26. Of SELEUCEIA and CTESIPHON.
The increase of the number of Christians in Persia, and their formation into churches with ecclesiastical officers, had excited the apprehensions of the Magi, and also the jealousy of the Jews : these bodies excited the Persian king to commence a severe persecution against the Christians, and Symeon, archbishop of Seleucia and Ctesiphon, was put to death on a charge of favouring the interests of, and treacherously conveying to, the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, or more probably his son Constantius II., intelligence affecting the interests of Persia. Syriac writers call this Symeon Bar-Sabai or Bar-saböe, i. e.
" Filius Tinctorum" (Assemani. Biblioth. Orient.
vol. i. p. 1, 2), and state that he was the disciple of Papas or Phaphas, whom he succeeded in the see of Seleuceia. Papas had been deposed for his arrogance and impiety, and Symeon was appointed in his room (Le Quien, Oriens Christianus,
vol. iii. col. 1107, &c.; Assemani, Biblioth. Orient.
vol. i. p. 186), which led Papas to utter an imprecation against Symeon that his sins might never be forgiven to him. Symeon was born of respectable and pious parents, who carried on the business of silk dyers, and appear to have supplied the Persian kings with their royal robes.
The date of Symeon's accession to his see is undetermined.
According to some authorities (Le Quien, col. 1106) Symeon was present at the Council of Nice, A. D. 325, as representative of his predecessor Papas, who was then archbishop of Seleuceia; according to others (Assemani, p. 8, 9) Symeon had already acquired the see, and sent one of his clergy to represent him.
The date of his death is also uncertain ; but it was probably during the war between the Persians and the Roman emperor Constantius II. Many other Christians perished with Symeon, and in the bloody persecution which followed his death : among these martyrs was his sister Tarbula.
He was buried at Susa. (Assemani, p. 4.) Symeon wrote some letters in Syriac, which are mentioned by Ebed-jesu (Assemani, p. 11); but the occasion and subject of them are not stated. Two hymns which are, it would appear, still used by the Christians of the country about Bagdad (in divinis Chaldaeorum officiis) are ascribed to him. (Assemani, Biblioth. Oriental.
vol. i. p. 1-12; Le Quien, l.c. ;
Sozomen. H. E.
2.8-15; Hieronym. Chronicon ;
p. 19, ed. Paris, p. 15, ed. Venice, p. 36, ed. Bonn; Cedrenus, Compend.
p. 298, ed. Paris, vol. i. p. 522, ed. Bonn; Nicephorus Callisti, H. E.
8.35, 37, 38; Menolog. Basilian.
a. d. April. xiv. pars iii. p. 55, fol. Urbino, 1727; Henschen. apud Acta Sanctorum Aprilis,
vol. ii. p. 846; Baronius, Annales Eccles.
ad ann. 343, xii.--xvii.; Pagi, Critice in Baron.
in loc.; Tillemont, Mémoires,
vol. vii. pp. 76, &c., 662, &c.)