Michael the Syrian
Michael the Syrian
|Patriarch of the |
|Died||1199 (aged 72–73)|
|Part of |
|Oriental Orthodox churches|
Michael the Syrian (
The life of Michael is recorded by
At that period Melitene was part of the kingdom of the Turcoman
As a child, Michael entered the service of the monastery, and became archimandrite before the age of thirty. He made various improvements to the abbey fabric, including improving the water supply and the defences against raiders. On 18 October 1166 he was elected Patriarch of the Jacobite church, and consecrated in the presence of twenty-eight bishops.
In 1168 he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and then stayed for a year at Antioch. Both towns were at the time part of the Latin crusader states, and Michael established excellent relations with the crusader lords, especially with
The Byzantine emperor
Around 1174 Michael had to contend with a revolt by a party of bishops. He himself was twice arrested at the instigation of the dissident bishops, so he says; once by the servants of the prefect of Mardin and the second time by those of the emir of Mosul. Also the monks of Bar Sauma rebelled against him in 1171 and 1176.
Between 1178 and 1180 he resided again in the crusader states, at Antioch and Jerusalem. He was invited by Pope Alexander III to attend the
In 1180 his former pupil Theodore Bar Wahbon had himself elected patriarch at Amida under the name of John by certain malcontent bishops, beginning a schism which lasted for thirteen years. Michael took energetic action, got hold of the anti-patriarch and locked him up at Bar Sauma and formally deposed him. Some of monks allowed Ibn Wahbon to escape, who fled to Damascus and tried in vain to appeal to
In 1182, Michael received the sultan
He died at the monastery of Bar Sauma on 7 November 1199 at the age of sixty-three, having been patriarch for thirty-three years. His nephew, Michael the Younger, known as Yeshti' Sephethana [Syriac ܝܸܫܬ݂' ܣܸܦܗܸܬܗܲܢܲ] or "Big-lips", became anti-patriarch at Melitene from 1199-1215, in opposition to Athanasius IX and then John XIV.