Michael I, The Syrian, Patriarch of Antioch
MICHAEL I, THE SYRIAN, PATRIARCH OF ANTIOCH
Jacobite patriarch, historian; b. Melitene (Malatya, Turkey), 1126; d. 1199. Monk, and later archimandrite, of the monastery of Bar-Sauma, Michael, as patriarch of Antioch (1166–99), strove to reform the somewhat lax ways of the Jacobite (Monophysite) Church (see jacobites [syrian]), and for a time had to struggle with a rival patriarch who enjoyed Armenian support. He maintained good relations with the crusader states, and was invited to the Third lateran council, but declined. His main writing is a chronicle in Syriac, covering the period from creation to 1199. Its value lies, for the earlier portions, in the many now lost Syriac historians whom he used as sources, and for the later portions, in his own shrewd and detailed eyewitness accounts of events in the Near East in his own time. The original Syriac text was rediscovered in 1888; previously the chronicle had been known only in a shortened Armenian version. Unpublished liturgical and dogmatic works by Michael also survive.
Bibliography: j. b. chabot, ed. and tr., Chronique de Michel le Syrien, 4 v. (Paris 1899–1924). e. tisserant, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables générales 1951–) 10.2: 1711–19. p. kawerau, Die jakobitische Kirche im Zeitalter der syrischen Renaissance (2d ed. Berlin 1960).