SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Image Map : Christian Books : Letter S

A Dictionary Of Christian Biography And Literature by Henry Wace

Letter S

Sabas, a Gothic martyr
Sabas (2), a Gothic martyr under Athanaric, king of the Goths towards the end of 4th cent. His Acts seem genuine, and contain many interesting details of Gothic life in the lands bordering on the Danube. Thus village life, with its head men and communal responsibility, appears in c. ii. After various tortures he was drowned in the Musaeus, which flows into the Danube. The Acts are in the form of an epistle from the Gothic church to that of Cappadocia, whither Soranus, who was |dux Scythiae,| had sent his relics (Ruinart. Acta Sincera, p.670; AA. SS. Boll. Apr. ii.88; Ceill. iv.278; C. A. A. Scott, Ulfilas, Apostle of the Goths, 1885, p.80). The topography of the region where he suffered is exhaustively treated in the Sitzungsberichte der Wiener Akad.1881-1882, t. xcix. pp.437-492, by Prof. Tomaschek, of Graz University.


Sabas, St
Sabas, (6), St., abbat in Palestine and founder of the laura of St. Sabas; born in 439, near Caesarea in Cappadocia. When 8 years old he entered a neighbouring monastery, and at 18 went a pilgrimage to the holy places at Jerusalem, where he entered the monastery of St. Passarion. At 30 he established himself as an anchorite in a cavern in the desert. Several persons joining him, he laid the foundations of his monastery on a rock on the Kidron river, where it still remains. (Cf. Murray's Handbook for Syria, p.229.) He was ordained priest by Sallustius, patriarch of Constantinople, in 491. Several Armenians united themselves soon after to this community, which led to Sabas ordaining that the first part of Holy Communion should be said in Armenian, but the actual words of consecration in Greek. In 493 the monastery had increased so much that he built another at a short distance. He was sent as an ambassador to Constantinople in a.d.511, by the patriarch ELIAS, to counteract the influence of Severus and the Monophysites with the emperor Anastasius; and again by Peter, patriarch of Jerusalem, in 531, to ask from the emperor remission of the taxes due by Palestine and help to rebuild the churches ruined by invasion. He died Dec.5, 531, aged 91 years. His Life was written by Cyril of Scythopolis. [[521]CYRILLUS (13).] Copious extracts from it are in Ceillier, xi.274-277, and Fleury, H. E. lib. vii. §§ 30-32. The whole Life is in Coteler, Monument. t. iii.


Sabbatius, bp. of Constantinople
Sabbatius (2), ordained by Marcianus as Novatianist bp. of Constantinople, seceded, before 380, from the main body of that sect, with two others, Theoctistes and Macarius, maintaining that Easter ought to be celebrated on the same day and in the same manner as by the Jews. He also complained that unworthy persons were admitted to the Novatianist communion, thus finding the same fault with the Novatianists that they did with the church. He became bishop of a small sect, called after him Sabbatiani, whose baptism was recognized in the 7th canon of the 2nd general council. Sozomen (H. E. vii.18) gives a long account of his secession.


Sabellianism, or Patripassianism
Sabellianism, the Eastern name for the movement designated Patripassianism in the West. It formed a portion of the great Monarchian movement, and can only be rightly understood in connexion therewith. We can trace its rise back to the age of Justin Martyr. In his Apol. i. § 63 he refers to those |who affirm that the Son is the Father,| and condemns them -- a condemnation which he repeats in his Dialogue with Trypho, § 128 (cf. Bull's Defence of Nic. Creed, t. i.138, t. ii.626 ; Judgm. Cath. Ch. iii.198). The 2nd cent. was the age of Gnosticism, of which one of the essential principles was the emanation theory, which places a number of aeons, emanations from the Divine Being, intermediate between God and the Creation. The champions of Christian orthodoxy were led, in opposition, to insist strenuously upon the Divine Monarchy, God's sole, independent, and absolute existence and being. Thus we find Irenaeus writing a treatise peri monarchias c.190, addressed to a Roman presbyter, Florinus, who had fallen away to Gnosticism. Asian Gnosticism regarded the Son and the Holy Ghost as aeons or emanations (cf. Tertull. cont. Prax. c.8). Christians had to shew that the existence of the Son and the Holy Ghost could be reconciled with the Divine Monarchy. Some therefore adopted the view which Dorner calls Ebionite Monarchianism, defending the Monarchy by denying the deity of Christ. Others identified the Persons of the Godhead with the Father, a theory which was called Sabellianism, though that name is not derived from the original inventor of this view. Sabellianism, in fact, was one of the mistakes men fell into while groping their way to the complete Christological conception. It was in the 2nd cent. an orthodox reaction against Gnosticism, as in the 4th cent. the Sabellianism of Marcellus of Ancyra was a reaction against Arianism. Tertullian expressly asserts, in the opening of his treatise against Praxeas, that this heresy had sprung out of a desire to maintain orthodoxy. The Roman church was one of the chief stages whereon the controversial struggle was waged. The visit of Origen to Rome, some time in 211-217, must have introduced him to the controversy, as abundant references to it and refutations of it are in his writings. The materials for tracing the development of Sabellian views during the 3rd cent. are very defective. Novatian on the Trinity (cc.12, 18, 21, 22) treats it as an acknowledged heresy, using the same Scripture arguments as Justin Martyr in his Dial. cum Tryph. §§ 126-129. Novatian is the earliest author who distinctly calls this view the Sabellian heresy. The controversy next emerges into the full light of day in N. Africa c.260. It permeated very largely the district of Pentapolis in Libya, under the leadership of two bishops of that district, Ammon and EUPHRANOR. Dionysius of Alexandria wrote against their teaching, whereupon he was accused of heresy to Dionysius of Rome. The documents bearing on the dispute between these two fathers are in Routh's Rel. Sacr. iii.370-400; for a discussion of the controversy see DIONYSIUS (8). In 4th cent. it again burst forth when Marcellus of Ancyra, in opposing Arianism and the subordination theory of Origen, was led to deny any personal distinction between the First and Second Persons of the Trinity. Marcellus was probably only guilty of loose expressions, but his disciple Photinus worked out his system to its logical conclusions and boldly proclaimed Sabellian views. Eusebius of Caesarea wrote against Marcellus, and from the extracts in his two treatises, cont. Marcell. and de Ecclesiast. Theolog. we derive most of our information concerning Marcellus (cf. Epiph. Haer. lxxii.). Athanasius, Basil, Hilary, Chrysostom, all condemned Marcellus and his teaching. Basil's letters are a repertory of information about the controversy during the latter half of 4th cent. Basil first called Sabellius an African, solely, it would seem, because of the prevalence of Sabellianism in the Pentapolis, under Dionysius of Alexandria, when probably SABELLIUS himself was long dead. The interest in the controversy ceased by degrees as the great Nestorian and Eutychian discussions of the 5th cent. arose. Yet Sabellianism lingered in various quarters. Epiphanius (Haer. lxii.) says that in his time Sabellians were still numerous in Mesopotamia and Rome -- a fact confirmed by an inscription discovered at Rome in 1742, which runs: |Qui et Filius diceris et Pater inveniris,| evidently erected by Sabellian hands (Northcote's Epitaph. of Catacombs, p.102). Augustine speaks of them, however, as practically extinct in Africa (cf. Ep. ad Dioscorum, cx.).

We add a brief exposition of this heresy. One section of the Monarchian party (see supra) guarded the Monarchy by denying any personal distinctions in the Godhead, and thus identifying the Father and the Son. But Christ is called the Son of God, and a son necessarily supposed a father distinct from himself (Tertul. cont. Prax. c.10). They evaded this difficulty by
distinguishing between the Logos and the Son of God. The Logos was itself eternally identical with God the Father. The Son of God did not exist till the Incarnation, when the Eternal Logos manifested its activity in the sphere of time in and through the man Christ Jesus. |In O.T.,| says Sabellius, |no mention is made of the Son of God, but only of the Logos| (Athan. Orat. iv. § 23). The Sonship is a mere temporary matter, however (cf. Greg. Nys. cont. Sabell. in Mai's Coll. Nov. Vett. Scriptt. t. viii. pt. ii. p.4), and when the work of man's salvation is completed the Logos will be withdrawn from the humanity of Christ into that personal union and identity with the Father which existed from eternity, while the humanity will be absorbed into the original Divine nature. All this was summed up in the distinction drawn between the logos endiathetos and the logos prophorikos. Here Sabellianism merged into Pantheism. The ultimate end of all things, according to Sabellius, was the restoration of the Divine Unity; that God, as the absolute Monas, should be all in all. If, then, the absorption of Christ's humanity into the absolute Monas was necessary, much more the absorption of all inferior personal existences. Neander points out that this system presents many points of resemblance to the Alexandrian-Jewish theology. Epiphanius, indeed, expressly asserts (Haer. lxii. c.2) that Sabellius derived his system from the apocryphal Gospel of the Egyptians, which stated that Christ had taught His disciples, as a great mystery, the identity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This Gospel insisted upon the element of Sabellianism most akin to Pantheism, viz. that all contrarieties will be finally resolved into unity. Thus, according to it, Christ replied to the question of Salome when His kingdom should come, |When two shall be one, and the outer as the inner, and the male with the female; when there shall be no male and no female.| Neander (H. E. t. ii. pp.317-326, Bohn's ed.) gives the clearest exposition of this heresy and its connexion with kindred systems.


Sabellius, heretic
Sabellius, heretic, after whom the sect of the Sabellians was called (see preceding art.). The known facts of his history are but few. All 4th-cent. writers follow Basil in saying that he was born in Africa. The scene of Sabellius's activity was Rome, where we find him during the episcopate of pope Zephyrinus, a.d.198-217. >From the statement of Hippolytus, he was apparently undecided in his views when he came to Rome, or when he first began to put forward his views at Rome, for the silence of Hippolytus about his birthplace suggests that it may have been Rome. In Refut. ix.6, Hippolytus says that Callistus perverted Sabellius to Monarchian views. Hippolytus argued with him and with Noetus and his followers (ib. iii.). Sabellius, convinced for a time, was again led astray by Callistus. In fact, during the episcopate of Zephyrinus, Callistus, Sabellius and the pope seem to have united in persistently opposing Hippolytus. Soon after his accession Callistus (a.d.217) excommunicated Sabellius, wishing to gain, as Hippolytus puts it, a reputation for orthodoxy and to screen himself from the attacks of his persistent foe. Sabellius thereupon disappears from the scene. He seems to have written some works, to judge from apparent quotations by Athanasius in his 4th treatise against Arianism.


Sabina, Poppaea
Sabina (1), Poppaea, empress, 2nd wife of Nero. Like certain members of the Flavian family, it is very highly probable, though not absolutely certain, that Poppaea was a Christian. She was almost certainly a Jewish proselyte, as the language of Josephus, Theosebes gar en (Ant. xx.8, 11) almost implies. The fact that her body was embalmed and not burnt after the Roman custom (Tac. Ann. xvi.6) has been urged to shew that she had embraced a foreign religion. Certainly at least twice (Jos. l.c., and Vita, 3) she exerted her influence with Nero in favour of the Jews (see Lightfoot, Philipp.5 note). It has even been conjectured that it was through her that the Christians and not Jews were selected as the victims to suffer for the burning of Rome. A romantic theory was put forward by M. Latour St. Ybars of a rivalry between the Jewish Poppaea and Acte the former mistress of Nero, who, on the strength of a passage in St. Chrysostom (Hom. in Acta xlvi. in Migne, Patr. Gk. lx.325), is conjectured to have been a Christian. Schiller, Gesch. d. röm. Kaiserreichs unter Nero, 436 n., and Aubé, Hist. des persec.421 n. For the general history of Poppaea see Merivale, c. liii.


