Yuḥanon of the Sedre (d. 648) [Syr. Orth.]

Former monk of the Monastery of Eusebona, he became the synkellos (secretary) of Patr. Athanasios I Gamolo, whom he succeeded in 630/1. As patr. he is especially known for his conversations with a Muslim Emir, probably ʿUmayr b. Saʿd b. ʿUbayd, which took place in 644. The Syriac report of this encounter by his secretary is preserved in a single ms. written in 874. There are a number of elements in the text, especially a discussion on inheritance law, which suggest that the original report was reworked by later redactors, possibly in the 8th or even the 9th cent.

According to the Chronicle of Dionysios of Tel Maḥre, preserved in the work of Michael Rabo, Yuḥanon  III (Yuḥanon I, if one does not follow the W.-Syr. computation of the patriarchal lists) would have been responsible for the supervision of the translation of the Gospel from Syriac into Arabic (not preserved). He composed a letter to Marutha on the persecution of the Miaphisite Christians in Persia by Barṣawma of Nisibis (preserved in Michael’s Chronicle). His other writings comprise: a pleropuryā (apologetic treatise) on the aphthartodocetic doctrines of Julian of Halicarnassus; another on Christology with strongly worded condemnations of the ‘Nestorians’ and the Chalcedonians; a homily on the consecration of the Holy Myron (and, according to the Chronicle of Siirt, ch. 110 [PO 13.4, 634]; the text itself of the consecration of the Myron as well as of the Blessing of the Water at Epiphany); a number of sedre, prayers of intercession arranged in a specific order (sedrā)  — which gave him his name d-sedre ‘of the sedre’  — for different occasions; and possibly an Anaphora.


  • Baumstark, Literatur, 243–5.
  • J.  Martikainen, Johannes I. Sedra. Einleitung, syrische Texte, Übersetzung und vollständiges Wörterverzeichnis (GOFS 34; 1991).
  • F.  Nau, ‘Un colloque du patriarche Jean avec l’émir des Agaréens et faits divers des années 712 à 716’, JA 11.5 (1915), 225–79.
  • M.  Penn, ‘John and the Emir. A new introduction, edition, and translation’, LM 121 (2008), 65–91.
  • G. J.  Reinink, ‘The beginnings of Syriac apologetic literature in response to Islam’, OC 77 (1993), 165–87.
  • B.  Roggema, ‘The Debate between Patriarch John and an emir of the Mhaggrāyē: A Reconsideration of the earliest Christian-Muslim Debate’, in Christlich-muslimische Gespräche im mittelalterlichen Orient, ed. M. Tamcke (BTS 117; 2007), 21–39.
  • eadem, ‘The Disputation of John and the Emir’, in Christian-Muslim relations, ed. Thomas and Roggema, 782–5.
  • A. M.  Saadi, ‘The letter of John of Sedreh. A new perspective on nascent Islam’, JAAS 11 (1997), 68–84.

How to Cite This Entry

Herman G. B. Teule , “Yuḥanon of the Sedre,” in Yuḥanon of the Sedre, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay, https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Yuhanon-of-the-Sedre.

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Herman G. B. Teule , “Yuḥanon of the Sedre,” in Yuḥanon of the Sedre, 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/Yuhanon-of-the-Sedre.

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Teule, Herman G. B. “Yuḥanon of the Sedre.” In Yuḥanon of the Sedre. 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/Yuhanon-of-the-Sedre.

A TEI-XML record with complete metadata is available at https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Yuhanon-of-the-Sedre/tei.

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