Ignatius Jirjis III, Patriarch of Antioch

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Ignatius Jirjis III, Patriarch of Antioch

Ignatius Jirjis ascended the Patriarchal Throne at the Church of Amid on Sunday October, 1745 and passed away on July 7, 1768 having served twenty-two years, eight months and twenty-five days. He was about eighty years old.
Jirjis (Gurgis) was the son of Shim’un, and a grandson of the brother of the patriarch of Antioch, ‘Abd al-Masih I (1662-1668). He was born in Edessa in the ninth decade of the seventeenth century. As a youth he became inclined toward the monastic life and entered the Za’faran Monastery, studying church sciences and acquiring training in the way of the monastics. He was ordained a priest and joined the monks of the cell of Patriarch Ishaq, where he excelled in church service and administration. Because he was efficient and venerable, Patriarch Jirjis III in 1722 ordained him a metropolitan for his Patriarchal Office (cell) and called him Basilius Gurgis at his ordination. In the middle of this year he attended the synod at the Za’faran Monastery which elected and installed Patriarch Shukr Allah. He remained at the monastery until 1727.  The patriarch appointed him to the metropolitan see of Aleppo and changed his name to Dionysius, following the tradition of the metropolitans of the diocese who assumed the same name [ See Vol. 6, 86 of this magazine]. For eighteen years he administered the diocese of Aleppo, which had a number of priests, deacons, and orthodox (Syrian) parishioners. Jirjis ordained priests and deacons. By 1739 there were twelve priests in the church of Aleppo.  In 1737, he visited the patriarch at Amid and assisted him in the ordination of Metropolitan Jirjis of Aleppo and Metropolitan Jirjis of Mosul.
When the Patriarchal See became vacant with the death of Patriarch Shukr Allah, Gregorius Tuma of Mosul, metropolitan of Jerusalem, was then in Amid.  Meanwhile, on September 18, Cyril Gurgis Sani’a, nephew of Patriarch Shukr Allah, metropolitan of Mardin, arrived in Amid. These church dignitaries met with the chorepiscopi and priests of Amid, twenty in number, and the Syrian notables and elders.They wrote a letter to Dionysisus Jirjis, metropolitan of Aleppo, signed with their seals, requesting him to proceed to Amid. Meanwhile, Metropolitan Severus Abd al-Ahad of Edessa and Cyril Jirjis, metropolitan of Homs and the Monastery of Mar Julian and the patriarch’s deputy in Jerusalem, were then in Aleppo. Metropolitan Jirjis accompanied them to Amid. They arrived in the city late in the afternoon on Friday, September 4. They held a meeting, presided over by Metropolitan Gregorius Tuma, to discuss the election of a new patriarch for the See of Antioch. Apparently, circumstances did not permit them to invite the rest of their fellow metropolitans. The Chorepiscopus ‘Abd Yeshu’ of Qusur, however, said in some of his comments that the meeting was attended by Gregorius Boghos (Paul), metropolitan of Bushairiyya, and Cyril Gewargis, metropolitan of Hattack. But what we copied from the register of Patriarch Shukr Allah contradicts what ‘Abd Yeshu’ of Qusur said. After nine days of deliberation, the bishops unanimously elected the metropolitan of Aleppo (Dionysius Jirjis) as the new patriarch, with the approval of the priests and laymen. The ordination was celebrated by Metropolitan Tuma, who invested the new patriarch with the patriarchal staff. The new patriarch was proclaimed as Ignatius Jirjis at the Church of the Virgin in Amid on Sunday, September 13, 2057 of the Greeks/1745 A. D. The ceremony was attended by a great number of chorepiscopi, priests, deacons, and laity. [The account of the ordination of Patriarch Jirjis of Edessa, as recorded in the register of Patriarch Shukr Allah, preserved in our Library.] Some sources recounted the names of twenty priests, four archdeacons, and thirty-nine deacons of Amid who attended the consecration of the new patriarch. [Amid MSS, at our Library]
The Chorepiscopus Yeshu’, mentioned earlier, composed a Syriac ode exalting the new patriarch and fixing the date of his election [As recorded in the register of Patriarch Shukr Allah]. The seal of the new patriarch, circular in shape, was inscribed as follows: “Ignatius Jirjis, Patriarch of Antioch, the year 2057 of the Greeks.” In the middle of the seal was fixed the portrait of a seated church dignitary, and beneath it the date 1745 [MSS at our Library, which includes a great collection of ancient letters]. The new patriarch obtained a decree of investiture from the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud I (1143-1168 of the Islamic calendar/1730-1754 A. D.) dated Shawwal 15, 1158 of the Islamic calendar/late November, 1745 A.D.The new patriarch resided at Amid. He endorsed Saliba, son of Tumajan of Edessa, who had been the deputy of his predecessor in Constantinople, as his own deputy. He designated his nephew, the deacon Abd Emmanuel of Edessa (1749-1768), as his secretary.  He transferred Metropolitan Gurgis Sani’a from the diocese of Mardin to the diocese of Amid, Metropolitan Cyril Gurgis Abd al-Jalil, from the diocese of Hattack to the diocese of Mardin and the  Za’faran Monastery, and Metropolitan Jirjis of Aleppo from the diocese of Homs and the Monastery of Mar Julian to the diocese of Jerusalem.
The cause of his first and greatest apostolic acts was his concern for the great diocese of Malabar in India. He appointed for it the Metropolitan Shukr Allah Qasabchi of Aleppo after elevating him to the dignity of the maphrianate. He sent with him to Malabar two metropolitans and several priests and deacons, as shall be seen later in the biography of the Maphryono Shukr Allah Qasabchi. He maintained correspondance with them to ascertain how they were faring in Malabar. This was undoubtedly an important act by this great church dignitary to promote the interests of the Holy Church of Antioch.  Furthermore, Patriarch Jirjis continued the work of his predecessor by having important books translated into Arabic. The most important of these books was the Commentary on the Gospels by Mar Jabob bar Salibi. It was translated into Arabic by the monk ‘Abd al-Nur of Amid in 1755, as has been said earlier in the biography of Metropolitan Jirjis of Aleppo. In the same year, the first Arabic copy of this commentary was completed by the deacon Dawud, son of the priest Yaqub of Qusur. [Priest Yaqub, father of the deacon Dawud, said that his son Dawud died a young man on the eve of the Festival of Ascension. He was twenty-five years old.]
Under Patriarch Jirjis, the building of the Monastery of St. Mark in Jerusalem was completed, and the Church of Mar Iliyya (Eiljah), in the village of Jaftelek near Mardin, was renovated in 1762.
Between 1757 and 1759 Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia) and Syria were afflicted with a severe drought and famine, and then by exorbitant prices for provisions, followed by plague, and many people perished. Natives of Mardin related that in 1756, the pomegranate, fig, and olive trees withered. Swarms of locusts stripped the crops, and people suffered hunger. In the winter of 1757, the prices of provisions skyrocketed, and starvation became so severe that some Kurds ventured to slaughter their own relatives in order to eat their flesh (God save us from this), and were hanged by the governor. [MSS of Mardin in our own handwriting, preserved at our Library.] It seems that because of these calamities, the patriarch suffered financial problems and had to borrow seven purses to meet his needs in 1764. This debt was settled by his successor, Patriarch Jirjis IV, with his own money. [The debt amounted to 3,500 piasters, estimated at 300 gold liras.]
Patriarch Jirjis III resided at Diyarbakr throughout the period of his patriarchate. He served the Apostolic See for twenty-two years, eight months, and twenty-two days. He died at Diyarbakr on July 7, 1768, having lived eighty years, forty-six of which spent in serving the priesthood.. He was buried in the tomb of the Patriarch ‘Abd al-Masih I, his father’s uncle, in the Syrian cemetery, outside the Rum Gate. He was the third and the last patriarch to be buried there. The date of his death was not marked on his grave.
Patriarch Jirjis III, may God be gracious to him, was known for his piety and venerableness. He was endowed with a respectable appearance in his old age, as can be seen from his portrait, preserved in one of the churches. Some ascribed to him a book of homilies, but this is uncertain. He took care of the city of Mardin for which he ordained several priests and deacons in 1747. He consecrated the Chrism at the Za’faran Monastery in 1753. After his death, the Apostolic See was vacant for forty days. He ordained twelve metropolitans and bishops, including two maphryonos for the See of the East and Malabar. These were:

Dionysius Shukr Allah, metropolitan of Aleppo (1746-1748).

Dionysius Shukr Allah was son of the deacon Musa Qasabchi [Qasabchi is a compound term of Arabic and Turkish, meaning the one who manufactures or sells silk cloth embroidered with silver threads. According to the dictionary Taj al-Arus, qasab is a material derived from silver. The singular of qasab is qasaba. The qasab is actually a thin and smooth linen.], the son of Shim’un of Aleppo. He was born in Aleppo at the end of the first decade of the eighteenth century and raised in a household known for faith and piety. His father was a deacon who made a living by weaving silk cloth embroidered with silver and gold threads. This was an artistic craft with a booming market in Aleppo. His family excelled in this craft. His maternal grandfather was the deacon Yunan (Jonah), son of Shim’un, a priest of Aleppo. Yunan was ordained a deacon in 1703 and a priest in September, 1708 by the Maphryono of the East, Basilius Ishaq (later Patriarch Ishaq), who was still living in 1739. So too were his three uncles, Jirjis who was ordained a deacon by Gregorius Jirjis of Aleppo, metropolitan of Jerusalem, in 1757  [MSS Za’faran, the Homologia (Confession of Faith), Nos. 220 and 222) and the deacons Elias and Tuma, who were still living with their sister, mother of our Dionysius Shukr Allah in 1785, as related by Patriarch Jirjis V of Aleppo. [According to a Gospel MS we found at Homs.]
Shukr Allah received proper upbringing characterized by piety. He was of good conduct, meek and intelligent. He acquired a good mastery of church sciences and knowledge of the Syriac and Arabic languages. He became involved in spiritual life and reading of the theological writings of the fathers. He was ordained a deacon before 1728 and became a monk at the Monastery of Mar Musa the Abyssinian.  Dionysius Jirjis (later Patriarch Jirjis III) added him to his staff and ordained him a priest, having great hopes for him. Joining Shukr Allah were some pious deacons inclined toward learning, who studied under him. Some of them became monks at the Monastery of Mar Musa the Abyssinian in the town of Nabk and later were ordained bishops. Among these were Gregorius Yuhanna Shuqayr, metropolitan of Damascus (d. 1783), and Dionysius ‘Abd Allah Shidyaq of Aleppo, metropolitan of Aleppo and then of Damascus (d. 1801). Shukr Allah served the priesthood with excellence.
Shukr Allah wrote in good Arabic a medium-sized book on the principles of the Christian faith entitled Tafhim al-Tadabir al-Mhuyiyya li al-Atfal al-Maishiyya (Explaining the Life-Giving Principles for Christian Children). The book consisted of an introduction and twenty-four chapters and gave an abundant exposition of the tenets of the orthodox faith which attests to his profound knowledge of religion.  We came upon three copies of it, one in Mosudwriting in 1909. It is now preserved at our Library. He also transcribed, while still a deacon, a Service Book for Lent and Passion Week  [ Sharfa Monastery MS 33-6)] Wl, the second in ‘Aqra, and the third in Qal’at al-Imra’a.  We transcribed a copy of it in our own hanhen the metropolitan see of Aleppo became vacant because its metropolitan ascended the patriarchal throne in 1745, the new patriarch ordained Shukr Allah a metropolitan for Aleppo in 1746, to replace him at the great church of Amid. He called him Dionysoius Shukr Allah at his ordination. Shukr Allah proceeded to take care of his flock with his well-known piety, zeal and understanding. Aleppo did not enjoy him for too long, however, because two years later the patriarch ordained him a maphryono and dispatched him as his apostolic legate to Malabar, India together with a group of clergymen, as shall be seen later.

2) Iyawannis Yuhanna, metropolitan of the Monastery of Mar Behnam and then of Malabar (1747-1773).

Iyawannis was born Yuhanna (John), son of the priest Ishaq of Ba Khudayda (Qaraqosh), and his mother was Shamma. He was born in Qaraqosh near Mosul about 1695. [It should be noted that he and Maphryono Yalda come from the same family. Tr. ]  At an early age he mastered the Syriac language and church rituals.  He and his brother Saliba chose the life of piety. Iyawannis cloistered himself at the Church of the Virgin and of Yuhanna the Bosni in his village of Qaraqosh. He prepared himself for the monastic order and spent much time reading spiritual books. He was ordained a deacon before 1721 and then moved with his brother to the Monastery of Mar Behnam, where in 1723 they received the monastic habit from Iyawannis Karas, metropolitan of the diocese, who ordained them priests. [Qaraqosh MSS. They remained at the monastery, persevering in devotion, until 1740, when they went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Upon their return, they resided at the Za’faran Monastery. [The monk Saliba spent his life at the Za’faran Monastery. He was still living in 1757.]
When the diocese of Mar Behnam became vacant with the death of Metroploitan Karas, of blessed memory, on April 20, 1747, Patriarch Jirjis III ordained the elder brother, monk Yuhanna, a metropolitan for the diocese in the middle of the year and called him Iyawannis Yuhanna at his ordination. The new metropolitan faced opposition, however, because of a controversy between him and his flock, the people of Qaraqosh. The patriarch had already sent Metropolitan Cyril Gurgis to Mosul with the sultan’s decree of investiture (of Metropolitan Iyawannis Yuhanna) to have it registered in the courts. The governor of Mosul, the Vizier Hajj Husayn Pasha al-Jalili, thought that he should send Metropolitan Cyril Gurgis to Qaraqosh to settle the problem between the metropolitan and the congregation. He also wrote to the patriarch what he had done. When Metroplolitan Gurgis failed to reconcile the two sides, he reported the case to the Pasha (governor of Mosul), and he wrote to the patriarch about his failure to reconcile the metropolitan with his congregation. The Pasha, too, wrote to the patriarch about the same matter. The patriarch wrote to the pasha, requesting him to make an effort to keep Metropolitan Iyawannis Yuhanna in his diocese, or else he will empower the pasha to appoint a civilian as his deputy in Qaraqosh [A copy of the patriarch’s appeal, written in Turkish in the language and style of the firmanas (sultan’s decrees), is in the register of Patriarch Shukr Allah, preserved at our Library, from which we derived the above information.] The reason for appealing to Husayn Pasha al-Jalili was that the big village of Qaraqosh had been given by the Ottoman sultan to the pasha, who collected its revenue, as a reward for defending the city of Mosul against the attack of the Persian Tahmasb Khan in 1743.
The patriarch removed Metropolitan Iyawannis Yuhanna from his diocese. In 1748, however, he made him an honorary metropolitan of Jerusalem, changed his name to Gregorius Yuhanna, and delegated him to Malabar in India. Gregorius journeyed to Baghdad via the river route, accompanied by Yuhanna of Mosul, a monk of the Za’faran Monastery, who in 1752 had been ordained a metropolitan. [In 1752, the monk Yuhanna was ordained a metropolitan at Malankara by the Maphryono Basilius Shukr Allah, who called him Iyawannis at his ordination. See David Daniel,The Orthodox Church of India, 1 (New Delhi, 1972): 69. Tr.] The patriarch also sent to Baghdad Metropolitan Severus Yuhanna of Gargar, who was ordained a metropolitan for Malabar, together with the Chorepiscopus ‘Abd al-Nur Aslan of Amid. But they tarried in Baghdad for a while because of sickness, and then left the city.
Meantime, Gregorius and monk Yuhanna remained in Baghdad for eleven months, awaiting the arrival of Maphryono Shukr Allah, head of the Indian mission. Although they patiently endured separation from their homeland, they remained firm in their determination to fulfill the mission assigned to them for the good of the Indian country (Malabar). On March 8, 1749, Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna accompanied the maphryono and his retinue to Basra. Then they sailed to Malabar, suffering incredible perils during the voyage. Gregorius shared the maphryono’s toil and struggle. You will later see his chronicle, up to the death of the maphryono, in the biography of the latter.
Following the death of Mar Basilius (Maphryono Shukr Allah) on October 9, 1764, Gregorius Yuhanna assumed responsibility for the mission and the diocese in his place. But it happened that someone named Tuma, who styled himself as Tuma V [an unlawful metropolitan. Tr. ] rebelled against the Apostolic See and with sheer audacity ordained a young relative  to succeed him (as metropolitan) under the name of Tuma VI in 1765. Tuma V passed away in this same year, and his successor realized how precarious his position was. One Sunday, as Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna was celebrating the Eucharist at the Church of Niranam, Tuma VI entered the church unnoticed and went up to the altar. He fell at the feet of the metropolitan, kissing them and declaring his repentance. Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna stretched out his right hand, received him and pardoned him. A few days later, Gregorius Yuhanna celebrated the Holy Eucahrist with Metropolitan Iyawannis Yuhanna. Tuma VI  was present. During the service, the metropolitan proclaimed Tuma VI as a lawful metropolitan and named him Dionysius. He handed him the pastoral staff, the cross, and the systaticon (Letter of Investiture) which Patriarch Jirjis III had given to the maphryono (Shukr Allah), to be presented to Tuma V in case he became lawfully ordained. The people of Malabar were filled with joy because of the reconciliation (of Tuma VI with the Apostolic See), which occurred on May 29, 1770. Gregorius Yuhanna, Iyawannis, and Dionysius Tuma resided in one church, ministering to the flock in unison.[ See E. M. Philip. The Indian Church of St. Thomas, 161. Tr.]
In 1773, Gregorius Yuhanna, burdened by old age and weak vision, almost lost his sight. A Malabarian monk named Curien (Quryaqos) Kattoomangat, a priest of the Church of Mulanthuruthi  who had assumed the monastic habit by the hands of Maphryono Shukr Allah and was engaged for some time in the teaching of deacons, asked the two churchmen to permit him to take Gregorius Yuhanna to another town for care and treatment. The two men appreciated his good intentions, and Curien took Gregorius Yuhanna to Cochin and from there to the town of Mattancherry. He lodged him in the house of the maphryono, where Gregorius found some rest and enjoyed agreeable weather. What Curien did, however, was not for the sake of God or out of loyalty to the metropolitan, but for sheer self-interest. Apparently this monk had evil intentions. He was sick in heart and coveted a higher office. One day he put on the vestment of a bishop and claimed that Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna had ordained him a metropolitan and called him Cyril at his ordination. When the news spread throughout the town of Mattancherry, where the deacon Addai, a member of the retinue of the maphryono, lived, Addai rushed to see Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna to ascertain the truth. The metropolitan told him that he had no knowledge of this rumor and that he had ordained no one. When Dionysius Tuma VI learned what had happened, he sent Iyawannis to Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna to find out the  truth. Meanwhile, Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna had passed away on June 27, 1773, aged eighty years, and was buried in the Church of Mulanthuruthi.  Iyawannis learned of his death while en route to see him. He was joined by a host of clergymen and laymen who journeyed to prepare the body of the metropolitan for burial. But the wicked Curien locked the door and would not let them in. Dionysius Tuma VI and those with him kept knocking at the door but received no response. They departed with great sorrow for the Church of Kandanad, about one and a half hours’ distance from Mulanthuruthi.
Meanwhile, the impudent Curien put on his chest the cross belonging to the late metropolitan, carried his staff, and seized his money and belongings. He began to behave like a lawfully ordained bishop. He found a pseudo-monk to work for him. He claimed to have ordained three young men as deacons. Dionysius and Iyawannis complained about Curien’s behavior to the kings (rajas) of Travancore and Cochin, who referred the case to the Dutch Company, which protected the Christians and handled their private cases.Curien was summoned before the Assembly of Twelve Judges, who tried him and confirmed his deception and fabrication. They handed him and their verdict over to the raja of Cochin. When the raja read the case, he became angry and handed Curien over to the Metropolitans Dionysius and Iyawannis. The metropolitans convened a great assembly of clergymen and laity and divested Curien of the office (of metropolitan), which he had usurped. They forced him to unfrock. Moreover, Dionysius reordained lawfully the three deacons whom Curien had formerly ordained. His pupil, the false monk, joined the cult of the Protesant Heldisians [  Waldensians? Tr. ], dabbled in sorcery, acted repulsively, and then died from a vicious disease. Three months later, Curien faked illness and went to British Malabar, ostensibly to seek medical treatment. The English Merchant Company ruled Malabar, where the raja of Cochin had no authority, and there were no Christians. There Curien built a church and resided in the town of Thorziyur, also called  Anjoor. Still rebellious, he continued with his former shameless conduct.
Curien continued his life of witchcraft and corruption. He installed his half-brother, Gurgis, and Ibrahim, his nephew on his mother’s side, as unlawful bishops.  They ordained false bishops who lived until the middle of the eighteenth century, when they finally died out.  In 1825, Curien’s imposture was exposed when Metropolitan Athanasius ‘Abd al-Masih of Amid got hold of the letter in which Curien alleged that Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna had ordained him a bishop. ‘Abd al-Masih discovered that the letter was a forgery and that Curien had removed the seal of Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna from one of his letters and pasted it on the fake letter, as shall be seen later in the biography of Athanasius ‘Abd al-Masih. This was confirmed by historical Syriac tracts written by two Malabarian priests, the first in 1820 and the second in 1838. [ These two tracts were written in poor Syriac by some clergymen of Malabar and transcribed by other clergymen of Malabar. Both of them are at our Library.]  Finally, the impostor Curien perished in 1802.
Some contemporary writers, including PhilipKatanar and Metropolitan Awgen (Eugene), collected the chronicles of Malabar. [Philipus was a secretary to Yusuf, the metropolitan of Malabar. He wrote The History of Mar tuma ogf iNida , published in 1907. He died in 1909.The book, still a manuscript, is preserved in our Library. Metropolitan Eugene wrote a collection in Syriac in 1932.] , [ The refrence here to E. M. Philip, The Indian Church of St. Thomas,  ( Edavazhikal; Tottayam, 1908, reptinted Mor adai Study Center, ed. Dr. Kuriakos Corepiscopopa Moolayil, Cheeranchira, Chngancheryr: Kerla, 2002}.Tr. ] They claim that Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna ordained Curien to spite Metropolitan Dionysius. He bequeathed to him the church vessels and plenty of money, specifying that they should be used to help the poor and treat the sick. [ See E. M. Pjilip, The Indian Church of St Thomas, 161-162. Tr. ] But these writers fail to corroborate their claim by citing contemporary historical sources. Indeed, ancient chronicles contradict this claim. It is well known that when a writer reports events to suit his own bias, his evidence does not stand. .
Gregorius Yuhanna was well versed in the Syriac language. We came upon five lines of verse on Repentance composed by him in the Sarugite (twelve-syllabic) meter when he was still a youth in 1719. They are as follows:
He who fixes his eyes on one goal, that of salvation Will naturally find what will sharpen his entire sensation and disposition.
In order to attain that goal, he should fasten unto it his heart and mind,
and spend everything he has for its cause. [This ode is fixed at the end of Bar Hebraeus’s Kthobo d-Zalge (The Book of Rays), a compendium of his Lamp of the Sanctuaries), at the Library of the Monastery of Mar Matta.]