Sabinus, bp. of Heraclea
Sabinus (10), bp. of Heraclea in Thrace, and a leader of the party and sect of Macedonius. He was the author of a collection of the Acts of the councils of the church from the council of Nicaea to his own time, which was much used by Socrates in his Eccl. Hist., who speaks of it as untrustworthy, because Sabinus was an unscrupulous partisan, and omitted, and even wilfully altered, facts and statements adverse to his views and interests (cf. Socr. op. cit. i.8; ii.15). Socrates shews how Sabinus tries to disparage the fathers of Nicaea in the face of the contrary evidence of Eusebius, and makes no mention whatever of Macedonius, lest he should have to describe his evil deeds. Baronius (ad ann.325, xxxix., ad ann.344, iii. etc.) speaks strongly of Sabinus's unscrupulous handling of history, calls him |homo mendacissimus,| and suggests that Sozomen gives a garbled account of the election of Athanasius, |ex officina Sabini.| Cave (Hist. Lit. i.411) fixes the date at which Sabinus flourished as c.425.


Salamenes of Capersana
Salamanes (2), a solitary of Capersana, a village on the right bank of the Euphrates, who shut himself up in a cell on the opposite bank, having neither door nor window. Once a year he dug himself out, obtained food for the next year, and returned, having spoken with none. His diocesan, desiring to confer orders on so distinguished an ascetic, had the cell wall broken down and laid his hands upon him, Salamanes neither consenting nor dissenting. With equal passiveness he allowed himself to be transferred to another cell across the river by the inhabitants of the village, and to be taken back again by his former neighbours (Theod. Hist. Relig. c. xix.).


Salvianus, priest of Marseilles
Salvianus (3), priest of Marseilles, a writer whose works illustrate most vividly the state of Gaul in 5th cent. The one external authority for his Life is Gennadius, de Scriptt. Eccles. c.67, who gives a list of his writings. In 429 St. Hilary of Arles, in a sermon on St. Honoratus, describes him as |the most blessed man Salvianus the presbyter.| His own expressions (de Gub. Dei, vi.72) indicate that he was born in Gaul, probably at Trèves, the manners and customs of which place he knew intimately and reproves sharply. He, or at least some of his relations, resided at Cologne, occupying a respectable position in that city. When a young man he married Palladia, daughter of Hypatius, and had one daughter Auspiciola, after whose birth Salvianus and his wife adopted the monastic life. This greatly incensed Hypatius, who retired to a distant region, refusing any communication with them for 7 years. Ep. iv. is a very earnest appeal by Salvianus, his wife, and daughter, for a renewal of the love and friendship of Hypatius, with what success we are not told. Salvianus was in extreme old age when Gennadius wrote, and was held in the highest honour, being expressly termed |Episcoporum Magister,| and regarded as the very type of a monk and a scholar. His writings are important from a social, political, and ecclesiastical point of view. In the de Gub. Dei he gives a lively picture of the social changes in the empire due to the iniquitous fiscal system in vogue. Thus lib. v. cc.4-9 shew clearly the cause of brigandage, the origin of the serf system, and the evils of vast estates. In iv.14 he refers to the crowds of Syrian merchants in all the cities of Gaul, a fact which the discovery of Syrian, Assyrian, and other Oriental inscriptions in France has amply confirmed (cf. Le Blant's Ins. chrét. de la Gaule, diss. Nos.225, 557, and 613). He helps us to understand the interruption of intercourse between Roman and British Christianity in 5th and 6th cents. The empire was gradually surrounded by a ring fence of hostile states, all barbarous, and several of them heretical, which served as a retreat from the power, and a barrier to the religion, of Rome. For a cent. and a half the new kingdoms of the Franks and Burgundians afforded ample employment for Rome's missionary zeal without troubling with the regions beyond. The treatise against avarice is a laudation of the ascetic life and of almsgiving; he even in bk. i. seriously discusses whether a man should leave any property at all to his sons. Ceillier (x.359) devotes a lengthened notice to Salvianus, with a full analysis of his writings.

The latest ed. of his works is that in the Corp. Eccl. Scriptorum of the Vienna Academy, t. viii. (Vindob.1883), ed. by Fr. Pauly.


Salvina (Silvina), daughter of the Moorish chief Gildo, count of Africa. The Christian virtues which, according to Jerome and Chrysostom, distinguished the ladies of Gildo's family, were in strong contrast with brutal and savage vices which rendered his name detestable. While still a girl, Salvina was transferred by Theodosius to his own court, as a pledge of the loyalty of her father and of the province of Africa which he governed. She was brought up with the young members of the imperial family, and married c.390 Nebridius, the son of the empress's sister, who had been educated with his cousins, the future emperors, Arcadius and Honorius. Nebridius, dying soon after, left her with a son, Nebridius, and a daughter (Hieron. Ep. ix.). She devoted herself to God's service, and, as her husband had done, protected the Oriental churches and ecclesiastics at the court of Arcadius. Her fame having spread to Palestine, Jerome, though a stranger, wrote her a letter -- the arrogant tone of which might well have offended, if the coarseness had not shocked her. The young widow and her children then formed one household with her mother, Gildo's widow (he had died a.d.398), and her paternal aunt at Constantinople (Hieron. Ep.9; de Serv. Virg.; Ep.11 ad Geront. ad fin.). Salvina's ardent piety speedily attached her to Chrysostom. She became one of his deaconesses, equalling Olympias and Pentadia in devotion to him. She remained with him to the last, and, together with the above-named and Procula, took a final farewell of him in the baptistery of the cathedral the night of his final expulsion (Pallad. p.90).


Salvius, bp. of Membrasa
Salvius (3), Donatist bp. of Membrasa (Medjez el Bab), one of the 12 ordainers of Maximian. He is mentioned as one who practised rebaptism (Aug. Parm. iii.22). Refusing to return to the party of Primian, he was displaced, and Restitutus appointed in his stead. Salvius believed that his opponents could not take advantage of the laws against heretics without implicating themselves in its operation (Aug. c. Cresc. iv.57, 58, 60, 82; Ep.108.14; En. Ps.57.18; Cod. Theodos. xvi.5, 22, 25, 26). The action appears to have been brought during the proconsulate of Herodes, a.d.394, but not to have been decided until that of Seranus, a.d.398. When the judgment was published, the people of Membresa, by whom Salvius, now an old man, was greatly beloved, appear to have supported him in opposition to the edict; but the people of Abitina, a neighbouring town, took upon themselves, without any official sanction, to execute it, and having attacked Salvius, maltreated him cruelly and ignominiously. Whether this attack caused the death of Salvius we know not, nor do we hear of him again, but his case is often quoted by Augustine when retorting on the Donatists their charge against the Catholics of persecution.


Salvius, bishop of Alby
Salvius (5) (Sauve), St., bp. of Alby, an intimate friend of Gregory of Tours, who gives the story of his early life from his own lips. He had been an advocate, and had led an active and worldly life though unstained by the passions of youth. After his conversion he entered a monastery to embrace a new life of poverty, austerity, and worship. In time the monks made him abbat, but craving for still higher sanctity, he withdrew to a solitary cell, where, after a fever, he fell into a sort of trance, and was laid out for dead. While unconscious he was conducted by two angels to heaven, and shewn the glory of it, but not permitted to remain, as work still awaited him on earth. The account of this Dantesque vision, which Gregory calls God to witness he heard from the bishop's own lips, is interesting (Hist. Franc. vii.1). The authenticity of this chapter has, however, been questioned (see Boll. Acta SS. Sept. iii.575, 576). As bishop Salvius indignantly scouted the heretical and somewhat crude views on the Trinity which king Chilperic wished to force upon the church (ib. v.45). He was at the council of Braine in 580, and while bidding farewell to Gregory there, he pointed to the king's palace and asked him if he saw aught above it. Gregory could see nothing but the upper story just built at Chilperic's command. Then Salvius, drawing a deep sigh, said: |Video ego evaginatum irae divinae gladium super domum hanc dependentem,| and after 20 days the two sons of the king were no more (v.51). When Mummolus carried off some of the flock of Salvius as prisoners, he followed and ransomed them at his own cost; and when Alby was almost depopulated by a plague that ravaged S. France, he refused to desert the city (vii.1). He died c.584, being succeeded by Desideratus (vii.22).


Samson, a Welsh saint
Samson (1) (Sampson), Welsh saint, bp. of Dôl. His legend is obscured by the admixture of several traditions. The materials for his Life are of their kind very abundant.

Taking the Life in Lib. Land. as a type of the British tradition as distinguished from the Gallican, Samson was son of Amwn Ddu, prince of Armorica in the 5th cent. Born in Glamorganshire, educated by St. Illtyd at Llantwit Major, ordained deacon and priest by St. Dubricius, he became for three and a half years abbat of St. Peirio or Piro's monastery on an island near Llantwit; some say at Llantwit. Afterwards he lived in a desert near the Severn, was consecrated by St. Dubricius and others to the episcopate, though, according to the common Celtic custom, without reference to a specific see, and in course of time proceeded to Armorica, where he became the deliverer of the captive prince Judual, and died at Dôl (Lib. Land.305). Thus far, and excluding the miraculous elements, the tradition is generally consistent and complete, though some Welsh traditions bring him back to die at Llantwit. To this are added several fictions, probably of the 12th cent., traceable to Geoffrey of Monmouth and to Girald. Cambr. The monumental inscribed stones to SS. Illtyd and Samson found in the churchyard of Llantwit Major cannot be of this early date; the Samson there mentioned must have lived in the 9th cent., and the lettering would agree with that date. Haddan and Stubbs, Counc. i.626-628; Rees, Welsh SS.181, 255).


Sarbelius, a Edessan martyr
Sarbelius (1) (Sharbil). Syriac Acts of Sarbelius and other Edessan martyrs are in Cureton's Antiq. Mon. Syr. (1864), and a Latin trans., with abundant illustrative matter, was pub. by Moesinger (Innsbruck, 1874). According to them, Sarbelius was chief priest of the idol-worship of Edessa. Trajan, in the 15th year of his reign (also described as the 3rd of Abgarus, the 7th king, and the 416th of the era of Alexander the Great), commanded the rulers of the provinces to see that sacrifices and libations were renewed and increased in every city, and to punish with torture those who refused to take part. Barsimaeus, the bp. of the Christians, accompanied by a priest and deacon, thereupon waited on Sarbelius and warned him of his responsibility in leading so many to worship gods made with hands. They briefly told him of the doctrine concerning our Lord's Incarnation and death, taught by Paluth, the disciple of Addai the apostle, and believed in by the earlier king Abgarus. Sarbelius was at once converted, baptized that night, and made his appearance next day clad in his baptismal robes. A great multitude, including some chief men of the city, were converted with him. The Acts then relate how the governor Licinius brought Sarbelius before him and commanded him to sacrifice. As each form of torture was tried without success, Licinius ordered a new and more severe one, 18 being described. Finally, Sarbelius was put to death with new tortures, being partially sawn asunder and then beheaded, his sister Barbea being martyred with him. There are separate Acts of Barsimaeus, evidently by the same hand. They relate how he, after the martyrdom of Sarbelius, was brought before the tribunal and similarly tortured. But a letter, ordering persecution to cease, arrived from Trajan, who had been convinced of the excellence of Christian morality and of the general agreement of their laws of conduct with the imperial laws.

