Syriac Timeline
6th Century

Syriac Timeline (501-600 A.D.)




502 AD
([52] has AD 503, but this may be a slight error.)

Died Mar Narsai, the first director of the School of Nisibis. According to the historian Barhadbashabba, Narsai had been director of the School of Nisibis for 45 years and director of the Persian School at Edessa for 20 years before that. According to the same ancient source, Narsai was succeeded as director of the School of Nisibis by Elisha who held this office for 7 years. He died in AD 509, [70].

[52], p. 59
[54], p. x
[70], p. 127 note 2

5th October 502 AD

Amida was besieged by the Persian king Kawad in a siege lasting 97 days. At least 80,000 citizens of that city were slaughtered when the city fell. ([33] has AD 503 in error.)

[28], p. 38
[33], p. 112

503 AD

Ya`qob, (Later bishop of Serug) is mentioned by Joshua Stylite in his history as follows, 'The honoured Ya`qob, the periodeutes, who has composed many homilies on passages of the scriptures, and written various poems and hymns regarding the time of the locusts, was not neglectful at this time too of his duty, but wrote letters of admonition to all the cities, bidding them trust in the Divine deliverance, and exhorting them not to flee.'

[28], p. 43
[42], p. 54

503 AD

Anastasius the Byzantine Emperor sends three generals to Mesopotamia. Areobindus who encamped at the Persian border near Dara, Patricius and Hypatius who led a counter attack on the Persian garrison at Amid.

[28], p. 44

24th September 503 AD

Edessa is besieged by Kawad king of Persia and was repulsed, but there were severe losses inside the city.
By 505 AD the Byzantines had recaptured Amida from the Persians.

[28], p. 53
[33], pp. 112, 157

July to October
505 AD

Died Babhai catholicos. He was succeeded by Shila.

[50], p. 324 note 1

505 or 506 AD

An synod of the Armenian clergy was held at Dwin (or Dvin) under the Armenian Catholicos Babgen. The Armenian bishops formally rejected both Nestorius and the Council of Chalcedon.

Armenian sources say that the Syrian monks came to this synod and related their sufferings and persecutions at the hands of the East Syrian clergy. This and many other sources from the time, confirm that the East Syrian clergy were persecuting the monks. This persecution was probably because the clergy envied the esteem in which the monks were held by the laity and their reputation for spiritual gifts, particularly healing, (see also under AD 554 below).

[38], pp. 124, 128
[44], p. 11

506 AD

The Byzantines and Persians agree a peace treaty.

[33], p. 112

508 AD

Mar Philoxenus (also known as Aksenaya or Xenaias), Syrian Orthodox theologian and bishop of Mabbûg who had studied theology at the Syrian School in Edessa was responsible for the Philoxenian recension of the ancient Syriac Old Testament and New Testament. The actual work was done by Polycarp a chorepiscopus of the church. Apparently, this version appeared in 507-508 AD. The version was designed as a revision of the Syriac and intended to render the Greek OT and NT more precisely as well as supplying the missing five books (and, perhaps, John 7:53-8:11 also).

Comment: Rather that just adopt the Peshitta NT, Philoxenus went to considerable trouble to produce a new Syriac revision of the NT. He probably made this effort because the Peshitta Syriac NT was based on a Byzantine (Catholic) Greek text, and therefore it was based on a NT text being pushed by his theological opponents. Very regrettably, no MSS of the Philoxean gospels survives, but this revision would have been based upon an Antiochene gospel text, since the origin of the Syrian Orthodox faith was in Antioch.

[25], p. 167
[33], pp. 95, 98

509 AD

Died Elisha, the second director of the School of Nisibis. He was succeeded by Mar Abraham who held this office for sixty years. Abraham was assisted by John of Bet Rabban.

[54], p. ix

510 AD

Peter bishop of Edessa died. He was succeeded by Paul.

[33], p. 96 has AD 501

512 AD

Severus of Antioch became patriarch of Antioch. He was Syrian Orthodox by belief. Soon after this time, the Chalcedonian persecution of the Syrian Orthodox Church became fiercer, (in 518 AD, see below).

[33], p. 96
[7], p. 71

513 - 515 AD

Synod of Tyre. Influenced by Severus of Antioch, the synod rejected the Chalcedonian two-nature view of Jesus Christ and the interpretation of Christianity that went with it.

[35], p. 84

512 - 513 AD
(= 407 of the Bostran era)

A cathedral was completed at Bostra in Roman Arabia, (building work began in 488 AD). The building was dedicated by Archbishop Julian the Chalcedonian adversary of Severus of Antioch. Julian left his see and was quickly replaced by the Syrian Orthodox bishop, Cassian.

[35], p. 77

9th July
518 AD

Death of the Byzantine emperor Anastasias. The new Byzantine emperor Justin started a severe persecution of Syrian Orthodox believers.

[35], p. 78

518 AD

Council of Constantinople. Bishop Severus of Antioch was anathematized and deposed as patriarch of Antioch; he fled to Egypt on 25th September AD 518, [46]. Similarly Philoxenus bishop of Mabbug (the following year) and Cassian bishop of Bostra in Arabia were deposed.

