Melchite archdiocese and Maronite diocese. The city is called in Hebrew, Zor, and in Arabic, Sour, from two words meaning rock. It is very ancient. If we are to believe priests of Melkart quoted by Herodotus (II, 44) it was founded in the twenty-eighth century B.C. Isaias himself (23:7) says that its origin was ancient. According to the authors cited by Josephus (Ant. jud., VIII, iii, 1) and according to Justin (Hist., xviii, 3) its foundation dates from the thirteenth century B.C., but this is manifestly erroneous, for Tyre is mentioned under the name of Sour-ri in the tablets of El-Amarna, between 1385 and 1368 B.C. (Revue Biblique, 1908, 511). King Abimelech was then reigning there independently, though his capital was much coveted by the Egyptians, who forced the Tyrians to ally themselves with their neighbours, especially the Philistines (see Sirach 46:21). Ancient writers, particularly Isaias (23:12), call Tyre "daughter of Sidon", that is, they make it a colony of the latter city. Despite objections which have been made to this, the statement is correct, and on its coins Sidon claims to be the mother of Hippo Regius, in Africa, of Tyre etc. It is true that in a short time the colony overshadowed the mother, but the inhabitants continued to call themselves Sidonians. On the other hand, it is impossible to state which of the two cities, Palaetyrus, on the sea-coast, or Tyrus, built on a rocky island 1968 feet above the sea, existed first. It is generally held, however, that the continental preceded the insular city. The reference in Josue (xix, 29) is not exactly identified, but in the El-Amarna Letters the island is referred to, unless the Egyptians who occupied all the seaboard cities had not subjected it also to their dominion.
Tyre seems always to have had kings, like the other Chanaanite cities. It was its sovereigns who made it the "queen of the sea", as it loved to call itself, and its merchants nobles of the earth, as Isaias says (23:3-8). The city was very proud of its wealth and ships, which plied along the whole of the Mediterranean coast, in Africa as well as in Europe, and the pride of Tyre became almost as proverbial among the prophets of Israel as that of Moab. King Hiram was one of its greatest sovereigns. He sent to David the stone-cutters and carpenters to build his palace (2 Samuel 5:11), and to Solomon Lebanon cedar and cypress wood for the construction of the Temple (1 Kings 9:11; 2 Chronicles 2:3 sq.). The architect and his master workmen were Tyrians. In return Solomon gave Hiram the district of Cabul (Chabul) in Galilee, which included twenty small cities, but the gift seems not to have been to the taste of the King of Tyre (1 Kings 9:11-14). Nevertheless, the two kings were allies and their combined fleets left the ports of the Red Sea for Ophir and Tharsis to obtain gold (1 Kings 9:26-28; 10:11 sq.; 2 Chronicles 9:10, 21). Hiram accomplished great works in his capital. He united the two parts of the island hitherto separated by a canal which to a certain extent made them two cities, and besides he built a great aqueduct which brought the waters of Ras- el-Ain to the land.
Shortly afterwards court intrigues disturbed the city and gave rise to a bloody revolution. Phalia, an intruder, usurped the power; he was dethroned in turn by his brother Ithobael or Ethbael, high priest of Astarte, a goddess who, with the god Melkart, was much venerated in Tyre. It was Ethbael's daughter, Jezabel, who married Achab, King of Israel. Jezabel was undoubtedly a Tyrian princess; Menander in Josephus ("Ant. jud.", VIII, 13:2; "Contra Appionem", I, 18; also 1 Kings 16:31) calls her father "Kind of the Sidonians", another allusion to the Sidonian origin of Tyre. In 814 B.C. a group of Tyrians went to the coast of Africa and founded Carthage, the most famous colony of Tyre. The very amicable relations of Tyrians and Jews did not last always; they waned especially when Tyre sold as slaves the Israelitish prisoners of war (Joel 3:4-8; Amos 1:9). On the other hand, the luxury and corrupt morals which prevailed in the Phoenician city could not but have a baneful influence on the Jews of the tribe of Aser and other Israelites; so that the Prophets, such as Isaias (23), Ezechiel (26-29), Joel (3:4-8), and Amos (1:9), never ceased to thunder against it and predict its ruin. Salmanasar, King of Assur, and Sargon besieged it in vain for five years after the fall of Samaria; although they cut the aqueduct of Hiram and compelled the people of Sidon and Palaetyrus to place their fleets at their service, that of the Tyrians completely vanquished them (Josephus, "Ant. Jud.", IX, xiv, 2). Sennacherib likewise attempted the siege in vain. Although paying him a light tribute, Tyre remained a powerful state with its own kings (Jeremiah 25:22; Ezekiel 27 and 28), and was enabled to develop its mercantile proclivities and attain the great prosperity spoken of by the prophets and all ancient writers. On his return from his expedition against Egypt, Asarhaddon, like his predecessors, blockaded Tyre, but the Tyrians, isolated on their rock, with their powerful fleet and valiant mercenaries, laughed at all his efforts. After having received tribute from King Bael, Asarhaddon was compelled to retire. The same was true of Nabuchodonosor after a severe blockade lasting thirteen years. According to custom the Tyrians offered him a light tribute, and the honour of the proud sovereign was declared satisfied. Nevertheless, this long isolation greatly injured the Tyrians, for during this interval a portion of the commerce passed to Sidon and other Phoenician and Carthaginian peoples. Furthermore, the Tyrian colonies, which for thirteen years had broken all links of subjection to the mother country, were in no wise eager to resume the yoke. Finally, as King Ithobael had died during the siege, regents had assumed the authority (Josephus, "Contra App." I, 21) and caused many trouble, as did also the dikastai, or Suffetes, elected for seven years. The monarchy was subsequently restored.
