The Miracle of St. Michael at Chonae, a 15th-century Russian icon.

Colossae or Colosse (also known as Chonae or Kona; Greek: Κολοσσαί, Χωναί/Χῶναι), was an ancient city of Phrygia, on the Lycus, which is a tributary of the Maeander River. It was situated about 12 miles South East of Laodicea, and near the great road from Ephesus to the Euphrates. The site, located near the modern town of Honaz in Turkey, has never been excavated.



In 396 B.C., during the Persian Wars, the satrap Tissaphernes was lured to Colossae and slain by an agent of the party of Cyrus the Younger. Pliny tells that the wool of Colossae gave its name (colossinus) to the colour of the cyclamen flower. During the Hellenistic period, the town was of some mercantile importance, although by the first century it had dwindled greatly in size and significance.

It does not appear that St. Paul had visited this city when he wrote his Epistle to the Colossians there (Col. 1:2, Col. 2:1), since he tells Philemon of his hope to visit it upon being freed from prison (see Philemon 1:22). It seems that Epaphras was the founder of the Colossian church (see Col. 1:7; 4:12).

This town fell into decay (possibly due to an earthquake) and the Byzantine town of Chonæ occupied a site near its ruins. A look at the classical, Byzantine, and otherwise medieval literature mentioning the site reveals a name change for part or all of Colossae to Cona or Chonae. The town was the birthplace of the Byzantine Greek writers Nicetas and Michael Choniates.

Chonæ was made an archbishopric about 858-60, and in some later episcopal notices appears as a metropolis.[1]

Miracle of the Archangel Michael

In Byzantine and Russian art, the theme of the Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Chonae (Τὸ ἐν Χωναῖς/Χῶναις Θαῦμα τοῦ Ἀρχαγγέλου Μιχαήλ) is intimately linked with the site. Eastern Orthodox tradition tells that the pagans directed the stream of a river against the sanctuary of St. Michael there to destroy it, but Michael the Archangel appeared and split the rock by lightning to give a new bed to the stream, diverting the flow away from the church and sanctifying forever the waters which came from the gorge. The Orthodox celebrate a feast in commemoration of this event on 6 September. The Monastery of the Miracle (Chudov Monastery) in the Moscow Kremlin, where the Russian Tsars were baptized, was dedicated to the Feast of the Miracle at Kona.

The 5th-7th century texts that refer to the miracle at Chonae formed the basis of specific paradigms for "properly approaching" angelic intermediaries for more effective prayers within the Christian culture.[2]


  1. ^ Catholic encyclopedia: Colossæ
  2. ^ Subtle bodies: representing angels in Byzantium by Glenn Peers 2001 Univ of Calif Press ISBN 0520224051 page 144 [1]


  • Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.
  • Bennett, Andrew Lloyd. "Archaeology From Art: Investigating Colossae and the Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Kona." Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 50 (2005):15-26.

External links

Coordinates: 37°45′26″N 29°15′59″E / 37.75722°N 29.26639°E / 37.75722; 29.26639

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Colossae —     Colossæ     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Colossæ     A titular see of Phrygia in Asia Minor, suppressed in 1894. Little is known about its history. The later name, Colassæ, is probably the old Phrygian form. Colossæ was at one time the chief… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Colossae — [kə läs′ē] city in ancient Phrygia, SW Asia Minor (fl. 5th cent. B.C. ): cf. COLOSSIANS Colossian [kəläsh′ən] adj., n …   English World dictionary

  • Colossae — Kolossai (altgriechisch Κολοσσαί, latein. Namensform: Colossae) war in der Antike eine Stadt in der kleinasiatischen Landschaft Phrygien. Der Ort liegt 4 km nördlich von Honaz (Chonai), 20km östlich von Denizli. Kolossai liegt im oberen Lykostal… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Colossae — Chônai Honaz Colosses, Chônai La ville Honaz au pied du massif montagneux appelé Honaz …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Colossae — A city in Asia Minor not far from Laodicea, which had come to exceed it in wealth and importance. There was a big Jewish population in the 1st cent., but the greater part was Greek, and Greek was the predominant language. There was a flourishing… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • Colossae — geographical name ancient city SW central Asia Minor in SW Phrygia • Colossian adjective or noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Colossae — /keuh los ee/, n. an ancient city in SW Phrygia: seat of an early Christian church to which Paul wrote the Epistle to the Colossians. * * * …   Universalium

  • Colossae —    Or Colosse, a city of Phrygia, on the Lycus, which is a tributary of the Maeander. It was about 12 miles above Laodicea, and near the great road from Ephesus to the Euphrates, and was consequently of some mercantile importance. It does not… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Colossae — n. Colosse, ancient city in Phrygia (in Asia Minor) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Colossae — Co•los•sae [[t]kəˈlɒs i[/t]] n. rel an ancient city in SW Phrygia Co•los′sian ˈlɒʃ ən adj. n …   From formal English to slang

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