These Edessan Acts acquired very considerable celebrity. Moesinger published an Armenian translation, and Sarbelius is commemorated in the Greek Menaea and the Latin Martyrologies under Jan.29 and Oct.15. There is also a Thathuel, commemorated Sept.4, whose story is identical with that of Sarbelius. Moesinger argued that the extant Acts were written by a contemporary of Sarbelius and were historically trustworthy; but his arguments are too weak to deserve serious refutation. Two marks of fiction are obvious: the extravagant amount of tortures alleged, and the familiarity of Sarbelius with N.T., which would have been noteworthy in a Christian of long standing in a.d.105, but is incredible in a newly-made convert. He is made to quote the Gospels several times, the Psalms, and Romans. We may ascribe the Acts to the latter part of 4th cent. They are probably later than Eusebius, who shews no knowledge of the story; but are largely employed in a sermon, printed by Moesinger, by James of Sarug (d.522). There is a strong family likeness between the Acts of Sarbelius and those of Habibus, and of Samona and Guria, also given in Cureton's work. Since the latter martyrs are said to have suffered under Diocletian, the former Acts, which seem to have the same origin. are at least no earlier.


Saturninus (1). In the section of his work commencing I.22 Irenaeus gives a list of heretics, apparently derived from Justin Martyr. The first two are the Samaritan heretics, Simon and Menander; the next, as having derived their doctrines from these, Saturninus and Basilides, who taught, the former in the Syrian Antioch, the latter in Egypt. Irenaeus says that Saturninus, like Menander, ascribed the ultimate origin of things to a Father unknown to all; and taught that this Father made angels, archangels, powers, authorities, but that the world and the things therein were made by a certain company of seven angels, in whom no doubt we are to recognize the rulers of the seven planetary spheres. He taught that man was the work of the same angels. They had seen a brilliant image (eikon) descend from the Supreme Power, and had striven to detain it, but in vain; for it immediately shot back again. So they encouraged each other: |Let us make man after the image and after the likeness| (kat' eikona kai kath' homoiosin, Gen. i.25). They made the man, but were too feeble to give him power to stand erect, and he lay on the ground wriggling like a worm (hos skolekos okarizontos) until the Upper Power, taking compassion on him because he had been made |in Its likeness,| sent a spark of life which raised him and made him live. Saturninus taught that after man's death this spark runs back to its kindred, while the rest of man is resolved into the elements whence he was made.

The same creation myth is reported by Irenaeus (I. xxx.5) to have been included in the system commonly known as Ophite; and literary dependence of the two stories is clear from the common use of the word skarizo. But according to the Ophite story it is not the Supreme Power, but Ialdabaoth, the chief of the creative company, who bestows the breath of life; and these angels say, as in Genesis, |Let us make man after our image.| We may count Saturninus as the originator of the myth, for the Ophite version has marks of less simplicity and originality.

Saturninus further taught that the God of the Jews was one of the seven creator angels. He and his company were in constant warfare with Satan and a company of evil angels. So, likewise, there were two distinct species of men, the bad ever aided by the demons in their conflicts with the good. Then the Supreme Father sent a Saviour to destroy the power of the God of the Jews and the other Archons; and to save those who had the spark of life in them -- that is to say, the good. This Saviour had no human birth or human body, and was only a man in appearance.

Saturninus ascribed the Jewish prophecies, some to the creator angels and some to Satan. This is one of several points of coincidence between the reports given by Irenaeus of the teaching of Saturninus and of the Ophites. These do not ascribe any of the prophecies to Satan, but Irenaeus (§ 11) gives the scheme according to which they distributed them among the several angels. Saturninus does not appear to have left any writings. His sect is named by Justin Martyr (Trypho, 35) and by Hegesippus (Eus. H. E. iv.22). No later heresiologist appears to know anything about him beyond what he learned from Irenaeus; and Irenaeus probably derived all his knowledge from Justin Martyr.


Saturninus, bishop of Toulouse
Saturninus (2) (Sernin), St., martyr, first bp. and patron of Toulouse. According to his Acta, published by Surius (Nov.29) and by Ruinart after careful revision in his Acta Sincera (pp.128-133), Saturninus came to Toulouse in the consulship of Decius and Gratius (a.d.251), apparently from Rome (cf. Venant. Fort. Misc. ii.12, Migne, Patr. Lat. lxxxviii.101). Here his preaching so exasperated the people that they put him to a shocking death by binding him to a bull, which they infuriated by goads. There were two other traditions current in early times -- one that Saturninus was sent into France by St. Clement at the end of the 1st cent., the other that his mission was from the apostles themselves. The former is in Gregory of Tours (de Glor. Mart. i.48), and the latter is as old as Venantius Fortunatus, if the Passio S. Dionysii is rightly ascribed to him (Migne, u.s.579), and appears in many other ancient sources (see Ceillier, ii.111 n.). Sidonius Apollinaris celebrated his martyrdom in Sapphic stanzas (Ep. ix.16). Venantius Fortunatus has some verses on the same event, the wonder-working virtues of his tomb (Misc. ii.11, Migne, u.s.99), and on the beautiful church built towards the close of 6th cent. by Launibodes on the spot where he was bound to the bull and which came to be known as du Taur or du Taureau (ii.12, col.100).


Saturninus, bishop of Arles
Saturninus (21), 8th bp. of Arles, a pillar of Arianism in the West. In the winter of 353 he presided at the council of Arles, which, in the presence of Constantius, condemned Athanasius and sentenced Paulinus of Trèves to deprivation and exile. About this time Hilary, bp. of Poictiers, appeared on the scene, and was henceforth in the West the champion of orthodoxy against Saturninus, Ursacius, Valens, and the emperor. In 356 Saturninus presided at the council of Béziers, which decreed the exile of Hilary; and it seems probable from allusions in Hilary's writings that he was also at the council of Rimini in 359, and was one of the legates dispatched thence to the emperor at Constantinople (Hil. ad Const. Aug. ii.3; Migne, Patr. Lat. x.565). This seems to have been the zenith of the bishop's fortune. Hilary, not long after, returned to Gaul; and Saturninus, still unbending in his opposition, was deprived of his see, and even excommunicated, as is thought, at the 1st council of Paris in 362.


Scapula, proconsul of Africa
Scapula, a proconsul of Africa, with whom Tertullian remonstrated for his persecution of the Christians; not because the Christians feared martyrdom, but solely because their love for their enemies made them desire to save them from the guilt of shedding innocent blood. Tertullian recounts the temporal calamities which had overtaken former persecutors of the Christians, and denounces the injustice of punishing men pure in life and loyal, and whose innocence the magistrates fully acknowledge by their evident unwillingness to proceed to extremities and by their exertions to induce the accused to withdraw their confession. If, as had been done in another province, the Christians of Carthage were to present themselves in a body before the proconsul's tribunal, the magistrate, he says, would find before him thousands of every age, sex, and rank, including many leading persons, and probably relations and intimates of his own friends, and might well shrink from severities which would decimate the city. The tract is later than the emperor Severus, of whom it speaks in the past tense.

The Scapula addressed was probably Scapula Tertullus, one of the ordinary consuls in 195. The usual interval between consulship and proconsulship was 15 to 20 years; this also would place the proconsulship not very long after Severus died on Feb.9, 211.


Scillitan Martyrs
Scillitan Martyrs, 12 martyrs at Carthage (one of them Felix) from the African town of Scillita. According to their Acta, one of the women, Donata, when they were called upon by the consul, Saturninus, to sacrifice, replied, |We render honour to Caesar as Caesar, but worship and prayers to God alone.| On receiving their sentence they thanked God. It was Ruinart's theory that the Scillitan Martyrs suffered under Sept. Severus between 198 and 202. M. Léon Renier, an eminent French archaeologist, however, noticed that the first line of the received codices of the Acts of these martyrs gave the names of the consuls for the year of the martyrdom very variously, a fragment published by Mabillon (Vet. Analect. t. iv. p.155) reading, |Praesidente bis Claudiano consule.| He therefore suggested that the word |bis| ought to follow a proper name indicating a second consulship, and that the word |consule| ought to be replaced by |consulibus.| Finding, moreover, in the Fasti the names Praesens II. and Condianus as consuls for 180, he proposed that the first line of our Acts should be read, |Praesente bis et Condiano Consulibus.| Then in 1881 Usener, a Bonn professor, published a hitherto unknown text of these Acts from a Greek MS. in the Bibl. Nat. of Paris, dating from the end of 9th cent., and explicitly naming the very two consuls Renier suggested, Praesens II. and Condianus. There is no mention of Severus. It quite correctly speaks of one emperor, since Commodus on July 17, 180, was sole emperor. The proconsul of Africa is Saturninus. He continues the policy of the previous reign, which is not yet modified by the domestic influences which led Commodus to favour the Christians. In 177 persecution had raged at Lyons. It was now the turn of Africa. Usener regarded the Gk. text discovered by him as a translation from Latin. Aubé, viewing the Gk. text of Usener as an original document and the source of all the Latin texts, replied to Usener's arguments, pointing out that Greek was largely spoken at Carthage in the latter half of 2nd cent., and urging many critical
considerations from a comparison of the Latin and Greek texts which seem to support his view. For a further discussion of the question see Aubé and Usener. To the Biblical critic these Acts in both shapes are interesting, as indicating the position held by St. Paul's Epp. in 180 in the N. African church. The proconsul asked the martyr Speratus what books they kept laid up m their bookcases? He replied, Our books, or, as the Latin version puts it, the four Gospels of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in addition the Epistles of Paul the holy man. Etude sur un nouveau texte des Actes des Martyrs Scillitains (Paris, 1881); cf. Lightfoot's Ignatius, t. i. p.507.


Sebastianus, martyr at Rome
Sebastianus (2), Jan.20, military martyr at Rome under Diocletian. He was of Milan, where he commanded the first cohort. He confessed Christ, and was shot (apparently) to death with arrows in the camp. He was celebrated in the time of St. Ambrose (Enarr. in Ps.118, No.44), and is the favourite saint of Italian women, and regarded as the protector against the plague. His symbol is an arrow.


Secundinus, a poet
Secundinus (11), a poet, a contemporary and correspondent of Sidonius Apollinaris (Ep. v.8) who apparently highly esteemed Secundinus as a writer of hexameter verse on minor subjects, such as royal hunting parties and marriages. Secundinus afterwards attempted satire, and Sidonius highly commends a composition in hendecasyllabic metre, urging him to continue this kind of composition. It appears (Ep. ii.10) that some of his hexameters were inscribed upon the wall of the basilica built at Lyons by Patiens (bishop c.451-491), and he may have been one of the many minor poets who flourished at Lyons in the latter half of 5th cent.


