282. Maphrian Shimun (Simon) (d. 1740)

Posted by on Apr 13, 2008 in Library, Scholars and Writers | Comments Off on 282. Maphrian Shimun (Simon) (d. 1740)

Maphrian Shimun (Simon)
(d. 1740)

Mar Basilius Shimun, son of Malke of Manimim, is a unique learned man of his time. He became a monk at a monastery in Tur Abdin before 1695, and was ordained a priest. Because of his ascetic and virtuous life, he was ordained a maphrian for Tur Abdin in 1710 under the name Basilius. In the following year he returned to his ascetical life and worship. About 1727, he resumed the administration of his diocese until he was killed by the tyrant Abdal Agha the Kurd on April 6, 1740. He died a martyr for his religion and canon law. He was a good church father who mastered the Syriac language in which he wrote and composed poetry. His poetry is clear and pleasant. He also obtained a fair knowledge of religious sciences by reading the books of the church learned men. Following are his books:
1. Theology, in twelve parts, each divided into ten chapters written in eloquent language. It discusses the Trinity and the unity of God, the procession of the Holy Spirit, the Incarnation, the Nativity, the Redemption, the refutation of purgatory, the end of the world, the resurrection, eternal bliss and hell. He finished it on July 15, 1719. It consists of three hundred seventeen pages. We found a copy of it in his neat handwriting at Mar Awgen Monastery.632
2. The Chariot of Mysteries, eight treatises, on the intellect, an interpretation of the cherubim chariot which Ezekiel saw, the creation of the world, angels, devils and Adam and the benefit we gained from the Incarnation of Christ, resurrection, the kingdom of heaven and hell.633
3. Silah al-Din wa Turs al-Yaqin (The Armor of Religion and the Shield of Conviction), in sixteen parts, on the Holy Trinity, Incarnation, that faith cannot be obtained through knowledge, a refutation of purgatory, a refutation of those who maintain that punishment and reward apply only to the soul and not the body, on repentance and on leavened bread for Communion. This book contains some weak and refutable ideas.634
4. Discourses or homilies on the interpretation of the wings of the Seraphim, the talents, the last farthing, the Lord’s prayers, as well as a refutation of purgatory and the end of the world. These discourses consist of one hundred eighty pages.635
5. An anthology containing many odes in the three meters (the five, seven and twelve syllabic meters) most of which are of excellent quality with only some of mediocre quality. Of these we found more than one hundred fifteen odes, the most famous of which is his lengthy ode beginning thus: “Lord who through His Son created the world from nothing.”636 The second famous ode is a rhymed one beginning thus: “The Father is light, the Son is light and the Spirit is light.”637 The anthology also contains fine and pleasant pieces638 and a metrical discourse on repentance in the melody of “Qum Faulos” (“Rise, O Paul”).639
6. An abridgement of Bar Bahlul’s lexicon, made in 1724.640
7. Thirty-six homilies written in poor and ungrammatical Arabic.641 Nevertheless, some of his contemporaries translated his first two books.642