Ḥenanishoʿ I (d. 699/700) [Ch. of E.]

Cath. since 685/6; author of a law book and of exegetical homilies. In the 7th year of his tenure (692/3) Ḥenanishoʿ was deposed by Yoḥannan bp. of Nisibis, who had the support of Caliph ʿAbd al-Malik. Only partly recovered from ill-treatment (whence he was called ḥgirā ‘the lame’), he withdrew to the Monastery of Yawnan (Jonah) near Mosul, where he died from the plague and was buried. Yoḥannan ruled as counter-patriarch for only a brief period (less than two years), but Ḥenanishoʿ was not able to fully resume his position, and the patriarchal throne remained vacant for several years.

A law book under Ḥenanishoʿ’s name is preserved in ms. Alqosh Syr. 169, the primary source for the Synodicon Orientale. Organized in 25 chapters and entitled ‘Juridical decisions’ (dine), the collection deals mainly with matrimonial and hereditary law, and reflects for the most part (in particular in ch. 1 to 17) the work of the patriarchal tribunal (ed. Sachau; see also Dauvillier). Some letters of the cath. have been incorporated in the collection as well.

A very different work by Ḥenanishoʿ, probably a collection of prose homilies on the Gospels, which may go back to his activities as biblical interpreter prior to his election as cath. , has not been preserved in direct transmission. Reinink, however, has been able to identify several extracts from it in the following sources: 1. ms. Vat. Syr. 504 (a 19th-cent. copy of the 16th-cent. ms. Diyarbakır 113), ff. 63v–65v (21 extracts); 2. NT Commentary of Ishoʿdad of Merv (2 extracts); 3. Gannat Bussāme (24 extracts); and 4. the prose Commentary of Isḥaq Qardaḥe Shbadnaya (6 extracts). On the basis of these extracts, which occasionally overlap, Reinink could sketch the general profile of the work as a witness to E.-Syr. NT exegesis in the late 7th cent., and compare Ḥenanishoʿ’s exegesis with that of his younger contemporary Aba II of Kashkar (d. 751).

The several other works that are attributed to Ḥenanishoʿ by either ʿAmr b. Mattā or ʿAbdishoʿ bar Brikha give some impression of his multifaceted interests and abilities. They include, among other things: a biography of his contemporary Sargis Dwadha (sic Wright), who lived near Kashkar; a treatise ‘On the twofold use of the school’; a commentary on the Analytics of Aristotle; and a ‘Book on the causes of that which exists’. Only from the latter work do a few fragments survive (see Reinink, 74). The other works have left no traces.


  • Baumstark, Literatur, 209.
  • J.  Dauvillier, ‘Chaldéen (Droit)’, Dictionnaire de droit canonique, vol. 3 (1942), 335–6.
  • Fiey, Nisibe, 69–70.
  • Kaufhold, Die Rechtssammlung des Gabriel von Baṣra, 28–9.
  • G. J.  Reinink, ‘Fragmente der Evangelienexegese des Katholikos Ḥenanishoʿ I’, in SymSyrV, 71–91.
  • E.  Sachau, Syrische Rechtsbücher 2 (1908), vi–xvii, 1–51 (Syr. and GT), and 181–9 (notes).
  • Wright, Short History of Syriac Literature, 181–2.

| Ḥenanishoʿ 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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