ܕܡܪܥܝܬܐ ܕܐܘܚܕ̈ܢܐ ܡܥܪ̈ܒܝܐ ܕܐܡܝܪܟܐ
|St. Paul of Tello, February 15|
St. Paul of Tello (d. 617)
Paul was one of the great scholars of his time, well-versed in Syriac and Greek. Of his home and the monastery from which he was graduated we are not informed. He was ordained a bishop of Tello between the years 610 and 615, as a successor of the Metropolitan Samuel. It is most likely that he remained only a few years in his diocese, for it was mentioned in the ancient history written by a monk from Qartamin that "Daniel the Uzi was ordained a bishop of Tello, Dara and Tur'abdin in 615,292 and that in 622, Zacchaeus was the metropolitan of Tello. "The maximum information we know about this church dignitary is that he collaborated with the Patriarch Athanasius I in achieving a reconciliation with the church of Alexandria and that he also signed the general proclamation in 616. Unfortunately, time has not been fair to this scholar or to his counterpart, Thomas of Harqal (Heraclea), in that no account of their lives was ever written. However, time has recorded the excellence of Paul for his translation of the Septuagint into Syriac according to the most correct versions of the hexaplar texts of Origen, a momentous task. Paul undertook this translation by the order and at the urging of the Patriarch Athanasius I either at Alexandria or at the Monastery of Anaton near the (the ninth mile stone) during his flight to Egypt because of the Persian War of 615-617. With great precision, he appended to the text the additions and the differences marked by asterisks and obeli and other signs, together with the marginal notes connected with Greek texts other than the text of the Septuagint. He was assisted in his work by many scribes, most famous of whom was the deacon Thomas the secretary of the patriarch. He completed the translation of the four Books of Kings (two according to the familiar version) on the 14th of February 616, at a time when the Syrian Church was in dire need for this exact translation during the theological disputations. It appears from old manuscripts that this version was used in the church service books.
Of this noble translation, there was a complete copy at the Monastery of St. Matthew, mentioned by the Nestorian Catholicos Timothy I at the beginning of the ninth century. A similar copy was found in the middle of the sixteenth century in the possession of the ancient Orientalist Andreas Masius. Transcribed in the ninth century, what may have been brought to Masius by the Syrian metropolitan, Musa (Moses) al-Sawri, for publication. However, after the death of Andrew in 1573, the first volume which contained the five books of Joshua, judges, Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, Judith and Tobit, disappeared. The second volume survives at the library of Milan. It contains the books of Psalms, Job, Ecclesiastes and the Books of Wisdom and the Prophets. Parts of this translation also survive at the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris and the British Museum to which Baumstark alluded in pp. 186-187, footnotes 12 and 13.
Between 1787and 1892,someOrientaiistspubiished the surviving Books of Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, the Psalms, Kings IV, Isaiah, the Minor Prophets, Proverbs, Job, the Song of Songs, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, judges, Ruth and parts of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua and Kings.
To Peter is also attributed the translation of the story of the Adulterous Woman, contained by john 8:3-10, preceded by verse 53 of chapter 7, from a copy he found at Alexandria. But those scholars who ascribe this translation to Mara of Amid hold that the original copy was the property of Mara. However, before undertaking the translation of the Holy Bible, Paul made a new translation of the order of Baptism by Severus of Antioch. He also wrote an order of Baptism and a liturgy. Most probably, Paul spent the rest of his life in Egypt and was distinguished for being pious. The Church commemorates him on the fifteenth of February.