Bishops of the City of Harran

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Bishops of the City of Harran

Harran was an ancient city of the Jazira south of Edessa. Yaqut al-Hamawi said, “Harran is a great and famous city of the Jazira of ‘Aqur. It is the capital city of the lands of Mudar. Between it and Edessa is one day’s travel distance, and between it and al-Raqqa is two days’ travel distance. Harran is situated on the highway between Mosul, al-Sham (Syria), and the land of the Rum (Greeks, Byzantines). It was the abode of the Sabean Harranians, mentioned by the authors of books on sects and denominations.” [Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu’jam al-Buldan, 3: 242-243.] Today it is a small village. The learned Bar Hebraeus said, “Harran was built by Qinan, son of Arphaxad, and named after his son Haran. To Harran fled Abraham (the friend of God) with his father Terah and his brother Nahur and Lot, son of his brother Haran.  Abraham lived for fourteen years there, where his father Terah died. Jacob fled to it from his brother Esau and lived in it for twenty years, according to the Holy Bible.”  (Genesis, 31: 38)
The natives of Harran spoke classical Syriac, which is the Aramaic language. It was also the language of the natives of Edessa and outer Syria. [Bar Hebreaus, Tarikh Mukhtasar al-Duwal (Compendious History of Dynasties), 17-18, 22, 24-25.] Harran was conquered in the time of the Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (634-644) by Iyad ibn Ghunm, who attacked it before Edessa. Its notables told him that they had no objection to his taking their city. But they implored him to march against Edessa first, and whatever its inhabitants resolved to do, they would follow suit. Iyad marched against Edessa and assured its inhabitants of peace. The inhabitants of Harran agreed to make peace with Iyad. [ Mu’jam al-Buldan, 2: 342, and al-Baladhuri, Futuh al-Buldan (The Conquest of Countries: Egypt, 179 ff.)]
Harran was the residence of Marwan al-Ja’da, the last of the Umayyad caliphs. [Bar Hebraeus, Tarikh Mukhtasar al-Duwal, 205.] From it flourished a group of learned men, among whom was the famous Abu al-Hasan Thabit ibn Qurra ibn Marwan the Sabean, a resident of Baghdad. Bar Hebraeus says, “He (Abu al-Hasan Thabit ibn Qurra) occupied the highest offices by the favor of the Caliph al-Mu’tadid. He was proficient in Greek, Syriac and Arabic. In Arabic alone, he wrote no less than 150 books on logic, mathematics, astrology and medicine. In Syriac, he wrote about sixteen books, the greater number of which we have come upon, including The History of Ancient Syrian Kings, i.e., the Chaldeans, and a Book on the Faith of the Sabeans, to which he appended the account of the genealogy of his forefathers. [Actually, Bar Hebreaus has much more to say about this learned Sabean and his scholarly achievement. See The Chronography of Abu’l Faraj Bar Hebraeus, trans. E. L. Wallis Budge, 1 (Oxford, 1932): 152-153. Barsoum quotes the original Syriac, 168, which is probably the text translated by Budge. Tr.] Ibn Abi Usaybi’a said, “In the time of Thabit ibn Qurra no one could mach him in the science of medicine or any other parts of philosophy. He wrote books known for their excellence. Like him, many of his posterity and relatives achieved excellence in sciences. He died in 288 A.H./900 A. D. [Ibn Abi Usaybi’a, Uyun al-Anba’, 1: 216] His son, Sinan, was the physician of the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir.
Thabit ibn Qurrra was proficient in astronomy. He converted to Islam for fear of the ‘Abbasid Caliph al-Qahir. He died in 331 A.H./942 A. D. His grandson al-Hasan Thabit was knowledgeable in the principles of medicine. He was adept in solving scientific problems. He assumed charge of the administration of the hospital in Baghdad and wrote a famous book of history. He died in 363 A.H./973 A. D. [Uyun al-Anba, 1: 216]
Learned men flourished in the family of Ibn Qurra; among them were the prominent physician Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Zahrun the Sabean of Harran (he died in Baghdad in 369 A.H./979 A.D.) and Muhammad ibn Jabir ibn Sinan ‘Abu Abd Allah of Harran, known as al-Battani, who was famous in observing the stars. In fact, no one in Islam had achieved the degree of his efficiency in amending the observation of the stars and examining their movement. He was a Sabean from Harran. He died in 317 A.H./929 A.D. [Bar Hebraeus, Tarikh Mukhtasar al-Duwal,  296.] Also came Abu ‘Aruba al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Ma’sahr of Harran, a leader (Imam) in knowing the Quran by heart. He wrote the history of the Jazira. He died in 318 A.H./930 A.D.; later Abu al-Hasan Ali ‘Abd al-Rahman of Harran also wrote a history of the Jazira. He was a leading Imam in knowing the Quran by heart. He died in 355 A.H./965 A.D. He was of noble character and an authority on the Quran. [Mu’jam al-Buldan, 2: 242.].
Harran, as mentioned above, was the abode of the Sabeans, who were strong heathens. Bar Hebraeus said that when Emperor Julian, known as the Apostate (361-363), decided to attack Persia, he reached Harran.  As he was about to leave the city he bowed his head down to worship its gods. But his crown fell off his head and struck his horse. The attendant of the idol told him, “The Christians who are with us have brought upon you all these calamities.” On that day he eliminated about twenty thousand of their men.  We think that some of the pagan temples of Harran survived until the twelfth century.
In his work al-Athar al-Baqiya ‘an al–Qurun al-Khalia, ed. E. Sachau (Leipzig, 1878), 104-206, the famous scholar Abu al-Rayhan al-Biruni (973-1050) investigated the origin of the Sabeans. He said, “Among their antiquities is the dome on top of the mihrab (prayer niche) near the stall at the mosque of Damascus. In the time of the Greeks and the Romans, their temple was the place of pagan gods because, like them, they were pagans. Then it fell into the hands of the Jews, who turned it into a synagogue (sic).”  Then the Christians captured the temple and turned it into a church. The Muslims turned it into a masjid.
The Harranians had many temples and idols named after the sun They were of specific forms, as Abu Ma’shar of Balkh (d. 886) mentioned in his book On the Houses of Worship, like the temple of Ba’lbak dedicated to the sun. Harran, however, was dedicated to the moon. It was built in the shape of a crescent, like a shawl worn over the head and shoulders.  In its neighborhood was the village called Salamsin in Syriac. Another nearby village was called Tar’o ‘Uoz, i.e., The Gate of Venus.
It is said that the Harranians were not truly the original Sabeans but those mentioned by books as hanifs, or heathens. The Sabeans were, in fact, those children of Israel who remained in Babylon in the time of Cyrus and Artaxerxes and did not return to Jerusalem. They adopted the laws of the Magians and the religion of Nebuchadnezzar. Thus, their religion became a conglomeration of Magianism and Judaism, like that of the Samaritans of Syria. Most of them are found in Wasit and the land of Sawad in southern Iraq in the district of Ja’far, al-Jamida and the two rivers (the two branches of the Euphrates). By origin, they are traced to Anush, son of Seth. They are different from the natives of Harran, whose faith they reject. They disagree with them except in small matters. While the Sabeans in praying turn their faces toward the North Pole, the people of Harran turn theirs toward the South Pole.” Abu Ma’shar also said on p. 318, “More than other people, they were known as Harraniyya in the Abbasid state in the year 228 A.H./842 A.D., in order to be considered dhimmis who pay taxes and become protected by the Muslims. However, they were formerly called hanifs, heathens and Harranians.” [Bar Hebraeus, Tarikh Mukhtasar al-Duwal, 266. Only a small number of Sabeans of Iraq remain today.]
Christianity most likely reached Harran from Edessa in the first century; however, we know of no bishop of Harran before the middle of the fourth century A.D. Among its churches were the Church of Mar Ahodemeh, which specifically belonged to the people of Takrit, who dwelt in it; the church of Mar Gurgis and the church of the Virgin in Quba, which the Muslims destroyed in 835 A.D., together with the churches of the Rum (Byzantines) and the Nestorians and the synagogue of the Jews. Later, the governor ordered them rebuilt and delivered to their owners. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 1: 505]