As the domination had passed from the Chaldeans to the Persians, Tyre, a vassal or rather an ally of the former, readily assumed the same relations with the latter and continued to prosper. The Tyrians with their numerous ships assisted Xerxes against the Greeks, who moreover were their commercial rivals, and Darius against Alexander the Great. The King of Tyre himself fought in the Persian fleet. Tyre refused submission to the Macedonian hero, as well as authorization to sacrifice to the god Melkart, whose temple was on the island; Alexander, taking offence, determined to capture the island at any cost. The siege lasted seven months. While the fleets of the submissive Cypriots and Phoenicians blockaded the two ports at north and south, Alexander, with materials from Palaetyrus, which he had just destroyed, built an enormous causeway 1968 feet long by about 197 feet wide which connected the island with the continent. He then laid siege to the ramparts of the city which on one side reached a height of 150 feet. Tyre was captured in 332; 6000 of its defenders were beheaded, 2000 crucified, more than 30,000 women, children, and servants sold as slaves. Although Alexander razed the walls, the city was restored very quickly, since seventeen years later it held out for fourteen months against Antigonus, father of Demetrius Poliorcetes. From the power of Egypt, Tyre in 287 passed under the dominion of the Seleucids in 198 B.C., obtaining self-government from them in 126 B. c. This year begins the era special to Tyre. Augustus was the first to rob it of its liberty (Dion Cassius, LIV, 7), for by his command its coins ceased to bear the inscription "autonomous". Various monuments were erected during the Roman period. Herod the Great built a temple and adorned the public places. A colony under Septimius Severus, Tyre subsequently became the capital of Phoenicia; at the time of St. Jerome it was regarded as the richest and greatest commercial city of the province (Comment. in Ezekiel 26:6; 27:1). Its factory of purple cloth was foremost in the empire. It was a curious fact that under one of the predecessors of Diocletian, Dorotheus, a learned priest of Antioch, the master of Eusebius of Caesarea, was appointed director without having to renounce his religion (Eusebius, Church History VII.32).
In A.D. 613 the Jews of Tyre formed a vast conspiracy against the Greek Empire, and subsequently ransomed from the troops of Chosroes numerous captive Christians in order to sacrifice them. In 638 the city fell into the hands of the Arabs. Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem, besieged it in vain from 29 Nov., 1111, till April, 1112. Baldwin II captured it, 27 June, 1124, after five months' siege and made it the seat of a countship. When the crusaders lost the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187 by the defeat of Tiberias, Tyre remained in the hands of the Franks and became one of their chief fortresses. There in 1210 John of Brienne was crowned king, and in 1225 his daughter Isabella was crowned queen. Tyre was captured in May, 1291, after the fall of Saint-Jean-d'Acre, by the Mussulmans, who completely destroyed it, and it was never wholly restored afterwards. Occupied by the Turks in 1516 it has always belonged to them, save for a brief appearance of the French in 1799. It is now a caza of the vilayet of Beirut. The city has 6500 inhabitants, of whom 4000 are Mussulmans of various races, 200 Latin Catholics, 350 Maronites, 1750 Melchite Catholics, 25 Protestants, and about 100 Jews. The Franciscans, established since 1866, have a parochial church and a school for boys, the Sisters of St. Joseph a school for girls; two other Catholic schools for boys are kept by a Melchite priest and the religious of Saint-Sauveur; the Russians have a school and the American Protestants have one for boys and one for girls. Sour is no longer an island, but a peninsula; Alexander's causeway had grown larger as a result of sand formations, and is now an isthmus, one mile and a quarter wide. There are still to be seen the medieval city wall and a portion of the church of the Crusaders, built by the Venetians and measuring 213 feet by 82 feet. It is generally regarded as containing the tomb of Conrad de Montferrat, slain in the street by two members of the sect of the Assassins (1192), and the tomb of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa (d. 1190). However, a German deputation sent by Bismarck in 1874 to conduct excavations discovered nothing.
