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Colossae

Titular see of Phrygia in Asia Minor, suppressed in 1894

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Colossae, a titular see of Phrygia in Asia Minor, suppressed in 1894. Little is known about its history. The later name, Colassae, is probably the old Phrygian form. Colossae was at one time the chief city of South-Western Phrygia, lying on the trade-route from Sardis to Celaenae; it produced fine wool, the color of which was called colossinus. The ruin of the city was brought about by the change of road system, the foundation of Laodicea, eleven miles distant, and severe earthquakes. It retained municipal independence, but at the time of Strabo (XII, viii, 4) it was “a small town”. It had its own coinage under the empire. St. Paul (probably about 61) addressed an epistle from Rome to the inhabitants of Coloss, who had perhaps been evangelized by him. Coloss was the home of his companions, Archippus and Philemon, of his very dear sister, Appia, and of Onesimus and Epaphras, who probably founded the Church of Colossae. The ruins of the city are visible near Chonae, in the vilayet of Smyrna, on the left bank of the Lycus (Tchuruk Su); they include the acropolis, an aqueduct, theatre, etc. There is also a curious petrifying river, the Ak Su. Under the Byzantine Empire the territory of Colossae rose again to importance, and a strong fortress was built (perhaps by Justinian) at Chonae, three miles south-southeast of Colossae. The center of population long remained at the old site, but about the eighth century it was moved to a shelf of land beneath the castle Chonae (vulgar Greek Khones, Turk. Honas) is still a little village, twelve miles east of Denizli; it has been rendered famous by its miraculous church of St. Michael. Coloss was a suffragan of Laodicea in Phrygia Pacatiana. Besides St. Epaphras, two bishops are mentioned: Epiphanius in 451 and Cosmas in 692; Archippus and Philemon, especially the latter, are very doubtful. Chonae was made an archbishopric about 858-60, and in some later “Notitiae episcopatuum” appears as a metropolis without suffragans. Many titulars are known: Dositheus at Nicaea, in 787; Samuel, a friend of Photius, who sent him to Rome, was present at the Council of Constantinople in 866; Constantine, in 1028; Nicholas, in 1066 and 1080; in 1143 Nicetas, the godfather of the historian Nicetas Acominatus, who was born at Chonae, as was his brother Michael, the famous Metropolitan of Athens.

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