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In addition, some of the modern Arab Christians (especially Melkites) constitute Arabized Greco-Roman communities rather than ethnic Arabs.Smaller Christian groups include: Arameans, Georgians, Ossetians and Russians.The Greek-speaking Mediterranean region was a powerhouse for the Early Church, producing many revered Church Fathers as well as those who became labelled as heresiarchs, such as Nestorius.From Antioch, where Christians were first so called, came Ignatius, Diodore of Tarsus, John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Nestorius, Theodoret, John of Antioch, Severus of Antioch and Peter the Fuller, many of whom are associated with the School of Antioch.
The Greeks who had once inhabited large parts of the western Middle East and Asia Minor, declined after of the Arab conquests, then the later Turkish conquests, and all but vanished from Turkey as a result of the Greek Genocide and expulsions which followed World War I.Whereas Antioch traditionally focused the grammatical and historical interpretation of Scripture and developed a dyophysite christology, Alexandria was much influenced by neoplatonism, using an allegorical interpretation and developing miaphysitism.Other prominent centres of Christian learning developed in Asia Minor (most remarkably among the Cappadocian Fathers) and the Levantine coast (Gaza, Caesarea and Beirut).The next largest Christian group in the Middle East is the previously Aramaic speaking but latterly Arabic-speaking Maronites who are Catholics and number some 1.1–1.2 million across the Middle East, mainly concentrated within Lebanon.
Many Maronites avoid an Arabic ethnic identity in favour of a pre-Arab Phoenician-Canaanite heritage, to which most of the Lebanese population belongs.
Politically, the Middle East of the first four Christian centuries was divided between the Roman Empire and the Parthian Empire (later Sasanian Persia).