2 After the death of Julian,
and the cession of Nisibis and the other fortresses and
provinces to the Persians by Jovianus in 363, Sapor
advanced to occupy Nisibis. On his arrival he at once sent
after Awgin to come to him, and the old man set out
with three disciples to go into the king’s presence ;
because he could only walk slowly he sent his disciples
on in advance and while awaiting his arrival Sapor

1 Near this monastery was the village whither

Sharezer fled when he had slain his father Sennacherib.
2 The Syriac writer here states that Jovianus come from
sons or Anbar, to Nisibis to beg Awgin to pray that God
would speedily break the head of the wicked man, i. eJulian.

questioned them concerning the situation of their mon¬

astery. When Awgin had gone into the presence Sapor
treated him with great honour, but the Magians and
fire worshippers ^o7o,»T began to dispute with him on
matters of religion. In answer to them Awgin proposed
to the king that a fire should be kindled, and that the
god who answered by the fire should be held to be
the true God, and on this Sapor commanded that a
large fire should be lit and that one of the Magians
should go and stand up in it. The Magians tried to
obey but were not able to approach the fire, whereupon
Awgin commanded one of the brethren to go into the
fire; the monk at once leapt into the flames, but
although the tongues of fire played around him on
all sides during the long time which he stood in it,
he was in nowise injured thereby, neither were his
garments scorched. Then Sapor rejoiced and straight¬
way believed in the God of Awgin. Now Sapor had
two sons; one had been slain by the heretic Mani, and
the other was possessed of a devil. When he saw
the power of Awgin he brought him to him, and the
holy man expelled the devil, and urged him until he
confessed that he was the god of the Magians, and
exposed the wickedness of his followers. Sapor then
asked Awgin what he should give him, and the holy
man replied:—“O Lord King, we ask neither gold nor
silver from the realm of thy empire, but we beg that
thou wilt command and that there shall be given to
us little places by the roads and ways, that we may
build upon them convents and monasteries in which

1 I. e., Pers. see Payne Smith, Thes., col. 2045, and

Noldeke, Geschichte dcr Perser, p. 9, note 3.

we may relieve the wants of strangers; and give us

power to go to Beth Laphat and to the country of
the Huzaye and to build monasteries and convents
where we pleasethe king at once gave permission
and the monks returned to their monastery with joy.
Sapor again sent for Awgin and gave him the village
of ^a*or, together with the mill which was attached
thereto, and a warrant bearing the king’s seal empower¬
ing him and his monks to build churches and mon¬
asteries wheresoever they went. A few days after this
seventy-two brethren gathered together at the foot
of the mountain, and having been blessed by Awgin,
each man holding his cross in his hand set out to
found a monastery in the place whither Divine Grace
should lead him; and these were their names:—Mar
Thomas, Mar Gurya, Mar Battala, Mar George, Mar
Kedhala, Mar Dadha, Mar Tabha, Mar Joannes, Mar
Elisha, Mar Serapion, Mar Gregory, Mar Yaho, Mar-
yahbh, Mar Simeon of his pillar, Abha Simeon ofKhuzistan,
Mar Olog, Mar Jehosaphat the martyr, Mar Milinos the
martyr, Mar Ola, Mar Joseph Busnaya, Mar Busnaya,
Mar Daniel, Mar Gabhrona, Mar Isaac, Mar Shazi, Mar
Bar-shemesh, Mar Habbibha, Mar Gula, Moses, Mar
Hadh-bhe-shabba-yamina, Mar Sylvanus, Mar Titus,
Mar Andrew, Mar Ubil bar-Bafuth, Mar Benjamin, Mar
Shabbu, Mar John1 of Apamea, Mar John of Nehal(?),
Mar John of Dailom, Mar John the Arab, Mar George
of lubam, Mar Stephen, Mar Malka, Mar Isaiah, Mar
Yareth, Mar Phinehas, Mar Aha,2 Mar John the Little,

1 One of Awgin’s disciples called John the Egyptian built

a monastery at Gezira; see B. 0., iii. ii. p. 864.
2 He built the Monastery of the Bucket ibid.,
p. 864. For the finding of his remains see ibid. p. 148.

Mar John of Kemula,1 Mar Merola, Mar Mikhai, Mar

Papa, Rabban Salara, Abba Mikha, Mar Kawma, Mar
Kayuma, Mar Abraham, Mar Andrew, Abha Pola, Mar
Ukhama, Mar Solomon, Mar Amon, Mar Luke, Mar
Genibha, Mar Babhai the scribe, Sergius Doda, Mar
Shalita,2 Mar cAbhd-Ishoc, Mar John bar-Kaldun, Mar
Sham, Mar Abhun, and Mar Jonah. With these missio¬
naries are reckoned Mart Theda and Stratonice, sisters
of Awgin.
According to the Syriac text Awgin died on the
21st of Nisan A. Gr. 674=A. D. 363, but there is
some doubt about the accuracy of this date.
From the above we may see that in the third
quarter of the fourth century the monastic life had
taken deep root in Mesopotamia, and that one mon¬
astery alone had sent forth seventy-two missionaries;
from other sources we know that the Monastery of
Mar Mattai on Gebel Maklub near Mosul, and the
Monastery of Risha were also flourishing institutions at
that time, for the founder of the former was martyred
by Sapor, and to the latter a number of refugees fled
for shelter during the reign ofValens3(A. D. 364—378).
In 385 three monks, cAbhda, cAbhd-Ishoc and Yahbh-laha,
built monasteries in Babylonia and Arabia.4
In the fifth century the increase and spread of the
monastic life was very great,5 and monasteries were
founded in Armenia, Persia and the neighbouring coun-

1 He was originally in the employ of Sapor, but became

converted and joined Awgin after the martyrdom of Shahdost
in 332; see B. 0., iii. ii. p. 864.
2 He built a monastery in Beth Zabhdai.
3 See Vol. ii. Bk. vi. chap. 1. p. 578.
4 B. 0.y iii. ii. p. 869. 5 See B. 0., iii. ii. p. 873.

tries, and in the districts along the shores of the Persian

Gulf; by the end of this century, however, a certain
amount of laxity had crept into them, and several of
the monks were married men who lived openly with
their wives. Babhai or Babhuyah, by birth a Magian,
the twenty-first Patriarch of the Nestorians, who lived
during the reign of the Emperor Marcianus (A. D.
450—457), married a wife,1 and in his days flourished
Bar-Sauma, Metropolitan of Nisibis, Magna, the Patriarch
who had been deposed, and Narsai a teacher of Nisibis;
these men embraced the heresy of Nestorius and
proclaimed it far and wide, and they openly allowed
the bishops of their Church to marry the women who
lived in the monasteries. Bar-Sauma married a nun who
lived in his cell with him, and “he shamelessly proclaimed
her to be his legal wife.”2 3 At a Synod held at Seleucia
in 485 the permission for monks and nuns to marry

was promulgated3

(JyL> and at another synod held

in 499 it was decreed that “the Catholicus and the

minor priests and monks might marry one wife and

beget children according to the Scriptures” ^

* «

1 B. 0.. ii. p. 387, note i; Budge, Book of the Bee, p. 117.

#d& ;oor i*Jo ^aoisai ao\ ^o* See Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Ecc/es.,
ii. 63, and compare
B. 0iii. i. p. 66. col. 1.
3 See B. 0., iii. ii. pp. 178, 872. 4 1 Corinthians vii. 9.

^i>o\ J V>- \.a . and the example of

marrying set by Babhai and his friends was followed
by the Patriarchs Shila and Elisha,1 2 and Paul. It is
evident that at the end of the fifth and at the beginning
of the sixth century the lives of many monks and
ascetics had become lax, if not absolutely dissolute;
against the corruption which had entered the monas¬
teries the Patriarch Abha} who sat from A. D. 536—552,
set his face firmly, and he refused to marry a wife that
others might follow his example. During his rule also
it was decreed at the Synod held in 544 that no
Patriarch or Bishop should marry.3
For the facts stated in the above portion of this
chapter we have drawn upon works other than that of
Thomas, Bishop of Marga, but at this point the evidence
of the Book of Governors may be introduced with
advantage, for about the period when the Patriarch
Abha ruled the Church, Abraham, the founder of the
Great Monastery on Mount Izla, from which came Jacob,
the founder of Beth cAbhe, was pondering in his mind
how to reform the habits of his ascetic countrymen.
Abraham of Kashkar is said to have been baptized
A. D. 502. He studied at Nisibis under his namesake
Abraham, nephew of Narsai,4 after which he went to
Herta or Hirta and converted some of the natives there.
• •

Later he went to the Scete desert where he took upon

himself the order of the ascetic life, and he learned
there the doctrine and principles of the strict Egyptian
anchorites; he also visited Mount Sinai, and it is pretty

1 See B. 0., iii. i. p. 430, col. 2.

2 Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 82.
3 B. 0., iii. ii. p. 872. 4 See Vol. ii. p. 37.

certain that he visited the holy places in Palestine.

After a time he returned to Mesopotamia and established
himself like his predecessor Mar Awgin, in a cave on
Mount Izla near Nisibis. Here he became famous for
the sternness of his life, and multitudes of monks flocked
to him; according to Thomas, Bishop of Marga, he
was the inventor, i. e., introducer, of the corona tonsure.1
By great good fortune a copy of the “Rules” or “Canons”
laid down by Abraham has come down to us, and
as they are important for the study of the constitution
of early Mesopotamian monasteries an English version
of the Syriac text published in Mai, Scriptorum Veterum,
Nova Collectio, tom. x. p. 290 ff., is here given.

The Canons which were laid down by Mar Abraham the

Great, the head of the ascetics in all Persia.2


First of all a life of tranquillity according to the command

of the Fathers, and according to the word of the Apostle
[Paul] which he spake to the Thessalonians [saying], "‘I ask
from you, O my brethren, that ye abound more and more, and
that ye study to be quiet, and to be occupied in your own
matters”.3 And again he spake to them [saying], “We command
and we entreat you by our Lord Jesus Christ that ye labour
in quietness, and eat your bread”.4 And again Isaiah said,
“The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the labour of
righteousness quietness”.5 And again Abba Antony said,

1 See Vol. ii. p. 40, note 4. “Regnum quod habent Clerici

in Deo, designat Corona in capite”; see Hospinianus, De
Monachis (De Origine Tonsurae Clericorum), p. 62#.
2 For the Syriac text see Mai, Scriptorum Veterum. Nova Collectio, tom. x.
p. 290 ff.
3 Thessalonians iv. ii. 4 2 Thessalonians iii. 12.
5 Isaiah xxxii. 17.

“When a fish is taken out of the water it dieth, even so doth

the solitary who is brought outside his cell”.1 And again the
holy Mark the solitary said, “If the body be not quiet, the
mind cannot be quiet.” Quietness then is preserved by these
two causes, viz,, constant reading and prayer, or by the labour
of the hands and meditation, according to that which Abba
Isaiah spake and according to what the wise man [Solomon]
spake, “Idleness begetteth a multitude of evils”; and again,
“The man who doeth no work is at all times cast into lust”.
Therefore let us be constant in our cells in quietness, and let
us flee from idleness, which is a thing that causeth loss, being
firmly persuaded that if we allow it to remain it will be impossible for
us either to bear leaves or to yield fruit, if indeed it happen
not that we be altogether cut off from the life of the fear of God.


Concerning fasting [we learn] from the words of our Lord,

“When the Son of Man hath been lifted up then shall they fast
in those days”;2 and again the Apostle [Paul] said, “In much
fasting”;3 and again “they were fasting and entreating God in
prayer”;4 and again from the Fathers [we learn] that “fasting
shall be a helper for us before God”; and again, “let us not be
slack in obedience to fasting”. Concerning the fruits of fasting
and the helps which arise from it we may learn accurately
from Moses, and Elijah, and Daniel and his companions, and
our Saviour and the Apostles, and all the Fathers. Let us
therefore preserve fasting inasmuch as it is the origin5 of a
multitude of virtues, and a guide to true life.

1 Quemadmodum educti extra aquam pisces emoriuntur; ita accidit

monacho quoque, si diu morabitur extra cellam suam. And again, Quem¬
admodum moriuntur pisces in aridam extracti; ita moritur moiiachus, qui
extra cellam in civitatibus degit. See Migne, Patrologiae, Ser. Graec. tom. 40,
col. 1085.
2 St. Matthew ix. 15. 3 2 Corinthians xi. 27.
4 Acts xiv. 23.
5 Compare axo ^.isaxo .^Nis’iS*bo
Cliabot, De S. Isaaci Niniviiae vita, scriptis et doctrina, Paris, 1892, p. 80.


Concerning prayer, and reading, and the recital of the offices

for the day and night [we may learn] from the word of our
Redeemer, for He spake to them a parable that they should
pray at all times, and be not remiss. And again, “Watch and
pray at all times”;1 and again “Be watchful and pray that ye
enter not into temptation”.2 And the Apostle [Paul] spake,
“Be ye continual in prayer,3 and be watchful therein, and give
thanks”. And also Mark said, “Prayer is the mother of virtues”.
Concerning reading, when the Apostle wrote to his friend
Timothy4 he said, “Be zealous in reading, and in praying, and
in doctrine until I come; meditate upon these things, and remain
in them”. And our Lord God said to Joshua, the son of Nun,
“Let not this book of the Law depart from thy mouth, and
meditate therein day and night”.5 And again Moses said to
the people, “It shall be a sign upon thy hand, and a memorial
between thine eyes”.6 And from the Fathers [we learn] that
“without constant reading and entreaty of God, it is not possible
for a fair manner of life to exist in the soul”. And Mark the
holy man said, “Pray to God and He shall open for thee the
eyes of thy understanding, and thou shalt know the profit
which [ariseth] from prayer and reading”.
Concerning the services of the hours of prayer the Psalmist
saith, “Seven times in the day have I praised thee because of
thy righteous judgments”,7 and three times8 in the day did

1 St. Luke xxi. 36. 2 St. Mark xiv. 38.

3 Colossians iv. 2. 4 1 Timothy iv. 13.
5 Joshua i. 8. 6 Exodus xiii. 9.
7 Psalm cxix. 164. The seven times of prayer in a monastery were:—
isxao, uivxXao, fxsoLao, CsS&a; see Mai, Nova Col-
lectio, x. p. 289, col. 2.
8 Daniel vi. 10. Compare “Quinque sunt opera, quorum adjumento Dei
benevolentia conciliatur. Primum, pura oratio; secundum, psalmorum de-
cantatio; tertium, divinorum spiritus oraculorum lectio; quartum, peccatorum
et mortis ac magni judicii cum animi dolore recordatio; quintum, manuum
labor”. Evagrius, in Migne, Palrologiae, Ser. Graec. tom. 40, col. 1275.
Antony said, “Ante omnia, orationem sine intermissione fundite”; ibid., col.
963. See also the 10th Collation in Cassianus, De Institutis Renuntiantium,
Rome 1588.

Daniel kneel upon his knees and pray and give thanks and
praise before God.


