From the Book of Marganitha (The Pearl)
TABLE OR TREE OF LIFE
APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION OF THE CATHOLICOS
PATRIARCHS OF THE CHURCH OF THE EAST,
NAMELY, THOSE WHO SERVED ON THE SEE
OF THE CHURCH OF KHUKY,
IN SELEUCIA-CTESIPHON, BABYLON
MARAN ESHU M’SHIKHA
(Our Lord Jesus Christ)
Shimun Keepa (St. Simon Peter), who wrote his Catholic Epistle from Babylon.
I. Peter, 1.1 and 5.13.
I. The table of succession of the Catholicos Patriarchs of the East, published in the book of Marganitha, by Qashisha Yosip of Kelaita, Mosul, Iraq, 1924.
2. A Historical Account of the Patriarchs of the East, by Qashisha Patros Narsay of Mosul, 1905.
3. A Historical Account of the Patriarchs of the East, by Amro Bar Mattay, published in Rome 1896.
4. A Historical Account of the Patriarchs of the East, by Qashisha Yosip Tupakchi.
5. The History of the Assyrian Church, by Dr. W. A. Wigram, published in London, England.
6. History of the Ancient Nation and the Church of the East, by Shamasha Gewargis David Malik of Supurghan, and published by Qashisha Nestoris Malik, USA, 1910.
7. The Book of Governors, by Mar Tooma of Margy.
8. The Chronography of Bar Eoraya (Bar Hebraeus) translated from Aramaic (Syriac) original by E. A. Wallis Budge, published by Oxford University Press.
9. Chronology, published by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Press, Urmi, Iran, 1907.
10. On the succession of the Patriarchal House, by Mar Elia of Alkosh, Iraq.
In the present Table of Succession, I have listed the dates most acceptable to the majority of the various authors. For example, Mar Shimun Bar Sabbai; served on the Patriarchal See; according to the Book of Marganitha, from the year 320—330, according to Amro, from 326-344, according to Patros, from 328-339, according to Tupankchi, from 323—341, according to Wigram, 328—340, according to Shamasha Gewargis Malik, unil 341, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Chronology, 332—339. The date, therefore, agreed upon by the majority of these sources in the case of Mar Shimun Bar Sabbai is 328—341, and this I have recorded in this list. In like manner, I have also acted in the case of all the Catholicos Patriarchs of the East.
Furthermore, I am also herewith noting the events in their historical context in relation to the various Patriarchs listed in this table in their numerical order:
1. During the reign of Khnanishu II, the Church of the East Monument in China was erected, and the Patriarchal See was moved from Seleucia—Ctesiphon to Baghdad.
2. The majority of authorities are in agreement that the Qudchanis, namely, Mar Shimun’s House succession, begins with Mar Timotheus II, of Arbil (1318—1328).
3. There are others, however, who maintain that the succession of the Qudchanis Patriarchal House begins with Mar Dinkha (d’beth Saiyada) 1448-1490.
4. It was during the reign of Mar Dinkha Shimun (Bar Mama) that the renegade ambitious rabban (monk) Sulaka d’beth Ballo, Aqraya, took refuge with the Roman Pontiff, and thus introduced Papism into the Holy Church of the East.
5. Eshuyow Shimun, moved the Patriarchal See from Alkosh, near Mosul, to Azerbaijan, Iran, and finally to Qudchanis, in Hakkiari, Kurdistan. As the result of the viscissitudes of the First World War, the Patriarchal See of the Church of the East, has been moved to San Fransisco, California and now to Morton Grove, Illinois, United States of America.
Addendum. It is an indisputable fact that in view of the close, linguistic, cultural and religious ties existing between the Jews and other Semitic peoples of the various countries of the Middle East, coupled with the geographical proximity between Palestine and these countries, that practically all the Apostles and the Disciples, at one time or another of their career, preached in these countries. This is especially true of Assyria and Babylon. For it was here that the Jews were brought during the two historic captivities prior to the Christian era.
