This third volume of Cor-Episcopo K. Mani Rajan’s Martyrs, Saints and Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church follows on his two previous volumes, of 2007 and 2012, and brings the number of persons covered up to 150. Once again, the range is admirably wide in both time and space; thus, from the Early Church we not only find the martyred deacon Habbib of Edessa/Urhoy, but also the Latin writer Arnobius and the learned Greek Didymus the Blind, several of whose writings have only turned up on papyri in Egypt in recent times. The presence of St John of Damascus is a welcome ecumenical gesture, for although John wrote against the Syrian Orthodox Church in his prose writings, his poetic gifts in hymnography have nevertheless been long appreciated in the Syrian Orthodox liturgical tradition, and his great ‘Canon’ for the Feast of the Resurrection features in the seven-volume edition of the Fenqitho printed in Mosul in 1886-96. Among the prelates from the sixth century are St Anthimus, the Patriarch of Constantinople whom St Severios won over to his side in 536, much to the annoyance of the Emperor Justinian; and Yuhanon (John) of Ephesus, author of a very important history of the Church in his times. Most of the other prelates are from India, and they include two who are officially recognized as saints, Mor Coorilos Paulose and Mor Coorilos Yuyakkim. The latter, who came from Tur ‘Abdin in what is now south eastern Turkey, played a very important role, as Metropolitan of Malabar, in strengthening the Syrian Orthodox Church in Kerala in the latter part of the 19th century; his name is to be found in a number of Syriac inscriptions, such as that on his tomb in Mulanthuruthy, recording his death in 1874. As in the previous two volumes, women saints are not forgotten, and they are here represented by St Febronia, the martyr of Nisibis for whom a striking account of her martyrdom survives, St Anastasia, and St Marina of Antioch.
Dr Sebastian Brock