3) Basilius Shukr Allah, maphryono of Malabar (1748-1764).

Basilius Shukr Allah was a prominent church dignitary in the same vein as the apostles. He was of unique spirituality and commendable character. He was one of the stars who shone in the firmament of his native city, Aleppo, and the church.
His biography, up to the time when he became head of the diocese of Aleppo in 1764, has been set forth earlier. When the knowledge of his erudition and capability spread as far as India, he was chosen by the Syrian people of India (Malabar) to become their maphryono. Patriarch Jirjs III, who better than anyone else recognized his excellence and his ability to shoulder responsibility, invited him to accept the noble office of the maphrianate and to preach orthodoxy in that remote land. Shukr Allah, known for his piety, meekness, and religious zeal, obeyed. The patriarch ordained him a maphryono for Malabar and called him Basilius Shukr Allah at his ordination at the church of Amid in August, 1748. He was assisted by Cyril Gurgis Sani’a, metropolitan of Amid. The Patriarch handed him a quantity of mirun (Holy Chrism), a staff, a Cross and a systaticon (Letter of Investiture), to be delivered to Metropolitan Tuma of Malabar. He charged Basilius to ordain Tuma as a lawful metropolitan and hand him his personal systaticon.
On August 25, the new maphryono returned to Aleppo, only to fall sick again from the ailment he had suffered two months before his ordination. Nevertheless, he went on to provide himself with the necessary religious, theological, and liturgical books and church vessels. He acquired eighteen manuscripts, all but one important. Three of them were transcribed in the Istrangelo script on vellum. We shall have more to say about them later.
Since the land route between Aleppo and Baghdad was cut off by a great number of highway robbers who intercepted travelers pillaging and killing, the maphryono waited for four months for a large caravan in order to be able to travel. Such a caravan was not available until January 7, 1750. The maphryono left Aleppo accompanied by the Chorepiscopus Jirjis, son of the Chorepiscopus Ni’mat Allah Tunburchi of Aleppo, deacon Anton, son of the priest Sim’an of Aleppo, who had come from Malabar to join the maphryono on his journey, and the maphryono’s private deacon. Leaving for Baghdad ahead of him were the priest Shukr Allah and the deacons Shukr Allah of Amid, Hidayat Allah, Musa, and Zechariah [Deacon Zechariah is mentioned in the tract of Chorepiscopus Jirjis. The other deacons are mentioned in a letter by the patriarch and some chronicles of India, which call one deacon Addai instead of Hidayat Allah. Deacon Addai was still living in 1770.], in addition to Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna of Khudayda (Qaraqosh), the monk-priest Yuhanna of Mosul, a monk of the Za’faran Monastery, and his attendant ‘Abd Allah. The patriarch sent with them forty-six manuscripts of religious and service books and church vessels, as shall be seen later.
After traveling though open and unpopulated country, suffering incredible fear of the Arabs of the Dulaym tribe, and incurring heavy expenses, Maphryono Basilius Shukr Allah and his Aleppine companions arrived in Baghdad. They were joined by the clerics who had gone ahead of them to the city. The whole group journeyed to Basra, arriving in that city on May 8. On June 24 they left Basra and, after anchoring at the ports of Bandar Bushir, Bandar Abbas, and Surat, arrived at the port of Cochin, Malabar on April 23, 1751, which was the festival day of Mar Jirjis the martyr. During the journey they suffered incredible perils from highwaymen, pirates, gales and disease. They endured these perils with remarkable Christian patience. The journey cost them about 9500 rupees, in addition to 200 rupees which deacon Anton had with him when he joined the group. At Cochin the travelers heaved a sigh of relief and enjoyed rest. The judge and the president of the Dutch Company went out to receive them. [The Portuguese were the first Franks (Europeans) to colonize India in the time of their King Emmanuel I, following the opening of the sea route to India by the Portuguese navigator Vasco de Gama in 1498. On the coast they set up markets which were like Portuguese colonies for the exchange of native goods. Through the Portuguese, some Latin (Roman Catholic) entered India and spread their faith by many means.  At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Dutch followed in the footsteps of the Portuguese and founded similar markets. They overwhelmed the Portuguese and evicted them from India because of the weakness of their country and established the East India Dutch Company, which consisted of businessmen and sailors. They ruled some parts of the country until the middle of the eighteenth century, when the French and then the British overwhelmed them and controlled Malabar, which had been under Dutch authority.  But the islands of Java and Sumatra, with a population of thirty million, were still under Dutch control. In 1858, the English Merchant Company surrendered its properties to the British government. As the Portuguese had propagated their Latin (Catholic) faith in their colonies, the English did likewise, propagating their Protestant faith in India from the start of the nineteenth century. As is well known, such propagation had the worst effect on the Syrian congregation of Malabar.]  At the citadel of Cochin they were greeted by soldiers in arms. Halfway on the road they were met by the Deputy Commodore. When they reached the commodore’s mansion, His Excellency was waiting for them at the gate. As the guns fired in salute he welcomed them and led them to the upper hall, where a host of prominent company officials received them and had lunch with them at the commodore’s table. They left, accompanied by the president of the company, to the house prepared for their residence. It was a nice house with a beautiful garden. His Excellency instructed the chief interpreter to take care of their expenses.
On April 24, after discussing some matters with the commodore, Maphryono Basilius wrote to Metropolitan Yuhanna and to the self-styled Metropolitan Tuma informing them of his arrival and asking them to come to the citadel (of Cochin) in order to reconcile with Tuma in the presence of the commodore. On May 2, Tuma sent to the maphryono two priests, a deacon and several Syrian notables, with a letter in which he complained against the behavior of Metropolitan Yuhanna of Amid. Tuma requested that the monk Yuhanna and the deacon Anton be sent to him, along with the church service books and the systaticon brought by the maphryono. The maphryono agreed and sent these dignitaries to Pallikari with the books but not the systaticon. On May 6, the two messengers returned, carrying a second letter from Tuma asking the maphryono to come to Kandanad because for some reason he was unable to come to the citadel. The maphryono kept waiting for Metropolitan Yuhanna of Amid, who arrived on the 14th of the month, on the eve of the Festival of the Virgin Mary, accompanied by priests and a group of laymen, most important of whom was Yaqub Yani, chief treasurer of the king. [In the original text, Yaqub is mentioned as Bazargan, meaning chief merchant or money changer. More correctly, he  was the king’s treasurer). On May 16, Seignior Ezekiel Jawhari visited the maphryono and suggested that he should write a third letter to Tuma. The maphryono wrote a letter and sent it with Yaqub Yani and the deacon Anton, but it suffered the same consequence as the earlier letters. Tuma excused himself, telling the delegation of the Chorepiscopus Jirjis that he was busy with the affairs of his congregation and therefore could not see the maphryono. The truth was that he feared to come to the citadel, lest the commodore force him to repay the money, a penalty too much for him to bear. When the commodore realized that Tuma had shamefully reneged and violated his commitment, that he displayed unexpected malice and wickedness, and that he refused to visit the maphryono though the maphryono had written to him asking him kindly to come to him, he advised the maphryono to complain against him to the Dutch Company. The maphryono did so.  On May 22, the company sent its chief interpreter and a high-ranking officer with twenty-four soldiers, accompanied by the deacon Anton, to Pallikari to bring back the defendant (Tuma). But when Tuma learned from some of his friends about the situation, he escaped to another town. When the soldiers arrived at Pallikari and found that Tuma had fled with his followers and left the house locked, the chief interpreter became angry and ordered the soldiers to break the doors of the church and loot some of its possessions. Seeing what the soldiers had done, the people became furious and requested their Indian raja to dispatch a thousand soldiers for help. The soldiers rushed to the spot, arrested the officers of the company, and informed its president of the situation. The company’s president and officials became angry and wrote to the raja, denouncing what the soldiers had done. The raja returned the looted objects to their owners. The company was almost ready to strike down the interpreter and the high ranking officer, had it not been for the intercession of the maphryono and his men.
On the fourth day after his arrival, Metropolitan Yuhanna Araqchinchi of Amid began to treat the maphryono and other fathers harshly because they had been kind to the natives who visited them. He thought that the natives should be treated cruelly and bluntly. His behavior convinced them of the reports they had already received about his rough treatment of the Syrian natives. But when Yuhanna persisted in his bad treatment of the natives despite the maphryono’s advice, the maphryono and his men complained to the governor to detain him in the citadel and then ship him back to the East, according to the patriarch’s order. Metropolitan Yuhanna was sent back home in November, the usual month for the departure of ships.
On the afternoon of July 3, the festival of St. Thomas the Apostle, the maphryono and his men left the citadel. They took leave of the commodore, who had nine guns fired in their honor. They were accompanied by two of the company’s high officials, forty soldiers, and Seignior Ezekiel. They paid a short visit to the raja of Cochin, to whom the maphryono and Metropolitan Yuhanna [Not to be confused with the Metropolitan Yuhanna Araqchinchi, mentioned earlier. TR.] presented five gold pieces worth twenty five rupees which they had received from the commodore. They spent the night at the house of Ezekiel, and on the next day, Thursday, departed Cochin for Kandanad on the company’s boat. They were accompanied by the new chief interpreter and some soldiers who had been sent by the araja. The Syrian congregation received them, and in great deference, carried the two church dignitaries in litters. They marched in a solemn procession, chanting according to their customs. The Syrian people of Kandanad asked the maphryono to provide them with a letter to Tuma in order to bring him back, and the maphryono responded to their request. But their luck was no better than that of those who tried before to summon Tuma to the maphryono’s presence. On July 18 they returned with Tuma’s reply, complaining of the soldiers and of the deacon Anton’s bad treatment of the villagers of Pallikari.
Meanwhile, on July 18, the raja of the south marched against the raja of Cochin. Seized by fright, the natives hid their belongings and had their women and children flee. Malabar was in turmoil. The maphryono and his retinue, who were at this time at Kandanad, were also seized by fear. The Chorepiscopus Jirjis of Aleppo, from whom we quoted this account, said, “For twenty years this raja (of the south) captured the lands of two rajas and caused them to flee. He seized great wealth and became abundantly rich. He lavished money on his fighting men, enticing many to join him. He was extremely cruel, burning houses and churches without mercy. He was like the Persian Tahmasb (Nadir Shah, who invaded Iraq in the time of Patriarch Shukr Allah and Maphryono Li’azar VI).  Nevertheless, he honored the maphryono and his retinue and abstained from pillaging Kandanad. This action shows that he was not totally void of honor. But the dispersion of the people and the rupture of their society prevented the maphryono from collecting money to settle the debt he had incurred.”
We find it proper to present here the account of the journey of this venerable church dignitary as he wrote it down himself in a Syriac tract whose original is preserved in Malabar. We have translated it into Arabic exactly as it was after publishing the original Syriac.
Account of the Journey to the Land of Malabar of Mar Basilius Shukr Allah, Metropolitan Mar Gregorius Yuhanna, the Chorepiscopus Jirjis, and the Monk Yuhanna, accompanied by the deacons. [This title is not original; it was added by the copyist.]
In the middle of March, 1748 [1749 in the original Syriac text], the deacon Anton arrived in the city of Aleppo, carrying letters from the Metropolitan Mar Iyawannis (Araqchinchi) of Amid [see his biography in year 6, no. 5 of this magazine] and from Mar Tuma [ Tuma of Malabar, who claimed that he had been ordained a bishop by his uncle in 1728. He died in 1765, still rebellious and unrepentant.], to Patriarch Mar Ignatius Gurgis (Jirjis) III of Antioch and to Mar Basilius. At that time I, Basilius, was sick. After reading the letters, I sent the letter of my lord Mar Ignatius to him in the city of Amid (Diyarbakr), and also wrote informing him that I had been sick for two months. Meanwhile, Deacon Anton went to see our lord the patriarch and informed him that the Syrians of Malabar were requesting a maphryono, as it is written in the letters of Mar Iyawannis and Mar Tuma. When I recovered, I journeyed to Amid to see the Patriarch Mar Ignatius. The city of Amid was about fifteen days’ distance from Aleppo. I left Aleppo on July 1, and we were attacked by highway robbers, but, by God’s help, they could not harm us. At Amid, I was ordained a maphryono. I returned to Aleppo a few days later, on August 25.
While I was sick, Patriarch Mar Ignatius sent to Malabar Mar Gregorius along with another metropolitan and a chorepiscopus. [ Gregorius was Yuhanna of Khudayda (Qaraqosh), metropolitan of the Monastery of Mar Behnam, who was removed from his diocese and sent to Malabar.  We published his biography in no. 2 of this magazine. The other metropolitan was Yuhanna of Gargar, who was ordained a metropolitan for Malabar in 1748 and then was appointed a metropolitan of Gargar. His biography will come later. The Chorespiscopus was ‘Abd al-Nur, son of Aslan of Amid. It appears from what the maphryono has said that he wrote this tract immediately after his arrival in Malabar.] They traveled via the River Tigris and reached the famous city of Babylon (Baghdad). Soon, however, the metropolitan and the chorepiscopus returned to Amid because of sickness, while Mar Gregorius remained in Baghdad awaiting my arrival. Meanwhile, I was trying to find a caravan bound for Baghdad, but could not find one because of fear of desert robbers. Thus, I remained for four months in Aleppo before I found a camel caravan going to Baghdad. I bought for three thousand rupees what was necessary for the journey and for the church, including vessels, books, and other wares.
On Sunday January 7, 1749 [ This date is incorrect, a copyist’s error. Actually it is 1750, as the Chorepiscopus Jirjis has written.], I, together with the Chorespiscopus [ He was Jirjis, the son of the Chorepiscopus Ni’mat Allah Tunburchi of Aleppo. He was ordained a priest in 1745 and left Malabar at the end of 1751 because of sickness, having spent seven months there. He wrote a thirty-page tract in Arabic describing Maphryono Shukr Allah’s journey to Malabar and the conditions of Malabar and its Syrian people. He completed this tract on November 1, of the year 2063 of the Greeks/1751 A. D. He sailed from Basra via Jedda to Abyssinia.], the deacon Aton, and my attendant, left Aleppo in the caravan traversing a desolate desert. On Sunday, January 28, we were attacked by a great number of highway robbers who fought with the men of the caravan for fifteen hours. Two Turkish men in the caravan were killed and many wounded, not to mention a number of horses and camels which perished. Afterwards, the leader of another robbers’ band saved us from those who had attacked us, and exacted from the leaders of the caravan nine thousand gold pieces, each worth three rupees. Moreover, he seized our books and belongings and asked to be paid a great amount of silver as ransom. After our incredible distress, he exacted from us 1500 rupees and released our books and belongings. We thanked God for rescuing us from death and the robbers. If God had not sent this leader of the robber band to rescue us, those robbers who attacked us first would have looted the whole caravan and all our belongings and killed us. We arrived at a town called ‘Ana [ A town overlooking the Euphrates, situated between al-Raqqa and Hit], where we spent two months. But no one dared step outside for fear of the highway robbers. [This is because of a fight between the people of ‘Aana and the Arabs of Shammar. The Chorepiscopus Jirjis said, “Our journey was delayed because of this fight, and the overflow of the Euphrates was late. We became short of money and were forced to sell some of our belongings in order to buy provisions. Also, we borrowed a hundred rupees, while the leaders of the caravan took from us fifty piasters.”  Then a customhouse official came from Baghdad and collected the customs duty from us.” ] .
At the beginning of April we sailed the River Euphrates to Hilla and then to Baghdad, having suffered great expenses. [The Chorepiscopus Jirjis said that when they reached Hilla, they were  informed that both land and river highways were cut off, and they could not continue to Basra without going first to Baghdad. So they did, and this detour cost them over a hundred rupees.] When we entered Baghdad, we met our brother Metropolitan Gregorius. But the Metropolitan (Severus) and the Chorepiscopus (‘Abd al-Nur) had already departed for Amid because of sickness. The said Mar Gregorius suffered all the adversities which plagued him, but never turned back. He remained in Baghdad for eleven months, until we met him and Rabban (monk) Yuhanna in that city. We hired a ship, and all of us came to Basra via the River Tigris, having spent about five hundred rupees.
