A monophysite writer of a history of the church in the Syriac language. He was born around 516 in Amida in northern Mesopotamia. He lived until at least 585, the last observable date in his history. In 542 the emperor JUSTINIAN appointed John a missionary to Asia, Caria, Phrygia, and Lydia, where in four years he converted some 70,000 persons to Christianity and caused ninety-eight churches and twelve monasteries to be built for them. In 558 he became bishop of Ephesus.
Only the third part of John’s tripartite church history is extant. References in this extant portion indicate that the first two parts of the work covered the time from the reign of Julius Caesar to the sixth year of the reign of JUSTIN II (571). The third portion, divided into six books, deals with the period between 571 and 585. The work is an important source for the struggle between Chalcedonians and Monophysites in the sixth century. His Lives of the Eastern Saints is a prime authority for the lives of the Monophysite leaders and for Monophysite missions during the sixth century.
- Ball, C. J. “Joannes (160).” In DCB 3, pp. 370-73. Repr. New York, 1974.
- Ashbrook, S. A. Asceticism and Society in Crisis: John of Ephesus and the Lives of the Eastern Saints. University of California Press, 1990. Includes bibliography.