Of silence, and of meekness, and of solitude, and of how

a man should not intrude speech when his brethren are talking,
and of how he should speak with a gentle voice and not with
noise and anger.
Concerning silence Jeremiah the prophet said, “Blessed is
the man when he shall take thy yoke upon him in his youth,
and shall sit by himself and shall keep silent because he hath
taken thy yoke upon him”.1 And again to Abba Arsenius was
it said in a revelation, “Arsenius, flee, be silent, and live in
quietness”;2 and again, “Be silent and count thyself nothing”.
And concerning solitude Jeremiah said, “O Lord God, the
mighty One, I have not sat in the congregation of the scorners,
but I have feared thy hand, and I have dwelt alone”.3 *
And concerning meekness Isaiah said, “To whom shall I look,
and in what shall I dwell if it be not in meekness, and in the
lowly of spirit who trembleth at my word?” And our Lord
said, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye
shall find rest for your souls”.5
And that a man should not interrupt the speech of his
brethren [we may learn] from the wise man [who said], “Speak
not in the midst of narratives”;6 “silence is the fruit of wis¬
dom”;7 and “he that speaketh much himself indicateth his lack
of knowledge”.
And that a man should speak in a gentle voice and not
with noise and anger [we may learn] from the Apostle:—“Let
all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and blasphemy

1 Lamentations iii. 27.

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ft Xi2 A? u.073 xA Palladius, Sayings of the Fathers, No. 2.

3 Jeremiah xv. 17- 4 Isaiah Ixvi. 2.
5 St. Matthew xi. 29. 6 Ecclesiasticus xi. 8.
7 Ecclesiasticus xx. 5.

be removed from you,1 and let no hateful word go forth from

your mouth”; and again, “Ceasefrom wrath and let go displeasure”.2
Let us then be careful to fulfil these things with all our
might, for divine helps are hidden within them, and without
them we are not able to please God.


During the forty days’ fast a brother shall not go outside

his cell without necessity, or without the permission of the


A brother shall have no power to go round about among

the monasteries, or in the towns or villages, unless it be on
account of sickness, or by the permission of the community;
he shall not, moreover, visit among the houses or eat with
believers. And to speak briefly, no man shall have the power
to leave his cell and to go forth to any place without the
permission of the head of his monastery.3


That no man shall murmur against his brother or slander

him before his brethren or before any person whomsoever [we
may learn] from the Psalmist [who said], “I have hated him
that slandered his neighbour in secret”;4 and again, “Thou didst
sit and meditate [wrong] against thy brother”;5 and also from
the Apostle [who said], “Murmur ye not as certain of them
have murmured”.6 Let us then be watchful against slander, that
we become not participators with the Evil One.

1 Ephesians iv. 31. 2 Psalm xxxvii. 8.

3 Compare the words of Serapion, “Volumus ergo unum praeesse seniorem
super omnes fratres, nec ab ejus consilio vel imperio quemquam sinistrum
declinare, sed sicut imperio Domini cum omni laetitia obedire”. See Migne,
Patrologiae, Ser. Graeca, tom. 34, col. 971.
4 Psalm ci. 5. 5 Psalm 1. 20.
6 1 Corinthians x. 10.


On the first day of the week when the brethren are gathered
together, whosoever shall come first to the church shall take
the Holy Book and shall sit in the place which is set apart,
and shall meditate upon it until all his brethren arrive, so that
when each of them cometh his mind may be laid hold upon
by the hearing of the reading, and they turn not aside to
speech upon matters which are alien [to the day], or to narra¬
tives and rumours of battles and wars, or to conversation upon
worldly matters, or to vain stories which do harm to the soul,
or to that which is foreign to this life of excellence.


Fasting shall not be abrogated except for causes such as

these:—sickness of the body, the arrival of strangers, a long
journey, or hard manual labour which lasteth the whole day.
Let that brother, of whom it is known that he breaketh and
maketh of none effect this holy boundary of fasting by reason
of his slack and negligent manner of life, and for none of the
above causes, know that he is an alien to our congregatien.


When brethren come and they are accepted, let them be

tried three years in the monastery, and then, if they have borne
themselves in a befitting manner, the brethren shall give them
permission to build cells for themselves, or according to what
the strength of the community sufficeth, let them help them
as is customary. If there be empty cells let them be given to
them. If on the other hand, they have not borne themselves
in a seemly manner let them be dismissed and go their way
in peace.


If any man perceiveth that his brother despiseth [any] one

of these things which are spoken above or below, let him not
report the matter among his brethren and trouble them, or to
the head of the monastery to vex him, for a troublesome
word troubleth the heart of a man, but let him call him, and

speak to him privately according to the word of our Redeemer,

“Rebuke him between thee and him only”.1 And if he [mendeth]
not, rebuke him before two or three, and if he mendeth not
then, let him be admonished before the whole community; and
if he receiveth not correction before the whole community, let
him know that he is an alien to our congregation.

Rabban Abraham lived until the rule of the Patriarch

Sabhr-Ishoc, who sat from 596—604, but at that time
he is described as being an “old man”; the exact date
of his death is unknown.2 He was succeeded in the
Abbotship of the Great Monastery by Dadh-Isho , a man
famous as being the author of several works on the
ascetic life;3 he was formerly a monk in the Monastery
of Risha in Marga,4 and he was the first disciple of
Abraham. Like his master he drew up a set of “Rules”
or “Canons”5, from which we may see what important
restrictions were introduced into the monastic life by
him. Under his direction a monk was bound to accept
the doctrines of Diodorus, Theodore of Mopsuestia,
and Nestorius,6 and any one who held views different
from them or from those of their followers, or who
was attached to the “error of the heresy of those falsely

1 St. Matthew xviii. 15.

2 For writers of the life of Abraham see Vol. ii. p. 33.
^ See Vol. ii. p. 42, note 4. 4 See Vol. ii. p. 43.
5 For the Syriac text see Mai, Nova Collectio, tom. x.
P- 393 ff.
6 On the history of Nestorianism the following works give
abundant information:—Assemani, B. 0., iii. ii; Badger, The
Nestorians and their Rituals, 2 vols., London, 1844; Stroza,
De Dogmatibus Chaldaeorum, Rome, 1617; Doucin, Histoire
du Nestorianisme, Paris, 1698; Fleury, Histoire Ecclesiastique,
Paris 1722—1738; Etheridge, The Syrian Churches; their early
history, liturgies and literature, London, 1846; Smith and Wace,

called ‘Mesalleyane ”, or who did not curse and abominate

it, was obliged to leave the congregation. The man
who in any way disturbed the peace of the community,
or who revealed the business of the monastery to
outsiders, or who was disobedient, or who struck one
of the brethren was to be expelled, and no boy or
brother who could not read was to be received into
the congregation. The coenobites were not to interfere
in any way with those monks who lived in cells,1 and
they were not to change the times of service without
the consent of the steward &>=» who, however, could
only act by the command of the Abbot. The monk

Dictionary of Christian Biography, vol. iv. p. 28 ff.; and Khayyath

(G. E.), Syri Orientates, sat Chaldaei Nestoriani et Romanorum
Pontificum Primatus, Rome, 1870. An interesting and good
account of the origin of Nestorianism, and of the founding of
the Nestorian Church, and of the various American, English
and other missions to the Nestorians, is given by D’Avril in
his La Chaldee Chretienne, Paris, 1892. This little book
should, however, be read in conjunction with Perkins’ Eight
Years Residence in Persia, and with Canon Maclean’s recent
account of the work done in Urmia by the missionaries sent
out to that district under the auspices of the Archbishop of
Canterbury. *
1 /. e., KeXXiwTCU or Anchorites, “qui cum sunt ad labores
ineptissimi, et oneribus Monasterii impares, quiete tamen vivere
exoptent; extra Monasteria, quae muris undique cinguntur, cellam
collata pecunia cui Templum, vinea, et campus annexa sunt,
quorum fructibus vivere possunt, coemunt, ibique cum nonnullis
sociis vivunt; cum dies festus agitur, ad Monasterium procedunt,
et Officiis celebrandis assistunt; quibus finitis, ad cellam regre-
diuntur, et domestica negotia obeunt, et cum libuerit, precibus
operam dant”. Du Cange, Glossarium, coll. 630, 631.
* Maclean and Browne, The Catholicos of the East and his People; being
the impression of five years' zvork in the Archbishop of Canterbury's Assyrian Mis¬
sion: an account of the Nestoriaus, etc., London, 1892. 8V0.

who neglected vigils was not allowed to communicate,

and no monk was allowed to do work on Sundays, or
on festivals or on the eves of vigils lest his fatigue
should cause him to be careless during the services;
any brother found guilty of neglecting service in the
church became a “stranger to the congregation’. A
brother might only be absent through illness or through
fatigue caused by travelling, or by the special permission
of the Abbot. The habit of leaving the monastery to
visit even among believers was discouraged,1 and any
monk who did so more than three times was not re¬
ceived into the congregation again. It is a remarkable
fact that at this period no regulations concerning the
dress2 or food3 of monks seem to have been laid down,
and it is very doubtful if the opinions of Antony4 and
Evagrius5 concerning women were fully endorsed in
any Mesopotamian monastery in the middle of the sixth
century. But whatever may have been the strictness
of the life led by monks on Mount Izla, it is quite

1 On the effect upon a monk of the sight of men and

worldly conversation see Chabot, Isaaci Ninivitae, pp. 90, 91.
2 In his Capita Practica, Evagrius explains the symbolism
of the monastic dress: thus the girdle £ujvr|, indicated the sign
of restraint; the staff pd(35oc;, indicated the staff of life; the
sheepskin pr|\iUTf|, indicated the constant bearing of the morti¬
fication of Jesus in the body; the covering of the head koukouXiov,
indicated the grace of God, and the naked hands indicated the
absence of hypocrisy.
3 It seems doubtful if they strictly obeyed Antony’s dictum,
“Carnes ne comedas omnino”.
4 Mulierem ad te accedere ne permittas, nec habitaculum
tuum ingredi patiaris; quoniam post illam ira graditur.
5 fuvf), ecrnv aqppocruvn Xoyikok; qjuxds eni aKaGapcn'av

certain that its rigour was much increased under the

rule of Babhai the third Abbot of the Great Monastery.
This man was born at Beth Ainatha in Beth Zabhdai
about the middle of the sixth century; he became a dis¬
ciple of Mar Abraham, and on the death of Ishoc-dadh
succeeded to the rule of the monastery.1 He was a
prolific writer upon ecclesiastical matters, and some
eighty-four works2 were composed by him;3 he was a
wise and learned man, but slightly hasty in speech and
harsh in command.4 His fame as an ascetic and reformer
was quickly noised .abroad, and his zeal in the cause
of his faith was so great that it drew forth a letter of
commendation from Isho-yahbh of Adiabene while he
was Bishop of Mosul,5 and he is specially mentioned by

1 See Vol. ii. p. 47.

2 In the work of Moses bar-Kepha on the Soul (see Braun,
Moses bar-Kepha, Freiburg, 1891, p. 135) is a quotation from
the Commentary on the Centuries of Evagrius; Moses bar-
Kepha was born A. D. 815, was made Bishop of Mosul in 863,
and died 903.
3 See B. 0., iii. i. 94 ft.; Assemanf Catal. Vat. iii. p. 367 ff.
4 See Vol. ii. p. 47.
5 The text of this letter reads:—
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the ecclesiastical writer whose work has been made

known to us by Guidi.1 About the year 594 or 595
Elijah, a monk in the Great Monastery, discovered that
certain of the monks in the “outer cells” were living
with their wives and families, and having summoned
the congregation he exposed them and their manner
of life, and they were at once expelled and their
habitations burnt with fire.2 There is no evidence to
show that these men who married wives formed an
exception to the rule of celibates, but it seems rather that
they were a survival of that class of married monks
which was fast dying out under the rule of reformers

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like Babhai. After the expulsion of the married men

the zealous Elijah accused Jacob, a fellow monk, of
being cognizant of the existence of women in the mon¬
astery, because his cell was situated not far from
their dwellings, and the tumult raised against him was
so great that he was obliged to leave the monastery
with the accusations and denunciations and curses of
Babhai ringing in his ears. Jacob went to Mount
Kardo, but at the advice of a holy woman1 he returned
to the Great Monastery, where he stayed for a short
time; the relations between Babhai and himself were,
however, so strained2 that he departed to Marga, and
founded (or refounded) the Monastery of Beth cAbhe.
The expulsion of Jacob caused a revolt3 among the
monks in the Great Monastery, and in consequence of
it several of them left and went to live in Marga,
Beth Zabhdai, Dasen, etc. When Khusrau refused
to allow a Patriarch to be appointed, and the Church
was without a head, Babhai was appointed inspector
of monasteries by the Archbishops of Beth Garmai,
Adiabene and Nisibis, with the special object of rooting
out from them all men tainted with the heresy of the
Mesalleyane; he performed this work with such zeal
and success, and ruled the Church with such skill during
this difficult period, that on the death of Khusrau in
628 he would certainly have been elected Patriarch
had he not declined to accept this dignity. When
lshoc-yahbh II. was appointed Catholicus in 628 Babhai
returned to his cell in the Great Monastery; the exact

1 See Vol. ii. p. 76. 2 See Vol. ii. p. 77.

3 For the attack on Babhai by Gabriel the Dancer, see
Vol. ii. p. 246.

date of his death is unknown, but it seems to have

taken place about 630.1

1 The following is the text of an interesting letter written

to the monks of the Great Monastery on the death of Babhai
by Isho'-yahbh, Bishop of Mosul.
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In the early part of this chapter the main facts

relating to the introduction of Christian monasticism in
Mesopotamia, and to its growth in that country until
the death of Babhai the Abbot of the Great Monastery
about 630, have been given; as Thomas, Bishop of
Marga, is our best and only great authority upon the
subject from that period until the middle of the ninth
century, the reader is referred to the translation of his
work in the second volume, and it only remains for
us to indicate briefly the manner of a monk’s life at
Beth Abhe.
In Syriac the common residence of monks was called
and ^30x0 (koiv6(3iov), and the inhabitants
thereof bore the names and “brethren”.
Solitaries were dwellers in deserts were
recluses were weepers were ££»?, anchorites were
and pillar-saints were ^>9^62. The habitations

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of solitaries were called and Dadh-Ishoc distinguishes

between & “brethren in cells”, and £.1
“brethren in the coenobium”. Each man was obliged
to work for three years in the service of the monas¬
tery, and after that time he might, by the permission
of the Abbot, go and live in a cell by himself; such
a man was called £> **, or ‘coenobite’, and was for

any offence committed rebuked by the *9 or

“steward”. The senior members of a monastery were
named JS& “grey old men”, and the abbot’s titles were
*?, »*?, £9, *99, £ ; the
1 or “director” had
considerable influence in the monastery. The monk
in the monastery wore a tunic a girdle #*ot, a
cloak a covering for the head £09*, sandals $<?&>,
and a cross in his hand he carried a staff
On the tonsure of monks see Assemani, B. O., III. II.
p. 896. Originally the monk was supposed to pray
seven times a day, but gradually the habit of praying
four times only became common; the solitary brethren
usually prayed always. In summer the monk worked
from dawn until the day became hot, and from that
time to the sixth hour he read and meditated; from
the sixth to the ninth hour he ate and rested, and
from the ninth hour until evening he worked. In winter
he read from dawn to the third hour, from the third
to the sixth hour he worked, from the sixth to the
ninth hour he rested, and from the ninth to the twelfth
hour he worked Sundays, Festivals and eves of vigils

were general holidays. As the coenobites might leave

the monastery by the permission of the Abbot it is

1 For the Syriac text see Mai, Scriptormn Veterum, Nova

Collectio, p. 290, col. 1.

