Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A titular see of Osrhaene, probably identical with Birejik (Zegma) on the left bank of the Euphrates, c. 62 miles west of Orfa (Edessa), and 95 miles north of Aleppo. Birtha (Aramæan, Bîrthâ "castle") is spoken of as a castle by ancient authors (Hierocles, 715, 2). There was also a see called by the Greeks Macedonopolis, the foundation of the great city being attributed by legend to Alexander the Great (Amm. Marcell., XX, vii, 17). That Macedonopolis and Birtha are one see is proved by the subscriptions at the Council of Niceæa, where we see that Bjrt"/i> in both Syriac and Arabic lists corresponds with Macedonopolis in Greek and Latin lists (Gelzer, Patrum Niceænorum nomina, 242). The true name of the bishop present at the council is Mareas, not Marcus. Daniel, Bishop of Macedonopolis, is said to have been present at the Council of Chalcedon (451). From the sixth century only the name Birtha survives (Georgius Cyprius, n. 899). Emperor Anastasius, after his victories over the Persians in 505, entrusted Sergius, Bishop of Birtha, with the work of repairing the city (Wright, ed., The Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite, XCI, lxxi), an undertaking that was completed by Justinian (Procop., De ædific. Just., II, 4). The oldest "Tacticon" of the Patriarchate of Antioch, issued under Anastasius I (599) places Birtha first among the suffragan sees of Edessa (Kerameus, ed., Anekdota Hellenika, lxv); the name is written Byrte in a later redaction (ibid., lxix), and Virchi in an old Latin translation (Tobler and Molinier, Itinera Hierosolymitana, I, 322). Birtha was destroyed by Timour-Leng in the fourteenth century. Birejik is today the chief town of a caza in the vilayet of Aleppo with 10,000 inhabitants, including 1,500 Christians, all Armenians, and one-half of whom are Catholics.

Ptolemy (V, xviii, xix) speaks of a fortress Birtha on the Tigris in Southern Mesopotamia and of another in Arabia on the Euphrates below Thapsacus. The site of the first is unkown, the latter is at Ed-Deir (Ritter, Erdkunde, XI, 691), but perhaps both are the same as Birtha or Macedonopolis.


More Encyclopedia

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.

Catholic Encyclopedia

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

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Captain James Cook wreckage discovered!
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: I fear no evil!
  • St. Matthew HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, May 04, 2016
  • 'Our warriors are everywhere': ISIS uses CHILDREN to threaten Europe
  • St. Florian: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, May 04, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Thursday, May 5th, 2016 HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 17:15, 22--18:1
15 Paul's escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh from the heavens, praise him in the ... Read More

Gospel, John 16:12-15
12 I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 4th, 2016 Image

St. Florian
May 4: The St. Florian commemorated in the Roman ... Read More