Latin Church in the Middle East

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Latin Church in the Middle East and North Africa
Levant
  Countries and regions of the Levant in the broad, historic meaning (equivalent to the eastern Mediterranean)[1]
  Countries of the Levant in 20th century usage[2]
  Countries and regions sometimes included in the 21st century
Countries and regions Cyprus
 Israel
 Iraq
 Jordan
 Lebanon
 Palestine
 Syria
 Turkey (Hatay Province)
Population44,550,926[a]
DemonymLatin Catholics, Levantines
LanguagesLevantine Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Armenian, Circassian, Greek, Kurdish, Ladino, Turkish, Domari
Time ZonesUTC+02:00 (EET) (Turkey and Cyprus)
Largest cities

The Latin Church in the Middle East represents members of the Latin Church of the Catholic Church in the Middle East, notably in Turkey and the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan). Latin Catholics are subject to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and employ the Latin liturgical rites, in contrast to Eastern Catholics who fall under their respective church's patriarchs and employ distinct Eastern liturgical rites, while being in full communion with the worldwide Catholic Church. Latin Catholics in the Middle East are often of European 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.

History[edit]

Galata Tower, built in 1348 by the Republic of Genoa in the citadel of Galata (modern Karaköy) on the northern shore of the Golden Horn, across Constantinople (Fatih) on the southern shore, is one of the most famous architectural landmarks of the Italian Levantine community in Istanbul.

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.

Levant[edit]

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.

Today, a small percentage of Lebanon's small group of Latin Catholics are of at least partial French/Italian descent.[3][4]

Turkey[edit]

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 city's Italian Levantine community.

About 35,000 Levantines live in Turkey.[5][6]

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.[7]

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.[8] They came mainly from the nearby Genoese island of Chios in the Aegean Sea.[9]

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.[10]

They continue to live in Istanbul (mostly in the districts of Karaköy, Beyoğlu and Nişantaşı), and Izmir (mostly in the districts of Karşıyaka, Bornova and Buca.)

Most Latin rite Catholics in Turkey are Levantines of mainly Italian background.[citation needed] 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.[11] 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.

Notable people[edit]

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.[12]
  • Giovanni Scognamillo, writer. He composed "Memorie di Beyoğlu di un Levantino" in 1989.[13]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

Notelist

  1. ^ Population of 44,550,926 found by adding all the countries' populations (Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Hatay Province)

Citations

  1. ^ Gagarin 2009, p. 247; Encarta 2009, "Levant"; Oxford Dictionaries 2015.
  2. ^ Gagarin 2009, p. 247
  3. ^ "Gale Encyclopedia of the Mideast & N. Africa: Levantine". answers.com. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
  4. ^ "About the Journal of Levantine Studies". levantine-journal.org. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
  5. ^ Levanten kültürü turizme açılıyor haberler.com (12.08.2013) Archived 30 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Roman Catholics by country". Fact-Archive.com. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  7. ^ Levantine historical heritage
  8. ^ Frangini: Italiani in Smirne/Izmir (in Italian)
  9. ^ Latin migration from Chios
  10. ^ Interview with Giovanni Scognamillo
  11. ^ Mersin'in bahanesi yok Archived 2012-10-19 at the Wayback Machine., Radikal, 26 May 2007
  12. ^ Giuseppe Donizetti Pasha Archived 2003-02-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ NTV-MSNBC: "Giovanni Scognamillo ile sinema üzerine" (in Turkish) Archived 2010-02-08 at the Wayback Machine.

References[edit]

  • 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.

External links[edit]