possible that they sometimes visited their friends and

relations,1 but such visits must have been few and far
between. The work of the coenobites consisted of
cooking fooci and serving it in the refectory, of plough¬
ing and sowing the monastery fields, of reaping the
harvest, of tying up the vines and of gathering grapes
and olives, of waiting upon strangers, etc.; it is probable
that these duties were taken by bodies of monks in
turn. In the church, to which every one was bound
to go on Sundays, Festivals and eves of vigils, the
or “reader” performed duties connected with the service of
the altar; the i. e.} imobidKovos, attended to the
keeping of the church; the or “minister” took part
in the celebration of the Eucharist; the read the
service; the or archdeacon presided over the
arrangement of the service in the church, and was
bound to be present at the ordinations of priests, con¬
secration of churches, etc., the i. e., emcrKOTroc;
consecrated churches, and ordained priests and deacons;
above him in rank was the or Metropolitan;
and at the head of all the Nestorian Church was the
Patriarch or Catholicus.2
The life of a solitary dweller in a cell must have
been one of great difficulty, for he had not only to
combat the foes of his spiritual life, but he was some-

1 Compare Antony’s rule, “Consanguineos tuos ne revisas,

nec te conspiciendum ab illis sinas, nec adeas illos.”
2 The head of the Nestorian Church at Seleucia and Ctesi-
phon was originally consecrated at Antioch, and he was called
“Bishop of Seleucia andCtesiphon”; next ‘‘Archbishop of Seleucia
and Ctesiphon”; next the “Great Metropolitan”, and finally the
“Great Catholicus, Metropolitan of Seleucia and Ctesiphon”;
the title “Patriarch” was also given to him.

times in danger of suffering bodily harm at the hands

of robbers; John of Hadhatta was carried away from
his cell to be a captive in the hand of Dailom or
Delum.1 Whatever may have been done in the coeno-
bium of Beth f Abhe it is quite certain that the dwel¬
lers in cells round about that house reproduced as far
as the climate would admit, the austerities of the
ascetics of Scete. Antony used to say, “The cell of a
solitary is the fiery furnace of Babylon where the three
children found the son of God, and it is the pillar of
fire wherein God spake with Moses”;2 the cell of
Cyriacus was also filled with fire,3 and the Book of
Governors is full of allusions to the protection which
a monk’s cell affords to him.4 Abba Macarius “told
the brethren in Scete to flee as soon as the service
in the church was ended, and one of the elders said,
‘Father, what place have we to flee to except this
wilderness?’ Macarius said, ‘Flee in this wise’, and

1 Once when thieves came to rob his cell Macarius not

only helped them to do it, but rendered them assistance in
bearing away their plunder; another father, when thieves had
broken into his cell, begged them to be quick about their work
before the brethren should arrive to help him. When thieves
came into the cell of another father he said to the brethren,
“Let them do their work, and let us do ours”. On another
occasion a father brought to some robbers in his cell a basin
and entreated them to wash their feet; they were so ashamed
by his kindness that they retreated.
2 .yisas yj.07 froisl .h^ol J2>*io\a2 £>2

£*obo "nb. #5kj.2 .fWAp *poios,o .a»a£2 }o7^?

See Vol. ii. p. 456.


4 Compare “quando in cella sua est, cum Deo loquitur;

egrediens autem de cella, cum daemonibus est”. Rosweyde,
Vitae Pair urn, p. 661. col. 1. No. 33.

laying his hand upon his mouth he went to his cell

and shut the door and sat there;”1 with this compare
Babhai’s speech, Vol. ii. p. 98. A monk should guard
himself carefully from sin, for although God beareth
with the sins of worldly people He will not endure sin
in monks.2 Absolute peace and quietness were necessary
for a monk, for “once when Abba Arsenius went to
visit the brethren in a certain place, the wind whistled
through the reeds which grew there, and he said,
‘What is this noise?’ and they said, ‘It is the reeds
shaken by the wind’. And he said to them ‘Verily,
I say to you, if a man dwelling in solitude heareth
only the chirp of a sparrow, his heart cannot find that
solitude which it requireth; how much less then can ye
who have all this noise of these reeds’”?3
The strict ascetic slept very little, but the fathers
were not agreed about the amount of sleep necessary
for a man. Of Arsenius it is said that on Saturday
evenings he used to turn his back upon the sun setting
in the west behind him, and stretching out his hands

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-^^907 ais*.o ?*bis ;ocj **l2o. Compare also the saying of the fathers
^pisse, and fats*

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heavenward he prayed until the sun rose in front of

him, when he refreshed his eyes with a little sleep;1
on the ordinary nights of the week he slept standing.
He himself used to say that one hours sleep was suf¬
ficient for a healthy monk.2 Because the devils came
to Pachomius in the night time3 he entreated God to
enable him to do without sleep by day and by night,
and this gift was granted to him for a certain time,4 and
because his heart was pure he used to see the invisible
God as in a mirror; for fifteen years Pachomius and
his syncellus John slept sitting in the middle of their
cell and they never supported themselves against the
wall. Sisoes to overcome sleep at night placed himself
upon the jutting crag of a rock, but an angel removed
him from this dangerous position, and commanded him
not to do this again, and not to transmit this tradition
to any one else.5

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Some very curious information about the temptations of


monks in the night time is given in Cassianus, De Insiitutis

Renuntlantiuni, Collation xxii (De Nocturnis Illusionibus).
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Food and drink should be taken sparingly by a

monk, for Abba John said, “If a king wisheth to subdue
a hostile city he first of all cuts off the bread and water
therefrom, and thus the foe is tortured by famine and
submits to him; so also is it with the hostile passions
of the body, for if a man leadeth a life of fasting and
hunger his enemies are starved out of the soul.”1 And
Abba Daniel said, “In proportion as the body waxeth
the soul waneth; and as the body languisheth the soul
waxeth.”2 Abba Isaac, the priest of the Cells, used to
mix the ashes from the censer before the altar with
his bread and eat it,3 and a certain old man denied
himself a draught of water for forty days; whenever
he became hot he used to wash a potter’s vessel, and
fill it with water and hang it up before him. The
brethren asked him, “Why and for what cause doest thou
thus?” He said, “That I may labour the more, and receive
the [greater] reward from God.”4 A monk who laughed
while he was eating was rebuked by one of the fathers
who told him to remember that he was eating by the

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grace of God. Pambo never laughed or smiled, except

once when the devils who teazed him dragged along a
piece of wood to which they attached wings.1
The power of weeping while praying was greatly
coveted by monks, and the fathers speak often of its
salutary influence. Abba Poemen said that a solitary
should always weep for his sins with such earnestness
that all the singers and music in the world could not
make him desist;2 Abbot Isidore wept for his sins and
said that if he were permitted to see them all, three or
four men could not weep with him sufficiently;3 a certain
old man described tears as the “land of promise”;4 Abba
Poemen accounted Arsenius blessed because he had
wept for himself in this world, an,d added, “He who
weepeth not in this world, shall weep for ever in the
next;”5 and Macarius explained the words, “Flee from
mankind”, by a man dwelling in a cell and weeping

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Abba Amon said that laughter drove the fear of God out
of the soul.
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for his sins.1 A monk was enjoined to read holy books

diligently, “for the devils fear every time he readeth”,2
but he was bound to pray always, whether eating or
drinking or journeying or working.3
The use of wine was eschewed entirely by strict
ascetics: Poemen said that “it was not in the nature
of monks’, and a certain old man when a cup of wine
was offered to him refused it, saying, “Take from me
this death.”4
The entrance of a woman into an ascetic’s cell was
strictly prohibited, and Abraham and Sisoes fled to the
desert because in every other place there was a woman;5
when Mark’s mother came to see him he went oi\t: by
the Abbot’s orders to her, but he kept his eyes closed
the whole time she was with him, and when a certain
brother wished to carry his mother across a stream
he first of all wrapped his hands in his turban cloth
lest he should touch her body with them.6 “A certain

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6 When she asked him why he did so, he replied, ;o\9p

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old man dwelt in a cell, and his desire said to him,

‘Go, take to thyself a wife’: and he straightway rose
up and fashioned a figure out of clay, and made it in
the likeness of a woman, and he said to himself, ‘Behold
thy wife; thou must now labour with all thy might to
feed her/ And he toiled greatly at weaving mats,
and after a few days, he rose up and fashioned the
likeness of a daughter, and said to his desire, ‘Behold
thy wife hath brought forth, it is now necessary that
thou shouldst labour the more that thou mayest keep
alive thy wife and daughter, and that they may be
clothed/ And having done this he wearied his body,
and said to his desire, ‘I am unable to bear this toil,
and if I cannot endure labour a wife is not necessary
for me/ and God saw his work and removed from
him his desire, and he had rest.”1

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#w**.*l£N£S2o cptfa«.


Rabban Hormizd1 was born at Beth Laphat,2

which is Shiraz, *=4*, in the country of the Huzaye %*oor
and he flourished probably in the last half of the sixth
or in the first half of the seventh century of our era.
His parents were wealthy Christians, and were famous
for almsgiving; his father was called Joseph and his
mother Thecla At the age of twelve he was
sent to school, at eighteen he could repeat by heart
the Psalms and the New Testament, and at twenty he
wished to become a monk. He determined to go to
Jerusalem to visit the holy places there and afterwards
to retire to the Scete desert to live with the ascetic
fathers there. He set out on his journey, but thirty-seven
days later he was stopped by supernatural agency at
Mosul. In this town he tarried in a church called Beth
Hale,3 where he found three ascetics who belonged to
the Monastery of Rabban bar-Idta;4 their names were

1 The following facts are taken from a life of Rabban

Hormizd by Simon, the disciple of Mar Yozadhak, which I had
copied from a manuscript in his monastery at Alkosh in 1892;
the title reads Ni.
?**ioboo7 fib? ^ojoiaoao jJ5&l
2 ^ »*b?iA ojiscA^ N*bao feba ^oaaoa: **bao ^jb IcjMa

For the translation of an account of this saint by 'Ammanuel,

Bishop of Beth Garmai (died A. D. 1080), see Hoffmann,
Auszuge, p. 19 f.
2 See Hoffmann, Auszuge, p. 41, note 351.
3 See Vol. ii. p. 102, note 7.
4 The founder of this monastery was a contemporary of
Babhai of Izla and Jacob of Beth Abhe.

Abba Jacob of Kephar Zamra,1 =4* ** aatbs* ;aif John

of Shamrah and Henan-Isho of Adiabene,
On the advice of these men he decided
to become a monk in their monastery. Shortly after
he set out with them, and on arriving there he was
gladly received by Rabban Mar Sabhr-lsho, the head
of that monastery, and by the whole assembly of monks,
who were two hundred and sixty-four in number. After
he had performed the work set apart for novices for
a few months, he was brought before the (koyxO
after the celebration of the Mysteries, and he received
the tonsure at the hands of Mar Sabhr-lsho. About
this time devils and fiends appeared to him and tried
to interrupt his prayers;2 his manner of life was, how¬
ever, so pleasing to God that He enabled him to raise
a dead boy to life. He was once sent to buy oil for
use in the choir, but finding twenty-seven men detained
in prison for non-payment of taxes he paid their debts
with the money intended for the purchase of the oil,
and took back to the monastery oil which he had
produced from water.
While Rabban Hormizd was still serving in the
monastery Sylvanus, Bishop of Kardo, came to the
monastery on business,3 and discovered the virtues of

1 Perhaps the same as jsS, a town on the

Tigris near Mosul. See Payne Smith, Thes., col. 1800.
2 a.3 . aA : aa?^2 iSl

Ji* Aa? ‘.}'6o&±xo Z>i'arj

o7iSa^^ ,bo ^.2 : ^aic&h&sio .^bscjo }o+*a

3 The following incident happened during his stay. ^0

Jto-mo widic>3 3 .; cA*? ^tlS aa.3 fiajs loy?

the young ascetic. After talking with him upon spiri¬

tual mysteries Sylvanus persuaded him that having now
worked in the monastery for seven years he had served
long enough, and Hormizd straightway prepared a
separate cell for himself, and began to lead a very
strict life. He fasted for ten days at a time and never
lay down to sleep at nights, but prayed with tears
the whole day and night and watched vigilantly; when
he could not help sleeping a little he leaned against
one of the walls of his cell, and so snatched a little
sleep just sufficient for his most pressing bodily needs.
As his body became emaciated and refined under this
treatment, his spiritual vision became more acute and
piercing, and he was able to understand “things near
and far off/’
When Rabban Hormizd had lived in the Monastery
of Bar-Idta for thirty-nine years an angel appeared to
him in his cell, which became seven times brighter than
the sun, and emitted a sweet scent. Near at hand
there dwelt a pious monk called Abraham who had

lived for thirteen years in the Monastery of Beth ' Abhe;

to him Rabban Hormizd imparted his decision of leaving
the Monastery of Bar-cIdta, and asked him to go
with him. Abraham agreed to go with him on the con-

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dition that he should serve him all his days.1 After

making this agreement Hormizd and Abraham tarried
there other three months, and at the end of this period
they had induced Rabban Mar Yozadhak, John the
Persian, Isho -sabhran, Abba Adona (£«?}), and Rabban
Simon, the disciple of Yozadhak to leave the monas¬
tery and to depart with them by night to that of Abba
Abraham of Risha.2 Here they all lived in peace for
six or seven years, being supported by the believers
who lived in the country of Marga. They healed the
sick and worked wonderful cures; the blind had their
eyesight restored to them, and a man bitten by a mad
dog in the village of Marga (&*** was made
whole. Finally the great spring near the monastery
dried up, and Yozadhak, Adona and Simon departed
to Mount Kardo, and Abraham and Hormizd to Beth
Edhrai; but Isho-sabhran and John the Persian tarried
there, as the supply of water sufficed for two men. In
the mountain of Beth 'Edhrai Hormizd found a rivulet
of water, and there he took up his abode with Abra-
ham of Beth Abhe; after three days, however, Abra¬
ham departed by the divine command to Nineveh,
where he founded a monastery. When Hormizd had
lived at Beth Edhrai3 near Alkosh for a short time,
the inhabitants of the district came and offered to build

1 Abraham says:—•. cvasax x*33 ^‘ix fiAxp 33

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2 This monastery was situated in Marga.

3 See Hoffmann, Auszuge, p. 19/.

him a monastery. Now the town of Arsham :***>? and

the Monastery of Bezkin were near Beth Edhrai, and
the people and monks thereof were Jacobites. The
governor of Mosul expelled the Jacobites from the
district where Hormizd lived, and people from the
country of Hazer went and dwelt there. About this
time Abhd-Isho, Bishop of Beth Nuhderan, went with
Hormizd to Arsham and consecrated a Nestorian church
there. The mighty cures which Hormizd wrought
provoked the jealousy of the monks of Bezkin, and ten
of them came one night and beat him severely and
left him for dead. Certain of these monks committed
fornication with a woman1 who gave birth to a son,

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and they brought her to Hormizd’s cave and cast her

down with her child upon the ground in a dying state;
they then went and reported to the governor of Mosul
that Hormizd had defiled and slain her. When the
ofovernor arrived the woman was dead, but her child

was living. Hormizd by his prayers* 1 caused her to speak

and say who had murdered her, and the child, who
was only nine months old, was made miraculously to
declare who was his father.2 At this time the son of
the Arab governor of Mosul who was sick unto death
was healed by Hormizd, whereupon the monks of Bezkin
joined with those of the Monastery of Mar Mattai3 on

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This monastery is about four hours’ ride from Mosul; it


was founded by Mar Matthew a disciple of Mar Awgin, and is

usually called ;->o\p? *x*o Axs? ;a.*? See A. 6f, ii. p. xcix;
and Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. 175. The Persian sage Aphraates
was at one time its Abbot, and it is famous as the burial place

Gebel Maklub in making an attempt to slay him. On

account of this an angel destroyed the Monastery of
Bezkin. The fame of Hormizd increased greatly, and
fifty of the disciples of Mar Ith-Allaha joined themselves
to him and built a church, and the natives of the
country round about gave money to build a monastery.
Among the contributors were Khodhahwai1 of Beth
Kopha, “a village in the country of Nineveh”, who sent
seven talents of silver, and Ukba, the governor of
Mosul, who sent three talents of silver by the hands
of his son Shaibin, who had been cured of his
sickness by Hormizd. The building of the monastery
was completed in twenty months, and both it and the
temple were consecrated by the Catholicus Tomarsa2 II
is). By this dignitary the new monastery was
placed under the direct jurisdiction of the Nestorian
Patriarch, and no Metropolitan or Bishop was to have
any power over it.
During the building of the monastery Hormizd
received a revelation to go to the Monastery of Mar
Mattai on Gebel Maklub and to dig up the idol3 which
was buried there in the grave of Mar Mattai. He set
out early one morning and arrived there at sunset,
and he succeeded in persuading the porter to allow
him to enter, and to take him to the grave of the
saint. When the porter had left him for the night

of Bar-Hebraeus, whose grave stands by the north wall in the

north-east corner of the church. For descriptions of the mona¬
stery and its position see Rich, Narrative of a Residence,
vol. ii. p. 98; and Badger, The Nestorians, Vol. i. p. 97.
1 £s*3 ^0 **3o.x ba Or bs u.007^0^
2 On this name see Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. 21, note 159.
3 See Hoffmann, Ansziige, p. 21, note 157.

