Antioch occupies an important place in the history of Christianity. It was here that Paul preached his first Christian sermon in a synagogue, and here that followers of Jesus Christ were first called Christians. As Christianity spread, Antioch became the seat of one of the five original patriarchates, along with Jerusalem, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Rome. Today it remains the seat of a patriarchate of each of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches. For several centuries it was an important city in the Byzantine Empire. It was conquered by the Muslims in 636 A.D.
The city remained in Arab hands until 969, when it was recovered by the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas[?]. The city was lost again, to the Seljuk Turks, in 1085. 13 years later, it was captured by the Crusaders, and became the capital of an independent Principality of Antioch. The city remained in Crusader hands for the better part of the 12th and 13th centuries, until it was finally captured by the Mamluk Sultan Baibars[?] in 1268. Baibars destruction of the city was so great that it was never a major city again, with much of its former role falling to the port city of Alexandretta (Iskenderun).
Several other cities within the Seleucid empire were also named Antioch, most of them founded by Seleucus I Nicator.
Antioch is also the name of a number of places in the United States of America: see