Diocese of Caesarea (Kaisareia)
The Diocese of Caesarea (Kaisareia) was an ecclesiastical territory under the jurisdiction of the Church of Constantinople located in what was ancient Cappadocia in Asia Minor. Under Ottoman Turk rule the see of the diocese was in the city of Kaisareia. After the exchange of people between Turkey and Greece under the provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, the diocese became inactive.
A see was established in Caesarea in Cappadocia during the early Christian period beginning in the third century as "protothronos", that is, 'first in hierarchy' among the dioceses that came under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. During the following centuries the diocese saw a number of prominent Orthodox Christian clergy such as Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus during the fourth century. As in all Asia Minor, the Christian communities, including Caesarea, flourished during the following centuries until the rise of Islam and especially after the conquests by the Turkish tribes. Thus, the regions of Cappadocia and Lycaonia, that formerly included five dioceses and twenty nine bishoprics began to decline from the fourteenth century, a result of the political instability and disasters that Asia Minor suffered in the fifteenth century. The former dioceses were ceded to Caesarea in order to reinforce its financial condition which placed a wider area under the control of one hierarch.
The Diocese of Caesarea possibly became inactive for some time during the fifteenth/sixteenth centuries, despite its mention in the patriarchal Notitia of 1500 or the consecration of metropolitans, which obviously concerned only its title. An indication of this practice is that of Metropolitan Metrophanes who while holding the title of Metropolitan of Caesarea, lived in Venice where he led the Greek Orthodox community. He subsequently became Patriarch Metrophanes III of Constantinople.
By the beginning of the seventeenth century activity within the Diocese of Caesarea revived as witnessed by the number of metropolitans that are known, beginning with Metr. Gregory in 1672. He was followed by a succession of metropolitans, a number of which were later elected to the patriarchal throne of Constantinople. In 1728, Metropolitan Neophytus, from Patmos and later Ecumenical Patriarch, founded the Monastery of St. John Prodromos in Flaviana, now Zincidere. Thereafter, the diocese gradually became again one of the most important dioceses in Asia Minor. During his short metropolitanate that began in 1871, Eustathius Kleovoulos, who was an important personality in Cappadocian ecclesiastical history, sponsored the expansion of the educational system in the diocese.
As a result of the political and territorial convulsions following the end of World War I, an exchange of people was enforced between Turkey and Greece under the provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, during which all Greek people in Asia Minor were moved out of Turkey, thus rendering the diocese inactive.
During the years 1922-1923 an attempt was made to establish a Turkish Orthodox patriarchate for which the city of Kaisareia was considered as its see because of its ecclesiastical history.
- Ioannes Anastasiadis 1878
- Eustathius Kleovoulos 1871 - 1875
- Paisius II c. 1832 - 1871
- Gerasimus Trapezountius
- Ioannikius from Nicaea
- Meletius from Neokaisareia
- Philotheus from Tirnovo
- Leontius from Meleniko (Melnik)
- Gregory Athenaius c. 1773
- Paisius I 1760
- Neophytos ? - 1734
- Jeremias from Patmos
- Kyprianos/Cyprianus c. 1700
- Gregory c. 1672
- Metrophanes ? - 1565