Hormizd prayed to God and He sent His angel to

help him, and to open the grave, and to take out
“from the deepest depth of the tomb” a little brass
idol with eyes of blue beryl, and he gave it to the
holy man, saying, “Seest thou this little absurd and
despicable idol? In it is the error of the sons of this
monastery.” The angel then went on to explain to
Hormizd that after the faith of the people of that
country had been perverted by Cyril, Marcion the
sorcerer persuaded them to place idols such as these
in their temples and monasteries, and that Cyril, “the
priest of demons and deacon of devils”, was the first
to introduce this practice, which he had learnt from
an Egyptian sorceress called Kaki.1 When Hormizd

1 The text of this interesting passage reads:—3.3

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had taken the little idol, the angel of God lifted him
up and set him straightway in his cell. Next day he
showed the idol to the one hundred and eleven monks
who formed his congregation, and they rejoiced greatly,
but the devil who dwelt in it began to complain of
being made a sport and a laughing-stock for the people
who had hitherto honoured him. After the consecration
of the monastery a number of Jacobites and others1
banded themselves to kill Hormizd, but while they were
crossing2 the Tigris the boat in which they were sitting
stopped in mid-stream, and finally capsized and
drowned all in it, except Pithion the owner who was
a Nestorian.
Hormizd continued to dispute with the Jacobites,
and one day he prayed to God to enable him to go
into the Monastery of Mar Mattai and to destroy all

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the books in the library there; as soon as his prayer

was ended an angel lifted him up and set him down
straightway at its door. The divine power next un¬
bolted for him the carefully closed doors, and led him
from chamber to chamber until he brought him to the
door of the library, which he opened for him and bade
him enter therein. Hormizd turned hither and thither,
and prayed to God to enable him to invent some
means by which he might destroy the books of error,
and straightway there bubbled up in the room1 where
he stood “a small rivulet of thick, evil-smelling water”,
in which he soaked all the books until they were
destroyed. When this had been done the rivulet dried
up, and the angel who had guided him into the mon¬
astery set him outside the door, and he departed to
his convent. The fame of Hormizd increased greatly,
and he secured the respect and protection of Ali,

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the new governor of Mosul, by healing his son of a

Hormizd died in his own monastery aged eighty-
seven years. He had lived in the world twenty years,
in the Monastery of Rabban Bar- Idta thirty-nine years,
in the Monastery of Risha six years, and in his own
monastery twenty-two years.

The Monastery of Rabban Hormizd is situated

twenty-eight or thirty miles to the north of Mosul, and
about a mile from the little Chaldean town of Alkosh,
which is famous as the birthplace of Nahum the Prophet.
It is built about half way up the range of mountains
which bounds the fertile plain of Mosul on the north,
and stands in a sort of amphitheatre, which is approached
by a rocky path that leads through a narrow defile.
The path has been made and paved by many generations
of monks, who must have devoted an enormous amount
of labour in bringing and placing the stones which pave
it in their places. The view of the church is very
imposing. Its building is of a dusky red colour and is
supported upon an enormous rock into which solid
masonry has been built. The situation of the church
built in the Monastery of Beth Abhe by one of its
abbots called Isho -yahbh (see Vol. ii. p. 398) must have
been similar to this. On the outer wall of the church
are a number of inscriptions recording repairs of the
fabric and gifts made by pious benefactors, and the
dates when they were made, and also the names of
visitors to the monastery. It would be interesting to
have copies of these, for they would no doubt furnish

data for the history of the monastery,1 but when I was

there no ladders were to be had nor poles and planks to
make a scaffolding with which to reach them. In the
rocks round about the church and buildings of the
monastery are rows of caves hewn out of the solid
rock, in which the stern ascetics of former generations
lived and died. They have neither doors nor any
protection from the inclemency of the weather, and the
chill which they strike into the visitor gives an idea
of what those who lived in them must have suffered
from the frosts of winter and the drifting rain. Some
of them have niches hewn in their sides or backs in
which the monks probably slept, but many lack even
this shred of comfort. The bodies of the dead may
have been preserved in these. The cells are separate
one from the other, and are approached by narrow
terraces, but some of them are perched in almost in¬
accessible places, and, unless other means of entrance
existed in former days, could only have been approached
by the monks crawling down from the crest of the
mountain and swinging themselves into them. I saw no
marks of fire in any of the cells. Some cells have a

1 One inscription which I copied reads:—

^o fx»Xd a.3 a^oa fa'itso

faS&o _2 fcsixa “This wall and these doors were

restored by the hands of the sinner David, the son of Argon-
shah the elder, from the country of Salamas.* * Inscribed in the
year one thousand,.f hundred and ninety-six of the Greeks,
and to God be glory!”
* Or Salamas, in Arabic a district on the western bank of the
Sea of Urmi. See Noldeke, Gram, der Neusyrischen Sprache, p. xxii.
t The letter here is indistinct, and I could not be certain what it was
intended to be.

second small cave hewn out behind the larger one which
is entered through an opening just large enough for a
man of average size to crawl through. The view from
the monastery is exceedingly fine, and westward the
Tigris can be distinctly seen and even the mountains
distant three hours’ ride from Mosul.
The monks belong to the order of Saint Antony,
and live stern lives.1 They eat meat at Christmas and
Easter, but their usual food consists of boiled wheat
and lentils and dark-coloured, heavy bread cakes. All
wine and spirits are strictly forbidden. They meet at
midnight, daybreak, sunset and at certain times of the
day for prayer to which they are called by a bell; they
have neither light nor fire. They drink rain water
which is preserved in stone cisterns from year to year,
and is always cold and good. Their hospitality is truly
Oriental, and they share with the guest whatever they
have. When Rich visited the monastery on the 19th
of December 1820 their number was about fifty;2 the
number there in 1843 when Badger3 visited it was
thirty-nine: when Sachau was there in the winter of
1879—804 there were sixteen, and when I passed a
night there on the 30th of November 1890 there were
five or six less.5

1 The report mentioned by Badger (.Nestorians, vol. i.

p. 103) concerning the life of the monks of Rabban Hormizd
is not true of those who live there to-day.
2 See Narrative of a Residence in Koordistan, vol. ii. p. 88 ff.
3 See The Nestorians and their Rituals, vol. i. p. 102.
4 See Reise in Mesopotamien, p. 365 f.
5 Mr. Nimroud Rassam and myself were most kindly received
by Kuss Yuannis in the old monastery, and by Kuss Shmuel
in the new monastery which is built on the plain at the foot


The exact date of the founding of the Monastery of

Rabban Hormizd is not known, and some confusion has
existed concerning which Hormizd is referred to in the
title “Rabban Hormizd.” Rich states1 that this monastery
was founded by “Tomarsa, Archbishop of Ctesiphon,” A.D.
384—392, that Hormizd lived before the persecution of
Jazdegerd, and that he was martyred in the thirty-sixth
year of persecution, i. e,> the sixty-sixth of Shapur. Now
there is mentioned by Assemani (.B. O., I. p. 192, col. 1)
a Bishop Hormizd who was martyred in this year, but
he cannot have been the founder of the monastery,
for as Assemani says (.B. O., II. p. 418, col. 2), and as
we may also see from the extracts of the history of Rab¬
ban Hormizd printed above (see pp. clix—clxvi), Rabban
Hormizd must have been living after the Monastery of
Beth Abhe was founded, because his friend Abraham
the monk had lived there for thirteen years before he
went to the Monastery of Rabban Bar- Idta. Now
Thomas of Marga the zealous historian of the Monas¬
tery of Beth Abhe says in his work nothing which
would justify us in assuming that the monastery of
which he was a member was founded in the fourth century
of our era, and he says quite plainly (see Vol. ii. p. 79)
that Jacob, whom he and others consider to have been
the founder of Beth Abhe, arrived in Marga in the
fifth year of Khusrau II, i. e., A. D. 595. It is possible
that Jacob may have re-founded Beth Abhe, but hardly

of the mountains. The latter priest could read Latin and

talked Italian, and was a very intelligent and superior man.
In his library I saw a manuscript copy of the Hojnilies of
Apliraates which had been taken from the printed text edited
by the late Professor Wright of Cambridge.
1 The Narrative of a Residence in Koordistan} Vol. ii. p. 93.

probable, for Thomas, who never misses an opportunity

of glorifying the ‘king of monasteries’, would have
mentioned something concerning its earlier period of
existence. The history of Rabban Hormizd says that
his monastery was consecrated by the Patriarch Tom-
arsa II fcasoots, but here is another difficulty, for the
lists of the Patriarchs only mention one Tomarsa, whom
the Jacobites call Tamuza faiocs (See Bar-Hebraeus,
Chron. Eccles., ii. coll. 41—43; and B. 0.} ii. p. 400),
and who sat from A. D. 384—392.
In ancient days the library of the monastery con¬
tained a number of very valuable MSS., but the Kurds
destroyed by fire and water a large number of them,
and I was told that an inundation of rain swept away
about five hundred which had been placed for safety
in a vault on the side of a hill.
The remains of Rabban Hormizd are buried under
the altar at the east end of the church dedicated to
him; close by are two chapels, one dedicated to the
Holy Trinity and the other to the Four Evangelists.
In a corridor which leads from the church to a kind
of upper Chapel are the tombs of several Nestorian
Patriarchs. On each tomb is an epitaph which records
the name of the Patriarch buried therein, the number
of years which he sat and the date of his death; upon
each is a confession of faith. The names of the
Patriarchs here buried in chronological order are:—

Name Died

I. Mar Shenfon 5th of Abh A.Gr. \*xsi i849=A.D.i538

!In the latter Teshril
1 vxbal „ js'si i870=A.D.i558

Name Died

[On the first Wednes-

3. MarEliya1 {day of the Week of A. Gr. a'gi I902=A. D. 1591
[the Apostles

4. Mar Eliya 26th of Iyar V .£2 i928=A.D. 1617

18th of Haziran
5. MarEliya' i97i-=A. D. 1659
A-Nx3 *.».3iS3 £jtt33>** po*
. ' -

f 17th of lyar
6. Mar Eliya • ^22 201 i=A.D. 1699
P?'&? po~*
7. MarEliya In the First Kanun )) sS'112034=A.D. 1722

8. MarEliya r> ofZuu 2115=A. D. 1803

1) The first portion of the first epitaph reads:—

“In the living and immortal name, in the name of the
Father, Son and Holy Ghost. From the time when I,
Mar Shem on, became Catholicus and Patriarch of
the East, I acknowledged God, the First Light; and
I confessed and believed in His Son Jesus Christ, per¬
fect God and perfect Man, two Natures, and two Persons
[in] one outward form; and I loved His Spirit; and I
adored His Sign (i. e., the Cross); and I partook of
His body and blood; and I died [relying] upon hope
of Him/’4

1 He sat thirty-two years. 2 * He sat forty-three years.

3 He sat forty years. He died four years after he had built
the great church of the martyrium in the church of Rabban
Hormizd. ^33 9S1 tssx Csooj uS3i2 ixa £073 0733.30.*. fo&i
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2) In the second epitaph the confession of faith is

the same as in No. 1.
3) In epitaphs 3—8 the confession of faith is some¬
what longer and reads:—“I confessed three Persons,
the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, one true God, [of]
everlasting Nature; and I believed in His Son our Lord
Jesus Christ, conjointly perfect God and perfect Man,
twTo Natures and two Persons in one form, of one
creation and one will; Who suffered and was crucified
and was buried, and He rose the third day as it is
written, and ascended into heaven to His Father; and
I adored His living and life-giving Cross, and I received
His body and His blood [relying] on the hope of the
remission of my Sins,1 2 etc ”
Above the confession of faith in epitaphs Nos. 2 — 8
is a cross. In No. 4 around the four arms of the cross
is written: “Through Thee will we thrust out our
enemies, and because of Thy name will we tread down
those that hate us. In the living and immortal name,
the rich which cannot be made poor. Look to Him
and hope in Him” and in No. 8: “The Cross hath
conquered, the Cross will conquer.”3

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}32, founder of Beth Zeata, payis'l, of Beth Koka, 5.16;

329-I5- 59 15
- -

the anchorite, p&jysl, Bishop of Nineveh,

384.18. 121.8; 194.12.

*32, the month, 408. note 3. paiStil, Bishop of Hadhatta,

, • 238.9.
w^Oi 032, of Anbar, 97.12.
the Doctor, 26.5.
the Israelite, 161.19;
181.19. the Lame, 145.19.
0 / 0

pofcfi, founder of Great Mon¬ poiyzl, the Expositor, 195.7.

astery, 3.13; 22.18; 31.1 ;
pa?332, disciple of Sisoes,
37.10; 90.3; 91.12.
^ 0t *
pa\ 33 2, Archimandrite of Rab-
pai”&l, the solitary, 329.18.
ban Zekha-Ishoc, 7.7; 23.7;
92.9; 93.17; 97-!4; 9912- pyl?'l=p6lyz2, 187.2.
pajyyl, ‘the friend of God’, w>©332, monk of Beth 'Abhe,
19.2 1; 20.1; 22.19 523.2 529.20; 54 7
- -

31.7; 32.11; Ii4.11; 157.6; pc\i32, son of David, 200.14.

* jr 0 UOQ&3^2, Agrippa, 104.12.

the Catholicus, 59.9;
163.1; 209.7; 232.10; 238.17; J 32, monk of Beth c Abhe, 37.18.
249.1; 260.17; 265.1; 272.18;
37- note 5.
276.9; 277.14; 279.16; 284.1;
290.4; 292.13. ^*33032, Adhorbhaijan,i55.15.
pav&l, ofNethpar, 87.18; 90.5. u.32, a monk, 329.6.

✓ >

P,?2> the first man, 65.5 ; 115.17; an ascetic, 329.20.