Secundus, a Gnostic
Secundus (1), Gnostic of 2nd cent., a disciple of Valentinus, and apparently one of the earliest of that teacher's successors, since he is the first of that school of whom Irenaeus gives an account (I. xi.2). Irenaeus reports two things as peculiar in his teaching: (1) he divided the primary Ogdoad into two Tetrads, a right-hand and a left-hand one, the one being called light, the other darkness; (2) he did not allow the Sophia out of whose passions, according to the Valentinian theory, the material world took its origin to have been one of the 30 primary Aeons. The short notice in Irenaeus seems the ultimate source of all authentic information about Secundus.


Secundus, bp. of Tigisis
Secundus (4), bp. of Tigisis, a fortified town of Numidia, in the neighbourhood of Lambese and Thamagada (Procop. Vandal. ii.13). The persecution under Diocletian appears to have reached its height in Feb.304, and on May 19 Paulus, bp. of Cirta, committed the act of |tradition| which partly gave rise to the proceedings in which Secundus became conspicuous. Paulus soon died, and some 11 or 12 bishops met at Cirta on Mar.5 (according to Optatus May 8), 305, under the presidency of Secundus, as primate of Numidia, to appoint a successor. Although persecution had virtually ceased, the churches were not yet restored, and the assembly met in the house of Urbanus, where they ordained Silvanus. Optatus says that amid the uproar of mutual incrimination [[525]DONATISM] Purpurius of Limata taxed Secundus with tradition, because, instead of leaving his post of duty before the inquisition, he remained until dismissed in safety, which would not have been the case unless he had purchased his safety by act of surrender. On this a murmur arose in the assembly, and Secundus, in alarm, accepted a method of escape suggested by his nephew Secundus the younger, that such questions as this of personal conduct ought to be left to the judgment of the Almighty, a judicious evasion received with acclamation by all (Opt. i.14; Aug. Ep.43.6).

When, on the death of Mensurius, bp. of Carthage, a.d.311, Caecilian was appointed to succeed him, Secundus was sent for in haste to preside at a meeting of 70 malcontents at Carthage, and their factious opposition resulted in the schismatic appointment of Majorinus (Opt i.19; Aug. Parm. i.5). The case was brought up afresh at the conference of 411. Tillem. vi.5-14; Morcelli, Afr. Chr. ii.194-207; Ribbek, Aug. und Don. pp.52-57, 69; Sparrow Simpson, St. Aug. and Afr. Ch. Divisions (1910), p.32.


Sedulius, 5th-cent. poet
Sedulius (1), a 5th-cent. poet, of whose life very few details are known. The only trustworthy information is given by his two letters to Macedonius, from which we learn that he devoted his early life, perhaps as a teacher of rhetoric, to heathen literature. Late in life he became converted to Christianity, or, if a Christian before, began to take a serious view of his duties. Thenceforward he devoted his talents to the service of Christ, living as a priest (cf. i.7-9), in close intercourse with a small body of religious friends (pref.). He gives us a charming account of this group: Macedonius, the father and life of the whole; Ursinus, the reverent priest spending his life in the service of the King of Heaven; Laurence, the wise and gentle, who has spent all his money on the poor; Gallicanus, another priest, not learned, but a model of goodness and loyalty to church rule; Ursicinus, combining the wisdom of age with the brightness of youth; the deaconess Syncletica, of noble birth and nobler life, a worthy temple of God, purified by fasting, prayer, and charity, learned and liberal; and lastly Perpetua, the young pure matron, perpetual in fame and purity as in name. Sedulius, too, longed to devote his talent to God and to strengthen his own spiritual life by exhorting others. He yearned to tell the heathen of the wonders of the Gospel, and wrote the Carmen Paschale to invite then to share the Gospel feast. This was dedicated to Macedonius, and afterwards, at his request, was translated into prose (Opus Paschale). The works shew a character of much humility (cf. i. ad fin.), of tenderness of heart (v.96), of warm gratitude (Carm. Pasch. pref.), and of keen susceptibility to criticism (Opus Pasch. pref.).

These are the only certain facts. Even his date is uncertain. He refers to St. Jerome as a well-known student, and his work is praised by a decree of pope Gelasius in 495 or 496. Syncletica may have been a sister of Eustathius, who lived early in 5th cent. Hence the date of Sedulius must be c.450. A mass of information about him is in later writers, but much of it arises from a confusion with Sedulius the Scotchman. The best authenticated account makes him a native of Rome who studied philosophy in Italy, became an antistes (i.e. probably a presbyter) and wrote his book in Achaia. The internal evidence as to these details is very slight: his friends bear Latin names almost entirely; he is in the presence of educated idolaters and takes special pains to argue against sun-worship; but these indications are very vague. His works became popular very soon. They were edited by an editor of Vergil, T. Rufius Asterius (consul a.d.494) -- perhaps in consequence of the importance attached to them by the pope's decree. They are mentioned with praise by Venantius Fortunatus (viii.1) and Theodulf of Arles; were commented on, perhaps by Remi of Auxerre (9th cent.), and frequently quoted and imitated by the writers of the middle ages. Areval quotes 16 MSS. dating from cents. vii. to xvi.; since then more than 40 editions have been printed, and special prominence was given to him by German writers last century.

(1) Carmen Paschale, |a poem in honour of Christ our Passover,| consists of five books. Bk. i. is an introductory appeal to the heathen to give up idolatry and listen to the deeds of the true God. Bks. ii.-v. describe in full detail the miracles of the Gospel and the Lord's Prayer. In the earlier part the narratives of SS. Matthew and Luke are pieced together in chronological order. Throughout the ministry to the final entry into Jerusalem Sedulius follows St. Matthew, with a few insertions from SS. John and Luke; then adds a succession of miracles from SS. Mark and Luke, without regard to chronology, (iv.59-221), and the chief incidents of St. John's Gospel; from the entry into Jerusalem to the end he mainly follows St. John. As a rule the details of the scenes are given slightly and followed by frequent comment, sometimes dogmatical (e.g. on the Nature of the Trinity, i.16-20, 281 sqq., ii.171, the Fatherhood of God, ii.234, the Priesthood of Christ, iv.207, etc.), at other times pointing out the typical meaning of Scripture, both of O.T. (i.102-109, 127, 142, 152, iii.202, iv.170) and N.T.; e.g. the number of the evangelists and of the apostles (Prol. to lib. ii.; iii.172), the number and nature of the gifts of the Magi (ii.95), the dove (ii.170), and all the details of the passion (v.101, 169, 190, 243, 257, 275, 402). More often still they consist of moral warnings or of explanations of our Lord's teaching (cf. ii.106, iii.321, iv.16, 163, etc.).

The style is rhetorical but pleasant, with considerable terseness and power of antithesis; and fairly correct in prosody, shewing considerable acquaintance with classical authors. The reference to Origen (Opus Pasch. pref.) and the play on Elias and helios (i.170) imply some knowledge of Greek; of Latin authors he knew Terence, Juvenal, and specially Vergil, from whom be frequently borrows; possibly, too, the poem of Juvencus. There is a growing frequency in the use of leonine rhymes. For an analysis with a discussion of its sources and theology see Leimbach, Ueber den Christlichen Dichter Sedulius (Goslar, 1879).

(2) Opus Paschale. -- This prose translation mainly follows the Carmen faithfully, but adds illustrations and fills up gaps. It is preceded by another interesting letter to Macedonius.

(3) Elegia. -- An elegiac poem of 110 lines, corresponding in subject to the Carm. Pasch. It describes the effect of the Incarnation in contrast to the work of Adam, and Christ as the antitype of the types of O.T.

(4) Hymn. -- |A solis ortus cardine.| This may be called a lyrical expression of the Carmen. It is a call to praise Christ with a description of the chief facts of His birth, life, and death. It is an alphabetical, hymn in iambic dimeters with four-lined strophes. It shews a growing tendency to rhyme and a careful attempt to avoid any conflict between accent and quantity. Two extracts have been widely used in church services, viz. A-G in Lauds for Christmas week; and H, I, L, N, which celebrate the adoration of the Magi, the baptism, and the miracle at Cana, on the feast of Epiphany. These sections are in Daniel Thes. i. p.143, and with a full German commentary in Kayser, pp.347-383.

(5) Cento Virgilianus |de Verbi Incarnatione| is sometimes ascribed to Sedulius (e.g. by Bähr), but is only found in one Corbey MS., and there only follows the other poems without being ascribed to Sedulius. It is in Martene, Vett. Scr. Coll. ix. p.125.

The most available edd. are Migne, Patr. Lat. xix.; a text of the poetical works by J. Looshorn (Munich, 1879); of the Carm. Pasch. in Hurter's Op. Selecta, xxxiii.; and Huemer's ed. of the whole (Vienna, 1885).


Senochus, St
Senochus (1), St., a presbyter of great reputation. for sanctity near Tours; born c.536 in a district near Poictiers called Theiphalia, which had been for many years settled by a Scythian or Tartar race, to which he belonged. He became a Christian, and in some ruined buildings by Tours built himself a cell, at a spot where an old oratory existed, in which St. Martin, according to tradition, had been wont to pray. St. Euphronius, then bp. of Tours, consecrated it afresh, and ordained Senoch a deacon. Here with a little company of three he practised the greatest austerities, but aspiring to higher sanctity, afterwards shut himself in a solitary cell. In 573 Gregory became bp. of Tours, and received a visit from him. Soon after Senoch went to see his kinsfolk in Poitou, and came back, according to Gregory, so puffed up with spiritual pride that the bishop had to reprove him. He consented, at Gregory's persuasion, to forego his absolute solitude, that the sick might be healed by his virtues. He died, aged about 40, c.576. He had redeemed many from captivity or healed or fed them, and miracles were attributed to his corpse. Greg. Tur. Hist. Franc. v.7; Vitae Patrum, c. xv.; de Glor. Conf. c. xxxv.; Boll. Acts SS. Oct. x.764 sqq.


Senuti, an anchorite
Senuti, an anchorite whose history was investigated by E. Revillout in a paper on the Blemmyes (Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscr.1874, sér.1, t. viii. p.395 ), and still more elaborately in a series of articles in the Revue de l'hist. des religions (1883), Nos.4 and 5. He was born about the middle of 4th cent. His father was a farmer in Egypt, and Senuti fed his sheep in boyhood. But it was an age when every enthusiast devoted himself to the monastic life. He attached himself to the monastery of Panopolis near Athrebi in Upper Egypt, where he soon attained such fame for sanctity and orthodoxy that Cyril would only set out for the council of Ephesus if he had the company of Senuti and Victor, archimandrite of Tabenna. Zoega, Cat. MSS. Coptic Mus. Borg. p.29, gives us Cyril's account of this affair. Senuti's conduct at the council of Ephesus, as described by his disciple and successor Besa fully justifies the charges of outrageous violence brought by the Nestorian party against their opponents. A lofty throne was in the centre of the hall with the four gospels on it. Nestorius entered with pomp, flung the gospels on the floor, and seated himself on the throne. This enraged Senuti who, snatching up the book, hurled it against the breast of Nestorius with vigorous reproaches. Nestorius demanded who he was, and what brought him to the council, being |neither a bishop, nor an archimandrite, nor a provost, but merely a simple monk.| |God sent me to the council,| replied Senuti, |to confound thee and thy wickedness.| Amid the plaudits of his adherents Cyril at once invested him with the rank and robe of an archimandrite. His career was now marked by miracle. He was wafted on a cloud to Egypt. His fame was everywhere established, and Roman commanders sought his assistance. Thus c.450 the dux of Upper Egypt, Maximin, hurrying to repel a terrific invasion of the Blemmyes, before he would advance sought the presence of Senuti, who gave Maximin his girdle to wear whenever he joined battle. According to the Coptic MSS. Senuti followed Nestorius with bitter persecution to the last, even offering him personal violence when he lay dying in Egypt.

