Life of Mar Aba – chapter 41 (and end)

We may as well add today the conclusion of the Life of Mar Aba.

41.  In order to avoid wearying you, through hearing too much, let us pass over what God soon did through him and for his sake in many distant countries, through arbitrating disputes which Satan, the enemy of our nature, had aroused; then in the imprisonment, which he endured for seven years in Azerbaijan; then in the fetters which he wore for three years around his neck, hands and feet at the king’s court.

There is a lot of this, and in many parts; the mouth is unable to tell it all, and you already know much of it.

So we end our words with the words of the blessed David, and say: “Blessed is the people that has such a man, and blessed is the people at whose head stands such a man, to feed the flock of our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Amen.

6 Responses to “Life of Mar Aba – chapter 41 (and end)”


  1. Neunder

    Thanks so much for completing the translation. The Church of the East seems so often overlooked.

    I found interesting in these last chapters the practice of touching the body of the saint with towels to make them holy relics.

  2. David Wilmshurst

    Congratulations! The humble scribe has at last reached the harbour. You should really round it off with a suitable colophon in the best Syriac style: ‘I, Roger, scribe in name only, but as far from the true dignity of that esteemed profession as the earth from the moon, have befouled and spattered these unworthy pages. This work was completed by the Grace of God on Thursday 5 ilul in the year 2324 of the blessed Greeks [or is is 2325, I can never remember when the Syriac year starts], during the time of Mart Elizabeth queen of the English and Mar Rowan archbishop of Canterbury [I'm not sure, living in remote Hong Kong, whether that's still true] …’

  3. David Wilmshurst

    The comment on towels. I am pretty sure it was also a practice to dip handkerchiefs and towels in the blood of martyrs executed in the arena, for the same purpose. Speaking from memory, I believe this was done when Cyprian was martyred in Carthage.

  4. Roger Pearse

    I wondered what the handkerchiefs etc thing was about – thank you.

  5. Roger Pearse

    LOL. Well, when I gather the bits together and write some kind of preface, in a way that is what I shall be doing.

    Colophons were always interesting things, I agree.

  6. Roger Pearse

    @Neunder, thank you for your good wishes and encouragement, without which I might not have.

    Isn’t it crazy that so interesting a text has never been translated into English? I hope that my efforts (from German) may perhaps shame someone into doing the job. It’s not that long a text, after all.

    I agree about the Church of the East. But until we have Bar Hebraeus’ Chronicon Ecclesiasticum in English, I suspect that this group will remain very obscure.



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