On Tuesday, May 8, we arrived in Basra and met with the President of the (Dutch) Company, named Manhar Kenifus (sic), who rented a house for us for eighty rupees. When we asked him to reimburse us for our passage and the journey’s expenses, he said that he could not pay us from the company’s funds because he had no authorization from the company officials. Promptly, deacon Anton said to him that he had with him a letter from the respected commodore addressed to the previous president of the company, who had left Basra, instructing him to pay the expenses of the maphryono and his companions from the company’s money. Kenifus insisted that he would not pay a penny from the company’s treasury. But he said that if the maphryono and his companions agreed, he would pay them from his own pocket an amount with 20% interest (that is, 80 rupees for 100) to aid them until they reached Cochin. So we had to borrow money because the creditors in both Aleppo and Basra were pressuring us to pay our debts, or else they will not permit us to leave Basra. Furthermore, we needed a great amount of money for the passage from Basra to Cochin. The problem is that we had to journey to Malabar. So, we borrowed from Kenifus 6660 rupees plus 1334 in interest, making a total of 8000 rupees. He also took from us a promissory note for this amount. From this amount we paid him eighty rupees for the rent of the house in Basra. We hired an English ship (since no ship of the Dutch Company was available) which cost us 700 rupees, deducted from the amount we had borrowed from Kenifus. We also paid from the same amount our expenses for food in Basra and aboard the English ship. Moreover, we spent too much money because of the famine in Basra, which was so severe that wheat became extremely dear. Nevertheless, we were forced to buy necessary food provisions in Basra.
On Sunday June 24, (1750), we left Basra for the citadel of Bushir, where we were welcomed by an official of the Dutch Company. But no sooner had we departed Bushir than a southern storm raged. If it had not been for the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, we would have been drowned in the depths of the sea. From Bushir we came to the port of Bandar ‘Abbas, where the president, named Manhar  Alexander received us with a great welcome. On the day of our arrival, another ship also arrived from Batavia  Her captain told the president of the company that after ten days a ship would be coming from Batavia. The president and his men asked us to stay in Bandar ‘Abbas until its arrival. He said that as soon as this ship unloaded, he would send us aboard it to Cochin. He added that with this ship we would have an easy sail because it was large, and the ship on which we had come was too small. After all, he argued, the ship was bound for Bombay, and if we decided to continue the voyage on the ship in which we had come, we would bear heavy expenses. After hearing  these words, we remained in Bandar Abbas for twenty days until the ship finally arrived from Batavia. We were overwhelmed with joy to see her come. Some days later, the president (of the Dutch Company) unloaded the ship. In the meantime, we bought necessary provisions and sent our baggage on board. But two or three days before our departure, a rumor circulated that pirates were on their way to pillage the port of Bandar ‘Abbas. When the president of the company heard the rumor, he would not let the ship leave, and we were seized by great fear. Soon another report circulated that those pirates had killed their leader and fled. It happened then that the chieftains of Persia were fighting each other and their fighting had intensified. One of these chieftains drew near the port (Bandar ‘Abbas). The president of the company feared this chieftain and would not let us leave. But no other ship was available. Thus we remained at this port for seven months, suffering great distress, fear, various sicknesses and pain, in addition to spending a thousand rupees. The chorepiscopus fell ill and remained so until now.
On February 24, 1751 (the year 2062 of the Greeks), we left this port (Bandar ‘Abbas), with the company’s men, on board one of its ships and arrived at the port of Surat. Before the ship entered the harbor, we were attacked by two big pirate ships and twelve small ones which fought us for five hours. But the pirates could not overwhelm us and fled. On Sunday March 17, our ship docked at the harbor, and God saved us from those pirates. We remained on board and did not disembark at Surat until the president sent a boat to carry us from our ship to another one which carried us to Cochin. Before we entered the port of Cochin, however, we confronted a ferocious peril caused by a strong wind and rain. We became mightily distressed, but God saved us. Truly, our case was summarized in the words of the Prophet David , who said “.All your waves and breakers have swept over me.”  (Psalm 42: 7.)  Finally, the ship entered the harbor of the city of Cochin. The venerable commodore (of the Dutch Company) sent us a big company boat, which carried us to the port safely. We greeted him and broke bread with him on that day. We entered the port of Cochin on Tuesday April 23, which was the festival of Mar Jirjis the martyr, in the year 2062 of the Greeks/1751 A.  D.
The respected commodore had us await the arrival of Mar Iyawannis and Tuma, in order that they might reconcile and establish peace with each other. Twenty days after we entered the port, Metropolitan Iyawannis arrived, but Tuma did not. We wrote to him four friendly letters in succession, but he did not obey or come to meet with us. Metropolitan Iyawannis, however, kept quarreling with us every two or three days. He disagreed with our kind treatment of the native (Syrian) Christians and rather wanted us to treat them harshly. Every day he would antagonize those who came to visit us, beating some of them and insulting others. For this reason, we detained him at the port until a ship was available and decided to send him back to the Patriarch Mar Ignatius of Antioch. Mar Ignatius had in fact written us regarding, him saying, “If Metropolitan (Iyawannis) behaves himself, keep him, or else send him back to us.”     The Dutch Company bore the expenses of all our needs.
When the respected  commodore and the company’s officials saw that Tuma had not come to meet with us, he allowed us to travel to Kandanad, hoping that Tuma would relent, obey our summons, and present himself to us. But he did not. The total amount the company spent for us for seventy-two days totaled 429 rupees.
On Wednesday, July 3, the day of the festival of the Apostle St. Thomas, we left the port and visited the raja of Cochin. We were accompanied by the company’s men and soldiers and by the Jew Ezekiel Jawhari. [In 1751, when the maphryono and his clerics arrived in Cochin, the raja was Marthanda Varma of Travancore. This raja had conquered and annexed petty principalities, one of which was Cochin. It is most likely that the maphryono met this maharaja. Ezekiel was a Jew from Mattancherry. See F. E. Keay, A History of the Syrian Church in India, 3rd. ed. (Delhi, 1960), 62. Tr.] We met the raja and spent a short time in his presence. We presented him with five gold pieces, each one worth five rupees, which we had received from the honorable governor. We spent the night at the house of Ezekiel, and on Thursday, July 4, we arrived in Kandanad.
The following is a breakdown of our debts to the company:
We owed the company 8000 rupees which we borrowed in Basra, and 1000 rupees in Bandar ‘Abbas. The company also demanded from us the payment of 2000 rupees which Metropolitan Iyawannis had borrowed from it and given to Deacon Anton when he dispatched him to the Patriarch of Antioch. The deacon, however, spent the money on himself. The amount the company demanded from us totaled 11,454 rupees, not counting one rupee a day spent by the metropolitan.. Here ends the account of what happened to us and the debt we have incurred. [The Chorepiscopus Jirjs related that deacon Anton, who had come to Aleppo and then to Amid to seek the maphryono and his entourage in order to accompany him to Malabar, was greedy, poor in reasoning, and given to exaggerating promises. He deceived them with false hopes by overstating his ability to achieve their objectives. Jirjis criticized him severely for mismanaging their affairs and thereby causing them many problems.], [ E. M. Philip says that he had a Syriac copy of the dairy of Maphryono Basilius Shukr Allah and the account of his journey to Malabar. He translated it into English and incoeporated it in his book with slight variations. See E. M. Philip, The Indian Church of St. Thomas, 157-159, note 8  and Mar Severus Yaqub Tum, Tarikh al-Kanisa al-Suryaniyya al-Hindiyya, 132-138. Tr. ].
Following is a list of the transcribed religious books and church vessels which Patriarch Mar Ignatius Jirjis III sent to Malabar with Maphryono (Basilius Shukr Allah) and Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna in 1749. Their total number was forty-six ancient books. They include five Syriac Gospels, thirteen fanqithos (Service Books) for winter and summer seasons, four husoyos (supplicatory prayers)  for both winter and summer seasons, eight liturgies, three ancient Syriac copies of the Old Testament, The Commentary on the Gospels by Bar Salibi, the Nomocanon (Book of Directions) by Bar Hebraeus, three copies of Psalms, a copy of the Ishhim (Service Book for Weekdays), a  Funeral Service Book, the Order of Unction, church canons, and four books containing commentaries and church canons.
The church vessels included a chalice and a paten, two crosses, three staffs, two plates for collection, two bells, a censer, two pairs of fans, three brass candlesticks, three pairs of cymbals, a jar of Holy Chrism, three crosses from Jerusalem, and relics of saints and other objects.
The maphryono also brought with him three magnificent ancient manuscripts written in the Istrangelo script on vellum, and two other ancient manuscripts. The total number of manuscripts was eighteen, except for one printed book. They included a vellum copy of the Pentateuch in the Istrangelo script, a vellum copy of the Gospels in the Istrangelo script studded with silver, a copy of the Acts of the Councils in the Istrangelo script, the book of Mar Dionysius the Areopagite, an ancient Beth Gaz (Book of Church Melodies), a Commentary on the Gospels by Bar Salibi, a Commentary on Revelations in Syriac, a copy of the Psalms, the book of The Cause of all Causes, the book of Eupdox, a Service Book of Hymns for Principal Feasts, three copies of grammar, a Service Book on the Fast of Nineveh, a  Service Book of Funerals, and a printed copy of the Ishhim (Service Book for Weekdays). You may imagine that the cost of these precious ancient manuscripts exceeded the amounts spent for our passage.
When Tuma showed stubbornness, false affection, and sickness of heart and mind, the maphryono and Mar Gregorius reported his behavior to the patriarch on December 16, (1751). The patriarch replied on August 27 commending them for their struggle and patience. He comforted and encouraged them and wished them good. He revealed his displeasure about Tuma’s rebellious behavior, prevarication, and arrogance.  [ This letter of  Patriarch Jirjis III,  dated August 27, 1752, was written in Garshuni. It  was transliterated into Arabic script by the late Patirch Ephraim I, Barsoum probably  in 1909  when he was still a monk at the Za’faran Monastery.  Written in colloquial Arabic , the copy is in my possession. Tr. ]  When two years had passed and the situation did not change, the patriarch issued a general proclamation in Syriac to the clergy and congregations of Malabar reprimanding Tuma for his intransigence. He declared that it was Tuma who had insisted and urgently appealed to him to dispatch Maphryono Shukr Allah alone to Malabar. Tuma had also promised to pay all the expenses of the maphryono’s passage.  But, says the patriarch, Tuma reneged on his commitment and proved that he had no sense of responsibility. He went on to say that Tuma had been rebellious and for three years made no effort to visit the maphryono and Metropolitan Yuhana. Moreover, he did not pay any amount, big or small, or allow these church dignitaries to try to reform him. The patriarch ended by saying that if Tuma did not amend his behavior he should be condemned. Meanwhile, the patriarch wrote to Seigneur Gurian Setionis (sic), the governor of the citadel of Cochin, and the administrator of Malabar, explaining Tuma’s behavior and imploring him to take good care of the two church dignitaries. He further asked him to convince Tuma and have him tried, in order to reform his behavior, and reach an agreement with the two fathers of the church. If he obeyed, the patriarch would confer on him lawful ordination. If he disobeyed, the Apostolic See would consider him an enemy. The patriarch wrote the same words to Seigneur Ezekiel. But these efforts (of the patriarch) and those of the maphryono and his men were fruitless. Tuma, that wolf of petrified heart, persisted in his whimsical actions and arrogance. Unfortunately, some contemporary historians of Malabar try to justify his misdeeds, claiming that what actually led him to prevaricate was the enormous amount of money demanded from him, which he was unable to pay. This utterly futile pretext, however, could not absolve a fraction of Tuma’s intransigence or his transcending the boundaries of religion and social decorum. Some writers falsely alleged that, soon after their arrival, the maphryono and his companions interfered in the administration of the churches without consulting with Tuma, contrary to the tradition of the bishops of Malabar. Obviously this claim, if right, still could not vindicate Tuma’s repulsive behavior, but in fact it has no truth whatever. Indeed, the seventy-two days the fathers (the maphryono and the metropolitan) and their companions spent in Cochin were only to seek relief from the awful perils which threatened their lives, and to communicate with Iyawannis and Tuma. In fact, they had no church building available to conduct religious services or ordinations. The Chorepiscopus Jirjis, as mentioned earlier, has readily related the names of the churches which were then populated and the number of houses of Syrian parishioners. Likewise, in the detailed account of his journey he said that no one came to visit or greet them in Cochin except  a few priests and laymen who happen to be living near by. In view of that, how could those biased writers ignore the great authority of the maphryono in the church of God, let alone the fact that he was a delegate of the Apostolic See? And how could they contrive excuses to vindicate a pretender who more than any other cleric needed to have the maphryono  bestow on him the lawful priestly office by the laying on of his hands. Many years had passed since Tuma and his predecessor began knocking at the door of the Apostolic See, asking for a chief priest to confer upon them the office of the episcopate. Unfortunately, their letters had been lost or had fallen into European hands, and never reached their destination. Many problems prevented the Syrians of Malabar from obtaining their desired objective. Now that this objective was to become a reality, Tuma shunned it. How can we discredit the letters of the patriarch and the accounts of Maphryono (Shukr Allah) himself and the Chorespicopus Jirjis, both of whom were eyewitnesses? How can we overlook their letters, which constitute authentic documents and solid evidence, and lean on the fragile reed of allegations by modern writers who distorted the facts to suit their purpose, which has become well known in our time? If at that time the clergy and laity of the Syrian congregation of Malabar seemed silent or indifferent to the truth, it was because of the disgraceful inertia, ignorance, and psychological attitude which characterized the society of Malabar, as has been observed by contemporary writers.
When the fathers (the maphryono and the metropolitan) saw the arrogance of Tuma and his partisans, the maphryono ordained monk Yuhanna of Mosul as metropolitan for Malabar and called him Iyawannis Yuhanna at his ordination in the church of Kandanad, at the end of 1752 or the beginning of 1753. He sent the new metropolitan to Tuma’s headquarters to administer the congregation and built with his own money a bishopric and a church at the town of Mattancherry in the province of Cochin, which had no church or bishopric. The maphryono, Metropolitan Gregorius, and the deacons resided at the bishopric he had built. He proceeded to administer the churches of Malabar with fatherly kindness, apostolic zeal, wisdom and determination. He persevered in inculcating religious learning and church discipline. An ancient historian of Malabar testified to his sagacity, wisdom, competence in religious sciences, and erudition. Many priests and deacons studied the Holy Scriptures and church rites under him. However, contemporary writers have belittled him and niggardly denied him the praise he deserves.
The maphryono and the metropolitan issued necessary rules and orders and communicated with all parts (of Malabar). They were intent on purging the orthodox faith from the tares of heresies and objectionable customs which the Syrians of Malabar were practicing. They and the deacons taught a choice group of clergy religious sciences and prepared them to assume clerical offices. They abolished the celibacy of priests. Meanwhile, Maphryono Shukr Allah consecrated the Holy Chrism.
Regarding the debt mentioned above, we have no idea how it was settled and no reliable ancient testimony concerning it. However, we have read in the writings of some contemporaries that the Dutch Company forced the government of Travancore to pressure Tuma and threaten him with banishment if he declined to pay the necessary amount. Tuma, however, paid some of the amount from the revenues of some churches; the rest he paid from the endowment of the Church of Niranam, which was sold. [F. E. Keay, A History of the Syrian Church in India, p. 62, says the Raja of Travancore, Marthanda Varma, compelled Tuma to pay the amount claimed.]
After administering those vast regions competently for thirteen years and some months, Maphryono Shukr Allah was called home by his heavenly Chief Shepherd to be given a crown worthy of a faithful steward. He passed away on October 9, 1764, and was buried in the church of Kandanad. Metropolitan Gurgis of Niranam, of blessed memory, and Philipus mentioned that the Syrians of Malabar commemorate him every year in recognition of his virtues and righteousness. So ended the life of this striving hero, the high-minded Mar Basilius Shukr Allah, who was plagued by adversities but never quit. He endured the hardships of life with contentment, fortitude, and wisdom, despite the fact that some of his endeavors were not successful. He went to his Lord with a bright face, having shown his talents. May God be gracious to him! Had we obtained more information about him, we would have adorned his biography with it. But we were able to find only the following sources and write his biography after tremendous labor and patience. [These sources are:

