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A titular see of Palestina Prima in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The town was formerly called Lod, and was founded by Samad of the tribe of Benjamin (I Par., viii, 12). Some of its inhabitants were taken in captivity to Babylon, and some of them returned later (I Esd., ii, 33; II Esd., vii, 37; xi, 34). About the middle of the second century B.C., the city was given by the kings of Syria to the Machabees, who held it until the coming of Pompey to Judea (I Mach., xi, 34, 57; Josephus, "Antiquities", XIV, x, 6). Julius Caesar in 48 B.C. gave Lydda to the Jews, but Cassius in 44 sold the inhabitants, who two years later were set at liberty by Antony (Josephus, "Jewish War", I, xi, 2; "Antiquities", XIV xii, 2-5). The city also experienced civil wars and the revolt of the Jews against the Romans in the first century of our era; it was then officially called Diospolis, but the popular name always remained Lod or Lydda. There were Christians in this locality from the first, and St. Peter, having come to visit them, there cured the paralytic Eneas (Acts, ix, 32-5). The earliest known bishop is Aetius, a friend of Arius; the episcopal title of Lydda has existed since that time in the Creek Patriarchate of Jerusalem. In December, 415, a council was held here which absolved the heretic Pelagius, at the same time condemning his errors. Lydda has been surnamed Georgiopolis in honour of the martyr St. George, who is said to have been a native of this town. The pilgrim Theodosius is the first to mention (about 530) the tomb of the martyr. A magnificent church erected above this tomb, was rebuilt by the Crusaders, and partly restored in modern times by the Greeks, to whom the sanctuary belongs. On the arrival of the Crusaders in 1099 Lydda became the seat of a Latin see, many of whose titulars are known. At present the city contains 6800 inhabitants, of whom 4800 are Mussulmans, 2000 schismatic Greeks and a few Protestants. The Catholics have a parish of 250 faithful in the neighboring town of Ramléh.
LEQUIEN, Oriens Christ., III, 581-8, 1271-6; DU CANGE, Les Familles d'Outremer (Paris, 1869), 799-802; EUBEL, Hierarchia catholica, I (Munich, 1898), 318: II (1901), 196; GUERIN, Description de la Palestine: Judee, I, 322-34; SCHURER, Gesch, des jud. Volkes, I and II, passim; VIGOUROUX, Dict. De la Bible, s.v.