Saint NameJohn Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople, ob. 407 : S00779
Saint Name in Sourceܝܘܐܢܝܤ
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)
Evidence not before569
Evidence not after600
Activity not before428
Activity not after431
Place of Evidence - RegionMesopotamia
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Edessa
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - bishops
Cult Activities - RelicsBodily relic - entire body
Transfer, translation and deposition of relics
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 conclusion of chapter 18, which deals with John Chrysostom (c. 349-407), Barḥadbešabbā reports that thirty-five years after John's deposition and exile in the year 403, his remains were brought from the city of Comana Pontica (Asia Minor) back into Constantinople during the bishopric of Nestorios (428-431), who persuaded the emperor Theodosius II to allow this (on Nestorios' life, see Bevan 2010; Kosinski 2007). There is, however, a chronological discrepancy in this record, which dates the transfer of John's relics by the year 438, when Nestorios was already living in exile in Egypt and the see of Constantinople was held by Proclus (434-446/7). Barḥadbešabbā's report might be a part of the East-Syrian apologetical efforts, aimed at enhancing the positive image of Nestorios by challenging, among other things, the claim that the relics of John were transferred by Proclus (see E04017).
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.
Vööbus, A., History of the School of Nisibis (CSCO 266, Subs. 26; Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO, 1965).