See of Tyre

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The see of Tyre was one of the most ancient dioceses in Christianity. The existence of a Christian community there already in the time of Saint Paul is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.[1] Seated at Tyre, which was the capital of the Roman province of Phoenicia Prima, the bishopric was a metropolitan see. Its position was briefly challenged by the see of Berytus in the mid-5th century; but after 480/1 the metropolitan of Tyre established himself as the first (protothronos) of all the metropolitans subject to the Patriarch of Antioch.[2]


Communion with the see of Rome was broken following the East–West Schism. When the Crusaders conquered Tyre, the Eastern Orthodox archbishop withdrew to Constantinople and a Latin named Eudes was appointed archbishop, but he died in 1124, the same year in which the Crusaders succeeded in taking the city.

The most notable of the Latin archbishops of Tyre of this time was the historian William of Tyre, who served from 1175 to 1185.

Tyre then belonged to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, not the more northerly Principality of Antioch. On the basis of the Pentarchy system, the Latin Patriarch of Antioch claimed the right to appoint the archbishop, which was exercised by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. Pope Innocent II adjudicated the dispute in favour of Jerusalem on the basis of a decree of Pope Paschal II granting King Baldwin the right to make all sees conquered from the Muslims subject to Jerusalem. It was the practice to choose as Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem the archbishop of Tyre or of Caesarea in Palaestina.

In 1187, after Saladin's invasion, Tyre was the only city remaining in Crusader hands and was at one point considered as the new capital of the kingdom. It lost that appellation to Acre, but it remained the site of the coronation of the king, and the archbishop was given the responsibility of officiating at the coronation.

Starting with Sultan Baibars in 1254, the Islamic chieftains declared jihad on the Crusaders and slowly started exterminating the remaining Christian communities on the coastlands. The last archbishops, John and Bonacourt, devoted their rule to forestalling the Mamluk conquest, attempting to obtain the freedom of enslaved Christians, caring for refugees, and preparing for the coming assault. After a long siege, the city was captured by the Mamluks in 1291. The city was mostly evacuated by the time the Mamluks arrived, but the remaining population, including the archbishop, were killed or enslaved. The churches were torn down, and the archdiocese became titular; only in the 18th and 19th centuries was a new archbishop appointed to protect the newly restored pilgrim routes.

Early bishops or archbishops of Tyre

  • Cassius (c. 190 AD)
  • Marinus (c. 250)
  • Tyrannius, martyred under Diocletian
  • Dorotheus I, martyred under Julian the Apostate
  • Paulinus
  • Zeno I (mentioned in 325)
  • Paulus (mentioned in 335)
    • Vitalis (mentioned in 344), an Arian
    • Uranius (mentioned in 359), an Arian
  • Zeno II (before 366–381)
  • Diodorus (381–?)
  • Reverentius †
  • Cyrus (?–431, deposed at the Council of Ephesus as a supporter of Nestorius
  • Berenicianus (431–?)
    • Irenaeus (?–449), a Nestorian
  • Photius (c. 449)
  • Dorotheus II (mentioned in 458)
  • John Codonatus (before 482 – c. 488), who became Patriarch of Antioch
  • Epiphanius (mentioned in 518)
  • Eusebius (mentioned in 553)
  • Thomas (before 869 – after 879)

Latin archbishops of Tyre


  1. Acts 21:3-7
  2. Eißfeldt, Otto (1941). "Phoiniker (Phoinike)". Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft. Band XX, Halbband 39, Philon-Pignus. p. 369.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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