Saint NameNestorios, bishop of Constantinople, ob. 450 : S00778
Saint Name in Sourceܢܣܛܘܪܝܤ
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)
Evidence not before569
Evidence not after600
Activity not before569
Activity not after600
Place of Evidence - RegionMesopotamia
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Edessa
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsComposing and translating saint-related texts
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - bishops
SourceBarḥadbešabbā ‘Arbāyā, an East-Syrian writer and member of the School of Nisibis in Northern Mesopotamia, was active during the late 6th and early 7th century. Among other works, he produced two important historical compositions, the Ecclesiastical History and the Cause of the Foundation of the Schools. Composed not very long after the year 569, the History covers events mostly of the 4th and 5th century from an East-Syrian perspective. While for the bulk of his work Barḥadbešabbā extensively used Greek sources, in the concluding two chapters he deals with the history of the Schools of Edessa and of Nisibis up to the year 569, relying on the local tradition of the latter academic institution (on its history, see Vööbus 1965; Becker 2006; Becker 2008).
Syriac text, together with French translation: Nau 1913; Nau 1932. For general information on Barḥadbešabbā, see Becker and Childers 2011; Becker 2008, 11-16, 40-46.
DiscussionAt the beginning of chapter 20 of his Ecclesiastical History, which deals with Nestorios (c. 386-450), Barḥadbešabbā introduces the bishop of Constantinople as 'one of the saints' and 'the martyr of Christ' (on Nestorios' life, see Bevan 2010; Kosinski 2007). The particular emphasis on the image of Nestorios as a martyr for the sake of Christ makes this description stand out in comparison with the portrayal of other important ecclesiastical figures from the past in the History. This evidence has rightly been regarded by scholars as one of the earliest expressions of the development of veneration of Nestorios among the East-Syrian Christians (see on this Seleznyov 2010).
Nau, F., La seconde partie de l’Histoire de Barhadbešabba ‘Arbaïa et controverse de Théodore de Mopsueste avec les Macédoniens (Patrologia Orientalis 9.5 ; Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1913).
Nau, F., La première partie de l’Histoire de Barhadbešabba ‘Arbaïa (Patrologia Orientalis 23.2; Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1932).
Scher, A., Mar Barhadbšabba ‘Arbaya, évêque de Halwan (VIe siècle). Cause de la fondation des écoles (Patrologia Orientalis 4.4 ; Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1908).
Becker, A.H., Fear of God and the Beginning of Wisdom: The School of Nisibis and the Development of Scholastic Culture in Late Antique Mesopotamia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006).
Becker, A.H., Sources for the Study of the School of Nisibis (Translated Texts for Historians 50; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2008).
Becker, A.H., and Childers, J.W., “Barḥadbshabba ‘Arbaya,” in: S.P. Brock, A.M. Butts, G.A. Kiraz and L. van Rompay (eds.), Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage (Piscataway, New Jersey: Gorgias Press, 2011), 57-58.
Bevan, G.A., “Nestorius of Constantinople,” in: K. Parry (ed.), Wiley Blackwell Companion to Patristics (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015), 197-210.
Kosinski, R., “The Life of Nestorius as Seen in Greek and Oriental Sources,” Electrum 13 (2007), 155-170.
Seleznyov, N.N., “Nestorius of Constantinople: Condemnation, Suppression, Veneration, with Special Reference to the Role of His Name in East-Syriac Christianity,” Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 62:3-4 (2010), 165-190.
Vööbus, A., History of the School of Nisibis (CSCO 266, Subs. 26; Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO, 1965).