Syriac Catholic Church
The elevation in 1656 of Andrew Akhījān (d. 1677) as Catholic bp. of Aleppo and then as patr. in 1662 was the first major attempt to create a ‘Syriac Catholic’ branch out of the Syr. Orth. Church of Antioch. This attempt was short-lived but when the Syr. Orth. bp. of Aleppo Michael Jarweh (d. 1800) and four other bishops professed the Catholic faith in 1782 in Mardin, a durable Catholic Church was established. Thereafter, numerous communities in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Palestine joined the Uniate movement, and an unbroken line of successors followed Patriarch Jarweh. Among these prelates are the liturgist Jirjis V Shalḥat (d. 1891), the learned Ignatius Ephrem Raḥmani, (d. 1929), Cardinal Gabriel Tappuni (d. 1968), and lately Cardinal Mūsā I Dāʾūd, former Prefect of the Congregation of Eastern Churches. In 1930 in India, a group within the Syr. Orth. Church of Malabar joined the Roman Catholic Church. The Malankara Catholic Church that emerged shares with the Syriac Catholic Church its liturgy but they differ in that the former is Archiepiscopal while the latter is patriarchal. The Church currently consists of 3 eparchies (Beirut [patriarchal], Cairo, USA-Canada), 6 archdioceses (Damascus, Aleppo, Ḥimṣ-Nabk, Hasaka-Nisibis, Mosul, Baghdad), 4 patriarchal eparchies (Turkey, Jerusalem-Holy Land, Baṣra-Gulf, Venezuela), 4 missions (France, Sweden, Australia, Brazil), and 1 patriarchal procuracy (Rome). The patriarchal seat is in Beirut, where the cyclical synods of the Church take place. There too is the Monastery of Sharfeh, which not only contains a precious collection of mss. and a press, but also includes the Church’s main seminary. The Church owns other monasteries as well, including Dayr Mār Mūsā al-Ḥabashī in Syria, which contains famous medieval wall paintings, and the 12th-cent. Dayro d-Mor Behnam in Iraq, an architectural jewel and a true museum of lapidary art. Syr. Catholic monastic and priestly communities include the Ephremite nuns in Lebanon, an ascetic community in Dayr Mār Mūsā in Syria, and the ‘Priests of Jesus the King’ in Iraq, a group that promotes priestly communal life.
See Fig. 111.
- M. al-Jamīl, al-Abrašiyyāt al-suryāniyya min 1900 ilā 2003 (2003).
- C. Sélis, Les Syriens orthodoxes et catholiques (1988).
- Ph. de Tarrazi, al-Salāsil al-taʾrīkhiyya (1910).
How to Cite This Entry
Footnote Style Citation with Date:
Amir Harrak, “Syriac Catholic Church,” 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/Syriac-Catholic-Church.
Bibliography Entry Citation:
Harrak, Amir. “Syriac Catholic Church.” 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/Syriac-Catholic-Church.
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