Sinjar

SINJAR

An important Christian center and episcopal see in Lower Egypt, especially from the eleventh to the thirteenth century. Sinjar is mentioned in the Coptic SYNAXARION, under 4 Misra, as the place where David and his brothers suffered martyrdom during the persecution. By the eighth century, Sinjar had become an episcopal see.

At the time of the patriarchate of CHRISTODOULUS (1047-1077), Sinjar had increased in importance, partly because of the monks there and partly because of the relics of Saint Philotheus and Saint Thecla the Apostolic that had been transferred from the hermitage of Nafuh at Nastaruh to the hermitage of Sinjar. In 1086, Jirgis ibn Madkur, the chronicler of the HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS, visited Sinjar and the saints’ relics. During the middle of the eleventh century, the hermitage of Sinjar gained importance through its monks: Butrus al-Sinjari, who was known for many he wrought; Yustus al-Sinjari, priest of the Church of in Old Cairo; and Kayil al-Sinjari, priest of the Church of the Holy Virgin at al-Jidiyyah.

At the time of CYRIL II (1078-1092), Theodorus of Sinjar was among the forty-seven bishops who participated in the episcopal council at Cairo in 1086. After the death of Cyril II, Michael, the anchorite and hegumenos of the hermitage of Sinjar, was elected his successor.

The bishopric of Sinjar continued to exist until the thirteenth century, for during the patriarchate of CYRIL III Ibn Laqlaq (1235-1243), Mark, bishop of Sinjar, had joined the other bishops in their accusations against Cyril; and Butrus, bishop of Sinjar, was present at the ceremony of the concoction of the holy in 1257.

One of the last references to Sinjar is by the Arab historian and geographer Abu al-Fida Isma‘il ibn ‘Ali ‘Imad al-Din (1273-1331), who is quoted by Qalqashandi (d. 1418). The fourteenth-century list of episcopal sees of Coptic MS 53 of the John Library also mentions Sinjar.

Sinjar ceased to exist as an inhabited site, because of the rising water level of Lake Burullus, sometime in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. Its ruins are on the northwestern part of the island of Sinjar in Lake Burullus, just over 11 miles (18 km) southwest of Burj al-Burullus. The uninhabited island is about 800 yards (700 m) long and from about 220 to 440 yards (200 m to 400 m) wide. The northwestern part of the island, known as Kom al- Ahmar, is about 195 by about 130 yards (180 by 120 m), and is covered with a thick layer of broken pottery, burned bricks, broken glass, broken green ceramics, and oxidized coins. A considerable part of ancient Sinjar is submerged. With the rising of the water level, more and more of the island will disappear beneath the waters of Lake Burullus.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte a l’époque copte, p. 275. Paris, 1893.
  • Maspero, J., and G. Wiet. Matériaux pour servir à la géographie de l’Egypte, Vol. 1, p. 211. Cairo, 1914.
  • Meinardus, O. “Singar, an Historical and Geographical Study.” de la Société d’archéologie copte 18 (1966):175-79. Munier, H. Recueil des listes épiscopales de l’église copte, p. 35. Cairo, 1943.
  • Muyser, J. “Contribution a l’étude des listes épiscopales de l’église copte.” de la Société d’archéologie copte 10 (1944):148. Quatremère, E. M. Mémoires géographiques et historiques sur l’Egypte, Vol. 1, p. 280. Paris, 1811.
  • Villecourt, L. “Les observances liturgiques et la discipline du jeûne dans l’église copte.” Muséon 36 (1923):263.

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