The settlement of Qenneshrin eagle’s nest was renamed Chalcis a clear reference to the homonymous Greek city of Eubea due to the Hellenizing colonial policy of Seleucus I Nicator d. 281 BC. The city gave its name to the surrounding region Chalkidiki and is referred to by Pliny as Chalcis ad Belum. Located at the center of a fertile area, the city acquired a certain splendor, as attested by the right conceded it to mint coins AD 92?. The name Chalcis remains linked to that of the Neoplatonist philosopher Iamblichus, born there ca. 250. A disciple of Porphyry, Iamblichus, recognizing the impossibility of attaining union with God through philosophy, broadly pursued theurgy and pagan religious practices as alternatives. The history of Chalcis came to the fore when Belisarius d. 565, Emperor Justinian’s general, began the war against the Persians from there. Some years later, during the conflict between the Byzantine emperor Phocas and the Persian Chosroes II, the city fell into the latter’s hands but was spared sacking upon payment of 200 pounds of gold. The first information we have on the Christian presence at Chalcis goes back to the 4th c.; given its nearness to Aleppo and Antioch, however, it can be supposed that the new religion reached the city quite early. We know that Chalcis was an episcopal see from the mid-4th c., since its Bishop Magnus took part at a synod in Antioch 363. A letter of Basil of Caesarea to the city’s clergy 375 informs us that they opposed the pro-Arian orientation of the emperor Valens Letter to the Chalcidians. During these same years 374 376, Jerome stayed in the Chalcidian desert, studying Greek and Hebrew while practicing a harsh ascesis. According to Theodoret of Cyrrhus, various monks lived in the area. Rabbula was from Chalcis, born there in the mid-4th c. After a pilgrimage in the holy land, he left possessions and family to dedicate himself to the monastic life but in 411 was called to lead the Church of Edessa.
Source: Tours Maps