bishops and metropolitans of the Ancient See of Gothia


1.      Theophilus (fl. 325). Theophilus was evangelist to the Goths who then became territorial bishop by the consecration of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Theophilus attended the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE and was among those who signed the Nicene Creed.

2.      Unila (d. 404). John Chrysostomos consecrated Unila as bishop of the Archdiocese of the Goths. John Chrysostomos preached to the Goths with aid of interpreter in the Goths’ church in Constantinople, which had priests, deacons, and readers who were Goths and read, preached, and sang in the Gothic language. It was he who appointed the successor of Bishop Unila to the seat of ruling bishop over the Archdiocese of the Goths and acted as the protector and benefactor of the Archdiocese at this period.

3.      Unnamed (fl. c. 404)

4.      Unnamed (fl. 548)

5.      Unnamed (fl. 753–54)

6.      St John of Gothia (c.755–791). (John of Partenit) was a Metropolitan bishop of Doros. During the period of Byzantine Iconoclasm, John reputedly gathered Orthodox refugees from Constantinople in the Crimea. He overthrew and expelled the Khazars from Gothia 787; the Khazars however managed to retake the city in less than a year, and John was imprisoned in Fullakh (Stary Krym). He later managed to escape, and sought refuge in Amasra in the Byzantine Empire, where he died in 791. His remains were brought home to a church on the Ayu-Dag mountain, where a memorial to him has been built. John’s Vita was composed within a generation or so of his death, in the early 9th century.

The Gothic church was incorporated into the Patriarchate of Constantinople at some point between the late 8th and the late 9th century. It was the first diocese established outside the historical boundaries of the Roman Empire (just before the Metropolitanates of Alania and of Rus’). Its existence is documented in a list of Byzantine dioceses in a Paris manuscript, dated to the 14th century.

7.      Unnamed (fl. 1066–1067)

8.      Constantine (fl. 1147)

9.      John (d. 1166)

10.  Constantine II (fl. 1166–1170)

11.  Arsenius (13th century)

12.  Sophronius (fl. 1292)

13.  Theodosius (fl. 1385)

14.  Antonius (1386–1389)

15.  John Holobolos (fl. 1399, d. 1410)

16.  Damianus (fl. 1427). The Crimea fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1475 as the vassal-state known as the Crimean Khanate. The Crimean Goths managed to maintain their ethnic identity under Turkic rule during the 16th and 17th centuries, and in marginalized form even until the 18th century. The only surviving report of Gothic Christians in the Crimea is that of Joseph-Juste Scaliger who in 1606 claimed that the Goths of Crimea read both the Old and New Testaments "in the letters of Wulfila's alphabet". The Metropolitanate of Gothia and Kaphas continued to exist in partibus infidelium until 1778.

17.  Constantius (fl. 1587)

18.  Seraphimus (fl. 1635)

19.  Anthymus (1639–1652)

20.  Daniel (1625)

21.  David (1652–1673)

22.  Methodius (fl. 1673)

23.  Neophytos (fl. 1680

24.  Makarios (fl. 1707)

25.  Parthenios (fl. 1710–1721)

26.  Gedeon (fl. 1725–1769). Archbishop Gedeon resided at Mariampol, a suburb of Bahcesaray, capital of the khanate. For reasons unknown, he was sent by Patriarch Cyril V of Constantinople into exile at Varlaam Monastery for ten years from 1750 to 1760. In 1759, the Ottoman sultan Mustafa III issued a firman confirming the metropolitan's authority "over the Christians dwelling in Caffa, Mankup, Balaclava and Azov" in accordance with custom.

27. Ignatios (1771–1786). In June 1778, Metropolitan Ignatios took the initiative to move the Christians of the khanate into Russia. This move had support within Russia, eventually even from Empress Catherine the Great. Ignatios founded the city of Mariupol. He retained his title until his death, but after him no further metropolitans of Gothia were appointed.