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For the city in ancient Macedon, see Kyrros.
View of Cyrrhus
Roman amphitheatre

Cyrrhus (/ˈsɪrəs/; Greek: Κύρρος Kyrrhos) was a city in ancient Syria founded by Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals. Other names for the city include Hagioupolis, Nebi Huri (Arabic: نبي حوري), Khoros (حوروس Ḳūrus). Its ruins are located in northern Syria, near the Turkish border. It lies about 70 km northwest of Aleppo and 24 km west of Kilis, in Turkey. Cyrrhus was the capital of the extensive district of Cyrrhestica, between the plain of Antioch and Commagene. A false etymology of the sixth century connects it to Cyrus, king of Persia due to the resemblance of the names.

The site of the city is marked by the ruins at Khoros, 20 km from Azaz, Syria. The ruins stand near the river Afrin Marsyas River a tributary of the Orontes, which had been banked up by Bishop Theodoret.


Cyrrhus in Syria (Mouhafazat of Aleppo) was founded by Seleucus Nicator shortly after 300 BC, and was named for the Macedonian city of Cyrrhus. It was taken by the Armenian Empire in the 1st century BC, then became Roman when Pompey took Syria in 64 BC. By the 1st century AD, it had become a Roman administrative, military, and commercial center on the trade route between Antioch and the Euphrates River crossing at Zeugma, and minted its own coinage.[1] It was the base of the Roman legion Legio X Fretensis.[2] The Sassanid Persian Empire took it several times during the 3rd century.[3]

In the 6th century, the city was embellished and fortified by Justinian. It was taken by the Muslims in 637 and known at that time under the name of Qorosh and later by the Crusaders in the 11th century. Nur ad-Din Zangi recaptured it in 1150. Muslim travelers of the 13th and 14th century report it both as a large city and as largely in ruins.[4]

Church history[edit]

Cyrrhus became at an early date a suffragan of Hierapolis Bambyce in the Roman province of Euphratensis. Eight bishops are known before 536.[5] The first was present at First Council of Nicaea in 325. The most celebrated is Theodoret (423-58), a prolific writer, well known for his rôle in the history of Nestorianism and Eutychianism.[6] He tells us that his small diocese (about forty miles square) contained 800 churches, which supposes a very dense population.

A magnificent basilica held the relics of Saints Cosmas and Damian, who had suffered martyrdom in the vicinity about 283, and whose bodies had been transported to the city, whence it was also called Hagioupolis. Many holy personages, moreover, chiefly hermits, had been or were then living in this territory, among them Saints Acepsimas, Zeumatius, Zebinas, Polychronius, Maron (the patron of the Maronite Church), Eusebius, Thalassius, Maris, James the Wonder-worker, and others. Theodoret devoted an entire work to the illustration of their virtues and miracles. Under Justinian, it became an independent ecclesiastical metropolis, subject directly to Antioch. The patriarch, Michael the Syrian, names thirteen Jacobite bishops of Cyrrhus from the ninth to the eleventh century.[7] Only two Latin titulars are quoted by Lequien (III, 1195).

It remains a Roman Catholic titular see of the ecclesiastical province of Syria.


  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed, s.v. numismatics
  2. ^ Dow, Joseph A., Ancient Coins Through the Bible, p. 67.
  3. ^ Ivan Mannheim, Syria and Lebanon Handbook: The Travel Guide, Footprint, 2001. ISBN 978-1-900949-90-3.
  4. ^ Guy Le Strange, Palestine Under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500, London, 1890.
  5. ^ Lequien, II, 929; E.W. Brooks, The Sixth Book of the Select Letters of Severus, II, 341
  6. ^ His works are in Jacques Paul Migne (ed.), Patrologia Graeca, LXXX-LXXXIV.
  7. ^ Revue de l'Orient chrétien, 1901, p. 194


  • Jeanine Abdul Massih, Notes préliminaires sur l’étude du système défensif méridional de Cyrrhus, Campagnes 2007-2008, Chroniques 2008, Damas 2010, pp. 109–218, Damas 2010, pp. 109–218.
  • Jeanine Abdul Massih, Les mosaïques de la maison romaine et la fortification polygonale de Cyrrhus (Nebi Houri), Notes préliminaires, Syria 2009, pp. 289–306.
  • Ivan Mannheim, Syria and Lebanon Handbook: The Travel Guide, Footprint, 2001. ISBN 978-1-900949-90-3.
  • Guy Le Strange, Palestine Under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500, London, 1890.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°44′39″N 36°57′33″E / 36.74416667°N 36.95916667°E / 36.74416667; 36.95916667