Beth Lapaṭ Gondeshapur, Jundi-Shapur

Chief city of Beth Huzaye/Khuzistan, whose metropolitan bishopric ranked second after that of Seleucia-Ctesiphon. Its ruins are near Sahabad, between Tustar and Dezful. Beth Lapaṭ was (re-)founded soon after the sack of Antioch (256) by Shapur I (241–272) with the name Gondeshapur (‘Shapur’s Antioch is better’), and was settled with prisoners from the Roman Empire. Among the captives was the bp. of Antioch, Demetrianus, and the episcopal line of Beth Lapaṭ will have commenced with him. It was at Beth Lapaṭ, one of the Shah’s summer residences, that Mani was put to death in 276/7. Beth Lapaṭ produced several martyrs during the persecutions of Shapur II, one being Bp. Gadyab (mentioned by Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, II.13), who, according to the early Life of Miles, consecrated Miles as bp. of Susa. At the Synod of Seleucia-Ctesiphon of 410 the metropolitan of Beth Lapaṭ features first in the list of metropolitan sees, and later Mar Aba specifies that he should preside over the election of a new cath. (Synodicon Orientale, 543–44, tr. 554). In 410 its suffragan dioceses are listed as Karka d-Ledan, Hormizd Ardashir (Ahwaz), Shushterin (Tustar), and Shush (Susa); later additions were Ram Hormizd and Mihraqan Qadaq (linked with Ispahan in the synod of 497). It was at Beth Lapaṭ that Bp. Barsawma of Nisibis convened his rebel synod in 484, whose acts were later annulled in 486. A theological school is known to have existed in Beth Lapaṭ in the late Sasanian Empire; whether or not it also had a medical school attached (as was the case at Nisibis at the end of the 6th cent.) is disputed (see Reinink). Such a school is definitely attested for the early Abbasid period by Timotheos I’s Letter 13 (ed. Braun, CSCO 74, 108), and is implied by al-Manṣūr’s summoning of Gewargis, of the Bokhtishoʿ family (see Gabriel bar Bokhtishoʿ) in Beth Lapaṭ, to be his physician in Baghdad. By this time the metropolitan see was known as that of Elam. Apart from the names of a number of its bishops little is known of the later history of Beth Lapaṭ, and the see evidently came to an end some time in the 14th cent. (For a synoptic list of bishops of Beth Lapaṭ and its dioceses, see C. and F. Jullien, in Dictionnaire de la Bible, Supplément, fasc. 74 [2003], cols. 617–18.)


  • N. Abbott, ‘Jundi-Shapur: A preliminary historical sketch’, Ars Orientalis 7 (1968), 53–73.
  • J.-M. Fiey, ‘L’Elam, la première des métropoles ecclésiastiques syriennes orientales’, Melto 5 (1969), 221–67. (repr. in his Communautés syriaques, IIIa)
  • J.-M. Fiey, Pour un Oriens christianus novus, 83–85.
  • R.  F.  Hau, ‘Gondeschapur — eine Medizinschule aus dem 6. Jh. nach Chr.’, Gesnerus 36 (1979), 98–115.
  • C.  L.  Huart and A. Sayılı, ‘Gondeshapur’, EI 2, vol. 2 (1965), 1119–20.
  • C.  Jullien, ‘Contribution des Actes des martyrs perses à la géographie historique et à l’administration de l’empire sassanide’, Res Orientales 16 (2004), 148–49.
  • G.  J.  Reinink, ‘Theology and medicine in Jundishapur. Cultural change in the Nestorian School tradition’, in Learned Antiquity. Scholarship in the Near East, the Greco-Roman World and the Early Medieval World, ed. A. A. MacDonald et al. (2003), 163–74.
  • L.  Richter-Bernberg, ‘Gondeshapur. History and medical school’, in EIr , vol. 11 (2003), 133–35.
  • W.  Schwaigert, Das Christentum in Huzistan im Rahmen der frühen Kirchengeschichte Persiens bis zur Synode von Seleukia-Ktesiphon im Jahre 410 (1989).
  • W.  Schwaigert  ‘Die Theologenschule von Bet Lapat-Gundaisabur’, ZDMG Suppl. 4 (1980), 185–87.
  • H.  H.  Schoffler, Die Akademie von Gondischapur. Aristoteles auf dem Wege in den Orient (1980).
  • A.  Siassi, ‘L’université de Gond-i Shapur et l’étendue de son rayonnement’, in Mélanges H. Massé (1963), 366–74.
  • A.  Van Lantschoot, ‘Beth Lapat’, DHGE , vol. 8 (1935), 1233–1235.

| Beth Lapaṭ |


Front Matter A (73) B (53) C (26) D (36) E (27) F (5) G (30) H (22) I (31) J (15) K (11) L (12) M (56) N (19) O (3) P (28) Q (11) R (8) S (71) T (39) U (1) V (5) W (3) X (1) Y (41) Z (4) Back Matter
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