The Diocese of Tirhan was an East Syriac diocese of the Church of the East, within the central ecclesiastical Province of the Patriarch. The diocese is attested between the sixth and fourteenth centuries.
The East Syriac Rite or East Syrian Rite, also called Assyrian Rite, Persian Rite, Chaldean Rite, or Syro-Oriental Rite is an Eastern Christian liturgical rite that uses the East Syriac dialect as its liturgical language. It is one of two main liturgical rites of Syriac Christianity.
The Church of the East, also known as the Nestorian Church and the Persian Church, was 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 Nestorian diocese of Tirhan was founded in the sixth century, probably to counter the influence of the important Jacobite (Oriental Orthodox) centre of Tagrit. The first-known bishop of Tirhan, Bar Nun, was among the signatories of the acts of the synod of Aba I in 544.
Oriental Orthodoxy is the fourth largest communion of Christian churches, with about 76 million members worldwide. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Armenia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and parts of the Middle East and India. An Eastern Christian communion of autocephalous churches, its bishops are equal by virtue of episcopal ordination, and its doctrines can be summarised in that the communion recognizes the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils.
Tikrit sometimes transliterated as Takrit or Tekrit, is a city in Iraq, located 140 kilometres (87 mi) northwest of Baghdad and 220 kilometres (140 mi) southeast of Mosul on the Tigris River. It is the administrative center of the Saladin Governorate. As of 2012, it had a population of 160,000.
Aba I or Mar Abba the Great was the Patriarch of the Church of the East at Seleucia-Ctesiphon from 540 to 552. He introduced to the church the anaphoras of Theodore of Mopsuestia and Nestorius beside the more ancient liturgical rite of Addai and Mari. Though his tenure as catholicos saw Christians in the region threatened during the Persian-Roman wars and attempts by both Sassanid Persian and Byzantine rulers to interfere with the governance of the church, his reign is reckoned a period of consolidation, and a synod he held in 544 as instrumental in unifying and strengthening the church. He is thought to have written and translated a number of religious works. After his death in February 552, the faithful carried his casket from his simple home across the Tigris to the monastery of Mar Pithyon.
The Tirhan district lay to the southwest of Beth Garmai, and included the triangle of land between the Jabal Hamrin (known to the Nestorians as the mountain of Uruk) and the Tigris and Diyala rivers. Its chief town was Gbiltha. The diocese of Tirhan was probably included in the Province of the Patriarch instead of the province of Beth Garmai because Seleucia-Ctesiphon was closer to Gbiltha than Kirkuk (the metropolitan seat of Beth Garmai), and could be conveniently reached by water.
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.
Kirkuk is a city in Iraq, serving as the capital of the Kirkuk Governorate, located 238 kilometres north of Baghdad. Kirkuk lies in a wide zone with an enormously diverse population and has been multilingual for centuries. There were dramatic demographic changes during Kirkuk's urbanization in the twentieth century, which saw the development of distinct ethnic groups. Kurds, Iraqi Turkmen, Arabs, and Assyrians lay conflicting claims to this zone, and all have their historical accounts and memories to buttress their claims.
The bishop Sliba-zkha of Tirhan, who flourished during the reign of the patriarch Yaʿqob II (753–73), secured permission from the Jacobite authorities for the construction of a Nestorian church in Tagrit, in return for the restoration to the Jacobites of a church in Nisibis that had earlier been confiscated by the Nestorians.
Yaʿqob II (b.699) was Patriarch of the Church of the East from 753 to 773. He is included in the traditional list of patriarchs of the Church of the East. He spent much of his reign in prison after offending the caliph al-Mansur.
The last-known bishop of Tirhan, Shemʿon, subscribed to the acts of the synod of Timothy II in 1318. (The Nestorian author Sliba ibn Yuhanna, who flourished around the middle of the fourteenth century, was wrongly claimed by Assemani as a bishop of Tirhan.) The diocese probably lapsed around the middle of the fourteenth century, and is certainly unlikely to have survived into the fifteenth century. The centuries-old status of Tagrit as the residence of the Jacobite maphrians was ended in 1393, when the town was destroyed by Timur Leng. Timur’s troops also devastated the Tirhan district. These campaigns scattered the surviving Christian communities in Tirhan, and there are no later references to either Nestorian or Jacobite Christians in the district.
The bishop Bar Nun of Tirhan was among the signatories of the acts of the synod of Aba I in 544.
The bishop Abraham of Tirhan was among the signatories of the acts of the synod of Ishoʿyahb I in 585.
The bishop Piroz of Tirhan was among the signatories of the acts of the synod of Gregory in 605.
The bishop Sargis of Tirhan was among the signatories of the acts of the synod of Dairin in 676.
The bishop Pethion of Tirhan was appointed by the patriarch Sliba-zkha (714–28). He was elected patriarch in 731.