Three synods convened at Harran, presided over by our famous Patriarch of Antioch Mar Quryaqos of Takrit. The first convened in 793; the second, in 794, issued forty-seven canons; and the third, in 813 at Beth Batin in the province of Harran, issued forty-seven canons [The Collection of Church Canons at the churches of Diyarbakr and Basibrina]   Among our Syrian learned men of Harran were Harith, son of Sisan Sanbat of Harran, who wrote a commentary on the Gospels of Mark and John at the end of the eighth century [Anton Baumstark, Geschichte der Syrischen Literatur (Bonn, 1922), 271] and Iliyya (Elijah) of Harran, bishop of Salamya, from the Monastery of John Bar Aphtonya (The Monastery of Qinneshrin), who wrote a treatise on the Eucharist and another on the phrase, “We break the Heavenly Bread,” [Baumstark, 277], and a Diatessaron similar to that of Ammonius , i.e., the mixed Gospels (sic). This book was mentioned by the learned Jacob bar Salibi in his Commentary on the Gospels.  He said, “This book (Diatessaron) is very rare and was known only in the first decade of the ninth century.” Also Jacob bar Tshakko, metropolitan of Harran, drew up an anophora (liturgy) in 1231 [Aphram Barsoum, Nuzhat al-Adhan fi Tarikh Dayr al-Za’faran, 136]. Among the Malkites or Rum (Byzantines) who flourished in Harran were its Bishop Theodore, known as Abu Qurra, author of the Apologitical Theology in the first quarter of the ninth century [Mikha’il al-Kabir, Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 495] and Constantine, a Malkite bishop who flourished at the end of the seventh and the beginning of the eighth centuries and wrote four controversial treatises. He was succeeded by Leon, who addressed a letter to Iliyya (Elijah) our patriarch of Antioch; both of these were written in Syriac. [William Wright, A Short History of Syriac Literature (London, 1894), 160-161); Rubins Duval, La Literature Syriaque, 378]
Among our learned men we may mention Mar Shim’un (Simon) d- beth Zaite, bishop of Harran, the controversial writer, who shall be discussed later, and Daniel, the monk and profound writer who arranged the Biblical lections for Passion Week. He came from the village of Beth Batin, or from its monastery. (Syriac Written Antiquities)
Among the Sabean learned men attributed to Harran, other than those mentioned earlier, was Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Hilal of Harran, the Sabean author of famous letters and distinguished in his time in rhetoric. He died in 994 A.D. and was eulogized in a unique famous ode by al-Sharif al-Raddi beginning, “Have you known whom they raised on the wood (gallows)? Have you seen that the light of the assembly is put out? [Khayr al-Din al-Zirrikly, al-A’lam (Prominent Men), 1: 26] Other learned men were Qurra ibn Qamita of Harran, who drew on unprocessed birdlimed linen cloth with waterproof dyestuffs a map of the world which was appropriated by Thabit ibn Qurra of Harran [Ibn al-Nadim, al-Fihrist, 297] and Hilal ibn al-Muhsin ibn Ibrahim the Sabean of Harran (d. 1056 A.D.), who was a historian and man of letters. He continued the history of Thabit ibn Sinan. [Al-Zirrikly, al-A’lam, 2: 1126] One of the most remarkable Sabean learned men was Baba of Harran, known for his power of prescience. The learned Bar Salibi devoted a whole chapter to him, saying that Baba foretold the appearance of the Lord Christ and the destruction of the temple of idols of Harran. Baba lived before the Christian era, but his exact date is unknown. [Rahmani, Studia Syriaca, 1: 48, 70]
Ibn al-Nadim mentioned the faith of the Harranian Chaldeans, known as Sabeans. He devoted a chapter to their history and leaders copied from Ahmad ibn al-Tayyib, and the Christians Abu Yusuf Yeshu’ Qati’i and Wahb ibn Ibrahim. He also wrote in detail about the Manicheans, followers of the atheist Mani, some of whom were in Harran. This group was also mentioned in the life-story of Mar Shim’un d-Zaite. [Ibn al-Nadim, al-Fihrist, 442-472]
Abu al-Hasan al-Mas’udi (d. 956) mentioned the temples of the Sabeans of Harran. He said, “The Sabeans of Harran have temples named after rational concepts and stars. Among these were the Temple of the First Cause and The Temple of Reason. But I have no idea whether they meant the First Reason or the Second Reason. Others temples  were the Temple of the Virgo, The Temple of Form, and The Temple of the Soul, which were circular in shape, the hexagonal Temple of Saturn, the triangular Temple of Jupiter, the oblong Temple of Mars, the triangular Temple of Venus placed in a tetragonal frame, and  the octagonal Temple of the Moon.  What is left of their great temples at this time (that is, the year 331 A.H./943 A.D.) is a temple in the city of Harran near the gate of al-Raqqa, known as the Temple of Musallina (worship temple)  which is the Temple of ‘Azar (sic), father of the Patriarch Abraham.” [Thus also Abu al-Fida’ says that at the top of a mound in Harran stood a musalla (worship-place) exalted by the Sabeans and attributed to Abraham. Perhaps by Azar they meant Li’azar, chief servant in Abraham’s household [see Genesis, 24: 2]. Al-Mas’udi continues, “This denomination is known by the name of Harranians. The Sabeans are philosophers but actually fraudulent. Their commoners are related to them by means of causality and not wisdom. I saw above the door of their religious assembly in Harran a saying of Plato written in Syriac. It was interpreted by Malik ibn Afnun as, ‘He who knows his essence becomes divine.’” [Al-Mas’udi, Muruj al-Dhahab, 1: 378.]
The most important of these temples was the Temple of the Moon Sien, to which is attributed the city of Harran. Thus, it was called the City of Sien. In a metrical hymn, Saint Jacob of Sarug stated that Harran had been afflicted by the deception of Satan. He said, “Satan misguided Harran by worshiping the moon-god Sien.”) In his Semitic Antiquities, Pognon said that after the fall of the Assyrian state, the Manda tribe conquered Edessa and destroyed the temple of Harran. But it was rebuilt by Nabonid, King of Babylon in 536 B.C., according to an important source written in cuneiform. Pognon discovered this source in the ruins of the village Eski Harran. It was probably written by the chief priest of the temple, an old man who said, “The chief god Moon Sien favored him with a long life of one hundred and four years, and he had preserved his faculties perfectly from the time of the Assyrian King Ashur Panipal up to the ninth year of Nabonid, king of Babylon.” [Pognon, Semitic Antiquities, 13] Later the city of Harran was destroyed. The natives built a new city in the southern part of the old one and gave it the same name, but the famous Temple of the Moon was some distance away.
The Greek historian Herodian said, “When Emperor Caracalla (211-217) came to Carrhae (Harran) to visit the Temple of the Moon-god, which was far away from the city, he did not want to tie up his troops. So he took horsemen with him to visit the temple. When he was at a distance from his guards he was stabbed by Martilianus.” [Pognon, 14.] According to another version, while Caracalla was on his way to visit the temple of the Moon-god, he dismounted to relieve himself and was stabbed by a soldier and finished off by guard officers, by the instigation of Macrinus, one of his joint praetorian prefects. [See Michael Grant, The Roman Emperors, (New York, 1985), 120. Tr.] According to Patriarch Mar Mikha’il (Michael Rabo), when Emperor Julian the Apostate visited Harran in 363, he worshiped the Moon-god. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 1: 144.] This temple was still standing in 1031 A. D. Chronicling the events of that year, Yahya ibn Sa’id al-Antaki said that it had been used by the Arabs as a fortress. He went on to say, “The Arabs of the Banu Numayr captured all the fortresses of the Jazira, and each one was controlled by one of their amirs. Some noblemen captured Harran and used its youth to subdue other cities. They wronged the natives of the city, pillaging and ruining their lives, with the result that many of them fled. Also, these men captured a Sabean Temple of the Moon-god, and no other temple but this one was left for the Sabeans to use as a fortress. Many Sabeans of Harran embraced Islam for fear of the Muslims.” [Tarikh ibn Batriq, 2: 265]
In the neighborhood of Harran were monasteries, some of which achieved fame, like the Monastery of Beth Batin [Beth Batin is a Syriac term meaning between the houses or temples] in the village of the same name.  Beth Batin housed the palace of the Umayyad Caliph Marwan, which was ruined by Abd Allah ibn Ali. [Chronicle of the Anonymous Edessan, 1: 23.] At this monastery a synod was convened in 794. From it came Patriarch Dionysius II, who was also buried in it in 909 [Michael Rabo,  Chronicle, 3: 757]; the Monastery of Tall Sefre (The Hill of Birds/Sparrows), where Patriarch Yuhanna V was ordained in 910; the great Monastery in Kafar Tibna near the gate of Harran [MS of the life-story of Mar Shim’un d- bethZaite]; and the Monastery of Mar Li’azar (Lazarus) the notable ascetic. To this monastery belongs Sergius, metropolitan of Cyrrhus in 878. [Pognon, 44.]
From Harran issued forth several bishops, among whom were Nanus of Harran, a monk of the Monastery of Qartmin (Mar Gabriel), metropolitan of al-Raqqa, about 1070 [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 764]; Emmanuel the outstanding monk, who is traced to Harran. He was the disciple of Maphryono Quryaqos. He took part in the building of the Monastery of Ibn Jaji by using stones and lime. He passed away in 1001. [Michael Rabo,  3: 553]; and Theophilact ibn Qanbara of Harran, goldsmith of the Umayyad Caliph Marwan II, who became a patriarch of the Malkite Rum by order of the caliph and persecuted the Maronites in 874. [Michael Rabo, 3: 467]
The Syrian population of Harran was large and powerful. In Harran was ordained the famous Patriarch Quaryaqos of Antioch [Michael Rabo, 2: 752], who succeeded Patriarch Yusuf in 790 [Michael Rabo, 2: 483]. Its see was considered the third among the metropolitan episcopates of Edessa. Following is a table of its bishops, collected from most reliable sources:

Saint Barsa (Barses), bishop of Harran (?-361)

Barsa became a bishop of Harran before 361 A.D. In that year he was transferred to Edessa by order of the Emperor Constantine II (337-340). In his time the famous school of Edessa was founded, probably in 363. St Ephraim was his acquaintance and praised him in his metrical hymns of Nisibin [See Gustav Wilhelm Hugo Bickell, Carmina Nisibina (1866). Tr. ] He also extolled his two successors, Pitus and Protogenus. When the Arian Emperor Valens (364-378) came to Edessa and persecuted its people because of their adherence to the Orthodox faith, he banished Barsa to the island of Aradus in Egypt and installed in his place an intruding Arian bishop in September, 373. But  upon learning that Barsa was very popular among the people because of the miracles, especially healing the sick, which God wrought through him, he transferred him to the city of Oxorcus, and then to the citadel of Philo on the borders of the barbarian lands. It was there that Barsa passed away in March, 378. The historian Theodoret of Cyrus said that his bed in the island of Aradus was preserved with great dignity because many sick people had recovered by lying in it. This fact was also related by Patriarch Michael Rabo, who said that the heart of this saint was filled with apostolic grace. [The Church History of Theodoret, Part 4, Chapter 14; Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 149.]

2) Abgar, bishop of Harran (361-370).

Abgar succeeded Barsa. The historian Theophanes mentioned him in the course of discussing an event which took place in the time of Emperor Julian (the Apostate) at a suburb of Harran. The term of his episcopate probably lasted from 361 to 370. [Michel Lequien, Oriens Christianus (Paris, 1740), 975. This work consists of three volumes. Barsoum does not identify the volume he used.]

3) Pitus, bishop of Harran (371-381).

Pitus succeeded Abgar in the see of Harran. In 371 he signed the letter of the great Saint Basilius addressed to the bishops of the West. In the following year, he signed the synodical letter addressed to the West by Saint Malatius, patriarch of Antioch, and his thirty-two bishops. In 377 Saint Basilius wrote a letter to him. In 381 he attended the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, among whose assembled fathers he was considered most outstanding. The historian Sozomen said, “Pitus was famous for his piety and monastic way of life. Most likely he passed away in the year 381 or shortly afterwards.” [Sozomen, 6: 32;  Michael Rabo, 1: 159; Roherbacher, Church History, 7: 154; Lequien, 975; Cavalera, The Antiochian Schism,190, 209; and Letters of Mar Basilius, 255.]

4) Saint Protogenes, bishop of Harran .

Protogenes was an ascetic monk in Harran and then became a priest. When Emperor Valens banished its Metropolitan Saint Barsa, he replaced him with “an Arian wolf.”  He decided to slaughter the clerics and lay people if they adhered to the orthodox faith, but declined because of the courage of a faithful woman. Carrying her baby, she broke through the ranks of the army, defying the torments of death. Her daring attitude convinced the emperor that her remarkable behavior was sufficient evidence of the people’s unshakable orthodox faith. He commanded Modestus, governor (prefect) of the city of Harran, to persuade the clerics to submit to the authority of the intruding Arian governor. Modestus summoned the priests and deacons (eighty in number, headed by a remarkable priest named Eulogius) to a meeting, but could not change their mind. Eulogius said to Modestus, “We already have a shepherd, and his teachings alone we shall follow.” Modestus banished them to Thrace. When the news of their praiseworthy determination and remarkable fame reached the emperor, he ordered that they be sent in pairs into scattered locations. The two priests, Eulogius and Protogenes, were banished to Antanbuh in Upper Egypt, where they participated with its orthodox bishop in church services. But when they saw that the number of the faithful was small and that of the heathens large, they were greatly distressed. Eulogius shut himself up in a cell, spending time in devotional solitude and prayer day and night.
The pious Protogenes proceeded to learn the language of the city as quickly as he could. He established a school to teach the youth to read the Holy Scriptures, especially the Psalms. Gradually, he led them to knowledge of the Apostolic teachings. When it happened that one of them became sick, Eulogius held him by the hand and prayed for him, and he was healed. When the news of his healing reached the parents of the pupils, they invited him to their homes to heal their sick. Eulogius refused unless they were first baptized. Still, they hoped to receive from him the healing of body and soul. Whenever one of them accepted the divine grace, Protogenes brought him to Eulogius’s cell, asking to have him baptized. But if Eulogius complained that the people who sought his help had interrupted his prayer Protogenes would remind him that the salvation of those deceived was of still greater magnitude. Those who witnessed his miracles and guidance to the light of God marveled at Protogenes’s admission of Eulogius’s superior virtue and position. When the storm of persecution calmed down, Eulogius and Protegenes received an order to return to their country. They were bidden farewell by the bishop and the faithful in tears.
Upon their return home, the great Saint Barsa had already been translated to eternal life. Eulogius was ordained a bishop for Edessa by the laying of the hands of Eusebius, metropolitan of Samosata, in the year 379.  When the see of Harran became vacant with the death of Bishop Pitus in 381 or shortly afterward, Eulogius recommended Protogenes, his companion in the struggle, to that see. Protegenes proved to be a skillful physician in that city which was afflicted with the sores of idols. He proved to be an active element in that region, stifled by the disease of heathenism. [Theodoret, Part 4, Chapter 15; Rubens Duval, Histoire Politique, Religieuse, Et Littéraire d’Édesse (1892), 288-298; Michael Rabo, 2: 149; Lequien, 976, who added to Theodoret a Chapter 18 on monasticism. He said, “When he (Protogenes) returned home, Bishop Pitus entrusted him to work in Harran, which was filled with the thorns of heathenism. Then, Protogenes succeeded him in his see; P. Bedjan, Acta Martyriarum, 6: 368.],  [Apparently, Barsoum quoted the whole episode of Eulogius and Protogenes from the Greek version of Theodoret translated into French by Rubens Duval, taking many liberties with the text. For an English translation of the text, see Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, History of the Church (London, 1854), 172-175. The name of the translator is not given. Tr. ]
According to some sources, Eusebius, already mentioned, ordained Protogenes in 397 [Chronica Minora, 202]. But this is unlikely because Eusebius died in 379, while the See of Harran was occupied by Bishop Pitus, who attended the Council of Constantinople in 381, as was said earlier. If we allow ourselves to extract the deeds of this great bishop from his brilliant past, we will see that he had led many of the natives of Harran to the light of the Gospel, although we lack historical information about his episcopate.

