The of Shenute I. Originally the spiritual son and disciple of MINA I (767-774), the forty-seventh patriarch, Yuhanna later became the scribe of SHENUTE I (858-880), fifty-fifth patriarch. Apparently he lived to be a centenarian and wrote the biographies of contemporary patriarchs, nine in number, including, besides the aforementioned two, IV (775-799), MARK II (799-819), JACOB (819-830), SIMON II (830), YUSAB I (830- 849), KHA’IL II (849-851), and COSMAS II (851-858).

His record of the forty-seventh to the fifty-fifth patriarchs was discovered in Dayr Nahya by SAWIRUS IBN AL-MUQAFFA‘, bishop of al- Ashmunayn, who included its contents in his HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS, but the original appears to have been lost since then. He must have lived through the Abbasid period from Caliph al-Mansur (754-775) to al-Muhtadi (869-870), and he must also have witnessed the rise of Ahmad ibn Tulun (870-881), under whom Egypt attained local independence.

He was a close companion of all these patriarchs, and he states that he was incarcerated with Shenute I. The name of the author emerges in the course of the text, and he often refers to himself as an eyewitness of the events that he describes in detail.