Paul of Aleppo

Paul of Aleppo, b ca 1627 in Aleppo, Syria, d ca 1669. Syrian archdeacon, traveler, and writer. He accompanied his father, Patriarch Makarios III of Antioch, on a journey from Aleppo to Istanbul, Wallachia, Moldavia, Ukraine, and Muscovy in 1652–9. Paul's journal of the journey provides valuable eyewitness details about the history, geography, culture, folkways, architecture, and religious life of the indigenous population. In Ukraine their route went from Rashkiv on the Dnister River (10 June 1654) to Zhabokrychi, Uman, Lysianka, Bohuslav (where they met with Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky on 21 June 1654), Trypillia, Vasylkiv, Kyiv (26 June to 10 July; there Paul visited the Kyivan Cave Monastery and Saint Sophia Cathedral), Pryluky, and Putyvl (20 July 1654). The journey home is described in less detail. On their way back from their long stay in Muscovy (July 1654 to 28 May 1656) the travelers passed through Putyvl, Kyiv, Boryspil, Pereiaslav, Cherkasy, Chyhyryn (where Khmelnytsky visited Makarios III on 2 August 1656), Medvedivka, Zhabotyn, and Smila before arriving in Iaşi on 21 August 1656. Paul described Ukraine as a highly cultured land: ‘In the entire land of the Ruthenians, that is, the Cossacks [Paul referred to the Russians as Muscovites], we noticed something strange but wonderful: all of them, with minor exceptions, even the majority of wives and daughters, know how to read and know the order of the church services and church songs.’

The original text of Paul's account is not extant, but several partial and complete Arabic manuscript copies have survived. The most complete copy is preserved at the National Library in Paris. Extracts from the account were freely condensed and translated into English by F.C. Belfour as The Travels of Macarius, Patriarch of Antioch, Written by His Attendant Archdeacon, Paul of Aleppo (2 vols, 1829, 1836; a selected version was published in 1936 and reprinted in 1971). A fuller Russian translation was done by G. Murkos and published in Moscow (4 vols, 1896–1900). B. Radu's French translation of the account was published in Patrologia Orientalis (vols 22 [1930], 24–5 [1933–4], 26 [1949]). Selections from Paul’s travel accounts, translated into Ukrainian by Mykola Slyvynsky and edited and annotated by Mykola Riabyi, appeared in Kyiv in 1995.

Murkos, G. Arabskaia rukopis’ Puteshestviia Antiokhiiskago patriarkha Makariia v Rossiiu v polovine XVII veka (Moscow 1899)
Kordt, V. Chuzhozemni podorozhi po Skhidnii Evropi do 1700 r. (Kyiv 1926)
Radu, B. Voyage du patriarche Macaire: Etude préliminaire (Paris 1927)
Kowalska, M. Ukraina w połowie XVII wieku w relacji arabskiego podróżnika Pawła, syna Makarego z Aleppo: Wstęp, przekład, komentarz (Warsaw 1986)

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article was updated in 2008.]

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