138.1; 327.11; 362.11.
Ahithophel, 200.17.
/. *

^03012, high priest of Israel,

;30u2, Job of Uz, 182,11; 189.10.
19.21. ^0 m i
2*£23& *30*2, the Persian, go.6.
J&*s\o2, the Egyptian, 28.16;
81.13; 192.12; 235.16; 272.19; .30*2, Monastery of, 314.10.
273.14; 274, 20; 276.6; 291.6;
kS*3$*2l 201.7.
395-175 300.3; 334.9. wife of Ahab of Israel,
v ■' ' >wij
<,ol, a city of Talana, 115.11. ^3 V2 j 397-15-

*>0 2, a city of Talana, 115. note 2. $ f*2, Mount, near Nisibis, 3.13;
22.19; 23.10.
JSj3302, monk of Beth ‘Abhe,
the month, 391.12.
district north of Mosul, 0S>*2, of the tribe Shaiban, 7.19;
104.20. 104.2.

*J0>**Sh^JQ3O2, Eustathius, 292.13; wtiU.&*2, son of Abraham, 10.8;

31.8; 96.17; 114.11; 196.12;
293-3; 3IO-5; 311-1*•

Ophir, 204.16.
h£U>to»2, a monk, 157.7; 329.10.
DO 2, Ur of the Chaldees,
2, friend of Palladius,'
f 0 '
v ■ /
►CJD02, Edessa, 47.4; 91.5.
0 0 '
son of Abraham,'
mountain pass 32.11; 253.19.

near Beth cAbhe, 243.12. Ishmaelites, 29.18.

;zAxbb2, Jerusalem, 13.15 ; 21.5 ; u3*2, monk of Beth 'Abhe, 37.8.
31.19; 78.19; 142,12; 204.8;
213.8 ; 223.19; 224.12; 306.11; l&fel bs*2, of Lagesh(?), 328.16.
3H.I7; 332.3; 333 8.
l*Sl, l*S2, the Great, 21.2 ; 22.8;
Abbot of Bethc Abhe, 114.1 o; 29.2; 151.4; 177-19; 268.22;
115.6; 116.9; 117-2; 118.5; 119.19; 284.22; 365.16.
120.13; 121.3; 1233; 124.10;
jlS2, of Hirta, 28.10530.15; 32.3 ;
125.17; 128.13 ; 136.17 ; 134.15 ;
135-21; 137-7; 144-1; 149-11;
I5°-4; 153 9; I94-I3; 382.11.
;&2, of Mokan, 12.15; 238.14.

252.14; 270.19; 271.3; 278.6; the desert of Scete,

279.3; 281.4; 284.21; 286.9; ' 23.8; 53.9; 78.20; 135.9.
the desert of Scete,
2, Elisha of Israel, 21.14; 354.12.
27.4; 96.2; 151.4; 243.19;
a Nitrian monk,
344.19; 398.18.
Rabban, of Beth' Abhe(?),
2*5332, Apamea, 71.10.
of the Great Mon-
^xA2, the ascetic, 239.4. • •
astery, 6.4; 42.9; 48.2; 60.15;
2, the elder, 98.11. 105.4; 130.17; 384.16.

2, a monk, 268.6; 270.3. of Karka dhe Beth

Selokh, 68.8; 113.19.
» 0 m 0 0 ^ 1
MssSl, Alex-
* # '

andria of Egypt, 53.13; 334-6.

pU3^2, of Beth Bore near
.* -
Nineveh, 107.4.
JbO 2- of Mount Zinai, m /

^*^52, Monastery of, 144.1.

3umSobO2, a village of Marga(?), Metropolitan of Elam,

197.15; 198.11.
, •
jq?*ic^o2, Amonius, 268.19; Bishop ofGilan, 267.17.
269.10; 382.2. j&bl, village of Marga, 143.16.
t *
jo.10^2, Antony the Great, },&i©3Jj2, village near the Great
22.8; 86.1; 119.5; 133.22 ; 334.9; Zabh, 316.19. ^ 0 *

# # Arabia, 333.22.
2, Antioch, 6.8; 70.20;
Arbela near Mosul, 9.7;
7i-i5- o* 0
79.16; 114.10; 197.2 1; 198.17 ;
^c^,£>2, Estwan, a village on
the Zabh, 48.12.
^©f^2, Erzerum, 37.20.
j00*32, Arius, 330.2.
of Marga, 24.11.
Arlaye, a nickname(?),
UOQ&5^A>2, Bishop ofDasen, 238.12.
115.17. the Prophet, 115.12;
282.13; 333.4.

2*3032, inhabitants of country joaio.3.3 = j©ods, 227.

round about Seleucia, 82.14; note 4.
8515; 95-16; I02-9> 108.13; , Babylon the Great, 116.16;
384.2. 1
142.2; 223.16; 302.21.
ubfiOOdi, the Shahrigh, 161.4.
2*jt33, Babylonians, 23. 14.
.Oi32 = %ao2 [?
v .• V' ' OB01.33 = .0101033, 227.10.
Bagdad, 310.6; 383.7.
JQM&32, Arsenius, 22.13;
243-i6; 334-95 376-10- kQ3 or Monastery
^ / • S*
2*^x2, theProphet, 163.10; 347.6; in Margap), 143. note 3.
369.6. JS*0X*3303, Bishop of Beth
tea of Scete, 119.2; 297.6. Garmai, 238.19.
3f303, head of the church at
U&l (*a£js 5o), 254-18-
■ / '
Shenna, 292.15.
30^2, the district near Mosul,
J^dft*f303=>X0X*3303, 238.
74.2; 120.15; 139.14.
note 5.
JJSoHsl, Assyrians, 23.14; 186.17.
»* ✓ 2*1303, the inhabitants of Beth
JOOi^l the city of Athens, 23.21. Bore, 107.7.
Athenians, 298.6. 2*332 2S*3, a village in Marga,
•* *'
the historian, 85.2; 88.9; 143.17; 162.22; 182.13.

105-3- \.l fea = ^>8TV3, Bethel,

f ' 1
y£jdi, third Abbot of the Great
2*3 2 $S*3, a village of Marga,
Monastery, 4.2; 5.8; 25.11; 144.2.
26.3530.12; 32.2; 33.18; 36.6;
^032 ^3, a district in Kur-
51.14552.4 554.13 556.19 563.22;
distan(?), 198.3.
79-7- / fC
;^32 ^3, the country round
u33, Bar-Nesibhnaye, the musi¬
cian, 8.20 5140.12; 141.75142.1; about Seleucia, 82.14; 85.15;
95.16; 102.9; 108.13; 384-2-
143-5 5 I44-I3; 147-4; 148-13;
174.21; 217.16. 53.3 £S*3, a district on the
> t*
*33, Bishop of Beth Garmai, Upper Zabh, 10.4; 106.12;
238.19. 117.16; 124.9; I25-3* I95-2;

196.9; 213.7; 239.1; 293.14; £s*3, a monastery near

352-5; 345-245 385-4- Dakok, 58.18; 59.7.
<3&p country of Beth Be-
jSsi** £S*3, Monastery of, near
ghash 345.24.
Mosul, 58.19; 86.3.
a district in Kur¬
;:Lx3~ ^3,398.12.
distan, 239.16.
£s*3, »S*3, a
;'io3 Spa, a village near Nine¬
veh, 107.3. Shahrighan village, 161.2;
162.8; 181.7.
£n*3, a village of Dasen,
294.16. a village of Marga,
£S*3, a village of Beth
Zabhdai, 80.17. JAcu «Sa3, Asia Minor, 330.5;

&*3, in the mountains of ' 335-i- ‘

Dasen(?), 7.14; 61.6; 98.18; £Sa3, a village of Birta
381.3. in Marga, 332.5; 338.4.
see Vol. ii. p. 44, 2^*ObO 2S*3, or «S*3,
25 3;58*3; 60.21; 61.9; 66.17; see vol. ii. p. 447, 238.11.
68.10; 69.12; 73.19; 80.18;
^0369 «H*3, a village of Marga,
112.14; 238.20; 319.9; 345.12 ;
361.17; 372.9i 38o-i4‘
lAXtSpSQ iS*3, a district of Beth
<}?? *>*?> a village
Garmai, 319.10.
in Salakh, 150.20.
Jci £S*3, a village in Salakh,
Jbbo &y3, a village in Adia-
150.11; 176.21.
bene(?), 153.17*
- « / £Sa
/ 3,• , a diocese near
wtLtO «S*3, a town on the Lower
' * .* the Tigris, 62.2; 66.14.
Zabh, 239.4.
ylsbc^oi £S*3, a diocese along
*■ , £m ,* , a district near Ge-
/ 3 the Tigris, 353.4.
ziret ibn'Omar, 26.3; 37.20.
^bbo?<u £S*3, a diocese along
2S*3, a village in Marga,
the Tigris, 104.21.
uootibi ^Sa3, a village in Marga,
Spa=^to Spa, 329.17.
.4 ,
f3U* 4Sa3, a village in Marga, va^/3 £Sa3, a village in Marga,
80.20; 81.9. 144.2; 329.17.

^a, 399.13. JLiboja CSj*3, Asia Minor, 6.6;

V * •'
69.7; 71.19.
fSkii *S*a, the Monastery of,
' 1.2; 3*3; 4,1; 5*1; i5-i6; 23-7; a city near Tekrit,
25.2; 32.20; 37.18; 38.13; 41.19; 70.23;’ 292.3.
43-I3;45-II;54-6;67-2°;9i-i4; Jbis&i £s*a, wtiiUsa Xa, a
'. * .* A • i*
I39-4;i45-6;i67-2;224. 125251.4; village in Marga, 61.2; 144.3.
256.19; 293.6; 295.6; 302.9;
JJLbaX £s*3, the village of Shir-
319.12; 324.4; 380.10; 389.8.
wan(?), 109.21.
£s*!s, a village of Marga(?),
£s*a, a village of Marga,
a district in Marga,
l&iXsbs a village in Marga,
26.3; 61.7; 162.12; 182.9.
^aai* ^N*3, the district be- ■ * m *
a£sa«S fiSi>3, a district near
tween Nisibis and Eski-Mosul, Mosul, 168.8.
*3, Monastery of, 125.9.
£S*3, a village near Ar-
bela, 145.21.
V d*3^flua,7 a monk of Scete,
00 0

£*3, China, 238.15. >» m
\ksa*3, a district in Marga,
£ya, a village of Marga, 167.10; 181.15194.7; 239.17;
’ 344-17-’ 325.2; 327.21; 332.4; 345.19;
f C-d &s*a, a village on the Upper 359.205362.17; 395.15.
Zabh, 392.15. aa j&bata, a monk
ihoJd iS*3, Monastery of in of Beth cAbhe, 225.8; 226.3.
1 i*
Adiabene, 23.6; 8g.15; 90.6; a&a,
■ / # 7 a&a,
■ 7 a town close to
381-15- Eski-Mosul, 12.1; 34.19; 63.20;
fiN*3, a district on the 104.20; 216.6; 238.6; 246.15;
Persian Gulf, 86.7; 95.13. 248.10; 251.8; 296.21; 302.4;
A 'a at) fis*a, Aoatl 4Sa3, a 383-7- .
• ' t t ■"

village in Marga, 144.3; 164.12 the people of

1* 1*
198.20; 201.5. Baladh, 11.22; 246.8; 247.2.

jisa^y aa ^33 £S*3, Monastery Belshazzar of Baby¬

of, 380.16. lon, 182.17.

uba 2s*3, Beth Rewai, 169.20. Balaam, 31.7.


a town in Adiabene, J*Saa* aa, of Haighla, 33.

4 7-3- aa, Abbot of Beth'Abhe,
^frauia, the tribe of, 32.8; 40.17. 91.16.
5, a monk of Beth 'Abhe, aa, i. e., George of Adi-
37-i7- abene, 94.3; 99.10; 145.21.

l^Chia, the people of Beth aa, the Apostle, 262.4.

Banika(?), 199.19.
*\aaa, a village on the Upper
(a *Gwia, Outer Salakh,
Zabh, 329.10; 346.13.
109.4. 0 ■ t *

u?aa, the warrior, 368.17.

, father of Isho'-
yahbh III., 5.3; 47.13; 48.7; faa, Abbot of Beth
49.6; 69.11. 'Abhe, 76.8; 77.22; 91.18.
0Q)qA»jQ>3, Basil the Great, ki^aa, a village of Marga,
' ,♦
219.1. I43-I5-
^* /
Basil the Great, 219 J£aa, Monastery of, 156.3;
note 2. 169.17.
£SoA»a, Monastery of, 237.22. JSOSa, a village of Saphsapha,
94.7; 136.12; 162.12; 163.4;
Jj^a, Baal, 29.2.
*95-8; 239.17.
ia, Bishop of Seleucia,
the people of Gilan,
aa, of 'Ain Barke in
’ 253-7-
Marga, 59.6.
a district near the Cas¬
Jniax* aa, a monk in the pian Sea,;259.5;266.i7;
Great Monastery, 4.14; 38.9; 278.10.
a village of Marga,
the Monastery of, 143-15; 346.8.
4.19; 41.13; 384.20.
/ • '
Gibeah, 30.22.
v0*33 a monk in the Great
AA , a village of Tirhan,
Monastery, 33.20.
* ,, , 141.16; 174.1; 175.2; 217.8.
J*sa^* as, the historian, 23.15;
•* * wSuLaa!^, surnamed the Dan¬
47.1; 62.1; 73.8; 103.11; 380.16.
cer, 8.1; 70.7; 101.10; 112.5;
^Saa* aa, the Gnostic, 36.18. 113.22.

AacA, surnamed the Cow, *4, Gehazi, 27.2.

7.6; 47.20 ; 90.12 ; 91.7 ; 92.5.
of Beth Garmai,
surnamed Little bird, 6.20; 80.16; 81.8.
54.8; 94.4.
Metropolitan of
14.3; 239.14; 325.2; Nisibis, 6.2 2; 81.21; 82.1583.11;
328.1; 331.3; 36o-2; 362-5; 94.17; 95.11; 114.3; 120.7;
363.2; 364.2; 365.13; 367.5; 209.7.
368.8; 369.19; 371.11; 372.14;
Metropolitan of Pe-
37316; 374.4; 38°-2; 38i-2°;
rath dhe Maishan, 7.1; 85.5;
382.16; 385.16 : 386.3; 387.2;
86.6; 87.2; 88.6.
389.19; 390.2 i; 400.12; 401.2;
403.4; 406.14. Metropolitan of
Elam, 238.7.
Abbot of Beth
Monastery of, 292.18.
\Abhe, 250.20.
Bishop of Marga, 239.1.
d&A^3oA^ uncle of Timothy
Golgotha, 261.20; the Patriarch, 195.5.
333-i 7-
the “son of the
, 2. ^., Gudal near Mosul,
fishermen”, 54.7; 73.20; 94.2;
Gideon, 402.10.
, George the
a village in Marga, Catholicus, 165.9; 166.12;
143.19. 167.7; 185.13.

a district near Mosul, j&AjbaA^, Bishop of Khan-

164.1. ishabor, 239.4.

a town of Beth Gar- ^OmA^ the river Gihon, 31.2.

mai, 321.4. the people of Gilan,
, a village in Inner Sa- 238.10.
lakh, no. 16. Galilee, 276.19.
Goliath the Giant, too Galen the physician,
disciple of Babhai the JmA iZoS
musician, 146.13; 217.11. 156. note 1.

