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Sophene

Titular see, suffragan of Melitene in Armenia Secunda

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Sophene, a titular see, suffragan of Melitene in Armenia Secunda. In the sixth century “Notitiae episcopatuum” of Antioch, Sophene is a suffragan of Amida in Mesopotamia (“Echos d’Orient”, X, 145). Justinian in a letter to Zetas, “magister militum” of Armenia and Pontus Polemoniacus, grants him jurisdiction over various provinces, among them Sophene and Sophenene, “in qua est Martyropolis” (“Codex. Just.”, I, 29, 5). At the beginning of the seventh century George of Cyprus (“Descriptio orbis roman”, ed. Gelzer, 49) mentions Sophene in Armenia Quarta, and we know elsewhere that Arsamosata was the capital of the latter province. From these texts we conclude, first, that there were two distinct districts, Sophene situated more to the north and very well known to the classical writers as an Armenian province, subject to the Roman Empire, and, second, Sophenene, situated near Martyropolis and Amida. The latter is probably the titular see. Le Quien (“Oriens christianus”, II, 1001), mentions two bishops of Sophene: Arsaphus, present at the Council of Constantinople in 381; Euphemius, at Chalcedon, 451. The exact situation of this bishopric is unknown.

S. VAILHI


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