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Barbaʿshmin was a fourth-century bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, primate of the Church of the East, and martyr. He succeeded Shahdost as bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in 343, during the great persecution of Shapur II, and was martyred three years later, in 346. Like several other early bishops of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, he is included in the traditional list of patriarchs of the Church of the East, which also considers him a saint. His feast day is January 14.

Contents

Sources

Brief accounts of Barbaʿshmin's episcopate are given in the Ecclesiastical Chronicle of the Jacobite writer Bar Hebraeus (floruit 1280) and in the ecclesiastical histories of the Nestorian writers Mari (twelfth-century), ʿAmr (fourteenth-century) and Sliba (fourteenth-century). His life is also covered in the Chronicle of Seert. In all these accounts he is anachronistically called 'catholicus', a term that was only applied to the primates of the Church of the East in the fifth century.

Barbashmin's episcopate

The following account of Barbaʿshmin's episcopate and martyrdom is given by Bar Hebraeus:

After Shahdost, Barbaʿshmin. This is a Chaldean name and signifies 'the man with four names'. He was from Beth Garmaï, and was also Shemʿon Bar Sabbaʿe's nephew by his sister. He was elected secretly at Seleucia and consecrated in the house of a believer. He urged the clerics, religious and bishops to change their clothes and to wear secular garments, in order to evade the persecution of the impious Shapur. Much later, after the persecution came to an end and Nestorianism spread in the East, those who changed their clothes also changed their faith. They declined to resume that holy dress of yore, principally because they were cut off from the other Christian peoples, where monks demonstrated their humility by wearing the Antonian garb. After Barbaʿshmin had secretly fulfilled his office for seven years, Shapur got wind of him and arrested him along with sixteen men, priests and believers. They were all thrown into prison, and for eleven months he tried to win them over to the faith of the magi, offering them many inducements. But when they refused to deny their faith, he killed them in Karka d’Ledan in Beth Huzaye, on the ninth day of the latter kanun [November]. The bishops did not attempt to choose another leader, because all of their predecessors had been killed. [1]

The Church of the East remained without a leader for several years after Barbaʿshmin's death.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Bar Hebraeus, Ecclesiastical Chronicle (ed. Abeloos and Lamy), ii. 40–2

References

  • Abbeloos, J. B., and Lamy, T. J., Bar Hebraeus, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum (3 vols, Paris, 1877)
  • Assemani, J. A., De Catholicis seu Patriarchis Chaldaeorum et Nestorianorum (Rome, 1775)
  • Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-140-51312-4.
  • Brooks, E. W., Eliae Metropolitae Nisibeni Opus Chronologicum (Rome, 1910)
  • Gismondi, H., Maris, Amri, et Salibae: De Patriarchis Nestorianorum Commentaria I: Amri et Salibae Textus (Rome, 1896)
  • Gismondi, H., Maris, Amri, et Salibae: De Patriarchis Nestorianorum Commentaria II: Maris textus arabicus et versio Latina (Rome, 1899)
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