DĀDIŠOʿ, East Syrian monk, second abbot of the Great monastery on Mount Izla (6th-7th century CE).

Thomas, bishop of Marga and author of a Historia monastica in the ninth century, presents him as “the meek and lowly Mār Dādišoʿ” (Budge, 1893, I, pp. 36-37 ; II, pp. 65-66). The Liber castitatis written in the 8/9th century by Išoʿdenaḥ, bishop of Baṣra, says that his family was native of Beth Aramāye (Chabot, 1896, p. 24, no. 38). A biography written by Bābay the Great, unfortunatly lost, was certainly one of the main sources for the ecclesiastical historians. Bābay, who succeeded to Dādišoʿ, says elsewhere that his family came, more exactly, from Beth Darāye (Bedjan, 1895, p. 424). He studied in the schools of Nisibis, where he went in his early youth (Chabot, 1896, pp. 24-25, no. 38) and of Arbela ; then he proceeded into the mountains of Adiabene to live as an anchorite. He was soon rejoined by several disciples, such as Abba Sahrowai, later bishop of Arzon (Chabot, 1896, pp. 14-15, no. 25). From the Book of Governors, we learn that Dādišoʿ went to the country of Marga and spent 7 years in the monastery of Riša, under the rule of Rabban Stephanos the Great, who was then “famous in the country of the Orient” (Budge, 1893, I, p. 24 ; II, pp. 42-43).

Dādišoʿ served Abraham of Kaškar for several years in the Great monastery on Mount Izla in Ṭur ʿAbdin, north of Nisibis, and, according to the bishop of Marga, was one of his first disciples. These relationships explain the fact that he was chosen as heir to the leadership of the monastery after Abraham: he was the first successor. Strangely, his name is not registered in the lists of the founder’s spiritual children. The anonymous Chronicle ignores the leadership of Dādišoʿ (Guidi, 1903, pp. 23-24). For Išoʿdenaḥ of Baṣra, Dādišoʿ was the rišdayra (leader of the community) only for three months after Abraham’s death in 588 (Scher, 1919, II/2, p. 531 [211]). The monk died at the age of 75 (Chabot, 1896, pp. 24-25, no. 38); we can suppose that it was in 604 from a detail given by the Chronicle of Seert (Scher, 1919, II/2, p. 532 [212]). J. S. Assemanus confused this monk with Dādišoʿ Qaṭrāya, who lived one century later (Assemanus, 1725, pp. 98-99); A. Scher rectified this (Scher, 1906a, pp. 104-105; 1906b, p. 25).

Dādišoʿ wrote monastic rules which complete that of his predecessor. They express a more centralized organization (canons 3, 21, 25; Vööbus, 1960, pp. 168, 172, 173). According to M. Tamcke, these rules differ from those of Abraham because of a strenghtening of authority, which progressively contributes to reinforcement of the cenobitic way of life for East Syrian monasticism (Tamcke, 1988, p. 51). At a spiritual level, the rišdayra is responsible of his brothers “before the judgement seat of the Messiah” (Vööbus, 1960, p. 173, canon 24); he has to oversee the liturgical practices, fast days, and feasts, to condemn breaches of the synaxis (calendar of liturgical observances), to control abilities for the monastic life. The name of Dādišoʿ is mentioned in ancient calendars, in the section untitled “founders in Mount Izla” (Fiey, 1963, pp. 27-28, 44; 1977, p. 148, n. 90; Wright, 1870, I, p. 187).



J. S. Assemanus, Bibliotheca Orientalis clementino-vaticana III/1, Rome, 1725.

P. Bedjan, Histoire de Mar-Jabalaha, de trois autres patriarches, d'un prêtre et de deux laïques, nestoriens, 2nd ed., Paris, 1895.

E. A. W. Budge, The Book of Governors. The Historia monastica of Thomas bishop of Marga A.D. 840 I-II, London, 1893.

J.-B. Chabot, Le livre de la chasteté composé par Jésusdenah, évêque de Baçrah, Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire 16, Rome, 1896.

R. Draguet, Commentaire du Livre d'Abba Isaïe (logoi I-XV) par Dadišo Qaṭraya (VIIe s.), CSCO 326-327, script. syr. 144-145, Louvain, 1972.

J. M. Fiey, “Le sanctoral syrien-oriental d'après les évangéliaires et bréviaires du XIe au XIIIe siècle,” L'Orient syrien 8, 1963, pp. 21-54.

Idem, Nisibe, métropole syriaque orientale et ses suffragants des origines à nos jours, CSCO 388, Subsidia 54, Louvain, 1977.

H. Gismondi, Maris, Amri et Slibae De patriarchis nestorianorum commentaria, Pars Prior, Rome, 1899; Pars altera, Rome, 1897.

I. Guidi, “Chronicon anonymum,” Chronica minora I, CSCO 1-2, script. syr. 1-2, Paris, 1903.

T. Hermann, “Bermekungen zu den Regeln des Mar Abraham und Mar Dadischo vom Berge Izla,” Zeitschrift für Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 22, 1923, pp. 292-26.

G. Hoffmann, Auszüge aus syrischen Akten persischer Märtyrer, Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 7/3, Leipzig, 1880, 1886.

A. Mingana, “Histoire de l'Église d'Adiabène sous les Parthes et les Sassanides par Mšiha-Zkha (VI S.),” Sources syriaques I/1, Leipzig, 1907, pp. 1-168.

A. Scher, “Notice sur la vie et les œuvres de Dadisho' Qaṭraya,” Journal asiatique 10/7, 1906a, pp. 103-18.

Idem, “Étude supplémentaire sur les écrivains syro-orientaux,” Revue de l'Orient Chrétien 11, 1906b, pp. 1-34.

Idem, Histoire nestorienne inédite (Chronique de Séert) II/1, Patrologia Orientalis 7, Paris, 1911.

Idem, Histoire nestorienne inédite (Chronique de Séert) II/2, Patrologia Orientalis 13, Paris, 1919.

M. Tamcke, Der Katholikos-Patriarch Sabrîšôʿ I. (596-604) und das Mönchtum, Europäische Hochschulschriften Reihe 23, Band 302,  Frankfurt, 1988.

A. Vööbus, Syriac and Arabic Documents, Papers of the Estonian Theological Society in Exile 11, Stockholm, 1960.

W. Wright, Catalogue of the Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum I, London, 1870.

(Florence Jullien)

Originally Published: November 11, 2015

Last Updated: November 11, 2015

Cite this entry:

Florence Jullien, “DĀDIŠOʿ,” Encyclopædia Iranicaonline edition, 2015, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/dadisho-monk-and-abbot (accessed on 11 November 2015).