Yuḥanon of Tella Yuḥanon bar Qursos (in some mss.) (482–538) [Syr. Orth.]

Bp. of Tella (d-Mawzlat) 519–21. Born 482 in Kallinikos in the province Osrhoene, he received a good education and was fluent in both Syriac and Greek. In 507 he joined the monastic community of Mar Zakkay in Kallinikos and was ordained (among others by Yaʿqub of Serugh) bp. of Tella in (Nov.–Dec.?) 519. As Miaphysite bp. he was exiled in 521/2, and lived in hiding around Mardin and in Persia. In exile he ordained thousands of deacons and priests, and thereby established a Miaphysite church hierarchy which became the foundation of the Syr. Orth. Church. In 532/3 he attended a discussion of faith with Chalcedonian bishops in Constantinople. For building an underground church, he was persecuted after 536, caught in the mountains around Shighar in Persia in early Feb. 537 and brought to Antioch where he died 6 Febr. 538.

He is remembered in two Lives, one by Eliya (CSCO 7–8, 31–95 [23–60]) and one by Yuḥanon of Ephesus (PO 18, 513–26). His own works show him as a reform bp. involved in the ecclesiastical and christological controversies of his days and include Canons for priests and deacons, questions and answers (especially concerning the Eucharist), a commentary on the Trisagion, and a profession of faith.


  • V.  Menze, ‘The Regula ad Diaconos: John of Tella, his Eucharistic Ecclesiology and the Establishment of an Ecclesiastical Hierarchy in Exile’, OC 90 (2006), 44–90. (Syr. with ET; incl. further references)
  • V.  Menze and K.  Akalın, John of Tella’s Profession of Faith. The legacy of a sixth-century Syrian Orthodox bishop (Texts from Christian Late Antiquity 25; 2009). (Syr. with ET)
  • V. Poggi and Mar Grigorios (Hanna Ibrahim), ‘Il commento al Trisagio di Giovanni Bar Qūrsūs’, OCP 52 (1986), 202–210. (Syr. with IT)

| Yuḥanon of Tella |


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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