Dinno, Niʿmatullāh (1885–1951) [Syr. Orth.]
Scholar and reform-minded educator. He was born in Mosul to ʿAbd al-Karīm Dinno and grew up at a time when his Church was at the low ebb, having emerged from nearly a half cent. of Catholic conversion. He also witnessed the arrival of refugees fleeing the 1915 massacres of Syriacs and Armenians in Southeastern Turkey. He saw the dire need to educate the members of his community, young and old, in the virtues of his church’s beliefs and in the richness of its Syriac liturgy and heritage. He was consecrated a deacon on 30 March 1941, and an archdeacon, by which title he was widely known, on 6 April of the same year by Athanasius Tumo Qaṣīr. Apart from initial schooling at St. Thomas School in Mosul from 1909 to 1918, he was self-taught. He later became a successfull merchant. He mastered the Syriac language and wrote several grammar text books for it. He wrote a number of books and articles defending the Syr. Orth. Church and its beliefs against what he saw as defamations and distortions of historic facts. He wrote on the Aramaic and Syriac culture and on church history and commented on literary works by others. He paid particular attention to church music. He compiled and published a hymn book in Arabic for the Arabic-speaking community of his Church in the Middle East. This was a pioneering enterprise as the book is still extensively used in the Middle East and in the Syriac diaspora. On church revival, he worked closely with Patr. Afram Barsoum. He was in the forefront of the effort to introduce structural church reform, and to promote better education of the clergy through the newly established St. Ephrem Seminary, in which he also taught. He died in 1951, leaving behind a legacy that bore the imprints of a man who was devoted to the betterment of the Church that he so deeply loved to meet the challenges of a new era. Part of this legacy was several unfinished literary works, which Patr. Zakka I ʿIwas has published over the years in the Patriarchal Magazine.
- Abūna, Adab, 560–2.
- Lisan al-Mashriq, Mosul 3 (1951), 353–60.
- Macuch, Geschichte, 440–1.
- Munūfar Barṣūm, Aḍwāʾ, 39–43.
- Patriarchal Magazine, Damascus 2 (1982), 36–42; 3 (1983), 20–3.