Syriac Corpus


Only six East-syrian texts concern the reign of Khusro I. Most of these sources were hitherto unpublished or untapped. Under the reign of Khusro I (531-579), sporadic persecutions of Christians converted from Zoroastrianism are attested. Among these martyrs, there were famous people of civil society such as Grigor Pīr-Gušnasp, general-in-chief of the king’s armies, Yazd-panāh, a high dignitary and judge, and ‘Awira, a courtier. The most famous was the Catholicos Mār Abba (540-552), who reunified the Church of the East after nearly twenty-five years of schism; canonist and exegete, he also restored ecclesiastical discipline which had been significantly weakened since 484. He is known to have been involved in Mazdeo-Christian controversies and polemical debates with West-Syrian Christians. These narratives written by contemporaries to the events are the only East-Syrian hagiographies of that time in Syriac; they provide valuable informations regarding socio-religious and political situation of the sixth century Orient. One of the aims of the Ctesiphon programme was to establish scientific editions with french translations and analysis:

see F. Jullien, Histoire de Mār Abba, catholicos de l’Orient. Martyres de Mār Grigor, général en chef du roi Khusro Ier et de Mār Yazd-panāh, juge et gouverneur, (Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium 658-659, Scriptores Syri 254-255), Louvain: Peeters, 2015 : a critical edition based on manuscripts from the London, Berlin and Vatican Libraries.


Among this corpus, four texts are in syriac:

  • The Martyrdom of Mār Grigor Pīr-Gušnasp (d. 542). 

For more details (in French).

  • The Martyrdom of Mār Yazd-panāh (d. 544) and ‘Awira (d. 545)

For more details (in French).

  • The History of Mār Abba (d. 552). For more details (in French).
  • The Martyrdom of Yazdōy-Christina. For more details (in French).


Two others have been transmitted through greek, armenian and georgian, translated from a lost original manuscript in syriac: 

  • The History of Šīrēn (d. 559). For more details (in French).
  • The History of Yazd-bōzēd (d. 553). For more details (in French).