Among the glories of Tyre were: Ulpianus, the celebrated jurisconsult, slain at Rome by the praetorians in 228; the neo-Platonic philosopher, Porphyry, whose true name was Malchus (b. 233; d. 304), the determined enemy of the Christians, against whom he wrote a work in fifteen books; some hold that he was born not at Tyre, but at Balanaia; Origen, who was not born at Tyre, but who died there in 253 in consequence of the tortures which he underwent under Decius, and was buried in the church destroyed under Diocletian; St. Methodius, spoken of by St. Jerome as a martyr and Bishop of Tyre under Decius, was in reality Bishop of Olympus in Lycia, and died about 311; as for Dorotheus, a martyr and the author of a work on the Apostles and the seventy disciples, he never existed, and the work is a forgery compiled in the eighth century by a cleric of Byzantium.
Although the corruption of Tyre had become proverbial in the time of Christ (Matthew 11:21 sq.; Luke 10:13 sq.), there were Tyrians eager to hear the preaching of Jesus and who came as far as the vicinity of Tiberias to listen to Him. (Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17). This is perhaps why Jesus went to the neighbourhood of Tyre to cure the sick and convert sinners (Matthew 15:21-29; Mark 7:24-31). A Christian community was formed there at an early date, which St. Paul and St. Luke visited and where they remained seven days (Acts 21:3-7). About 190 the Church in this city was directed by Bishop Cassius, who with the bishops of Ptolemais, Caesarea, and Aelia assisted at the council held in Palestine to deal with the Paschal controversy (Eusebius, Church History V.25). About 250 we know of the Bishop Marinus mentioned in a letter of Dionysius of Alexandria (Eusebius, op. cit., VII, 5). About 250 we know of the Bishop Marinus mentioned in a letter of Dionysius of Alexandria (Eusebius, op. cit., VII, 5). The community suffered greatly during the last persecution. After the edict of Diocletian the church was burnt and was only rebuilt after religious peace had been obtained. It was Eusebius of Caesarea who pronounced the discourse at the dedication of the new basilica and who describes the oldest basilica known to us (op. cit., X, 4). Tyrannius, Bishop of Tyre, was captured and drowned at Antioch (op. cit., VIII, 13). Eusebius himself assisted in the amphitheatre of this city at the execution of five Christians of Egyptian origin (op. cit., VIII, 7). In 306 St. Ulpianus was shut up with a dog and an asp in a calfskin and thrown into the sea (Eusebius, "De Martyr. Paleaestinae" V, 2). At Caesarea Maritima one of the first victims was St. Theodosia, a young Tyrian girl of eighteen, who was horribly tortured and then thrown into the sea on Easter Sunday, 2 April, 307 (Eusebius, Church History VII.1). In 311 a municipal decree forbidding Christians to stay in the city was posted up in Tyre, together with a message of congratulations from the Emperor Maximin (Eusebius, Church History IX.7). This did not prevent the Church of Tyre from subsisting and developing after peace was granted to the disciples of Christ.
Shortly afterwards Tyre furnished Ethiopia with its first and greatest missionary, St. Frumentius, who went to Africa with a philosopher who was his master and was consecrated by St. Athanasius the first bishop of that country. Three councils were held at Tyre. The first, convened by Constantine (335), which had about 310 members, judged the cause of St. Athanasius, who was in Tyre with 48 Egyptian bishops, and after a series of injustices it deposed him. Eusebius of Caesarea presided over the assembly (Hefele-Leclercq, "Hist. des conciles", I, 656-66). Another council was held in February, 449, to examine the cause of Ibas, Bishop of Edessa, who was accused by the clerics of his church and absolved by this council. This sentence had serious consequences at Chalcedon and especially at the Council of the Three Chapters in 553 (Hefele-Leclercq, op. cit., II, 493-98). Finally, in 514 or 515 was held a council under the presidency of Severus, Patriarch of Antioch, and of Philoxens, metropolitan of Hierapolis, and which assembled the bishops of the provinces of Antioch, Apamaea, Augusta Euphratensis, Osrhoene, Mesopotamia, Arabia, and Phoenicia Libanensis. it rejected the Council of Chalcedon, and the Henoticon of the Emperor Zeno was explained in a sense clearly opposed to the latter council (Lebon, "Le monophysisme sévérien", Louvain, 1909, 62-4).
