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Martyropolis

A titular see in Mesopotamia

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.


Martyropolis, a titular see, suffragan of Amida in the Province of Mesopotamia or Armenia Quarta. It was only a small town, named Maipherqat, but was rendered celebrated at the end of the fourth century, by its bishop, St. Maruthas. Enjoying great influence at the Roman and the Persian Courts, Maruthas was sent on several important missions to Seleucia-Ctesiphon or Constantinople and succeeded in obtaining religious liberty for the Persian Christians in 410. On his return from one of the journeys he brought back to Maipherqat from Persia many relics of the martyrs, in consequence of which the town became known as Martyropolis. The emperor Theodosius II aided Maruthas in this work of reconstruction and embellishment. Captured by the Persians under Anastasius I, the town was retaken by the Romans and successfully defended in the time of Justinian (Ahrens and Kruger, "Die sogenannte Kirchengeschichte des Zacharias Rhetor", 171-75; Procopius, "Bellum pers.", I, xxi, xxiii; "De zedificiis", III, 2). Its name was then changed for a short time to Justinianopolis (Malalas, "Chronographia", XCIII; P.G., XCVII, 629). Martyropolis is mentioned very often in the time of the wars between the Romans and the Persians, from 584 to 589 (Theophanis, "Chronographia", anno mundi 6077, 6079, 6080); Heraclius halted there in 624 (op. cit., 6116); in 712, it was in the hands of the Arabs (op. cit., 6204). Lequien (Oriens Christianus, II, 997-1002) mentions several of its Greek bishops, among them being the Metropolitan Basil who assisted at the conciliabulum of Photius in 878. We know, indeed, by a statement in the "Notitia episcopatuum" of Antioch, in the tenth century (Ethos d'Orient, X, 93) that Martyropolis had been withdrawn from the jurisdiction of Amida, and become a metropolitan see. This town was one of the principal centers of Monophysitism; the "Revue de l'Orient chretien", VI, 200, gives a list of twenty-seven Jacobite bishops. At present, Martyropolis is called Mefarkin, or Silvan; it is a caza of the vilayet of Diarbekir. The town, situated 42 miles northeast of Diarbekir, contains 7000 inhabitants, of whom 4000 are Mussulmans, 2000 schismatic Armenians, 430 Catholic Armenians, and about 511 Syrian Jacobites. It possesses 3 churches for these different religious communities.

S. VAILHE


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