Post-classical history

Black Mountain

Situated just outside the town of Antioch on the Orontes (mod. Antakya, Turkey), the Black Mountain was the center of monasticism in the principality of Antioch. Once part of the Greek Orthodox see of Seleukeia Pieria, it was placed under direct control of the patriarch of Antioch after 1098. A number of the Greek monasteries were still functioning at the time of the First Crusade (1096-1099), and Bohemund I, prince of Antioch, is reported as having confirmed their possessions. St. Symeon’s, the most important, is mentioned by the Syriac chronicler Michael the Great as still functioning toward the end of the twelfth century. Latin houses were founded to replace those that had fallen into disuse before 1098. Some of these Latin houses were influenced by the wave of monastic reform sweeping the West. Gerard of Nazareth, writing in the mid-twelfth century, described the new houses of Machanath and Jubin (before 1123) and the careers of some individual Latin hermits on the Black Mountain. Aimery of Limoges, Latin patriarch of Antioch, tried to regulate eremitic life on the Black Mountain after 1140 by compelling hermits to accept religious supervision. His successor Peter of Ivrea (1209-1217) revived Jubin by incorporating it into the Cistercian Order. There was also an Armenian monastery on the Black Mountain, which served as the seat of the Armenian bishop of Antioch.

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