(1) the account in Syriac of the journey of Maphryono Shukr Allah to Malabar from 1748 to 1751;
(1) a tract in Arabic by the Chorepiscopus Jirjis Tonborchi of Aleppo about the journey of the maphryono and a description of the conditions of the Syrian church in Malabar, up to November, 1751;
(1) four letters of the Patriarch Jirjis III, preserved at the Patriarchal Library. Three of these letters are in Syriac, and one in Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac script) preserved in their original form, of which we have copies;
(1) two letters of Gregorius, metropolitan of Niranam and Metropolitan Eustathius Saliba, who was then a deacon, which they wrote in 1900;
two anonymous historical tracts in Syriac, the first written in 1820, and the second, more correct and precise, written shortly after 1838. Both brief tracts were written in Malabar;

(6) two Syriac tracts, the first written by the Chorepiscopus Matta Konat in 1926, the second written by Timothy Awgen (Eugene), metropolitan of Kandanad, in 1932. Also, The History of the Indian Church of  St. Thomas by Philip the Syrian of Malabar, 1902, and an English source by the priest Dr. Shapur Baba, 1909.) The fact that Maphroyono Shukr Allah’s mother and uncles were still living in 1785, indicate that he, may God be gracious to him, did not live long and died before he was sixty years old.
As for the aforesaid Metropolitan Iyawannis Yuhanna of Mosul, he was the only one ordained a bishop by Maphryono Shukr Allah. He was a deacon and then a monk at the Za’faran Monastery. He was ordained a priest by Patriarch Shukr Allah on December 15, 1724. After he became a bishop in 1752 or 1753, he competently served the Malabar church. He assisted Mar Gregorius in the ordination of Metropolitan Dionysius of Malabar on May 29, 1770. He was a great help to Mar Gregorius in the administration of the church of Malabar until his death in 1794 (or, it is sometimes said, in 1798). He served forty years as a bishop and died at the age of ninety. He was buried at the Church of Chenganur According to one source, he changed his name to Christophorus (Servant of Christ). [ E. M. Philip says that he ahs a copy of the journey of Maphryono Shukr Allah to Malabar. He translated it into English and incorporated it into his book The Indian Church of St. Thomas, under footnote 8 which extends from 157 to 159. There is also an Arbaic account of the journey and the activities of Maphryono Shukr Allah in Malabar by Mar Severus Yaqub Tuma (later Patriarch of Antioch Yaqub III), Tarikh al-Kanisa al-suryaniyya al-Hindiyya, 132-158.Tr. ]
In his historical tract sent to his acquaintances in Aleppo, the Chorepiscopus Jirjis of Aleppo, already mentioned, said that some priests and deacons of Malabar related to him that Tuma of Malabar had an uncle, a chorepiscopus who styled himself a bishop. When he died, Tuma unduly assumed his office, carried his staff, and claimed to be a bishop. By virtue of his spurious office, he ordained deacons and priests by simony (ordination for money), charging each one he ordained ten to twenty rupees. He also lent money at usury. He could not even speak Syriac. Malabarian historical sources say that he remained disobedient (to the Apostolic See of Antioch) until he died in 1765, having unlawfully ordained one of his relatives a bishop. Realizing that his ordination was unlawful, the new bishop appealed to two Antiochian dignitaries, Gregorius of Khudayda, the Apostolic Delegate, and his deputy, Iyawannis Christophorus (Yuhanna of Mosul), to legitimize his ordination. They agreed and in 1770 re-ordained him a lawful bishop with the name of Dionysius I. See the biography of Metropolitan Gregorius in the previous issue of this magazine].
The Chorepiscopus Jirjis further said that in every church there were from two to five priests and a like number of deacons. Only about fifteen priests could speak Syriac, but they were not interested in our Syriac rite .Teaching them the Syriac language was a very difficult task. Most of them despicably slandered each other. The Syrian population numbered about 12,242 households [The total number of the Syrian population at that time was 61,210 souls if we assume an average of five people to one house, or 122,420 souls with an average of ten people to each house.], living in forty-seven towns and villages, and had forty-five churches. Most of them were extremely poor. The number of the rich among them was small except in the southern part of Malabar, where some wealthy people were found. Chorespiscopus Jirjis goes on to say that the southern province has not yet subjected itself to us (the Syrian Church) in order to allow us to visit it and ascertain its conditions. The fear of God, says Jirjis, was almost unknown in the countries he and the delegates visited.
To continue the information (about the Syrian church in Malabar), we have appended a table of the names of the towns and villages where the Syrians lived, together with their numbers at the end of the year 1751.
[Pp. 125-133 contain a Syriac account of the Journey of Maphryono Shukr Allah to Malabar, which has been already translated by Patriarch Barsoum into Arabic.. I have already translated it above into English.]
Appendix to the biography of Maphryono Shukr Allah
It has been proved to us that he (Shukr Allah) was ordained a priest in 1740. We found this information at the Library of Oxford, MS 667, or a small book written in a recent hand containing the Order of Matrimony and a short account of the affairs of Malabar (not very important), transcribed by a native of Malabar. It also contains a twelve-line ode in the Sarugite (twelve-syllabic) meter, composed in average language by the Chorepiscopus Jirjis of Aleppo, already mentioned, at Kandanad on August 9, 1751. The ode is a panegyric in praise of the maphryono and an appeal to the Syrians of Malabar to adhere to him and benefit by his teaching. We also found at Cambridge Library in England MS L204, one of the precious manuscripts Patriarch Jirjis III donated to the church of Malabar through the maphryono. Entitled The Book of the Prophets, this book is written in a good coarse western Istrangelo script. It is inscribed as follows: “This book was transcribed on January 4 by the lesser monk Basil, son of Shaykh Sa’id, known as the Maqdisi, at the Monastery of St. Barbara in the Mountain of Edessa in the year 1485 of the Greeks/1174 A. D. in the time of Mar Mikha’il, patriarch of Antioch and Mar Athanasius, metropolitan of Edessa.” The patriarch here is the famous Michael Rabo (the Great, d. 1199) and the metropolitan is Athanasius Denha of Edessa, who was ordained a bishop in 1171 and died in 1191. This significant manuscript was donated by the Metropolitan Dionysius I Tuma of Malabar to the Englishman Dr. Buchanan (Claudius Buchanan, 1770-1808) in the year 1807, one year before his death.

4) Severus Yuhanna, metropolitan of Malabar and then of Gargar (1749-1768)

Severus Yuhanna was a native of Gargar (or Hisn Mansur, some say). He became a monk at the Za’faran Monastery and, after receiving religious education, was ordained a priest in 1742. For some time he was engaged in the transcription of Syriac books.  There is an Order of Baptism at the church of the village of Awius in his handwriting, finished in 1747. At the village of Swayarik there is also a copy of the Gospels in Syriac, which he transcribed for the church of the village of Wank in 1750.
Severus Yuhanna was ordained a bishop by Patriarch Jirjis III at the church of Amid in the middle of 1749. The patriarch sent him to Malabar with Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna of Khudayda (Qaraqosh) and the Chorepiscopus Abd al-Nur, son of Khawaja Aslan of Amid. (Chorepiscopus ‘Abd al-Nur donated service books and husoyos to our Monastery of St. Mark in Jerusalem. He was still living in 1760.) Upon arriving in Baghdad he remained in that city for a few months awaiting the arrival of Maphryono Shukr Allah. But he fell ill and returned to Amid with the chorepiscopus. He may have become the bishop of the diocese of Hattack. We found some ordinations done by him in the years 1752 and 1754 for the Churches of Qawm and Malaha of the same diocese. When the diocese of Gargar, which was then attached to Kharput and Hisn Mansur, became vacant after the transfer of Metropolitan Tuma of Qutrubul to Edessa in1758, the patriarch designated him a bishop of Gargar. He resided at Gargar until his death in the middle of 1768. He served the episcopate for nineteen years and was succeeded by Metropolitan Gregorius Anton of Edessa.

5) Cyril Rizq Allah, bishop of the Patriarchal Office and then of Mosul (1749-1772).

Cyril Rizq Allah was the son of the Chorepsicopus Matta, son of the priest Rizq Allah, son of ‘Abd al-Karim Sa’ur (sextant) of Mosul of the noble family of Patriarch Jirjis II, of blessed memory. His father, the Chorespiscopus Matta, was a priest of the Church of St. Thomas in Mosul and was still living in 1705.
Cyril Rizq Allah was born in Mosul in 1699 (as he himself said in the Jerusalem MSS).  He studied church sciences under the priest Shim’un (Simon). He was ordained a deacon in 1718, and then a priest for St. Thomas Church by the Maphryono of the East Li’azar IV, shortly before 1726. In 1742, he visited Jerusalem. As a widower he became a monk at the Za’faran Monastery. Patriarch Jirjis III ordained him a bishop for the Patriarchal Office at the church of Amid and called him Cyril Rizq Allah at his ordination in the middle of 1749.  When his cousin (his uncle’s son), Gurgis III, became Maphryono of the East in 1760 and was forced to stay at the Patriarchal Monastery (Za’faran), he appointed Cyril Rizq Allah as his deputy to the diocese of Mosul. He added to his responsibilities the  vacant dioceses of the Monastery of Mar Behnam and the Monastery of Mar Matta. This situation continued until Behnam was appointed a bishop for the diocese of the Monastery of Mar Behnam in 1762, and Metropolitan Matta was appointed a bishop for the diocese of the Monastery of Mar Matta in 1770. In 1768, Cyril Rizq Allah attended the Synod of Amid which elected Patriarch Jirjis IV, and partook in the ceremony of his consecration at the Za’faran Monastery. He remained at this monastery until the following year.
While he was serving the diocese of the East for twelve years, the city of Mosul and its environs were afflicted with a horrible plague in 1772. Four thousand souls of the great village of Qaraqosh (Khudayda) perished, including seventy-two priests and deacons (according to a date etched in Syriac on a stone at the Church of Mar Gurgis in Qaraqosh). In the course of two months, four thousand parishioners of Mosul perished, including the entire group of priests. For three months, worship ceased in that church. Cyril Rizq Allah died on April 26 and was buried in the tomb of Patriarch Ishaq and the Maphryono Matta II. May God have mercy on them all! Inscribed on his tomb is the date of his death in the twelve-syllabic meter. He served his office for twenty-three years. He was, may God have mercy on him, a godly, zealous, and intelligent shepherd. He donated his Cross, on which were inscribed his name and the date of his ordination, to the Monastery of Mar Matta.
Cyril Rizq Allah composed thirty-seven succinct homilies in plain style [Manchester, Mingana MS 277, transcribed in 1796], a short tract in Syriac on the rules of Syriac morphology [Three copies of this tract are at Mosul. One of them consists of 73 pages. A 17-page copy is at Berlin.), and the Order of Funeral for Nuns (Sharfa MSS]. The manuscripts which  he transcribed in his good handwriting include Book of the Dove by Bar Hebraeus, which he started at Aleppo in 1742 and finished at Jerusalem; Book of the Councils by Severus ibn al-Muqaffa’, which he finished in 1742 (in the possession of the Chorepsicopus Bishara in Diyarbakr) when he was still a priest; a Book of Grammar or Introduction to Grammar and Semhe (The Book of Lights) by Bar Hebraeus, which he completed in 1736 (Cambridge MS 2011), and a scrapbook at the Library of the Za’faran Monastery (MS 234).

6) Athanasius ‘Abd al-Karim, metropolitan of the Patriarchal Office (1749-1755).

Athanasius ‘Abd al-Karim was the son of the deacon Shahin Shammo, known as Ibn ‘Araqchinchi of Amid. His mother was Qamar. He was a brother of Metropolitan Iyawannis Yuhanna of Amid, whose biography has been previously cited among the bishops ordained by Patriarch Shukr Allah. He traveled to Abyssinia and then to Malabar, India. He was rough and of harsh conduct, which caused him to fail.
‘Abd al-Karim was ordained a deacon in 1716 and then entered the Za’faran Monastery, where he assumed the monastic habit. He was ordained a priest in 1727, and for some time he and his brother moved to the Monastery of Mar Matta, but ‘Abd al-Karim returned to the Za’faran Monastery. In 1749, Patriach Jirjis III ordained him a bishop at Amid for the Patriarchal Office, calling him Athanasius ‘Abd al-Karim at his ordination. When his brother returned from Malabar at the end of 1752 to become the bishop of  the diocese of Bedlis, ‘Abd al-Karim was in his company and spent the rest of his life in that diocese. He passed away in a village of Bedlis in 1755, shortly after the death of his brother [ According to the account of the deacon ‘Azar of Aleppo, mentioned earlier]. He was barely more than sixty years old. At the Monastery of St. Mark in the Bushairiyya, there is a Gospel transcribed in his handwriting and that of his brother.

7) Gregorius Tuma, metropolitan of the Monastery of Mar Iliyya (Elijah) in Qanqart (1750-1752).

Gregorius Tuma was born in the city of Amid. He entered the Za’faran Monastery and assumed the monastic habit. He was ordained a priest by Metropolitan Cyril Jirjis Sani’a of Mardin in 1728. On June 1, 1750, Patriarch Jirjis III ordained him a metropolitan for the Monastery of Mar Iliyya (The Prophet Elijah) in Qanqart and called him Gregorius Tuma at his ordination [MSS at our Library, and the roster of bishops, a copy of which, transcribed by one of the contemporaries, is at Sadad).] The account of this monastery and its construction has already been discussed (see above). Patriarch Jirjis III mentioned him in his letter to Maphryono Shukr Allah and Metropolitan Yuhanna, dated August 27, 1752  [ See ancient letters in our library. This letter is in my possession. Tr.]. This is all the information we have about him. Most likely he did not live long.

8) Timothy Tuma, metropolitan of the Patriarchal Office, of Gargar, of Edessa, and then of Amid (1752-1773) .

Timothy Tuma was a son of Saliba Halabiyya of Qutrubul. His mother was Maryam. He was born in Qutrubul, a village on the Tigris river opposite Amid. It was then populated by seven hundred Syrian families ministered to by eight priests. At an early age he desired the monastic life and, renouncing the world, he entered the Za’faran Monastery, where he studied religious science. On November 27, 1722, he was ordained a deacon by Timothy ‘Isa of Mosul, metropolitan of the monastery, and began to learn the Syriac language, of which he acquired a great portion. He moved to the Monastery of the Sayyida (the Virgin Mary) in Hattack and studied under its superior, Metropolitan Cyril Gurgis. The metropolitan clothed him with the monastic habit and then ordained him a priest in 1728. After his ordination he returned to the Za’faran Monastery and was engaged for some time in copying, in good hand, Syriac church books. In the middle of 1752, at the church of Amid, Patriarch Jirjis III ordained him a metropolitan for the Patriarchal Office and called him Timothy Tuma at his ordination. Gregorius Tuma, mentioned above, witnessed his ordination. Timothy resided at the church of Amid, serving the patriarch and copying books from time to time. He later resided at his native Qutrubul. Then the patriarch appointed him head of the diocese of Gargar, which became vacant with the death of Metropolitan Faraj Allah of Edessa. But Timothy did not hold on to this position. Around 1755, the patriarch transferred him to Edessa and changed his name to Severus, following the custom of the bishops of Edessa of that time, who changed their names. It is believed that he grossly misbehaved, for the patriarch condemned him for misbehavior. He suspended him from service, and then in October, 1762 condemned and banished him to the citadel of Alamiya, in the vicinity of Istanbul. Later Timothy repented and appealed to the patriarch for forgiveness. The patriarch forgave him, absolved him and restored him to his diocese.  [See the roster of bishops, already mentioned.]
In 1768, Timothy attended the Synod of Amid to elect Patriarch Jirjis IV. The new patriarch transferred him to the diocese of Amid in the latter part of that year. He assumed the name of Athanasius; the custom of changing the names (of bishops) affected him three times, which had never happened except in his case. He passed away in 1773, having served his office for twenty-one years, and was buried, as it is said, in the Church of St. Thomas at Qutrubul. His seal was inscribed as follows: “Timothy Tuma, metropolitan, 1752, the servant of God who seeks His grace.”   [ In his Collection, the priest Gabriel Doulabani quotes Dionysius ‘Abd al-Nur, metropolitan of Amid (d. 1933), who in turn quotes some elders of his time, saying that Gregorius Tuma was nicknamed Alton Dishi, meaning “he of the gold tooth,” and that he was banished because of faith. He was known for his zeal. This account, however, cannot stand scrutiny and has been refuted by his contemporaries.]
We have come upon some of the books he transcribed, including a Book of Husoyos for the Consecration of the Church and of Lent, which he completed at the Za’faran Monastery on June 20, 1749. This book was deposited at the church of the Mansuriyya. Other books include An Abridged Commentary on Psalms by the Salahi (Daniel of Salah (542), in Garshuni, which he completed on June 1, 1750 [This book is in the possession of Hanna Najmi in Diyarbakr.]; a Service Book for the Resurrection, which he finished on September 4, 1751, and which was donated by Patriarch Jirjis III to the church of Edessa; two parts of the Order of Funerals at the church of Amid, completed in the middle of October, 1752; two Service Books for the Summer, transcribed at Amid on May 24, 1755, and donated by the Chorespicopus Abd al-Nur Aslan to St. Mark Monastery in Jerusalem  [ St Mark Monastery MSS 14 and 15)] a prayer book which he copied in 1756, at the village of Bati; and a medium-sized Service Book for Lent, which he transcribed at the end of his life in 1770, in Edessa.

