The Syrian Melkites of the Lusignan Kingdom of Cyprus (1192-1474)

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Nicholas Coureas

Abstract

The Melkites of Cyprus like the Georgians identified with the Greek Church and followed their rite. They began settling on Cyprus during the later Byzantine period and were prominent on Lusignan Cyprus (1192-1474) as traders, especially in Famagusta, the chief port of the island. In Syria and Lebanon from the time of the seventh century Arab conquest onwards they had developed a distinct religious identity in opposition to both Muslims and non-Chalcedonian Christians, expressed through a tradition of composition or translation of religious works into Arabic. This tradition continued on Cyprus. Since, however, most of the Cypriot population were Chalcedonian Christians, Latin, Greek or Maronites, the Melkites on Cyprus were absorbed by degrees into the Latin ruling class and the Greek majority population. The absence of a politically and numerically dominant Muslim ‘other’ and of important non-Chalcedonian Christian groups facilitated this absorption.

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Keywords

Syrian Melkites, Lusignan Kingdom of Cyprus, 1192-1474

How to Cite
Coureas, N. (2020). The Syrian Melkites of the Lusignan Kingdom of Cyprus (1192-1474). Chronos, 40, 75-94. https://doi.org/10.31377/chr.v40i.639
Section
Articles in English