List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East
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The Patriarch of the Church of the East (Patriarch of Babylon or Patriarch of the East) is the patriarch, or leader and head bishop (sometimes referred to as Catholicos or universal leader) of the Church of the East. The position dates to the early centuries of Christianity in Persia, and the church has been known by a variety of names, including Nestorian Church, the Persian Church, the Sassanid Church, or East Syrian. In the 16th and 17th century the Church experienced a series of splits, resulting in a series of competing patriarchs and lineages. Today, the three principal churches that emerged from these splits, the Assyrian Church of the East, Ancient Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church, each have their own patriarch, the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, respectively.
The geographic location of the patriarchate was first in the Persian capital of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in central Mesopotamia. In the 9th century the patriarchate moved to Baghdad and then through various cities in what is now northern Iraq and northwest Iran, including, Tabriz, Mosul, and Maragheh on Lake Urmia. Following the Chaldean Catholic Church split from the Assyrian Church, the respective patriarchs of these churches continued to move around the Middle East. In the 19th century, the patriarchate of the Assyrian Church of the East was in the village of Qudshanis in southeastern Turkey. In the 20th century, the Assyrian patriarch went into exile, relocating to Chicago, Illinois, United States. Another patriarchate, which split off in the 1960s as the Ancient Church of the East, is in Baghdad.
The patriarchate of the Church of the East evolved from the position of the leader of the Christian community in Seleucia-Ctesiphon, the Persian capital. While Christianity had been introduced into Assyria and the Persian Empire in the first centuries AD, during the earliest period, leadership was unorganized and there was no established succession. In 280, Papa bar Aggai was consecrated as Bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon by two visiting bishops, Akha d'abuh' of Arbela and Hai-Beël of Susa, thereby establishing the generally recognized succession. Seleucia-Ctesiphon thus became its own episcopal see, and exerted some de facto control over the wider Persian Christian community. Papa's successors began to use the title of Catholicos, a Roman designation probably adopted due to its use by the Catholicos of Armenia, though at first it carried no formal recognition. In 409 the Church of the East received state recognition from the Sassanid Emperor Yazdegerd I, and the Council of Seleucia-Ctesiphon was called, at which the church's hierarchy was formalized. Bishop Mar Isaac was the first to be officially styled Catholicos over all of the Christians in Persia. Over the next decades, the Catholicoi adopted the additional title of Patriarch, which eventually became the better known designation.
In the 16th century, another schism separated the church, with those following "Nestorianism" separating from a group which entered into communion with the Roman Catholic Church. This latter group, known initially as The Church of Assyria and Mosul, and latterly the Chaldean Catholics, continues also to maintain its own list of Chaldean Catholic patriarchs.
Because of the complex history of Eastern Christianity, it is difficult to define one single lineage of patriarchs, though some modern churches, such as the Assyrian Church of the East, claim all patriarchs through the centuries as the Assyrian Patriarch, even though the modern version of the church did not come into being until much more recently.
The adherents of the Assyrian Church of the East, Ancient Church of the East and Chaldean Catholic Church celebrate the liturgy of Mar Addai and Mar Mari in the East Syriac dialect. At its peak, the Church of the East celebrated the liturgy in East Syriac in modern-day Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Mongolia, China and Japan. The church also uses Assyrian Neo-Aramaic which is the vernacular language of its adherents as well as English, Arabic, Persian, Turkish and the languages of the countries of the Diaspora.
List of Catholicoi of Seleucia-Ctesiphon and Patriarchs of the East until 1552
According to Church legend, the Apostleship of Edessa (Chaldea) is alleged to have been founded by Shimun Keepa (Saint Peter) (33–64), Thoma Shlikha, (Saint Thomas), Tulmay (St. Bartholomew the Apostle) and of course Mar Addai, (St. Thaddeus) of the Seventy disciples. Saint Thaddeus was martyred c.66 AD.
- 1 Mar Aggai (c.66-81). First successor to the Apostleship of his spiritual director the Apostle Saint Thaddeus, one of the Seventy disciples. He in turn was the spiritual director of Mar Mari.
- 2 Palut of Edessa (c.81-87) renamed Mar Mari (c.87 – c.121). Second successor to the Apostleship of Mar Addai of the Seventy disciples. During his days a bishopric was formally established at Seleucia-Ctesiphon.
