Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Pella

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A titular see and suffragan of Scythopolis in Palaestina Secunda. According to Stephanus Byzantius (s.v.), the town must have been founded by Alexander; in any case it is a Macedonian foundation. Alexander Janneus captured it, and as he was unable to persuade the inhabitants to embrace Judaism, destroyed it (Josephus, "Bel. Jud.", I, iv, 8; "Ant. Jud." XIII, xv, 4); Pompey rebuilt it and reunited it to the Province of Syria ("Bel. Jud." I, vii, 7; "Ant. Jud.", XIV, iv, 4); it became then a part of Decapolis, remained always a Greek town, and formed the northern boundary of Jewish Pareus ("Bel. Jud.", III, iii, 3). As a part of the kingdom of Agrippa it offered in A.D. 66 a safe refuge to the little Christian community of Mt. Sion who, under the leadership of St. Simon, took refuge there during the revolt of the Jews, and the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans (Eusebius, "H.E.", III, v; Epiphanius, "Haer.", xxix, 7). When, after three years of war and massacres, the second Jewish revolt had been suppressed by Rome (132-5), and the Emperor Adrian had rebuilt Jerusalem under the name of "Aelia Capitolina", a part of the community living at Pella re-established themselves by order of the uncircumcised bishop, Mark, on Mount Sion. Nevertheless Christianity persisted at Pella, as testified by Ariston (born there in the second century, and author of the "Dialogue of Jason and Papiscos"), numerous Christian tombs and some inscriptions ("Revue biblique", 1899, VII, 22). Le Quien (Oriens christianus, III, 697-700) mentions only three bishops: Zebennus in 449; Paul in 518; and Zachary in 532. The ruins of Pella may be seen at Tabakat-Fahil beyond the Jordan and opposite Scythopolis or Beisan; the necropolis and a Christian basilica with three naves are noteworthy.

SMITH, "Dict. of Greek and Roman Geog.", II, 570; SHUHMAKER, "Pella" (London, 1888); "Echos d'Orient", III (1899), 83.

S. VAILHÉ