[25], p. 167
[35], pp. 78, 84
[41] which has AD 518 or 519.
[46], volume 1, column 727

November, 519 AD

Early in the sixth century a young Jewish king rose to power in the Kingdom of Himyar (present day Yemen). This king, Yusuf As'ar, began a brutal massacre of the Assyrians who were living in that kingdom. These massacres did not escape the attention of the rest of the Assyrians; the martyrdoms in one town, Najran, where the church was burnt with worshipers inside particularly caught the attention of the public.


519 AD

Mar Ya`qob of Serug was consecrated by Severus and Philoxenus, [70] as bishop of Serug or Batnae. He corresponded with Paul of Edessa and Eutychian of Dara. He wrote many homilies. Including one on the fall of the idols where he condemns the worship of Nabu (the planet Mercury) and Bel (the planet Jupiter) and other idols at Edessa. Ya`qob also says that the pagans practised human sacrifice on a large scale, slaughtering young boys and girls to pagan deities. These homilies show that Ya`qob used the Diatessaron as his gospel text. His use of the Diatessaron must reflect its earlier acceptability at the Syrian School of Edessa which he attended between about AD 469 and AD 473.

[17], p. 189.
[29], p. 108
[33], p. 170
[42], p. 55
[70], p. 121

519 AD

Johannan bar Qursos became Syrian Orthodox bishop of Tella de-Mauselat. a town en route between Edessa and Mardin. This person is also known as John of Tella. Johannan was from a prominent family, a native of Callinicus who, prior to becoming bishop, had been a monk in the Monastery of Mar Zakkai near Callinicus. This man served bravely during a time of acute danger during the persecution of the Emperor Justinian. He was eventually arrested, taken to Antioch and martyred for his faith in AD 538.

[53], p. 55 f.

519 AD

Philoxenus bishop of Mabbug was deposed and exiled by order of the Emperor first to Thracia and then to Gangra in Paphlagonia.

[53], p. 51

519 AD

Paul ar-Rakkah Syrian Orthodox bishop of Callinicus was expelled from his office. Afterward, he travelled to Edessa where he devoted himself to translating the voluminous letters and works of Severus Patriarch of Antioch from Greek into Syriac. This work of scholarship lasted at least from AD 519 to 528 when Paul completed a translation of Severus' correspondence with Julian of Halicarnassus (see for example a copy in CBL MS 709) and a discourse of Severus against Julian. Also likely translated by Paul for the first time were the Homiliae Cathedrales of Severus. Another translation of the Homiliae Cathedrales was made later by Jacob of Edessa who flourished AD 684 – 708. The second translation has been published, but Paul's version is still mostly unpublished and resides in early manuscripts, see opposite. Paul's version of the Homiliae Cathedrales features gospel readings influenced by an Old Syriac gospel text.

[24], p. 94
Vatican Syr. 143 dated AD 563*
BL Add. 14599 dated AD 569**
Vatican Syr. 142 dated AD 576***
Vatican Syr. 256

*See Hatch, 'Album' plate XXV
**Ibid. plate XXIX
***Excerpts have been published by Mar Ignatios Ephrem II Rahmani Patriarch of Antioch, in 'Studia Syriaca' vol. III, Lebanon 1908.

c. 520 AD

The Syriac 'History of Paul the bishop' was written in Edessa. Reference [42] says that it was written in Edessa when the episcopate of Rabbula, (d. AD 435) was a recent memory. The title indicates that the work was written about Syrian Orthodox bishop Paul (who sat April AD 510 – July AD 521 and March until October AD 526). The gospels are quoted in this history from the Old Syriac Evangelion daMepharreshe. The work survives in three MSS, A, B and C of which A has preserved the best text.

[42], p. 27
A: BL. Add. 12160 (6th cent.)
B: BL. Add. 14646 (6th cent.)
C: Paris Syr. 235 (13th cent.)

July 521 AD

In this year, all monks and clergy who would not accept the official Chalcedonian interpretation of Christianity were expelled by the emperor Justin from their churches and monasteries, (they were essentially made penniless and homeless). Death of Mar Ya`qob, bishop of Serug. The list of those banished is very long. Fifty-four bishops were deposed around this time including Severus, patriarch of Antioch, Philoxenus of Mabbug, Peter of Apamea, John of Tella, [53] Julian of Halicarnassus, Mara III of Amid and Isidore of Kenneshrin.

[17], p. 189
[24], pp. 73, 83
[33], p. 170
[35], p. 85
[53], p. 55

27th July
522 AD

Syrian Orthodox bishop Paul of Edessa was deposed by Justin the Emperor and banished to Euchata because he would not accept the council of Chalcedon. On the 23rd of October following Paul's banishment he was replaced by Asclepius as (Chalcedonian catholic) bishop of Edessa.


