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Re: Antiochian line of St. Peter

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  • thomas_joseph@hotmail.com
    Mike, I consulted Hidemi Takahashi, a Syriac Studies scholar from Japan and a doctoral student at the University of Frankfurt on your question regarding the
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 27, 2001

      I consulted Hidemi Takahashi, a Syriac Studies scholar from Japan and
      a doctoral student at the University of Frankfurt on your question
      regarding the apostolic succession in the Syriac Orthodox Church.
      There is no straightforward answer to your question and Hidemi's
      response tells you why.

      - Thomas

      ----Original Message Follows----
      Subject: Re: A question on Jacob Baradeus
      Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 10:41:26 +0200

      Dear Thomas,

      Thank you for your message. <snip>

      Coming to your question about the Apostolic succession, I am afraid I
      am not really the right person to ask. I am not really very good on
      the early history of the Church and there are others who will be much
      better qualified than I am to answer your question (and I am sure
      there are tons of literature which I should be consulting to answer
      your question properly).

      There are a couple of points we need to be clear about when talking
      about Apostolic Succession. When we talk about the Apostolic
      Succession, we mean, of course, the line of bishops ordaining bishops
      (and going back ultimately to one of the twelve apostles), not
      patriarchs ordaining patriarchs (the old patriarch is usually dead
      when a new patriarch is appointed). We need also to remember that
      when a bishop is ordained, he may be ordained by several bishops.
      There may be one main ordinator (often the patriarch), but the
      apostolic succession is transmitted through all the bishops who lay
      their hands on him.

      I believe the sources generally agree that Jacob Baradaeus/Burd'ono
      was ordained bishop of Edessa in 543 by Patriarch Theodosius of

      The main source on the life of Jacob, as far as I know is his
      biography falsely attributed to John of Ephesus. I have before me the
      edition by E.W. Brooks (Patrologia Orientalis XIX, fasc. 2), and here
      it is said that Jacob was ordained bishop of Edessa and "all the rest
      of Syria and Asia" by Patriarch Theodosius of Alexandria.

      Bar Ebroyo (Chronicon ecclesiasticum, ed. Abbeloos-Lamy I.215), I
      see, names several bishops who laid their hands on Jacob at his
      episcopal ordination:

      Constantinus of Laodicea, John of Egypt, Peter, Theodosius (of
      Alexandria), Anthimus (of Trebizond), and "a few other bishops".

      The statement that there were only three bishops, "one on the
      mountains of Marde (Mardin), one in Persian territory, and one who
      had gone into Alexandria" occurs in the passage of pseudo-John of
      Ephesus just before the account of Jacob's ordination. - But firstly
      one has to be wary of taking such statements at face value; they may
      involve a degree of exaggeration. Secondly and more importantly this
      statement, as the editor, Brooks, points out, is based on a
      misunderstanding of a passage of the real John of Ephesus, where John
      of Ephesus is talking about John of Tella (who lived a generation
      earlier). - So there probably were a few more "orthodox" (i.e.
      miaphysite) bishops around in the time of Jacob Baradaeus.

      Jacob Baradaeus was, of course, never patriarch of Antioch. - Pseudo-
      John of Ephesus tells us that the two immediate succesors of Severus
      of Antioch, Patriarchs Sergius of Tella (538-540) and Paul of Beit
      Ukama (541), were ordained by Jacob Baradaeus. - But here there is a
      problem in that Jacob himself only became bishop after these two
      became patriarchs. - Bar Ebroyo, on the other hand, says that Sergius
      was ordained by John of Anazarba. - I am afraid I do not have other
      historical texts with me. - I am sure someone must have studied and
      written about this problem, but I am afraid I do not have any
      references ready at hand. ...

      Given that Jacob Baradaeus had a major role in the reconstitution of
      the Syriac Orthodox hierarchy, one can, I think, be fairly certain
      that any Syriac Orthodox bishop today will be able (if all the
      records were available, which they are not) to trace back his lineage
      in some way to Jacob Baradaeus and Theodosius of Alexandria.

      I would be less certain about whether the lineage goes back solely to
      Jacob Baradaeus, but given that there were at least some other
      miaphysite bishops around at the time, it seems likely that they too
      would have taken part in the ordination of some bishops, and if so
      there will also be a line going back to the Apostles via routes other
      than Jacob and Theodosius.

      Now, I am not sure if I've answered your question, but at least I've
      tried ...

      All the best,


      Thomas Joseph wrote:

      > Dear Hidemi,
      > Hope you are doing fine. I have a question that I
      > wanted to consult you on. Recently, on SOR-Forum
      > (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SOR-Forum), the
      > question below was posed.
      > Do you have any comments on it? Are the historical
      > sources in agreement with respect to the consecration of Jacob
      > Baradeus?
      > With warm regards,
      > Thomas

      --- In SOR-Forum@y..., maurnicus@a... wrote:
      > Shlomo kool,
      > I was wondering whether our line of Apostolic Succession from St.
      > Peter came solely through Antioch. As we know, (Mor) Jacob
      > Baradaeus helped the Church thrive by ordaining many many
      > priests and bishops.
      > His was ordained by the Alexandrian patriarch (or bishop, I can't
      > recall), and I read something about our church only having 3 living
      > bishops at the time of Baradaeus' ordaination.
      > So my question is, does our current line of apostolic succession
      > come out of antioch (one of those three bishops) or alexandria (via
      > Baradaeus)?
      > Peace,
      > Mike
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