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A titular see, suffragan of Naxos in the Cyclades. The name seems to have been derived from a Phœnician navigator, Melos , though others ascribe it to its rounded or apple shape, Melos . The island has had different names: Zephyria, Memblis, Mimallis, Siphis, Acyton, Byblis, etc. The Phœnicians seem to bave been the first to colonize the island; then came the Dorians from Laconia in the twelfth century B. C. This Dorian colony lasted for seven hundred years, when the Athenians, jealous of their fidelity to the Spartans, took possession of the island in 416 B. C. All the men were massacred and replaced by five hundred Athenian colonists; the women and children were carried captive to Attica. Later on, when these children were grown, they returned to occupy the island. Melos then passed under the domination of the Macedonians, then under that of the Romans, and finally under that of the Byzantines, who retained possession of it until 1207, when Marco Sanudo annexed it to the Italian Duchy of Naxos. In 1537 it was taken by the corsair Barbarossa and joined to the Ottoman Empire. The island continued to prosper, serving as a market and even as a refuge to the corsairs of the West, especially the French; it was so until the eighteenth century, when it began to decline because of a volcano which arose in the vicinity. From 20,000 inhabitants the population decreased to about 2000; united to Greece in 1827 the island now contains 5000 souls. The chief town, called Plaka, possesses a very fine harbour; nearby are the ruins of ancient Melos, with a cemetery, two citadels, a temple of Dionysius, a necropolis, and a theatre. Near the theatre was found in 1820 the celebrated Venus of Melos, now at the Museum of the Louvre at Paris, the work of a sculptor of Antioch on the Meander, in the second century B. C. The earliest known Bishop of Melos, Eutychius, assisted at the Sixth Œcumenical Council in 681. Le Quien (Oriens Christianus, I, 945) mentions a number of Greek titulars, especially at the beginning of the sixteenth century, after the expulsion of the Venetians. The Greek diocese was a suffragan of Rhodes. A very long list of the Latin residential or titular bishops is found in Le Quien, op. cit., III, 1055-58, and in Eubel, "Hierarchia Catholica medii ævi", Munich, I, 355; II, 211. Melos had Latin bishops until 1700, in which year John Anthony de Camillis died. The see was then joined to that of Naxos until 1830, when the island was made a part of the Diocese of Santorin. The Bishop of Santorin now ministers to the few Catholics who live there.


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