Timotheus I, Nestorian Patriarch

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Reigned 780 to 823; b. azza, edaiyab (in modern Iran), about the middle of the 8th century; d. Baghdad, 823. After studying under Abraham bar Dashandad at Bāshūsh, Timotheus was first a monk, then bishop of Bēth-Bāghāsh, and finally patriarch of the Nestorian Church, following a much-discussed synodal election. He was highly regarded by the Muslim Caliphs al-Mahdī (775785) and Harūn ar-Rashīd (785809), both of whom allowed him to carry on remarkably successful missionary enterprises in India, Turkestan, China, Yemen, and the region around the Caspian Sea. He organized the hierarchy of the Nestorian Church on the basis of six provinces; he exercised decisive influence in the separation of the hierarchy in Persia from the see of Rome; and in the synods of 790791 and 804 he insisted on the purity of Nestorian doctrine.

He was one of the most prolific writers of his age. His works, all written in Syriac, include a treatise on astronomy, and a volume on Church matters, besides juridical canons, synodal canons, homilies for every Sunday of the year, a commentary on the writings of St. gregory of nazianzus, and two volumes of almost 200 letters. One of these letters contains a long apologia of Christianity spoken by Timothesus before the Abbāsid Caliph al-Mahdī In all his writings Timotheus manifested a keen interest in Aristotelian philosophy, Biblical studies, juridical Church questions, and the works of St. Gregory of Nazianzus.

See Also: nestorianism.

Bibliography: timotheus i, Epistolae, ed. and tr. o. braun, 2 v. (Corpus scriptorum Christianorum orientalium 74, 75; 191415). a. baumstark, Geschichte der syrischen Literatur (Bonn 1922). a. mingana, ed. and tr., The Apology of Timothy the Patriarch before the Caliph Mahdi (Cambridge, England 1928).

[j. m. sola-sole]