Theodoros bar Wahbun (d. 1193) [Syr. Orth.]

Author and counter-patriarch. He was the son of priest Sahdo bar Wahbun in Melitene. He became a monk and priest, received a theological and philosophical education, and mastered Syriac, Greek, Armenian, and Arabic. In the 1170s he worked as the secretary of Patr. Michael Rabo in the Dayro d-Mor Barṣawmo and was entrusted by the patr. with the task of participating in negotiations aiming at ecclesiastical union that were held in Cilician Armenia between the Armenians and Theorianos, the representative of the Byzantine Emperor. Accused by Michael of plotting against him, he was expelled from the monastery. In 1180, however, four discontented bishops consecrated him as (counter-) patriarch in Amid, under the name of Yuḥanon. Nevertheless, he was arrested and relegated to lay status at a synod under Michael’s direction, and subsequently imprisoned in the Monastery of Barṣawmo. He was able to escape and made it to Jerusalem, where he found support with the Latin patriarch. From Jerusalem he wrote a long letter to a metropolitan bp. of Tarsus, in which he justified his consecration as patr., as well as a conciliatory letter to Patr. Michael. After Sultan Saladin took Jerusalem in 1187 he eventually returned to Cilicia, where the Armenian King and the Armenian Catholicos acknowledged him as the patr. of the Syr. Orth. He must have had followers among the Syr. Orth. as well. The schism within the Syr. Orth Church that had erupted at his consecration came to an end when Theodoros suddenly died in 1193. In addition to the two letters written from Jerusalem, an Anaphora, an explanation of the liturgy, and two poems from his hand have been preserved.

    Primary Sources

    • J.  Gerber, Zwei Briefe Barwahbuns (Ph.D. Diss. Friedrichs-Universität, Halle-Wittenberg, 1911).
    • H.  Kaufhold, ‘Zur syrischen Kirchengeschichte des 12. Jahrhunderts. Neue Quellen über Theodoros bar Wahbūn’, OC 74 (1990), 115–51.

    Secondary Sources

    • Barsoum, Scattered pearls, 443–4.
    • Baumstark, Literatur, 300–1.
    • M.  Tamcke, in BBK , vol. 11 (1996), 918–9.
    • Weltecke, Die «Beschreibung der Zeiten», 109–16.


How to Cite This Entry

Hubert Kaufhold, “Theodoros bar Wahbun,” 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/Theodoros-bar-Wahbun.

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Hubert Kaufhold, “Theodoros bar Wahbun,” 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/Theodoros-bar-Wahbun.

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Kaufhold, Hubert. “Theodoros bar Wahbun.” 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/Theodoros-bar-Wahbun.

A TEI-XML record with complete metadata is available at https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Theodoros-bar-Wahbun/tei.

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