- 3 Abris (Abres or Ahrasius) (121–148 AD) Judah Kyriakos relocates Jerusalem Church to Edessa in 136 AD
- 4 Abraham (Abraham I of Kashker) (148–171 AD)
- 5 Yaʿqob I (Mar Yacob I) (c. 172–190 AD)
- 6 Ebid M’shikha (191–203)
- 7 Ahadabui (Ahha d'Aboui) (204–220 AD) - First bishop of the East to get statikon as Catholicos. Ordained in 231 AD in Jerusalem Council.
- 8 Shahaloopa of Kashker (Shahlufa) (220–266 AD)
- Bar Aggai (267–c. 280)
Metropolitan of Seleucia-Ctesiphon elevated as titular Catholicos
- 9 Papa bar Aggai (Mar Papa bar Gaggai (c. 280–316 AD died 336)
- 10 Shemʿon bar Sabbaʿe (Simeon Barsabae) (coadjutor 317–336, Catholicos from 337–341 AD)
- 11 Shahdost (Shalidoste) (341–343 AD)
- 12 Barbaʿshmin (Barbashmin) (343–346 AD). The apostolic see of Edessa is completely abandoned in 345 AD due to persecutions against the Church of the East.
- 13 Tomarsa (Toumarsa) (346–370 AD)
- 14 Qayyoma (Qaioma) (371–399 AD)
- 15 Isaac (399–410 AD)
Catholicos of the East with jurisdiction over Eastern provinces
Isaac was recognised as 'Grand Metropolitan' and Primate of the Church of the East at the Synod of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in 410. The acts of this Synod were later edited by the Patriarch Joseph (552–567) to grant him the title of Catholicos as well. This title for Patriarch Isaac in fact only came into use towards the end of the fifth century.
- 16 Ahha (Ahhi) (410–414 AD)
- 17 Yahballaha I (Yab-Alaha I) (415–420 AD)
- 18 Maʿna (Maana) (420 AD)
- 19 Farbokht (Frabokht) (421 AD)
- 20 Dadishoʿ (Dadishu I) 421–456 AD)
With Dadisho, the significant disagreement on the dates of the Catholicoi in the sources start to converge. In 424, under Mar Dadisho I, the Church of the East declared itself independent of all other churches; thereafter, its Catholicoi began to use the additional title of Patriarch. During his reign, Nestorianism was subsequently denounced at the Council of Ephesus in 431.
- 21 Babowai (Babwahi) (457–484 AD)
- 22 Barsauma (484–485) opposed by
- Acacius (Aqaq-Acace) (485–496/8 AD)
- 23 Babai (497–503)
- 24 Shila (503–523)
- 25 Elishaʿ (524–537)
- Narsai intrusus (524–537)
- 26 Paul (539)
- 27 Aba I (540–552)
In 544 the Synod of Mar Aba I adopted the ordinances of the Council of Chalcedon.
- 28 Joseph (552–556/567 AD)
- 29 Ezekiel (567–581)
- 30 Ishoʿyahb I (582–595)
- 31 Sabrishoʿ I (596–604)
- 32 Gregory (605–609)
- 33 Ishoʿyahb II (628–645)
- 34 Maremmeh (646–649)
- 35 Ishoʿyahb III (649–659)
- 36 Giwargis I (661–680)
- 37 Yohannan I (680–683)
- vacant (683–685)
- 38 Hnanishoʿ I (686–698)
- Yohannan the Leper intrusus (691–693)
- vacant (698–714)
- 39 Sliba-zkha (714–728)
- vacant (728–731)
- 40 Pethion (731–740)
- 41 Aba II (741–751)
- 42 Surin (753)
- 43 Yaʿqob II (753–773)
- 44 Hnanishoʿ II (773–780)
- 45 Timothy I (780–823)
- 46 Ishoʿ Bar Nun (823–828)
- 47 Giwargis II (828–831)
- 48 Sabrishoʿ II (831–835)
- 49 Abraham II (837–850)
- vacant (850–853)
- 50 Theodosius (853–858)
- vacant (858–860)
- 51 Sargis (860–872)
- vacant (872–877)
- 52 Israel of Kashkar intrusus (877)
- 53 Enosh (877–884)
- 54 Yohannan II bar Narsai (884–891)
- 55 Yohannan III (893–899)
- 56 Yohannan IV Bar Abgar (900–905)
- 57 Abraham III (906–937)
- 58 Emmanuel I (937–960)
- 59 Israel (961)
- 60 ʿAbdishoʿ I (963–986)
- 61 Mari (987–999)
- 62 Yohannan V (1000–1011)
- 63 Yohannan VI bar Nazuk (1012–1016)
- vacant (1016–1020)
- 64 Ishoʿyahb IV bar Ezekiel (1020–1025)
- vacant (1025–1028)
- 65 Eliya I (1028–1049)
- 66 Yohannan VII bar Targal (1049–1057)
- vacant (1057–1064)
- 67 Sabrishoʿ III (1064–1072)
- 68 ʿAbdishoʿ II ibn al-ʿArid (1074–1090)
- 69 Makkikha I (1092–1110)
- 70 Eliya II Bar Moqli (1111–1132)
- 71 Bar Sawma (1134–1136)
- vacant (1136–1139)
- 72 ʿAbdishoʿ III Bar Moqli (1139–1148)
- 73 Ishoʿyahb V (1149–1176)