24th December
522 AD

Asclepius (Chalcedonian catholic) bishop of Edessa doubtless as a Christmas gesture of goodwill, expelled all the monks in the area of Edessa who would not accept the council of Chalcedon.


c. 523 AD

Died Shila, (Silas) catholicos of the east. There was a dispute about the succession between Mar Narsa a scholar from the School of Nisibis, (not the same name as Narsai the famous scholar who lived earlier) and Mar Elisha a physician who were both elected catholicoi of the east in mutual opposition.

[50], pp. 324 note 1, 339 note 3

523 AD

Martyrdom of Mar Philoxenus of Mabbug. Philoxenus was persecuted by Chalcedonian Catholics because of his monophysite beliefs and died a martyr in prison during his second exile in Gangra in Paphlagonia. One source says that he was suffocated, allegedly by smoke from a kitchen beneath his cell, but another, more reliable source says that he died a violent death, [53]. In the year of his death he wrote to the monks of the Monastery of Senun, mentioning Ephrem of Nisibis as he did so. Van Rompay points out that Philoxenus was respectfully critical of Ephrem's theology in his letter. He also observes that Syrian Orthodox authors seldom quoted Ephrem in the 6th century [32].

[32] para 10
[33], p. 96
[38], p. 88
[53], p. 51

525 AD

Pope Gelasius appointed a Sythian monk Dionysius Exiguus, (='Denys the short') as a translator of his archives. Denys invented the idea of dating from the birth of Christ, viz: anni Domini. (See entry under 532 AD.)

[7], p. 63

525 AD

Another disastrous flood at Edessa. Procopius states that about 30,000 people, (a third of the population) were killed in that flood. The chronicle of Edessa also records that the flood destroyed the city for the third time. This was also the fourth time that the walls were destroyed, [41]. Asclepius (Chalcedonian catholic) bishop of Edessa showing his true nature once again, flees the disaster and hides in Antioch were he died on 27th June of the same year.

Euphrasius was patriarch of Antioch at this time, [41].

[33], pp. 96, 124

March 8th
526 AD

Paul who had been deposed from Edessa decided to accept the council of Chalcedon and was restored as bishop of Edessa. Paul died on the 30th October of the same year. Paul was succeeded by Andreas on the 7th February AD 527


1pm Friday 29th May
526 AD

A massive earthquake destroyed Antioch killing most of the population including Euphrasius the patriarch. He was succeeded by Ephraim of Amida, another Chalcedonian catholic. He sat until AD 545.

[7], p. 72

1st April
527 AD

Death of Byzantine emperor Justin I, who was succeeded by his nephew Justinian, [60]. Justinian decreed that a dam should be built to protect Edessa from flood waters and he funded the project.

During the reign of Justinian, a Chalcedonian catholic centre was established at Edessa. This was part of a wider movement led by the emperor, that later would become the Melkite denomination.

About this time in Palestine, the Melkite movement translated its Greek scriptures and other writings into the local Aramaic dialect – Christian Palestinian Aramaic, (CPA). That the people of Palestine were still speaking western Aramaic in the 6th century and even later is demonstrated by the surviving CPA lectionaries, (see under AD 969 below).

[33], pp. 77, 112, 156
[60], p. 61

15th November
527 AD

Antioch, or what was left of it after the earthquake the previous year, was destroyed again, this time by a major fire.


530 AD

Emperor Justinian tried to Hellenize the Aramean monasteries of the Sinai peninsular. Part of this strategy was to establish the Monastery of St. Catherine at the foot of Mt Sinai.

[35], p. 85

12th July
531 AD
(AG 842)

Death of Kawad, king of Persia who was succeeded on 12th July AD 531 by Khusraw I Anushirun son of Kawad, [50].

[33], p. 112
[37], p. xii
[50], p. 318 note 3

18th December
531 AD

The Huns defeated the Roman commander Demosthenes at Edessa and invaded and laid waste the Roman territory as far as Aleppo and they came within 12 miles of Antioch.


532 AD
(= 247 anno Diocletiani)

Dionysius Exiguus writes a letter to a bishop named Petronius dated 247 anno Diocletiani stating that he had calculated the birth of Christ to have occurred 531 years previously in 1 AD, the start date he was proposing as a new Christian calendar. The non-zero integer arithmetic indicates that if the birth of Christ occurred in 1 AD and 531 years previously, then the date of Dionysius' letter was 532 AD. See entry above under 286 AD.

[5], p. 100.
[7], p. 63 Bede read this letter 200 years later and used AD in his book, 'The Ecclesiastical History of the English People' popularizing the AD based calendar in England from the 8th century onwards.

532 AD

Rufinius a Roman patrician makes a peace treaty with the Persians which holds until AD 539 or 540.


532 AD

Andreas bishop of Edessa died. He was succeeded by Addai on 28th August AD 533.


535 AD

Died Timothy III patriarch of Alexandria. He is mentioned in the colophon of a Syrian Orthodox manuscript BL Add. 12175 which is dated AD 534.

[48], vol. 2, p. 633 ff.

February to April
AD 537

Paul I was Catholicos of the Eastern Syrians.

