Antiochian Greeks

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Antiochian Greeks

الروم الأنطاكيون

Έλληνες Αντιοχείας
Posidonio, replica augustea (23 ac.-14 dc ca) da originale del 100-50 ac. ca. 6142.JPG
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Patriarch John X of Antioch 2.jpg
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Helen Thomas - USNWR.jpg
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Cyrine AbdelNour 66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra) 4.jpg
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Total population
Estimated 1.5 million[citation needed]
Regions with significant populations
 Syria 520,000[1] - 700,000[2]
 Lebanon 350,000[3][4][5][6]
 United States 74,527[7]
 Australia 37,500[citation needed]
 Turkey 18,000[8][9]
 Canada 10,000[citation needed]
Christianity (Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and Melkite Greek Catholic Church)
Arabic (Levantine Arabic)
Turkish (in Turkey)
Greek and Arabic[10]
English, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Antiochian Greeks, also known as Rûm, are Arabic-speaking ethnic Greek members of both the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and Melkite Greek Catholic Church Christian denominations, who have resided within the territories of Syria, Lebanon, and the Turkish province of Hatay, which includes the old city of Antioch or modern-day Antakya, and their descendants in the Middle East and the Americas.

The community has a long heritage that dates back to the establishment of Antioch in 323 BC by Seleucus I Nicator at the time of Alexander the Great's conquest of the Persian Empire. The majority of Antiochian Greeks are a mix of the earliest Macedonian Greeks settlers, Roman-era Greeks, Byzantine Greeks (Rûm),[11] and possibly Ghassanid Arabs[12] and Assyrians[citation needed]. With Arabic becoming the lingua franca in the Levant today, the majority has become an Arabic-speaking Christian community, primarily speaking Arabic in its Levantine Arabic variant, although some may also speak some Greek[citation needed] and those within present day Turkish territory speak Turkish.


Historically, they were considered as a part of Rûm millet by the Ottoman authorities. During the First World War, Antiochian Greek Christians, along side other Ottoman Greeks, were targeted by the Ittihadist Ottoman authorities in what is now historically known as the Ottoman Greek Genocide.[13] As a result, three Antiochian Greek Orthodox Dioceses were completely annihilated; the Metropolis of Tarsus and Adana, the Metropolis of Amida (Diyarbakir), and the Metropolis of Theodosioupolis (Erzurum). Those living within the Sanjak of Alexandretta, then a part of Syria, were not subject to the forced population exchange of 1923, while those who lived in Cilicia and eastern Anatolia were. After Hatay State was annexed by Turkey in 1939, many emigrated to Syria and Lebanon.[citation needed] Following 1960s, a new wave of immigration has drawn Antiochian Greek Christians to Western countries in particular to the United States, Canada and Australia.

Liturgical traditions and folklore[edit]

Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Brooklyn, New York.

Some typically Greek Ancient Synagogal priestly rites and hymns that originated in Antioch have survived partially to the present in the distinct church services of the Melkite and Greek Orthodox communities of the Hatay Province of Southern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and the Holy Land.

Population and ethnocultural heritage[edit]

In the narrowly defined geographic sense, according to a census conducted by the Patriarchate of Antioch in 1895, there were 50,000 Antiochian Greek Orthodox Christians in the Alexandretta Sanjak (Hatay Province) of Southern Turkey, compared to about 30,000 in the 1930s.[14] In 1995, their total population was estimated at 10,000.[15]

But most members of the Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic communities of Syria and Lebanon, commonly known as Northern-MENAMelkites” or “Rûm”, can trace their ethnocultural heritage to the Macedonian Greeks settlers, Byzantine Greeks,[16] and possibly Ghassanid Arabs[12] and Assyrians[citation needed] of the past, founders of the original “Antiochian Greek Orthodox Christian” communities of Northwestern Syria.

Counting members of the minorities in the Hatay Province of Turkey and their relatives in the diaspora, there are more than 1.5[citation needed] million Antiochian Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic (Melkite) Christians residing in the Northern-MENA, the USA, Canada, Australia and Latin America today.


The highest concentrations of Antiochian Greek Christians still living in the Levant are found within the territories of Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey.

In Syria, the Antiochian Greek Christians are mostly concentrated in Wadi al-Nasara (The Valley of the Christians), as well as the surrounding areas. Such as the cities of Mhardeh, Hama, and Homs.[citation needed] Smaller communities can also be found in Aleppo, Damascus, and Latakia.[citation needed]

In Lebanon, most Antiochian Greek Christians can be found in the Nabatieh, Beqaa Governorate, and North Governorates. Specifically in the Koura District, Zahle, and Akkar.

While those able to remain in Turkey are concentrated in the Hatay Province, although a significant number of Antiochian Greek Christians have migrated to Istanbul. A case of intercommunal violence with Turkish Muslims in Altınözü was reported in 2005. The events were allegedly sparked by sexual harassment of a Christian girl by a Muslim barber's apprentice.[17]

Notable Antiochian Greeks[edit]

Ancient Antiochian Greeks[edit]

Medieval Antiochian Greeks[edit]

Arabized Antiochian Greeks[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christians of the Middle East: Country-By-Country Facts
  3. ^ Christians of the Middle East: Country-By-Country Facts
  4. ^ "Minority Rights Group International - working to secure the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples". 
  5. ^ Lebanon – International Religious Freedom Report 2010 U.S. Department of State. Retrieved on 14 February 2010.
  6. ^ Lebanon - July-December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report U.S. Department of State. Retrieved on 1 June 2012.
  7. ^ Krindatch, A. (2011). Atlas of american orthodox christian churches. (p. 44). Brookline,MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press
  8. ^ The Greeks of Turkey, 1992-1995 Fact-sheet by Marios D. Dikaiakos
  9. ^ Christen in der islamischen Welt – Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ 26/2008)
  11. ^[metadata]=1&&stored_cclquery=&skin=&rss=0&lang=el&ioffset=1&offset=1 Περί της εθνικής καταγωγής των ορθοδόξων χριστιανών Συρίας και Παλαιστίνης / υπό Παύλου Καρολίδου.
  12. ^ a b "Deir Gassaneh". 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Peter Alford Andrews, Ethnic Groups in the Republic of Turkey, Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 1989, ISBN 3-89500-297-6
  15. ^ The Greeks of Turkey, 1992-1995 Fact-sheet by Marios D. Dikaiakos
  16. ^[metadata]=1&&stored_cclquery=&skin=&rss=0&lang=el&ioffset=1&offset=1 Περί της εθνικής καταγωγής των ορθοδόξων χριστιανών Συρίας και Παλαιστίνης / υπό Παύλου Καρολίδου.
  17. ^ (Turkish) Taciz yüzünden cemaatler dövüştü

External links[edit]

  • Operation Antioch Grassroots movement dedicated to restoring the ethnic Antiochian Greek identity