THEODOSIUS II, seventy-ninth patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (1294-1300). His original name was ‘Abd al-Masih. He was a native of the town of Minyat Khasim when he became a monk of Dayr Abu Fana at an unspecified date. There he was elevated to the priesthood before his selection for the patriarchate, during the first reign of Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalawun in 1294. He was also a contemporary of al-‘Adil Kitbugha (1294-1296) and Husam al Din Lajin (1296-1299). It was a time of great confusion, in which one Mamluk killed the other. The sultanate of Lajin was memorable for an expedition carried out against Lesser Armenia. On the local scene, a new reorganization of the landed property was enforced and caused a great uproar among the population. A Copt was accused of engineering the reorganization, which must have intensified the hostility against the Copts in general. After Lajin was murdered, al- Nasir succeeded him in his second reign (1299-1309), although the real power behind the throne rested with the Mamluk amir and viceroy Salar.
This state of confusion encouraged the Mongols to revive their old scheme of the conquest of Syria, which they crowned with the possession of the capital city of Damascus. However, the fort of Damascus itself remained in Mamluk hands until the return of the Mamluk batallions. The financial pressures caused by these expensive campaigns forced the ruling class to tax up to one-third of the general income of all subjects, Muslim and Christian alike. This situation incited local unrest. The patriarch is said to have been prone to corruption in order to meet the royal pressures for funds, and the bishops and the clergy suffered from the interminable imposts. The situation of the country as a whole was worsened by the outbreak of a plague that is said to have killed 17,500 people in a single month toward the end of 1300. Theodosius died in that year and was buried in the Nestorian monastery (DAYR AL-NASTUR), previously recovered by the Copts from that heretical sect. The throne of Saint Mark remained vacant after his death for only a few days. His biography occupies only a few lines in the HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS.
SUBHI Y. LABIB
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