A titular see in Augusta Euphratensis, suffragan of Hierapolis. Under its native name Rhesapha, it figures in Ptolemy, V, xiv, 19; as Risapa in the "Tabula Peutinger."; as Rosafa in the "Notitia dignitatum" (edited by Böcking, p. 88), the latter locates in it the equites promoti indigenae , i.e. the natives promoted to Roman Knighthood. This name signifies in Arabic causeway, paved or flagged road, and a milliary mentioned by Sterrett (Corpus inscript. latin., III, 6719) who calls the town Strata Diocletiana. Procopius also (De bello pers., II, i, 6) speaks of a region called Strata (see Clermont-Ganneau, "La voie romaine de Palmyre â Resapha" and "Resapha et la Strata Diocletiana" in "Recueil d'archéol. orientale", IV, 69-74, 112). It is commonly admitted that Resapha is identical with the Reseph ( 2 Kings 19:12 ; Isaiah 37:12 ) which the envoys of Sennacherib to King Ezechias mentioned as having recently fallen into the hands of the Assyrians ; the name occurs also several times in the cuneiform inscriptions under the forms Rasaappa, Rasappa, or Rasapi, and a certain number of its Assyrian governors from 839 to 737 B.C. are known. The town was then an important commercial centre [Schrader, "Keilinschriften und Geschichtsforschung" (Giessen, 1878), 167, 199]. At Rosapha in the reign of Maximian the soldier Sergius, after whom the town was officially named, was martyred on 7 Oct.; Rosapha contained a Roman fortress at that time. Its first bishop was appointed shortly after 431 by John of Antioch, in spite of the opposition of the Metropolitan of Hierapolis, on whom that church had till then depended, for he had, he declared spent three hundred pounds of gold on it ( Mansi ), "Concil. collectio", V, 915, 943). A little later Marianus of Rhosapha assisted at the Council of Antioch ( Mansi ), op. cit., VII, 325). The metropolis of Sergiopolis with five suffragan sees figures in the "Notitia episcopatuum" of Antioch in the sixth century ("Echos d'Orient", X, 145). It had obtained this title from Emperor Anastasius I (491-518), according to a contemporary (Cramer, "Anecdota", 11, 12, 109); at the fifth general council (553) Abraham signed as metropolitan ( Mansi ), op. cit., IX, 390). The favors of Anastasius obtained for the town the name of Anastasiopolis, which it still retained at the beginning of the seventh century (Gelzer, "Georgii Cyprii Descriptio orbis romani", 45). We may mention also Bishop Candidus, who, at the time of the siege of the town by Shah Chosroes, (543), ransomed 1200 captives for two hundred pounds of gold (Procopius, "De bello pers." II, 5, 20), and the metropolitan Simeon in 1093 ("Echos d'Orient", III, 238); this proves that Christianity continued to exist even under Mussulman domination. Procopius ("De aedificiis", II, ix), describes at length the ramparts and buildings erected there by Justinian. The walls of Resapha which are still well preserved are over 1600 feet in length and about 1000 feet in width; round or square towers were erected about every hundred feet; there are also ruins of a church with three apses.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online