Latin Church in the Middle East
|Latin Church in the Middle East and North Africa|
|Countries and regions|| Cyprus|
Turkey (Hatay Province)
|Demonym||Latin Catholics, Levantines|
|Languages||Levantine Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Armenian, Circassian, Greek, Kurdish, Ladino, Turkish, Domari|
|Time Zones||UTC+02:00 (EET) (Turkey and Cyprus)|
The Latin Church in the Middle East represents members of Catholic Church's Latin Church in the Middle East, notably in Turkey and the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan). Latin Church members belong to churches that employ the Latin rites and are subject to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in contrast to Eastern Catholics, who fall under their respective church's patriarchs and employ distinct ecclesiastical rites. Latin Catholics in the Middle East are often of European origin or descent.
Depending on the specific area in question, due to their cultural heritage descending from Catholics who lived under the Ottoman Empire, they are sometimes referred to as Levantines, Italo-Levantines, or Franco-Levantines (Arabic: شوام; French: Levantins; Italian: Levantini; Greek: Φραγκολεβαντίνοι Frankolevantini; Turkish: Levantenler or Tatlısu Frenkleri) after Frankokratia.
A distinctive era of influence occurred during the Crusades with the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem during the Middle Ages. As with the case of Eastern Catholics and other Christians in the Middle East, Latin Catholics have both a history and a present of persecution.
Levantines were mostly of Italian (especially Venetian and Genoese), French, or other Euro-Mediterranean origin. They have been living in the eastern Mediterranean coast of Lebanon and Syria since the middle Byzantine or the Ottoman era and in Constantinople (Istanbul), Smyrna (Izmir) and other parts of Anatolia (such as the port towns of Amasra, Sinop, Trabzon, Enez, Foça, Çeşme, Bodrum, Alanya, Mersin, Iskenderun, etc., where the colonies of Genoese and Venetian merchants existed) in present-day Turkey.
The majority are either the descendants of traders from the maritime republics of Venice, Genoa, Pisa, Ancona and Ragusa who had colonies in the East Mediterranean coast; or the descendants of the French/Italian Levantines who lived in the Crusader states of the Levant (in present-day Lebanon, Israel and Syria), especially in port towns such as Beirut, Tripoli, Tyre, Byblos, Acre, Jaffa, Latakia, etc.; or in major cities near the coast, such as Tarsus, Antioch, Jerusalem, etc. Others may be converts to Roman Catholicism, immigrants from Anglo-French colonization, or Eastern Christians who had resided there for centuries.
When the United Kingdom took over the southern portion of Ottoman Syria in the aftermath of the First World War, some of the new rulers adapted the term "Levantine" pejoratively to refer to the inhabitants of mixed Arab and European descent in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, and to Europeans (usually French, Italian or Greek) who had assimilated and adopted local dress and customs.
The name Italo-Levantine is specifically applied to people of Italian (especially Venetian or Genoese) origin, but even with some French or other Euro-Mediterranean roots, who have lived in Istanbul, İzmir and other parts of Anatolia in Turkey. Some of the Italian Levantines may have ancestral origins also in the eastern Mediterranean coast (the Levant, particularly in present-day Lebanon and Israel) dating back to the period of the Crusades and the Byzantine Empire. A small group came from Crimea and from the Genoese colonies in the Black Sea, after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
The majority of the Levantines in modern Turkey are the descendants of traders/colonists from the Italian maritime republics of the Mediterranean (especially Genoa and Venice) and France, who obtained special rights and privileges called the Capitulations from the Ottoman sultans in the 16th century.
There are two large communities of Italian Levantines: one in Istanbul and the other in Izmir. At the end of the 19th century there were nearly 6,000 Levantines of Italian roots in Izmir. They came mainly from the nearby Genoese island of Chios in the Aegean Sea.
The community had more than 15,000 members during Atatürk's presidency in the 1920s and 1930s, but today is reduced to only a few hundreds, according to Italian Levantine writer Giovanni Scognamillo.
Most Latin rite Catholics in Turkey are Levantines of mainly Italian background. The largest Catholic church in Turkey is the Church of St. Anthony of Padua on İstiklal Avenue in the Beyoğlu (Pera) district of Istanbul, which was constructed between 1906 and 1912 by the Italian Levantine community.