9- Gregorius Yuhanna, metropolitan of Damascus (1754-1783).

Gregorius Yuhanna was a most prominent church father of his time because of his zeal and determination. He was born Yuhanna Shuqayr, originally from Sadad, but is considered a man of Aleppo by birth and upbringing. Shuqayr was an ancient family of Sadad whose fame dates back to the year 1527 [ Bibliotheque Nationale, MS 289]. Its offshoots are still known in Sadad, although by a new name. Gregorius Yuhanna was thought to have been born in the first decade of the eighteenth century. He was attached to the church of Aleppo, and studied under Mapahryono Shukr Allah of Aleppo, of blessed memory. Having obtained a good part of the Syriac language and religious sciences, he was ordained a deacon before the year 1747 and then entered the Monastery of Mar Musa the Abbyssinian, where he engaged in religious devotion. He was ordained a priest by his superior, Bishop Sarukhan. Reports of his excellent character reached Patriarch Jirjis III at the time when the diocese of Damascus was saddened by the death of its Bishop Gregorius Tuma. This led the patriarch to designate him as his deputy in the diocese of Damascus in the middle of 1752. In 1754, the patriarch summoned him to Amid and ordained him a metropolitan, calling him Gregorius at his ordination. Metropolitan Timothy Tuma of Qutrubul witnessed his ordination. The patriarch, who, like his predecessor Patriarch Shukr Allah, was keen on the dissemination of learning among the clergy, noticed Gregorius’s activity, diligence, and knowledge of the Syriac language.  He entrusted him with the translation of Michael Rabo’s Chronicle from Syriac into Arabic, in order to render it more beneficial and to publicize its excellent qualities. The new metropolitan undertook the work with utmost diligence. He translated this voluminous work, which contained profane and ecclesiastical history and natural phenomena, extending from the creation to the year 1196. [In his al-Lulu al-Manthur, Patriarch Aphram Barsoum said that this history extended to the year 1193. See Ignatius Aphram I Barsoum, al-Lulu al-Manthur, trans. Matti Moosa as The Scattered Pearls (Gorgias Press, 2003), 445.] It took him a year and six months to complete the translation of the whole work in three large volumes, of which he produced a rough copy. Then he made a fair Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac script) copy of it in his average handwriting, in one thick volume consisting of 770 large-sized pages. He worked on the translation at the Church of Mar Behnam in Damascus and completed it in the middle of September of the year 2070 of the Greeks/1795 A. D. He donated the copy to the patriarch in recognition of his support and encouragement. Gregorius Yuhanna mentioned that he had made this translation form two Syriac copies in the handwriting of the deacon Barsoum and Rabban Mikha’il, both of which were made from the copy by Metropolitan Musa of Sawar. Another copy was made by Rev. Mikha’il ‘Urbishi, later a metropolitan of Gargar, which he came upon at the Monastery of Mar Abhai. As for the first copies that Gregorius Yuhanna made, we found no trace of them [Za’faran MS. The number of the MS is missing.]This translation was made in average Arabic language, of slightly archaic and plain style, similar to that of most of his contemporaries. But it displays his utmost determination, fortitude and love of knowledge. May God reward him for his contribution and shower him with his mercy. [I tend to disagree with Patriarch Aphram Barsoum regarding the style of Gregorius Yuhanna Shuqayr. I have read his translation in Garshuni at length and used it in writing my manuscript on the Crusades. Although Yuhanna’s diction and style clearly do not match Barsoum’s florid and hyperbolic language, they are simple and articulate. In general, for its simplicity and articulation, Shuqayr’s work rivals the modern translation of the same work by Mar Gregorius Saliba Shim’un, metropolitan of Mosul (Dar Mardin: Aleppo, 1996). To the modern reader, of course, Shim’un’s translation is in conformity with the language used today in the Arab world. Still, this should not diminish the value of Yuhanna Shuqyr’s translation. But both translators, lacking access to foreign sources, especially Latin and Greek, copied the names of men and events as they appear in their garbled form in the original Syriac, rendering them unintelligible. Tr.] From Yuhanna’s translation the copy of Sadad was made in 1764; and two more copies in Mosul, dated 1846 and 1870, found their way to London and Amid. It is also thought that Gregorius Yuhanna was the author of a historical tract of biographies of four patriarchs, Jirjis II, Ishaq, Shukr Allah, and Jirjis III, to which he appended the names of the bishops they ordained from 1587 to 1795.  From these were made two copies; one, dated 1887, is at present at the Vatican, and the other, dated 1899, is at St. Mark Monastery in Jerusalem. [The British Museum copy is MS 4402.Tr. ]
In 1771, Gregorius Yuhanna attended the ordination of Musa, bishop of the Monastery of Mar Musa, at the Za’faran Monastery [ According to a copy of his Systaticon at our Library. ]. In 1781, when the patriarchal see became vacant, he was unable to attend the synod for the election of a new patriarch because of old age and because the Metropolitan Mikha’il Jarwa was assaulting the Orthodox faith. Instead, Gregorius Yuhanna wrote a letter to the assembled fathers in which he incorporated the principles of the Orthodox faith. It was well received by the fathers and the faithful. After administering his diocese as a guide and preacher, and after keeping  the wolves away from it for twenty-nine years (according to a letter written in verse by Bishop Ibrahim of Sadad in July, 1772), Shuqayr passed away  in June, 1783, and was buried in the church of Damascus.
Gregorius Yuhanna composed in colloquial Arabic spiritual songs, one of which, on the Resurrection, is chanted even today in most of the Syrian churches. It begins, “The holy fasting of Christ ended in peace;” a pleasant song about the Virgin begins, “The praise of the Virgin is sweet to me.”  Still another song on Mar Musa the Abyssinian begins thus: “I begin by the name of the Almighty God.” [ According to an MS of Homs and its villages.] Of his transcribed manuscripts, we have come upon a book of homilies by Maphryono Shim’un, which he copied for Tuma, bishop of Damascus, and completed on December 16, 1747; the Ethicon, by Bar Hebraeus, in Garshuni, which he copied for the deacon ‘Aziz, son of ‘Azar Shamiyya of Aleppo, completed on August 2, 1752; a Beth Gazo (book of church melodies) which he competed on June 18, 1747 [ Sharfa MS 35] ; and a Synaxarium (The Lives of Holy Saints), by a Coptic writer, which he completed on June 9, 1771 and donated to the Church of the Virgin, Mar Qawma and Mar Dumit at the village of Rashayya. [ This Synaxarium is at the Church of Mar Musa in Damascus.]
The seal of Gregorius Yuhanna was large and circular, bearing the following inscription, “By the grace of God, his servant Gregorius Yuahanna, Metropolitan of Damascus, 1756.” He dated it two years after his ordination.

10) Gregorius Shim’un, metropolitan of Bushairayya (1760-1772).

Gregorius Shim’un, of Armenian origin, was a native of the village of Kufra, in the vicinity of Gharzan in the province of Bedlis, to which he ascribes his origin. At an early age he joined the Syrian Church and entered the Monastery of Mar Quryaqos in Bushairiyya. He studied the Syriac language under Metropolitan Gregorius Boghos (Paul), head of the said diocese (1731-1764). Metropolitan Boghos clothed him with the monastic habit and then ordained him a priest shortly before 1737. Upon the resignation of Boghos, Patriarch Jirjis III, who recognized his ability, ordained him a metropolitan for the Bushairiyya diocese at the church of Amid in 1760 and called him Gregorius Shim’un at his ordination We came upon copies of his ordination of deacons and priests for the Monastery of Mar Quryaqos and Se’ert and its villages from 1760 to 1769 [ MS at the Library of the Monastery of  St. Mark]. In 1768, he attended the synod which elected Patriarch Jirjis IV and participated in his installation. He was still living on March 11, 1771. It is believed that he died in the following year, having served his office for twelve years. He was succeeded by Iyawannis Ni’ma, or Tu’ma, of Sadad.

11) Basilius Gurgis, Maphryono of the East (1760-1768).

Basilius Gurgis, metropoiltan of Hattack, and then of the Za’faran Monastery and of Mardin, was a son of the deacon Musa, of the family of the priest ‘Abd al-Jalil of Mosul, His biography up to the year 1760 has already been discussed. When the See of the East became vacant with the death of Maphryono Basilius Li’azar IV in September, 1759, Patriarch Jirjis III ordained him a Maphryono of the East at the church of Amid in September, 1760, and called him Basilius Gurgis.  He was the third by this name and the ninetieth of the Maphriyonos of the East. His ordination was attended by Gregorius Jirjis, metropolitan of Jerusalem, Bishop Cyril Rizq Allah, and Gregorius Shim’un, metropolitan of Bushairiyya. The administration of the Patriarchal Monastery (Z a’faran Monastery) was entrusted to him because the patriarch was residing in Amid. Meanwhile, he appointed Bishop Cyril Rizq Allah, son of his aunt on his father’s side, as his deputy to administer the diocese of Mosul. Basilius Gurgis managed the diocese of Mardin with commendable ardor.
In that year, 1760, he donated from his own money to the Za’faran Monastery a pair of fans, each weighing 400 dirhams, a silver four-branched chandelier, a six-branched chandelier, and two small lamps [ MSS of the Church of the Forty Martyrs in Mardin, and of the Za’faran Monastery)]  He ordained three bishops.  Eight years and six months later, he ascended the patriarchal throne, as shall be seen shortly..

12) Gregorius Behnam, metropolitan of Ma’dan (1761-1769).

Gregorius was a native of Ma’dan. He became a novice at the Za’faran Monastery in 1742 and then a priest. In 1761, at the church of Amid, Patriarch Jirjis III ordained him a metropolitan for the diocese of Ma’dan, whose seat was at the monastery of Mar Quryaqos, and called him Gregorius Behnam. We found his name in some manuscripts up to 1769, when he and nine other bishops presented themselves to Patriarch Jirjis IV on March 8 [ According to A Service Book for Major Feasts at the church of Diyarbakr]. The year of his death is unknown. But based on the ordination date of his successor Dionysius Shim’un (1779), he must have died shortly before that year, and God knows best.

13) Dionysius Mikha’il, metropolitan of Aleppo (1766-1775).

