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Caesarea

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A Latin titular see, and the seat of a residential Armenian bishopric, in Cappadocia ( Asia Minor ). The native name of this city was Mazaka , after Mosoch, the legendary Cappadocian hero. It was also called Eusebeia after King Ariarathes Eusebius, and took its new name, Caesarea , from Tiberius in A.D. 17, when Cappadocia became a Roman province. When Valens divided this province, Caesarea remained the metropolis of Cappadocia Prima. At all times it has been, and still is the first metropolis of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Lequien (I, 367) enumerates fifty bishops from the first to the eighteenth century. We may mention Primianus, the centurion who stood by the Cross on Calvary according to St. Gregory of Nyssa ; Firmilian, a correspondent of St. Cyprian of Carthage ; St. Basil the Great ; Andrew and Arethas, two commentators of the apocalypse; Soterichus, a famous Monophysite, and some others who became patriarchs of Constantinople. Among the principal saints are all the members of St. Basil's family ; the martyrs St. Mamas, or Mammes, St. Gordius, and St. Julitta, whose panegyrics were pronounced by St. Basil. The illustrious monk St. Sabas, who founded the great monastery still existing near Jerusalem, was born in the diocese of Caesarea. At the time of St. Basil this diocese had fifty chorepiscopi or country bishops, which supposes a dense population. Councils were held at Caesarea in 314, 358, 371, etc. As for the Latin bishops, four are known in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries ( Lequien, III, 1877).

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Caesarea, under the Turkish name Kaisarieh, is today the chief town of a sanjak in the vilayet of Angora. The ruins of the old city are still visible about a quarter of a mile to the west of the modern town at Eski Kaisarieh (Old Caesarea). The present (1908) city seems to have been established in the early days of the Mussulman occupation. It is situated on the Kizil Yirmak (Halys), at an altitude of 3281 feet, at the foot of Mount Argaeus (9996 feet), and has about 72,000 inhabitants: 45,000 Mussulmans, 9000 Gregorian Armenians, 1200 Protestant Armenians, 800 Catholic Armenians, and 15,000 Greeks (few Catholic Greeks). Kaisarieh, besides the Greek metropolitan see, is a diocese for the Gregorian, and a diocese for the Catholic, Armenians. The last-named see has only 2000 faithful with 2 parishes, 4 churches, and 3 priests. A flourishing school is conducted by the Jesuits, a school and an orphanage by Sisters of St. Joseph de l'Apparition. An Assumptionist of the Greek Rite takes care of the Catholic Greeks. The bazaars are remarkable. The city has a trade in pasterma (preserved beef), woollens, cotton stuffs, and very beautiful objects. There are at Kaisarieh ruins of a Seljuk fortress, a mosque of Houen (founder of an order of dervishes in the fourteenth century), and also old tombs. In the neighbourhood are ruins of churches dedicated to St. Basil, St. Mercurius, etc.


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