Titular see in Asia minor, suffragan of Amasea in Helenopontus
Sinope, a titular see in Asia minor, suffragan of Amasea in Helenopontus. It is a Greek colony, situated on a peninsula on the coast of Paphlagonia, of very early origin, some attributing its foundation to the Argonaut Autolycus, a companion of Hercules. Later it received a colony from Miletus which seems to have been expelled or conquered by the Cimmerians (Herodotus, IV, 12); but in 632 B.C. the Greeks succeeded again in capturing it. Henceforth Sinope enjoyed great prosperity and founded several colonies, among them being Cerasus, Cotyora, and Trapezus. The town took part in the Peloponnesian War, supporting Athens. Xenophon stopped there with his forces on the retreat of the Ten Thousand (Anab. V, v, 3; Diodor. Sicul., XIV, 30, 32; Ammien Marcel., XXII, 8). Fruitlessly besieged in 220 B.C. by Mithridates IV, King of Pontus, Sinope was taken by Pharnaces in 183 B.C., and became the capital and residence of the kings of Pontus. It was the birthplace of Mithridates the Great, who adorned it with magnificent monuments and constructed large arsenals there for his fleet. Lucullus captured it and gave it back its autonomy. Caesar also established the Colonia Julia Caesarea there in 45 B.C. when his supremacy began. Sinope was also the birthplace of the cynic philosopher, Diogenes, Diphilus, the comic poet, and Aquila, the Jew, who translated the Old Testament into Greek in the second century A.D. A Christian community existed there in the first half of the second century, with a bishop, the father of the celebrated heretic Marcion, whom he expelled from his diocese. Among its other bishops may be mentioned St. Phocas, venerated on September 22, with St. Phocas, the gardener of the same town, who is possibly to be identified with him; Prohwresios, present at the Councils of Gangres and Philippopolis in 343 and 344; Antiochus at the Council of Chalcedon, 451; Sergius at the Sixth Ecumenical Council, 681; Zeno, who was exiled in 712 for opposing Monothelitism; Gregory, present at the Seventh Council in 787, beheaded in 793 for revolting against the emperor, etc. A little before 1315 the Bishop of Sinope, driven out of his see by the Turks, received in compensation the metropoles of Sida and Sylwos (Miklosich and Muller, "Acta patriarchatus Constantinopolitani", I, 34); the diocese must have been suppressed upon his death, as it is not mentioned in the "Notitiae episcopatuum" of the fifteenth century. In 1401 a Greek merchant who visited Sinope found everything in disorder as a result of the Turkish inroads (Wachter, "Der Verf all des Griechentums in Kleinasien im XIV. Jahrhundert", 20); however, the town, which had belonged to the Empire of Trapezus from 1204 was not captured till 1470 by Mahomet II. In November, 1853, the Turkish fleet was destroyed by the Russians in the port of Sinope. Sinope is now the chief town of a sanjak of the vilayet of Castamouni, containing 15,000 inhabitants, about one half of whom are Greek schismatics.