Third largest city in the Roman Empire, after Alexandria and Rome, the "Queen of the East" had at one point half a million people living there. Located on the Orontes river in Syria. Founded by one of Alexander's generals, Seleucus Nicator, 300 BC, who named it after his father. By the time of the 6th century, it had suffered through 10 major earthquakes and two good sackings by the Persians. Since then, it has been ruled by the Byzantine empire, the Muslims, the Crusaders, the Seljiks, the Sultan Bibars of Egypt, and the Turks. Today, it's a small town of 20,000 known as Antiaka.

Important location for early Christianity: disciples from Cyprus, fleeing Jerusalem the persecution that martyred St. Stephen, brought it there. They were so successful in forming a distinct community, they were the first to be named "Christians." The missionaries St. Paul and St. Barnabus used it as a headquarters. The Gentile and Greek influence of the city meant the new Christians often butted heads with the Jerusalem church, who were mostly converts from Judaism. After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Antioch was the center of Christianity. In Christian history, the Church of Antioch is known for its powerful bishops and its heresies, including Arianism.

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