Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A titular see of Mesopotamia. Carrhae is the Haran of the Bible . It is frequently mentioned in Assyrian monuments under the name Harranu, which means "Road". It was the centre of the worship of the goddess Sin (the Moon), and was inhabited by Sabeans. Abraham came thither from Ur, in Chaldea ( Genesis 11:31 ), with his family, which remained there (xxvii, 43) while he went on to Canaan (xii, 1). Rebecca was born there (xxiv, 4), and Jacob lived there during fourteen years with his uncle Laban (xxviii, 2; xxxi, 3). Under King Hezekiah it was taken by the Assyrians ( 2 Kings 19:12 ; Isaiah 37:12 ). Ezechiel (xxvii, 23) says it had commercial relations with Tyrus. In the neighbouring plain Crassus was defeated and killed by the Parthians (53 B.C.); Emperor Galerius was defeated on the same site (A.D. 296).

Christianity did not make rapid progress at Carrhae. Julian the Apostate , before his expedition against the Persians, resided there in preference to Edessa, a Christian city; under Justinian most of its inhabitants were yet heathen (Procop. De bel. Pers., II, 13). In time, however, it became a suffragan of Edessa in Osrhoene. Lequien (II, 973) mentions from the fourth to the sixth century eleven bishops ; among them are: Vitus, the friend of St. Basil, St. Protogenes, and St. Abrahamius. The latter died at Constantinople. Emperor Theodosius II was so impressed by his saintly life that he chose to wear his poor tunic. From the sixth century the Jacobites had at Carrhae a very flourishing Church ; Patriarch Michael the Syrian enumerates seventeen bishops from the eighth to the twelfth century (Revue de l'Orient chretien, 1901, p. 197). One Latin bishop is known, but not with certainty (Eubel, I, 282). Carrhae was the residence of Merwan, the last of the Ommiad caliphs, and became the centre of a famous Mussulman school, where, in the tenth century, many Greek works were translated into Arabic. Harran, today a village in a wide, barren plain, destitute of trees, is not far from the river Belikh (Bilichus), and about 25 miles from Orfa (Edessa) in the vilayet of Aleppo. Its houses are shaped like sugar loaves and inhabited chiefly by bedouins. There are ruins of a Roman camp, of many churches, and of a fortress dating from the Crusades. Near the village is still to be found the well whence Rebecca was drawing water when Eliezer found her.


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

  • St. Maximinus of Trier: Saint of the Day for Sunday, May 29, 2016
  • Advent Prayer HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, May 29, 2016
  • WARNING: Exorcist claims demon is targeting families
  • Woman diagnosed with 'nightmare bacteria' in US
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: He will never leave you

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jude 1:17, 20-25
17 But remember, my dear friends, what the apostles of our Lord Jesus ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 63:2, 3-4, 5-6
2 Thus I have gazed on you in the sanctuary, seeing your power and your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:27-33
27 They came to Jerusalem again, and as Jesus was walking in the Temple, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 28th, 2016 Image

Bl. Margaret Pole
May 28: Martyr of England. She was born Margaret ... Read More