Among the Syriac writers of the 7th century, the name of Marutha 1 is the first that deserves mention, more, however, on account of his ecclesiastical weight and position than his literary merit. He was a native of Shurzak (?), a village in the diocese of Beth Nuhadhre2, was ordained priest in the convent of Nardus, lived for twenty years in the convent of Zakkai or Zacchaeus at Callinicus (ar-Rakkah), and went thence to Edessa for purposes of study. On returning to the East, he resided in the convent of Mar Matthew at Mosul, where he occupied himself with remodelling its rules and orders. He sided with the Mono-physite party at the Persian court, and, after the death of the physician Gabriel 3, found it advisable to retire to 'Akola (al-Kufah)4. He was elevated to the dignity of metropolitan bishop of Taghrith in 640, after the establishment of peace between the Greeks and Persians5, and was the first real maphrian (maphreyana) and organizer of the Jacobite Church in the East, which so rapidly increased in numbers and influence that he was called upon to ordain bishops for such remote regions as Segestan (Sistan) and Harew (Herat). Marutha died in 649. His life was written by his successor Denha 6. Marutha compiled a liturgy and wrote a commentary on the Gospels, both of which are sometimes wrongly assigned to the elder Marutha of Maiperkat 7. He was also the author of short discourses on New (or Low) Sunday, and on the consecration of the water on the eve of the Epiphany, as well as of some hymns and sedras 8.
- 1 B.O.,ii. 416, 418.
- 2 See Hoffmann, Auszuge, pp. 208-216, but especially p. 215.
- 3 See above, p. 126.
- 4 Bar-Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles., ii. 111; B.O., ii. 416.
- 5 The circumstances are given in detail by Bar-Hebraeus (Chron. Eccles., ii. 119 sq.) and Assemani (B.O., ii. 419).
- 1 See Brit. Mus. Add. 14645, f. 198 a (Wright, Catal., p. 1113).
- 2 See above, p. 46. From the commentary are taken the passages quoted in the Catena of Severus. See Assemani, Catal., iii. 11 (on Exod. xv. 25), 24, and Wright, Catal., p. 910.
- 3 See Brit. Mus. Add. 14727, f. 140a; 17267, f. 17b; 17254, f. 164 a; 17128, f. 91b.