Archdiocese of Antinoe

From OrthodoxWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The Holy Archdiocese of Antinoe is a titular diocese in Egypt under the jurisdiction of the Church of Alexandria. The archdiocesan area is currently served by the Archdiocese of Ptolemais. Its current hierarch is His Eminence Panteleimon (Lampadarios) of Antinoe.


The city of Antinoe was probably built during the times of Pharaoh Ramesses the Great (1279–1213 BC), when he built a great temple to the Egyptian deities. It was the center of the cult of Bes, a household god, until being almost completely destroyed under Emperor Hadrian (117–138) for the construction of a city honoring his friend Antinous, who the emperor himself had made god — in fact, only Ramesses' temple lifted, until its destruction in the 19th century by the Muslims. Hadrian designed the city in a grid-like formation, brought many Greeks to settle there and allowed Greek-Egyptian marriages. Games were held every year in the city for many centuries, being noted as the most important in Egypt. Soon, Antinoe became one of Egypt's largest cities.

Christianity arrived the region at an early stage. Prior to the Persecution of Decius (249–251), Saint Alexander, Archbishop of Jerusalem (212–251), wrote an epistle to the Christians in Antinoe. The city was home for many saints during Emperor Diocletian's Great Persecution (303–305), including Martyrs Basilissa and Julian (January 8), Timothy and Maura (May 3), and Virgin-Martyr Rhais and her 155 companions (March 5). Later on, the city flourished with monastics. The emperor also reorganized Antinoe into the province of Thebais, whose capital was Ptolemais.

The first known bishop of Antinoe was Tyrannos, who was present at the First Ecumenical Council convened by Saint Constantine the Great (306–337) which anathematized the Egyptian heresy of Arianism, whose adherents refused Christ's divinity.

During the times of Meletius of Lycopolis's heresy which opposed to the readmission of lapsed Christians (who had offered sacrifices during the Persecution), he ordained himself many of his followers as bishops, and among them was Lucius in Antinoe. Meletius later repented and had his excommunication lifted by Saint Alexander, Patriach of Alexandria (313–328). This Lucius, though, doesn't seem to have repented, so he can't be listed as bishop.

Next comes Ammon. He was one of the attendants of the Antiochian Council of Constantinople of 394 convened by Saint Nectarius, Archbishop of Constantinople (381–397), during the days of Saint Theodosius the Great (379–395), which dealt with the case of Bagadius and Agapius in the Church of Antioch. Archbishop Bagadius had been deposed from the see of Bostra by two bishops and Agapius elected in his place. The council nullified the deposition and established that only a Synod could deprive a bishop from his rights.

During the 5th century, Thebais was divided into Thebais Prima, with Antinoe as its capital, and Thebais Secunda, with Ptolemais as its capital. Ecclesiastically, this meant that Antinoe was no longer a suffragan of Ptolemais, it was instead elevated to archdiocese. It had eight bishoprics: Hermopolis (today an archdiocese), Cusae, Lycopolis, Hypselis, Antaeopolis, Panopolis, Oasis and Apollonopolis.

Procopios was the first known Archbishop of Antinoe, and also the last known one. He was mentioned in 553 as attendant to the Fifth Ecumenical Council convened by Saint Justinian the Great (527–565) which anathematized Nestorianism. There aren't any known bishops after the Islamic conquest of Egypt in the 7th century. The see of Antinoe was eventually taken by the Miaphysites.

In 2006, His Beatitude Theodoros II of Alexandria accepted the retirement of His Eminence Panteleimon (Lampadarios) from the Archbishopric of Pelusium in Egypt, giving him the titular title of Archbishop of Antinoe.

Ruling bishops

Ancient bishops
  • Tyrannos (fl. 325)
  • Ammon (fl. 394)
  • Procopios (fl. 553)

(supressed in the 7th century following the Islamic conquest of Egypt)

Modern bishops