Antioch was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It was founded in 300 B.C. by Seleucus Nicator, and became the capital of the Seleucid Empire and, in 64 B.C., the Asian capital of the Roman Empire. Its ruins lie near the current city of Antakya, Turkey, to which the ancient city lends its name.
Antioch was an important center of ancient Christianity, being one of the first cities to really catch fire for Jesus and possibly the most important city in early Christendom after the early Church was forced to scatter. It was situated on the eastern rim of the Roman Empire close to the border of the warring Parthian Empire, and the city had a sizeable Aramaic speaking population as did the Parthian Empire. Antioch, with the Aramaic Kingdom of Adiabene with its capital city of Arbel, share the spotlight as the source both of the Aramaic translation of the Bible - the Peshita, and of the eastward mission of the Church spreading the message of Christ through what is now Afghanistan, India, eventually even to China.
- The New American Desk Encyclopedia, Penguin Group, 1989