[59], p. xii

537 to 538 AD

John (bishop) of Tella a Syrian Orthodox bishop was arrested and tortured in prison. John had successfully run the Syrian Orthodox church for some time, staying on the move to evade capture as long as possible. He died a martyr during torture in 538 AD.

[33], p. 96

538 AD

Died theologian Mar Severus patriarch of Antioch


5th October
538 AD

Appeared a comet which the chronicler describes as a spear


538 or 539 AD approx.

Thomas of Edessa began to write a cycle of East Syrian theological explanations of the ecclesiastical feasts whilst he was at the School of Seleucia-Ctesiphon. After Paul's death, these works were carried on by his colleague Qiyoré of Edessa, (see AD 550 below). Paul of Edessa died whilst he was in Constantinople about AD 543. Thomas of Edessa and Qiyoré of Edessa had both been disciples of Mar Abha I when Mar Abha had taught at the School of Nisibis.

[59], p. vii - xi

539 AD

The Persian king Khusraw I Anosharwan invades Byzantine territory, penetrating deep into Syria. He laid waste Shura, and Haleb (Aleppo) and Antioch, and also took possession of Apamea, and turned and came as far as Edessa.

During this war, the Persian king deported large numbers of Christians taken prisoner in various parts of Syria during his campaign. The king settled these captives near his capital city at Seleucia Ctesiphon, [60].

Edessa was besieged by the Persian king who was repulsed and bought off with 200 pounds of gold. A peace was arranged in 562 AD. According to [41], the date of the siege of Edessa was the summer of AD 539, however [33] has AD 544.

[33], p. 113, 158
[60], p. 65

540 AD
(Kanun II AG 852)

Mar Abha I was educated at the School of Nisibis, and later became an eminent professor there. According to `Amr he then moved to the School of Seleucia-Ctesiphon around AD 538, [59]. In AD 540 Abha succeeded catholicos Paulus and became East Syrian catholicos. He sat until his death on 29th February AD 552.

[50], p. 318 notes 1, 3, 326, 353 note 5
[59], p. viii

c. 540 AD

The Chronicle of Edessa (here labeled [41]) was written.

[33], p. 166

542 AD
[34] has 341 AD

Empress Theodora, wife of Justinian was sympathetic to the Syrian Orthodox cause and caused Jacob Bard'aya (or Burd'ana) to become bishop of Edessa, 541 - 578 AD. Jacob gave his name to the Jacobites a West Syrian monophysite Christian denomination which survives to this day.

[33], p. 97
[34], pXXVII

542 AD

The Persians attack and capture the city of Callinicus.

[53], p. 55

January to July 12th
544 AD

A synod was held presided over by the east Syrian catholicos Mar Abha I. The acts of this synod contain a few gospel quotations taken from an Old Syriac gospel manuscript. Mar Abha who had been educated at the School of Nisibis, later founded a new eastern Syriac theological school in Seleucia, (Baghdad). One of his disciples, a priest called Ishai, became the first professor of biblical exegesis at Seleucia. Ishai wrote a treatise which survives. As is clear from the text, he also used an Old Syriac gospel manuscript in his work.

The 5th year of Mar Abha I began January AD 544 and the 13th year of Kawsrau the king ended on 12th July AD 544. This means that the synod was held sometime within this interval.

[38], pp. 95 – 96
[50], p. 318

545 AD

Ephraim of Amida Chalcedonian catholic patriarch of Antioch died.

[7], p. 72

547 to 549 AD

Cosmas Indikopleustes, an Indian traveler from the island of Socotra sees Syrian Christian bishops and communities living along the coasts of India and Sri Lanka. These Christians had been driven East by the persecution of, and wars between, the Zoroastrian Sassanian kings of Persia and the Arian Byzantine Caesars. [7] gives the date as c. AD 535, but in [59] the date is narrowed down to between AD 547 and 549 because Cosmas mentions the two eclipses of AD 547 in his sixth book.

[7], p. 153
[59], p. viii

550 AD

The archives of Edessa were still kept in that city at this time.

Assemani, 'Bibliotecha Orientalis' Vol. 1 via [17], p. 142

c. 550 AD

Lived Qiyoré of Edessa, a disciple of Mar Aba I and a professor at the School of Seleucia-Ctesiphon. He was an East Syrian author who wrote commentaries on the liturgy, [52], [59]. This included a commentary on the Easter liturgy called, 'The cause of the Pascha', [57]. This is preserved in Notre Dame des Semences [=Monastery of Rabban Hormizd at Alqosh] MS 155, [57].

[52], p. 57
[57], p. 348, note 4

c. 550 AD

Moses of Agel (or Aggil) a monophysite, mentioned that chorepiscopus Polycarp had translated the NT and David, (Psalms) from Greek into Syriac for Xenaias, (Philoxenus) - see under 508 AD above.

Assemani Bibl. Or. t. II, p. 82 via [34], p. XXVIII

c. 550 AD

East Syrian catholicos Mar Abha I wrote a book called 'Memre of the soul'.
Mar Abha I who had learned Greek at Edessa, [50] created a new Syriac version of the Old Testament, and perhaps also of the New Testament, (middle of the 6th century, see above under AD 544). According to Mingana Syr 53, Mar Abha also commissioned Thomas of Edessa to translate the liturgy of Theodore of Mopsuestia from Greek into Syriac. This liturgy was included in an East Syrian liturgical work called the Hudhra, (see under AD 647).

