Author Topic: St Isaac of Ninevah  (Read 2165 times)

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Offline surajiype

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St Isaac of Ninevah
« on: April 04, 2008, 12:51:37 AM »
I need some info regarding St Isaac of Ninevah

1. Is he venerated as a saint in any of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, if yes can you give details like feast days etc

2. I believe he is venerated in the West Syrian Church where he is sometimes called the Second Didymus and is said to have retired to Egypt . Any details will be helpful

Suraj Iype

Offline Salpy

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Re: St Isaac of Ninevah
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2008, 10:14:44 PM »
I don't think he has a feast day on the calendar of the Armenian Church.  However, I am pretty sure I have heard him referred to as a saint.

Offline surajiype

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Re: St Isaac of Ninevah
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2008, 10:59:44 PM »
Salpy,

Yes I have heard him referred to as a saint and a father of the OO, yet I am not able to establish that with certainty.

Suraj

Offline Salpy

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Re: St Isaac of Ninevah
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2008, 12:01:30 AM »
I know what you mean.  Not only does he seem to not be in the Armenian calendar, but I just flipped through a Coptic calendar I have and I can't find him in there either.  And yet I very often hear him quoted and called a saint by the Copts.  I guess someone doesn't have to be in the calendar to be a saint.  I don't know.  I do know that St. John of the Ladder is considered a saint in the Armenian Church, even though he is not in the calendar. 

I have a question.  I think that I have heard him called in Armenian "Soorp Sahag Asoree."  That literally means "St. Isaac the Assyrian."  Yet in English he is "St. Isaac the Syrian."  Fifteen hundred years ago, would there not have been an ethnic distinction between Assyrians and Syrians? 
« Last Edit: April 05, 2008, 12:10:02 AM by Salpy »

Offline surajiype

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Re: St Isaac of Ninevah
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2008, 02:29:32 AM »
Yes Salpy that is the predicament,  Don't know how far the ethnic distinctions existed then. 

Offline Orthodox11

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Re: St Isaac of Ninevah
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2008, 07:03:35 AM »
I have a question.  I think that I have heard him called in Armenian "Soorp Sahag Asoree."  That literally means "St. Isaac the Assyrian."  Yet in English he is "St. Isaac the Syrian."  Fifteen hundred years ago, would there not have been an ethnic distinction between Assyrians and Syrians? 

I think calling him Syrian was simply a way for the EO and OO to undermine his affiliation with the Church of the East. For the same reason, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "the monophysites falsified his biography, placing his life at the beginning of the seventh century, making him a monk of the Jacobite monastery of Mar Mattai, and stating that he retired to the desert of Scete in Egypt."

Offline Salpy

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Re: St Isaac of Ninevah
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2008, 06:14:36 PM »
To further complicate matters, after posting the above I remembered that I have heard St. Ephrem the Syrian referred to as "Soorp Yeprem Asoree."

So at church today I had three separate conversations, with my priest and with two other people I know who came from Syria and know a little of the history.  What I seemed to get from the conversations is that the ethnic divisions that exist today were not necessarily there hundreds of years ago, before the Christological controversies.  Also, when we see "Asoree" in Classical Armenian, in a lot of contexts it is more properly translated as Syrian, rather than Assyrian.

I'm afraid I forgot to ask my priest if St. Isaac is officially a saint in the Armenian Church.  Oops, sorry!

Offline Salpy

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Re: St Isaac of Ninevah
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2008, 08:22:08 PM »
Today I contacted a deacon from my church who really knows this stuff.  He knows Syriac, tutors students in it, and he did a masters thesis on St. Ephrem the Syrian.  He is currently working on a translation of some of St. Isaac's works into Modern Armenian.

First off, he said we shouldn't call St. Isaac "Soorp Sahag," but rather "Soorp Eesahag."  He said people who call him Sahag are "Armenizing" his name.  So properly his name would be Soorp Eesahag Ninvetsi, or Soorp Eesahag Asoree. 

He confirmed that the ethnic divisions we see now were not really there at that time, which is why Asoree could be translated as Syrian.

He said that although St. Isaac is not on our calendar, he wrote nothing that was objectionable to our theology and some (not all) of his works were translated into Classical Armenian in the middle ages.  So he may not officially be a saint, but at the very least you can say his works are respected by the Church.

Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: St Isaac of Ninevah
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2008, 11:18:30 PM »
When the late Pope Kyrillos VI was asked what his favourite spiritual reading was, he replied that he found no greater fulfillment than in the works of St Isaac the Syrian. After having read a fair bit of St Isaac and the little of Pope Kyrillos that has been translated into english it became clear that the late Patriarch's words exuded St Isaac's spirituality and that his personal experience of the Divine remarkably paralleled that of St Isaac.

If St Isaac's spiritual teachings served not only as an authoritative basis of the late Pope Kyrillos' spiritual contemplations, but furthermore served to influence a life as remarkable and saintly as that of Pope Kyrillos, then that's sufficient confirmation of his Sainthood as far as i'm concerned.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2008, 11:19:02 PM by EkhristosAnesti »
No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

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