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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Chapter XI.--Of Severian and Antiochus: their Disagreement from John.

The Ecclesiastical History Of Scholasticus by Socrates Scholasticus

Chapter XI.--Of Severian and Antiochus: their Disagreement from John.

The odium against John Chrysostom was considerably increased by another additional event as follows: two bishops flourished at that time, Syrians by birth, named Severian and Antiochus; Severian presided over the church at Gabala, a city of Syria, and Antiochus over that of Ptolemaïs in Phoenicia. They were both renowned for their eloquence; but although Severian was a very learned man, he did not succeed in using the Greek language perfectly; and so while speaking Greek he betrayed his Syrian origin. Antiochus came first to Constantinople, and having preached in the churches for some time with great zeal and ability, and having thus amassed a large sum of money, he returned to his own church. Severian hearing that Antiochus had collected a fortune by his visit to Constantinople, determined to follow his example. He therefore exercised himself for the occasion, and having composed a number of sermons, set out for Constantinople. Being most kindly received by John, to a certain point, he soothed and flattered the man, and was himself no less beloved and honored by him: meanwhile his discourses gained him great celebrity, so that he attracted the notice of many persons of rank, and even of the emperor himself. And as it happened at that time that the bishop of Ephesus died, John was obliged to go to Ephesus for the purpose of ordaining a successor. On his arrival at that city, as the people were divided in their choice, some proposing one person, and some another, John perceiving that both parties were in a contentious mood, and that they did not wish to adopt his counsel, he resolved without much ado to end their dispute by preferring to the bishopric a certain Heraclides, a deacon of his own, and a Cypriot by descent. And thus both parties desisting from their strife with each other had peace. Now as this detention [at Ephesus] was lengthened, Severian continued to preach at Constantinople, and daily grew in favor with his hearers. Of this John was not left ignorant, for he was promptly made acquainted with whatever occurred, Serapion, of whom we have before spoken, communicating the news to him and asserting that the church was being troubled by Severian; thus the bishop was aroused to a feeling of jealousy. Having therefore among other matters deprived many of the Novatians and Quartodecimans of their churches, he returned to Constantinople. Here he resumed himself the care of the churches under his own especial jurisdiction. But Serapion's arrogance no one could bear; for thus having won John's unbounded confidence and regard, he was so puffed up by it that he treated every one with contempt. And on this account also animosity was inflamed the more against the bishop. On one occasion when Severian passed by him, Serapion neglected to pay him the homage due to a bishop, but continued seated [instead of rising], indicating plainly how little he cared for his presence. Severian, unable to endure patiently this [supposed] rudeness and contempt, said with a loud voice to those present, If Serapion should die a Christian, Christ has not become incarnate.' Serapion, taking occasion from this remark, publicly incited Chrysostom to enmity against Severian: for suppressing the conditional clause of the sentence, If Serapion die a Christian,' and saying that he had made the assertion that Christ has not become incarnate,' he brought several witnesses of his own party to sustain this charge. But on being informed of this the Empress Eudoxia severely reprimanded John, and ordered that Severian should be immediately recalled from Chalcedon in Bithynia. He returned forthwith; but John would hold no intercourse whatever with him, nor did he listen to any one urging him to do so, until at length the Empress Eudoxia herself, in the church called The Apostles, placed her son Theodosius, who now so happily reigns, but was then quite an infant, before John's knees, and adjuring him repeatedly by the young prince her son, with difficulty prevailed upon him to be reconciled to Severian. In this manner then these men were outwardly reconciled; but they nevertheless continued cherishing a rancorous feeling toward each other. Such was the origin of the animosity [of John] against Severian.
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