Mela is not mentioned in the list of cities of the Byzantine Empire given in the Synecdemus written by Hierocles in about 530, but it appears in all the subsequent Notitiae Episcopatuum. W.M. Ramsay concluded that the city became the centre of an episcopal see only after that date and, since the account of the participation of the bishop of Mela in the council held at Constantinople in 680 treats the names Mela and Justinianopolis Nova as equivalent, he took it that Mela was (re)founded and raised to a bishopric by Justinian I.
Sophrone Pétridès stated that, as well as Justinianopolis Nova, other names used for Mela were Medrena and Melina. He said that from the 12th century onward we find only Melagina, Melangeia, or Melania, showing that it is the Malagina often mentioned by Byzantine historians as the first large station of the imperial armies in Asia Minor on the road from Constantinople to Dorylaeum, and an important strategic point.
Association with Modra
Ramsay reported that the Notitiae Episcopatuum usually speak of the bishops as "of Modrene, that is, of Mela" (Μοδρηνῆς ἤτοι Μελῆς), showing that the cities of Mela and Modra or Modrene were near enough to each other to form a single bishopric. Pétridès accepted the same identification. However, the expression Μοδρηνῆς ἤτοι Μελῆς appears in only three of the Notitiae Episcopatuum, all three of which are of the 12th century. The Annuario Pontificio 2013 treats Mela and Modra as distinct sees, identifying the city of Mela with ruins near Günükören (perhaps Günüören, Osmaneli), and that of Modra with İnegöl.
The bishops recorded are:
- Macedonius of Justinianopolis Nova, present at the Council of Constantinople (555);
- Theodorus of Justinianopolis Nova or Mela, present at Constantinople (680);
- Nectarius, or Nicetas of Mela, present at Nicaæa (787);
- Constantius of Mela, present at Constantinople (869);
- Paul of Mela, present at Constantinople (879);
- John of Malagina (1256);
- Constantine of Melangeia (13th century);
- N. of Melaneia (1401).
- Justiniana Nova (disambiguation page)
- William Mitchell Ramsay, The Historical Geography of Asia Minor 1890 (reproduction published by Cambridge University Press in 2010, ISBN 978-1-10801453-3), p.205
- Sophrone Pétridès, "Modra" in Catholic Encyclopedia (New York 1911)
- Μητρόπολη Νικαίας, citing Jean Darrouzès, A.A. Notitiae Episcopatuum Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae, Texte Critique, Introduction et Notes, Institut Français d' Études Byzantines, Paris 1981)
- Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 927
- Annuario Pontificio 2013, p. 932