5) Mar Abraham, bishop of Harran.

Abraham succeeded Protogenes in the see of Harran. He was steeped in piety, virtue and religious zeal.   His life-story was written by Theodoret of Corinth in his History of Monasticism. Theodoret said, “He (Mar Abraham) was an excellent fruit which ripened in Cyrus, where he was born and raised. He devoted himself to piety, worship, spiritual exercise, and fasting and prayer, until his body grew feeble and he became sick. When he recovered, he went to a big village in the Mountain of Lebanon which adhered to heathenism. He arrived at the village disguised as a merchant and redeemed its people for fifty dinars, which he had borrowed from his acquaintances in the city of Homs. He continued to treat the villagers with compassion, despite their roughness and callousness, and they were astonished by his patience.  They came to appreciate him and asked him to take charge of their village affairs. He did so, but only after they fulfilled his desire. The villagers built a church in a short period of time and embraced Christianity. They prevailed on him to become their presbyter, and he agreed. He took charge of them for three years, teaching them the fear of God. Later he chose a presbyter for them and returned to his own monastery. When the reputation of his virtues spread, he was made a bishop for Harran, which was drunk with the wine of idolatry and deception. As a good shepherd, he labored in his field with determination, educating the villagers and directing them to the true path.
Mar Abraham was so abstemious that he never touched bread once he became a priest, but restricted his meals to mere legumes. He spent the night hours in worship and prostrating himself in prayer, catching some sleep only while sitting in a chair. He was compassionate toward the poor and strangers, taking care of their needs. He also took care of the needs of the natives of his city, asking them to live in peace and shun malice. They responded to his counsel. When his fame spread far away, the believing Emperor Theodosius the Young invited him to the capital (Constantinople). At the capital the emperor received him with great honor. He even kissed his worn garment and wiped his eyes with it for a blessing. His prominent men knelt down to kiss Abraham’s knees, realizing that the saints of God exude the scent of piety in this life and the life to come.
Mar Abraham passed away in Constantinople. The emperor and his wife Eudoxia, men of his state, and soldiers walked in his funeral. He transported his body to Harran, where it was received with great honor by the natives of the cities through which it passed, especially great Antioch. When the procession reached the River Euphrates, a great crowd rushed to grab a piece of his garment in order to receive the blessing of his body, although the soldiers surrounded his coffin. The voices of chanters mingled with those of the lamenters. Finally the procession reached Harran, where he was buried.
This saint performed many miracles after his death. He served the priesthood for nineteen years. Most likely he passed away shortly before the Council of Ephesus convened in 341. However, God knows best.

6) Daniel I, bishop of Harran (449).

Daniel was the nephew (son of the sister) of Hiba (Ibas), metropolitan of Edessa. He was ordained by his uncle a bishop for Harran despite being unqualified for the position. He attended the synod convened in Antioch to discuss the case of Athanasius, bishop of al-Bira (modern Birajek). In 444, he attended another synod, also convened in Antioch, to investigate the case of his uncle Hiba. Because Daniel was a man of bad conduct, his clergymen complained against him to the Second Council of Ephesus, convened in 449, and proved that he was corrupt and had embezzled the money of the holy church. First, they submitted his case to Patriarch Domnus of Antioch, who referred it to his bishop and to his uncle (Hiba). They then took the case to the Emperor Theodosius II, who ordered Photius, metropolitan of Tyre, Eustathius, metropolitan of Beirut, and Oron, bishop of Amrin, to handle it.  When these bishops tried Daniel and became convinced of his crimes, which he admitted, they postponed removing him from his see because of the hallowed fasting (Lent). Also, they intended to overcome whatever doubts the heathen natives of Harran might have about the case. Meanwhile, however, Daniel resigned his position. When the Second Council of Ephesus learned about his case from these bishops, it condemned him and divested him of the dignity of the episcopate. (The Second Council of Ephesus (Oxford), 104-112.) [The author refers here to the Syriac version of this council. For the English translation, see The Second Synod Of Ephesus, trans. by The Rev. S. G. F. Perry (Dartford, Kent: Orient Press, 1881), 151-165. Tr.]

7) Yuhanna I, bishop of Harran (458).

When Daniel I was removed from office, Yuhanna succeeded him as bishop in 449. Yuhanna attended the Council of Chalcedon (451) and signed the letter of the Council of Edessa addressed to Emperor Leo I (457-474) in 458. This is all we know about him [Michael Rabo, 1: 199; Lequien, Oriens Christianus.]

8) Eustratonicus, bishop of Harran.

Eustratonicus was steward of the church of Edessa and then became a bishop of Harran. His compassion toward the poor was manifest, especially during the severe famine and plague which afflicted the city. The contemporary Edessan historian Yeshu’ the Stylite, who was copied by the author of the history ascribed to Mar Dionysius Tell Mahre, said in Chapter 1, 268, “In the year 812 of the Greeks/ 500 A.D., the starvation in Edessa and its villages became severe. The plague spread with violence in the months of November and December. Poor people slept in the porches and streets until death overtook them. Bodies were thrown into the streets to await burial by the natives. Nunus, master of the hospital, took care of burying the dead with the help of the brethren. He appointed the priest Mar Totaiel and Eustratonicus as church stewards. Later, the latter became a bishop of Harran. Eustratonicus also built an asylum in the enclosure of the church of Edessa to house the people afflicted by the plague. Every day a great number of bodies were found and buried along with the hospital’s dead patients.” This episode was quoted by Michel Lequien from Assemani’s Bibliothca Orientalis, who placed Totaiel in the year 511 A. D., erromeously calling him Tar’il. The correct name, according to the original Syriac, is the one we have given above. [Rev. J.B. Chabot, ed., The History ascribed to Dionysius Tell Mahre  (Paris, 1927), 1 (the number of the volume is not given)]. Here we learn that Eustartinicus most likely became a bishop of Harran in the first decade of the sixth century.

9) Mar Yuhanna II, bishop of Harran (519).

Mar Yuhanna II succeeded Eustratonicus. In 518 the Emperor Justin banished him along with other Orthodox bishops whose number Mar Michael Rabo estimated at fifty-five. [Michael Rabo, 2: 261-267] In the next year (519), Mar Yuhanna gained the crown of Confessors. He is commemorated in the calendar of saints on December 2. Saliba Bar Khayrun (1337) called him Iyawannis. [ Saliba Bar Khayrun, Calendar, published by the Polish scholar Peters (Brussels, 1908), 3; Michael Rabo, 2: 174.]

10) The Anonymous Bishop of Harran.

The famous historian Mar John of Ephesus relates that when Metropolitan Paul returned to Edessa in 522, the bishop of Harran was already dead. Paul had wanted Asclipes (a presbyter of Edessa) to succeed him, but he double-crossed him and chose someone else in his place. Asclipes rebelled and went to the capital (Constantinople) to complain to the emperor against Paul. He obtained a royal decree to oust Metropolitan Paul from Edessa (because of his adherence to the doctrine formulated by the Council of Chalcedon) and become a metropolitan in his place. The name of this bishop of Harran is still unknown. (Michael Rabo, 2: 174.)

11) Sarjis (Sergius), bishop of Harran (544-578).

