288. Bishop Yuhanna al-Bustani of Manimim (d. 1825)

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Bishop Yuhanna al-Bustani of Manimim
(d. 1825)

Bishop Yuhanna is son of the priest Abd Allah, known as Ibn al-Bustani. He was born at Manimim and studied under masters in his native country and was ordained a priest. After he became a widower he was ordained a bishop in 1783 under the name Severus. For a time he resided at the villages of Arbo and later Hbab which became his diocese. He was a pious, God-fearing man who loved the poor. He died after August 11, 1825. He composed four odes consisting of forty-five pages, two of them in the hepta-syllabic meter. One of them, which he composed while still young, is on repentance. It is arranged according to the alphabet, six lines for each letter. He also commented on it.654 The second ode is in the form of a dialogue between wisdom and the composer.655 The other two odes are in the dodecasyllabic meter. One of them, his best, is a lengthy but fine ode on divine wisdom. He called it The Cream of Wisdom. It begins thus, “Delightful sun which has illuminated our land by its light.”656 The other one which he composed in his youth is on repentance. It contains marginal notes explaining the strange terms in it.657 He also composed a piece on the conflict between the soul and the body.658 His verse is generally good and only slightly poor.