ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ
|Mor George I, Patriarch of Antioch, December 07|
Mor George I. Patriarch of Antioch (758-790)
George is one of the most famous patriarchs of Antioch, distinguished in his age for his knowledge, understanding, literary productions and sober opinions. Moreover, he was amiable, humble and patient in overcoming hardships. He was born at B'altan near josya in the province of Homs, and studied and mastered Syriac and Greek as well as philology, theology and jurisprudence at Qinnesrin. There he was ordained a deacon and led an ascetic and pious life. He also corresponded with Theodore, bishop of Samosata, who predicted that God would entrust him with a high position in his church.
Theodore also encouraged him to be faithful to his monastery. As George was, beside his outstanding learning, a man of virtue and noble character, he was chosen by the Holy Council to ascend the Apostolic See of Antioch. He was consecrated a patriarch in 758. Soon after his consecration, he had to put up with envious and malignant bishops like john, bishop of Callinicus and David, bishop of Dara and others, assisted by a wicked and intriguing monk who yielded to them.
Consequently, both John and David usurped the See of Antioch. In 766 he suffered in prison, went to Baghdad and for nine years he and other captives had to bear with patience the injustice of Abu Ja'far al-Mansour, the stingy and greedy Abbasid Caliph. Although al-Mansour was aware of the innocence of the patriarch, he hoped that he would discover golden treasures through false achieved knowledge. With him was also imprisoned the patriarch of the Malkites and the Nestorian Catholicos. They were all released after the death of Abu Ja'far in 775. He was honored and received by the Church as if he were an angel descending from heaven. Immediately, he began gathering scattered flocks and repairing the damage which had befallen the church. He journeyed to Antioch where, in the same year, he ordained ten bishops. In 785, he held a synod at Kfar Nabu near Sarug, in which he enacted twenty-two canons, preceded by a universal letter. He administered the Church wisely until his death on the first of December, 790. He was buried in the Monastery of Mar Barsoum in Melitene and is commemorated by the Church on the seventh day of the same month.
Mor George wrote an eloquent commentary in two volumes on the Gospel ofSt. Matthew, in which he cited Ignatius, Africanus, Eusebius of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, Chrysostom, Jacob of Sarug, Philoxenus of Mabug, Severus of Antioch and George, bishop of the Arabs. There is one old copy extant of this commentary, in almost 500 pages, written on vellum and imperfect from the beginning until chapter forty-seven. Also written by him was a distinguished letter, mentioned by Michael the Great, addressed to Gauriya, the deacon of Beth Na'ar, a village in Lebanon, on the phrase, "we break the heavenly bread. "
He wrote poetry, characterized by clarity and charm. During his imprisonment, he composed beautiful hymns and metrical discourses, some of which, as we believe, were added to the Church services. Of these hymns, we found one to the tune of "Rise up, O. Paul," in which he laments his condition. It goes on "Qum Phaulos" tune, starts like this: "May it do me much good, if I am informed that Babylon, city of the giants, has fallen and that the gates of prisons have been opened in order to go out victorious like Peter,? and like Zachariah sing with delight: 'Behold, the sun shines over the blind from on high'. O, daughters of Zion, weep for Daniel, and 0, monasteries weep for George."
His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.