The Monk Isaac the Syrian, Bishop of Ninevah
Commemorated on January 28
The Monk Isaac the
Syrian, Bishop of Ninevah, lived during the VII Century. Together with his
brother he entered the monastery of Mar Matthew. His learning and lofty ascetic
manner of life gained the notice of the brethren, and they proposed that he
head the monastery. The Monk Issac, not wanting this and instead yearning for
silence, withdrew from the monastery to an hermitage. His brother more than
once urged him to return to the monastery, but the monk would not agree.
However, when the fame of the holy life of the Monk Isaac had spread all
around, he was elevated to the cathedra-chair of bishop of Ninevah. Seeing the
crude manners of the inhabitants of the city, the monk sensed that it was
beyond his ability to guide them, and moreover, he languished for the quest of
the hermit's life. All this was a burden for the holy man, and in resigning as
bishop, he withdrew into a skete wilderness monastery. Here he lived until his
death, attaining to high spiritual perfection.
After the death of the Monk Isaac of Syria, from the early VIII Century through the beginning XVIII Century, nothing was known about him in Europe except for his name and works. Only in the year 1719 at Rome was there published a biography of the monk, compiled by an anonymous Arab author. In 1896 the account about the Monk Isaac was enlarged upon. The learned French soteriologist Abbot Charbot published the works of the Syrian history of the VIII Century by Iezudena, bishop of Barsa, wherein was located the account about the Monk Isaac the Syrian.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.