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MELITENEi


166


MELTTO


Melitene, rcsidonco of an Armenian Catholic sec, also a titulary archbishopric. Aceortling to Pliny (Nut. Hist. \I, 3), the city was founded by Queen Semiramis at a little ilistance from the Euphrates ; the earliest mention of it is found in Tacitus (Annal., XV, 26) . A Roman camp was there under Nero, and 'I'rajan made it the principal stronghold of this frontier. Its name is probalily derived from the river Melas which empties into the Euphrates. I'nder Marcus Aurelius the Legio XII J'utniinata was stationed there (Euse- bius, H. E. V, V, 4); to this legion belonged the forty martyrs of Sebaste. Ptolemy (V, vi, 21) and Strabo (XII i, 2, -1; see also XI, xii, 2; XI, xiv, 2) make it one of the t«n provinces of Cappadocia. Justinian forti- fied it and tilled it with magnificent monuments (Pro- copius, De /Edificiis, III, 4), which have all disap- peared. In 577 the Romans gained a great victory over the Persians in the vicinity of Melitene; two years before the city had been burned by the Shah Chosroes. Towards the midtUe of the seventh cen- tury Melitene again became Byzantine; it was after- wards taken by the Arabs and later recaptured by Emperor Constantine Copronyrr is in 751. The lat- ter transported the Christian p /pulation to Thrace, dispersed the Mussulmans of tlie province, destroyed the city and razed the walls. In 760 Caliph Al-Man- zur took possession of it and restored to it something of its former importance. In the tenth century the Byzantines re-established their domination and in 965 the Emperor Nicephorus Phocas successfully under- took to colonize the region. The Greek Government had faithfully promised not to molest the Monophy- sites, whether Armenian or Syrian; but it did not keep its promise. In the eleventh century the city counted no less than fifty-six churches, and was able to furnish 60,000 armed men from among its own citizens and its environs, an index of its great prosperity. The number of suffragan sees increased at this time and was suddenly changed from three to nine (Gelzer, " Ungedruckte . . . Texte der Notitia; episcopa- tuum", 579). The Monophysites had at that time seven sees in the vicinity of Melitene (Barhebrseus, H. E. II, 460). The city fell afterwards into the power of the Seljuk Turks of Iconiimi; then of the Mongols in 1235 ; of the Osraanlis in 1396 ; of Timur in 1401 ; then of different Turkish princes. Finally, at the beginning of the sixteenth century it was annexed to the Ottoman Empire, of which it is still a part.

Christianity seems to have reached Melitene very early. The Roman soldier, St. Polyeuctus, immor- talized by Corneille, was martyred there in 254 or 259. Another third century martyr is known, St. Eudoxius, whose relics were fouijd in 966, as indicated by an inscription carved on the door of a church. St. Mele- tius, the celebrated Bishop of Antioch, was a native of Melitene, as was also Saint Euthymius, to whom was chiefly due the organization of monastic life in Palestine during the fifth century. A council against the Arians was held there in 363. Le Quien (Oriens Christianus, I, 439-46) gives a long list of its Greek bishops, the last of whom belongs to the year 1193. .'\mong them are St. Acacius, who died about 4.38; and Saint Domitian, first cousin to the Emperor Maurice, who played a most important role in the re- ligious and political life of the second half of the sixth century. I'or its Jacobite bi.shops see I^ Quien (II, 1451-58) and " Revue de I'Orient Chretien" (VI, 201). To-day the city of Malatia forms a sanjak of the vil- ayet of Mamouret-ul-.\ziz ; it numbers about .30,000 inhabitants of whom 16,000 are Turks; 4500 Kurds; 6500 Kizil Bach (a Mussulman sect) ; and about 3000 Armenians, .'\mong the last mentioned are 800 Catholics. The Capuchins have established there a mission with a church built in 18S4 and an orphan asylum. The city, which was disturbed by an earth- quake in 1893, was still more sorely troubled by the massacres of 1895, during which 500 houses were


burned and 1000 Christians massacred. About five miles from Malatia is the village (it IIski-Malatia on the site of the ancirnt Melitene; a part of the walls is still preserved. The whole region is like an inniiense fruit garden in a dolif;htful climate and a well-watered land. The Catholic Armenian diocese numljers 5100 souls, 9 priests, 10 churches and chapels, 7 stations, 9 pri- mary schools, and an establishment of Armenian Sisters of tlie Immaculate Conception. The schismatic Ar- menian diocese is under the Catholicos of Sis. There is also established there a Protestant mission.

