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Caesarea in Cappadocia


Mazaca, capital of the kings of Cappadocia, heirs of the last Persian satrap. The area was Hellenized in the 2d century b.c. and became Eusebeia (c. 160), later Caesarea (129 b.c.) before it was annexed to the Roman Empire. The region was backward, with a primitive tribal and village economy and a few Greek-type cities, all in the south, requiring, in addition to the bishops, many chor bishops. Until the reign of Diocletian, the governor of Cappadocia had hegemony over Armenia Minor and the Pontic districts; and the See of Caesarea enjoyed a certain primacy over the central and eastern portion of Asia Minor. The Council of chalcedon transferred these rights to the See of Constantinople, leaving to Caesarea the title of protothronus (or first see). The city commanded the roads to armenia and the upper Euphrates Valley; its strategic importance is reflected in its missionary activities toward the northeast, including work among the goths, in the 3d century. Legend states that the see was founded by Longinus, the centurion at the Crucifixion. Christians in Cappadocia are mentioned already in 1 Pt 1.1; some of them were in Rome and elsewhere in the 2d century. Bishop firmilian of caesarea (235256) supported St. cyprian of carthage and was a representative of the theology of origen. Under Leontius I (285) there was missionary activity in Armenia. From that point on, there exists an almost certain picture of the episcopal succession. Caesarea's prestige attained its acme in the time of St. basil (370379). Another great bishop was arethas (907c . 932), a scholar and commentator on the Apocalypse. The city was taken by the Turks in 1064, and its importance in the Church declined. There was a massacre of Armenians there in 1895; and the Greek population was deported after the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). Besides the Greek metropolitanate, it had an Armenian see and a Uniate Armenian see from 1850 to 1938.

Bibliography: r. janin, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart (Paris 1912) 12:199203. a. h. m. jones, The Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces (New York 1937) 175182.

[j. gribomont]

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