Saint NameThomas, the Apostle : S00199
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)
Evidence not before503
Evidence not after569
Activity not before520
Activity not after530
Place of Evidence - RegionMesopotamia
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcAmida
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Amida
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - monastic
SourceThe Chronicle of Pseudo-Zachariah Rhetor is a historiographical work that, for the most part, deals with the period from the middle of the 5th to the middle of the 6th century. It was composed, apparently, around the year 568/9 by a Syriac-speaking writer, most likely a citizen of the city of Amida. Produced as a whole in Syriac, the Chronicle is a complex and composite work, which includes a number of texts translated into Syriac from Greek, such as the History of Joseph and Aseneth, the Acts of St Silvester of Rome, and the Ecclesiastical History of Zachariah of Mytilene.
Syriac text: Brooks 1919-1924, vv. 1-2; English translation: Hamilton and Brooks 1899; Greatrex et al. 2011; German translation: Ahrens and Krüger 1899; Latin translation: Brooks 1919-1924, v. 3. For general information, see Greatrex 2006; Greatrex et al. 2011, pp. 1-92.
DiscussionThe Chronicle reports that during the early 520s John bar Aphtonia (ob. 538; see on him Watt 1999), a West-Syrian monastic leader, initiated a transfer of the monastic community named after the apostle Thomas from its original location at Seleucia ad Belum near Chalcis in Syria to Qenneshrē in Mesopotamia. The transfer took place, most likely, in the year 525, as a result of the persecution of this Monophysite community by the supporters of Chalcedon (see Menze 2008, 125-127). The passage provides an example of monastic community named after one of the twelve apostles.
BibliographyMain editions and translations:
Ahrens, K., and Krüger, G., Die sogennante Kirchengeschichte des Zacharias Rhetor (Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana, Scriptores Sacri et Profani 3; Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1899).
Brooks, E.W., Historia ecclesiastica Zachariae Rhetori vulgo adscripta. 4 vols (CSCO Syr. III.5-6; Louvain: Typographeo Reipublicae, 1919, 1921, 1924).
Greatrex, G., Phenix, R.R., Horn, C.B., Brock, S.P., and Witakowski, W., The Chronicle of Pseudo-Zachariah Rhetor: Church and War in Late Antiquity (Translated Texts for Historians 55; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011).
Hamilton, F.J., and Brooks, E.W., The Syriac Chronicle Known as That of Zachariah of Mitylene (Byzantine Texts; London: Methuen & Co., 1899).
Further reading (Pseudo-Zachariah):
Greatrex, G., "Pseudo-Zachariah of Mytilene: The Context and Nature of His Work," Journal of the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies 6 (2006), 39-52.
Menze, V.-L., Justinian and the Making of the Syrian Orthodox Church (Oxford Early Christian Studies; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).
Watt, J.W., “A Portrait of John Bar Aphtonia, Founder of the Monastery of Qenneshre,” in: J.W. Drijvers and J.W. Watt (eds.), Portraits of Spiritual Authority: Religious Power in Early Christianity, Byzantium, and the Christian Orient (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 137; Leiden: Brill, 1999), 155-169.