Dionysius Mikha’il was the son of deacon Ni’mat Allah, son of Mikha’il Jarawa  [ According to  a service book for feasts at the Church of St. Mark Monastery, Jerusalem MS 11]. He was born at Aleppo on January 3, 1721. He acquired a smattering of church sciences under Maphryono Basilius Shukr Allah of Aleppo, and was ordained a deacon around 1747.  In 1757, Jirjis of Aleppo, metropolitan of Jerusalem, ordained him a priest. [ According to his Homologia (Confession of Faith) at the Za’faran Monastery]. In 1758, Patriarch Jirjis III appointed him his deputy for the vacant Aleppo diocese. In 1765, he visited the patriarch at Amid and remained in that city for one year. When the congregation of Aleppo chose him as their metropolitan, the patriarch ordained him, on February 23, 1766, at the church of Amid and called him Dionysius at his ordination. His ordination was attended by Metropolitan Jirjis, already mentioned.  Inscribed on his seal was the following: “By the mercy of God, Metropolitan Mikha’il of the city of Aleppo, 1766.”
At that time, the Latin (Roman Catholic) padres were casting their nets to ensnare the simple folks of the various Eastern churches in order to adopt their doctrine. As a stratagem, they used innovative Latin ritual customs which found acceptance among many Syrians of Aleppo. Meanwhile, the French consul, Peter Depiere Derio, played a great role in assuring these people of the assistance of his government. Both the Latin padres and the French consul enticed the Syrians to install their own patriarch in Aleppo. Metropolitan Mikha’l Jarwa fell into their trap and his doctrine became corrupted because he attached himself to them. Patriarch Jirjis  wrote to him, offering him counsel and guidance. He invited him to come to the Za’faran Monastery in the hope of correcting his waywardness. Mikha’il Jarwa journeyed to the Za’faran Monastery, where he remained for a long time, but to no avail. Eventually, he fled back to Aleppo. There he stopped mere prevaricating and resorted to open perfidy. In 1774, he renounced the Holy and Orthodox (Syrian) Church, declaring that he had joined the Western Latin (Roman Catholic) faith. Most of the Syrian congregation and priests of Aleppo also joined this faith. [Rabbath, Inedits Documents, 1: 592] They did this arbitrarily and out of ignorance, having been infected by an old leaven which had been fermenting since the time of Andrew Akhijan of Mardin and Peter Bedin of Edessa in the middle of the previous (seventeenth) century. [Akhijan was a Syrian Orthodox cleric who was entrapped by Latin friars and converted to Catholicism in the seventeenth century. The Latins had him ordained as an unlawful patriarch of the schismatic group of the Syrian Church, which today is known as Syrian Catholics. Tr.] We need not mention that most Syrians then lacked religious knowledge and understanding of the Syriac language of their fathers. Thus, they became a prey to seducers.
When the patriarch saw the danger which was threatening the diocese, he traveled to Aleppo accompanied by a number of bishops and monks, arriving in the city on May 22, 1775. He gained control of the church building (which had been seized by the schismatics) and punished the bishop (Jarwa) and his faction. This cost him thirty purses, or 15,000 piasters, equivalent to 1,500 golden liras [ According to the letter of Chorepiscopus Yaqub (Jacob) of Qutrubul in refutation of Mikha’il Jarwa in 1775]. The schismatics, however, re-seized the church building, using foreign (French) influence and bribing the (Ottoman) officials. The patriarch returned to his see and suspended and anathematized the metropolitan (Jarwa). Meantime, a friend of Jarwa named Yusuf Qudsi, leader of the small schismatic faction, arrived in Aleppo denouncing and challenging Jarwa. But the French consul supported Jarwa and banished the Latin padres who opposed him. [Rabbath, Inedits Documents, 2: 592-597] Patriarch Jirjis obtained a firman (royal edict) ) from the Ottoman government to banish the culprit (Jarwa) and a number of his supporters, but Jarwa escaped, as usual, to Latakia and then to Cyprus. Finally he ended up in Egypt. At the end of 1777, the patriarch ordained Dionysius ‘Abd Allah Shidyaq of Aleppo as metropolitan for Aleppo. In 1778, Mikha’il Jarwa fled from his place of exile and returned to Aleppo after bribing the Wali (governor) with a great amount of money. Bribery was a plague of the Ottoman governors, whose state then was at its worst, having turned its judicial principles topsy-turvy.
Stiill, Mikha’l Jarwa was not satisfied with what he had done. When the patriarchal see became vacant with the death of Patriarch Jirjis IV on July 21, 1781, he became driven by ambition and ill intentions to possess it. He was encouraged by the Western (European) Roman Catholics, who enticed him to snatch the leadership of the (Syrian Orthodox) Church in any manner conceivable. He proceeded to accomplish his intention by means of bribery with the support of a few parishioners who had fallen into the same (Roman Catholic) trap, especially in the city of Mardin, where some Syrians had been secretly dancing to the (Roman Catholic) tune for sixteen years. They were instigated by those Armenians and Chaldeans who had already embraced the papal doctrine.
Jarwa arrived in Mardin in the middle of November, bearing gems and gifts for its officials in order to achieve his goal. He resided at the Church of the Forty Martyrs. He almost choked to see that the majority of the Syrians supported the patriarchal deputy, Cyril Matta, metropolitan of the Monastery of Mar Matta and Mosul. His stratagem was to offer hefty bribes to the Ottoman governors of Diyarbakr, Mardin, and Baghdad, to which Mardin was then subject. What helped him most, though, is the corruption of the Ottoman state and the degeneration of the feudalistic system. This corruption was most noticeable in Mardin, whose administration was controlled by ignorant and tyrannical Kurdish aghas (lords) who understood only the worst aspects of life. They took turns in the administration of the city for short periods, during which they satiated their greed with licit and illicit money. [In the time of the Ottoman Sultan Mustafa III (1757-1773), corruption, bribery and treason reached an unimaginable level. In the reign of his successor, ‘Abd al-Hamid I (1773-1787), chaotic conditions of the state became paramount, and calamities afflicted the Ottoman state so much that it caused the sultan to die from grief. See Shakib Arslan, Appendix to the Prolegomena of Ibn Khaldun, pp. 270-275.] Being corrupt and used to bribery, these governors strongly supported Jarwa in achieving his aim. But the Syrian Orthodox people, who adhered to their faith, renounced Jarwa’s schismatic dereliction. Two bishops, Cyril Matta and his brother Metropolitan Julius ‘Abd al-Ahad, superior of the Za’faran Monastery, challenged him to return to the church’s fold, but he kept persisting in this stubbornness. He became even more intransigent. What encouraged him most, however, was his reliance on a small group which was instigating him to return stealthily to Aleppo. He repaired to Aleppo to add more fuel to the fire of enmity, schism and sedition. He borrowed, as he said, a great amount of money to offer as a bribe to the Kurdish governor of Mardin, ‘Isa Beg, son of Muharram Beg Mulli. He likewise bribed the notables of the city, who supported him against his opponents (the Syrian Orthodox) and even forced them to join him. His faction offered the governor an amount of money which he sent to Sulayman Pasha al-Kabir Abu Sa’id, Wali of Baghdad, requesting him to install their man, Mikha’il Jarwa, as patriarch. They also offered Sulyman Pasha six thousand piasters to obtain a decree from the Ottoman State (Sultan) recognizing Jarwa as patriarch. Thirty days later, the Wali of Baghdad issued an order to the governor of Mardin to install Jarwa as patriarch over the Za’faran Monastery. The governor obeyed, as Jarwa himself said.
Furthermore, Jarwa ensnared two (Syrian Orthodox) bishops, Iyawannis Tu’ma or Ni’ma of Sadad, who was bishop of Midyat (1779-1780), and Athanasius Musa Sabbagh of Aleppo, who was a newcomer to the monastic order and the priesthood. He was ordained a priest-monk in 1777. He was sent by the patriarch to Azekh in the fall of 1780 to collect the patriarchal tithes and to supervise the building of its church. Sabbagh remained at Azekh until the summer of 1781. When he learned of the death of the patriarch, hoping to fulfill his ambition, he called on the Maphryono of Tur Abdin, Saliba. He coaxed the maphryono to ordain him a bishop. The maphryono agreed and ordained him a bishop, but without a diocese [ MSS of Azekh and Tur ‘Abdin]. Sabbagh turned to Jarwa, hoping to find him a position. Meantime, the governor (of Mardin) forced two more bishops, Gregorius Bishara of Bedlis, metropolitan of Jerusalem, and Cyril Ibrahim Baddi of Mardin, another new priest in the service of the Patriarchal Office, to defect. Jarwa took these bishops to the Za’faran Monastery and forced them to ordain him as patriarch, as he claimed. According to church law, no patriarch can be ordained without a synod of bishops, which must elect him to be patriarch. This usurpation of the patriarchate occurred on January 25, 1782. Jarwa returned to Mardin to force the congregation and clergy to join him. He even had his opponents thrown into prison. These sad events, however, displeased Metropolitan Matta, his brother, and the clergy of the Syrian Church. To avoid Jarwa’s machinations, the two bishops fled at night to Qal’at al-Imra’a and then to Tur ‘Abdin, accompanied by a great number of monks. They met with Barsoum of Arbo, Patriarch of Tur ‘Abdin, Maphryono Saliba, and other bishops of Tur ‘Abdin. They convened a synod and discussed the disaster inflicted on the Apostolic See by the usurper (Jarwa).  They denounced Jarwa and chose Metropolitan Cyril Matta. They took him to the Monastery of Mar Abai in Qellith and ordained him a Maphryono of the Patriarchal See. The new maphryono began his position by ordaining four bishops. On February 6, 1782, the festival of Cana of Galilee, they celebrated his consecration as Patriarch of Antioch. The new patriarch sent his brother to the Ottoman capital to obtain a royal decree of his investiture.
Meanwhile, Mikha’il Jarwa contacted the governor of Amid, ‘Abdi Pasha, who forced some of its (Syrian Orthodox) people to join Jarwa. He also arrested Jarwa’s opponents and threw them in chains into prison on February 16 and March 3. Among them were the priests Fath Allah, Yaqub Shami, and Yeshu’, son of Jabi, and others. But they were later released and returned to their (Syrian) church.  Metropolitan Bishara and Metropolitan Ibrahim managed to escape Jarwa’s coercion and joined the patriarch. Jarwa resided for six months at Mardin and then at the Za’faran Monastery. He stretched out his hand to rob the valuable vessels and manuscripts of the monastery, which he sent to Aleppo. [ I personally saw these manuscripts and checked some of them at the Sharfa Monastery in Lebanon in the summer of 1968. When I asked the monk who showed them to me to whom they had originally belonged and how they got to the Sharfa Monastery, he was timid and reluctant to give me a satisfactory answer. When I told him that Mikha’il Jarwa was the one who looted the Library of the Za’faran Monastery and its manuscripts, which ended up in the Sharfa Monastery, the host monk kept silent and said not a word. Tr. ] He resorted to trickery, bribery, and calumny to obstruct the activities of Patriarch Matta. He even succeeded in having the governor of Mardin summon the patriarch and his bishops and cast them in chains into prison. Three days later, the prison collapsed from heavy rain, and God saved the prisoners. The governor let them go free. On their way to the village of Qutrubul, whose congregation had invited them for a visit, Mikha’il Jarwa and his partisans bribed the governor of Amid, who arrested them. They were twelve in number, including the patriarch, a metropolitan, and monks. The governor was about to execute them, but they ransomed themselves for twelve purses (six thousand piasters).
Meanwhile, Metropolitan ‘Abd al-Ahad returned to Mardin carrying the sultan’s decree of the patriarch’s investiture, which caused the Syrian Orthodox people to rejoice.  Both the governor and the qadi (religious judge) of Amid had the decree officially registered, and handed over the church building (which had been seized by Jarwa) to Patriarch Matta.  The patriarch came to Mardin and was received cordially by the governor of the city, who offered him his own mule to mount as he entered the city. The patriarch entered Mardin and proceeded to the Church of the Forty Martyrs with great pomp, in which the whole city celebrated. He evicted the usurper from the church premises, and Jarwa left discomfited and humiliated. The patriarch advised Jarwa once more to desist from schism, but to no avail. Seeing that he was still insistent on his error, the patriarch had no choice but to banish him to the Khatuniyya citadel, situated on a small lake near the Sinjar Mountain in northern Iraq. But Jarwa, using bribery, succeeded in changing his place of banishment to the city of Mosul, and then to Baghdad. Meanwhile, the patriarch obtained a special firman (royal decree) for his banishment and some of his partisans because he had disturbed the peace of the governors and their subjects by planting seeds of sedition among them. When Jarwa realized that he was cornered and his bribes were ineffective, he feared the consequences of his wickedness. He left Baghdad in disguise at night on a camel’s back. He passed through barren country until he reached the village of ‘Adra, near Damascus, populated by Muslims. He sent a message to the few acquaintances who had secretly kept his faith, but they refused  to receive him for fear of the governors. Being vagrant and fugitive, Jarwa found refuge in a ruined monastery belonging to the Maronites, in the village of Beit Shabab in the Kisrawan Mountain, in Lebanon. Months later, he was compelled to leave the monastery when Maronite nuns came to abide in it. The nuns had escaped the ravages of the war then going on between the Amir Yusuf al-Shihabi (1770-1790) and two other amirs of his own family who had challenged his authority. Worse still, Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar, the governor of Sidon, had occupied the country (Lebanon). So Jarwa went to stay in a small monastery newly built in the village of Shaybaniyya, called the Monastery of Mar Ephraim al-Raghm [ Built in 1709 and destroyed by fire in 1841]. The monastery was inhabited by a few adherents of his faith, including his friend Yusuf Qudsi, who it is said was a merchant. These men, however, disliked his staying at the monastery because they were aware of his case and abhorred his cunning. For four months more he stayed with a destitute peasant.  At the beginning of 1785, he rented a small house at the Sharfa of Der’un as his residence.
Jarwa realized that his nets were torn up and his endeavors in the country of Beth Nahrin met with failure.  Also, he despaired of receiving aid from the French government through his friends. France was in turmoil; the Revolution erupted in 1789, and King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette were guillotined in 1793 [ Despite his intelligence, King Louis XV was lazy and profligate. In his reign (1743-1774) there was turmoil in political affairs, where women had the upper hand.  His grandson and successor, Louis XVI, was likewise of good heart and character, but of timid disposition and will. He failed to reform France which revolted against him. See Scond, The History of France, pp. 380, 386, 434.]  In his predicament, Jarwa turned to Spain. He wrote to a Spanish countess about his condition in a tear-compelling manner asking for help. The countess sent him some money which enabled him to settle his debts and buy the house he had rented. He remained in this condition until his death on September 15, 1800, having suffered for two years from serious diseases.
As for Metropolitan Ni’ma of Sadad, he spent his life attached to Jarwa. He was indolent and is not remembered for any achievement.  So was Bishop Musa of Aleppo, a liar who joined Jarwa out of ambition, hoping to receive a better position in the church. When he failed, he became embittered and turned against Jarwa. He remained at home in Aleppo, desperate and inactive, avoiding Jarwa’s partisans until his death shortly after 1818.
After the death of Mikhai’l Jarwa, his few partisans continued plotting against each other for thirty more years. Since they were only two or three bishops without dioceses, except the bishop of Qaraqosh, they sought the aid of bishops of Western (Latin) denominations to be ordained to a higher office. If it is true, as was believed then, that Jarwa spent 50,000 piasters on his schismatic manipulations, and that his schism cost the Syrian Orthodox Church 150,000 piasters, estimated at 20,000 to 25,000 golden liras, one would realize how much damage this wicked man did  the church. This is not to mention the moral and spiritual harm, which is far more serious than any other hurt he caused the church. Unfortunately, when wicked intentions possess the heart, they will corrupt it. And when ignorance controls the mind of man, it will cause him to lose his way.
We have collected the above information briefly from trustworthy eyewitnesses whose testimonies are unanimous. [ See the roster of the Syrian patriarch by Metropolitan ‘Abd Allah al-Shidyaq (d. 1801), derived from a copy in his own handwriting found at  the home of Hannush al-Khuri Yusuf in Diayarbakr; a short roster of bishops appended by a contemporary to the Chronicle of Patrarich Mikha’il Rabo, in the two copies of Sadad and Jerusalem; the comment of Deacon Mikha’il, son of Dawud of Nabk, in the Book of Husoyos for Lent in 1783, and another one by Metropolitan Elias al-Akhras (d. 1792) and others.]  It is not true, as Jarwa himself claimed, that what he did was done with meekness (Jarwa’s story in his own words), as did some of his later followers, who fabricated his life-story and lavished praise on him, describing him as the paragon of knowledge and righteousness. [ See Viscount Philip Tarrazi, al-Salasil al-Tarikhiyya fi Asaqifat al-Abrashiyyat al-Suryaniyya (Beirut, 1910), 212-228, and Dionysius Afram Naqqasha, Kitab Inayat al-Rahman fi Hidayat al-Suryan (Beirut, 1910), 186-217. In fact, the greater part of this book is about Jarwa. Both of these sources are highly biased and should be read with utmost caution. Tr.] One of them, however, refuted them, ascribing to Jarwa ignorance, cunning and machination. [The reference here is to Metropolitan Jirjis Shahin (1839-1927), a Syrian Catholic who was totally displeased with his church and its chief clerics. But he did not leave it. He wrote two monographs admitting that his own people had seceded from the Syrian Orthodox Mother Church. Specifically, he discussed Mikha’il Jarwa in his monograph entitled Kashf al-Anqiba ‘an Wujun al-Mu’allifin wa al-Mu’arrikhin al-Kadhaba (Removing the Veils from the Faces of False Writers and Historians: Beirut, 1911).  On p. 12, he says about Mikha’il Jarwa, “He, may God have mercy on him, was dumb; his speech was marked by stuttering. People did not like the way he spoke. But he was clever and cunning. Thus, when Aphram Naqqasha of Mosul said in Inayat al-Rahman, p. 330, that Patriarch (Jarwa) was eloquent, having a sweet manner of speech, that is but one of the many lies with which he embellished his book. Tr.] This view was corroborated by some of Jarwa’s letters, addressed to the distinguished Western people who supported him, which he embellished with obvious phases of pride, arrogance  and false zeal.  He did not even feel ashamed to display in them his disdainful treatment of his lord, the patriarch of Antioch, who had ordained him a metropolitan. Outwardly, he showed affection and obedience to the patriarch, but inwardly, he harbored disobedience and schism. Jarwa had a speech impediment which caused him to stammer, not to mention his ignorance of both Syirac and Arabic languages and belles-lettres.
Appendix to the Biography of Basilius Shukr Allah of Aleppo,
maphryono of Malabar
We have already published the biography of Maphryono Shukr Allah, of blessed memory,  which we gathered from different historical sources in some libraries. They include the tract written by the Chorepiscopus Jirjis Tunburji of Aleppo, in the colloquial language of Aleppo and sent to his acquaintances in that city. In this tract, Tunburji recorded in detail the account of the journey of the maphryono and his companions to Malabar (see above). Tunburji’s tract, however, is defective at the beginning. It begins with the arrival of the maphryono and his entourage at the citadel of Cochin. Recently, we found another copy of this tract, written in the hand of the author which contains the lacunas in the first one. It ends with the arrival of the travelers in Baghdad, where they remained for twelve days. However, it still lacks an account of their stay in Baghdad, prior to their arrival at the citadel of Cochin. This second copy consists of 17 small-sized pages and begins with the first chapter of the voyage.
We have also come upon a copy transcribed from a small notebook containing the account of the maphryono (of blessed memory) for a whole year, from October 1751 to October 16, 1752. It is written by Maphryono Shukr Allah himself and consists of 31 pages, 11 lines each.
Since these two sources contain accounts written with great accuracy, and elucidate what we have said earlier, and also they correct what we have quoted from other copies which we acquired through translations of Malabarian writers, we thought of publishing both accounts for more benefit. We have corrected most of the linguistic and grammatical errors in both of them while keeping the original intact as much as possible. We have commented on both for the sake of elucidation and emendation of what has already been written. Following is the first tract:
In the Name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate
We proceed to write the account of our journey from Aleppo and what happened to us.
We left Aleppo on Sunday afternoon, January 7, (1750). We were seen off by the deacon Ni’mat Allah Shidyaq and his cousin Anton, the deacon Ni’mat Allah Jarwa, the deacon Anton al-Wakil, and a great number of priests, deacons and laity. We, the weak, the Maphryono Shukr Allah, son of the deacon Musa Qasabchi, the Chorepiscopus Jirjis, son of Chorepiscopus Ni’ma, and deacon Anton, son of the priest Sim’an, bade them farewell and entrusted them to God, the Benevolent: In our company  were also three attendants: deacon Musa, son of the sister of Bishop Tuma (see above the biography of  Tuma, Bishop of Damascus (d. 1750)) , deacon Hidaya, nephew of Maqdisi Elias al-Azraq (The Malabarians changed the name of Shammas Hidaya to Addai), and Shamaya, an Indian Jew who hailed from India with deacon Anton.
