Aqra - Background


Before the fourteenth century the ʿAqra or Aqrah region was part of the diocese of Marga, one of the suffragan dioceses in the metropolitan province of Adiabene. This diocese, frequently mentioned in Thomas of Marga's Book of Governors, included the districts of Sapsapa (the Navkur plain south of ʿAqra, on the east bank of the Khazir river), Talana and Nahla d'Malka (two valleys around the upper course of the Khazir river), Beth Rustaqa (the Gomel valley) and probably also several villages in the Zibar district. The diocese is first mentioned in the eighth century (the region was probably in the diocese of Beth Nuhadra previously), and several of its bishops are mentioned between the eighth century and the first half of the thirteenth century. By the second half of the thirteenth century the names of two villages in the Gomel valley, Tella and Barbelli (Billan), were also included in the title of the diocese. Two bishops of Tella and Barbelli are known from the second half of the thirteenth century and a third, Ishoʿyahb, was present at the synod of Timothy II in 1318. The diocese is not mentioned thereafter, and no other bishops are known from the ʿAqra region until the nineteenth century.

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