Shemʿun II, Basileios (ca. 1670–1740) [Syr. Orth.]

Writer, maph. of Ṭur ʿAbdin (1710–40), and martyr. He was born in Beth Manʿem ca. 1670 to Malke b. Ayyub and Saydeh. He became a monk ca. 1690 and visited Dayro d-Mor Matay in 1695. Shortly after, he was ordained a priest and became a ḥbišoyo ‘recluse’ at Dayro d-Mor Yaʿqub near Dayr al-Zaʿfarān. He was consecrated maph. for Ṭur ʿAbdin in 1710 by Patr. Isḥoq ʿAzar at the church of Mor Thoma in Qaṭrabil near Amid. The following year, however, Shemʿun temporarily retired from the responsibilities of the maphrianate without abdicating, preferring the life of a ḥbišoyo at Dayro d-Mor Yaʿqub. In 1725, he brought about a reconciliation between the Patriarchate of Ṭur ʿAbdin, upon the death of its Patr. Ignatius Denḥo, with the mainstream Patriarchate in Mardin, a union which lasted for 15 years. He returned to actively administer the maphrianate in 1727.

Shemʿun was tortured then killed on 6 Apr. 1740 by ʿAbdal Agha, a local Kurdish warlord, for refusing to grant a matrimonial permission for the Agha’s Syr. Orth. servant who wished to marry a close cousin, an act prohibited by the canon law of the time. Shemʿun is particularly known for a Kurdish song, Lawij ‘lyrical song’, which he is said to have recited during an audience with the Kurdish Amir of Jazireh, Muḥammad al-Bakhti, during the time when ʿAbdal Agha was trying to get Shemʿun killed.

His literary works include: 1. A book on religion and theology (ms. Syr. Orth. Patr. Libr.); 2. A book on the Sacraments, Markabat al-asrār (lost); 3. Another theological book, Ṣilāḥ̣ al-dīn wa-turs al-yaqīn (ms.); 4. A collection of sermons (ms.); 5. A collection of poems and memre (a few ed. by Çiçek); 6. An abridged dictionary based on that of Bar Bahlul (ms.); 7. A commentary on the Lord’s Prayer (ed. Çiçek, 1998).

    Primary Sources

    • Y. Çiçek, Kapho d-habobe (Glane/Losser, 1981), 21–33. (Kurdish text of Lawij)
    • Y. Çiçek, Tenḥotho d-ṭur ʿabdin (Glane/Losser, 1987). (contains some memre and the Kurdish text of Lawij [98–114])
    • Y. Çiçek, Phušoq ṣlutho d-Abun d-ba-šmayo (Glane/Losser, 1998).
    • P.  Kreyenbroek, ‘The Lawij of Mor Basilios Shemʿun: a Kurdish Christian text in Syriac script’, Journal of Kurdish Studies 1 (1995), 29–54. (ET of Lawij)

    Secondary Sources

    • Barsoum, in PatMagJer 6 (1939), 23–30.
    • Barsoum, Scattered pearls, 516–18.


How to Cite This Entry

George A. Kiraz, “Shemʿun II, Basileios,” 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, https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Shemun-II-Basileios.

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

George A. Kiraz, “Shemʿun II, Basileios,” 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/Shemun-II-Basileios.

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Kiraz, George A. “Shemʿun II, Basileios.” 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/Shemun-II-Basileios.

A TEI-XML record with complete metadata is available at https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Shemun-II-Basileios/tei.

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