Chaldeans On Line

Chaldean Towns of Northern Mesopotamia



Bartella is located less than 13 miles east of Mosul. The name Bartella is of Aramaic origin, however, its meaning is not fully agreed on by the historians. While Joseph Ghanima and al-Jawaliqy believe its from "Bart Tilla" meaning "Daughter of Dew", the priest Putros Saba al-Bartilly believes it comes from "Beth Rattly" meaning "House of Weights".

It's believed that the people of Bartilla accepted Christianity before the sixth century, since its name was mentioned by the monk Baretta. As was the case with other Chaldean villages, Bartilla was of the Church of the East faith, however, in 610 AD the people of Bartilla accepted Monophysitism according to Bishop Marotha of Tikrit, who in 639 was ordained Mapheryan of the East. In 1153, Mapheryan Eghnateyos La'azer, Mapheryan of Assur, chose Bartilla as his Seat. Bartilla was also chosen as the Seat for Mapheryan Deonoseos Saleba II in 1223, however, in 1231 this Mapheryan was killed in a battle in the area of Tur Abdeen.

Bartilla gained fame again in 1284 when Mapheryan Gregoris bin al-Ebry built Yohanna bin Najara Monastery. Also, Bartilla was the home for the Mapheryans, Gregarious Barsoma who died in it in 1308, and was buried in Mar Matti Monastery, and Mapheryan Gregarious Matti I who died in 1345, and Mapheryan Gregarious bin Qenaya who was ordained through the support of the Princes of Karamles, Matti and Sultan Shah, also with the support of Mar Denha II, Patriarch of the Church of the East. Unfortunately, Mapheryan Gregarious bin Qenaya was forced to flee Bartilla to Tikrit, and then to Baghdad were he was killed in 1361.

Bartilla was also the home of Mapheryan Ethnaseous Abraham II who died in 1379, and Mapheryan Qorlos Joseph III, known as Ibin Nissan, who stayed only for a short time in Bartilla and left it to Hamas where he died in 1470. He was the last Mapheryan who chose Bartilla as their home.

Churches of Bartilla
1. Mar Aho Dama Church
This church was in existence in 1153 when was expanded by Mapheryan Eghnateyos II La'azer. It was in use till 1386. Excavation in its ruins found the remains of three bishops which were moved to Mart Shmony Church.

2. Mart Shmony Church
It's unknown when this church was built first, however, it was reinvigorated for the first time in 1807. It was rebuilt again completely in 1869. It was reinvigorated again in 1971.

3. Mar Gewargis Church
There exist two churches with this name. The first is in ruins and not used and its believed to be a monastery for St. Jerjis who built it around 1701. The second church was completed in 1939.

4. Church of the Virgin
This church was built in 1890 at the time of Qorlos Elias al-Mosuli who died in 1911. However, an inscription dating 16th century mentions the name of the Church of the Virgin which contradicts the date of 1890 and assumes that this church was standing at that time.

5. Ber Nagara Monastery
This monastery is named after Yohanan bin Nagara meaning "Yohanan of the Carpenters" since his all his family was working as carpenters. It's believed that he used to worship pagans, and after converting to Christianity he was killed by his father and was buried in the village of Ba Agre. When this village was destroyed in 1282, his grave which was visited heavily by the locals was destroyed with it. That forced Mapheryan Gregarious bin al-Ebry to build a temple for the martyr Yohanan in Bartilla and was completed in 1285. On the 23, November, 1285, the remains of St. Yohanan, monks from Syria, and the 40 martyrs killed by the persians were moved and reburied in this temple. Unfortunately, this monastery was destroyed in 1653 and again the remains were moved to St. Shmony church. Currently, all what exist of this monastery is a small room built recently as a reminder to its existence.

Famous Bartillans
1. Bishop Sweros Jacob: Born in Bartilla, and taught logic and linguistics by the Nestorian monk Yohanan bin Zaby, and philosophy by Kamal al-Deen bin Younis al-Mosuli. Was ordained bishop in 1232. Died in 1241. Has many works in linguistics, theology, and music.
2. Bishop Gregarious Yohanna: was ordained bishop for Mar Matti monastery in 1241.
3. Abu Naser al-Bartilly: had over 94 poem and article. His eyes were pulled by the Kurds who attacked the monastery in 1261. Died in 1290.
4. Mapheryan Gregarious Matti I: Ordained as Mapheryan in 1317. Died in 1345.
5. Patriarch Egnatyos Jacob III: Patriarch of the East for the Orthodox Syriacs.

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