[32], para 34
[33], p. 165
[46], volume 1, column 150
[50], p. 318

fl. c. 550 AD

Johannan of Dalyatha (or John Saba) an East (?) Syrian anchorite monk, gathered some monks together and erected the monastery of Dalyatha at Qardu. He wrote a treatise on the monastic life and a collection of epistles. According to [38] these works contain much gospel text quoted from an Old Syriac text, though some have been vulgarized in transmission. This was part of a reaction by the monks to the severe harm done by the East Syrian clergy towards them over the preceding 70 years or so. In general, the reaction of the monks was largely to go their own way. They could rely on the assistance of many ordinary believers to continue their healing and preaching ministries.

Johannan's work has been transmitted by both the Eastern and Western Syriac traditions. CUL 1999 is western and dated AD 1573.

[24], p. 109
[38], pp. 104, 125
BL Orient 4074
CUL Syr. 1999
HSM Syr. 42, 48, 115

552 AD

Mar Abha I East Syrian catholicos died on the second Friday in the month Careme = February, [50]. He was succeeded in May AD 552, [50] by Joseph who sat until being deposed between AD 564 and 567, [50] or in AD 567, [46].

[46], volume 1, column 663 cited from Bar Hebraeus.
[50], pp. 318 note 1, 352 note 1, 353 note 5

553 AD = 1 AE

This was year 1 or 2 in the Armenian era (AE) dating system.

[44], p. 17

554 AD

An East Syrian synod was held under catholicos Joseph. Joseph had himself been a monk near Nisibis and being the favourite nominated by the Marzban (= Persian governor) of Nisibis, he was made catholicos by king Khusraw I Anosharwan (the same king who had earlier besieged Edessa). In his concluding statement from the synod, Joseph says that East Syrian monasticism had been suppressed and dethroned. This indicates the completion of a process of physical persecution and ideological suppression of asceticism which was begun by Barsauma at the end of the 5th century. Catholicos Joseph behaved despotically and generally badly, throwing some bishops into prison and deposing others, generating a lot of ill will. He was finally deposed, probably in AD 567. Afterwards Joseph was regarded as an illegitimate catholicos.

The persecution of the monks by the clergy resulted in a permanent rift between the two sides. From a gospel text point of view, the monks continued to use the Old Syriac texts they preferred, whereas from this time onwards the East Syrian clergy slowly migrated towards the Peshitta.

Mar Ahoudemmeh, Syrian Orthodox bishop of Nineveh also attended this council of the Church of the East and his name appears amongst the signatures at the end, [50], p. 109 line 3, [71]. The Persian monarchy made the Catholicos of the Church of the East responsible for all Christians living in Persian territory. Seen in this light, it is not too surprising to find a Syrian Orthodox bishop of Nineveh in attendance.

[38], pp. 124 – 125
[50], pp. 109 line 3, 352 note 1, 354
[71], p. 8

555 AD

The second Armenian council Dvin. The Armenian bishops condemned the church of the Roman empire and formally adopted the monophysite christology of Cyril of Alexandria.

[44], p. 11

558 or 559 AD

In the year AG 890 Mar Yacub Baradeus (AD 500 – 578) the Syrian Orthodox bishop of Edessa and the Armenian Catholicos Christophore consecrated Ahoudemmeh as the first Syrian Orthodox bishop of Beth `Arabaye and metropolitan of Tikrit and all the East. Mar Ahoudemmeh was a saintly and well educated man who came from Balad on the shores of the river Tigris. He was originally a Nestorian, but he converted to the Syrian Orthodox faith. He wrote a number of theological and controversial works. He was also a prolific and highly effective evangelist. Many Arabs and followers of the Magi were converted as a result of his preaching, [71].

[35], p. 171
[60], pp. 62, 67
[71], p. 10 f.

c. 560 AD

Flourished Moshe Karkhaya, i.e. he was from Karkha in Piruz. Moshe was a disciple of Catholicos Mar Abha I. This places his fl. c. AD 560. His works include a treatise on the two genealogies of Christ as found in the gospels, (A copy of this work can be found in Mingana Syr 148A).

[46], volume 1, column 340

c. 560 AD

Lived Hind, the daughter of the Christian Lakhmid Arab king Herta al-Hirah Abu Kabus Numan ibn al-Mundhir. Hind became the wife of Al-Mundhir III, ibn Ma' al-Sama. Their son was `Amr Ibn Mudir (AD 554 – 569). According to Rassam, his name was Amru, [60]. Hind founded a monastery in al-Hira which was called Der Hind al-Kubra. This monastery contains Christian Arabic inscriptions which indicate that the gospel had already been translated from Syriac into Arabic by this time. The Hind monastery existed 'until the second century of Islam', [60].