Senuti lived to be a heretic in the opposite extreme from Nestorius. After the council of Chalcedon he became a Monophysite and a violent partisan of the patriarch Dioscorus of Alexandria, dying under Timotheus Aelurus aged 118 years.


Serapion, bp. of Antioch
Serapion (1), bp. of Antioch, reckoned 8th in succession, a.d.190-203 (Clinton), succeeding Maximin in the 11th year of Commodus (Eus. H. E. vi.12; Chron.), was a theologian of considerable literary activity, the author of works of which Eusebius had no certain knowledge besides those enumerated by him. Of the latter Jerome gives an account (de Script. Eccl. c.41) borrowed from Eusebius (H. E. v. i9; vi.12). They are -- (1) a letter to Caricus and Pontius against the Cataphrygian or Montanist heresy, containing a copy of a letter of Apollinaris of Hierapolis, and substantiated as to the facts by the signatures of several other bishops, including some of Thrace; (2) a treatise addressed to Domninus, who during the persecution of Severus had fallen away to the Jewish |will-worship|; and (3), the most important, directed against the Docetic gospel falsely attributed to St. Peter, addressed to some members of the church of Rhossus, who were being led away by it from the true faith. Serapion recalls the permission to read this apocryphal work given in ignorance of its true character and expresses his intention of speedily visiting the church to strengthen them in the true faith. Dr. Neale calls attention to the important evidence here furnished to |the power yet possessed by individual bishops of settling. the canon of Scripture| (Patriarch. of Antioch, p.36). Socrates refers to his writings, as an authority against Apollinarianism (H. E. iii.7). Jerome mentions sundry letters in harmony with his life and character. Tillem. Mém. eccl. iii.168, § 9; Cave, Hist. Lit. i.86; Le Quien, Or. Christ. ii.702.


Serapion, penitent of Alexandria
Serapion (3), a penitent of Alexandria, who fell during the Decian persecution. Dionysius of Alexandria uses his case as an argument against the Novatianist schism, to which his correspondent, Fabius of Antioch, was inclined. Serapion lived a long life without blame, but had sacrificed at last. He often begged for admission to the church, but was refused. He was then taken sick, being three days without speech. When he awoke to consciousness he dispatched his grandson for a presbyter, who was sick and unable to come, but sent a portion of the consecrated Eucharist, telling the boy to moisten it and drop it into Serapion's mouth, who then died in peace. Reservation of the Sacrament must then have been practised in Alexandria. No argument, however, for communion in one kind can be drawn from this, as doubtless the bread had been dipped in the Eucharistic wine, according to Eastern fashion (see Bingham's Antiq. lib. xv. c. v.). Eus. H.E. vi-44.


Serapion, surnamed Scholasticus
Serapion (9), surnamed Scholasticus, bp. of Thmuis in Egypt. He was a friend of St. Athanasius and St. Anthony of the desert, and occupied a position of some importance in 4th-cent. theological struggles. Anthony bequeathed one of his sheepskin cloaks to Serapion and the other to Athanasius (Vita S. Anth. in Opp. S. Athan., Migne, Patr. Lat. t. xxvi. col.971). Serapion's literary activity was considerable. St. Jerome (Catal. No.99) mentions several of his writings, as his treatise contra Manichaeos, his de Psalmorum Titulis (now lost), and some epistles. His work against the Manicheans, described by Jerome as |Egregium librum,| and noticed by Photius (Cod.85), was for the first time printed in its original form by Brinkmann in 1894. It had previously been mixed up with a similar work by Titus of Bostra. In its restored form it is a valuable argument against Manicheism. Two letters by him were pub. by Cardinal Mai -- one a consolatory letter to bp. Eudoxius, who had been tortured; the other censuring some monks of Alexandria. In Texte und Untersuchungen (Leipz.1898) Wobbermin published a dogmatic letter |on the Father and the Son,| and 30 liturgical prayers, the 1st and 15th of which are the work of Serapion. They have been reprinted, with valuable notes and discussions, by F. E. Brightman in the Oxf. Journ. of Theol. Studies, 1899-1910, under the title of The Sacramentary of Serapion of Thmuis, and an English trans., ed. by bp. Wordsworth of Salisbury, has been pub. by S.P.C.K.


Serapion, surnamed Sindonites
Serapion (11), surnamed Sindonites from the linen or cotton clothing he always wore; an Egyptian monk in the time of Palladius. Though uneducated, he knew the Scriptures by heart. Some of his sayings are recorded in the Verba Seniorum (Rosweyd, Vit. Pat. lib. v libell. vi. § 12, libell. xi.31), and in the Apophthegmata Patrum (Coteler. Gr. Ecc. Monum. i.685, 686) there is an account of his visit to a lewd woman, whom he brought to repentance. His missionary zeal led him to travel, but in more than apostolic poverty, and he even sold his volume of the gospel to relieve a destitute person, a circumstance alluded to by Socrates (iv.23), though without naming Serapion. Once he sold himself as a slave to a theatrical company, and once to a Manichean family, with a view to converting them from their errors. He visited Athens and Sparta. At Rome he met Domninus, a disciple of Origen (Pallad. Laus Hist.83, 84; Vit. Joan. Eleemos. c.22 in Rosweyd, lib. i.). He died, aged 60, c.400, not at Rome as stated in the Latin version of the Lausiac History, but in the desert, as in Heraclides (Paradis. c.24) and the Greek of Palladius. The Greeks honoured his memory on May 21, the Menaea erroneously calling him ho apo Seidonos, belonging to Sidon. He may be the Serapion of Mar.21 in the Latin Martyrologies (vid. D. C. A.), though the Roman Martyrology makes this one bp. of Thmuis.


Serapion, solitary of Scete
Serapion (14), a solitary, of Scete, and leader of the Anthropomorphites against the festal epistle of Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria. The monks of Scete, with the one exception of Paphnutius, an abbat, rejected the orthodox view as to God's nature. Serapion, however, was converted by the efforts of Photinus, an Oriental deacon. Cassian tells us that an abbat Isaac explained to him in connexion with Serapion's conversion that the Anthropomorphite heresy was simply a relic of paganism. Pious men like Serapion had been so long accustomed to an image that without a material notion of God their prayers seemed objectless. Cassian, Collat. x.16; Ceill, viii.176.


Serapion, bp. of Heraclea
Serapion (16), bp. of Heraclea, an Egyptian by birth, ordained deacon by Chrysostom (Socr. H. E. vi.4), and by him made archdeacon of the church of Constantinople (Soz. H. E. viii.9). His character as drawn by contemporary historians is most unfavourable. Presuming on his official power, he treated others with contempt and exhibited an intolerable arrogance (Socr. H.E. vi.11; Soz. u.s.). His unbounded influence over Chrysostom tended continually to widen the breach between the bishop and his clergy which the stern line of action originally adopted at Serapion's instance had opened early in his episcopate. Socrates records, as a characteristic speech, that Chrysostom, having vainly endeavoured to enforce his strict notions of discipline on his worldly and luxurious clergy, Serapion exclaimed in their hearing, |You will never be able to master these men, bishop, unless you drive them all with one rod| (Socr. H. E. vi.4). Chrysostom mistakenly regarded Serapion's harshness as proof of his holy zeal (ib. vi.17).

On Chrysostom's leaving Constantinople early in 401 to regulate the affairs of the church of Asia, he deputed SEVERIAN, bp. of Gabala, to act as his commissary, but the real management of the diocese and its clergy was left to Serapion. Severian was ambitious and devoid of a high sense of honour, and Serapion had soon to report, probably with exaggerations, that he was undermining Chrysostom's influence with the court and aristocracy, and seeking to outdo him as a preacher. Chrysostom hastened back to Constantinople, and Serapion greeted him with the astounding intelligence that Severian had denied the Incarnation. The grounds of this charge were the following: Serapion having ostentatiously refused to rise to pay Severian as he passed the accustomed homage of a deacon to a bishop, with the express intention, declared to the clergy around, of shewing |how much he despised the man.| Severian, at this studied insult, indignantly exclaimed, |If Serapion dies a Christian, then Jesus Christ was not incarnate.| Serapion repeated the latter clause alone, and delated Severian as a denier of the chief article of the Christian faith. The report was confirmed by bystanders and readily credited by Chrysostom, who expelled Severian from the city as a blasphemer (Soz. H. E. viii.10; Socr H. E. vi.11). An account favourable to Serapion is found in a fragment (unwarrantably embodied in some Eng. translations of Socrates's Hist.) printed as an appendix to Socr. vi. ii. According to this, Serapion's act of disrespect was brought before a synod, which, on Serapion affirming on oath that he had not seen Severian pass, acquitted him of intentional rudeness, while Chrysostom, hoping to soothe Severian's ruffled feelings, suspended Serapion from his ecclesiastical functions for a short time. Severian, however, insisted on his deposition and excommunication. Chrysostom, annoyed at his pertinacity, quitted the synod, leaving the decision to the bishops, by whom his mild sentence was immediately confirmed. Chrysostom then broke off all intimacy with Severian and recommended him to return to his own diocese, which he had neglected too long. For the remainder of this unhappy transaction see SEVERIANUS (2). Chrysostom rewarded the supposed fidelity of Serapion by raising him to the priesthood, and returning from the brief expulsion which followed the synod of the Oak, gave Serapion the metropolitan see of Heraclea in Thrace (ib.17). On Chrysostom's second and final banishment Serapion, taking refuge in a convent of Gothic monks known as the Marsi (Chrys. Ep.14), was discovered, dragged from his hiding-place brought before Chrysostom's enemies, deposed from his bishopric, banished to Egypt, and left at the mercy of the patriarch Theophilus (Pallad. p.195 ; Soz. H. E. viii.9).


Serenus, a solitary
Serenus (4), solitary in the Nitrian desert, who, when visited by Cassian, a.d.395, discussed de Animae Mobilitate et Spiritalibus Nequitiis (Coll. vii.), and de Principatibus seu Potestatibus (Coll. viii. See Migne, Patr. Lat. t. xlix.667 seq. ). In the former he treats mostly of the nature of the soul, the rapid movement of the thoughts, the influence of evil spirits upon them, and the duty of fixing the desire on God. In the latter he declares the nature of evil spirits, their fall, subordination, and occupation. His Life, without details, is in Vitae Patrum, c.50. Migne, Patr. Lat. t. lxxiii.844 seq.; Ceill. Aut. sacr. viii.170 seq.; Fleury, H. E. xx. c.7.


