Early Christian Chios
|Written sources on the Early Christian Period of Chios are not only limited but at times controversial, making it extremely difficult to research that period of the island’s history. For example, it is not known when the new religion became widespread on the island. According to Chian tradition, the Apostle Paul passed through Chios on his way to Greece in 54 AD, but this has no historical basis. On the other hand, "The Life of St. Nikon of Naples." indicates that Chios had no Christian community shortly before the great persecution of Decius (3rd century AD).|
St. Nikon was led to Chios by a vision. He remained there, on a mountain, fasting and praying for eight days. When he failed to meet a single Christian either of the local or foreign gentry, he boarded a ship and sailed to Asia Minor.
|The first person to take the initiative in teaching and spreading Christianity on the island was St. Isidore, the island’s great protector and patron saint. He hailed from Alexandria and suffered martyrdom under Emperor Decius in 250 AD when part of the Roman fleet with which he was serving , landed in Chios. The first official record of a Chian bishop is found in the Episcopic List of Bishops who attended the Fourth Ecumenical Synod of Nicea, 451 AD. It refers to Bishop Tryphon who is mentioned as "bishop of the island of Chios".|
Towards the end of the 5th century AD during the reign of Emperor Justinian II, Chios appeared to have a "warehouse of imperial commercia", that is, a public warehouse where commerce was administered by the state itself.
|There is a little information on the monuments of Chios at the period of the early Christian period. The various foreign travelers who visited the island since the 8th century AD, though they described in detail the natural beauty of the island and the social and economic life, the reports on the places they have visited are sparse and sometimes incorrect. For instance, the Venetian cleric, Gerbanus Gerbani, who in 1125 stole the sacred relics of St. Isidore and took them to Venice, gives us a scant description of the basilica itself. Nevertheless the Early Christian Basilicas, seashore houses, farmhouses, mosaic floors, building remains, sculptures and miniature art, as well as circulation of coins, all indicate that from the 4th to the 7th centuries AD, there was an upsurge of prosperity on the island after the ravages of war, earthquakes and famine.|