Marutha of Tikrit

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Note: This article or section represents an Oriental Orthodox (Non-Chalcedonian) perspective, which may differ from an Eastern Orthodox (Chalcedonian) understanding.

St. Marutha of Tikrit was a Maphrian of the East of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) during the 7th century. St. Marutha is commemorated by the Syriac Orthodox Church on May 2.


St. Marutha was born in the village of Shawarzaq in the region around Nineveh (modern day Mosul) and became a monk at the Nardes Monastery as an adult. After some time in the Nardes Monastery, the Saint left for Dayro d'Mor Zakai (the Monastery of St. Zacchaeus) near al-Raqqa in search of a teacher. During his 10 years at Dayro d'Mor Zakai St. Marutha studied theology together with the Greek and Syriac languages. He then moved on to the area around Edessa where he mastered Syriac calligraphy and continued his studies.

From Edessa the Saint went to Dayro d'Mor Matai (the Monastery of St. Matthew) near Nineveh to teach theology. While teaching at Mor Matai, Marutha also reformed the liturgical life of the monastery. At the end of 628 the he was consecrated Maphrian of Tikrit and the East, becoming the first Maphrian of the East. Prior to the Mongol invasions the city of Tikrit, famous today as the hometown of both Saladdin and Saddam Hussein, hosted a large Syriac Orthodox monastery and served for several centuries as the seat of the Maphrians of the East.

After his election as maphrian the Saint convened a council at Mor Matai to deal with issues in the life of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Mesopotamia and the East. The Church itself was organized into 12 dioceses, with three new dioceses being established in what today are Azerbaijan, eastern Iran, and Afghanistan. It was also under St. Marutha that the Fast of Nineveh was adopted by the Syriac Orthodox Church in Mesopotamia from the Church of the East.

Maphrian St. Marutha fell asleep in the Lord on May 2, 649.

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