When those who had come to see us off left, we proceeded to a village called ‘Assan [Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu’jam al-Buldan, 6: 172, says that ‘Assan is a village in the vicinity of Aleppo, about a farsakh (four miles) distant. Could he mean Ashin, a village near Aleppo? See Chorepiscopus Barsoum Ayyub, al-Usul al-Suryaniiya fi Asma’ al-Mudun wa al-Qura al-Suryaniyya (Dar Mardin, 2000), p. 237.] The maphryono mounted a beast while we walked because beasts were not available. We arrived in the village at dinner time very tired and slept the night.  We woke up in the morning and hired eight camels for the second time because the Bedouin, Salih, had not even one camel [In Chapter 13 of his tract, the Chorepiscopus Jirjis explains the reason camels were not available: “Rizq Allah and Gabriel Chalabi, sons of Jarwa, sold pieces of cloth to Salih al-Fukayli on credit. As they had no means of getting back their money, they deserted us in order to find another source of money. They arranged a deal with Salih al-Fukayli to hire camels for us and charged us two hundred piasters. When we got to the village of ‘Assan, the common saying, ‘we have seen neither a camel nor camels,’ truly applied to our condition. So we hired camels for the second time.” This Rizq Allah is son of Mikha’il. Gabriel is the son of deacon Ni’mat Allah, son of Mikha’il Jarwa. The first Rizq Allah is the uncle of Metropolitan Mikha’il Jarwa; the second one, Gabriel, is his brother.] I, the weak Chorepiscopus Jirjis, and our father the maphryono rode in litters, while the rest rode on camels.
Those from whom we hired the camels were four men: al-Hajj Ramla, Faris, Hasan, and another Faris. We traveled for a few days until the eighth day, when we camped near al-Sukhna [Yaqut, 5: 47, identifies it as a village in the Syrian desert between Tadmur (Palmyra), ‘Urd and Arak, whose people were Arabs.] on Sunday, January 14. We remained for a day at al-Sukhna because a camel of Hajj Ibrahim ibn Waranka of Baghdad had died, and the merchandise it was carrying was left in the wilderness and had to be retrieved. This was done, and on Tuesday we proceeded to al-Tiba. Riding in camel litters caused us trouble, and we were forced to break them and toss them into the wilderness. We hired a work-horse for our father the maphryono, and I mounted the camel of the discarded litter. There were about twenty horses and mules in the caravan. On the desolate road we suffered from severe cold weather, which some Arabs said they have not seen before. From when we left Aleppo until we reached ‘Ana, there was not even a drop of rain. But when we approached al-Tiba, snow fell early for almost half an hour.
We continued our journey for days, with no highway to follow. We entered a valley called al-Ratqa and went through it for three days. As we exited the valley on Sunday January 28, it was a rather dark day, because of the fear which gripped us three times. The first time was early in the morning, the second at noontime, and the third in the evening. Our calamity was great and even mingled with death.
Our first fear, in the morning, arose because leaders of the caravan wanted to camp at a water-well called al-Mani’i. In early evening they decided to send two men to observe  the place and find out whether its people were Arabs or otherwise. When the two men departed and approached the site, they saw smoke coming out of it and turned back. As they were returning, the caravan’s leaders saw them far off and thought they were enemies. But the cavalry men in the caravan recognized them. So we had peace and continued the journey.
The reason of the second scare was the following.  After moving on until noontime, the leaders of the caravan said that Arabs (Bedouins) had already descended upon the water well and they could not get to it.  What should we do?  The caravan’s men said that the River Euphrates was nearby and we should camp at its bank. The river was about three days’ distance. So, by God’s guidance, we moved on. We had marched for hardly an hour when we met about twenty men who told us that they had been intercepted by Arabs. We wondered what to expect. Immediately, the cavalrymen and the gunmen of the caravan rushed to the vanguard and found out that the men were small in number. They asked, “Who are you?” and they said, “We are of the Dulaym Arabs.”  “And what are you doing here?” they were further asked.  They said, “We are shepherds tending the sheep of the Dulaym.” Suddenly, we were surprised by Arabs of the ‘Anaza tribe, who stole the sheep and drove us along with them. As we reached their residence, they took whatever we had and departed.” Ironically, they went on lamenting our condition, saying, “Allah has been gracious to you because we have come upon you. Listen to us and do not continue on this road. Come with us to our people, the Dulaym Arabs, and camp at the bank of the river (Euphrates). We shall prepare for you roasted sheep, yogurt, and butter. Spend the night in rest and leave in the early morning.” The hapless men of our caravan — by the way, our caravan was small — who wanted to spend a sociable night, went along with them, while we moved on, saying, “God has rescued us from the third cause of our fear.” When we got close to the residence of their people (the Dulaym Arabs) the caravan’s leaders said, “Let us camp here.” They camped at a depression surrounded by low mounds. One of the men whom we had met on the road hurried to tell the Dulaym Arabs that a small caravan had come from Aleppo with only a few armed men, and this was an opportune time to capture it. Hardly half an hour passed since we camped, when we were ferociously attacked by almost two hundred horsemen and a great number of footmen. When the caravan’s leaders saw they were being attacked, they raised their muskets and told the attacking horsemen to retreat or they would fire at them. When they did not retreat, the caravan’s men fired, killing a horse of the Dulaym Arabs. The horsemen fled, but the footmen set up barricades to shelter us because we were positioned on low ground. They too had muskets with them. When the caravan’s men saw that the footmen of the Dulaym Arabs had set up barricades, they too set up barricades from the cargo they had. Both sides began to fire. We sought protection, hiding behind the goods, and began to pray to God, weeping and crying, “O God, save us!” It seems that God’s mercy watched over us. The shots passed over our heads like a rain shower for almost four hours until sunset [We have said earlier that the men of the caravan and the Arabs (of the Dulaym) fired for about fifteen hours.  Actually, the shooting lasted four to five hours.], and behold! a group of horsemen approached us asking for peace. During the skirmish two armed men of our caravan fell dead. They were Muhammad Hitawi (of Hit) and Hajj Muhammad Basrawi (of Basra). They were the men of Arutin Jarfali of Aleppo. A camel and few horses were also lost, and a man was hit in the shoulder but recovered. The Dulaym lost one man and a few horses.  When the men came asking for peace, the firing stopped and we heaved a sigh of relief, but they went on to say, “Because you have killed one of our men and a few horses, you should pay us blood money. If you refuse, then prepare to fight.” The caravan’s leaders tried to come to terms with them. Only God knows how much we suffered that night. It was so cold that we could not pitch our tents or sleep until morning.
Let us return to our subject. In our company was an ‘Anaza companion named Ibrahim who had advised the men of the caravan not to stay with the Dulaym Arabs, but they did not listen to him. When he saw what had happened, he said to the caravan’s leaders, “Whatever happened has happened. Give me a horse to ride, and I will go to my cousin Fadil, the amir of the ‘Anaza  Arabs, and bring him to you to rescue you from these marauders.” The caravan leaders provided him with a horse, which he mounted and left. His cousin was far away from our camp, about one and a half days’ journey. Ibrahim reached his cousin in the middle of the night and brought him back to us at sunrise. When the Dulaym Arabs saw him, they began to flee into crevices in the ground. The ‘Anaza Arabs fell upon the Arabs of the Dulaym and beat them. At the same time, the men of our caravan captured two men of the Dulaym Arabs, tied them up, and demanded that they hand back whatever they looted. Evidently, they have stolen at night merchandise worth a thousand piasters.
Meanwhile, the accursed Wandal, shaykh of the Shammar Arabs, who was staying with the Arabs of Dulaym and had instigated them against us, came and implored Fadil of ‘Anaza to release the two men. The caravan leaders yielded and released them. Even if they had not released them, however, they would have given back everything their people had taken at night. Presently, Fadil asked us to load our beasts; we did so and moved on. Twenty horsemen of the ‘Anaza Arabs accompanied us until we came to a house, where we spent the night. Early in the morning of Monday, January 29, we were again on our way. Before we set out, however, Fadil of ‘Anaza demanded from us ten Venetian gold coins for each of our loads. The men of the caravan counted sixty loads and bargained to pay him only nine gold coins for each load. They guaranteed the amount they promised. As a security they gave him two loads of broadcloth and a load of paper, together with the camels that were carrying them. They were to get the loads back upon payment of the total amount. [ We have said above in describing the journey of the maphryono that the captain of the robbers received from the men of the caravan 9000 gold coins. Later, however, we discovered that this number was an error by the copyists  or the translators of the Syriac or the English text, who added a zero, so that 900 became 9000.] This Fadil was the one who looted the ‘Afrawi’s caravan. Be that as it may, Fadil departed, and the Arabs of Shammar accompanied us to ‘Ana. [Yaqut, 6: p. 101, said that according to Kulaibi, the villages of ‘Anat were called so after the names of three brothers of the people of ‘Aad who had fled and taken up residence in these isles. But the Arabs called them ‘Aanat, meanng a herd of deer. ‘Ana is a famous town situated between al-Raqqa and Hit in the province of the Jazira. It overlooks the River Euphrates near the Nura garden. It has a formidable fortress. Qa’im bi Amr Allah was taken to it when the Basasiri intended to kill him, but his murder was prevented by Maharish. Tughrul Beg then came and killed the Basasiri and restored the caliph to Baghdad. The caliph was absent from Baghdad for one year.  Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Hamadhani said that Hit and ‘Aanat belonged to the province of Anbar. When Anusherwan reigned, he learned that bands of Arabs had been raiding the region close to the Sawad (in southern Iraq) up to the Badiya (desert). He ordered the rebuilding of the walls of a town called Alus, which Sapur Dhu al-Aktaf (‘he of the shoulders’) had built and fortified with armament to protect the region.] Surely, if God had not sent us Fadil of ‘Aanaza, the Dulaym Arabs would have robbed us and taken our clothes and belongings. They would even have killed us because of the blood which was shed on both sides. Even if they had not slaughtered us, the least they could have done was to leave us naked to die from cold. Only God knows what would have happened to us. Thank God for our safety.
We entered ‘Ana at sunset on Thursday, February 1, the twenty-sixth day since we had left Aleppo.  We lodged at the house of a Muslim for two days. ‘Ana is situated on the bank of the River Euphrates and stretches for three hours’ journey. After two days we left and lodged at the house of a Jew in the eastern part of ‘Ana, which we rented for four shahis [ one shahi was equivalent almost to half a golden lira ] a day. Prices were high in ‘Ana, and two piasters a day was not enough for our keep. We observed the Fast of Nineveh and then prepared to fast for Lent, which followed a little more than two weeks later. [The Fast of Nineveh occurs on February 5, and Lent begins on the 26th of the same month.]  At ‘Ana, we received a report that Ta’aan, the shaykh of the Arabs of Shadid, had attacked the Dulaym Arabs and killed fourteen of them. He robbed them and took others captive. He left them nothing. How true in this case is the proverb, “The iniquitous will be afflicted by one more iniquitous than himself.”
Conflict arose between the people of ‘Ana and the Arabs of Shammar, who robbed some of them and captured 130 donkeys and a few cows, but killed only one man. Those who fled were safe. At ‘Ana we were also shaken with fear of the Arabs. After we had waited forty days at ‘Ana, the pasha’s deputy came and advised us to journey to Baghdad. But we (the maphryono and his companions) did not want to go to Baghdad. So the caravan departed and we remained in the town. Our delay was because the water level of the Euphrates was low.  Between ‘Ana and Hit, water wheels with locks stretched over both banks of the river. If the river did not flood, riverboats were unable to navigate. The travelers in the caravan were forced to leave, however, and we remained behind for fifteen days. All told, we stayed in ‘Ana for fifty-seven days.
On Thursday, March 29, we embarked on a riverboat whose captain was called ‘Abd Allah. We arrived at a village called Hubbayn where we anchored for three hours. We moved on to another village called al-Zawiya on the Euphrates bank, where we spent the night. On Friday March 30, we moved to a populated isle in the middle of the river called al-Haditha, and on Saturday, March 31, we passed by a populated isle called Alus [Hubbayn, today called Habbin, is on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. Yaqut did not mention it, nor did he mention al-Zawiya, which probably is known today as Zabda. Yaqut, 3: 235, says that al-Haditha, now known as Hadithat al-Nura, is a few miles from Anbar. It has a strong citadel in the middle of the Euphrates surrounded by water. It was built by Abu Midlaj al-Tamimi in the time of the governor of Kufa, ‘Uthman ibn Yasir, during the reign of the Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (634-644). Alus is a town situated on the Euphrates bank near ‘Aana and al-Haditha. Yaqut, 1: 326.] Near this isle was a tributary of the Euphrates called Haqlan, as big as the Aleppo River and full of fish. The people of the area told us that fish navigate from the salty sea near Basra through al-Bira to this place. They also told us that some people of Basra caught a big fish and, having wrapped it in the middle, released it in the Euphrates. They came to this place (Haqlan) to see whether someone had caught it.
We spent Sunday night at an isle called Jubba [Yaqut, 3:42, says Jubba is a village near Hit. From it came Abu Abd Allah ibn Jamil, who composed excellent poetry and served at Diwaniyya in different capacities. He died in 616 A. H./1218 A. D.], situated in the middle of the Euphrates. It was hemmed in with palm trees. On Sunday, April 1, we moved on to Hit, where we spent the night. The next day, we left Hit and spent Tuesday on the bank of the Euphrates opposite a ruined place called Mushayhid. We departed on Tuesday and spent the night at a place called al-Miqdam (today called Khan Miqdam), where the boats usually leave for Baghdad. Miqdam is one day distant from Baghdad. As we left on Wednesday April 4, an easterly wind blew up, and we began to tie down the boat as we moved from one island toward another. The islands were not populated, and boats could not navigate agianst the eastern wind. So we spent the night at the isle in the middle of the river. On Thursday March 5, we reached a village called Musayyab (on the Euphrates bank). Two hours later came a boat loaded with salt, but the sailors could not moor it to the bank because the water level was too high. At this village there was a bridge stretching on floating boats like the bridge of Baghdad. When the ship reached the bridge, it collided with it, broke up, and sank. When we saw what had happened, our hearts trembled with fear (like that of a pigeon). At this village, those in charge collected a month’s surety of one purse (500 piasters) from boats and from ingoing and outgoing caravans. We spent that night at Musayyab. On a Friday in Lent, April 6, we left and touched upon a village called Nasiriyya (today a large city) and went from there to Hilla about noontime. [ This is the Hilla of the Banu Mazyad, built by Sayf al-Dawla Sadaqa ibn Mansur ibn Mazyad al-Asadi. It is situated west of the Euphrates, to which Sadaqa had moved in the month of Muharram, 495 A. H./1101 A. D. It was a thicket where lions sought shelter. Sadaqa arrived in it with his family and soldiers and erected magnificent houses and buildings, which his own men imitated. Thus, Hilla became the greatest of Iraq’s towns. It is situated between Kufa and Baghdad.]
At Hilla we met Deacon Zachariah [ we said earlier that the deacons Hidayat Allah and Musa went to Baghdad ahead of the maphryono. More correctly, it should be said in this context that the two deacons were attendants of the maphryono and traveled with him], the attendant of Metropolitan Yuhanna (Gregorius Yuhanna of Khudayda, or Qaraqosh ], whom the metropolitan had dispatched to take us to Baghdad because the road from Hilla to Basra was controlled by the Muntafik Arabs and no one could travel by it. On the day of our arrival in Hilla, however, some boats departed and then returned. So we stayed in the caravansary of Hajj Yusuf, where Deacon ‘Ata Allah, the brother of the Chorepiscopus ‘Abd al-‘Azim of Diyarbakr, was also staying.  [ We have not found this chorepiscopus listed among the chorepiscopi or priests of Diyarbakr, who then numbered twelve.] On Palm Sunday, April 8, our father the maphryono said the Mass in the room. The ceremony was attended by Chaldeans and Armenians and some of our own people who were in Hilla. I, the poor one, recognized some of the people who belonged to these three denominations and offered them the mysteries (Holy Communion).
On Monday of Passion Week, we left Hilla on donkeys’ backs. In the evening we rested at Khan al-Mahawil. On Tuesday we departed for a khan called Bi’r al-Nuss, and then to another khan called Azad, where we spent the night. On Wednesday morning we left and arrived in Baghdad at high noon. We met Rabban Hanna, the deacon Yaqub of Edessa, attendant of Sulayman Pasha [He is Sulayman Pasha of Tiflis, who became governor of Baghdad in 1749 after being a servant to its Wali (governor) Ahmad Pasha since 1736. He was elected to the office of deputy of the pasha. Peace prevailed under his rule, which ended in 1761.], who came to meet us. They received us with utmost honor and went to inform Metropolitan Yuhanna of our arrival. We met the metropolitan at the entrance to the bridge, and accompanied him and those who received us to a house which they had rented and furnished two or three days earlier. We changed our clothes and rested at the house that night. On Thursday morning, I, the poor, celebrated the Mass in the house of Khawaja Yusuf Tarzi Bashi (Chief Tailor). Yusuf was a Greek (Byzantine or Rum Orthodox) but very affectionate. May God protect him and protect every loving person. He is the brother-in-law of Ni’mat Allah, son of Shukri Chalabi Shatma, who had married a native woman of Baghdad
On the Saturday of Light [ The Saturday following Good Friday, so called because it is believed that divine light springs out of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem Tr.], Metropolitan Yuhanna celebrated the Mass, and on Easter Day, April 15, our father the maphryono said the Mass at the Armenian Church. We were received with utmost hospitality and honor.. The Vartabet (priest) of the Armenian Church, Vartanis, was a loving man. After the service we took breakfast with him. On Easter Day, we were visited by some people from our denomination (Syrians) and by Armenians who offered their felicitation on the Easter Feast. But Padre Emmanuel did not come to see us. [He is Emmanuel Payeh (sic), the Carmelite who was sent to Baghdad in 1728, became a bishop in 1742, and left Baghdad in 1752.] As to deacon Yaqub of Edessa, attendant to Sulayman Pasha (may God bless him), he was ready to provide us with anything we needed. On New Sunday, I, the poor, celebrated the Mass at the home of Khawaja Yusuf Tarzi Bashi, and in the evening of the festival of Mar Jirjis (St. George) heavy rain fell in Baghdad for two hours.
This following second tract was written by Maphryono Shukr Allah, may God have mercy on him.
An account of the events which happened from October, 2063 of the Greeks to October, 2064 of the Greeks/1751-1752 A.D.
After Metropolitan Yuhanna departed on the company’s ship, we first calculated the debt  he had incurred as follows: two thousand rupees owed the company spent by deacon Anton. We also paid eighty-seven rupees, the difference between the said amount and that owed to the money changer in Basra. We found that the metropolitan owed 150 rupees to the company for the cost of the provisions needed on the journey and food which he used at the citadel; 400 rupees to Musa the Jew; 160 rupees to Elikeh, son of Ezekiel, and 100 rupees to David the Jew. The whole amount of the debt incurred by the metropolitan totaled 2897 rupees. This debt was on our back (demanded from us) because we had to assure the creditors of paying it in full. As to the total number of the objects he (the metropolitan) had under his control, they were recorded by the company after his departure in a ledger which I sent to him. They included chairs, furnishings, a staff, and a church vestment worth 300 rupees. Only the amount of 2597 rupees was left for us to pay.
On October 15, we accompanied our group from Kandanad to Kothamangalam to meet with Tuma, in order to reach an agreement with him. We entered the town and sent ten men to ask him to come to us with love, but he excused himself, saying that he was afraid of the governors. We sent the men once more and assured him of the governors’ guarantee of safety. He said that he would come eight days later. These days passed, and he did not show up. We sent the men for the third time, and he said that he would come on the second day of December. When the day drew near, the faithful brought him to us with great honor. We even ordered the church bell rung, thinking that he would come to meet us at the Church of the Virgin, where we were staying. But he did not come to this church and went to lodge at a small church where Maphryono Yalda was buried. Two hours later, we dispatched Rabban Hanna, accompanied by the deacons, who greeted him and told him to meet with the maphryono. He said that he was tired and could not come. Three days later we sent to him his own priests, one of whom, Yusuf, was wicked and malicious, and the priest Peter with other priests and laymen. Priest Yusuf remonstrated with us in an affectionate manner, but we said to him, “Mar Ignatius (the Patriarch of Antioch) has already sent letters to Tuma. Is it appropriate that he declined to meet with us or show us his face although we dispatched several men to plead with him? Yusuf answered, “The metropolitan who has departed left us no trust or faith. Now, Tuma  sent us asking to see the systaticon ( document of election) which you have in your possession, in order that we may know whether you are truly Syrian fathers or not.”  Priest Butrus (Peter) said, “I am a believer and have sinned against heaven and against you. We request you, however, to read the systaticon.” I said to them, “Let us go down to the church, and there you can read the systaticon because many people want to hear it.”  The systaticon was read at the church, and an interpreter translated it into their language. We imparted to them spiritual words and said that from now on there should be no communication conducive to discord. They departed in peace and informed Tuma of our conversation. On the next day Tuma went down to the church and gathered the congregation. He began to talk willfully against us, saying that he would never comply with anything we said. The people, who feared him, could not answer back because for twenty-four years, he had been their head, supported by the government’s power.