Tkxieh, VAsie Mincure (Paris, 1862), 587-500; Cuinet, La Turquie d'Asie, II, 369-375; Piolet, Les missions cdlholiquea Francaises au XIX' siccle, I (Paris, 285-287); Missiones catho- licce (Rome, 1907), 757.

S. Vailhe.

Melito, Saint, Bishop of Sardis, prominent ec- clesiastical writer in the latter half of the second cen- tury. Few details of his life are known. A letter of Polycrates of Ephesus to Pope Victor about 194 (Eusebius, " Hist. Eccl. ", V, xxiv) states that " Melito the eunuch [this is interpreted " the virgin " by Rufinus in his translation of Eusebius], whose whole walk was in the Holy Spirit", was interred at Sardis, and had been one of the great authorities in the Church of Asia who held the Quartodeciman theory. His name is cited also in the " Labyrinth " of Hippolytus as one of the second-century writers who tauglit the duality of natures in Jesus. St. Jerome, speaking of the canon of Melito, quotes Tertullian's statement that he was esteemed a prophet by many of the faithful.

Of Melito's numerous works almost all have per- ished ; fortunately, Eusebius has preserved the names of the majority and given a few extracts (Hist. Eccl., IV, xiii, xxvi). They are (1) "An Apology for the Christian Faith", appealing to Marcus Aurelius to ex- amine into the accusations against the Christians and to end the persecution (written apparently about 172, or before 177). This is a different work from the Syriac apology attributed to Melito, published in Syriac and English by Cureton from a British Musevim MS. The latter, a vigorous confutation of idolatry and polytheism addressed to Antoninus Caisar, seems from internal evidence to be of Syrian origin, though some authorities have identified it with Melito's Ilepl oX-qBdas. (2) Jlepl toO ird<rxa, on Easter, written prob- ably in 167-8. A fragment cited by Eusebius refers to a dispute that had broken out in Laodicea re- garding Easter, bu- does not mention the precise matter in controversy. (3) 'EK\oyai, six books of extracts from the Law and the Prophets concerning Christ and the Faith, the passage cited by Eusebius contains a canon of the Old Testament. (4) 'H /cXefs, for a long time considered to be preserved in the "Melitonis clavis sancta; scriptura;", which is now known to be an original Latin compilation of the Middle Ages. (5) llepl ivooifidTov Seov, on the cor- poreity of God, of which some Syriac fragments have been preserved. It is referred to by Origen (In Gen., i, 26), as showing Melito to have been an Anthropo- morphite, the Syriac fragments, however, prove that the author held the opposite doctrine.

Fourteen additional works are cited by Eusebius. Anastasius Sinaita in his '057;76s (P. G., LXXXIX) quotes from two other writings; Ei's tA irdflos (on the Passion), and Uepl aapKuaews Xpi.<rToO (on the Incarna' tion), a work in three books, probably written against the Marcionites. Routh (see below) has published four scholia in Greek from a Catena on the Sacrifice of Isaac as typifying the Sacrifice of the Cross, prob- ably taken from a corrupt version of the 'EkXo7o/. Four Syriac fragments from works on the Body ami Soul, the Cross, and Faith, are apparently composi- tions of Melito, though often referred to .Mexander of Alexandria. Many spurious writings have been at- tributed to Melito in addition to the " Melitonis clavis sanctae scripturse" already mentioned — e. g., a "Let-