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Antioch, Patriarchate of

John A. McGuckin

Subject Religion

Key-Topics chronicles and histories, church and state, churches, orthodoxy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405185394.2011.x


Antioch has a glorious Christian past. It was here that one of the most vibrant Christian communities in the apostolic age sprang up, and here that the first tentative workings out of the relation between Jewish and Gentile disciples of Jesus took place. The Apostle Peter was based here as a leader of the church community before he moved towards his martyrdom at Rome, and many scholars believe that it was in this church also that the Gospel of Matthew received its final editing and arrangement in the Greek text. It was one of the main cities of the international Christian world, third-ranking city of the Roman Empire (after Rome and Alexandria), site of great achievements and momentous struggles, with several martyrdoms during the time of the Roman persecutions, that made it feature high in the calendar of the saints. But the advances of Islam from the 7th century onwards left Antioch's Christian civilization in a state of slow suffocation. It was also vulnerable to sociopolitical changes because of the way its ecclesiastical territories (those churches that looked to Antioch for guidance and which followed its traditions) were so widely scattered and into such impassable mountain territory, which made communication so hard to sustain but so easily disrupted. Several of Antioch's greatest theologians have left their mark on the church's universal patristic tradition: writers such ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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