I see that this question has received thoughtful responses from H.E.
Mor Athanasius Geevargis and others. I would like to provide some
The term Rabban precedes monasticism in the Syriac Church, which
arrived from Egypt only in the late 4th cent. Bishop Jacob of
Nisibis is know to have founded a school in Edessa in the early 4th
cent. where the Head of the school was called Rabban and he also
occupied the chief exegete's chair (kursyo da-mpassqono). The chief
disciplinary official as well as the librarian was the Steward
(rabbayto). The school had other academic positions such as maqryono
(instructor in liturgical reading)m, mhaggyono (elementary reading
master) and badoqo (researcher, apparently in secular subjects). The
students were called eskolaye (from the Greek schola). Mor Ephrem
the Syrian was a mpassqono (Exegete) at this school. (See Robert
Murray, Symbols of Church and Kingdom, [1975, Gorgias reprint 2004,
Rabban is very likely to have later been associated with the
monastic schools and then generally applied to any monk. Today
Rabban typically denotes an ordained priest-monk. Novitiates are
called sharwoye and the general term for monks irrespective of their
ecclesiastical rank is dayroyo (inhabitant of a dayro - monastery).
Even though in Syriac, today we write Raban (reesh beth nun) with a
single beth, we know that the beth was in early Syriac doubled, i.e.
Rab-ban. Even though it is written with a single beth, it is
pronounced with hard spirantization (qushoyo); otherwise a beth
preceded by a vowel would be pronounced soft (rukhokho). (See George
Kiraz, Introduction to Syriac Spirantization, Barhebraeaus Verlag,
Curiously, where such doubling occurs, in Malayalam, the beth is
corrupted as "mb". Ramban is an example. Another is qambel for
PS: At the N. American Syriac Symposium at Princeton in 2003, a Syro-
Malabar priest presented a choir that sang many East Syriac songs.
He also had the songs recorded on a CD which was on sale. On
noticing the mis-transliterated Syriac title of the CD (Qambel
Moran), Prof John Healey (Manchester Univ, and author of the First
Studies in Syriac, Gorgias Press, 2005) remarked to a few of us that
even though the Indian Syriac music was good, due to philological
reasons he could not buy the CD!)
Thomas Joseph, Ph.D.
Web Master, Syriac Orthodox Resources [ http://sor.cua.edu/
Tech. Editor, Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies [
--- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Shinu Jesus Abraham wrote:
> Greetings to All
> What is the correct name - Rabban or Ramban in syriac language? If
it is Rabban why do we follow is as Ramban?
> Shinu Jesus Abraham
> Member ID # 2908