This is especially true of Babylon, namely, the twin cities of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, and the Persian Empire as a whole. The Jews in Babylon at this time constituted a great and opulent community, and as a religious and cultural centre no less important than Jerusalem itself. It was in Seleucia-Ctesiphon, that the major part of the Book of Talmud, which to the Jews is considered only second to the Bible, was written, and in the Aramaic language.
It was these Jewish communities that Christ had in mind when He said to His disciples: “But above all, go to the sheep that are lost from the house of Israel”.
For this reason you frequently come across names of Apostles not mentioned in the official list, such as Mar Mattai, Shimun Qnanaya, and others who are mentioned by various historians and Church authors. For it must be remembered that even Mar Polos Shlikha (St. Paul the Apostle) who is usually considered the Apostle of the West (though not one of twelve or seventy), preached the Gospel and established Churches in Palestine, Syria, Arabia, Asia Minor, nearly twenty years before he went to Greece and Italy. It has already been stated that Mar Shimun Keepa (St. Simon Peter) wrote his Epistle from Babylon, and which he concludes thus:
“The chosen Church which is in Babylon, and Mark, my son, salute you ". (Peter I. 5.13). Another unassailable evidence of this fact can be seen from the Gospel according to St. Mark itself. Mar Mattay (St. Matthew) in his Gospel which we know was written to the Hebrew Christians in Palestine, quoting the last words of Jesus on the cross says:
Eeil. Eeil, l’mana Shwaqtan”. (Matthew 27.46). Markos (Mark) on the other hand, repeating the same words, says: “Which means, Alah, Alah, l’mana shwaqtan”, which is the eastern or Mesopotamian dialect of Aramaic, meaning; My God, my God, why have you left me. (Mark 15.34).
True, for several centuries, the theory that Mar Patros speaks metaphorically of Babylon when he actually means Rome, has been held by Christians in the West, and has also permeated in various forms among most of the eastern Churches, yet the fact is that this theory is not supported by any historical evidence whatsoever. Surely, had Mar Patros gone to Rome, the event would have been mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, or Mar Polos whose presence in Rome is an accepted fact, and who in his Epistles makes mention of the most trivial matters, would, surely, have mentioned the presence of his superior in Rome!
But the fact is that this tradition gained momentum following Emperor Constantine’s acceptance of the Christian faith, though mainly for political reasons, rather than conviction; thus making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, and at the same time strengthening the desire to claim as many of the Apostles as possible for the glory of what was now considered a Christian Rome, and hence the head of the Apostles was a natural choice.
Therefore, like so many heretical and erroneous doctrines promulgated and disseminated by the Byzantine Imperial edicts, this theory also struck permanent roots.
Furthermore, the contradictory statements which have emanated from the Roman Catholic Church, speak for themselves of the absurdity and the fallacy of this theory.
Only recently, a world wide publicity was given to the excavations which were taking place in St. Peters, Rome, and hopes were raised high that the tombs containing the relics of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, were soon to be found.
On the other hand, in the Synod held in Florence, Italy, in 1438, the object of which was to bring unity between the Greeks and the Romans, and was attended by the Pope himself, the following statement is made: “And they (the Council) placed in the middle a small altar which was spread with a cover woven with gold and inlaid with emeralds. And they brought the heads (skulls) of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, and placed them each on one side of the Gospel…… And the statement continues:
The Pope sent with the Greek King a great army and provided them with all the necessities for the journey. And the Pope himself hastened to leave the city of Peraria, accompanied by his own hosts (army), led by twelve white horses of great value. And they laid on the back of the last horse which preceded the Pope, a case covered with gold, containing the honoured heads of the holy Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul”. (Compendum Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Undecim, translated by Mar Yosip, Roman Catholic Bishop of Amid, from an Arabic translation which had been translated from the Latin original, and published by the Press of William Drugulin, Leipsic, Germany, (Synod XI, p. 227—229).
Therefore, the obvious question is, if the above statement were true, then why do they continue to search for the remains of the said holy Apostles? And if it is false, as the facts clearly indicate it to be, then it not only confirms the fictitious origin of the presence of St. Peter and his martyrdom in Rome, but it also nullifies all the other claims made by the Roman Church by virtue of that fact. Notwithstanding, this does not mean that these claims would have any justification whatsoever even if these facts were true!
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