274. Yusuf al-Gurji Metropolitan of Jerusalem (d. 1537)

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Yusuf al-Gurji Metropolitan of Jerusalem
(d. 1537)

Metropolitan Yusuf al-Gurji was born at Aleppo and was raised by the Patriarch Yuhanna (John) XIV after the death of his parents. He studied under the Patriarch Jacob I, became a monk at the Zafaran Monastery where he was ordained a priest in 1495.607 He became proficient in grammar, literature and calligraphy. We found precious manuscripts transcribed by him at the Church of Hisn Kipha and at the Oxford and Zafaran libraries. About 1510 or 1512 he was ordained a metropolitan for Jerusalem under the name Gregorius. For a time Hims, Damascus, Tripoli and Mardin were added unto his own diocese. He died in 1537, leaving behind great accomplishments to immortalize his name.608
Of his writings are three eloquent husoyos, one of them, written in 1507, in eight pages, is for the festival of Mar Zakhi (Nicolaus), was arranged according to the alphabet and could be read forward or backward.609 He also wrote comments on the chronicles of his contemporary fathers of the church and a neat and effective introduction to the Cream of Wisdom by Bar Hebraeus, which he transcribed in his own handwriting.610 Furthermore, in 1533, he revised the order of assuming the monastic leather habit by collating it with the Coptic and Ethiopian originals. He composed some rhymed verse on the path of the perfect ones, but they are forced and complicated.611