Grigorios Yawseph Gregory Joseph IV the Iberian (d. 1537) [Syr. Orth.]

Minor author, scribe and bp. of Jerusalem (1510/12–1537). He was born as Yawseph in Aleppo of an Iberian ancestry. Yawseph may have lost his parents at an early age, after which he was sent to Dayr al-Zaʿfarān where he was cared for by Patr. Yuḥanon bar Shayullāh and the patr. ’s mother Mariam. Yawseph became a monk in 1490 and was ordained priest in 1495. He spent some time in Dayro d-ʿAzrael, then moved between Ḥesno d-Kifo, Ṭur ʿAbdin, and Amid. Impressed by his learning and zeal, bp. Yaʿqub of Amid called him ‘the pride of the church’.

In 1510/12, Yawseph was consecrated bp. of Jerusalem and environs, then including Damascus, Aleppo, Ḥama, Tripoli, and parts of Ṣadad (with other parts being under the bp. of Nabk). As a bp., he took the name Grigorios. He managed to secure back mss. belonging to the Monastery of St. Mark which his predecessor, Bp. Diosqoros Yaʿqub al-Yabrudī, had pawned. Grigorios visited the monasteries of Scetis (Egypt), including Dayr al-Suryān in 1516. On that occasion he compiled a list of the recent acquisitions of Syriac liturgical mss. in Dayr al-Suryān (see Leroy). He also visited Ṣadad in 1527, Amid in 1529–30, Aleppo in 1534, and Ṭur ʿAbdin in 1535. Earlier, a matrimonial case in Ṣadad caused a friction between him and Diosqoros ʿĪsā b. Ḥuriyya, bp. of Nabk and Dayr Mār Mūsā al-Ḥabashī.

At a general meeting of all the Christians of Jerusalem in 1527, Grigorios was chosen to represent Jerusalem’s Christian communities in talks with the governor of Damascus, Lutfi Pasha. Shortly after, Grigorios obtained from the Pasha an edict to protect the civil rights of the Syr. Orth., Greek, Coptic, Armenian, Maron., and E.-Syr. Christians. During his bishopric, Grigorios obtained ca. ten governmental edicts from various officials, ensuring the rights of the Syr. Orth. in the Holy Places, the civil rights of all Christians in Palestine, and some in support of his ecclesiastical domain over the Syr. Orth. and their ‘Maronite and Nestorian followers’ (sic).

In 1532, Grigorios purchased a property from a Muslim named Yūsef b. Marʿī near Damascus Gate, Jerusalem, and established there a monastery which he called ‘The Gregorian Patriarchal Monastery of Jerusalem’ (a.k.a. Dayr al-ʿAdas). Grigorios died in Aleppo in 1537 and was buried at the Church of the Virgin.

Grigorios was a renowned scribe. He produced the patriarchal bull of a Synod that took place in Dayr al-Zaʿfarān on 28 Jan. 1532.

His literary works include: 1. Three ḥusoye (Barsoum reported a ms. in Ḥesno d-Kifo’s Church); 2. Brief biographies of contemporary patriarchs and bishops; 3. An introduction to Bar ʿEbroyo’s Ḥewat ḥekmto ‘Cream of Wisdom’; 4. A few mimre; 5. a revision of the order of assuming the monastic leather eskimo,based on a comparison with Coptic and Ethiopic mss. (ms. Syr. Orth. Patr. Libr.).


  • Barsoum, in PatMag 2 (1934), 145–52.
  • Barsoum, Scattered pearls, 511–2.
  • Kiraz, ʿIqd al-Jumān (Glane/Losser, 1988), 49–50.
  • J. Leroy, ‘Un témoignage inédit sur l’état du Monastère des Syriens au Wadi ’n Natrun au début du XVIe siècle’, Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 65 (1967), 1–23 with plate. (Grigorios’s list of new mss. in Dayr al-Suryān)

| Grigorios Yawseph |


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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