On the next day the priests came back and said to us, “Tuma asks why you place a piece of metal at the end of your pastoral staff; why, when you celebrate weddings, you have the bride stand to the right of the bridegroom; why you hand the best man (Ishbin) a sword [We know nothing about this custom, which is not in our tradition. Perhaps it was used in those days by some people.]; why you draw a curtain at the altar; [Drawing the veil or curtain of the altar is a custom still used in the churches of Mardin, Mosul and Amid]; and why you say in the Nicene Creed, ‘He rose on the third day as he willed’ (instead of ‘according to the Scriptures’). The Fathers never taught us these six customs.” [ In the original text these traditions numbered five, not six.]
We said to them, “The fathers who came to you were like a physician who calls on the wounded patient. First he treats the wound to prevent more serious illness. When the deadly wound is cured, then he goes on to treat the scratches. When the fathers saw that you had lost the way, they treated you as they could and strongly eliminated some of your bad customs. They had your priests grow long beards, handed them the faith, and taught them the seasons of fasting and times of prayers, as much as they could. Now Tuma is our spiritual son. Let him come to us, and we will reach a concord with him concerning these customs. Our main purpose is to treat the more sinister wounds and overlook what does not lead to death.” The priest returned to Tuma and told him what we had said, but he was not convinced. He said, “I want the maphryono to write to me whether these customs are those of the Syrians. I will keep his written answer for thirty days, and then I will come to see him and make peace with him.”
The priests argued, saying that the maphryono has explained to us all these things and confirmed them. He also said if Tuma would come to see him, he would agree with him on all these matters. Tuma was still not convinced. He sent to us some of the faithful, asking us to put down in writing whether these customs were those of the Syrians. We provided him with a copy of these customs and their explanation. We said, “Come to us and try to reach an agreement with us, and everything will be done in love according to your own liking.” He did not answer. We waited patiently until the thirty days passed, during which the people shuttled between us and him, imploring him to meet with us. At times, he said he would come to meet with us at night; at other times, however, he said  he would come after a period of time. We gathered the congregation and said to them, “We have been staying here a long time while Tuma refused to show up.  Let us go to other churches to see which of them has accepted us, in order to teach them the faith. Again, the people went to Tuma and insisted that he see the maphryono. He said he would come to meet with the fathers on February 15. The people asked us to remain until that day. We did. On February 15 the people congregated at a church which belonged to Tuma. On February 16, they presented themselves to us, saying that Tuma wanted us to go to St. Thomas Church, where he would be present. He will not kiss your hand, they added, until he has discussed everything with you and submitted to you. We said that it was almost evening, and he wanted to show up and engage us in a long discussion. What harmony could be reached at night? They answered that no harmony could be reached at night. We said to them, “Let him write down just three words indicating that he is coming to meet with us and reach an agreement with us. Hasten to the church, and we will join you.” They left to discuss the matter. They returned at four o’clock at night, saying, “He (Tuma) will not write down anything. We suggest that you too should come to the church.” We said to them, “It is night, and we cannot go to the church in the dark. Wait here until the morning.” They left.
When Tuma heard that we had told the people to wait until the morning, before dawn he ordered the congregation of the two churches who supported him to leave. We got up in the morning and went to the Church of St. Thomas to conduct the morning service, thinking that he would be present. But he did not show up. We returned to the Church of the Virgin, where we had lodged first, and told the congregation that we were leaving. They said we should inform the king (the Raja) and the Dutch Commodore of our departure. We complied. The commodore was newly appointed and had no knowledge of matters between the maphryono and Tuma. But the people informed him of them. The commodore addressed a letter to us and to Tuma. The raja also wrote to us. He and the commodore said that they wanted definitely to see us make peace.
We delivered the letters to Tuma and waited three days for an answer, but received none. We called the elders and spoke to them with great affection. We implored them to ask Tuma to make peace with us, as we had been commanded by the rulers. Tuma answered, “I have already sent letters to the raja and am waiting for a reply.”  We waited three more days but he did not respond. We sent him priests, to whom he said, “I cannot make peace right now but may do that later.” We wrote once more to the king and the commodore, who became furious with Tuma. But Tuma immediately approached them and won their consent. He wrote to them, “There is no conflict between me and the maphryono. In fact, I have not heard one single bad word from him. But I want to draw near Cochin to effect peace.” The raja and the commodore sent a message asking us to come to Kandanad, and said they would also summon Tuma to find where he stood.  We went to Kandanad on Friday of Palm Week After we left, however, Tuma went on Palm Sunday to the great church where we were staying, pulled out the step of the altar, and tore up its veil. Indeed, during our stay at that church we exerted great effort in talking with the priests until they became convinced to put on the vestments Metropolitan ‘Abd al-Jalil and Maphrian Yalda had brought with them. After we left, Tuma called the priests and rebuked them for obeying us. Some of them succumbed to him, while others remained resolute. The congregation, however, did not appreciate what Tuma had done, and no one prayed with him. When he left the church, the priests restored the step of the altar to its former place, fixed the altar’s veil, and informed us of their action. We wrote advising them that none of them should provoke trouble, because Tuma was seeking a conflict and we had not come to their land to engage in conflict [ Tuma, the false leader, was not satisfied with adhering to falsehood, maliciousness, calumny and impudence; apart from his violation of religion and church laws,  he even went a step further, arguing with the meek and patient maphryono about some church customs and traditions, most of which were trivial and unworthy of discussion. But it was evidence of his bad intentions and malice.]
On Maunday Thursday, we ordained priests and a deacon, and on the next day of Easter we ordained Rabban Hanna a bishop (April 30, 1752). On Thursday, we went to meet with the new commodore. He said, “I have a letter indicating that these people (the Syrians of Malabar) always antagonized the fathers who came from Antioch.” We (the maphryono) said to him, “We have no intention of picking a fight with anyone. You are the governor who should judge justly. Tuma is the one who wrote (to the patriarch) and brought me (to Malabar) in order to confirm him as a metropolitan. Now he says that he is head of the church and needs no confirmation.”  The commodore said, “Be of good cheer, every- thing will be according to your wish.”  We went to see the king (raja), who said, “Be of good cheer.” So, we returned to Kandanad and left Metropolitan Yuhanna behind in Cochin because he had fallen ill. He received treatment for fifteen days and recovered, and we brought him to Kandanad. Meanwhile, we traveled to Mattancherry to collect church dues in order to pay our debt.  While we were there, the maharaja sent us a message, saying, “I want you to go to Pallikarri and remain there to take care of its people, or send a bishop instead of you.  We said, “We cannot leave now.” But we sent Bishop Yuhanna to that town. After all, the people of Pallikarri were of weak faith, and Tuma had his center established in it. He always instigated them against Yuhanna and made trouble for him. Indeed, Bishop Yuhanna wanted to leave their town, but we wrote him to treat the people with love until we learned what the result would be. Furthermore, the king ordered us to send a bishop to them.”  We remained in Mattancherry for a month but could collect only a small amount of money because their church had suffered heavy debt, because Metropolitan Iyawannis of Amid had stayed with them and they were burdened with his expenses. Since then, the rulers had overwhelmed them, they claimed. Realizing that they were of no use to us, we went to a church called Pakoorr (sic), named after St. Thomas. It was in ruins, and its parishioners were poor.  We spent two days there and then left for Paruni, which was divided between the Syrians and the Franks (Latins). The governor of this town was not the raja of Cochin. Our Syrian parishioners came to us, saying, “We are afraid of Tuma and the Franks. Write to the governor that you are staying in the town with his knowledge. We wrote to the governor that we wanted to stay in his land for a few days. He wrote back, “Welcome, you may stay.”  He also wrote to a lesser governor in that region under his control to visit us and take us to the church at Mallikullam, which was under his domain. This church, too, was divided between the Syrians and the Franks. We stayed fifteen days in Paruni. The congregation of this town love only by their lips, but were scared of Tuma, who might do them harm.
On the fifteenth day the Syrians of Mallkullam came, by order of the governor, and took us to their town. But a wicked Frankish priest instigated some Franks against us. Others, however, were not pleased with him. This priest said, “Either I get killed or I kill the maphryono and destroy the church building.” When we arrived in the town, his followers stood at the entrance of the church, swearing by the head of the king (the maharaja), and begging our people not to enter the church. Our people said to them, “We have come by order of the king (raja).” They pushed them aside and entered the church. As they got inside, the Latin priest and his group took hold of the Bema [ Bema is the part of the church containing the altar where the Bishop’s Throne is placed. Tr.] and said, “We will never let the maphryono ascend the Bema.”  When we saw this, we told the lesser governor who had come with us, “We will not fight anyone. If you do not want us to abide by the governor’s (raja) orders, however, we will retreat.” The lesser governor said, “I have an order to bring you here. Now, neither you nor they should get to the Bema until I have discussed the matter with the governor.” So we remained at the church, with fifty men guarding us day and night.
That wicked Latin priest was a drunkard, notorious for his objectionable deeds. His supporters shuttled back and forth to see the governor, bringing along false reports which reveal the corruption of the government. What kind of a government would these men, who had no fear of God, have? There were four or five governors in the village, each of whom was under the authority of a higher governor. But none of them took heed of the others. Finally, we stayed there for fifteen days under guard while the governor prevaricated, hoping to receive bribes from both sides. When we realized that there was no use, because Tuma kept writing to the governor and to the congregation not to receive us or allow the priest to follow the traditions of our church, we left for Kandanat. We sent a message to the commodore informing him of the situation. He replied, “I have sent a letter to the king (raja) of the south, and when I receive an answer I will let you know of its contents.”  We kept waiting, but the commodore’s reply was delayed. Meanwhile, he asked us to go to Parur, where Metropolitan Mar Gregorius ‘Abd al-Jalil had died. Their king asked us to visit him, but for only two days. After much pleading, he agreed that we could stay for ten days. But the congregation disagreed, saying, “Let him (the maphryono) stay as long as he wishes.” Their king, however, was not pleased because the Franks scared him and said, “If the maphryono comes here, you will not be able to govern. Moreover, he is demanding the money of Mar Gregorius. [Mar Gregorius ‘Abd al-Jalil of Mosul, metropolitan of Jerusalem, was dispatched to Malabar in 1665 and administered the church there with great apostolic zeal. He passed away in 1671.] So we went to stay at Mulanthuruthi, where Bishop Hidaya had died. The parishioners of this town were poor and had squandered the bishop’s money because of enmity with each other. We could hardly receive a thing from them except food.
(Here the maphryono mentions the reports of the native elders of Mulanthuruthi about the conversion of the people of Malabar to Christianity and their procrastination until the arrival of Metropolitan Abd al-Jalil, Maphryono Yalda and Bishop Hidaya in Malabar. [Both Maphryono Basilius Yalda and Bishop Iyawannid Hidayat Allah were from Ba Khudayda (Qaraqosh), near Mosul. They were among the best of our church fathers of their time. Basilius Yalda died in 1685 and Hidaya in 1693. They left a good memory in Malabar. ]The maphryono ordained for them a bishop and a chorepiscopus named Tuma, who came from a family that had held clerical positions by heredity for a long time. But since the veracity of the accounts of the native elders cannot stand up under criticism, we overlooked their publication and satisfied ourselves with reporting the events that are connected with the biography of the rebellious (and unlawful bishop) Tuma as follows:
Twelve years before Tuma’s death, a Nestorian bishop called Gabriel arrived in Malabar [ Gabriel was a Nestorian bishop of Azerbayjan. Some say he was of Persian origin. Others say he was from Nineveh (Mosul). He went to Malabar in 1709.] and began to quarrel intensely with Tuma, telling him, “You should kiss my hand because you are not a bishop.” The priests agreed with him and kept reminding Tuma that he was not a lawful bishop. After much conflict the two separated, and Gabriel went to stay in the southern part (of Malabar), while Tuma remained at Kandanad. Meanwhile, Tuma ordained a priest and, as it happened, became gravely ill in Mulanthuruthi. The congregations of thirteen churches met and moved him to Kandanad. They deliberated the situation and discovered that Gabriel was a Nestorian who had altered some church customs. They also discovered that he was trying cunningly to plant among them the seeds of the Nestorian faith. For this reason they decided to install a new leader. They had the monk Tuma, nephew of the unlawful Bishop Tuma, whom Gabriel had  vested with the monastic habit. He seemed to have been behaving properly.  When they met to select a leader, some of them chose the monk Tuma, while others chose Tuma (the unlawful and rebellious bishop), who was suffering from severe illness. They said to Tuma, “Arise. Let us convey you to the church. Your nephew, the monk Tuma, will celebrate the Mass, and you will lay your hands on him.” He said to them, “That is not right. Then the people will say that a monk has ordained him (a bishop).” [This response shows that the rebellious Tuma did not consider himself a lawful bishop..Tr.] As he uttered these words he fell into a coma. When he regained consciousness, the priests brought him the book (office of ordination). He sat upright in the chair while the monk was reading (the service of ordination) to him. But Tuma lapsed into a coma again. Instantly, one of the priests placed the miter on the head of monk Tuma [  To show that his uncle, the rebellious and unlawful Bishop Tuma, had ordained him a bishop. Tr.] Two hours later he breathed his last. Meanwhile, their learned priests arrived, one of whom was named Abraham. The monk Tuma said to them, “I want to write letters to the churches (about his ordination), but how should I sign?” They said, “Sign your name as the Chorepiscopus.” But since they had no idea what a Chorepiscopus is, they began to argue with one another. Many of them refused to kiss his hand [ To show respect for the position of bishop. Tr.]. So he appealed to the king (raja), who brought soldiers who forced them to kiss his hand.
Meanwhile, the Nestorian Gabriel sent a message to monk Tuma to come to him in order to be ordained (a lawful bishop), but he refused. Some time later, Gabriel fell sick. When the monk Tuma heard that he was sick, he went to see him. While Tuma was on his way, Gabriel died at Kottayam. At his side was the priest Matta, the teacher. Now that Gabriel was dead, Matta became afraid of Tuma. He forged a letter, presumably written by Gabriel, stating that he had bestowed the office of the episcopate on monk Tuma, and placed it in Gabriel’s hand. He handed it to the monk Tuma, saying that he had found it in Gabriel’s hand. Tuma said that he needed no confirmation (as a bishop), declaring, “I have been confirmed by two bishops who have passed away.” [Here ends the story of the elders of Mullantory.]
In May, 1752, Tuma had the audacity to ordain his sister’s grandson a deacon to succeed him. Along with him he ordained two more deacons.  One of them, named Tuma, from the southern region, had already been ordained by Metropolitan Iyawannis Yuhanna. Apparently, the first one offered (Tuma) a bribe and schemed with him to ordain him a deacon; the other gave him fifty rupees as a bribe. But the majority of the people did not accept this action (of simony, i.e., selling church offices for money). On July 1 the king sent two heathen men to warn Tuma to quit making trouble. But he bribed them and promised that on the 25th he would make peace (with the maphryono). When they delivered his answer to us, we said that we would gratefully accept whatever the king ordered.
We wish to say how crooked the government in this country was. We have been told that there were numerous kings (rulers) in Malabar. In only one province, lying a distance of three days to the east, there were seventeen kings and governors. If this was their condition, then what kind of government would theirs be? As for the officials of the (Dutch) Company, they were not the rulers of the country and had no authority except over the citadel. But they had a prestigious position with the kings, some of whom feared them while others disregard them.
The date on which Tuma promised to meet with us passed and he did not appear. So on August 3, the date of the commemoration of Bishop Hidaya at Mulanthuruthi, we sent a message to Metropolitan Yuhanna and Bishop Yuhanna to come to us. We vested the priest Gurgis with the monastic habit. This priest was a native of Mulanthuruthi and of noble descent. Like us, he had learned how to say the prayers of the religious duties (that is, the prayers chanted antiphonally by two church choirs of priests and deacons.) We found him to be qualified for the priesthood. We had hopes that, by the intercession of the Virgin, he would continue to be of virtuous conduct. May the Lord bring forth good fruit from him!
We returned to Kandanad and sent for the Syrians of Parur, where Metropolitan ‘Abd al-Jalil had died. We asked them to hand over the metropolitan’s money. They gave us some of it and said that the rest had been squandered. We asked them to hand us what was available and they said that they would do so when I (the maphryono) visited them. We wanted to pay them a visit, but the Franks (Latin clerics) instigated the king, who refused to let us go. He sent us a message saying that he would leave information for me when I decided to pay the people of Parur a visit.  With this, we forgot about this matter for the time being and waited for the Lord’s disposal.
On September 20, the commemoration of Maphryono Yalda, we dispatched the metropolitan to Kothamangalam to celebrate the commemoration of the maphryono because he was his relative (it should be added to the biography of Metropolitan Gregorius Yuhanna that he belonged to the family of Maphryono Yalda of the East) and should stay with them for a while. On September 27 the Deputy Commodore of Cochin, passed away.  Meanwhile, we sent Bishop Yuhanna to Cochin for treatment because he had becme sick from staying too long in Pallikari. As for Deacon Anton, he made an agreement with some acquaintances who had provided him with merchandise  (perfumes worth five hundred rupees) to take it to Basra and then return to Malabar. He collected a sum of rupees and left for Basra with the intention of bringing his family back to India.
On October 15, of the year 2064 of the Greeks/1752 A. D., I, the poor, left Kandanad and went to the south. The next day I arrived in Kottayam, which the deceased Nestorian Gabriel had made a center of his activity. The congregation received us with alacrity, but their priests were like crafty foxes. May God help us against them. We left the bishop behind in Kandanad in our stead and left the metropolitan in Kothamangalam.  Kottayam is the first city in the southern province, where we have fourteen churches. Some of the parishioners came to see us, but others did not. Most of its people are rough and extremely tight-fisted. We asked God to direct us through this impasse, saying, “We have nothing to offer you except our supplication. Stay in peace.” [I have in my possession a letter dated August 27, 2063 of the Greeks/1752 A.D., from Patriarch Jirjis III addressed to Maphryono Shukr Allah and Metropolitan Yuhanna in Cochin, in answer to the maphryono’s letter to the patriarch, dated December 16, 1751. It was originally written in Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac script), but was copied in Arabic  script by the late Patriarch Aphram I Barsoum, most likely in 1909 when he was a monk at the Za’faran Monastery. The letter is part of a scrapbook containing miscellaneous items concerning the Syrian Church compiled by Barsoum.  In his letter, the Patriarch Jirjis III says that he received a letter from deacon Ni’mat Allah Shidyaq informing him of the sickness of the Chorepiscopus Jirjis and his recovery at Basra. He goes on to encourage the maphryono and his companions to be patient in face of the oppression and antagonism of the wicked Tuma.]