Shimun XXI.

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Mar Benyamin Shimun XXI., Before 1913

Mar Benyamin Shimun XXI. or Schimun ( Syrian ܡܪܝ ܒܢܝܡܝܢ ܫܡܥܘܢ ܥܣܪܝܢ ܘܩܕܡܝܐ) In (* 1887 in Qudschanis † 3; jul. / 16th March  1918 greg. In Kohnashahr ) one was Catholicos - Patriarch of the autocephalous Eastern Syrian "Church of the East" .

Life and Church Work

Benyamin came from the family in which the office of shepherd of the East Syrian "Patriarchate of the Mountains" had become hereditary. His father Eshai († 1895) was a half-brother of Catholicos patriarch Mar Rowil (Ruben) Shimun XX. (1861–16 July / 29 March 1903 greg. ). From 1895 Benyamin was his designated successor to the detriment of the previous candidate, Shimun's cousin Bishop Mar Auraham (Abraham) (1862–1915, Catholic from 1903).

Near death, granted Shimun XX. on jul. / March 14th greg. 1903 all consecrations to the only 15-year-old nephew Benyamin up to the Metropoliten (Matran). After Shimun's death, Metropolitan Mar Eskhaq ordained Khnanisho IX. von Šamesdin the boys, despite personal concerns about his young age, on March 30th jul. / April 12, 1903 greg. in the Mar Shalitha Church of Qudjanis under the official name Shimun XXI. the new ecclesiastical and secular head of his religious community. The latter position then weakened one's own young age and the increasing strength of Assyrian notables (petty kings, military leaders).

Patriarch Shimun XXI. consecrated two bishops for the first time who did not come from episcopal families, as had become usual: in 1907 the later influential Mar Abimalek Timotheus of Malabar (South India) († April 30, 1945) for the so-called Melusians among the Thomas Christians and in 1909 the archdeacon David from Tkhuma under the official name Mar Aprim (Ephraem) for Urmia in Iran and the Tsarist Empire. His attempt to establish Eliya Abuna (1862–1955), a bishop of his obedience in Alqosh , a center of the "Patriarchate of the Plains" that had become Catholic, failed due to the resistance of the Catholic Chaldeans .

The term of office of Shimun XXI. was characterized by the rapprochement of the Christian Assyrians ("Nestorians") to the Tsarist Empire and the Russian Orthodox Church (with partial union ) as well as military conflicts with Ottoman, Kurdish and Iranian troops. The most prominent opponent of his policy, Prince Nimrod Shimonaya (Catholic from 1903), died in Qudschanis in 1915 at the hands of a Christian.

First World War and consequences

Mar Benyamin Shimun XXI., Before 1917

During the First World War and under the influence of the initially successful Russian-Armenian offensive against the Ottoman Turks, the 27-year-old patriarch also joined the Russians. In June 1915 he even declared war on the Ottoman Empire , which had tolerated the faith communities (Millet) of Christians for centuries, trusting Russian arms help . In this context, the previously largely independent Assyrian Christian tribes lost their homeland in Hakkari and the Catholicos patriarch lost his life. At the same time, all previous dioceses of his church, with the exception of Berwari for a while, perished .

Kurdish militias interrupted Russian supplies, expelled or killed the Nestorians and plundered their settlement areas. Half of their communities had already been destroyed in July, but only with luck and after a hard fight did their remains reach Urmia and Salamas in September 1915 . From them the Patriarch formed a new army in May 1916 and personally took over the leadership of a battalion. These homeless people, who were also joined by Armenians after the collapse of the Tsarist Empire in November 1917 , were wiped out by Kurdish militias in the Persian-Turkish border area.

At a meeting on 3 jul. / March 16, 1918 greg. with the Kurdish leader Ismael Agha ( Simko ) in Kohnashahr (Haftvan) near Dilman (in the Salamas plain north of Urmia ) Shimun XXI fell. victim of an ambush. His body was recovered by his own soldiers and carried out by Mar Eliya Abuna of Alqosh and the Catholic Chaldean bishop Butrus' Azīz Ho ( Pierre Aziz ) of Salamas (1910–1924; * 1866; † 1937) in the cemetery of the Armenian Church of Khosroabad ( Khosrova ) buried with honor. Benyamin Shimun's successor was his biological brother Polos Shimun XXII. With the survivors of his people, he fled to Iraq in 1918.


Individual evidence

  1. March 3, 1918, The Assasination of Mar Benyamin Shimun
predecessor Office successor
Shimun XX. Catholicos of the Assyrian Church of the East
Shimun XXII.