- 74 Eliya III (1176–1190)
- 75 Yahballaha II (1190–1222)
- 76 Sabrishoʿ IV Bar Qayyoma (1222–1224)
- 77 Sabrishoʿ V ibn al-Masihi (1226–1256)
- 78 Makkikha II (1257–1265)
- 79 Denha I (1265–1281)
- 80 Yahballaha III (1281–1317) – The Patriarchal Seat transferred to Maragha
- 81 Timothy II (1318–c. 1332)
- vacant (c. 1332–c. 1336)
- 82 Denha II (1336/7–1381/2)
- 83 Shemʿon II (c. 1365 – c. 1392) (dates uncertain)
- 83b Shemʿon III (c. 1403 – c. 1407) (existence uncertain)
- 84 Eliya IV (c. 1437)
- 85 Shemʿon IV Basidi (1437–1493, ob.1497)
- 86 Shemʿon V (1497–1501)
- 87 Eliya V (1502–1503)
- 88 Shemʿon VI (1504–1538)
- 89 Shemʿon VII Ishoʿyahb (1539–1558)
List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East from 1552 to 1681
By the Schism of 1552 divided the Church of the East was divided into many splinters but two main factions, of which one (the Church of Assyria and Mosul) entered into communion with the Catholic Church and the other remained independent.
Eliya Line, with residence in Alqosh:
List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East from 1681 to 1820
In 1681 a separate Patriarchate in communion with the Catholic Church was erected in Amid, splitting from the Eliya Line. In 1692 Shemʿon XIII Dinkha (based in Qochanis) of the Shimun line, broke formally communion with Rome.
Eliya Line, with residence in Alqosh:
at the death of Eliya XII the Eliya Line split between:
Shemʿon Line, with residence in Qochanis:
With the reign of Patriarch Yohannan Hormizd, the Eliya Line in Alqosh entered in Communion with Rome, merging with the Catholic "Josephite" Amid line and thus forming the modern Chaldean Church. In 1830, Yohannan Hormizd was recognised by the Vatican as patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and moved the see in Mosul. This event marked the birth of the modern Chaldean Catholic Church. For the following Chaldean Patriarchs see the below.
List of Patriarchs of the Chaldean Catholic Church since 1830
Non-hereditary line established with end of Eliya Line
- 96 Yohannan VIII Hormizd (1830–1838) — moved the See to Mosul
- 97 Nicholas I Zaya (1839–1846)
- 98 Joseph VI Audo (1847–1878)
- 99 Eliya Abulyonan (1878–1894)
- 100 Audishu V Khayyath (1894–1899) (Georges Ebed-Iesu)
- 101 Yousef VI Emmanuel II Thomas (1900–1946)
- 102 Yousef VII Ghanima (1946–1958) — moved the See to Baghdad
- 103 Paul II Cheikho (1958–1989)
- 104 Raphael I Bidawid (1989–2003)
- Locum Tenens: Shlemon Warduni (2003)
- 105 Emmanuel III Delly (2003–2012)
- Locum Tenens: Jacques Ishaq (2012–2013)
- 106 Louis Raphaël I Sako (since 2013)
List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East since 1820
Continuation of the Shemʿon Line
- 101 Shemʿon XVII Abraham (1820–1861) Residence continued in Qochanis
- 102 Shemʿon XVIII Rubil (1861–1903)
- 103 Shemʿon XIX Benjamin (1903–1918) due to the Seyfo, the Residence in Qochanis ended in 1915, with Patriarch residing starting from 1915 between Urmia and Salmas, Persia until his assassination in 1918 breaking up the multi-national nature of the Church of the East leaving many non-Assyrian Bishops isolated in different parts of the world to continue their independent Churches of the East autonomously
- 104 Shemʿon XX Paul (1918–1920) Patriarch moved the patriarchate to Mosul, Iraq
- 105 Shemʿon XXIII Eshai (1920–1975) – forced into exile in 1933 and thus the patriarchate was temporarily located in Cyprus before relocating to Chicago, Illinois in 1940, and finally relocating to San Francisco, California in. He renamed Church as Assyrian Church of the East which along with other reforms led the Ancient Church of the East to secede. He resigned in 1973, although unofficially still remained patriarch. He was assassinated in San Jose, California. His death led to the end of the Shemʿon line
