Khouri-Sarkis, Gabriel (1898–1968) [Syr. Cath.]
Prelate of the Syriac Catholic Church and founder and director of the periodical L’Orient Syrien. Gabriel Khouri-Sarkis was born on 27 Febr. 1898 in the Christian village of Qatana, Syria, into a devout Syriac Catholic family. The family name ‘Sarkis’, hyphenated ‘Khouri’ (Arabic ‘priest’) is testimony to the fact that the family boasted a long line of priests. In 1908, he entered the Séminaire Oriental in Beirut, Lebanon where, under the direction of the French Jesuits attached to the Université Saint Joseph, young seminarians drawn from all the eastern churches received their primary education. He continued his studies at the Syriac Catholic Patriarchal Seminary at Sharfeh, where he became acquainted with the scholarship of the eminent churchman and scholar, His Beatitude Ignatius Ephrem Raḥmani (1848–1929), which was a formative influence on his life. Ordained a priest on 4 July 1920, Father Gabriel began a life-long collaboration with the then Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Gabriel Tappuni (1879–1968). Father Gabriel’s appointment to various diplomatic missions in Europe and the USA on behalf of the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate expanded his vision of the needs of the Syriac Church beyond the lands of its origin. Always a priest first, pastoral service dominated Father Gabriel’s life. In 1922 he founded St. Ephrem Parish in Paris to serve the pastoral needs of Middle-Eastern Christians of all denominations. He also served as chaplain at Clinique Sainte-Marie (Vernon).
In 1931, Father Gabriel was named representative of the Patriarchate in Paris and was elevated to the rank of ‘Chor-episcopus’, a title usually rendered in English as ‘Chor-Bishop’. In 1950 Chor-Bishop Gabriel was decorated with the Cross of the Legion of Honor, Le Chevalier, by the French government for his dedication to France during the resistance.
As a result of his travels throughout Europe and the USA on behalf of the Patriarchate, Chor-Bishop Gabriel became aware of the wide-spread lack of knowledge of Syriac Christianity in the West. In 1955, with the support and encouragement of Jesuit and Benedictine scholars in Europe, he founded L’Orient Syrien, a scholarly journal of information about Syriac Christianity geared to the interested non-specialist. The fledgling journal achieved world-wide distribution and featured studies by eminent Syriac scholars. In the course of twelve years (1956–1967) 48 issues of the journal were published.
A dedicated and beloved priest, ecumenist, and scholar, Chor-Bishop Gabriel died on 20 April 1968. A memorial volume, for which the initiative had been taken by François Graffin, appeared in 1969.
- Mémorial Mgr Gabriel Khouri-Sarkis (1898–1968). Fondateur et directeur de L’Orient Syrien 1956–1967 (1969).
- J. P. Amar, ‘Chorbishop Gabriel Khouri-Sarkis’, OCP 73 (2007), 489–99.
How to Cite This Entry
Footnote Style Citation with Date:
Joseph P. Amar, “Khouri-Sarkis, Gabriel,” 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/Khouri-Sarkis-Gabriel.
Bibliography Entry Citation:
Amar, Joseph P. “Khouri-Sarkis, Gabriel.” 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/Khouri-Sarkis-Gabriel.
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