A Syr. Orth. monastery dedicated to Mar Ḥnonyo (Arab. Ḥanānyā) located outside Mardin, and the seat of the patriarchate from 1293 until after World War I. The date of its construction is not known, but it may have been originally dedicated to a certain Mar Shlemon and was at some point associated with Mar Awgen. Tradition states that the chapel was built by Ḥanānyā II (793–816), bp. of Mardin and Kfartut, and for this reason it was later known by his name. From the 14th cent. it became popularly known by kurkmo (Arab. Zaʿfarān ‘saffron’), though the reason for this is not known. It was ruined and renovated over ten times, the most prominent of which was the renovation by Yuḥanon of Mardin (1087/8–1165) that turned it into a monastery appropriate for the seat of the patriarchate. Patr. Michael Rabo was the first to be consecrated there in 1166 and to make it a patriarchal seat, though he did not reside there for most of his tenure, and after some time it reverted to a bishopric seat. In 1293, Patr. Ignatius b. Wahib (who shared the title with two other patriarchs, Michael in Sīs and Constantine in Malatya) made it his seat, and it remained a patriarchal seat until Patr. Eliya III who was forced to vacate it by the authorities in the aftermath of the Sayfo massacres. Its library (mostly now in the Church of the Forty Martyrs in Mardin) housed 350 mss. at the turn of the 20th cent. Patr. Peṭros III/IV and ʿAbdullāh II brought two printing presses in 1881 and 1889 from England, and in 1911 a new set of types were obtained by Afram Barsoum (then a monk at the monastery) who financed the operation himself. Its most prominent bp. in the 20th cent. was Dolabani who organized its library. After Dolabani it remained without a bp. (but still a seat of a diocese) until the consecration of Bp. Saliba Özmen in 2003. It is now home to two monks and a few dozen local students and is a formal tourist attraction with thousands of Turkish tourists visiting every year.
- I. Armalah, Lamḥa taʾrīkhiyya fī adyār mārdīn (Beirut, 1909). (an historical tract on the monasteries of Mardin)
- Afram Barsoum (trans. M. Moosa), History of the Zaʿfaraan Monastery (2009).
How to Cite This Entry
Footnote Style Citation with Date:
George A. Kiraz , “al-Zaʿfarān, Dayr,” 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/al-Zafaran-Dayr.
Bibliography Entry Citation:
Kiraz, George A. “al-Zaʿfarān, Dayr.” 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/al-Zafaran-Dayr.
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