236.20; 243.18; 277.4; 291.6;

a diocese in Adia-
bene, 156.4. 303-4; 377-8.
3*03, Bishop of the Kartaw
Monastery of, 317.1.
Arabs, 94.6; 99.9.
a village four miles N. 3*03, Metropolitan of China,
of Beth Abhe, 59.21. 238.12.
30^*3^, of Tell Besme, 5.5; 3*03; Bishop of Gilan, 267.17.
49.12; 50.3; 51.1.
^b0O3, a monk of Beth 'Abhe,
329-9- 380.11; 389.7.
jsqoqIAV, Gregory Nazian- ??©?, a village of Nahla dhe
zenus, 219.2. Malka, 98.2.
Jiejaa^, a foun- tXD03030*3, Bishop of Beth
* ^ ^ ^ ^
tain(?) near Beth Abhe, 108.19; Beghash, 238.21.
126.5; 211.18; note 5. •pcS*?, a country near the
the people of Beth Caspian Sea, 12.16; 259.5;
' Garmai, 353.5. 268.8; 278.10.
J*39c\*3, the people of Dailom,
Dodh, a district near Dasen, ' 101.4; i36-4; 238.10; 253.6;
1 0 #i» 7 '

266.18; 278.8.
^031*3, Bishop of Ma'alltha,
a district along the Upper
7.22; 107.21; 135.19.
Zabh, 294.16; 155.17; 156.1;
355 5- UQa*j&Oi*3, the author, 292.5.

^CJ3, a district along the Upper It1333 J3*3, a monastery near

Zabh, 37.22; 92.20. Hadhatta, 156.3; 169.17.
JR33, family at Tell Kef, 409.5. J^^3 JS*3, the “Lime Mon¬
astery”, 90.2; 321.22.
A*Q2*33, Abbot of the Great
Monastery, 24.8; 25.7; 26.8; J&*^3 ?3*3, the “Mud Mon¬
31.2; 37.11. astery”, 198.18.

03, a man of the tribe v*30.ti3 J*3*3, a monastery in

Dhuhl, 104.4. Marga, 161.22.

3*03, TH, King of Israel, 37.8;

fiS33 ^3*3, a monastery in

40.9; 65.16; 103.2, 115.19; Marga, 155.17.

156.18; 158.11; 181.3; 197-3; Ji33 J*3*?, a monastery in
198.15 ; 200.1 7 ; 202.1 7 ; 204.6 ; Marga, 24.11; 328.9.

a town ofBahren, 86.9. ot&Ab, Valens the Emperor,

' 1111
a valley on the Lower
Zabh, 319.15.
the river Zabha, 233.8;
Daniel the Prophet,
313.17 ; 319.10; 322.2; 329.21.
115.20; 116.16; 321.12.
67339 33 uOSf, a Persian noble¬
a village near Lasim,
man, 404.1.
^03^139, a Persian nobleman,
0030*3 3, Darius the Mede,
^33309, Zerubbabel, 142.20;
Ltio&)3033, Damascus, 72.4;
174.14; 204.18.
uL>9, mount of, 60.13; 130.19;
£sS.fc)3, the Tigris, 53.17; 169.18;
381.2 2.
174.2; 198.18; 249.19; 296.20;
293-6; Vi-™-, 315 T5 316.15; JbwQX* JI39, a monk in the Great
382.20. Monastery, 37.22; 90.4; 93.7;
*£S3, Dathan the Israelite, 84.16;
161.18. u39, Zacchaeus, Bishop ofElam,
0 4

JE3O3Q3QO07, Homer, 297.21. *39, Zacchaeus of Beth Mule,
^OlAh0O9|, see 00503030007, 238.11.
297. note 8. J*339, Zechariah, 223.16; 302.20.
0Q5*^'3&^O07, Hypocrates the
^39, a village of Beth Beghash,
Physician, 298.20.
293 15
- *

3f*b03OC/, Hornrizd IV., 5.2;

46.15 ; 62.21.
Jitt, a village of Beth Garmai,
a village on the Tigris, 61.3.
199 5 4
- -
J3U3U, of the Monastery of
33002 a village on the
Gabriel, 381.12.
Tigris, 53.16. *

J**=*~> a monk of the Great

vrObaSui, a village on the Upper Monastery, 37.19; 328.20.
Habur, 62.1.
J3o&3Ui, Habakkuk, 159.20;
'ptXQl, the fisherman of Ha- 204.4; 321.12.
dhatta, 315.16.
Haggai, 204.4.

village of, 38.10; 214.6; of Saphsapha, 239.17.

;=V, on the river F azer, 393.9.
■ > { *

DOV see ?oa~, 38.22.

£jU k*>,

3 Adiabene, 7.21; f *

j£S:x**., of the Arabs, 28.1 o ;

8.5 ; 9.10; 10.11; 51.18; 67.11;
7°-6; 73 20; 74*2;7^-13; 81.14;
89.7; 106,14; 120.4; 121.18; of Na'man, 254.1.
139.4; 142.22; 153.7; 155.11;
171.19; 178.13; 197.17; 199.4;
216.1; 279.11; 314.6. a village of Saphsapha,

, the people of Adiabene, 239.17; 240.20.

10.14; 201.19; 353.5. pa**, Ham, 26.16.

al-Haditha, 8.11; 95.21; of Beni Taimlah, 314.5;

130.16; 156.2; 198.7; 238.9;
315.13; 382.17; 385.1.
a village of Marga,
Eve, 42.18; 393.21. 312.20.
a Persian noble¬ (see 178.13.
man, 8.14; 136.10.
}w Hannah, 96.12; 358.15;
Xpl a*AOu*, Monastery of 363-13-
Hugair, 136.15; 137.2.
diocese of, 10.10;
Havilah, 204.16. 108.1; 135.18; 136.5; 198.2;
£JU30u*, Horeb, 31.20.
Jum, a monk of Beth cAbhe,
Hezekiah, 347.6. 247.1.
• i*
^*2*.b**», Ezekiel, 374.6. JaiIm, Ananias the liar, 370.16.
Monastery of, 59.2; “who ate vegetables”,
1* '
58.19. 8.10; 125,16; 126.13.
the river, 393.10. JaUm, Bishop of Gilan, 267.17.
of Tfrhan, 143. i8(?); )*Um, Bishop of Gilan, 238.12.
148.9; 167.10; 173.7.
^OX*Um, the Patriarch, 37.14;
“at the end of the earth”, 41.14; 53.21; 68.2; 91.19; 102.4;
185.18. 194.16.

i surnamed the Red, a3 i. e.} Hatim
230.9. ibn Salih, 152 . 20; 153-2-
# ^

the author, from Beth 3 Km, a province of Salakh,

cAbhe, 244.13.
a monk, 270.3.
$f*2a Jae^, Mount Izla near
amonkofBeth cAbhe, Nisibis, 93.14.
218.8; 219.11. ^?a3 30^, Mount Bera'in in
UO&m, Hinnis (Bavian), Persia, 92.2.

144-3; 165.13; 167.9; 328.21. , Mount Zinai, 60.13;

&> a Persian nobleman, 8.17;
139.12; 191.9. 3 Mount of Olives,
4, . / c / c * 21.16 ; 333.18.
a3 Hasan bar- Ali,
88.11. ^3 Jao^, 381.12.

}£&*., 2. <?., “Little For¬ 2^>hoaa 30^, Mount Carmel,

tress”, near Beth Abhe,209.10. 21.13.

“Hebrew Mount Sinai, 21.13.

Fortress”, near Mosul, 168.3 ; the Nitrian

198.18; 248.3; 254.2. mountain, 254.16.
yObs&*, a town on the Upper 3Q3&, 30^,, Mount Tabor,
Zabh, 178.13; 200.1; 353. 21.15.
note 2. the Arabs, 28.10; 88.11;
9 O 0

y33iM, a village inMarga, 329.11. ' 125.19; 132.6; 152.19; 153.16;

154.18; 168.1; 229.9; 243.2;
Sssa **, a village on the
248.6; 281.9; 388.14.
Lower Zab, 66.17.
Bishop of Beth
d&aa^, a village of Marga, Beghash, 10.4; 195.2; 196.9;
143-17- 199.11; 198.11; 199.7 ; 201.16;
JBX*, a village of Adiabene, 202.22; 207.3; 246 9; 248.1;
89.7. 252.14; 253.13; 257.2; 258.8;
260.1; 263.9; 265.10; 267.2;
^a*», Harran, 288.12.
278.105279.11 ;302.i2;3io.i5.
■y •
JBa*, a village of Saphsapha,
6.15; 76.6; 239.17. Samarra, 141.17.

0 *

a district in Marga, of Nerabh Barzai, 14.11;

115* 11 (?)? i55 iS. 329.12; 368.5.
^ 0 $
z. 155. note 5. ^XmOu, of the Monastery of
Risha, 369.8; 370.1; 371.19;
t. €.y y I48.8;
372.12; 374.17; 391.10.
173.7; 217.8.
^Q«, “Bishop ofthe Scattered”,
&crf*, Jc^Lscju, Metro¬ Hadhatta, 96.7.
politan of Gilan, 12.13 ; 238.1 o;
of Beth Garmai, 5.15;
252.13; 263.14; 264.9; 265-4;
58.2; 59.1; 66.9.
266.11; 267.3; 268.7; 270.3;
278.11. of Dailom, 7.12; 96.10;
98.17; 99.13; 100.7.
&&!*, of Beth Beghash,
^LmOu, of Damascus, 72.4; 178.4.
'/ / > .
900)*, JDOQ]*, country of, 198.16; ^mOa, the writer, 23.5.

204.30; 205.4. ^mO«, the ascetic, 37.17.

son of Jacob, 156.17.
^mQ*, the monk, 375.8.
Jpoo?*, Judas Iscariot, 254.22.
^iO*, an elder, 37.15.
fy?O0j*, the Jews, 223.15 ; 233.2 ;
brother of cAnan-Ishoc,
281.9 ; 286.20.
* 106.3.
St. John Chrysostom,
£J3ti<x», Metropolitan of Adia-
87.17. /

bene, 51.18.
Utt&f a*, Zechariah vi. 10, 303.1.
v®*’ Greece, 334.21.
^mOa, the Apostle, 326.13;
Ui o*, Greeks, 46.16; 330.5; 335.1.
339-iS. r

Jonah the Prophet, 40.7;

the brother of James,
the ascetic, 4.17; 41.4553.21.
^i**Q*, the Baptist, 21.14; 134.4;
268.22. J&jQaou, Joseph son of Jacob,
of Adiabene, 7.21; 105.6; 37-7 ;46.8 584.12; 97.215115.17;
107.5; 112.17; 109.1; 117.15; 116.16; 264.14.
Il8.1; 120.1; 125.12; 135.20; A&Cu, of Beth Koka, 5.16;
143-3; 145-19> J94-S. 59-15-

# #
tiibOOft, of Shahrazur,
00 7 7
the Apostle, 262.3.
102.11; 103.11; 104.2.
brother of John, 104.13.
iA&Cu, of Beth 'Abhe, 113.20. / 4
father of John, 58.2.
of Beth Garmai, 13.10; t 4

319.6; 321.21. •30-fibu., the writer of the Epistle,

iA&Ou, son of Mari, 197.16; > •
aoti^, of Edessa, 250.18.
198.8; 200.16; 201.14.
i^jcpou, Monastery of, 249.21. £JOtJhtft, founder of Beth'Abhe,
4.155.14; 25.2536.5531.8; 32.20;
aa ou, the river, 333-17; 339-1 ■8. 33-6; 34-3; 35-8; 3b-S; 38-17;

the son of Zephaniah, 41.19; 43-13; 44-21; 46.7;

302.21. 47.14; 48.4; 49-4; 55-3 5 56.14;
■ 4 57-1; 58.7; 59.13; 60.2; 61.5;
afft, a Persian god, 284.3.
62.4; 65.12; 66.10; 75.6576.13;

the tax-gatherer, 47.4; 77.17;9I.I3;92.4;93.135113.1;

63.1. 114.20; 118.7; 215.12; 227.4;
232.8; 236.1; 271.9; 278.16.
adUfta*ft, a^i^a^, Yazdina-
bhadh, 234.195386.16. of Beth Nuhadhra, 6.3;
66.14; 67.2.
al-Yaman, Yemen, 238.17.
tSQfibk*, Bishop of Nisibis, 25.8.
mountain of, 381.12. $ 4
£jq£&*, “the sacristan’s son”
t&i*, Jannes the magician,
/ 4
jaQfi&ft. the Catholicus, 137.10;
29.19; 32.7; 40.16; 204.12; 0 4

father of Thomas of
298.9; 299.20; 337.14- 0 7
Marga, 109.19.
ajobft, Israelites, 19.215204.14.
Z16JB&*, a monk in the Great
son of Eemran, 314.5;
Monastery, 37.18.
£oJaatft,7 a monk of Yanan,
aafibu*, Jacob, 10.8; 37.7546.8; 0

84.12; 96.18; 97.21; 100.3; / 4

114.115157.7; 189.11; 196.12; £3OJ0k±+, Bishop of Marga, 239.2.

294.3. the son of Yozadak,
JOfibu., brother of Christ, 262.3. 174.14; 303.22.

surnamed “Maran- ySxfi) ^*0X4, 380.17.

zekha”, 238.20. Op3«k3 ^>0X4, an ascetic of
^>0X4, of Beth Garmai, 238.19. Marga, 328.18.

» ■
a monk of Beth cAbhe,
10.22; 208.15; 209.6; 210.6.
uOGJDOa, founder of a mon¬
of the “Lime Mon¬
astery near Mosul, 58.19;
astery”, 90.2. 86.2.
0*0X4, Bishop of Kerkuk, SuO^L foa, a native of Bashosh,
7.23; 108.85110.4; 112.25125.11; 94.7.
126.7; 238.18; 321.22; 384.1.
Ji0oba, 381.4.
£3 0*0X4, ofBeth'Abhe, 47.16; ■ * ^ ^

303LX4100, a town near the

49.21; 149.16.
mouth of the Lower Zabh,
iXO^yOX^, of Gedhala, 34.19;
61.16; 63.20; 66.6; 67.2 ; 69.6.
^# / bix&oo, Khusrau II. Parwez,
of Adiabene, 5.4;
[oioa 5.2 546.14;]5.19546.15;
6.5; 10.17; ii-2; 46.18; 47.13;
47.2549.20550.1552.3; 62.20;
58.10; 70.4; 71.1; 72-7; 73-6;
63.4; 69.15.
77.2; 78.3; 80.2; 81.10; 82.2;
84.6; 87.1; go.2; 102.8; 114.3; 03A3Q3, the Jacobite, 250.19.
120.6; 121.2; 142.13; 198.6; [See 0©£SoV].
199.45200.5; 201.20; 202.22;
203.3; 205.6; 206.4; 207.8; OX&OO , a monk at Beth 'Abhe,
210.6; 211.9; 213.18; 214.3; 226.15; 227.1.
215.10; 225.4; 228.3; 251.2; 00, a village in Adiabene,
382.12. 69.11; 78.5.
x- # /

90^4X0X4, of Telia, 10.3; 193.9; j4*iSa, Chaldeans, 22.19.


194.4; 197.21. 0%,, people of Chalce-

^ # /
t!3 07^0X4, surnamed the ’ don, 251.7.
“Long”, 256.9. yOiO, the month Kanon, 408,
& 970*0X4, brother of 'Anan- note 2.
A c & ■ ■ 0

3 sho , 78.13 ; 106.6. LiAia, Canaanites, 290.1.

0970*0X4, a monk of Beth , Xystus Bishop
cAbhe, 256.21. of Rome, 123.5.

bika, a village on the Magog, 205.3.