Serenus, bp. of Marseilles
Serenus (5), 10th bp. of Marseilles c.595-600, known from the letters of Gregory the Great. To his good offices were commended St. Augustine on his mission to England in 596 (Greg. Magn. Ep. vi.52; Migne, Patr. Lat. lxxvii.836), and, three years later, the monks dispatched to help him (xi.58, Patr. Lat.1176). Two other letters from Gregory are preserved. Serenus in an excess of iconoclastic zeal had entered the churches of Marseilles and broken and cast forth the images. Gregory, commending his fervour against idolatry, reproved his violence, since the use of representations in a church was that the unlearned might read on the walls what they were unable to read in the Scriptures (ix.105, Patr. Lat.1027). Serenus, disregarding the warning and even affecting to believe the letter a forgery, received a severe rebuke and a reiteration of the pope's views (xi.13, Patr. Lat.1128, written Nov.1, 600). Gall. Christ. i.639; Ricard, Evêques de Marseille, 24, 25; Vies des saints de Marseille, S. Serenus, Bayle.


Sergius, saint and martyr
Sergius (2), a very celebrated military saint and martyr of the Eastern church. His Acts call him |Amicus Imperatoris.| He and Bacchus were regarded as the patron saints of Syria. Sergius suffered at Sergiopolis, or Rasaphe, in Syria, early in the 4th cent. Their united fame soon became widespread. Le Bas and Waddington (Voy. archéol. t. iii. No.2124) notice a church of E. Syria dedicated in their honour in 354 as the earliest case of such consecration to saints, and (ib. No.1915) describe one dedicated in 512 to SS. Sergius, Bacchus, and Leontius, and offer reasons for regarding Leontius as a martyr under Hadrian when ruling Syria during the last years of Trajan. Theodora, wife of Justinian, presented a jewelled cross to a church of St. Sergius, which Persian invaders carried off. Chosroes, king of Persia, returned it to Gregory, patriarch of Antioch, in 593. (Cf. Evagr. H E. iv.28; vi.21, where Chosroes is represented as a convert to the cult of Sergius.) The fame of Sergius and Bacchus spread to France, where Le Blant (Christ. Lat. Inscrip. of France, t. i. p.305) notices a church at Chartres dedicated in their honour. Le Blant (Actes des mart. p.77) notes the marks of genuineness in his Acts as told in AA. SS. Boll.; cf. Tillem. v.491.


Sergius, a Monophysite priest
Sergius (12), the name of the two Monophysite priests persecuted with John of Ephesus at Constantinople. He relates the sufferings of the Sergii, one of whom was his syncellus, the other his disciple. While John was imprisoned in the penitentiary of the hospital of Eubulus the two priests were seized, and, as they would not yield, were publicly scourged and then imprisoned in a |diaconate,| or hospital, attended by deacons and laymen, for 40 days. The syncellus was finally sent to the monastery of Beth-Rabula, where he was kindly treated, the monks there |having no love for the council of Chalcedon nor even proclaiming it in their worship| (John of Eph. H. E. p.110, trans. Payne Smith).


Severianus, bp. of Gabala
Severianus (2), bp. of Gabala on the seaboard of Syria, c.400; described by Gennadius (Ill. Eccl. Scriptt. c.21) as |in Divinis Scripturis eruditus, et in Homiliis declamator admirabilis.| He repaired to Constantinople, and was kindly received by Chrysostom, who often selected him to preach on important occasions. In spite of a rough provincial accent, he obtained considerable popularity with the people in general and with the emperor and empress, who often appointed him to preach (Gennad. u.s.). When early in 401 Chrysostom left Constantinople for the visitation of Asia Minor, he deputed his official authority to Severian as commissary, all real power being invested in his archdeacon Serapion. Severian, in Chrysostom's absence undermined his influence with the court, and fostered the dislike of the worldly and luxurious clergy of
Constantinople, whom Chrysostom's severity had greatly alienated. His conduct was reported in the darkest colours to Chrysostom by his jealous and artful rival Serapion. For the events which compelled Severian to leave for his own diocese see SERAPION. Severian had barely crossed the Bosphorus when the imperious Eudoxia compelled Chrysostom to allow his return. But Chrysostom steadily refused to readmit the offender to friendly intercourse. The empress carried her infant son, the future emperor Theodosius, in her arms, into the church of the Apostles, and casting him in Chrysostom's lap, conjured him with solemn imprecations to be reconciled with Severian. Chrysostom consented, and exhorted his congregation to submit, as loyal subjects and good Christians, to the wishes of those in authority (Homil. de recipiend. Severian. t. iii. p.422, ed. Migne). The request was acceded to with applause. Severian next day delivered a short rhetorical eulogy on the blessings of peace (Sermo ipsius Severiani de Pace, ib. p.493). The hollowness of the reconciliation was soon proved. Severian joined in a plot, under the inspiration of the empress and the powerful female influence of the court, for Chrysostom's humiliation, which ultimately proved only too successful (Pallad. Dial. pp.35, 48, 72). At the assembly of the Oak, Severian took a leading part (Pallad. p.72 ; Phot. Cod.59, p.53), and on Chrysostom's deposition, mounted the pulpit and publicly expressed approbation of the act, which he said Chrysostom had well merited for his haughtiness alone. This |barefaced attempt to justify injustice| rendered the people furious, and they were only restrained from summary measures by Chrysostom's speedy recall. Severian and his brother-intriguers fled (Socr. H. E. vi.16, 17; Soz. H. E. viii.19; Pallad. Dial. p.16). We find them at Constantinople seconding new designs for the destruction of Chrysostom set on foot by Eudoxia and the court party, and securing his final condemnation (Pallad. Dial. pp.79, 88; Soz. H. E. viii.22). Severian's malice did not cease with Chrysostom's expulsion. He is charged by Palladius with using his influence to obtain the removal of the aged invalid from Cucusus, where the climate had not proved so fatal as the malice of his enemies desired, to the more bleak and inaccessible town of Pityus (Dial.97). Severian's death may be placed under Theodosius II. between 408 and 430.

Very few of his numerous writings are extant. Some homilies printed in Chrysostom's works have been attributed to him with more or less probability. The following are regarded on satisfactory grounds as his: de Creatione Mundi, de Nativitate Christi, de Sigillis Librorum, de Serpente Aeneo, de Nativitate. We may add de Morte Innocentium, and de Cruce Homilia, pub. by Combefis with some of Chrysostom's. Du Pin attributes to Severian, from internal evidence, a large number of homilies which pass under Chrysostom's name. Severian is said to have composed a large number of commentaries on Holy Scripture, the whole being lost except for fragments in the Catenae. Gennadius read with pleasure treatises of his on Baptism and the Epiphany. A work contra Novatum is quoted by Gelasius, de Duabus Christi Naturis; and one contra Judaeos by Cosmas Indicopleustes, vii.292. According to Mabillon (Mus. Ital. i. pp.13, 124), 88 homilies bearing his name exist in MS. in the Ambrosian library and others in the Coislinian. Fabr. Bibl. Graec. ix.267; Cave, Hist. Lit. i.37; Dupin, H. E.


Severinus, monk of Noricum
Severinus (4), monk and apostle of Noricum (Austria) in the 5th cent. He was assisted by EUGIPPIUS, who afterwards presided over a monastery dedicated to his memory, and there wrote his Life c.511, describing Severinus as coming from the East to preach in Pannonia and Noricum, about the time that Attila's death was followed by contests among his sons, which wrought havoc and destruction in these provinces. Severinus lived a life of the sternest asceticism in a small cell where he could barely stand erect. His Life is full of the wonders wrought and predictions uttered by him, but is important as illustrating the social life of the outlying provinces of the empire when the foundations of the modern European system were beginning to be laid. Thus c. vi. tells of the influence he exercised in introducing the payment of tithes. He was a most devoted missionary, reverenced by Roman and barbarian alike. Odoacer sought him out and desired his blessing when about to invade Italy. |Pursue,| said the saint, |your design; proceed to Italy; you will soon cast away this coarse garment of skins, and your wealth will be adequate to your liberality of mind| (Gibbon, c. xxxvi.). Severinus died a.d.482, near Vienna. His Life is in AA. SS. Boll. (Jan.1, 483) and Pez, Scriptt. Res Austr. I.62. Herzog's Encyclop. has a very exhaustive article upon him.


Severus, L. Septimius
Severus (1), L. Septimius, emperor, born at Leptis in Tripoli in Apr.146. His family were of equestrian rank, and two of his uncles had been consuls. His early life at Rome was a mixture of study and dissipation, his talents attracting the attention of M. Aurelius, who conferred various offices upon him. In one capacity or another he held office in nearly all the western provinces. In 193 he was in command of Pannonia and Illyricum. When the news arrived of the murder of Pertinax and the sale of the empire to Didius Julianus, it aroused great indignation in the Pannonian army, and Severus taking advantage of this feeling, got himself saluted emperor by them at Carnuntum in Apr. or May, and immediately marched on Rome. Julian was abandoned by the praetorians, and put to death by order of the senate on June 1 or 2. Severus left Rome after 30 days, to fight his most formidable rival Pescennius Niger, who had assumed the purple at Antioch a few days before himself, and overthrew him in 194. Albinus, who had assumed the title of emperor, was defeated and slain on Feb.19, 197, in the plain of Trevoux near Lyons. In the autumn of 204 the secular games were celebrated with great magnificence for the last time. In 208 Severus set out for Britain, and marched through Caledonia to the extreme N., cutting down forests and making roads. He added a new rampart to the wall built by Hadrian from the Tyne to the Solway. He died at York on Feb.4, 211. Of all emperors from Augustus to Diocletian, Severus was probably the man of greatest power. Crafty, ambitious, and unscrupulous, he allowed no considerations of humanity to stand in his way. Yet he did not delight in cruelty for its own sake, and any weakness on his part would have been fatal to himself and have plunged the Roman world again in the anarchy from which he had rescued it. Disorder and brigandage throughout the empire were put down with a firm hand. He was an adept in astrology and magic.

In the earlier part of his reign he favoured the Christians. He believed he had been cured of an illness by oil administered by a Christian named Proculus, whom till his death he maintained in the palace; and the nurse and some of the playmates of CARACALLA were Christians. No Christians took a prominent part on the side of Niger or Albinus, and it is even probable that those who tried to hold Byzantium for Niger ill-treated the Christians there during the siege. The number of councils held in the early years of Severus on the time of observing Easter proves that the church was then unmolested. The first change for the worse appears to have been at the emperor's entry into Rome, a.d.197, after the defeat of Albinus. The Christians excited the fury of the mob by refusing to join in the rejoicings, an act they considered inconsistent with their religion. But Severus used his influence to protect Christian men and women of rank against the fury of the mob (ad Scap.4). But in 202 he issued an edict forbidding future conversions to Judaism or Christianity (Vita Severi, 17). His motives are unknown. Probably, as a stern statesman of the old Roman school, he foresaw the peril to the national religion and the constitution of the state that lay in the active Christian propaganda, and though personally friendly to some among them, thought it time to check the further progress of the religio illicita.

