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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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N.I. Zharkikh

Paul of Aleppo (Arabic – Bulos ibn az-Zayim Halebi) was born in the Syrian city of Aleppo about 1627.

His father, Yussef (? – 1672) was a priest of Syrian Orthodox (melkit) church. Please be aware – when he married and became a priest, he gained the name of Yuhanna (John). His wife soon after the birth of Paul died, and in 1627 – 1634 he was a monk in the monastery of Mar Saba. 27 Oct 1635 he was ordained as Metropolitan of Aleppo (under the name Meletii) and 12 Nov 1647, in Damascus, he was elected and ordained as a Patriarch of Antioch (under the name Makarius, which became the most famous of his name). He became the third Patriarch of Antioch named Macarius, and occupied this position up to the death that occurred in Damascus on June 12, 1672 (there and later in this article all dates given in Julian style).

Paul received some education. His native language was Arabic, he also had known Turkish (state language at that time in Syria) and Greek (the language of worship, sacred books and spiritual literature). But the general education level in melkit environment was then very low, particularly Paul was not familiar with literary Arabic and had written in vernacular (this added hassle to translators). During his long stay in Russia, he learned something Russian. He made his spiritual career under the tutelage of a father. 8 May 1642, he received the rank of subdeacon, 07 Feb 1644 he married. He had two sons – Ananias and Constantine (Murkos, 5, 144); in 1660 Ananias has been a deacon (Murkos, 5, 164).

21 Nov 1647, 9 days after the election of his father to the patriarch, Paul was ordained to the archdeacon. In this rank he remained until his death.

All the time of his archdeacon service Paul was assistant and secretary of his father, the patriarch. Burning affair of patriarchy at that time was money trouble: its debts were too large, the Turks taxated their Christian subjects with high taxes. Makarius decided to attend Orthodox countries to gather costs for material support of patriarchy. I. Krachkovsky suggested that he was invited by Arseni Sukhanov to visit Moscow (it is known that in May 1652 Sukhanov spent a week in Aleppo in metropolitan court, therefore, had a conversation with Makarius, and two months later Macarius got on a trip to Moscow).

This Makarius' trip (1652 – 1659) had surprisingly extensive religious and political consequences – and this despite the fact that material result of his first trip to Moscow was quite significant. Macarius was able to pay off debts and even the began a significant building for patriarchate.

During a long-time stay in Moscow Macarius took very great authority among Russia's leaders. So when the question of the trial of the Moscow Patriarch Nikon was risen, in 1662 Macarius receive invitation to come to Moscow. After a long delay in 1664 Macarius (again accompanied by Paul) went into a second trip to Moscow. This time they rode together with the patriarch of Alexandria Paisius. They choose a path through the Caucasus, has long held in Georgia (probably from late 1664 to early 1666); June 21, 1666 came to Russia in Astrakhan. Then they rode through the Chernyj Jar, Tsaritsyn, Saratov, Symbirsk, Arzamas, Murom. 21 Oct 1666 they arrived in Vladimir, November 2, 1666 – in Moscow. In December 1666 both patriarchs participated in the church's council in the Moscow tsar denied Patriarch Nikon of its dignity (it seems rightly Macarius received sable in Moscow!). Up to June 10, 1668 Macarius with Paul stayed in Moscow. On the way back August 10, 1668 they arrived in Astrakhan, in September went up further by Shemakha to Georgia. Paul died in Georgia.

The reason for the dating of this event are two Macarius' letters to the Moscow Patriarch Joasaph. In the first, from February 4, 1669, Macarius informed about the arrival to Georgia. In the second, from June 22, 1669, Macarius wrote: "We came to Iveria [Georgia], and remained one month and died Archdeacon Paul". Then Paul died between 04 Feb and 22 Jun 1669, approximately – in March 1669, in Tbilisi. Possibly, there he was buried.

Macarius returned to Damascus even in 1670 (known his letter from Damascus to Moscow, dated August 30, 1670).