Upper Zabh, 143.1; 144.10; , Magians, no. 17; 136.15;
145.21; 148.19; 161.5; 174.16;
322.5; 338.4; 348.18; 344.7.
198.3; 200.3.
Midianites, 402.11.
Jbbd, Kerkuk, i1

8.1; 51.18; 68.10; 70.7; 92.5; &2db0, Moab, 31.6.

168.8; 207.12;
JLcsd^jSb Jaaa,Kerkuk, 112.14. 222.6; 250.21; 294.19.
t* 1 *

jSlOai, Mount Carmel, 21.13. X*ob0, b**dbo, name

Christians, 63.19; of a well, 104.16, and note 4.

^ /
’ 243-4; 263.4; 285.15; 289.5; ^dob©, a district in Armenia,
315.22; 34910; 388.4. 12.15; 238.14; 270.19; 278.6;
^0*09, Kartaw Arabs, 99.9; 279 5; 281.4; 286.9.
294.6; 321.1. ixo», Moses the Great, 20.2;
21.2; 22.10; 26.19; 37.8; 65.7;
A^sicr.aS, AjbbdidJb
' 0 84.17; 115.18; 116.16; 157.5;
174.6; 192.2; 204.10; 209.14;
^bdjdV a Persian noble¬
240.1; 289.21; 298.8; 334.1;
man, 143.3; 153.11; 170.4,
and note 2. 337-12-
J$Ou*b8, Ctesiphon and Seleucia,
fCuk, a village on the Zabh,
361.18; 372.10. 61.4; 63.9; 69.12; 84.1.

, Levites, 190.15. bb, ofBethBozai, 239.10;

240.5; 386.8.
a man of the al-Azd
tribe, 386.8. Jbu'bib J*bb, Maya Karire, 144.2 ;
163.21; 164.20; 182.21; 183.1.
Lazarus, 239.1;
'408.5/ udbcfy>bO, of Pennes, 165.12.

AS, AS, a village on the udbc^bo, i. e., udba>bo, 165.

Pazer, 328.17. note 2.
'pQX%, a village of Beth Gar- 113.2.
mai, 25.3.
,£>S.,38, Milles the writer,
a monk at Shenna,
AS», 373.19; 389.4.
30513; 3°8-12-

wt) , Melchisedek, 53.11. Monastery of, 314.11.

i* i'i" * '
, Melchisedekians, n 7 $ 7
a diocese of
53-9- Adiabene, 156.4.
a Persian nobleman, oado, Merv, 198.8.
•*.5 '/ ioMO, 392.17.
Manichees, 261.14. / ■ ✓

uOS69, the ascetic, 383.13.

Manasseh, 32.12.
395, note 1. ^oabb, a boy fromNiram, 393.4.
.. ^ o ^
uabb,Mari, 197.16 5198.8; 200.16;
143-3; J5312 ', 201.14.
39311; 39416; 395.1.
J3, a monk of Mount
village near Izla(?), 4.21; 42.3; 43.2.
Dehok, 7.22; 107.21; 108.1;
pUXip, the Mother of Christ,
135- 20; 239.16; 383.12.
#■ /
?*Asp» 38i-4-
^U3kbp, Magdalene, 39.9.
53'IO; 8?-i7; Bishop of Hadhatta,
n6.x6; 132.4; 187.2; 204.10; 8.115126.4; 130.145131.6; 134. i;
334-7; 354-12- 223.3.

D^lp, 115.19; 204.10. Bishop of Shushan,

.JwUibp, a village of Marga, 238.21.
X43. x8; 332.19. Opyyiyso, Metropolitan of Adia-
■ *
Macarius the Egyp¬ bene, 9.1; 125.7; 139.3; 14°-11;
tian, 28.16 ; 53.12 ; 86.2 ; 275.2 ; 147-5; x48-6; 150.5; 153- 7 5167.4;
169.7; i7x-i9; 172-2; 173-9;
334-9; 327-10; 376.10.
174.18; 175.1; 191.8; 196.8;
Marga, 1.4; 3.4; 9.12; 197.20; 382.12.
ii-15 ;24-12; 61.2; 115.11; 143-5;
JQOtiabO, Mark the Monk, 221.4;
144-5; 153-1°; 155-19; 156.10;
264.16; 274.13 5276.2 ; 300.10;
157.3; 160.8; 164.1; 172.3;
326.4; 384.21.
178.13; 179.9; 194-45 200.1;
232.8; 234.19; 238.20; 239.2; ;*o Marcionites, 261.14.
264.11; 271.10; 286.3; 325.3; u£sbp, the Apostle, 87.16.
328.6; 332.4; 337-T9; 344-2i; • /

345.17 ;387-13 ;388-1 o; 407.18. u£SbO, Rabban, 108.20; 126.6.


a district in tJQ»od^A>£, Nestorius, 145.9;

Beth Zabhdai, 7.14; 61.6; 185.2.
99.18. Metropolitan of
4*? '??> or Adiabene, 279.12.
fortified place in Salakh(?)j 0^.01, Monastery of,
14.11; 143.19; 320.13; 268.5; 3I4-1!•
269.1; 271.11; 274.17.
Nestorians, 164.30;
a native of Hatra,393-io. 165.7.
a village of Marga (??) 3u£SjCji, Nastir the writer, 22.13.
^ #
346.19. Naaman the Syrian, 254.1;
0 ij
mQI, of Beth Kewaz, 392,17. 294.17.

a village of Marga (?), Nisibis, 23.10; 28.11;

49.20; 50.3; 51.17; 62.3; 70.6;
78.14; 81.2 2 ; 82.8; 83.13585.11;
&4> a district inMarga, 155.18. 90.17; 112.6; 316.3; 383.6.
j&ui, a district in people of Nisibis, 83.17.
Marga, 98.2.
see 109.4.
Jacji? = {±^^,328.12.
ujcbdi, Bishop of Shenna, 12.21;
the river Nile, 219.21. 131; 239.3; 291.2; 292.2;
293.10; 294.21 ; 296.21; 299.8;
;oiai or ?“**> *• njw,
301.17; 304.14; 308.18; 309.1 2;
37-!4; 53-22; 58i°; 7°-10;
310.13; 314.19; 3X5 11; S1^1;
79.10; 81.n; 107.3; 121.10;
159.8; 164.1; 180.12; 194.12;
198.18; 199.8; 223.1; 239.3; uxbdi, pupil of Babhai, 79.7.
381.1; 395.8.
/ 0 *
Abbot of the Great
UoLi, Ninevites, 39.11; 40.12; Monastery, 89.9; 91.10.
1' *
194.12; 168.9; 353-4- ujidi, “The Harp of the spirit”,
^0*1, the month Nisan, 408.3. i45-lS-
uJfbdi, of cAin Barke, 59.5.
Nectarius, 81.13.
the Prophet, 40.9.
JJsdioD >33ui, a village of
Marga, 33s-14; 344•2 ; 395•2 0 5
si, a monk ofBeth ‘Abhe,
400.9. 54-7; 94 3-

a man of Nephar or 389-11; 39016; 391.7; 395-12;

Niffer(P), 87,18. 397-I3; 399-3-
u&aA), Mount Sinai, 20.16; 21.13.
m fi f ^ # m

followers of Severus ✓
district between Arbela
i* '
and Hamadan, 90.15.
of Antioch, 23.20; 91.2; 185.10;
249-5; 352.17; 353-17- o\*D, the people of Salakh,

£oo6uQ), a monk of Mount 112.14.

fit fi 7

Izla, 37.19. Sylvanus, 22.12.

of Beth Garmai, <^kO, Salakh, 9.2; 108.8;

5-7; 37-21; 49-iS; 50.4; 51.3; 109.2; 125.7; 126.8; 136.4;
73-!9; I39-I4- 149.14; 155.12; 176.13.
surnamed Rostam, liOuter Salakh,
7.5; 60.15; 89.4; 90.6. 109.4.
381.16. Inner Salakh,
/ m fi

a Persian nobleman, no. 16; 155.16; 384.3.

t t fi 7 7

191.9. or the Persian (?),

a native ofNiram, 94-3-
394-iS. nickname of Simon,
^330Skfi3, Sodom, 30.12; 180.5; 94.10; 95.1.
182.6. plain of Shinar, 26.18.
ijx oi», Sodomites, 32.10; Saphsapha of Marga,
156.16; 157.18; 181.13.
6-15;7 6-7; n6.13; 143.14; i95-8;
the Apostate, 25.9; 239.18; 264.11.
58.12 ; 61.21; 71.18. Sarah, wife of Abraham,
uODCTjxs, uoac^JQa, a monk of 96.12.

Mount Izla, 37.20. Bishop of Henaitha,

Sisoes, 22.13; 327.7. 8.13; 108.4; 135-18; x36.i.

Sunn, 137.10. of Beth Garmai, 5.17;

60.20; 61.5.
l#, Satan, 209.17;
themvovdpxos, 228.4;
228.9; 253.10; 255.3; 256.4;
261.19 5303.16; 333.225345.2 1;
347 15; 352-6; 353.2; 383.9; Serapion, 334.10.

0 ^

Jxikx JadL, Monastery of, 37.21. an ascetic of Marga,

the friend ofTho-
" 0 * 7

mas of Marga, 15.6; 85.1; ^yCdbilAy, monastery of, 385.2.

90.13; 123,15; 324.5. OOV Esau, 26.18; 37.7; 294.3.
3£&iy, ofKartaw, 381.17.
^adL,atownnearKufa, 85.19.
aai, 339.1.
“Arabs”, 353.5.
Hebrews, 68.8.

, a village of Inner Salakh, Paesius, 254.18.

384-3- o^, 409.4.
jibc^y, “Arab”, 316.15.
Paul the Hermit, 22.7;
^bojSoAy, the Jacobite, 250.18. 133.22.

Elam, 167.5; i97-!5; the followers of Pau-

198.11; 238.8. linus, 177.21.

a village in Marga, Paul the Apostle,

1* 4 \ '
156.19; 175.8; 178.3; 190.14;
197-5; 217.2; 241.22; 255.2;
;s>as *• e->
257.8; 262.4; 304.20; 311.4;
33x-3; 33b-i; 339-18; 377-10;
*Av Eli the high priest, 27.1. 402.12.
J&OMAy, Gomorrah, 180.5. , the brother of Gabriel,
14.5; 360.14; 362.5; 363.1;
a village of Marga(?),
364.2; 365.5; 367.4; 370.10;
371-n; 372.4; 373-20; 374-13;
^2oi>iai, Immanuel, 163.3. 375.18; 380.14; 381.2; 390.13 ;
*'1 ’

p’bboiy, father of Moses, 339.16.
abauA) 3k3 %3&iy, of Beth
Bozai, 11.15; 239.10; 240.5; a monk of Mount
241.2; 242.5; 243.2; 244.18; Izla, 37.17-
386.8; 387.4; 388.18; 400.8; J&cSoh, 66.11.
§ ^ the Apostle, 382.20.
the redactor of the
Book of Paradise, 6.18; 78.8; Bishop of Yemen,
79.14; 80.3; 86.12; 87.19; 106.2. 238.16.

0Q3Oa monk of Mount >o5, a district on the

Izla, 37.17. Shatt el-Arab, 81.20.

000^4 , a monk of Beth

cAbhe, 323.18. ^Q*07^, Zion, 278.19; 306.12.

Phinehas of Israel, 31.9. Nisibis, 84.13.

JQ3030.^iS.^, Pythagoras, Ja«>5 , see

297.15. 143.18; 340.18; 348.1 7 ; 354.4;
% 0*^5,
* « / 7 Pethion the Monk,
249.l6; 381.8.
}JSOg, people of Tyre, 204.16.

, Pachomius, 226.7; 334.9. Zeba, who cursed David,

jQ>bOQ3^, Pachomius, 205.12.
?4'>* Sidonians, 204,16.
UQ3*X^, Palladius of Helleno-
-/ ' A
polis, 87.21; 308.15; 309.7. a village of Marga, 346.21.

321.19. a monk of Beth ‘Abhe,

voA^t£, Plato, 297.5.

54-7; 94-3-
£AS, Monastery of, 53.16.
Philistines, 402.9.
the Aramean, 99.11.
oa»4, Pambo, 22.9.
the Patriarch, 15.17;
Penuel, 363.14. 102.2; 103.9; 106.15; 112.15;
Paphnutius, 254.17. 118.1; 141.20; 142.1.

a Persian nobleman, see under pftw, 152. 20.

109.9. Sanaca, 238.18.

?^oa£, a Persian nobleman, a glen near the Zabh,
143.2. /

JjQ>iS5=Farr + Narse(?), 109.6. -5 <
Zephaniah the Prophet,
0Q3*JQ3ia&, of Tell Kef, 408, 302.21.
note 4; 409.3.
0033^, Persia, 82.9; 86.9; 95.13. ^*2d, Cain, 26.15.
- t1
Persians, 23.14; 70.2; 3lob, Kawadh, son of Peroz,
82. i. 63.11.

uG^jQOti, a diminutive of uQjofcUaoiJ, Church of at Tell

Constantine, 225.8. Kef, 408.10.
t£ob, a village near Alra, }acuti, i. e., Cyrus of al-Hirah,
143.19; 164.7; 329-i4; 369-21; 145.18.
/ s
370-4- , the expositor, 61.3.
4+SoJti, the people of Koph in
Abbot of Beth * Abhe,
Marga, 370.20.
6.12; 66.7; 68.8; 74.13; 76.7;
Cyprianus(P), 394.18. 81.7; 90.4; 91.17; 113.19.
lily&oJd, lu'S&ab, a, tfoVfl, Keturah, 32.11.
Cyprian, 312.15; 314.20; \a*a=Jbjus-(?), 163.2.
the syncellus of Isho-
Cyprianus, 13.12;
yahbh III, 90.1.
14.7; 325.2; 327.20; 330.19;
331.2; 332.2 ; 334.20; 336.22; brother of Yahbhlaha,
337-iS; 338.7; 342.19; 343.20; 12.13; 253.13; 263.14; 264.9;
353-4; 357-T3J 364-4; 368.6; 265.2; 266.11; 267.11; 268.9;
372-5; 374-12;375-1°; 406.13.
A 4 ■ '

son of Yazdin, 63.6. a native of Adiabene(?),

u^Oub, Monastery of, 143.16.
wOO&, Korah, of Israel, 84.16; 201.5 ; 216.2.
see tpa, 183.5.
OQgAji5oJ3 Cornelius of
i. e., Gebel al-Gudi, 33.21;
Joppa, 222.16.
41.21; 365.19; 366.10; 397.9;
oCdotSUdoib, Abbot of Beth 368.8; 375.3.
cAbhe, 11.6; 12.15216.5; 217.6; Monastery of near
221.2; 223.4; 225.5; 228.6; Mardin, 91.2.
230.20; 232.7; 238.6; 241.14;
i. e., Shenna dhe
242.9; 243.3; 244.20; 245.5;
Beth Ramman,
246.12; 247.2; 248.12; 249.2;
251.9; 296.10; 299.13; 302.3. i. e., Shenna dhe
# ^m Beth Ramman, 13.3; 292,
t&odooti, of Edessa, 239.2.
note I.
dQ3G£Lao.d, Bishop of Beth XsiLaitJ, i. e., Shenna dhe
Garmai, 238.19. Beth Ramman, 301.18.

»■ / '
i. e.y Shenna dhe ?», 329.16.

