Antiochian Greeks

Antiochian Greeks

Antiochian Greeks

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Antiochian Greeks are members of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch who have resided in the territory of contemporary Turkish province of Hatay, which includes the old city of Antioch or modern-day Antakya. The community has a long heritage that dates back to the establishment of Antioch in 323 BC by Seleucus I Nicator at the time of Alexander the Great's conquest of Asia. The majority of the Antiochian Greeks is a mix of the earliest Macedonian settlers, Roman-era Greeks, Byzantine Greeks (Rûm), and Aramaeans (ancient Syrians). Some of those Aramaeans spoke Syriac and celebrated the liturgy in Old Syriac Aramaic. With Arabic becoming the lingua franca in the Levant today, the majority has become an Arabic-speaking Christian community, primarily speaking Levantine Arabic, although many also speak Greek and Turkish.


Historically, they were considered as a part of Rûm millet by the Ottoman authorities. The community had a notable tendency of immigration in early 20th century. As the Sanjak of Alexandretta was then a part of Syria, Greeks were not subject to population exchange of 1923. After Hatay State was annexed by Turkey in 1939, many emigrated to Syria and Lebanon. Following 1960s, a new wave of immigration has drawn Antiochian Greeks to Western countries.


According to a census conducted by the Patriarchate of Antioch in 1895, there were 50,000 Antiochian Greeks in the Sanjak, compared to about 30,000 in the 1930s.Peter Alford...
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