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A titulary archbishopric in the island of Lesbos. Inhabitated, first by the Pelasgians, then by the Æolians, it was ruled in turn by the Persians, the Athenians, the Macedonians, the Seleucidæ, and the Romans. Included in the empire of the East after the time of Theodosius it suffered much from the different invasions of the Scythians in 376, the Slavs in 769, the Arabs in 821, 881, 1035, the Russians in 864 And 1027. In 1204 after the foundation of the Latin empire, the city became a possession of the French, only to be reconquered in 1248 by John Ducas Vatatzes. It belonged to the Genoese when the sultan, Mahomet II, conquered it in 1462. The home of many famous persons, among them Sappho, Alcæus, and the sage Pittacus, Mitylene was famous for its beauty and for the strength of its walls. St. Paul stopped there during his third journey (Acts, xx, 14). Among its bishops, whose names will be found in part in Le Quien, "Oriens christianus", I, 953-962, are Zacharias Rhetor, or the Scholastic, author of an Ecclesiastical History about the year 536; Saint George who died in exile at Cherson before 821 and whose feast occurs on 7 April and 16 May; another Saint George who died in 843 and is venerated by the Greeks on 1 February with his two brothers, Saint Simeon and Saint David (Analecta bollandiana XVIII, 209 sq.). Until this time Mitylene was only an autocephalous archbishopric; the "Notitia" of Leo the Wise about 900 describes it as a metropolitan see with five suffragans. Dorotheus of Mitylene stands out among the friends of the Union at the Council of Florence of which he wrote a history in Greek (Mansi, XXXI, 463 sq., 997, 1009). The list of the Latin titularies of 1205 to 1412 may be found in Le Quien, III, 991-994; Eubel, I, 370; Gams, 449. The present city of Metilin numbers 15,000 inhabitants, the greater number schismatic Greeks; the 760 Catholics of the island are chiefly grouped about Metilin and are included in the archbishopric of Smyrna. The parish is directed by the Franciscans; the Marist Brothers have a school for boys.
LE QUIEN, Oriens christianus I, 953-961; III, 991-994; LACROIX, Iles de la Grèce (Paris, 1853). 297-338; CUINET, La Turquie d'Asie, I (Paris, 1892), 449-74; KODELVEY Die antiken Bauresten der Insel Lesbos (Berlin, 1890); WROTH, Catalogue of Greek Coins of Troas, Eolis, and Lesbes (London, 1894), 184-215.