Dadishoʿ I (d. 456) [Ch. of E.]

Bp. of Seleucia-Ctesiphon and Cath., also known as ‘Dadishoʿ the Aramean’. Our main source for Dadishoʿ’s life and work is the report of the Synod of the Ch. of E. held in 424, which is included in the Synodicon Orientale. In spite of the inauguration of a policy of toleration and freedom for the Church in the Persian Empire under Yazdgard I (r. 399–420), reflected most clearly in the Synod of Iṣḥaq Isḥaq (410), the situation of the Christians again deteriorated towards the end of Yazdgard’s rule, when warfare between the Roman and Persian Empires resumed. After some difficult years, Dadishoʿ was elected cath. in 421 or 422. From the beginning he was confronted with opposition and accusations within the Church. Imprisoned by the Persian authorities, he was released only after the intervention of a ‘believing envoy’ (apparently from the Roman Empire). This is the background to the Synod of 424, held not in the capital but in ‘Markabta of the Arabs’. Dadishoʿ is quoted at length in the account of the Synod: he reports about his painful experience and is reluctant to resume leadership. The gathered bishops, with Bp. Agapetos of Beth Lapaṭ and Hoshaʿ of Nisibis as their main spokesmen, supplicate Dadishoʿ to come back and promise him their full support. He finally consents. His tenure is said to have lasted for 35 years, until his death, but following the Synod of 424 no further information on him is preserved.

A remarkable moment in the Synod is the participating bishops’ decision to abolish what they see as the right of Eastern Christians to lodge complaints against the bp. of Seleucia-Ctesiphon with Western bishops (i.e., bishops within the Roman Empire). Although no such right is recorded in any preserved text, its abolition is presented as a step toward Dadishoʿ’s full rehabilitation. In recent scholarship, this abolition has sometimes been interpreted as a declaration of independence of the Ch. of E. Such an interpretation, however, is based on the assumption that in the earliest period the Ch. of E. was subjected to the authority of the Church within the Roman Empire (or of the bp. of Antioch), whereas such dependence in all likelihood never existed. It remains uncertain, therefore, whether the Synod of 424 and Dadishoʿ’s tenure in fact contributed to the process of alienation between the Syriac Christian communities in the two Empires, which took place in the course of the 5th cent.


  • Braun, Synodicon Orientale, 44–59.
  • Chabot, Synodicon Orientale, 43–53 (Syr.), 285–98 (FT).
  • Fiey, Jalons, 76–80.
  • Labourt, Le christianisme dans l’empire perse, 119–25.
  • Westphal, Untersuchungen, 159–70.

| Dadishoʿ I |


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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