Simon of Harran

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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. Simon of Harran, more commonly known as Mor Sham'un al-Zaytuni of Harran, was a metropolitan of the Syriac Orthodox Church in its upper Mesopotamian heartlands in what today is southeastern Turkey during the 8th century. St. Simon is commemorated by the Syriac Orthodox Church on June 1.


St. Simon was born Sham'un Mundher in the village of Habesnas on Tur Abdin. He undertook religious studies and eventually became a monk at Dayro d'Mor Gabriel around 657. In 682, the Saint was ordained to the priesthood and appointed Abbot of Dayro d'Mor Gabriel. The construction of many new monasteries and churches on Tur Abdin is credited to St. Simon's abbatial service, as was the planting of large olive trees orchards (hence his being called "d'Zayte" or "al-Zaytuni" - "of Olives").

In 700, St. Simon was elected Metropolitan of Harran, a city a little over 20 miles to the south of Edessa (modern Urfa), and became known as one of the greatest hierarchs of his age in the Church of Antioch. After his consecration to the episcopacy the Saint established a school in his home village and wrote many works in defense of the faith of the Syriac Orthodox Church, addressing one of his treatises to Metropolitan Constantine of Harran, a member of the pro-Chalcedon Antiochian Orthodox Church.

On June 1, 734 St. Simon fell asleep in the Lord.

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