Iwannis Yuḥanon (d. 1755) [Syr. Orth.]

Scribe and bp. for various dioceses. He was born Yuḥanon b. Shahīn b. Shamo of Amid, also nicknamed b. al-ʿAraqjanji ‘son of the maker of ʿarraqiyya (a small cap worn under a turban to absorb sweat)’. His brother, ʿAbd al-Karīm, and he became monks at Dayr al-Zaʿfarān prior to 1716. He spent some time in Dayro d-Mor Matay between 1727 and 1732. Patr. Shukrallāh consecrated him assistant bp. in 1740; he then became bp. of Dayro d-Mor Matay in 1743.

Iwannis was sent to serve in Malankara ca. 1746. His bad temper and mismanagement led to much trouble. He toured the churches in India damaging sculptures which the Portuguese Catholics introduced and forcing priests to wear hats (ʿarraqiyyas!). Iwannis prohibited many priests who did not follow the Syr. Orth. tradition from performing ecclesiastical duties which led to much friction between him and the local bp. Thoma V, the legitimacy of whose consecration was already under dispute. Both Iwannis and Thoma, however, wrote to the patr. requesting him to send a maphrian to Malankara. The patr. sent Maph. Shukrallāh of Aleppo who arrived in 1751. When the maph. witnessed Iwannis’s bad temper and harsh treatment of priests, he detained him in Cochin and sent him back to the Middle East on the next ship. In 1752, Iwannis became the bp. of Badlis. He died in 1755 as did his brother, who was a bp.

Iwannis was a notable scribe. He produced a number of liturgical mss.


  • Barsoum, in PatMagJer 6 (1939), 265–7.
  • I.  Yaʿqub, Taʾrīkh al-kanīsa al-suryāniyya al-hindiyya (1951), 122ff.

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