List of Patriarchs of the Assyrian Church of the East
- 105 Shemʿon XXIII Eshai ended hereditary patriarchy
- 106 Dinkha IV (17 October 1976 – 26 March 2015) – first canonically elected Patriarch since 1600. Relocated the patriarchate to Chicago, Illinois in 1980 after temporarily living in Tehran, Iran. Abolished hereditary succession upon his election
- Locum Tenens: Aprem Mooken (26 March 2015 – 18 September 2015)
- 107 Gewargis III – on 18 September 2015, designated Catholicos-Patriarch elect by the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East. Consecrated and enthroned on 27 September 2015, in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist, Erbil
List of Patriarchs of the Ancient Church of the East
In 1964, during the reign of Shemʿon XXI Eshai (also known as Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII), a schism occurred in the Church of the East causing the establishment of a separate Ancient Church of the East with its center in Baghdad. This schism occurred because of the changing of the church calendar from the traditional Julian calendar to the Gregorian one, along with hereditary succession and tribal rivalry. In 1968 communities in Iraq, Syria and India elected a rival Patriarch centered in Baghdad, the then suspended Metropolitan of India Mar Thoma Darmo. He consecrated prelates who in turn consecrated him Patriarch. Many of the non-Assyrian autonomous communities, isolated from the Church of the East in different parts of the world during the Seyfo, rallied their support for the Catholicoi of the Ancient Church of the East. Currently the Patriarchate is located in Baghdad, Iraq.
- Vacant (1964–1968) – first period of the schism
- 106 Thoma Darmo (1968–1969)
- Locum Tenens: Addai Giwargis (1969–1972)
- 107 Addai II (1972–)
Various communities of Church of the East Old Calendarists seceded from the Ancient Church of the East in 2011 by continuing to observe the 25th of December on January 6th and 25th of March on April 6th, the Church of the East Calendar being 12 days behind the Gregorian calendar.
- Patriarchs of the East, of the Catholic churches of Eastern Christianity
- List of Chaldean Catholic Patriarchs of Babylon
- Catholicos of the East
- Ancient Church of the East
- Province of the Patriarch
- Willison, Walker (1985). A history of the Christian church. Simon & Schuster. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-684-18417-3.
this church had as its head a "catholikos" who came to be styled "Patriarch of the East" and had his seat originally at Seleucia-Ctesiphon (after 775 it was shifted to Baghdad).
- Wilmshurst, David (2000). The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East, 1318–1913. Peeters Publishers. p. 4. ISBN 978-90-429-0876-5.
- Wigram, p. 90
- Wigram, pp. 42–44.
- Wigram, pp. 90–91.
- Wigram, p. 91.
- I Peter, 1:1 and 5:13
- "Nestorian Patriarchs". Nestorian.org. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
- Stewart, p. 15
- Vine, The Nestorian Churches, 104
- Wilmshurst 2011, p. 477
- Heleen H.L. Murre (July 1999). "The Patriarchs of the Church of the East from the Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries". Journal of Syriac Studies. Hugoye. 2 (2). Retrieved 2011-10-09.
- Wilmshurst, David (2011). The martyred Church – A History of the Church of the East. London: East & West Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-907318-04-7.
- Wilmshurst, D. J., The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East, 1318–1913 (Louvain, 2000)
- Wigram, W. A. (2004). An introduction to the history of the Assyrian Church, or, The Church of the Sassanid Persian Empire, 100–640 A.D. Gorgias Press. ISBN 1-59333-103-7.
- Nestorian Patriarchs
- Foster, John. The Church of the Tang Dynasty.
- Vine, A., The Nestorian Churches (London, 1937)