[24], p. 129
[38], p. 156
[60], p. 43

566 or 567 AD

Yohannan (John) of Ephesus wrote his 'History of Oriental Saints'. Yohannan was a monk at Amida and became a favourite of the Emperor Justinian. He also persecuted pagan groups in Asia Minor, (Turkey). In his history, Yohannan quotes the gospels from the Peshitta, although some Old Syriac influences can be traced.

[38], p. 93

567 AD

Joseph catholicos of the east was deposed due to his authoritarian and heavy handed behaviour.

[46], volume 1, column 663 cited from Bar Hebraeus.
[50], pp. 352 note 1, 353 note 5

569 AD

Died Mar Abraham the third director of the School of Nisibis. This is the last event recorded by Barhadbashabba `Arbaia in his Syriac history of the church which begins with the Nicaean council in AD 325 where Eusebius left off. This history has been edited by Nau, F. 'La première partie de L'histoire de Barhadbesabba Àrbaïa' PO Tome XXIII, fasc. II. Paris : Firmin-Didot, 1932 and 'La seconde partie de L'histoire de Barhadbesabba Àrbaïa' PO Tome IX, fasc. V, Paris, Firmin-Didot 1913 & reprinted 2003.

The date of Abraham's death is corroborated by another slightly later historian with a similar name Barhadbashabba bishop of Holwan who wrote 'The cause of the foundation of the schools' around AD 600, [54]. This work has been edited with a French translation by Addai Scher, Archbishop of Séert in Kurdistan in PO tome IV fasc. 4, Paris 1908 and again much later by Vööbus, A. 'History of the School of Nisibis' CSCO Peeters Louvain, 1965.

Abraham was succeeded as director by Isho`yabh who held this office for two years, [54].

E. P. Siman, 'Narsai..' Cariscript, Paris 1984, p. 5
[54], p. ix f.

570 AD

Mar Hazqiel or Ezekiel became east Syrian catholicos. His election ended a gap of three years which began after the deposition of Joseph. During Hazqiel's episcopate, Rabban Henana of Hedhaiyabh flourished in the School of Nisibis, [50] and a little later he became it's sixth director, (see under AD 572) and Mar Abimelek and Mar Grigor founded some new schools in the region of Bet Sahde, [38].

Also at this time there was an epidemic of yersinia pestis, (bubonic plague) which decimated Mesopotamia. Things got so bad that a three day fast was instituted in the church calendar, called the Rogations of the Ninevites. This fast is still observed by the Church of the East.

[38], volume 2, p. 33
[50], p. 370 note 2

571 AD

Abraham of Kashkar an East Syrian monastic reformer founded the Izla Monastery called the Great Monastery situated on Mt Izla in the region of Marde, [53]. The monastic rule of the Izla Monastery was established In the month Haziran in the 40th year of Khuzraw the king of Persia and in the days of Shem`on, Metropolitan of Nisibis, [53], (the 40th year of the king ended on 12th July AD 571). This is no doubt true, however a monastery existed at Izla long before Abraham's time, see under AD 362. A Syriac biography of Abraham survives, see Mingana Syr 252 D and Berlin Sachau 329. Briefly, he was born in the village of Dadwaran in Kashkar. He first worked as a missionary amongst the Arabs at Al-Hirah, (see above under AD 560). He travelled for a while becoming acquainted with the ascetics in the valley of Scete, Egypt and at Sinai before spending some time at the School of Nisibis where he studied under Abraham and Johannan of Bet Rabban.

A critical edition of the monastic canons of Abraham mentioned above has been made from six MSS and published in [53]. These canons quote about six different gospel texts. From these quotations it appears that Abraham and the monks were all using an Old Syriac gospel.

[53], pp. 150 – 152

571 AD

Isho`yabh ceased to be the fourth director of the School of Nisibis. He was succeeded by Abraham who held this office for one year, [54].

[54], p. ix f.

572 AD

Abraham, the fifth director of the School of Nisibis was succeeded by Henana or Hannana of Hedhaiyabhe (i.e. of Adiabene) who held this post until AD 610. For some more historical details surrounding Mar Henana, see below under AD 596.

[54], p. ix f.
[59], p. x

573 AD

The Persian king Khusraw I Anushirun invaded Syria again and carried off Syrian Orthodox Christian captives back to the Persian capital of Seleucia Ctesiphon. Syrian Orthodox Christians who had fled to Persia during the persecution under Justinian and several waves of deportees arriving in 539 and in 573 swelled the number of Syrian Orthodox people in Persia to a sizable community.

[60], p. 65

2nd Friday in August, 575 AD

Mar Ahoudemmeh, Syrian Orthodox metropolitan of Tagrit and Nineveh was martyred by Khusraw king of Persia, who had him beheaded. This barbaric act followed Mar Ahoudemmeh's preaching and the subsequent conversion to Christianity and baptism of George, a member of the Persian royal family and many others.

