265. Patriarch Yuhanna bar Shay Allah (d. 1493)

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Patriarch Yuhanna bar Shay Allah
(d. 1493)

Patriarch Shay Allah belongs to the family of the priest Abu al-Karam, originally from Bartulli. His father is Shay Allah son of Sad al-Din, who is also nicknamed Ibn al-Asfar. Patriarch Shay Allah was born at Mardin in 1442 and studied Syriac literature under the priests Shimun of Amid and Yuhanna of Mardin as well as the monks Yeshu of Basibrina and Dawud (David) bar Qashafo of Qalat al-Imra’a.560 He also studied astronomy, dialectics, philosophy and also theology in Mardin, Syria and Egypt. He was ordained a bishop of al-Sawr and Amid in 1471 and was elevated to the patriarchal throne in 1483 with the name Yuhanna XIV. He died in his middle age in 1493, after having ordained fourteen metropolitans and bishops. I found a few lines of verse of his in the heptasyllabic meter, expostulating his friend the monk Dawud of Hims.561 In 1496 an anonymous writer who may be one of his disciples or a relative wrote his life story in eighteen pages in a correct but rather involved and ungraceful style.562