Gewargis I (d. 680/1) [Ch. of E.]

Metropolitan bp. of Adiabene and cath. (from 660 or 658 until his death). Gewargis hailed from Beth Garmai and was a monk in Beth ʿAbe. He came into contact with the future cath. Ishoʿyahb III, whose successor he became first as bp. of Adiabene and later as cath. In 676 Gewargis convened an important synod on the island of Dirin, in Beth Qaṭraye, the region that, under his predecessor, had seen major troubles and division (which perhaps still resonated in the background of this synod). The report and canons of the synod are preserved in the Synodicon Orientale. The canons deal with: the significance of preaching, in particular on feast days (no. 1); church discipline, the proper place of monks, and a better division between the tasks of clergy and laity (nos. 2–8, with no. 6 focusing on the role of the church in jurisdiction); strict rules for the bnāt qyāmā (no. 9), clergy and bps. (nos. 10–11), monks (no. 12), liturgy (no. 15), and funerals (no. 18); abuses and lax behavior with regard to marriage (nos. 13, 14, and 16; with warnings against unions between Christian women and ‘pagans’ [ḥanpe], a term which may perhaps include Muslims, as well as against polygamy); a ban on drinking wine with Jews in Jewish taverns, especially after the Christian liturgy (no. 17); and the respect due to bps. (no. 19).

Attached to the canons is a letter (dated a few years later), written by Cath. Gewargis to a certain Mina, priest and chorbishop in Persia, which sets out the theology and Christology of the Ch. of E. The author defends the authority of Nestorius and Theodore (of Mopsuestia) against those who challenge it, and includes a short patristic florilegium (featuring passages attributed to Ignatius of Antioch, Athanasius, Ambrose, Gregory of Nazianzus, Amphilochius of Iconium, John Chrysostom, and even Cyril of Alexandria, who occasionally was ‘compelled’ to write the truth), showing that the Ch. of E. preserved orthodox Christianity as it developed in the Roman Empire, unsullied by heretical teachings.

Cath. Gewargis is also said to have commissioned ʿEnanishoʿ, a fellow monk from the Monastery of Beth ʿAbe, to compile the ‘Paradise of the Fathers’, which became an authoritative collection of ascetic texts.


  • Braun, Synodicon Orientale, 331–71.
  • Chabot, Synodicon Orientale, 215–44 (Syr.), 480–514 (FT).
  • H. G. B.  Teule, ‘Giwarghis I’, in Christian-Muslim relations, ed. Thomas and Roggema, 151–3.

| Gewargis 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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