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Thread: Latin Levantines in the Middle East

  1. #1
    Advisor Angela's Avatar
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    Latin Levantines in the Middle East

    I love learning about something I didn't even know existed, and this is one of those things, despite the fact that I thought I knew quite a bit about Church History.

    The name "Latin Levantines" is misleading. It actually refers to descendants of Italian and French merchants from the Middle Ages onward who continued to live in Turkey and the Levant for centuries, until the present day.

    They worship as part of "The Latin Church in the Middle East", meaning that contrary to Eastern (Orthodox) Rite Catholics, they use the Latin Liturgical Rite which has been used since the Crusades, when many of their ancestors arrived, and are in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Their "Bishop" is the Patriarch of Jerusalem.


    What fascinates me is that surrounded by Muslims since the days of the end of the Crusades, these people, despite constant persecution, have retained not only their religion but their ethnicity, although I wouldn't be surprised if they have some admixture after hundreds of years.

    It reminds me, in a way, of the Parsi situation.

    I became interested when I read, while doing other research, that Caroline Koc, who married the richest man in Turkey, was a "French Levantine". I had no idea what that meant, and so I investigated.

    I would assume they will eventually disappear. Her sons, at least, would certainly be raised as Muslims.

    This is Caroline Koc. She's a beautiful and very elegant woman imo. I envy her the snake bracelet; I love snake jewelry, especially the ouroboros rings and bracelets. I had a tiny ouroboros bracelet as a little girl, and a ring when I grew older. It's a symbol of eternity.

    Last edited by Angela; 15-04-21 at 01:40.

    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    interesting. but is Caroline Koc really a descendant of such latin levantines?
    Edit: i misunderstood the original post. it does not require to have an old family tree dating to the middle ages to be called "levantine". it is really just a term for catholic traders of mostly western descent and their descendants who lived in the ottoman empire. some arrived there as recently as the 20th century.

    the first "Giraud" which is probably Carline's ancestor arrived there in the 18th century. there are probably many younger arrivals in there too. this way it is also not that surprising that they survived to this day. as long as there was trade between catholic regions and the ottoman empire there were always new catholic traders from there settling in the large cities. them having higher status and wealth than the average ottoman citizen probably also helped.

    in europe it is also applied to people of mixed european/near eastern descent from the european colonies in those regions.
    Last edited by Ailchu; 16-04-21 at 03:01.

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