Founder of the Basilian Salvatorians and inaugurator of reunion of the Syrian Melchites with the Holy See; b. Damascus, c. 1648; d. there, Oct. 16, 1723. After receiving an extensive education at the patriarchal school in Damascus, he was ordained in 1666. In 1682 he was consecrated metropolitan to the Sees of Sur (Tyre) and Saida (Sidon). Having been influenced toward Catholicism by the Jesuits in Damascus, he sent his profession of faith to Rome on Jan. 20, 1683. In the same year he began to organize a new religious group of young men as missionaries for the Catholic apostolate in the Melchite patriarchate; these were later formed into a religious order following the rule of St. Basil and called Salvatorians after the name of the Monastery of the Holy Savior (Deir al-Muḫalliṣ), which he had founded near Sidon in 1685. His appointment by the Holy See in 1701 as apostolic administrator of all the Melchites in the Near East allowed him to extend his missionary zeal throughout Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and North Arabia. The hostility of the Orthodox brought him excommunication from the patriarch of Constantinople, with persecution and imprisonment in his native land. His famous book, Kitāb ad-dalāla al-lāmi’a (Bright Guidance), was composed in Arabic for the benefit of his disciples. This work, which discusses successively the marks of the Catholic Church, the primacy of the pope, the filioque, purgatory, and many lesser divergencies between the East and the West, cites Biblical, liturgical, and patristic texts in the original languages and cites all the sources.
Bibliography: a. schall, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 3:1211–12. g. graf, Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur, 5 v. (Vatican City 1944-53); Studie Testi (Rome 1900–) 118, 133, 146, 147, 172. 3:179–184. c. bacha, Tarīḫ Ṭāifa ar-Rum al-Malakīya, 2 v. (Deir al-Muḫalliṣ 1938).