John of Ephesus mentions that Saint Jacob Baradaeus ordained Sarjis a bishop for Harran. He was the eighth bishop he had ordained in the middle of the sixth century, around 544. Sarjis was a pious and learned man known as Bar Karyo (the short).  John of Ephesus called him Antiphor Qronoyo (‘he of joined eyebrows’). Sarjis became a monk at the Monastery of John Bar Aphtonya, where he also studied sciences.  He was a disciple and secretary of Mar Jacob Baradaeus. He was mentioned several times in the book of evidences. According to Bar Hebraeus, Sarjis died on July 27, 578, which indicates that he administered the See of Harran for more than thirty years. He was well versed in the Greek language and logic, and considered to be in the vanguard of bishops of his time. He wrote a treatise on the Holy Chrism preserved in the London Library, and church canons which we found in the Book of Canons at Basibrina in Tur Abdin. He also translated the biography of Saint Severus of Antioch, written by John of Aphtonya, from Greek into Syriac. [ John of Ephesus, Life Stories of the Eastern Saints, 2: 241, and his History, 3: 270; Baumstark, 184; Syriac Evidences, 292; The Life-Story of Mar Severus of Antioch, ed. Kugener, 264; Micahel Rabo, 2: 288.) [On Bar Karya see Aphram Basoum, The Scattered Pearls, trans. Matti Moosa (Gorgias Press, 2003), 302. Tr. ]
12) Stephen, bishop of Harran (589).

The Anonymous Edessan said in his Chronicle, 1: 214, “At this time (about 589) Emperor Maurice ordered Stephen, bishop of Harran, to persecute the heathens, which he did. Consequently, many heathens turned to Christianity. Those who disobeyed were split by the sword into two parts, and their bodies were hung in the streets of Harran. Stephen also crucified Aphendinus, governor of Harran, who outwardly proclaimed Christianity but inwardly practiced heathenism. Apparently Aphendinus’s secretary, Eujarius, betrayed him and later became the governor of the city. Patriarch Michael Rabo says that Eujarius was an orphan born in Kolonyah in First Armenia, a village of the Province of Nicopolis. In that city he learned the Greek language and became a writer. At Harran he established contact with its governor, Aphendinus. When it became known that Aphendinus was a heathen offering sacrifices to the idols, he was killed and Eujarius was appointed governor in his place. From Eujarius came members of the Edessan family of Beth Oyor.” (Michael Rabo, 2: 388] Most likely Stephen succeeded Bishop Sarjis.

13) Shim’un (Simon) I, bishop of Harran (620).

The historian Dionysius [ Most likely Patriarch Dionysius Tell Mahre. Tr. ] says that Shim’un, bishop of Harran, flourished about 620 in the time of Patriarch Mar Athanasius I, known as Gamolo. (4: 5)

14) Daniel II, bishop of Harran (627).

Patriarch Mar Mikha’il said that Daniel, bishop of Harran, was among the bishops who paid a visit to Emperor Heraclius in the company of Patriarch Athanasius Gamolo in 627, to discuss unification of the churches. When the emperor did not obtain from them what he wanted, like most of the tyrant emperors, he ordered that they be persecuted. Consequently, the Malkites (followers of the emperor) through his influence usurped our churches in Harran and Edessa. (Michael Rabo, 2: 409-410)

15) Mar Isodore, bishop of Harran.

The calendar revised by the distinguished monk Saliba ibn Khayrun (1337), mentions two Bishops of Harran, the Saints Mar Isodore and Mar Dawud, commemorated on February 4. [Saliba Bar Khayrun, Calendar, 147.]  We have not found his life-story in the available sources. We conjecture that he lived in the middle of the seventh century, between 627 and 684, and God knows best. As for Mar Dawud, he will be discussed shortly.
In the middle of this century, about 37 A.H./657 A.D., ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib [The Fourth Rightly Guided Caliph, 656-661. Tr.] assaulted the citizens of Harran. The anonymous Edessan said, “When Mu’awiya and ‘Ali quarreled, ‘Ali sent a messenger to the people of Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia) asking them to assist him against his opponent. When ‘Ali reached Saffin on the bank of the Euphrates River, he contacted the inhabitants of Harran, who promised to help him against Mu’awiya. But when Mu’awiya arrived and the battle commenced, the citizens of Harran joined Mu’awiya. Mu’aiwya returned to Damascus and ‘Ali marched against Harran, killing most of its inhabitants by the sword until blood ran through the gate of the city. Therefore, many citizens of Harran joined Mu’awiya’s army when he fought Ali’s two sons. Until today the people of Harran exalt Mu’awiya’s son Yazid, the deadliest enemy of Ali.” [ The Anonymous Edessan, Chronicle, 1: 281]

16) Mar Li’azar (Lazarus), bishop of Harran.

We found the commemoration of this saint in an ancient calendar dated 1466 at the village of Banim’im in Tur ‘Abdin on August 3. Most likely, he lived in this century or the next. [Handwritten Records by us]

17) Dumit, bishop of Harran (680-684).

The name of Dumit, bishop of Harran, is mentioned among the bishops who opposed the Patriarch Severus II. Later, after four years of controversy, they reconciled with him in 684 through the effort of Yuhanna I, maphryono of Takrit, to whom the patriarch had entrusted the handling of Dumit’s case. Dumit attended the synod convened in Rish ‘Ayna (Ras al-‘Ayn) presided over by Maphriono Yuhanna. We do not know the year of his death. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 428, 440, 444]

18) Iliyya (Elijah), bishop of Harran (700).

Iliyya, known as Bar Gufne (son of the Bowl), succeeded Dumit in the see of Harran. He died  in the year 700 A.D. In his time was built our Cathedral at Harran in 699.  [ The life-story of Mar Shim’un at our Library, and a compendious ancient history which we published in Paris in C.S.C.O., 13.]

19) Mar Shim’un (Simon) II, d-beth Zayte (He of the olives), bishop of Harran (700-734).

After Iliyya, the see of Harran was occupied by Mar Shim’un d-beth Zayte, a remarkable father of his time in virtue, zeal and holiness. His biography was written by his countryman Ayyub (Job) of Habsnas. It consists of many sheets, from which we produced the following pericope:

Mar Shim’un was born in the village of Habsnas in Tur ‘Abdin around the year 655. His father’s name was Mundhir. [Saliba Bar Khayrun, Calendar, 154.] At the age of ten, he studied the Syriac language and the Holy Scriptures under a teacher of his village. His father sent him to the school of the famous Monastery of Qartmin in Tur Abdin, where he finished his studies in five years due to his exceptional intelligence. He became a leader of the church choir. Inclined as he was to the ascetic life, he devoted himself to worship and spiritual solitude on a stylite in the vicinity of the ancient town of Sarwan. At that time army commanders attacked Tur ‘Abdin and took some of its residents captive. Among them was Dawud (David), a noble youth and nephew of Mar Shim’un.  Because he was high-born, a commander took him into his service and chose him as a companion on his hunting expeditions. One day as they were hunting, Dawud, while chasing a prey, stumbled upon an ancient treasure. He kept it secret from the commander, but later revealed it to his uncle Mar Shim’un. When the commander relieved him of service, Dawud joined his uncle and learned from him the way of asceticism. From time to time he gave his uncle some of the money from the treasure, which his saintly uncle spent for the poor, the homeless, orphans and widows. With this money Shim’un bought orchards, a watermill, houses and shops which he bequeathed as an endowment to the Monastery of Qartmin. He renovated the buildings of the monastery which had been ruined by the Persians. He also bought for the monastery a farm with springs and planted on it two thousand olive trees, whose yield of oil was donated to light the candles of the churches and monasteries of Tur ‘Abdin. For this reason, he was nicknamed Mar Shim’un d-beth Zayte (Mar Shim’un of the Olives, Arabic al-Zaytuni).
Mar Shim’un appealed to the governor of Nisibin to purchase some ruins of the city. Having won his favor, Mar Shim’un built a monastery in the name of Saint Phabronya, who was martyred at Nisbin, and allotted it to nuns. [Phabroinya was martyred around the year 204. Jacob of Nosibin built a magnificent church in Nisibin and moved to it some  of her relics. See Addai Scher, Tarikh Chaldo wa athur, 2: 58.]  Next to this monastery he built a big hostel for strangers and merchants, and bequeathed to it five mills as an endowment. He also built a church in the name of the Virgin. He went on to renovate the Monasteries of Mar Dumit and Mar Elisha, and supplied them with shops, houses and public baths as an endowment. He wrote a covenant for them, confirmed by Patriarch Julian III, stating that their excess revenues should revert to the Monastery of Qartmin.
In the year 700 the bishop of Harran passed away.  The diocese needed a learned bishop well versed in the art of controversy to be its bishop, because the Umayyad jurist Muhammad ibn Marwan, governor of the Jazira, Armenia and Azerbayjan, had founded a school in Harran. Mar Shim’un was chosen to head the diocese of Harran. He was ordained a bishop on Pentecost, June 1 by the laying on of hands of Patriarch Julian III. The congregation of Harran and the monks of Edessa were delighted with his ordination because of his zeal and fame. Mar Shim’un guided many of the Mandeans, Sabeans and Jews of Harran to Christianity. Moreover, God granted him the gift of performing miracles.
Mar Shim’un administered his diocese for thirty-four years, during which he visited his monastery four times. In the course of his third visit, he went to Habsnas, his place of birth, and built the Monastery of Mar Li’azar and a stylite for hermit monks. We saw the monastery and the stylite in its yard in 1911. He also established a school at Habsnas which graduated many excellent students, teachers and commentators. In the year 707, he built at Nisibin a church in the name of the martyr St. Theodorus with money received from the Monastery of Qartmin. But the antagonistic Nestorians and Jews demolished at night whatever he built in the daytime. This forced him to rebuild the church three times. He sought the help of Jarjis, son of Li’azar of Anhil, governor of Tur ‘Abdin, who supplied him with laborers. When the building of the church was completed, Shim’un participated with Patriarch Julian III in its consecration.
In 726, Mar Shim’un attended the conference of Manazgird (Manzikert) to discuss the unification of the Syrian and Armenian Churches. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 1: 459]. An example of his accomplishments was his concern for the transcription of Holy Scriptures according to the Septuagint and the Pshitto version, as well as about eighty volumes of invaluable books. He employed competent copyists known for their excellent penmanship and linguistic adjustment ability, like Daniel of Kandarib and others. He donated these books to his monastery, together with the properties he had bought with the money that he had saved or collected from his diocese. Thus the monastery came to own a magnificent treasure due to his own effort and the care of his nephew Dawud. Furthermore, Mar Shim’un donated precious gifts to the churches of Tur ‘Abdin.
After spending the last months of his life at his monastery, God translated him to his eternal abode on Thursday, June 3, 734. Twelve bishops from the neighboring countries and a great crowd of six thousand clerics attended his funeral. He was buried in the mausoleum of the saints. Miracles were depicted on his tomb. The church commemorates him on June 3 and January 3. [See a copy of his life-story, mentioned above, and Saliba Bar Khayrun, Calendar, 1510; Chronica Minora, ed. Brooks, 235, and Pseudo-Tell Mahre, 4: 15. ]  His name was inserted in the Book of Life of Zaz in Tur ‘Abdin.
Mar Shim’un wrote controversial treatises against heretics supported by rational and traditional evidence. They include a treatise he addressed to Constantine, the Malkite (Chalcedonian) bishop of Harran.. It was mentioned by Patriarch Iliyya (Elijah) I in his letter to Leo, successor of Constantine, in which he called Shim’un a saint  [ William Wright, A Short History of Syriac Literature, 161, and by the same author, Catalogue, 607, col. 2). Tr.] while he was still alive.
Quoting Assemani, Anton Baumstark and Rubens Duval stated that Patriarch Iyawannis I (739-755) was a bishop of Harran. More correctly, he was a bishop of Hawran (Bosra), as mentioned in the Chronicles of Michael Rabo and Bar Hebraeus. According to historical context, the See of Harran was occupied by the Bishop Mar Tuma (Thomas), who died in 738.

20) Mar Tuma (Thomas, 734-738) .

Upon his death, Mar Shim’un d-beth Zayte was succeeded by his disciple Mar Tuma. Tuma was ordained a bishop by Athanasius III, patriarch of Antioch, in 734. In 736, he attended the synod convened at the Monastery of Arbin. He died in 783 and was commemorated on July 5. He was considered a righteous and saintly man. His name was recorded in the Book of Life. [Our published Compendious History, 17; Chronica Minora, 226; Saliba Bar Khayrun, Calendar, 156; and the Book of Life of Zaz.]

21) Theomrica (Theomrice), bishop of Harran (752).

According to Michael Rabo, Theomrica, bishop of Harran, attended  the Synod of Talla in 752. He was one of the bishops who joined Athanasius Sandloio (the cobbler), metropolitan of the Jazira, who opposed the Patriarch Iyawannis I but reconciled with him at the end of his life. (Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 468, 470.)

22) Ishaq, bishop of Harran (753).

Ishaq was from the Monastery of Qartmin. Gripped by greed, he indulged in alchemy, and   through it he cajoled Athanasius Sandloio, the rebellious metropolitan of the Jazira, to ordain him a bishop for Harran in 752 without the patriarch’s or the bishops’ consent. In 755, he tried to usurp the patriarchate but failed and ended up in calamity. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 471; Bar Hebraeus, Ecclesiastical History, 1: 313-317; and Chronica Minora, 43.]

23) Dionysius I, bishop of Harran (758-762).

Dionysius came from the Monastery of Qartmin and became a bishop of Harran in 758. He sided with the intruding Patriarch Yuhanna al-Raqqi (of Callinicus) and attended his consecration. He journeyed to Baghdad by order of the caliph because of the troubles within the church. He died in that city in 761. According to the history ascribed to Patriarch Tell Mahre, Dionysius died in 786. More correct, however, is what we have just said.  [Pseudo-Tell Mahre, 4: 66, 68, 107; Chronica Minora, ed. Brooks, 136-137.]

24) Dionysius II, bishop of Harran.

Dionysisu II was a steward of the Monastery of Zuqnin in the neighborhood of Amid. According to Dionysius Tell Mahre, he was ordained a bishop of Harran by Patriarch Gewargi I in 762.
Tell Mahre said, “In this year (762) Dionysius, bishop of Harran, died, and he was succeeded by another Dionysius from the Monastery of Zuqnin.” The Book of Life, 4: 103 and 107, mentions that Dionysius II was commemorated on December 21. In his time there appeared a charlatan deacon named Marutha, who was imprisoned by the intruding Patriarch in Harran around 770. (Pseudo-Tell Mahre, 4: 138-146)

25) Iyawannis I, bishop of Harran (779-805).

Iyawannis succeeded Dionysius II. We found his name in the collection of correspondence by the erudite Rabban Dawud Bar Phaulos (Paul), who flourished in 799. Bar Phaulos wrote two letters to Phocas, chief priest of Harran. In one of them, he inquired about the safety of Bishop Iyawannis. He also wrote a letter to the same bishop, saying, “To the city of Harran afflicted by the sores of heathenism, and still suffering from the ancient thorns of error, tares of heresies, and hypocrisy. A city called in days of old the city of idols, but now, because of you, it is called the city of Abraham. A city which grew old with idols but now looks young by preaching Christ. A city which took off the dress of Satan and put on the dress of righteousness. A city where apostolic seedlings flourished, and waters of life overflowed and brought forth lovely trees and sweet-smelling flowers. As tares of the enemy keep growing among the wheat, the Lord sent a skillful physician like yourself to produce balms and treat sick bodies so that they might receive utmost recovery by the knowledge of the Holy Trinity.” [Za’faran Library  and our Library.]
Iyawannis was ordained by Patriarch Gewargi I. He attended the synod convened in Harran on August 15, 793 to elect Quryaqos a Patriarch of Antioch. Also, he attended another synod convened by Patriarch Quryaqos in 798 to discuss unity with Gabriel, patriarch of the Phantasiasts. Along with Gabriel, he mentioned Yusuf, bishop of Harran. (British Museum Library) Most likely, Iyawannis lived up to the middle of the first decade of the following (ninth) century. The learned Patriarch Michael Rabo of Antioch preserved for us the names of sixteen bishops of Harran from the year 805 to 1187. He (may God reward him) spared us the trouble of searching for these bishops. From his significant Chronicle we derived our information about these bishops. They are as follows:

26) Gewargi or Jirjis I.