Though the edict applied only to new converts, and catechumens were accordingly the greatest sufferers, yet there were numerous victims among the Christians of long standing. In the East, the Christians suffered most in Egypt, perhaps because the emperor had visited it immediately after the promulgation of his edict. So terrible was the outbreak that Judas, a Christian writer, made the 70 weeks of Daniel expire with the 10th year of Severus, and thought the advent of Antichrist at hand. Laetus the prefect and his successor Aquila were merciless enemies of the Christians, who were dragged from all parts of Egypt to their tribunal at Alexandria. Among the most notable martyrs was Leonidas, the father of Origen, who was only prevented by a stratagem of his mother from sharing his father's fate. By a strange inconsistency Origen was allowed to visit the martyrs in prison and to be present at their trial, and even to accompany them on their way to execution, apparently without being molested by the government, though several times in great danger from mob violence.

In Africa the persecution began with a violation of the cemeteries, and a bad harvest following, the rage of the people against the Christians increased (ad Scap.3). [[531]SCILLITAN MARTYRS.] In the spring of 203, under Hilarianus the procurator, who had assumed the government on the death of the proconsul, the famous group of martyrs among whom St. Perpetua was most conspicuous, suffered. Yet here again we find the same inconsistency as at Alexandria. Deacons were allowed to visit the imprisoned Christians, unmolested, to alleviate their sufferings, and even to procure their removal to a better part of the prison. In 205 or 206, under the milder government of Julius Asper, the persecution seems to have abated, after raging for 3 years (de Pallio, 3). Many Christians had sought refuge in flight, while others tried to escape by bribing the Roman officials, and in some cases the Christian community as a whole seems to have done so. These subterfuges were regarded with scorn and abhorrence by the more enthusiastic, but no trace is to be found of the Libellatici so notorious in later persecutions. The abatement seems to have continued till near the close of the reign, but in 210 and 211 the persecution broke out again in its sharpest form under the proconsul Scapula and extended to Mauritania. There the sword was the instrument of execution, whilst the cruel Scapula burnt his victims alive or flung them to the wild beasts of the amphitheatre.

Of persecution in other parts of the empire we have only a few isolated notices. The aged Irenaeus and his companions suffered at Lyons in this reign, but no details are preserved, and even the date is uncertain. In Syria, Asclepiades, afterwards bp. of Antioch, was a confessor (Eus. H. E. vi.11). Cruel as it was, and severer than any previous one, the persecution under Severus had not the systematic character of those of Decius and Diocletian. Except Irenaeus, no bishops or prominent members seem to have been executed; many, like Tertullian and Origen, who might have been thought certain victims, were unmolested, and the resolution of the martyrs under their sufferings caused many conversions. Eus. H. E. vi.1-12; Tillem. Mém. eccl. iii.; Görres, in Jahrbücher für Protest. Theol.1878, 273; for Africa in particular, Tertullian, Apologeticus; ad Martyres; ad Nationes; ad Scapulam; de Fuga; de Corona Militis; Aubé, Revue historique, xi.241.


Severus, Aurelius Alexander
Severus (2), Aurelius Alexander, emperor, born at Arca Caesarea in Syria, Oct.1, 205 (Lampridius) or 208 (Herodian). For an account of his family see ELAGABALUS. Like him he was made in childhood a priest of the Sun at Emesa, and when his cousin became emperor he and his mother Julia Mammaea accompanied him to Rome. Mammaea took the utmost pains to educate her son and to preserve him uncontaminated by the monstrous excesses of his cousin. Created Caesar by the emperor in 221; on Feb.1, 222 (Clinton), he became emperor on the death of Elagabalus and his mother Soaemis at the hands of the indignant soldiery. Being then at most not yet 17, the administration rested with his mother and grandmother Julia Mammaea and Julia Maesa, the latter of whom, till her death c.225, enjoyed the greater power. Their chief minister or regent was the famous jurist Ulpian, whose appointment appears to have been due to Maesa's influence, though Mammaea afterwards acquiesced in it (Lamp.50). He was assisted by a council of at least 70 members, 16 to 20 eminent jurists of whom formed a sort of inner cabinet (cf. Herodian, vi. i. with Lamp.15); separate committees of this council administering different departments of the state.

The first step of the new administration was to reverse the acts of Elagabalus. The images of the gods he had collected at Rome from all parts of the empire were restored to their former shrines. His creatures were removed from offices obtained by disgraceful means. The senate, knights, tribes, and army were purged of the infamous persons appointed by Elagabalus, and the imperial establishment reduced as low as possible.

The praetorians and the army did not easily acquiesce in these reforms. Probably in order to check their mutinous spirit their prefects Flavianus and Chrestus were put to death and Ulpian made sole prefect. From some trifling cause a riot broke out between the praetorians and the people, lasting for three days. The soldiers, getting the worst of it, set fire to the city and thus checked their assailants. They could not endure the firm rule of Ulpian. Several times he had to take refuge in the palace, and was saved with difficulty by the emperor from their fury. At last, probably in 228, he was killed by the soldiers in the presence of Alexander and his mother, who were only able by a stratagem to punish the ringleader. Throughout the empire the same insubordinate spirit prevailed. The troops in Mesopotamia mutinied and killed their commander, Flavius Heracleon. The historian Dion by his firm rule in Pannonia so excited the hatred of the praetorians that Alexander was driven to the humiliating expedient of requesting him not to come to Rome during his consulship.

This spirit of mutiny was the more dangerous as this reign witnessed the Persian revolt under Artaxerxes against the Parthians, which, after three great battles, in one of which the Parthian king Artabanus fell, completely broke the Parthian power, and by the most extraordinary revival in history reestablished the kingdom of Darius in 226. As heir of the ancient monarchy he claimed all the Asiatic provinces of Rome. Such pretensions naturally produced a war. At the end of 231 or the beginning of 232 the emperor, accompanied by his mother, left Rome to fight the Persians, but returned without any decisive results to Europe, being summoned by news of the movements of the Germans on the Rhine and Danube. After a triumph at Rome on Sept.25, 233 (Clinton), he proceeded to the Rhine frontier, where he was slain in his tent, and his mother with him, near Mayence, at the beginning of 235 (Clinton), by the mutinous soldiery.

Thus perished one of the most virtuous of the emperors. Apparently his only faults were an excessive deference to his mother and a certain want of energy. He was frugal, temperate, and chaste. He was fond of reading, preferring Greek to Latin authors. His favourite works were the Republic of Plato and the de Officiis and de Republica of Cicero. He was also fond of Vergil and Horace. He was acquainted with geometry, was able to paint, and could sing and play on various instruments. Though he attended the temples regularly and visited the Capitol every seventh day, and though he rebuilt and adorned the shrines of various deities, by a curious anticipation of Comtism, the objects of his peculiar veneration were not the gods of the various popular religions, but deified heroes and men. The private chapel in which he performed his devotions every morning contained no images of gods, but statues of canonized men, including the best of his predecessors, Alexander the Great, who might be called his patron saint, Orpheus, Apollonius of Tyana, Abraham, and Christ. In a smaller chapel were images of Achilles, Vergil (whom he used to call the Plato of poets), Cicero, and other great men. From his mother's intercourse with Origen (Eus. H. E. vi.21) he would naturally have better means of learning the doctrines and practices of Christianity than any of his predecessors. It is said that he contemplated erecting a temple to Christ and placing Him among the gods. At any rate, though he did not give Christianity the status of a religio licita, the Christians during his reign enjoyed a de facto toleration. In the famous suit between the guild of cooks and the Christians for a piece of land, which according to tradition is the site of St. Maria in Trastevere, he decided in favour of the Christians on the broad ground that it was better God should be worshipped there under whatever form than that it should be given to the cooks. This decision implies a certain recognition of the right of the Christians as such to hold property, which is also implied by the life of CALLISTUS. Consistently with this, it is in the reign of Alexander that edifices set apart for Christian worship begin to appear -- at any rate in some parts of the empire (cf. the letter of Firmilian to Cyprian (in Migne, Patr. Lat. iii.1163) with Origen, Hom.28 on St. Matthew (quoted in contra Celsum, viii.755, in Migne, Patr. Gk. xi.1539)). A form of the golden rule of Christian morality (|Do not do to another what you would not have done to yourself |) was so admired by the emperor that he caused it to be inscribed on the palace and other buildings. A curious anecdote of Lampridius (44) shews the emperor's acquaintance with Christian usages and also the antiquity of the practice of publishing to the congregation the names of those who sought ordination. In imitation of this the emperor caused the names of persons he was about to appoint to be published beforehand, exhorting any who had charges against them to come with proofs.

Strange to say, in later tradition the emperor, whom all writers near his time represent as a friend, nay almost a convert, to Christianity, whose chapel contained an image of Christ and whose household was filled with Christians (Eus. H. E. vi.28), appears as a cruel persecutor. It is said that pope Callistus with many companions, St. Caecilia and her comrades, pope Urban I., and many others suffered in his reign, and that he personally took part in their martyrdom, On the other hand, no Father of the 3rd, 4th, or 5th cents. knows anything of such a persecution, but on the contrary agree in representing his reign as a period of peace. Firmilian (l.c.) testifies that before the persecution of Maximin the church had enjoyed a long peace, and Sulpicius Severus (ii.32 in Patr. Lat. xx.447) includes the reign of Alexander in the long peace lasting from Septimius Severus to Decius, broken only by the persecution of Maximin. Against this can be set only the evidence of late authors, such as Bede, Ado, and Usuard and unauthentic Acts of martyrs. The most famous of the alleged martyrs of this reign, St. Caecilia and her companions, are placed by other accounts in the reigns of M. Aurelius or Diocletian. All are given up by Tillemont except Callistus. His chief ground for considering him a martyr is that in the Depositio Martyrum, written in 354 (in Patr. Lat. cxxvii.123), a Callistus is mentioned as martyred on Oct.14, the day on which the pope is commemorated. Lipsius (Chronol. d. röm. Bischöfe, 177) acutely conjectures that this notice refers, not to the martyrdom, but to the confession of Callistus before Fuscianus mentioned by Hippolytus, as up to the Decian persecution the word |martyr| was still used in the wider sense. We may therefore conclude that all these accounts of persecutions and martyrdoms, so inconsistent with the known character of the emperor and passed over in silence by all authors for more than two cents. afterwards, are fictions of a later date.


Severus (3) and Severians
Severus (3) and Severians. [[534]ENCRATITES.]

Severus Sanctus
Severus (12) Sanctus (Endelechius). Perhaps identical with the rhetorician mentioned in the subscription of the Cod. Flor. of Apuleius, as teaching at Rome in 395. He is the author of a Christian idyll, in Asclepiad metre, upon the subject of a great cattle-plague; possibly that mentioned by St. Ambrose (Comm. in Luc. x.10). This plague occurred c.376, which fact, together with the date assigned for Endelechius's teaching, and the possibility that he was the correspondent of St. Paulinus of Nola (Ep. xxviii.6), would fix the date of the poem at the end of the 4th or beginning of the 5th cent. The poem is entitled |de Mortibus Boum,| and written with some taste and a good deal of vigour. It represents certain herdsmen -- apparently Aquitanians -- discussing their fortunes in the general affliction. One of them asserts that his herds have been protected by the sign of the Cross and by his own belief in Christ. The others resolve to adopt a religion which, according to his account, is at once profitable and easy. The poem has been often edited: first by Pithoeus (Paris, 1586). It is in Wernsdorf, Poetae Lat. Min. ii.; Migne, xix. Cave, Hist. Litt. i.290; Ebert, Gesch. der Chr.-Lat. Lit.; Fabric. Bibl. Graeca, x.626, 2nd ed.; Teuffel, vol. ii.


