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Saints & Fathers of the Syriac Orthodox Church
St. Ab-hay

Ab-hay lived in the mid-fourth century under the Persian Empire. While his father who was a local ruler of royal stock, was taking part in one of the sieges of Nisibis, Ab-hay went off hunting, and in the region of Qellet (in Tur `Abdin), he encountered Addai, the abbot of a monastery under whose influence he became a Christian. His father, in fury, marched against the monastery, killed his own son, together with the local bishop Karpos and a large number of Christians. His father then fell ill, but dreamed that he could be healed by soil from the place where he had shed his son's blood. He duly went to Qellet, and in gratitude for his healing he built a monastery, naming it after his son. (The ruins of this monastery can still be visited just outside the village of Qellet.) The memory of Ab-hay is commemorated on 1st October.

Sts. Abrohom & Hobil

These were two pillar saints who, according to the Life of Philoxenos, lived near Midyat (in Tur `Abdin) about the end of the fifth century. The monastery named after them, just to the east of Midyat, still stands and has recently been restored. Hobil is a saint whose prayers have been traditionally been invoked by people suffering from eye diseases and paralysis. The memory of these saints are commemorated on 7th August.

St. Aho

There are at least two saints of this name. 1) A disciple of Mor Awgen, the traditional founder of monasticism in Mesopotamia, who lived in the fourth century. He founded an important monastery near Finik (close to the east bank of the Tigris, north of Gozarto/Cizre). 2) Another Aho lived in the late sixth century; he came from Resh`aina and at the age of twelve became the disciple of a local monk. In 573, however, he was captured during a Persian raid, and was conscripted into the Persian army. Subsequently he managed to return to the region of Nisibis and resume his monastic life, founding a monastery. He travelled to Jerusalem and Constantinople, where he acquired a relic of the Cross. In the course of further missionary travels he succeeded in converting four villages in the Malatya region where he founded another monastery. His death at a great age, fell on a 25th January. (According to another account, he lived a couple of generations earlier and died in 524.)

Mor Ahudummeh

Ahudummeh belongs to the sixth century and was born in Balad. As a bishop, he devoted his life to missionary work among the nomad Arab tribes to the south of Tur `Abdin, winning their trust through his healing ministry. He also provided them with a pilgrimage shrine dedicated to St. Sergius on Persian territory, since the famous shrine of St. Sergius at Resafa lay across the border, in the Roman Empire. When the son of the Persian shah Khusrau I (531-579) asked to become a Christian Ahudummeh agreed to baptize him, but sent him at once to Roman territory for safety; Ahudummeh himself was arrested and imprisoned. Although Arab tribes whom he had befriended tried to ransom him (they offered to pay his weight three times in gold), Ahudemmeh declined their generous offer, and eventually died in prison, on Friday 2nd August 575. His memory is commemorated on 18th September.

Mor Anthimos

Anthimos, whose commemoration features in old calendars on the 20th July, was patriarch of Constantinople (535-536) and a friend of Patriarch Severius of Antioch. He was deposed by the Emperor Justinian for refusing to accept the Chalcedonian formula of faith.

Mor Antonios

One of the great Fathers of the early Egyptian monastic tradition, St. Antony is commemorated by all the main Christian Churches. Although he lived as a hermit, retiring further and further into the desert, disciples gathered around him, and after his death in 356 a monastery grew around the site of his cave dwelling (it continues today as a flourishing Coptic Orthodox monastery). There is an early Syriac translation of his Life (written by St. Athanasius) and of one of his Letters. His memory is commemorated on 17th January.

Mor Athanasios

Athanasios was bishop of Alexandria from 328 until 373 (he died the same year as Ephrem), although much of this time was spent in exile, as a result of his opposition to the imperial policy of promoting the Arian doctrine. Many of his extensive Greek writings were translated into Syriac; besides many theological works, these included his Life of Antony and an Introduction to the Psalms. He is commemorated on 1st May.

