Thomas of Marga

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Thomas of Marga, (Classical Syriac : ܬܐܘܡܐ ܒܪ ܝܥܩܘܒ, Taomá bár Yaˁqub) was an East Syriac bishop and author of an important monastic history in Syriac, who flourished in the 9th century CE. He was born early in the century in the region of Salakh to the north-east of Mosul. As a young man he became in 832 a monk of the monastery of Beth 'Abhe, which was situated at the confluence of the Great Zab with one of its tributaries, about 25 miles east of Mosul. A few years later he was acting as secretary to Abraham, who had been abbot of Beth 'Abhe, and was patriarch of the Church of the East from 837 to 850.

Church of the East an Eastern Christian Church that in 410 organised itself within the Sasanid Empire and in 424 declared its leader independent of other Christian leaders; from the Persian Empire it spread to other parts of Asia in late antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Church of the East, also called the Persian Church, was an Eastern Christian church in the Syriac Christian tradition, active c. 410-1552. It organized itself in 410 in the Sasanian Empire in the Council of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, and in 424 declared itself independent of the church structure of the Roman Empire, after which it also became known as the Nestorian Church.

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Syriac language dialect of Middle Aramaic

Syriac, also known as Syrian/Syriac Aramaic, Syro-Aramaic or Classical Syriac, is a dialect of Middle Aramaic of the Northwest Semitic languages of the Afroasiatic family that is written in the Syriac alphabet, a derivation of the Aramaic alphabet. Having first appeared in the early first century CE in Edessa, classical Syriac became a major literary language throughout the Middle East from the 4th to the 8th centuries, preserved in a large body of Syriac literature. Indeed, Syriac literature comprises roughly 90% of the extant Aramaic literature. Syriac was once spoken across much of the Near East as well as Anatolia and Eastern Arabia. Syriac originated in Mesopotamia and eventually spread west of Iraq in which it became the lingua franca of the region during the Mesopotamian Neo-Assyrian period.

At some date during these 13 years Thomas was promoted by Abraham to be bishop of the diocese of Marga in the same district as Beth 'Abhe, and afterwards he was further advanced to be a metropolitan of Beth Garmai, a district farther to the southeast in the mountains which border the Tigris basin. It was during the period of his life at Beth 'Abhe and his bishopric that he composed The Book of Governors, which is in the main a history of his own monastery, but includes lives of Assyrian Christian holy men in other parts of Mesopotamia and the regions east of the Tigris. The work was probably planned in imitation of the famous Paradise of Palladius, the history of Egyptian monasticism which had become well known to Syriac-speaking Christians in the version of Anan-Isho (6th century).

Beth Garmai Region

Beth Garmai, is a historical region around the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq. It is located at southeast of the Little Zab, southwest of the mountains of Shahrazor, northeast of the Tigris and Hamrin Mountains, although sometimes including parts of southwest of Hamrin Mountains, and northwest of the Sirwan River.

Tigris river which flows from Turkey through Iraq and Syria

The Tigris is the eastern of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq and empties into the Persian Gulf.

Mesopotamia Historical region within the Tigris–Euphrates river system

Mesopotamia is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent, in modern days roughly corresponding to most of Iraq, Kuwait, the eastern parts of Syria, Southeastern Turkey, and regions along the Turkish–Syrian and Iran–Iraq borders.

The Book of Governors has been edited with an English translation and a copious introduction by E. W. Budge (2 vols., London, 1893; Google Books), who claims that "it occupies a unique position in Syriac literature, and it fully deserves the veneration with which it has been and is still regarded by all classes of Assyrians to whom it is known." It gives a detailed history of the great monastery cf Beth 'Abhe during its three centuries of existence down to the author's time. It is full of interesting narratives of saintly men told in a naive and candid spirit, and it throws much light on the history of Christianity in the Persian dominions. There is a later edition by P. Bedjan (Paris, 1901).

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital of and largest city in England and the United Kingdom, with the largest municipal population in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Syriac literature

Syriac literature is the literature written in Classical Syriac, the literary and liturgical language in Syriac Christianity.

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References

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