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Bishopric of Amisos

Author(s) : IBR , Giftopoulou Sofia (3/17/2003)
Translation : Koutras Nikolaos

For citation: IBR , Giftopoulou Sofia, "Bishopric of Amisos",
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Asia Minor
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=7208>

Αμισού Επισκοπή (Βυζάντιο) (3/27/2008 v.1) Bishopric of Amisos (5/22/2008 v.1) 

1. Christianity and ecclesiastical administration at Amisos

The inhabitants of the city of Amisos were Christianized during the 1st century. According to tradition, the apostle Andrew evangelized in the city. During Diocletian’s reign the Christian community suffered because of the persecutions of 303-305, the period when Charitine, later sainted, was martyred. During the persecutions of Galerius several other Christians were martyred in Amisos.1

We do not know the rank that the bishopric held in the ecclesiastical hierarchy during the Early Byzantine period, only that the see belonged to the ecclesiastical province of Helenopontos. By the 7th century, Amisos was the "protothrone" (first in class) episcopal see of the metropolis of Amaseia, being registered first among six bishoprics in the notitiae episcopatuum. We know of nine bishops of Amisos in total, some via their participation to councils and others through their seals. The first known bishop of Amisos was Antonianos, who in 451 attended the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon. A reference to the bishop of Amisos Erythrios dates to a few years later, in 458. Bishop Tiberios participated in the Sixth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (680-681), while bishop Leon signed off the (proceedings) Acta of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. Finally, the bishop of Amisos Basileios participated in 879 in the Council of Constantinople. We also know of the bishops Phloros (6th/7th century), Nikephoros (11th century) and Constantinos (11th/12th century), all through sigillography. During 1170-1178 an unknown bishop held the bishopric of Amisos, of whom we know that he was ordained by the bishop of Amaseia Leon and that, when he received his office (after 1170), the see had been vacant for one year.2 The last references to the bishopric of Amisos date to the 13th century.

2. Monasteries

The Genna monastery was located in Amisos. Some scholars have suggested that it was dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary or the Nativity of St John the Baptist (genna=birth), while according to others Genna might be an unidentified place-name.

1. Among the saints who were martyred at Amisos 310, during Galerius' reign, were Alexandria, Claudia, Euphransia, Matrona, Juliana, Euphemia and Theodosia.

2. The patriarch of Constantinople Michael III of Anchialos (1170-1178) suggested to the metropolitan of Amaseia Leon that he should elect the bishop of Amisos himself, so that the seat could be filled immediately, and supported his suggestion on the novella no. 123 of Justinian I (527-565). The jurist Theodoros Balsamon, titular patriarch of Antioch, was called by the patriarch and Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1143-1180) to offer his expert opinion on the matter, and because of his reply we are aware of the said bishop.


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