They have been influential in creating and reviving a tradition of opera. Famous people of the present-day Levantine community in Turkey include Maria Rita Epik, Franco-Levantine Caroline Giraud Koç and Italo-Levantine Giovanni Scognamillo. Most of Turkey's small Roman Catholic community are Levantines.
Famous people of the Italian Levantine community in Turkey include:
- Sir Alfred Biliotti, who joined the British foreign service and eventually rose to become one of its most distinguished consular officers in the late 19th century. Biliotti was also an accomplished archaeologist who conducted important excavations at sites in the Aegean and Anatolia.
- Livio Missir di Lusignano. Historian. His masterpiece is Les anciennes familles italiennes de Turquie.
- Giuseppe Donizetti, musicist. He was Instructor General of the Imperial Ottoman Music at the court of Sultan Mahmud II.
- Giovanni Scognamillo, writer. He composed "Memorie di Beyoğlu di un Levantino" in 1989.
- Crusader states
- Catholic Church in the Middle East
- Italian Lebanese
- Italian Levantine
- French Lebanese
- Embriaco family
- House of Lusignan
- Republic of Genoa
- Republic of Venice
- Republic of Pisa
- Republic of Ancona
- Republic of Ragusa
- Enrico Dandolo
- Bailo of Constantinople
- Andrea Gritti
- Alvise Gritti
- Capitulations of the Ottoman Empire
- Kılıç Ali Pasha
- Cigalazade Yusuf Sinan Pasha
- Hekimoğlu Ali Pasha
- Camondo family
- Giuseppe Donizetti Pasha
- Alexander Vallaury
- Raimondo Tommaso D'Aronco
- Giulio Mongeri
- Giovanni Scognamillo
- Caroline Giraud Koç
- Maria Rita Epik
- Gagarin 2009, p. 247; Encarta 2009, "Levant"; Oxford Dictionaries 2015.
- Gagarin 2009, p. 247
- "Gale Encyclopedia of the Mideast & N. Africa: Levantine". answers.com. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- "About the Journal of Levantine Studies". levantine-journal.org. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- Levanten kültürü turizme açılıyor haberler.com (12.08.2013) Archived 30 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Roman Catholics by country". Fact-Archive.com. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- Levantine historical heritage
- Frangini: Italiani in Smirne/Izmir (in Italian)
- Latin migration from Chios
- Interview with Giovanni Scognamillo
- Mersin'in bahanesi yok Archived 2012-10-19 at the Wayback Machine., Radikal, 26 May 2007
- Giuseppe Donizetti Pasha Archived 2003-02-23 at the Wayback Machine.
- NTV-MSNBC: "Giovanni Scognamillo ile sinema üzerine" (in Turkish) Archived 2010-02-08 at the Wayback Machine.
- Alex Baltazzi, George Galdies, George Poulimenos, A Lexicon of Smyrneika (Izmir Rumcasi Sozlugu): Illustrated with Phrases, Proverbs, Pictures and Dialogues, ISBN 975333284X. Also, Second Edition, ISBN 978-1-4632-0251-4
- Consorti, A., Vicende dell’italianità in Levante, 1815-1915 in: Rivista Coloniale, anno XV.
- Franzina, Emilio. Storia dell'emigrazione italiana. Donzelli Editore. Roma, 2002 ISBN 88-7989-719-5
- Missir di Lusignano, Livio. Due secoli di relazioni italo-turche attraverso le vicende di una famiglia di italiani di Smirne: i Missir di Lusignano. "Storia contemporanea", (4) pp. 613–623. Università di Bologna. Bologna, 1992.
- Pannuti, Alessandro. Les Italiens d’Istanbul au XXe siècle : entre préservation identitaire et effacement. Université de Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle. Parigi, 2004
- Pongiluppi, Francesco. La Rassegna Italiana Organo degli Interessi Italiani in Oriente. Giornale Ufficiale della Camera di Commercio Italiana di Costantinopoli, Edizioni Isis, Istanbul, 2015.
- Levantine Heritage, a website for the Levantine community