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Philippi

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A titular metropolitan see in Macedonia. As early as the sixth century B. C. we learn of a region called Datos, overrun by the inhabitants of Thasos, in which there was an outlying post called Crenides (the little springs), and a seaport, Neapolis or Cavala. About 460 B. C. Crenides and the country lying inland fell into the hands of the Thracians, who doubtless were its original inhabitants. In 360 B. C. the Thasians, aided by Callistratus the Athenian and other exiles, re-established the town of Datos, just when the discovery of auriferous deposits was exciting the neighbouring peoples. Philip of Macedonia took possession of it, and gave it his name, Philippi in the plural, as there were different sections of the town scattered at the foot of Mount Pangæus. He erected there a fortress barring the road between the Pangæus and the Hæmus. The gold mines, called Asyla, which were energetically worked, gave Philip an annual revenue of more than 1000 talents. In 168 B. C. the Romans captured the place. In the autumn of 42 B. C. the celebrated battle between the triumvirs and Brutus and Cassius was fought on the neighbouring marshy plain. In the first conflict Brutus triumphed over Octavius, whilst Antony repulsed Cassius, who committed suicide. Unable to maintain discipline in his army, and defeated twenty days later, Brutus also took his life. The same year a Roman colony was established there, which after the battle of Actium took the name of Colonia Augusta Julia Philippensis. When St. Ignatius of Antioch and the martyrs Zosimus and Rufus were passing through Philippi, St. Ignatius told the Christians of that town to send a letter of congratulation to the faithful of Antioch. They therefore wrote to Polycarp of Smyrna, asking him at the same time for the writings of St. Ignatius. Polycarp answered them in a letter, still extant, which was written before the death of St. Ignatius.

Although the Church of Philippi was of Apostolic origin, it was never very important; it was a suffragan bishopric of Thessalonica. Towards the end of the ninth century it ranked as a metropolitan see and had six suffragan dioceses ; in the fifteenth century it had only one, the See of Eleutheropolis. The Archdiocese of Cavala was reunited to the metropolis in December, 1616. In 1619, after a violent dispute with the Metropolitan of Drama, Clement, the titular of Philippi, got permission to assume the title of Drama also, and this was retained by the Metropolitan of Philippi until after 1721, when it was suppressed and the metropolis of Drama alone continued. In the "Echos d'Orient", III, 262-72, the writer of this article compiled a critical list of the Greek titulars of Philippi, containing sixty-two names, whereas only eighteen are given in Le Quien, "Oriens christianus", II, 67-70. Some Latin titulars are cited in Eubel, "Hierarchia catholica medii ævi", I, 418; II, 238; III, 291; Le Quien, op. cit., III, 1045. In the middle of the fourteenth century, Philippi is mentioned in connexion with the wars between John V, Palæologus, and Cantacuzenus, who has left a description of it (P. G., CLIV, 336). The ruins of Philippi lie near the deserted hamlet of Filibedjik, fifteen kilometres from Cavala, in the vilayet of Salonica ; they contain the remains of the acropolis, a theatre anterior to the Roman occupations, a temple of Sylvanus, and numerous sculptured rocks bearing inscriptions.


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