Tappuni, Gabriel (1879–1968) [Syr. Cath.]

He was born in Mosul to a Syr. Cath. family on 3 Nov. 1879, and after his studies in the local Seminary of St. John, he was ordained priest in 1903. He worked as the secretary of Désiré-Jean Drure, the apostolic envoy in Iraq, from 1908 until he was ordained tutelary bp. of Baṭnan of Serugh and patriarchal vicar over Mardin on 19 Jan. 1913. He witnessed in this city the genocide perpetrated against the Christians by the Ottoman Turks (see Sayfo) and worked heroically to alleviate the suffering and misery endured by them until he was himself caught in the middle. He was imprisoned in June 1918 and was freed in Oct. of the same year after the intervention of the Vatican and the Empress Zita of Austria. Tappuni was appointed patriarchal vicar in Aleppo in 1919, then archbishop of the same city in 1921. He was elected patr. of the Syr. Cath. Church on 17 June 1929, residing in Beirut rather than in Mardin. He was made Cardinal in 1935, the first Syriac ever, and participated in the election of three popes in the Conclaves of 1939, 1958, and 1963. At the Second Vatican Council he was a member of the presidential council, the first Middle-Easterner in this position. Cardinal Tappuni was a builder, erecting churches in Aleppo (St. Ephrem), a patriarchal palace, a seminary (Sharfeh), and two schools in Beirut, and other churches elsewhere. He was also a great administrator, promoting solid priestly education in Sharfeh and founding a religious order for women (the Ephremite sisters), for which he built a large convent in Beirut. He was honored with medals by many European and Arab countries and was a close friend of General Charles De Gaulle. At the national and Arab levels, he was heeded by the Lebanese presidents of his time and by Arab heads of states and ministers. He died on 29 Jan. 1968 and was buried in the monastery of Sharfeh near Beirut.


  • Mīkhāʾīl al-Jamīl, Al-salāsil al-taʾrīkhiyya fī asāqifat al-abrašiyyāt al-suryāniyya min 1900 ilā 2003 [Historical Lists of the Bishops of the Syriac Archdioceses from 1900 to 2003] (Beirut, 2003), 15–28.

| Tappuni, Gabriel |


Front Matter A (73) B (53) C (26) D (36) E (27) F (5) G (30) H (22) I (31) J (15) K (11) L (12) M (56) N (19) O (3) P (28) Q (11) R (8) S (71) T (39) U (1) V (5) W (3) X (1) Y (41) Z (4) Back Matter
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