top of page

List of Patriarchs of The Church of the East.

(not in communion with Eastern Orthodoxy)


List of Catholicoi of Seleucia-Ctesiphon

and Patriarchs of the East until 1552:

The Church of the East also believes in the concept of Apostolic Succession, yet is not in communion with the Eastern Orthodox, I presume making this line of apostolic bishops declared false by the Orthodox? Along with the Popes?

See also: Province of the Patriarch


According to Church legend, the Apostleship of Edessa (Chaldea) is alleged to have been founded by Shimun Keepa (Saint Peter) (33–64),[7] Thoma Shlikha, (Saint Thomas), Tulmay (St. Bartholomew the Apostle) and of course Mar Addai, (St. Thaddeus) of the Seventy disciples. Saint Thaddeus was martyred c.66 AD.


Edessa era:


Metropolitan of Seleucia-Ctesiphon elevated as titular Catholicos:

See also: Al-Mada'in.


Around 280, visiting bishops consecrated Papa bar Aggai as Bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, thereby establishing the succession.[8] With him, heads of the church took the title Catholicos.


Catholicos of the East with jurisdiction over Eastern provinces:

Isaac was recognised as 'Grand Metropolitan' and Primate of the Church of the East at the Synod of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in 410. The acts of this Synod were later edited by the Patriarch Joseph (552–567) to grant him the title of Catholicos as well. This title for Patriarch Isaac in fact only came into use towards the end of the fifth century.

With Dadisho, the significant disagreement on the dates of the Catholicoi in the sources start to converge. In 424, under Mar Dadisho I, the Church of the East declared itself independent of all other churches; thereafter, its Catholicoi began to use the additional title of Patriarch.[8] During his reign, Nestorianism was subsequently denounced at the Council of Ephesus in 431.

Orthodox/Oriental Schism of 451

In 544 the Synod of Mar Aba I adopted the ordinances of the Council of Chalcedon.[9]

From 628, the Maphrian also began to use the title Catholicos. See the List of Maphrians for details.

In 775, the seat transferred from Seleucia-Ctesiphon to Baghdad, the recently established capital of the ʿAbbasid caliphs.[10]

Schism of 1054:


After the Schism of 1552:

Further information: Schism of 1552


List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East from 1552 to 1830.


Main article: Schism of 1552


By the Schism of 1552 the Church of the East was divided into many splinters but two main factions, of which one (the Church of Assyria and Mosul) entered into full communion with the Catholic Church and the other remained independent. A split in the former line in 1681 resulted in a third faction.


1. Eliya line in Alqosh:

  • 90 Eliya (VI) VII[11] (1558–1591)[12]

  • 91 Eliya (VII) VIII[11] (1591–1617)[13] - Negotiated with the Catholic Church in 1605, 1610 and 1615-1616 without final conclusion

  • 92 Eliya (VIII) IX[11] Shemʿon (1617–1660)[14] - Canceled further negotiations with the Catholic Church

  • 93 Eliya (IX) X[11] Yohannan Marogin (1660–1700)[15]

  • 94 Eliya (X) XI[11] Marogin (1700–1722)[12]

  • 95 Eliya (XI) XII[11] Denha (1722–1778)[12]

  • 96 Eliya (XII) XIII[11] Ishoʿyahb (1778–1804)[12]

In 1780, a group split from the Eliya line and elected:


2. Shemʿon line in AmidSiirtUrmiaSalmas, in communion with Rome until 1600:

Shemʿon line reintroduced hereditary succession; not recognised by Rome; moved to Qochanis

Shemʿon line in Qochanis formally broke communion with Rome, forming the Assyrian Church of the East in 1692:


3. In 1681, the Josephite line split from the Eliya line; with residence erected in Amid, in full communion with Rome:


The Eliya line (1) in Alqosh ended in 1804, and branch of Yohannan VIII Hormizd, that was in communion with Rome, merged with the Catholic Josephite line in Amid(3), with Yohannan VIII Hormizd recognised by the Holy See as Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans in 1830. This merged line, which relocated the see to Mosul, formed the contemporary unbroken patriarchal line of the Chaldean Catholic Church. For subsequent Chaldean Catholic Patriarchs, see List of Chaldean Catholic Patriarchs of Babylon.

The Shemʿon line (2) remained the only line not in full communion with the Catholic Church, which from the 19th-century continued to be known as the Assyrian Church of the East. For subsequent patriarchs in this line, see List of Patriarchs of the Assyrian Church of the East.


See also:

bottom of page