Le Quien (Oriens christ., II, 801-12) mentions 20 bishops of this see, some of whom have no right to figure in the list. Besides those already mentioned were: Paulinus, friend of Eusebius of Caesarea, mentioned by Arius in a letter as being one of his partisans (Theodoret, "H.E.", I, v) and who subsequently became Patriarch of Antioch; Irenaeus, previously a count, a partisan of Nestorius exiled in 449 to Petra, and who compiled a collection of very valuable documents which have reached us under the title of "Tragaedia Irenaei"; Photius, very active in the religious quarrels of his time, and who assisted at the Councils of Tyre and Chalcedon, as well as at the Robber Council of Ephesus; John Codonatus, a Monophysite and friend of Peter Fullo, Patriarch of Antioch; Thomas, who at the Eighth Ecumenical Council represented the Patriarch of Antioch.
Included at first in the Province of Syria, the Diocese of Tyre formed part of Phoenicia, at the creation of that province by Septimius Severus shortly before 198, when it became the religious as well as the civil metropolis; its bishop, Marinus, had the title of metropolitan as early as 250 (Eusebius, Church History VII.5). When between 381 and 425 Phoenicia was subdivided into two provinces, Phoenicia Maritima and Phoenicia Libanensis, Tyre remained the metropolis of the former. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451 Photius had to defend his rights as metropolitan against the Bishop of Berytus, formerly his suffragan, who divided Phoenicia Prima into two parts and assumed authority over all the bishoprics of the north. The council recognized the rights of Photius and gave him jurisdiction over all the dioceses with the exception of Berytus, which remained an autocephalous metropolis. Some years later Tyre became the chief see of the Patriarchate of Antioch, i.e. it attained first rank among the metropolitan sees. The reason for this was that, about 480, John Codnatus, Patriarch of Antioch, having resigned in favour of Calandion, the latter appointed him Metropolitan of Tyre, with the right for himself and his successors of thenceforth sitting immediately after the patriarch (Theophanes, "Chronographia"). In the "Notitia episcopatuum" of Antioch in the sixth century Tyre had 13 suffragan sees (Echos d'Orient, X, 145). In the tenth century the western boundaries of the archdiocese went from the great spring of Zip (Az-Zib) to Nahr-Laitani, the ancient Leontes (Echos d'Orient, X, 97). The Greek archdiocese was retained even during the Latin occupation, but the titular resided at Constantinople.
Odo, the first Latin archbishop, was appointed in 1122 and died two years later when the Franks were besieging the city; his successor, William, was of English origin. In disregard of the ancient canon law, the new metropolitan was subjected to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, which aroused protest on the part of the See of Antioch. The dispute which followed was referred to the tribunal of Pope Innocent II, who decided in favour of the Patriarch of Jerusalem in virtue of a Decree of his predecessor, Paschal II, who granted to King Baldwin the right to subject to Jerusalem all the episcopal sees he should succeed in conquering from the Mussulmans. Hence two letters of Innocent II obliged the Archbishop of Tyre to submit to the jurisdiction of Jerusalem together with his six suffragans, the Bishops of Tripoli, Tortosa (or Antaradus), Byblos, Berytus, Sidon, and Ptolemais. Later, when the cities of Tripoli, Tortosa, and Byblos came into the power of the Prince of Antioch, their bishops also became dependent on the Latin Patriarch of Antioch. For long lists of Latin archbishops see Le Quien (Oriens christ, III, 1309-20) and Eubel (Hierarchia catholica medii aevi, I, 534; II, 284; III, 342). The most famous was William II, the historian of the crusades. The Latins evacuated Tyre in 1291 and the archbishop, by the pope's command, having left the city, 8 Oct., 1294, there were thenceforth only titular archbishops.
The Melchite Archdiocese of Tyre is bounded on the north by Nahr el-Laitani, on the east by a line of wooded hills separating the District of Beharre from that of Merdjaioun, on the south by the Diocese of St.-Jean d'Acre, and on the west by the sea. It has 14 churches and chapels, 13 stations with or without residential priests, 16 priests, of whom 6 are seculars and 10 religious of Saint-Sauveur, 16 primary schools for boys and girls, half of which are in charge of Latin missionaries and European sisters. The number of faithful is 5300. Besides their mission at Tyre, the American Protestants have two schools in the Diocese at Almat and Cana. The Maronite diocese, founded in 1906 to the detriment of that of Saida, is bounded on the west by the sea, on the north by the River Zaharani, on the east by the Jordan, and on the south by the Sinaitic peninsula. It has 10,000 faithful, 20 priests, and 20 churches; the number of schools is unknown. The schismatic Graeco-Arabic Archdiocese of Tyre and Sidon has about 9000 faithful.
APA citation. (1912). Tyre. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15109a.htm
MLA citation. "Tyre." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15109a.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Michael C. Tinkler.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is feedback732 at newadvent.org. (To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally.) Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.