The bishop Sliba-zkha of Tirhan flourished during the reign of the patriarch Yaʿqob II (753–73). He is first mentioned in 753, when he was imprisoned along with Yaʿqob during the brief reign of the anti-patriarch Surin. After his release he 'began to restore the churches in Tirhan', and also won permission from the Jacobite authorities for the construction of a Nestorian church in Tagrit, in return for the restoration to the Jacobites of the church of Mar Domitius in Nisibis. This agreement, which required the consent of the Jacobite maphrian Paul of Tagrit and the Nestorian metropolitan Cyprian of Nisibis, must have been concluded no later than 757, the date of Paul's death.
The bishop Sliba-zkha of Tirhan, almost certainly the same man, was among the signatories of the acts of the synod of Timothy I in 790.
The patriarch Sargis (860–72) appointed his disciple Qayyoma bishop of Tirhan, and later appointed him metropolitan of Nisibis, replacing him as bishop of Tirhan with the teacher Yohannan.
The future patriarch Eliya I (1026–49) was bishop of Tirhan when Eliya Bar Shinaya completed his Chronography in 1018/19, and was commended by him as 'a profound and experienced student of church doctrine and the art of rhetoric'.
The bishop Makkikha, son of Shlemun, of Tirhan, was consecrated by the patriarch Sabrishoʿ III shortly after his consecration in 1063/4.He was present at the consecration of the patriarch ʿAbdishoʿ II in 1074. He was consecrated metropolitan of Mosul by ʿAbdishoʿ II in 1085, following the death of the metropolitan Yahballaha of Mosul, and became patriarch in 1092 on ʿAbdishoʿ's death.
The bishop ʿAbdishoʿ of Tirhan was present at the consecration of the patriarch Makkikha I in 1092.
The bishop Narsai of Tirhan was present at the consecration of the patriarch Sabrishoʿ IV in 1222.
The bishop and archdeacon Ishoʿyahb of 'al-Hazira', a town to the south of Samarra which Fiey argued was then the seat of the bishops of Tirhan, was present at the consecration of the patriarch Makkikha II in 1257.
The bishop and archdeacon Emmanuel of Tirhan was present at the consecration of the patriarch Denha I in 1265.
The bishop and archdeacon Brikhishoʿ of Tirhan was present at the consecration of the patriarch Yahballaha III in 1281.
The bishop Shemʿon of Tirhan was present at the consecration of the patriarch Timothy II in 1318.
There were several important areas of Christian settlement in the Tirhan district, including the towns of Awana, Gbiltha, Karka d'Piroz, Tagrit and Samarra, and the smaller localities of Harba and ʿAlth.
The Nestorian ascetic Mar Sabrishoʿ of Beth Qoqa, who founded the celebrated monastery of Beth Qoqa near Erbil towards the end of the sixth century, was a native of Awana.
Shahdost of Tirhan was a noted Nestorian author, probably of the seventh or eighth century, who wrote a polemical work 'on the reasons for the separation between the Easterners and the Westerners'. Shahdost is included in the famous list of Nestorian authors compiled at the start of the fourteenth century by the metropolitan ʿAbdishoʿ bar Brikha of Nisibis.
Gbiltha, described by Thomas of Marga as 'an orthodox [i.e. Nestorian] town in the district of Tirhan', was the birthplace of Quriaqos, the Nestorian bishop of Balad c. 800, and of Rabban Babai, famous as a teacher and builder of schools in the early decades of the eighth century.
The Nestorian patriarch Sliba-zkha (714–28) was a native of Karka d'Piroz or Karkani (as the town was called in the thirteenth century) in the Tirhan district.
Tagrit, the seat of the Jacobite maphrians since the seventh century, had a small Nestorian community, first mentioned around the middle of the eighth century. In 757 or a little earlier the Jacobite authorities granted the Nestorians permission to build a church in Tagrit in return for the restoration of the church of Mar Domitius in Nisibis, a Jacobite church confiscated by the Nestorians several decades earlier. Construction of the Nestorian church began in 767, on a site by the Tigris adjacent to the city's outer wall, and the church was still in existence towards the end of the thirteenth century, when it was remarked upon by Bar Hebraeus.The Nestorian community in Tagrit was never large (Tagrit had ten Jacobite churches in the thirteenth century, but only a single Nestorian church). It probably survived until 1393, when the city was sacked by Timur Leng. Tagrit is not mentioned again as a Christian centre, and both its Nestorian and Jacobite communities were probably destroyed at this period.
The patriarch Makkikha I (1092–1110), who was earlier bishop of Tirhan, is said to have performed a miracle to rid the Tirhan district of a lion that was infesting the countryside around Harba and ʿAlth.He also cursed a Moslem who had taken stones from a Christian church in Samarra to build a mosque, and his curse resulted in the offender's death seven days later.