Beth Ramman, 13, note 1. ;Liy m, a village of Saph-

*■ / 1 ■ • 7
i. e.. Shenna dhe
7 sapha, 264.11.
Beth Ramman, 292.3.
i. Shenna dhe
Saul, King of Israel,
Beth Ramman, 79.22.
37.8; 115.20; 177.2; 197.3.
Saba, 204.16.
Ij!sq0073, the Byzantine Greeks,
' 70-2; 197-9; 369-8-
3C££X, Sapor, King of Persia,
163.2; 182.18.
?*oa, people of Beth Rewai,
170.17. yjSodLX, a Persian nobleman,
Bishop of Henaitha, // // 5 ^
10.10; 198.2; 199.6; 200.2; £SJ03O3Cp(, £SjQ303C]E2, Bishop
201.2; 202.15. of Seleucia, 262.6; 294.16.
■ ^
Sabhr-lshoc, 60.16; SOfSOpC, a district between
89.5. Arbela and Hamadan, 101.9.
>9^0303, of Beth Koka. 23.5. Metropolitan of
J03O3,a province of Marga, Gilan, 12.5; 238.9; 252.2;
345.20. 253.17; 254.20; 256.115257.6;
259.4; 261.18; 262.10; 265.7;
uS, Rai near Teheran, 270.5.
}bi39, Monastery of, 329.6.
brother of Mar
a deacon at Shalmath, Aha, 116.9.
Abbot of Shenna,
ybboS the rock Rimmon, 40.18. 3°2-7; 305-19; 3°8-13; 3X4* 18;
315.6; 383.4.
ILxaai 011 i. e.. xxsbl
I ■ „*. / 7 ' » t / )

Rew-Ardashir on the Tab, ££)QX “Sunday Ba¬

86.9. zaar”, 372.21.
fay, an ascetic, 406.13. ‘Shushan the Fortress”
Rebecca, 96.12.
\+y*X, a village in Marga, 287.15.
Monastery of, 24.11; 241.19;
381.11. m4, a Shaiban Arab, 104.2.

# the Shaiban Arabs, 0^4 M dsM, of Tell Kef,
104.5. 4O9.4.

Sinjar, 383.4. ^»2abaX, Samuel the Prophet,

27.1; 96.18; 97.2; 99-4; 197-35
yQSuX, near Beth cAbhe, 243.12. 333-4; 358.i; 359-13-
SouX Sheol, 161.18; 224.4. uAQb&X, whose sons were mar¬
tyred, 59.18.
&>bOO^*X, the Shunammite
tb^QbaX, Shimei, 181.15.
woman, 96.2.
fb^baX, son of Yazdin, 47.4;
J^Sfci /3LX, “the son of the
giant,” 238.11.
Ja*baX, Monastery of, 143.16.
^XjX, Bishop of Gilan, 267.17.
yO^baX, SimonPeter, 21.4;
t*OX*X, Sheroe, King of Persia,
104.14; 120.17; 178 18; 222.15;
63.11; 69.13; 70.5. 262.4; 351.12.
Shirin, 47.3. yObtbaX, Simeon, 247.10.
•Sj.SE, Seth, 115.16. yOXbaX, Metropolitan of Adia-
;zb\x, Salem, 21.5. bene, 106.13; 120.7.
^QbtbaX, Bishop of Beth Begh-
^abaJSoc, Solomon, 65.15;
ash, 124.8; 125.7; 385.5.
yQbtbaX, the Martyr, 262.6.
yOba*^X, bar- Garaph, 4.19;
4i-n; 42.3; 48.3. ^ObtbaX, Bishop of Gilan, 267.17.

aba*^SX, Bishop of Hadhatta, ^QXbaX, Rabban, the monk,

vr 100.2.
156.2; 198.7; 201.12; 382.18.

yQb»baX, Monastery of, 314.18;

ydbXjShX, ofBethGarmai, 237.19.
315.1; 316.8; 345.3.
^ObaXx, a monk of Beth 'A bhe,
tObtbaX, surnamed the “Beard-
V "
less”, 7.9; 94.19; 95.11; 96.4;
brother of Narses, 294.4. 97.r6; 99.15.

isaix, .\aSi, a vil- ^Obbajj, Simeon Priscus (?),

• • » * • •
lage of Saphsapha, 116.12;
124.9; 125.11; 136.12; 137.18; Monastery of at Shen-
I43-I7; i53-i°; 163.16; 385.6. na, 293.5; 30512.

wAtaX, Shimei, 181 14.

0 n7 7 1
JbobjSS, of Hedhodh, 238.11.

a village of Marga, jiojis, a monk, 53.17.

yj&oyoyolts, Theodore of
^OX&X, Samson, 156.17- Mopsuestia, 174.8.
$x, of Beth Ramman, 12.21; jS-SoJis, Theophilus, 53.13.
79.22; 239.3; 291.2; 292.3; ■ / ^
DQ3K Mount Tabor, 21.15.
296.21;301.18; 302.7; 305.12;
316.5. J&aboAS, a monk of Beth cAbhe,
see 299.12.
109.21. aobu£s, a village of Marga,
pox, a Persian nobleman, 230.11.
165.9; 166.12. Telia, 194.6; 391.12.

$4s, cjS* *e
&o Us, the Apostle, 262.5. “Mound of Reeds”, 80.19.20.

JbaoJiS, Bishop of Marga, 1.4; the people of Tell

3.4; 172.3; 325.4; 407.18. Kef, 408.11.
jlN, Bishop of Gilan, 267.17. *X*X:)£s, Tarshish, 180.n.
* 0 7 7

ayiOv 22.15; 273.15; 355.5; 405-19; plur. 25.18.

dyuiviaxti^ 354.19; plur. 252.6.


<£bbo\J dyp6<; 255.21; 348.16; 367-17; plur. £0>d<AJ 388.20; 398

0^2 eu 401.9.
• i»
voA^o2 eucrfY^tov 44.1; 267.12; 297.17; 366.7; 44 note I.

GuorfYeXicnric; 87.16.

;*cjo 1 ouaia plur. Jblsbol 144.18.

fx+Jb 61 oYkivoc; 173-iS.

vf^?92 opYavov 142.18.

auGevxia i55-i8.

&1 etKri 247-13-

J2>o\d2 o'xXo? 384-22-
j£bo£x>2 eHopia 33-i; 50.3-
H£vo<; 313.4; plur. $Lgo2 364-10; 373-8.
* >4 • • Sevia 289.20; 362.12.


HevoboxeTov 202.8.

ajuiavxog 273.16.
■■ . *
avctYKii 58.8; ;Hw2 53-22; 335-2°; plur- 229.6.

^doi aaujxo<; 39-8-

}ts&\c&>i dauuxia 40.1; 128.8.

axoa 67.8; 227.17; 241.18.

#oa\4>>2 axoixetov 159.9; plur. 252.4.

£*>o\£>2 axopaxoi; 280.12.

axuXog 164.11; [;aioV&2 165.4].

statio plur. 142.7.

ax6puupa 329.2.

£ddj&2 axoXi) 6.11; 13.15; 61.1; 297.18; plur. (accus. case)

i* "
8.20; 140.20; 232.8; wfi>o^oi.£>2 61.1;

140.13; 404.2.

1 it
74-75 350.13; P^r. 75-8; 340.i8; 388.X7.

£do>©2 axnpa 22.2; 378.14.

CTKUXO<; 135-9-

&^aCj42 oipilma plur. 42 (xa oiyiima) 356.22.

^TrixpoTro? 172.17; 259.9.

24dttGx32 eTTiaKouoc; 1.4; plur. £36iicj42 6.6.

^iso.4ncv32 9.4; 12.17; 268.5.

\.dj.* 3dtU£x32
W (I ^uiaKOTreiov (vcu3cxtixj>32 9.13; 158.20; 328.10.

&so\b2 aKo\ou0(a 113.6; ^rsd^abi 360.16; ^iso\bi 92.10.

eKKArjaiaaxiKri 85.2; jH^xaiaX.02 88 note 2; plur.

18.1; ja>tli\cuoXt)2 18 note I.

£da i &K|ur) 407.8.

• • if • dpxibiaKovoi; 292.13.

dpxn plur. wfcddsi 21.19; 307-7*

£cod2 dpxujv 139.14.

#^=>i dpxiaxpog plur. 298.19.

.dxtobi appevov 118.15.

V •* *•
^00 ?£si2 6p06boHoq plur. Icxdo?£o2 6.9.

opGoboHla 71.18; 151.10; 166.2; 291.H.

a0Xrixri<; 180.7> plur. 252.6; 278. I5*

aGXrian; 18.10; 173.2; 406.18.

V\0r)vaioi plur. ^*»is2 298.6.


l« • - ,i
xa dpxeTa 102.14.

Pripa 83*15; 3°6.i2.

PaaiXeia ^g*1^

KUajLlO? plur. £po\^ 348.3*

Yuma plur. ^fisaidV, 276.22.

‘yiMfh Cx\A YXuuaa6KO|uov 6.7; 70.18, plur. ^atiodAi^ 206.1; 329.4; 369.16.

Yvu)(Jtik6c; 36.18.

2x33jA Y^vog 9*3; 14*5*

£°\?? boYpa 72.14.

bia0r|Kr| 261.19; 298.8; 306.13; plur. J&dbfsjd 306.15.

ibiujxrj<; 17.7; 140.16; 271.3;plur. masc. ^0007 271.7; 402.17;

plur. fem. &^d*?o7 275.16.

;ko\6*?oi 15.17; 150.2; 360.16.

6v*^0*?07 381.5*

jAoC77 u\rj

ISaJiSoc; 363*17*

^ak^oc77 ^irapxia 9*9; 74*0 I55*10*

fijtillshooi uirobiaKovo^ plur. ^cuisiloo? 307.7.

^olcj u\n 283.20.

^ad*xo7 f)v(oxo? 64.4; 326.9.

JboS^ai dTr\uj<; 234*3*

^oobo/ apujpa plur. ^oob'07 23.15; 307.13; 334.4.

;au\bo7 oupexiKdc; plur. JtuS^aoj 72.1; 339.19.

^CuCjb'or aipexiK6<; 330.2; plur. ;^(i+q>z6i gi.i; 330*8*

i* i»
atpeai^ 53*1*

prjXa 351.17; plur. ^S'20 306.20.

£r|xrj|ua plur. S2*^*

%•? 1* I1 v i*

xaOXu; pur. tfAiii* 329*4*

xa£i<; 49.17; plur. 16.12.

Tayri 7.3; 86.18.

T , v v> TCXKTIKO^ 78.8.

TUTTO^ 306.20; plur. 20.11; 291.19.

VJJ2D^O.\. plur. 307.22.

;ioi\ Tupavvoq 36g.i; plur. 382.19.

fXGlO^ r| xupavvi<; 330-3-

^OSO>A Xeipduv plur. £aioua 303.12; 402.1.

Xeipoxovia 120.14; 150-8; 27g.6; 286.14; 301.13

^oi^GxxGxa £uax6<; 3x1.16.

KripuS 351*17*

£u\<b XixiJbv 272.20; 349.22.

legio 392.20.

Xixpa plur. ?S\-A 225.9.

Xiprjv 402.2; 318.17.


fojAsoS XajUTrdq,-cxba plur. 244.6; 269.14; 384.22.

X^axifc plur. 169.4; 293.16; 351.3; 399.3

Xgkxikiov 3ii.ii* 36.12.

modius 269.15.

O povrjxa 81.3; 349*20.

;IioVo pexavoia 129.14; 210.1; 220.2; plur. Q6\!s6 84.3; 325.11;

j2x>-Ao\^b 43.21; 245.8.

pGxpoTToXixpq 51.10; 52.18; j^Aa3=x\.**> 7.1; d&A64=t\»*


a£l 216.1.

1 Ro\, A o3 8-5; 12.10; 84.13; 119.17.

iL* |Hl\lOV plur. 60.1.

|ud\aY|Lia 71.9.

juaWov 51.3; 264.1; 267.12.

\ Mr - |iie\^Tr] 72.13.

;\.g>Aab juaMaxa 21.11.

dvaxujpriTrn; 334-l8; 366.8; 384.18; plur. A/aaoi 274.2.

}ioa i vopr) 30.23; 279.1


;C)Oi vao<; 176.1; 306.21; 371.6.

wCJOiai vopo<; 4.7; 65.7; ^E>daaa 65.12.

J2J 6 period auvobog 63.21.

.djAObja arjiaeTov 218.6; 386.5.

V • •

auvrixopog 358.18.

l\oSc>4 TTO\lT€ia 58.5*

fCxds TrupYo? 164.13.

TraTpidpxrjq 84.7; plur. 102.10; 86.20.

}bo±his^ 10.8; 49.19.

3oCjo^L^ qpi\6aotpo<; 16.3; plur.

}So&6qxLj£ qn\oaoqna 23.20 ;',297.i8; 298.6.

ireiai^ IO.14; I5*I6.

}isox Ola 52.9.

qpd\aY^ 108.12; 228.21; 3°2.i8.

qpavxacda 210.2.

;yson^!i TTevxr|K0Gxr| 248.10; 279.7.

rrivaH 79.16; plur. 53.4.

qpaKi6\tov 123.22.

upaYpaxeia 33i.ii-

irapprioia 68.4; ng.i; 282.10; 340.3: 344.22; ng,

note i.

Ttapdbei0o<; 6.19; 7.3; 78.9; 271.1; plur. 15.18; 18.3.

ail 114.5; 144.5; 303-13-

' •* t
^isojAcXkiis^ 273-9*

u6po<; wobb£ 11.20; 49.13; 245.2; plur. ^.Q>oa4

;ho^>b TTpOCRJUTTOV 20.18; 24.4; 401.15; plur. 71.3; 268.5.


qpptxKTri^ 107.12; 306.19.

l^Ofbisa.4 TrpoGeapia 400.3.

irapaBriKr] 289.6.
i* i»

;k6n* Kripo<; 342.8.

• . • ,*
Kiparro*; 306.13; 392.13*

;X>\ab Kaxrpfopta plur. ;y*\e>e 34.17.

#»• i»
KlvbuVO<^' 52.3: 268.3.

a\acktJ kukXoc; 92.15; 263.18.

LSou] Xibpa plur. ^*.5aa 110.5; j&Jaab 11.16; 48.8; 261.10;

286.10; 356.17; 387*13*

KfjToq 159*7*

}ioS±i KoXXupa plur. ^oS.Jd 257.1.

7l~l v\.H
T|'’' »*

KeXXa, cella, 22.14; plur. 27.22; 365.4.

^30 lO koivoPio<; 67.6; 210.6: 352.3; 386.15*

,*303. £3 Koivopiov 60.4; 218.1; 365.3.

tfojjti Kavibv 33*i7; 366.16; plur. ^ibit) 56.18; 79.16.

*** KOYXn 171.6; 306.16; 307.8; 351.3.

30.7; 77.21; 398*15*

quaestionarius 158.7.

foba\gxO KaTd0Tpuupa 171*6; 273.1; 306.19.

;bx\±* Xdpxqq 293.2.

KapxaXXoc; 394*3*

3*^ oXa Ka0o\iKo<; 5.7; utobcu^bfist) 19.16.

?nAbXti 15.19; 'JLSotei 15, note 3; 251.19; 350.11.


KaGapai^ 198.13.

Is 03073 appaflujv 299.7.

fa6;ts Geuupia 40-4; I74-3; 206.6; 23 \5; 298.15; 363-8; plur.

t <>

J&06;fis 13.5; 304.12.

ugsottAyobfts Geuiprimoi; 276.20.

plur. 220.6.

^a\iS TaYpa plur. 23.3; 349.17; 352.16; 406.16.

coco is Gpovo^ 218.14; 235.14; 307.2.


409 .gg* .O JfaboJ^O

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