259. Patriarch Behnam of Hidl (d. 1454)

Posted by on Aug 30, 2019 in Library, Scholars and Writers | Comments Off on 259. Patriarch Behnam of Hidl (d. 1454)

Patriarch Behnam of Hidl
(d. 1454)

Patriarch Behnam is son of Yuhanna of the Habbo Kanni family originally from Bartulli, but he was born at Hidl. He became a monk at the Qartamin Monastery and was ordained a priest. In 1404 he was consecrated a maphrian under the name Basilius and succeeded the Patriarch Ibrahim on the See of Mardin under the name Ignatius on July 24, 1412. After the death of Patriarch Basilius V, he was able because of his lenient policies to convince the diocese of the patriarch to proclaim him a legitimate patriarch. Thus in 1445 they proclaimed him Patriarch of Antioch. He died on December 10, 1454. Patriarch Behnam was one of the best writers and poets of his time. There is no little creativeness in his poetry.

1. He drew up ten husoyos in a pleasant style, three of which are alphabetically arranged. They are on the presentation of our Lord in the Temple, the morning of the festival of our Lady over the crops; three for Lent, and four for the festivals of the saints Asya, Abhai, Barsohde and Saba. In this latter husoyo he used Greek terms.531
2. He selected commentaries from the book of Daniel of Salh and fixed them with his reinterpretation on a manuscript containing the Psalms written and punctuated by him in 1425.532 Chabot thought that these commentaries were written in the tenth century.533 In 1901 Giesen published the introduction of these commentaries together with two treatises.
3. He drew up a liturgy arranged according to the Syriac alphabet, beginning thus: “O God who art the sea of safety and the unfathomable depth of the water of peace.” To this he prefixed a husoyo beginning thus: “Praise to the bread of life,”534 and appended to it a dismissory prayer, which he composed in 1405, in the heptasyllabic meter arranged to the alphabet.
4. He composed eleven odes, five of which are in the twelve-syllabic meter. Two of these odes covering sixty pages in praise of the virtues of the martyr Mar Behnam,535 one rather lengthy in twenty-eight pages on the outstanding traits of the martyr Mar Basus,536 published by Chabot and then Bedjan anonymously. The former thought it was composed in the twelfth century,537 while Baumstark thought it was composed at the beginning of the Middle Ages.538 He also composed an ode on the martyr Mar Saba which has been lost, and another ode in thirteen pages on repentance in which he censures himself. It begins thus: “O Jesus who art the Light which illumined the world.”539 He also composed three odes in the heptasyllabic meter on supplication to God540 and repentance, one of which begins thus: “What is it with you my soul that you have gone astray in deception.”541 Furthermore, he composed three songs, one on the passion of Christ, arranged according to the alphabet,542 and the second in praise of the Virgin Mary, beginning thus: “I wonder if the mentioning of your beautiful traits.” This song is still sung during the festivals of the Virgin before the reading of the Gospel. His third song is on repentance.543 If his poems were collected they would make a good anthology.