Colosse

COLOSSE (kŏ-lŏs'ē, Gr. Kolossai). An ancient city of Phrygia, situated on the south bank of the Lycus River. It was about eleven miles (eighteen km.) from Laodicea and thirteen (twenty-one km.) from Hierapolis. Colosse stood on the most important trade route from Ephesus to the Euphrates and was a place of great importance from early times. Xerxes visited it in 481 b.c., and Cyrus the Younger in 401. The city was particularly renowned for a peculiar wool, probably purple in color (colossinus). The church at Colosse was established on Paul’s third missionary journey, during his three years in Ephesus, not by Paul himself (Col.2.1), but by Epaphras (Col.1.7, Col.1.12-Col.1.13). Archippus also exercised a fruitful ministry there (Col.4.17; Phlm.1.2). Philemon was an active member of this church, and so also was Onesimus (Col.4.9). During Paul’s first Roman imprisonment Epaphras brought him a report of the religious views and practices in Colosse that called forth his letter, in which he rebuked the church for its errors. Colosse lost its importance by the change of the road system. Laodicea became the greater city. During the seventh and eighth centuries a.d. its openness exposed it to the terrible raids of the Saracens, and the people moved to Chonae (now called Chonas), a fortress on the slope of Mount Cadmus, about three miles (five km.) farther south. In the twelfth century the Turks destroyed the city. Archaeologists have unearthed ruins of an ancient church.——SB