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Ptolemais (Saint-Jean d'Acre)



Ptolemais (Saint Jean d'Acre), a titular metropolis in Phoenicia Prima, or Maritima. The city of Acre, now Saint-Jean d'Acre, was called Ptolemais in 281 or 267 B. C., by Ptolemy II, surnamed Philadelphus, and since then this name has subsisted conjointly with the primitive one, at least as the official name. Quite early it possessed a Christian community visited by St. Paul (Acts, xxi, 7). The first bishops known are: Clarus, present about 190 at a council held concerning the observance of Easter; Æneas, at Nicæa, 325, and at Antioch, 341; Nectabus at Constantinople, 381; Antiochus, friend and later adversary of St. John Chrysostom, and author of some lost works; Helladius at Ephesus, 431; Paul at Antioch, 445, and at Chalcedon, 451; John in 518; George at Constantinople, 553 (Le Quien, "Oriens christianus", II, 813). The see was a suffragan of Tyre, which then depended on the Patriarchate of Antioch. With the Latin conquest the province of Tyre was attached to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Latin bishops resided there, and a list of them from 1133 to 1263 may be found in Eubel (Hier. Cath. med. ævi, I, 66). From this date to the taking of the city by the Arabs in 1291 the bishopric was governed by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Concerning the titular bishops up to 1592 see Eubel, op. cit., I, also II, 88; III, 105. The official list of the Roman Curia (Rome, 1884) does not mention Ptolemais as a bishopric, but it may have been known as an archbishopric. The Greeks elevated the see to the rank of metropolitan depending on the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. This occurred before 1672, when Joasaph, present at the Council of Jerusalem, was qualified as metropolitan; the same conditions now exist. The Melkite, or Greek, metropolis numbers 10,000 faithful, 36 priests, 30 churches or chapels, 17 schools, 3 orphanages, and a monastery of 23 monks. There is a Latin parish directed by the Franciscans, a hospital, school for boys, the Ladies of Nazareth with a school, and a Protestant school and hospital of the Church Missionary Society.

VAILHÉ in Dict. d'hist. et de géog. eccl. (Paris, 1910), s. v. Acre, Saint-Jean d', with an important bibliography.

S. Pétridès








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