Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Cerasus


A titular see of Pontus Polemoniacus in Asia Minor. Cerasus is remembered for the sojourn of Xenophon and his Ten Thousand on their famous retreat. It seems to have stood in the valley at a short distance from the modern city. The latter was founded by Pharnaces, after whom it was called Pharnacia; but owing to the abundance of cherry-trees in the country, it was soon named Cerasus like the old town, and this appellation has remained. It was from Cerasus that Pompey imported the first cherry-trees to Rome, whence they afterwards spread through all Europe. The city is mentioned by Pliny and Greek geographers, but does not appear to have been very important. It was a suffragan of Neocæsarea (Niksar); in the eleventh century it became a metropolis, and was still extant at the end of the fifteenth century, but by the seventeenth the see was suppressed. From the fifth to the twelfth century Lequien (II, 513) mentions nine titulars; his list might be increased. The Turkish Kerassoun, or Ghiresson, is a port on the Black Sea, and the chief town of a caza in the vilayet of Trebizond; it has about 10,000 inhabitants (5000 Greeks, 1000 Armenians, and a few Catholics, visited from time to time by Capuchins from Trebizond). The climate is mild. The town is surrounded by a large forest of hazel- and cherry-trees, the latter being still very numerous. There are ruins of ancient walls, of an amphitheatre, a fortress, and of Byzantine churches.

CUINET, Turquie d'Asie, I. 64-78; PAPAMICHALOPOULOS, A Tour in Pontus (Greek; Athens, 1903), 256-282; SMITH, Dict. of Greek and Roman Geogr. (London, 1878), I, 590.

S. VAILHÉ.