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Maronia

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A titular see in the province of Rhodopis, suffragan of Trajanopolis. The town is an ancient one, said to have been founded by Maron, who was supposed to be the son of Dionysus (Euripides, "Cyclops", V, 100, 141) or companion of Osiris (Diodorus Siculus, I, 20). The probable origin of this legend is the fact that Maronia was noted for its Dionysiac worship, perhaps because of the famous wine grown in the neighbourhood and which was celebrated even in Homer's day (Odyssey IX, 196; Nonnus I, 12, XVII, 6; XIX, 11 etc.). It is mentioned in Herodotus (Vll, 109), and referred to by Pliny under the name Ortagurea (Hist. Nat., IV, 11). The town derived some of its importance from its commanding position on the Thracian Sea, and from the colony from Chios which settled there about 560 B.C. It was taken by Philip V, King of Macedonia (200 B..C.), but straightaway set free at the command of the Romans (Livy, XXXI, 16; XXXIX, 24; Polybius, XXII, 6, 13, XXIII, 11, 13). By the Romans it was given to Attalus, King of Pergamos, but the gift was revoked and the town retained its freedom (Polybius, XXX, 3). Lequien (Oriens Christ. I, 2295-1198) mentions many of its Greek bishops, but none of them was remarkable in any way. Eubel (Hierarchia Catholica medii aevi, I, 341; II, 205) mentions two titular Latin bishops in 1317 and 1449. Originally suffragan of Trajanopolis, Maronia, about 640, became an autocephalous archdiocese, and was raised to metropolitan rank in the thirteenth century under Andronicus II. In our own times, Maronia continues to be a Greek metropolitan see, but its titular resides at Gumuldjina, the chief town of the sandjak. The ancient town on the sea coast has been abandoned, and the name is now given to a village of 2000 inhabitants about three-quarters of an hour inland.


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