According to Vööbus, [38] Mar Ahoudemmeh's anonymous biographer quotes the gospels in the Peshitta version. However, according to a new study by the present author, Mar Ahoudemmeh's biographer did not use the Peshitta. For example, in the Syriac text published by Françoise Nau, [71], p. 21, Matthew 28v19 is quoted from the gospel version of Philoxenus using a form of words which first occurs in Philoxenus' own works, 'Go forth, disciple and baptize all the peoples!'. The same wording was quoted again by Moshe Bar Kepha later in the 9th century AD. The historical attestation of this reading shows very clearly where it came from. The wording found in the Peshitta version differs in several details, 'Go, disciple all the peoples and baptize them!'

[38], p. 93
[71], pp. 11, 21

576 AD

A synod was held presided over by Catholicos Mar Hazqiel or Ezekiel. The acts of this synod contain eight gospel quotations. Of these eight, seven are taken from an Old Syriac gospel manuscript. The first canon concerns the designation of the Messalians (see above under AD 366) as heretics on the grounds of sexual immorality. Also according to the synodal canons, the clergy sought ways to subordinate the monks under their hierarchical authority.

According to [46], Mar Hazqiel had been a disciple of catholicos Mar Abha I and he wrote a commemoration of his master which survives in Mingana Syr 542 A (j).

[38], pp. 95, 125
[46], volume 1, column 997
[50], pp. 368, 368 note 1

578 AD

Died Mar Yacub Baradeus the theologian and Syrian Orthodox bishop of Edessa.

[34], p. XXVII
[60], p. 62

30th June
578 AD

Khusraw I Anushirun son of Kawad was succeeded by his son Hormizd IV. He reigned until the summer of AD 590.
Reference [37] has a less exact date of 577 or 578 AD.
Reference [50], p. 390 note 1 has February AD 579 and [59], [71] also have this year.

[37], p. xii
[50], pp. 390 note 1, 391 note 2
[59], p. ix
[71], pp. 31, 52

578 AD

After a gap of a few years, Mar Qamisho` was ordained as Syrian Orthodox metropolitan of Tagrit and all the East. He sat until AD 609.

[71], p. 54

580 AD

Christian Arab Lakhmid king al-Nu'man III began his reign. He ruled the towns of Najaf and Karbala situated in present day Iraq. He ruled until AD 602 when he was assassinated by the Sassanid king of Persia.

[60], p. 43

580 or 581 AD

Died Mar Hazqiel East Syrian catholicos. The date is derived from 3 ancient sources, [38].

[38], volume 2, p. 33

Between 30th June
and 30th September
581 AD
(AG 892)

Isho`yabh I of Arzon became East Syrian catholicos. He died during the 15th year of his patriarchate which began late summer AD 595.
Reference [50], p. 370 has the election date as AD 582 or 583.
Reference [50], p. 371 note 3 cites an ancient source who gives the year of his election as AG 892 = between October 1st AD 580 and September 30th AD 581. Based upon the date of the synod in AD 585, the interval of his election can be narrowed down to between the 30th June and the 30th September AD 581.

[24], p. 125
[50], pp. 370 note 2, 371 note 3

30th June and
30th September
585 AD
(In the 8th year of Hormizd the king, and the 4th year of Isho`yabh [50])

A synod was held presided over by the East Syrian catholicos Isho`yabh I of Arzon. The acts of this synod contain sixteen gospel quotations. Of these only a quarter reflect the tenacity of the Old Syriac text type. One canon issued by this synod forbade ordinary Christians from visiting monasteries and cells on Sundays and festivals. This was because many were visiting the monasteries in preference to attending church. Excommunicated at this synod was Hannana or Henana of Hedhaiyabh the sixth director of the School of Nisibis who had dared to challenge some of Theodore of Mopsuestia's teachings, (see below under AD 596), [54].

Isho`yabh I of Arzon wrote an historical and theological commentary upon the trisagion of the East Syrian church which is preserved in a 14th century MS, Mingana Syr 561 part C, [46].

Isho`yabh was a friend of the Christian Arab king Herta al-Hirah Abu Kabus Numan ibn al-Mundhir whose daughter, Hind, had founded the Arabic speaking monastery, (see above under AD 560) where Isho`yabh later died in AD 596.

[24], pp. 125, 129, 130
[38], pp. 95, 129
[46], volume 1, column 1043
[50], pp. 391 notes 2, 3, 422 note 2
[54], p. ix f.

588 AD

Died Abraham of Kashkar an East Syrian monastic reformer, [53]. Abraham created a new monastic centre based on the mount Izla monastery he founded near Nisibis, [50], (this monastery was also called the Great Convent). Again, the Izla monastic movement was a reaction to the suppression of the monks by the East Syrian clergy. Nevertheless, the monks had certain restrictions placed upon them by the clergy.

Abraham was succeeded by Dadisho` as acting director of this movement before the death of Abraham. Afterward, Abraham lived to be about 97 years old, [35] and he died around January AD 588. Dadisho` himself died in AD 604. This Dadisho` abbot of the Izla monastery has been confused by myself and by Wright [24] with Dadisho` Qatraya an East Syrian recluse and learned author who flourished later about AD 690, which see.