Gewargi, or Jirjis I, succeeded Iyawanis as bishop of Harran. Ordained by Patriarch Quryaqos, he was the 68th bishop the patriarch had ordained since 805. But Gewargi resigned his office and served only for a short period. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 754.]

27) Mar Gewargi or Jirjis II (816-850).

Upon the resignation of Gewargi I, Patriarch Quryaqos ordained in his place another bishop named Jirjis, who was the 81st bishop the patriarch ordained, in the year 816. In 818, Gewargi attended the synod of al-Raqqa (Callinicus), which elected Patriarch Dionysius I and issued twelve canons. He served as a bishop for thirty-four years. According to the Calendar of Saliba ibn Khayrun, Gewargi, bishop of Harran, is commemorated on February 20. But this is uncertain. Either he is the one mentioned in this calendar, or it is his predecessor. [Michael Rabo, Ibid., 2: 574; Canons of Basibrina, a copy of which is at our Library; Saliba Bar Khayrun, Calendar, 184; and the Book of Life of Zaz.]
When the ‘Abbasid Caliph al-Amin (809-813) was killed and his brother al-Ma’mun (813-833) became caliph, the two rebels, Nasr and ‘Umar, attacked the Jazira and al-Ruha (Edessa), pillaging, killing and committing all sorts of abominations. In 812, they turned to Harran and set fire to the villages, churches and monasteries. Paganism returned to Harran after it had been eliminated in the time of the Christian emperors and the Arabs. The reason was that the governor of Harran, Ibrahim the Qurashite, was bribed by the Sabeans who were hiding in Harran, the nest of paganism, and allowed them to practice their unsound rituals overtly. Around 819, the governor ordered the destruction of the sanctuary of our cathedral in Harran, the Church of the Virgin in Quba, and a section of the Church of Mar Jirjis. He also had other churches and temples belonging to the Malkite Rum, Nestorians and Jews demolished. On the next day he ordered them rebuilt; thus, they were restored in a short time
In the year 830, the Caliph al-Ma’mun came to Harran and forbade the destruction of two churches. He also ordered that no church should be demolished in any location without his order. After his death he was succeeded by his brother al-Mu’tasim. Obtaining an order from the new caliph, the Muslims of Harran waged war against the native Christians. They destroyed the Church of Mar Jirjis in Quba and the Church of Mar Ahodemeh, claiming that they had recently been built. This happened on the eve of Easter, 853. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 491-492.] Thus the word of the Prophet in Amos 8: 10, “He (the Lord) will turn your religious feasts into mourning,” was fulfilled in this context. On April 10, 844, God sent heavy rain, the like of which the elders of the city had never seen before. It swept huge rocks, and the valleys were inundated with water like lakes. Torrential streams gushed from the Mountains of Hasme and Yetheb Risha, causing the city of Harran inestimable damage. The torrential rains formed a big river which destroyed the villages. They reached Beth Quba and inundated the houses, inns, and shops, and swept people who drowned. If it had not been for the governor, who urged the people to built a huge dam, the whole city would have been destroyed. Finally, torrential waters reached al-Raqqa (Callinicus) and ended up in the River Euphrates.
These, then, are the events which happened in Harran and were recorded by Dionysius Tell Mahre as quoted by Mikha’il Rabo. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 497, 507, 529, 538.]

28) Mar Dawud (David) of Manim’im, bishop of Harran (855-880) .

Dawud ascended the See of Harran after Gewargi (Jirjis) II. He was well known as Dawud of Manim’im, after the name of his native village in Tur ‘Abdin. He was a relative of Mar Shim’un d-beth Zayte. He became a monk at the Monastery of Qartmin and was ordained a bishop by the Patriarch Yuhanna IV, being the 26th bishop the patriach had ordained. Bishop Dawud, one of the best Fathers, lived between 855 and 880.  In the Calendar (of Saliba ibn Khayrun), his commemoration is mentioned on February 4. He bequeathed his books and other precious items to his monastery (of Qartmin). They included a collection of canons copied on vellum by his nephew (son of his sister) Sawera (Severus) of Manim’im. We came upon this precious volume in 1909 at the village of Basibrina. Unfortunately, it perished in World War I [Michael Rabo, Chronicle,  2: 765; the life-story of Mar Shim’un d-beth Zayte; MSS of Tur ‘Abdin by the author (Patriarch Aphram Barsoum); Saliba Bar Khayrun, Calendar, 147.]In his lifetime, Dawud became an intruding bishop over Harran, but his leadership did not last. Bar Hebraeus says that in the year 858, Maphryono Basilius II quarreled with Patriarch Yuhanna IV. The Syrians of Takrit, who lived within the districts under the jurisdiction of the patriarch, supported the maphryono and stopped mentioning the name of the patriarch in the Eucharistic service. Maphryono Basilius II ordained bishops for Harran, al-Raqq, and Rish ‘Ayna (Ras al-‘Ayn), and suspended the bishops appointed by the patriarch, including our Dawud.  Upon the death of Maphryono Basilius, the fathers of the church met at Kafartut in 869 and issued eight canons for both the patriarch and the maphryono. They pardoned Basilius and his companions and assigned dioceses to the bishops whom he had ordained for Harran, al-Raqqa and Rish ‘Ayna. (Bar Hebraeus, Ecclesiastical History, 3: no page is given.)

29) Constantine, bishop of Harran.

Upon Dawud’s death, Constantine replaced him as bishop of Harran. Constantine was a monk from the Monastery of Qartmin. He was the sixteenth bishop ordained by Patriarch Ignatius II. He was ordained a bishop around 811. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 757.]

30) Yuhanna III, bishop of Harran.

Yuhanna was a monk at the Monastery of Sawera (Severus). Patriarch Dionysius II selected him and ordained him a bishop for Harran, probably in the year 900. He was the eighth bishop ordained by the patriarch. We read his name in the British Museum Syriac MS 808, dated March 10, 913. This MS contains the life-stories of Eugris (Evagrius) and other ascetics. It was copied by the priest Hasan, son of Tuma of the village of Tashb Shonitha in the province of Harran, on March 10, 1224 of the Greeks/ 913 A.D., in the time of Mar Yuhanna, Patriarch of Antioch, Mar Gabriel, patriarch of Alexandria (Egypt), and Mar Yuhanna, bishop of Harran. The MS was donated to the church by the deacon-monk Ishaq, son of Marun the stylite, from the village of Beth Sufana. Ishaq worshiped on the pillar of Beth Tubana in the village of Benisifi, in the province of Harran. [ Michael Rabo, Chronicle , 2: 757, and William Wright, British Museum Manuscripts, 815.]
At this time, Denha III, of the clergy of the Church of Mar Tuma in Harran, was ordained a Maphryono of Takrit and the East in 910. He passed away in 932.
As for Yuhanna, bishop of Harran, he most likely served the episcopate for about twenty years, from 900 to 920. But God knows best. [According to a MS of Canons in our Library copied in 1200.]

31) Ignatius I, bishop of Harran (920).

Ignatius was the thirty-fifth bishop ordained by Patriarch Yuhanna V. He came from the Monastery of the Sour Citadel (Syriac ‘Hesno Hmuso’) and succeeded Yuhanna III [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 757; William Wright, British Museum Manuscripts, 815.]

32) Philixene, bishop of Harran.

