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A metropolitan see in Achaia. It was one of the twelve ancient cities of Achaia, built near Mount Panachaicon (now Voidia), and formed of three small districts, Aroe, Antheia, and Mesatis. After the Dorian invasion Patreus established there a colony from Laconia, and gave his name to the city. In the Peloponnesian War it took sides with Athens, and, in 419 B.C., Alcibiades advised the construction of long walls to connect the town with its harbour. Reverses having reduced it to extreme misery, Augustus restored it after the victory at Actium by a military colony, called Aroe Patrensis, the existence of which till the reign of Gordianus III is attested by coins. It became very prosperous through its commerce and especially through its weaving industry. In the sixth century it suffered from an earthquake (Procopius, "Bell. Goth.", IV, xxv), and afterwards from the ravages of the Slavs. In 807, however, it resisted the attacks of the Slavs and, in return, received the title of metropolitan see from the Emperor Nicephorus I. Patras was dependent on Rome until 733, when it became subject to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Nothing is known of the beginning of Christianity in the city, unless we accept the tradition that it was evangelized by the Apostle St. Andrew. A celebrated Stylite lived there in the tenth century, to whom St. Luke the Younger went to be trained (P.G., CXI, 451). In 1205 William of Champlitte took possession and installed canons; they in turn elected Anthelme, a monk of Cluny, as archbishop. The territory formed a barony subject to the Aleman family and included in the principality of Morea or Achaia. The Latin archbishops held it from the second half of the thirteenth century till 1408, when they sold it to Venice. In 1429 it again fell into the power of the Greeks, and was taken by the Turks in 1460. Under the Ottoman dominion Patras became the capital of the pashalik of Morea, and underwent severe trials. In 1532 it was captured by Andrea Doria; in 1571, at the time of the Battle of Lepanto, the Greek metropolitan aroused the populace on behalf of the Venetians and was cut to pieces by the Turks. It was burnt by the Spaniards in 1595; pillaged by the Maltese in 1603, and captured by the Venetians on 24 July, 1687, and kept by them for thirty years. In 1770, at the instigation of the Russians, the city revolted, and was sacked by the Turks. On 4 April, 1821, it rose unsuccessfully against the Ottomans, who held it until it was delivered by General Maison on 5 October, 1828. It is now the capital of the nome Achaia, and has 38,000 inhabitants.

The Greek see, first dependent on Corinth, became a metropolitan see in the ninth century. It had four suffragans (Gelzer, "Ungedruckte . . . Texte der Notitiæ episcopatuum", 557); then five about 940 (Gelzer, "Georgii Cyprii Descriptio orbis Romani", 77); after 1453 it had only two, which successively disappeared (Gelzer, op. cit., 634). Its titulars were called Metropolitans of Patras from the ninth century until the Middle Ages, Metropolitans of Old Patras until 1833, Bishops of Achaia until 1852, Archbishops of Patras and Eleia from that time. The list of its titulars has been compiled by Le Quien (Oriens christ., II, 177-82), Gelzer (in Gerland, "Neue Quellen zur Geschichte des lateinischen Erzbistums Patras", Leipzig, 1903), 247-55, Pargoire (in "Echos d'Orient", VII, 103-07). The Latin archdiocese, created in 1205, lasted until 1441, when it became a titular see. It had five suffragans, Andravida, Amyclæ, Modone, Corone, and Cephalonia-Zante; even when Modone and Corone belonged to the Venetians they continued to depend on Patras. The list of Latin titulars has been drawn up by Le Quien (op. cit., III, 1023-32), Eubel (Hierarchia cath. med. ævi, I, 412; II, 236; III, 289), and Gerland (op. cit., 244-46). In 1640 the Jesuits established themselves at Patras, and in 1687 the Franciscans and Carmelites. In the nineteenth century the pope confided the administration of the Peloponnesus to the Bishop of Zante, in 1834 to the Bishop of Syra. Since 1874 the city has formed a part of the Apostolic Delegation of Athens. It contains from 8000 to 10,000 Catholics. The parish work is in charge of secular priests. There is a convent of Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea.


SMITH, Dict. of Greek and Roman Geography, II, 557; GERLAND, op. cit.; THOMOPOULOS, History of the town of Patras (Athens, 1888), in Greek.

About this page

APA citation. Vailhé, S. (1911). Patras. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Vailhé, Siméon. "Patras." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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