[24], p. 131
[35], p. 171
[38], vol. 1, pp. 97f, 129
[50], p. 562
[53], pp. 150, 165
[60], p. 54

27th June
590 AD

Khusraw II Parwez Hormezd became king of Persia, [50]. He reigned until AD 628, [60]. His wife, Queen Shirin was converted to the Syrian Orthodox faith through the king's physician Gabriel, [60].
Reference [37] has the less exact date as AD 589 or 590.

[37] p. xii
Hatch 'Album', p. 212
[50], p. 390 note 1, 391 note 3, 456 note 1
[60], p. 66

593 AD

Died Simon Stylites the Younger.

Simon corresponded with the famous East Syrian writer Isaac of Nineveh. Isaac was a monk of the convent of Mar Matthew in Mosul, then an anchorite who roamed the mountains of Susiana and later he was bishop of Mosul or Nineveh. However, he soon resigned his see and went to the desert of Scete in NW Egypt where he wrote his ascetic works. These are very rich in gospel quotations taken from an Old Syriac manuscript. The Old Syriac quotations in these quotations have occasionally been altered towards the Peshitta during transmission, but much more often, the Old Syriac elements remain in the text. This suggests that the Peshitta readings were added in the margin by later readers and then incorporated in the text when manuscript copies were made.

[24], p. 110
[38], pp. 102 – 103

Between 27th June 594 and 26th June 595 AD

Ya`qob of Lashom came to live at the East Syrian Monastery of Beth `Abhe. This monastery may have been founded at this time or before by this Mar Y`aqob, (or Rabban Jacob), but no solid historical information exists about Beth `Abhe before AD 594. Ya`qob of Lashom had been a monk at the Great Monastery of Mount Izla when Dadisho` was Abbot there. He was expelled from The Izla Monastery unjustly by the heavy-handed abbot, Babai the Great. Ya`qob of Lashom tutored Sahdona who became famous in the mid seventh century, q.v.

[63], p. xlvii based on three ancient sources; pp. lxx-lxxiiv

596 AD
(AG 907, `Amr [50]
AG 906, Eliya [50])

Whilst on a pastoral visit in the area, the East Syrian catholicos Isho`yabh I of Arzon died and was buried nearby at the monastery of Hind, who was the daughter of his friend king Herta al-Hirah Abu Kabus Numan ibn al-Mundhir.

[24], p. 130
[46], volume 1, column 1043
[50], p. 391 note 3

596 AD

Sabhr-isho` I who had been bishop of Lashom was appointed by Khusraw the king as east Syrian catholicos. He had studied under the direction of Mar Abraham the Commentator at the School of Nisibis.

[50], p. 456 note 2
[63], p. lxxiv

596 AD

Sabhr-isho` I east Syrian catholicos held a synod.

[50], p. 456 note 1

596 AD

Lived Hnana or Henana or Hannana of Hedhaiyabhe (i.e. Of Adiabene) a theologian and the director of the East Syrian School of Nisibis. Henana studied in this school and later became it's 6th director after Mar Narsai, from AD 572 to 610, [59]. He was condemned as a heretic in AD 585 by Isho`yabha I of Arzon and again in May AD 596 at the synod called by the newly elected catholicos, Sabhr-isho`. As can be seen from his surviving theological treatise, (edited by Scher, see below), Henana used an Old Syriac manuscript of the gospels. Despite being denounced in this way, Henana's works were extensively quoted by important later East Syrian authors like Isho`dad of Merv, see later under AD 852.

Addai Scher, Archbishop of Séert in Kurdistan, (died 1916): 'Traités d'Isai le docteur et de Hnana d'Adiabène sur les martyrs, le Vendredi d'or et les rogations : suivis de la Confession de foi à réciter par les évêques avant l'ordination' Patrologia Orientalis, tome 7, fasc. 1, Paris 1909 and later reprints

[24], p. 125
[32], para 30
[38], p. 96
Isho`dad of Merv
[54], p. ix f.
[59], p. x

598 AD

Catholicos Sabhr-isho` I received a servile letter from the leaders of the monastic movement in the Shigar region of Persia, west of Mosul, promising obedience and the catholicos wrote a reply.

[50], p. 461

October to December
599 AD

An East Syrian manuscript of the four gospels was copied. It was one of the 42 Peshitta manuscripts collated by G. H. Gwilliam for the BFBS Peshitta gospel text. The manuscript is dated 10th year of Khusraw II (AD 588 to 599) and AG 911 (October AD 599 to September 600). The manuscript was copied in Teldainor, in the district of Beth Nuhadra.

BL Add. 14460
Hatch 'Album', p. 211

c. 600 AD

Lived Abraham Nethperaya and anchorite monk from Nethpar near Arbela. Abraham's discourses survive in the following manuscripts, BL Add. Cod. 14614 and Orient 6714 of the 9th or 10th century. In these, Abraham quotes from an Old Syriac gospel manuscript. None of Abraham's many works have been published, but an English translation of one of his treatises has been published by Dr. S. Brock, [61].

[24], pp. 111 – 112
[38], p. 97
[61], pp. 188 – 196