Metropolitanate of Beth Garmai was an East Syriac metropolitan province of the Church of the East between the fifth and fourteenth centuries. The region of Beth Garmai is situated in northern Iraq, bounded by the Little Zab and Diyala Rivers and centered on the town of Karka d'Beth Slokh. Several bishops and metropolitans of Beth Garmaï are mentioned between the fourth and fourteenth centuries, residing first at Shahrgard, then at Karka d'Beth Slokh, later at Shahrzur and finally at Daquqa. The known suffragan dioceses of the metropolitan province of Beth Garmaï included Shahrgard, Lashom (ܠܫܘܡ), Khanijar, Mahoze d'Arewan, Radani, Hrbath Glal (ܚܪܒܬܓܠܠ), Tahal and Shahrzur. The suffragan dioceses of 'Darabad' and 'al-Qabba', mentioned respectively by Eliya of Damascus and Mari, are probably to be identified with one or more of these known dioceses. The diocese of Gawkaï, attested in the eighth and ninth centuries, may also have been a suffragan diocese of the province of Beth Garmaï. The last known metropolitan of Beth Garmaï is attested in the thirteenth century, and the last known bishop in 1318, though the historian ʿAmr continued to describe Beth Garmai as a metropolitan province as late as 1348. It is not clear when the province ceased to exist, but the campaigns of Timur Leng between 1390 and 1405 offer a reasonable context.
The Patriarchal Province of Seleucia-Ctesiphon was an ecclesiastical province of the Church of the East, with see in Seleucia-Ctesiphon. It was attested between the fifth and thirteenth centuries. As its name entails, it was the province of the church's Patriarch. The province consisted of a number of dioceses in the region of Beth Aramaye, between Basra and Kirkuk, which were placed under the patriarch's direct supervision at the synod of Yahballaha I in 420.
The Metropolitanate of Nisibis was an East Syriac metropolitan province of the Church of the East, between the fifth and seventeenth centuries. The ecclesiastical province of Nisibis had a number of suffragan dioceses at different periods in its history, including Arzun, Beth Rahimaï, Beth Qardu, Beth Zabdaï, Qube d’Arzun, Balad, Shigar (Sinjar), Armenia, Beth Tabyathe and the Kartawaye, Harran and Callinicus (Raqqa), Maiperqat, Reshʿaïna, Qarta and Adarma, Qaimar and Hesna d'Kifa. Aoustan d'Arzun and Beth Moksaye were also suffragan dioceses in the fifth century.
Metropolitanate of Beth Huzaye ܒܝܬ ܗܘܙܝܐ was an East Syriac metropolitan province of the Church of the East, between the fifth and fourteenth centuries. The metropolitans of Beth Huzaye sat at Beth Lapat (Jundishapur). The metropolitan province of Beth Huzaye had a number of suffragan dioceses at different periods in its history, including Karka d’Ledan, Hormizd Ardashir, Shushter, Susa, Ispahan, Mihraganqadaq and Ram Hormizd. The diocese of Shahpur Khwast may also have been a suffragan diocese of the province of Beth Huzaye.
Metropolitanate of Adiabene was an East Syriac metropolitan province of the Church of the East between the 5th and 14th centuries, with more than fifteen known suffragan dioceses at different periods in its history. Although the name Hadyab normally connoted the region around Erbil and Mosul in present-day Iraq, the boundaries of the East Syriac metropolitan province went well beyond the Erbil and Mosul districts. Its known suffragan dioceses included Beth Bgash and Adarbaigan, well to the east of Adiabene proper.
Metropolitanate of Hulwan was an East Syriac metropolitan province of the Church of the East between the eighth and twelfth centuries, with suffragan dioceses for Dinawar, Hamadan, Nihawand and al-Kuj. The city of Hulwan was one of the chief towns in the western Iranian province of Media. Metropolitanate of Hulwan was ranked among the 'exterior provinces', so called to distinguish them from the province of the patriarch and the five core Mesopotamian 'interior' provinces.
Diocese of Kashkar, sometimes called Kaskar, was the senior diocese in the Church of the East's Province of the Patriarch. It see was in the city of Kashkar. The diocese is attested between the fourth and the twelfth centuries. The bishops of Kashkar had the privilege of guarding the patriarchal throne during the interregnum between the death of a patriarch and the appointment of his successor. As a result, they are often mentioned by name in the standard histories of the Nestorian patriarchs, so that a relatively full list of the bishops of the diocese has survived.
Sliba-zkha was patriarch of the Church of the East from 714 to 728.
Pethion was patriarch of the Church of the East from 731 to 740.
Enosh was Patriarch of the Church of the East between 877 and 884.
Shahlufa was a legendary primate of the Church of the East, who is conventionally believed to have reigned from 220 to 224 A.D.
ʿAbdishoʿ I was Patriarch of the Church of the East from 963 to 986.
Mari bar Toba was Patriarch of the Church of the East from 987 to 999.
Yohannan V was Patriarch of the Church of the East from 1000 to 1011.
Sabrishoʿ III Zanbur was Patriarch of the Church of the East from 1064 to 1072.
Giwargis I was patriarch of the Church of the East from 661 to 680.
The Diocese of Shigar and Beth ʿArabaye was an East Syriac diocese of the Church of the East in the metropolitan province of Nisibis, centred on the town of Sinjar. The diocese is attested between the sixth and fourteenth centuries.
Diocese of Armenia was an East Syriac diocese of the Church of the East between the fifth and fourteenth centuries. The diocese served members of the Church of the East in Armenia, and its bishops sat at Halat. The diocese is last mentioned in 1281, and probably lapsed in the fourteenth century during the disorders that attended the fragmentation of the Mongol empire.
Makkikha I was Patriarch of the Church of the East from 1092 to 1110.