Philixene was from the Monastery of Nawawis (Tombs) in Edessa. He was ordained a bishop for Harran by Patriarch Yuhanna VI. He was the thirty-fourth bishop ordained by the patriarch. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 757, and Wright, 815.]

33) Timothy I, bishop of Harran (962).

Timothy succeeded Philixene in 962. He was ordained by Patriarch Ibrahim I at the Monastery of Tar’il, a Syriac compound name meaning the Door of God. He was the fifth bishop ordained by the patriarch. [MS of Canons at our Library, copied in 1200; Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 758-761]

34) Theodosius, bishop of Harran (984).

Theodosius became a monk at the Monastery of Beth Batin in the neighborhood of Harran. He was invited by Patriarch Yuhanna VII, who ordained him a bishop for Harran to succeed Timothy I. He was the twenty-third bishop ordained by the patriarch. He died in 984.

35) Peter, bishop of Harran (984-1028).

When the see of Harran became vacant with the death of Theodosius, Patriarch Yuhanna VII selected the monk Peter from the Great Monastery and ordained him a bishop at Mar’ash (Germanicia) around 984. He was the forty-fourth bishop ordained by the patriarch. In 985, the patriarch passed away, and on July 6, 1004, Peter presided over the synod convened at the Monastery of the Virgin in Gudfi.and consecrated Patriarch Yuhann VIII, well known as Bar ‘Abdun. Peter lived until 1028, having served the episcopate for forty-four years. This is supported by the ordination of his successor around 1028. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 761-762.]

36) Basilius I, bishop of Harran (1028-1063).

Basilius came from the Monastery of Qartmin and was ordained a bishop for Harran in 1028 by Patriarch Yuhanna VIII. He was the fortieth bishop ordained by the patriarch. In 1049, he attended the synod of Farzman to elect Patriarch Yuhanna IX. In 1058, Basilius acted as ordainer of Patriarch Athanasius V. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 761-762] He served the episcopate for more than thirty years. In his time, that is the year 1031, the Malkite historian Yahya ibn Sa’id al-Antaki said, “The Banu Numayr captured all the fortresses of the Jazira. Each one of them fell into the hands of an amir. Some of their notables, using the city’s young men, overpowered its citizens and wronged them. Because they pillaged the city most of its citizens fled. Also, the Banu Numayr captured the only existing Sabeans’ Temple of the Moon and converted it into a stable. Many Sabeans of Harran became Muslims for fear of the Banu Numayr.” [Sa’id ibn Batriq al-Antaki, History, 2: 265.]

37) Timothy II, bishop of Harran (1064-1088).

Tmothy was a clergyman of Edessa. In 1064, he was chosen to be a bishop and was ordained by Patriarch Mar Yuhanna X, being known as Bar Shushan. He was the third bishop ordained by the patriarch. Bar Shushan lived for a short time in Harran, where he ordained Athanasius a bishop for Semando and Ignatius of Harran a metropolitan for al-Raqqa. Timothy spent more than twenty years in the episcopate and, most likely, died in 1088. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 761]

38) Basilius II, bishop of Harran (1088-1120).

Basilius II became a monk at the Monastery of Shamnuk. In 1088, Patriarch Dionysius VI ordained him a bishop for Harran. He was the third bishop ordained by the patriarch. He served the episcopate more than thirty years. An event which took place in his time was as follows. In 1103 Sharaf al-Dawla came to Harran, wrested it from the hands of the judge who ruled it, and killed him. Meanwhile, the Ifranj Crusaders had arrived in Harran and had been well received by the citizens of the city, who handed them its keys. But Baldwin, lord of Edessa, refused to receive them. So the Crusaders did not enter the city.  [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 765]

39) Ignatius II, bishop of Harran (1120-1150?) .

Ignatius was first attached to the office of the Patriarch Athanasius VI, known as Abu al-Faraj, who ordained him a bishop for Harran in 1120. His name is mentioned under No. 48 of the bishops ordained by the patriarch. Like his predecessors, he served his office for a long time. He probably died in 1150. In 1133, Belek wrested Harran, Aleppo, and Tall Bashir (Turbessel) from the hands of the Muslim Arabs. When Edessa was destroyed in 1146, the Muslims of Harran and the enemies of Edessa rushed to it. They started digging up the churches and the houses of notables, saying, “Ha ha! Our eyes have seen the destruction of Edessa.” [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 765]

40) Timothy III, bishop of Harran (1150-1174?).

Trained at the Monastery of ‘Azrun, Timothy III was ordained a bishop at the monastery of Sarjisiyya by Patriach Athanasius VII around 1150. He was the twenty-seventh bishop ordained by the patriarch. He attended the synod that met at the Monastery of Mar Barsoum to elect Michael Rabo as patriarch in 1166. It is thought that he died in 1174 because Iyawannis Denha, the rebellious metropolitan of al-Raqq, tried in that year to add the dioceses of Harran, Sarug and Khabura to his jurisdiction but failed. [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 708, 766, 767]

41) Ignatius III, bishop of Harran (1184-1186).

Ignatius was ordained a bishop by Patriarch Michael Rabo in 1184. He was the thirty-fifth bishop ordained by the patriarch. Shortly afterwards, the patriarch transferred him to Damascus. Because of persecution, he became a Muslim and fled to Egypt. Michael Rabo says, “When Saladin captured Jerusalem in 1187, the Christians of Damascus were subjected to insults, ridicule and humiliation which defy description.” [Michael Rabo, Chronicle, 2: 767, 724]  Michael Rabo, who died in 1199, did not ordain another bishop for this diocese. He probably entrusted it to a bishop from the neighboring dioceses because of its weakness.

42) Iyawannis II Ya’qub, metropolitan of Harran (1222-1231) and its Dependencies.

Iyawannis became a monk at the Monastery of Mar Hananya ( Za’faran Monastery) in Mardin. He was known as Bar Shakka. In 1222, he was mentioned as the metropolitan of Harran, Khabura, Nisibin and the Jazira. He drew up an anaphora identified by his name. It begins, “O Lord, the Almighty and Eternal.” In 1231, Patriarch Ignatius III detached Khabura from Ignatius’s diocese and entrusted it to Basilius, metropolitan of Miyafarqin. Ignatius was one of the bishops who signed Basilius’s systaticon (Letter of Election). He was proficient in the Syriac language, as is shown by his anaphora. We have no idea when he died. [See Aphram Barsoum, Nuzhat al-Adhhan fi Tarikh Dayr al-Za’fasran (Excursion of the Minds in the History of the Z’faran Monastery, 120, 126]

43) Ephraim, bishop of Harran (1252).

Ephraim was ordained a bishop of Harran by Patriarch Ignatius III. According to Bar Hebreaus, Ephraim was mentioned in the year 1252 when he and his congregation refused to provide an altar in any church to be used by the Armenians who had moved to Harran. [Bar Hebraeus, Ecclesiastical History, 1: 687.] To the best of our knowledge, Ephraim was the last bishop of that city.
In his Nahr al-Dhahab fi Tarikh Halab (The River of Gold in Relating the History of Aleppo), Kamil al-Ghazzi says that Harran was still populated in 1395. It was ruined by Tamerlane (1336-1405), who forced its inhabitants to leave. Al-Ghazzi gives a sketch of the belief of the Sabeans based on the history of Ibn al-Wardi (d. 1348), which indicates that the Sabeans were still living in his time. Al-Ghazzi said that, at present, Harran is a small village, the majority of whose inhabitants are Muslims. [Kamil al-Ghazzi, Nahr al-Dhahab fi Tarikh Halab, 1: 559.]
This is the utmost information we were able to obtain about the bishops of the city of Harran. We should add that sometimes Harran was an episcopal see of the Chaldean Nestorians. One of its bishops was Shallita, who built a monastery in its mountain in the first half of the seventh century. [See Addai Scher, Tarikh Chaldo was Athur, 261, who follows Yeshu’ Dnah, Kitab al-Iffa (The Book of Abstinence), 25.) At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the learned Muslim Imam Ahmad ibn Taymiyya (d.1327) flourished in Harran.]