Mor Awgen

Awgen is the traditional founder of Syrian monasticism. He originated from Qlysma (modern Suez) in Egypt, and started off as a pearl diver who gave pearls to the poor and needy. In mid-life he decided to become a monk at the monastery of St. Pachomius, and from there he set off to Mesopotamia, settling in the region of Mount Izla (the remains of the monastery dedicated to his name still stands on the slopes of Izla, overlooking the Mesopotamian plain). One account speaks of Awgen as one of the three great pillars of the monastic world, the other two being St. Antony in Egypt, and St. Hilarion in Palestine. Awgen is also said to have had two sisters, Thekla and Stratonike, both of whom founded convents. In the course of time the details recounted of his life took on legendary proportions; thus, for example, the number of his disciples became 70, in imitation of Luke 10:17. He is commemorated on the 20th April.

St. Azazo`il

Azazo`il was from Samosata, and was martyred in Rome on August 15, 304. He was the son of a leading citizen of Samosata, and during the persecution of Christians by the Emperor Maximian, he openly proclaimed his faith. Despite his young age of 15 he was taken off in chains to Rome, where he was interrogated by Maximian himself. The Life recounts the long arguments between Azazo`il and the Emperor. In between these, he was tortured and imprisoned twice - and on each occasion was miraculously healed. Finally, in exasperation, the Emperor had him executed. According to the Syriac Life his feast is on the 2nd Monday of August, being the Monday before the Departure of the Mother of God (15th August), with another commemoration on 12th May.

Chor Episcopus Balay

Balay was a notable priest belonging to the late fourth or early fifth century; he may have lived in Qenneshrin (Chalkis, near Aleppo), since one of his poems is on the consecration of the church in that town. Although he is commemorated in the canon of the Teachers, he does not feature in any surviving calendar.

Maphryono Mor Gregorius Bar `Ebroyo

Acclaimed as the great Maphryono of the East, Mor Gregorius Yuhanon Abulfaraj Bar `Ebroyo (1226-1286) was a polymath who wrote on varied subjects: theology, history, medicine, mathematics, grammar, philosophy, law, ethics, monasticism, even a book of jokes. He was consecrated bishop in 1246 and Maphryono in 1266. Read more

Mor Ephrem the Syrian

Mor Ephrem the Syrian is the most celebrated theologian-poet of the Syriac tradition. He was born in c. 306 in Nisibis and was ordained deacon in c. 338. He lived as a solitary and never entered priesthood. He composed a large corpus of hymns and verse homilies extensively employing typology and symbolism rather than a dogmatic approach to theology. Syriac churches honor him as 'the lyre of the Holy Spirit'. Mor Ephrem departed to his heavenly abode on 9th of June, A.D. 373. His memory is commemorated in the Syriac Orthodox Church on the first Saturday of the Great Lent. Read more

Forty Martyrs of Sebaste

In c. 320, forty Christian soldiers became martyrs at Sebastia in Lesser Armenia (today in Central Turkey), during the persecution unleashed by the Emperor Licinius on Christians. They were martyred by being left naked on the ice of a frozen pond. Their martyrdom is narrated by St. Basil of Caesaria, St. Gregory of Nyssa and in works attributed to St. Ephrem the Syrian. Read more

Mor Gewargis (St. George)

Mor Gewargis Sahdo (St. George, the Martyr) is a universally acclaimed saint both in the East and the West. He came from a Cappadocian family and served in the army of the King of the Persians, Dadianus. He was persecuted by the King for confessing faith in Christ and refusing to worship idols. He was subject to horrendous tortures and attained martyrdom. Before his death, Mor Gewargis is believed to have effected many miracles and converted Alexandria, the wife of Dadianus (who was also put to death). Centuries of embellishments to the narrative of his life and martyrdom have made the task of recovering the historical St. George rather arduous. The earliest reference to him belongs to the fourth century and by the sixth century there was an important pilgrimage shrine dedicated to the saint at Lydda (in Palestine). A very large number of Syriac Orthodox Churches in the Middle East, Malankara, and all over the world are dedicated to the memory of this saint. Read more

[This page is under construction. Many more entries remain to be added. - Web Master]


Brock, Sebastian and David G.K. Taylor (ed.s), The Hidden Pearl: The Syrian Orthodox Church and Its Aramaic Heritage. (Rome: Trans World Film Italia, 2001).

Patriarch Ignatius Aphram I Barsoum, The History of Syriac Literature and Sciences. tr. Matti Mousa. (Pueblo, CO: Passeggiata Press, 2000).


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