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Seleucia Trachea

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Metropolitan see of Isauria in the Patriarchate of Antioch. The city was built by Seleucus I, Nicator, King of Syria, about 300 B.C. It is probable that on its site existed one or two towns called Olbia and Hyria, and that Seleucia merely united them, giving them his name. At the same time the inhabitants of Holmi were transported thither (Stephanus Byzantius, s.v.; Strabo, XIV, 670). Under the Romans it was autonomous, eventually becoming the capital of Isauria. A council was held there in 359 which assembled about 160 bishops who declared in favor of the homoiousios and condemned the chief errors of the Anomoeans. St. Hilary of Poitiers assisted at it. Seleucia was famous for the tomb of St. Thecla, a virgin of Iconium, converted by St. Paul, and who died at Seleucia, according to the "Acta Pauli et Theclae", an apocryphal work of the second century. In any case the sanctuary built over this tomb and restored several times, among others by the Emperor Zeno in the fifth century, was one of the most celebrated in the Christian world. Its ruins are called Meriamlik ("Denkschriften der k. Akadem. der Wissenschaft. philos.-histor. Klasse", Vienna, XLIV, 6, 105-08). In the fifth century the imperial governor (comes Isauriae) in residence at Seleucia had two legions at his disposal, the Secunda Isaura and the Tertia Isaura. From this period, and perhaps from the fourth century, dates the Christian necropolis, lying west of the town and containing many tombs of Christian soldiers with inscriptions. According to the "Notitia episcopatuum" of Antioch, in the sixth century Seleucia had twenty-four suffragan sees (Echoes d'Orient, X, 145). About 732 nearly all ecclesiastical Isauria was incorporated with the Patriarchate of Constantinople; henceforth the province figures in the "Notitiae" of Byzantium, but under the name of Pamphylia.

In the "Notitiae" of Leo the Wise (c. 900) Seleucia has 22 suffragan bishoprics (Gelzer, "Ungedruckte . . . Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum", 557); in that of Constantine Porphyrogenitus (c. 940) it has 23 ("Georgii Cyprii descriptio orbis romani", ed. Gelzer, 76). In 968 Antioch again fell into the power of the Greeks, and with the Province of Isauria Seleucia was restored to the Patriarchate of Antioch (Gelzer, op. cit., 573). At present the title of Seleucia is borne by the Metropolitan of Tarsus-Adana, dependent on the Patriarch of Antioch. Le Quien (Oriens christ., II, 1012-16) mentions 10 metropolitans of this see, the first of whom, Agapetus, attended the Council of Nicaea in 325; Neonas was at Seleucia in 359; Symposius at Constantinople in 381; Dexianus at Ephesus in 431; Basil, a celebrated orator and writer, whose conduct was rather ambiguous at the Robber Council of Ephesus and at the beginning of the Council of Chalcedon in 451; Theodore was at the Fifth Œcumenical Council in 553; Macrobius at the Sixth Council and the Council in Trullo in 692. Three others are mentioned in "The Sixth Book of the Select Letters of Severus" (ed. Brooks, passim). Several Latin titulars are also known after 1345 (Eubel "Hierarchia catholica medii aevi)", I, 468). Seleucia was captured by the Seljuks in the eleventh century, and later by the Armenians of the Kingdom of Cilicia. At the beginning of the thirteenth century it was in the possession of the Hospitallers, as was also its stronghold. The Caramanian Turks captured it in the second half of the thirteenth century and then the Osmanlis, who still possess it. As Liman-Iskelessi, or Selefke-Iskelessi, it is now a caza in the sandjak of Itch-II and the vilayet of Adana. It has about 3000 inhabitants, half of whom are Greek schismatics. Ruins of the theatre and some temples are to be seen. The stronghold which crowns the mountain is of Armenian origin.


SMITH, Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Geog., s.v.; TEXIER, Asie Mineure (Paris, 1862), 724; LANGLOIS, voyage dans la Cilicie (Paris, 1861), 180-92; WADDINGTON, Vogage archeologique en Asie Mineure, 339-41; DUCHESNE in Bulletin de correspondance hellenique, IV, 195-202; CUINET, La Turquie d'Asie, II, 67-9; ALISHAN, Sissouan (Venice, 1899), 328-35.

About this page

APA citation. Vailhé, S. (1912). Seleucia Trachea. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Vailhé, Siméon. "Seleucia Trachea." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Joseph E. O'Connor.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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