Mar Poulos Shimun
Mar Poulus (Paul) Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch, XXII, was also born in Qudchanis, located in South East Turkey in 1895, the twin brother to the honorable Zaia d beth Mar Shimun. Mar Poulus was six years younger than Mar Benyamin. Ordained the twentieth patriarch on April 14, 1918 following the assassination of his brother, Mar Benyamin Shimun XXI. The turmoil, exhaustion and suffering during the flight from Urmi to Iraq resulted in the deterioration of his physical health. Because of this he began his patriarchal duties at a disadvantage given Mar Poulus fragile health.
On April 14, 1918, Palm Sunday in Urmia, Mar Poulus was ordained the twenty-second patriarch. The ancient ritual was officiated by Mar Iskhaq Khnanishu, Metropolitan in the Church of St. Mary. The Bishops Mar Zaia Sargis, Mar Elia, Mar Yosip Khnanishu, numerous priests and deacons were in attendance of the ordination as well as representatives of other churches, leaders of Assyrian tribes, and a large number of Assyrians. Armed men guarded both sides of the road leading to the Church, with the congregants behind waiting guards to see the procession. It was a well-organized and impressive event, steeped in the ancient ritual.
Later that year, that fighting had begun among the Assyrians and Turks. With the Turkish army steadily increasing their manpower, opposing forces were difficult to assemble. Bitter fighting ensued with small wins, however it was no victory. Masses of people were fleeing from Urmi to the camps in Baquba and the army hastily assembled by Rab Khaila Dawid was ill equipped and exhausted. In many cases, those who were ordered to fight had deserted due to dwindling hope of the British government delivering on their promises of aid and protection for the Assyrians and Armenians.
The grueling conditions continued and the Patriarch s health, already at risk prior to his ordination, worsened. On April 27, 1920, the Patriarch Mar Poulus passed away having served for two years, during which time was fraught with upheaval, suffering and sickness, both of the Assyrian nation and his own personal health. At the time of his death, Lady Surma was in London and the Rab Khaila Dawid was in Mosul. Only Zaia, the Patriarchs twin brother was there. The funeral service of His Holiness, the Patriarch Mar Poulus was officiated by Metropolitan Mar Yosip of Rustaqa, Mar Zaia Sargis, Bishop of Jilu, and a large delegation of priests and deacons. The Patriarch s body was taken by train to Baghdad and was buried in the courtyard of the church of our Armenian brothers.
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