Bedjan, Paul

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Missionary and Orientalist; b. Khusrawi, Iran, Nov. 27, 1838; d. Cologne-Nippes, Germany, June 9, 1920. He studied at the minor seminary of the French Vincentians in Khusrawi (185056), changed from the chaldean to the Latin rite, and entered the Vincentian novitiate in Paris in 1856. He was ordained May 25, 1861, and returning to northwest Persia, did missionary work in Khusrawi and Rizaiyeh until 1880. It distressed him that only Protestants were printing books in Neo-Syriac, the vernacular of his people, and he returned to Europe to devote himself thereafter to the publication of texts in Syriac (36 v., Paris 18851912). Some of these were popular works of religious devotion, his own compositions or translations into Neo-Syriac, but most were carefully prepared editions of ancient Syriac texts based on MSS of libraries and museums in Europe and the Near East. With the approval of the Holy See, which made him a consultor on the Congregation of the Propaganda in 1886, he printed a new edition of the Breviary for priests of the Chaldean rite (3 v., 188687), but the Chaldean patriarch of Mosul, Abp. Elias Abolionan, rejected the Missal he had likewise prepared because of its innovations. Noteworthy are Bedjan's editions of the Acts of Martyrs and Saints of the East (7 v., 189097), the Sermons of Jacob of Sarûg (5v., 190510), and the Book of Heraclides of Damascus (1910), an authentic but then unknown writing by nesto rius.

Bibliography: f. combaluzier, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912) 7:410413. a. rÜker, Kulture 31 (1912) 200208. j. m. vostÉ, "Paul Bedjan, le lazariste persan," Orientalia Christiana periodica 11 (1945) 45102.

[l. f. hartman]