List of Patriarchs of the Main Syriac Churches in the Middle East
The following lists provide overviews of the church leaders in the different Syriac traditions of the Middle East. They are not based on a fresh reading of the primary sources, but have been compiled from existing lists in secondary sources. The discrepancies that frequently exist in the primary sources, in particular with regard to the exact commencement or conclusion of a patriarch’s tenure, have led to different interpretations in the secondary sources. No attempt has been made here to reconcile the conflicting data. Alternative years have occasionally been added in parentheses or, when the divergences were small, the abbreviation ‘ca.’ (i.e., around) has been used. For less well-known figures, differences of one or two years are common and have been ignored in the present lists. All dates have been converted to the Christian era. The conversion from the Seleucid to the Christian era has sometimes led to a double year (as the first year according to the Seleucid era fell in BC 312/11), but no conclusions should be drawn from the use of either a double or a single year, as this merely may reflect the practice adopted in the secondary sources.
Within some traditions (esp. the Church of the East and the Syriac Orthodox Church) the patriarchal lineage is commonly traced back to the apostolic age. This practice, however, has not been followed here. Not only is the information for the early period very scanty, but also our focus has been on the time when a clearly distinct Syriac Christian hierarchy existed, even if — as in the case of the Syriac Orthodox — this hierarchy merely continued an earlier, reputedly ‘orthodox’, tradition.
The numbering (with Roman numbers) of patriarchs having a common name is largely a modern scholarly practice. In several cases discrepancies among the various existing lists will be found or names unaccompanied by Roman numbers are found more frequently than those with numbers. When they occur, alternative numberings have often been added in parentheses.
Names in bold are used for patriarchs/catholicoi to whom a full entry is dedicated. Three dots ( … ) are used either for a vacancy or for uncertainty in the chronology. Square brackets ([ … ]) are occasionally used for counter-patriarchs.
How to Cite This Entry
Footnote Style Citation with Date:
Samuel Burleson and Lucas Van Rompay, “List of Patriarchs of the Main Syriac Churches in the Middle East,” in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018), https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/List-of-Patriarchs-Churches-Middle-East.
Bibliography Entry Citation:
Burleson, Samuel and Lucas Van Rompay. “List of Patriarchs of the Main Syriac Churches in the Middle East.” In Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay. Digital edition prepared by David Michelson, Ute Possekel, and Daniel L. Schwartz. Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018. https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/List-of-Patriarchs-Churches-Middle-East.
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