An important Christian center in the early Church and still a titular see (Samosatensis), is identical with modern Samsat in Turkey. The capital of the ancient Seleucid kingdom of Commagene, it was added to the Roman province of Syria in 17 b.c. as a garrison town. The pagan philosopher Lucian, who exhibits some knowledge of early Christian literature, probably wrote his satire De Morte Peregrini there c. a.d. 170, and the names of seven 3d-century martyrs—Philotheus, Hyperechius, Abibus, Julianus, Romanus, Jacobus, and Paregorius—are connected with Samosata. Its first-known bishop was Peperius, who was present at the Council of Nicaea (325). Among its earlier churchmen were St. lucian of samosata (b. c. 250), who founded the School of antioch and was a teacher of Arius, and Paul (see paulof samosata), the contemporary governor under Queen Zenobia of Palmyra, who became bishop of Antioch in 260 and was later condemned as a heretic (268) for his erroneous teachings on Christology and the Trinity. Samosata was a center of the Arian disturbances; one of its bishops, Eusebius, was assassinated and another, Andrew, supported john of antioch at ephesus (431), in opposing St. cyril of alexandria. The city is mentioned as joined to the See of Amida in the Photian Council of Constantinople (879). It was conquered by the Muslims in 1150. Traces of an ancient wall (probably from the 1st century), remains of another wall, and an artificial hill on which a fortress was erected are the scarce archeological particulars of Samosata.
Bibliography: Paulys Realenzyklopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, ed. g. wissowa, et al. (Stuttgart 1893–) 1A.2 (1920) 2220–24. m. le quien, Oriens Christianus, 3 v. (Graz 1958) 2:934–936. a. von harnack, The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries, tr. and ed. j. moffat, 2 v. (2d ed. New York 1908) v. 2. "Samosata," Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65); suppl., Das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil: Dokumente und kommentare, ed. h. s. brechter et al., pt. 1 (1966) 9:301.
[j. van paassen]