A titular see of Northern Africa. The city was founded early in the seventh century B.C. by a Dorian colony from Thera and named after a spring, Kyre, which the Greeks consecrated to Apollo; it stood on the boundary of the Green Mountains (Djebel Akhaar), ten miles from its port, Apollonia (Marsa Sousa). It was the chief town of the Lydian region between Egypt and Carthage (Cyrenaica, now vilayet of Benghazi), kept up commercial relations with all the Greek cities, and reached the height of its prosperity under its own kings in the fifth century B. C. Soon after 460 it became a republic; after the death of Alexander it passed to the Ptolemies and fell into decay. Apion bequeathed it to the Romans, but it kept its self-government. In 74 B.C. Cyrene became a Roman colony. There were many Jews in the region, with their own synagogue at Jerusalem ( Matthew 27:32 ; Acts 2:10 ; 6:9 , 11:20 , sq.), who rebelled, A.D. 73, against Vespasian and in 115 against Trajan.
Cyrene is the birthplace of the philosophers Aristippus, Callimachus, Carneades, Eratosthenes and Synesius ; the latter, a convert to Christianity, died Bishop of Ptolemais. Lequien (II, 621) mentions six bishops of Cyrene, and according to Byzantine legend the first was St. Lucius ( Acts 13:1 ); St. Theodorus suffered martyrdom under Diocletian ; about 370 Philo dared to consecrate by himself a bishop for Hydra, and was succeeded by his own nephew, Philo; Rufus sided with Dioscorus at the Robber Synod (Latrocinium) of Ephesus in 449; Leontius lived about 600. Lequien (III, 1151) mentions also six Latin bishops, from 1477 to 1557. The Latin titular see was suppressed by a papal decree of 1894. The old city, ruined by the Arab invasion in the seventh century, is not inhabited, but its site is still called Qrennah (Cyrene). Its necropolis is one of the largest and best preserved in the world, and the tombs, mostly rock-hewn, are of Dorian style.
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 in fifteen hardcopy 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