Severus Sulpicius, an historian
Severus (18) Sulpicius, ecclesiastical historian in Gaul, belonging to a noble family of Aquitaine, born after a.d.353. He became an advocate and married a woman of consular rank and wealth, who did not long survive the marriage. While yet in the flower of his age, c.392, caressed and praised by all and eminent in his profession (Paulinus, Ep. v., Migne, Patr. Lat. lxi.169-170), he braved his father's anger and the flouts of worldly acquaintances (ib. i. col.154), and retired from the world. Thenceforth with a few disciples and servants he led a life of ascetic seclusion and literary activity. Where he abode is not quite certain, but probably at Primuliacum, a village between Toulouse and Carcassonne, where he built two churches (ib. Ep. xxxii.). It was probably an estate of his wife or mother-in-law, his father apparently having disinherited him (cf. Ep. ad Bassulam). According to Gennadius he was a priest, but this has been questioned, and his tone towards the bishops and clergy, against whom he constantly inveighs as vain, luxurious, self-seeking, factious foes of Christianity and envious persecutors of his hero St. Martin, lends countenance to the doubt (Hist. Sacr. ii.32; Vita S Martini, 27; Dial.1, 2, 9, 21, 24, 26). Later authors have believed him a monk, some of Marmoûtiers, Martin's foundation at Tours, others of Marseilles, whither he may have been driven by the Vandal invasion. This seems probable from c. i. of Dial.1 (cf. also ii.8). Gennadius asserts that in his old age he was deceived into Pelagianism, but recognizing the fault of loquacity, remained mute till his death, in order by penitential silence to correct the sin he had committed by much speaking. Others, from a passage in St. Jerome (in Ezech. c. xxxvi., Migne, Patr. Lat. xx.85), have accused him of Millenarianism. At the Roman council held by pope Gelasius in 494 the Dialogi, under the name of Opuscula Postumiani et Galli, were certainly placed among the libri apocryphi (Mansi, viii.151). The charge rested on Dial. ii.14, where a strange theory as to the imminent appearance among men of Nero and Antichrist is put into the mouth of St. Martin. The chapter has been expunged in many Italian MSS. (Halm. Sulpic. Sev. Praefatio). Various years between 406 and 429 have been suggested for his death. The principal authorities for his Life are the short biography of Gennadius (de Scriptt. Eccles. xix., Migne, Patr. Lat. lviii.1071), the letters of his friend Paulinus of Nola, with whom between 394 and 403 he constantly interchanged gifts and letters, though only one letter of Sulpicius, and that probably a forgery, survives (Epp. i. v. xi. xvii. xxii.-xxiv. xxvii.-xxxii., Migne, Patr. Lat. lxi.153-330; Ceillier, vii.55 sqq ), allusions in his own writings, esp. the Vita S. Martini, the Epistolae, and the Dialogi; and a panegyric by Paulinus of Périgueux (de Vita S. Martini lib. v. Patr. Lat. lxi.1052 ). A modern and exhaustive notice is by Jacob Bernays, Die Chronik des Sulp. Sev. (Berlin, 1861).

His works consist of the Historia Sacra or Chronica, a Life of St. Martin of Tours, 3 letters, and 3 dialogues. An Eng. trans. is in Schaff and Wace's Lib. of Post-Nicene Fathers. The Historia, written c.403, was an attempt to give a concise history of the world with dates from the creation to his own times, the consulship of Stilicho in 400. His sources are the LXX, the ancient Latin version of the Scriptures, the Chronicles of Eusebius, and the Historici Ethnici, as he calls the non-Christian authors (Herbert, Notice, p.7). Bk. i. and part of ii. are occupied with universal history down to the birth of Christ. Then, omitting the period covered by the Gospels and Acts, he adds some details to Josephus's narrative of the siege of Jerusalem, recounts persecutions of the Christians under 9 emperors, and describes the Invention of the Cross by St. Helena, as he had heard it from Paulinus. His account of the Arian controversy (ii.35-45) is inaccurate and of little value; but of more importance is that of the Priscillianist heresy, which had arisen in his time and with the details of which he was familiar.

The Vita S. Martini, the earliest of his writings, is very important as containing, with the Dialogues and 3 letters, practically everything that is authentic about that popular saint of Western Christendom. He tells us that, having long heard of the sanctity and miracles of Martin, he went to Tours to see him, asked him all the questions he could, and got information from eyewitnesses and those who knew (c.25). This visit, probably c.394, was followed by many others. The book was pub. during Martin's lifetime.

In the Dialogi, written c.405, the interlocutors are his friend Postumianus, just back from a three years' stay in the East, Gallus, a disciple of St. Martin, now dead, and Sulpicius himself. Twenty-two chapters of Dial. i. contain interesting pictures of the controversy at Alexandria between archbp. Theophilus and the monks concerning Origen, St. Jerome at his church in Bethlehem, and the monks and hermits of the Thebaid. Postumianus asks about St. Martin, and bears witness to the enormous popularity of the Life in almost every country. Paulinus had introduced it at Rome, where the whole city had fought for it. All Carthage was reading it, the Alexandrians knew its contents almost better than the author, and it had penetrated into Egypt, Nitria, and the Thebaid. All were clamouring for those further wonders which Sulpicius had omitted (c.23, cf. Vita, prol.) and with which the remainder of the Dialogues is almost entirely occupied.

The Epistles are also about St. Martin, the first giving the story of his death and burial. Seven more letters have been published under Sulpicius's name; several have been generally suspected (Ceillier, 119-120), but all are pronounced spurious by Halm (Pref. xl.-xiii.).

The best ed. of the collected works is that of C. Halm (Sulpicii Severi Libri qui supersunt, Vindob, 1866). His works have been several times translated into French, e.g. by M. Herbert (Paris, 1847).

Apart from the unique History of St. Martin (which, however, is the worst of his writings from a literary point of view), Sulpicius's chief title to fame rests on his beauty and purity of style, in respect of which he is pre-eminent, if not unique, among ecclesiastical authors, and well merits his appellation of the |Christian Sallust.| He seems to have taken this historian as his model, but his writings shew familiarity with Vergil, Livy, Tacitus, and most classical authors. Perhaps his work is somewhat lacking in vigour, and not entirely free from the affectations and bad taste of his time. The credulity and superstition of the narrative had, as regards Martin's Miracles, evidently excited scepticism even among the Christians in Sulpicius's own time (see Dial. iii.6). [[535]MARTIN (1)]. For an estimate of Sulpicius's works see Ceill. viii.121-122.


Severus, bp. of Mileum
Severus (19), bp. of Mileum or Mileus, a native of the same place as Augustine, and a fellow-student, lifelong friend, and member of the same monastic community. Early in his episcopate, probably in 401, Augustine, Alypius, and Samsucius had to explain their conduct in the matter of Timotheus and to call on Severus to accept their explanation (Aug. Epp.62, 63), but this temporary misunderstanding did not interrupt his friendship with Augustine, nor cause any ill-will on his part towards Timotheus (Aug. En. Ps.95.1; de Civitate Dei, xxi.4). In a letter somewhat later, perhaps a.d.406, addressed to Novatus, Augustine regrets being not often able to see his old friend, who wrote seldom, and then chiefly on business, not from want of goodwill but from necessity (Aug. Ep.84). Severus exchanged letters and friendly messages with Paulinus of Nola (ib.31.9 and 32.1), and c.409 wrote to Augustine expressing his great delight in his writings, as leading him to greater love of God, and begging him to write in return (Epp.109). Augustine replied, insisting that he himself was the debtor. Severus appears to have joined in the address to Innocentius concerning Pelagianism, a.d.416 (Aug. Epp.175, 176). He probably died c.426.


Severus, bp. of Monorca
Severus (22), bp. of Minorca, known by his encyclical letter referred to in the book do Miraculis S. Stephani, composed by order of Evodius of Uzalis (Migne, Patr. Lat. xx.731). Orosius had deposited some recently discovered relics of St. Stephen in the church at Magona (Port Mahon), where there were a large number of Jews, one of whom, the rabbi Theodorus, was defensor civitatis. The arrival of the relics caused great religious excitement among Minorcan Christians, which led to constant arguments between them and the Jews, ending in riots in which the synagogue was set on fire and burnt to the bare walls. The conversion of a great number of Jews, including Theodorus himself, followed. On the site of the destroyed synagogue the Jews erected a church. These events occurred in the last week of Jan.418. Gams, Kircheng. von Sp. ii. (1) 406.


Severus, patriarch of Antioch
Severus (27), Monophysite patriarch of Antioch a.d.512-519, a native of Sozopolis in Pisidia, by birth and education a heathen, baptized in the martyry of Leontius at Tripolis (Evagr. H. E. iii.33; Labbe, v.40, 120).

He almost at once openly united himself with the Acephali, repudiating his own baptism and his baptizer, and even the Catholic church itself as infected with Nestorianism (Labbe, u.s.). On embracing Monophysite doctrines he entered a monastery apparently belonging to that sect between Gaza and its port Majuma. Here he met Peter the Iberian, a zealous Eutychian, who had been ordained bp. of Gaza by Theodosius, the Monophysite monk, during his usurpation of the see of Jerusalem (Evagr. l.c.). About this time Severus apparently joined a Eutychian brotherhood near Eleutheropolis under the archimandrite Mamas, who further confirmed him in his extreme Monophysitism (Liberat. Brev. c. xix.; Labbe, v.762; Evagr. l.c.). Severus rejected the Henoticon of Zeno, applying to it contumelious epithets, such as kenotikon, |the annulling edict,| and diairetikon, |the disuniting edict | (Labbe, v.121), and anathematized Peter Mongus, the Monophysite patriarch of Alexandria, for accepting it. We next hear of him in an Egyptian monastery, of which one Nephalius was abbat, who, having been formerly a Monophysite, had embraced the faith of Chalcedon. Nephalius with his monks expelled Severus and his partizans (Evagr. l.c., Cf. iii.22). Severus is charged with having stirred up a fierce religious war among the excitable population of Alexandria, resulting in bloodshed and conflagrations (Labbe, v.121). To escape the punishment of his turbulence he fled to Constantinople, supported by a band of 200 Monophysite monks (ib. iv.1419). Anastasius, who had succeeded the emperor Zeno, the author of the Henoticon, in 491, was a declared favourer of the Eutychians, and by him Severus was received with honour. His advent was an unhappy one for the peace of Constantinople, where a sanguinary tumult was stirred up by rival bands of monks, orthodox and Monophysite, chanting in their respective churches the opposing forms of the |Trisagion.| This tumult resulted, a.d.511, in the humiliation of Anastasius the temporary triumph of the patriarch Macedonius, and the depression of the Monophysite cause (Theophan, p.132). Severus was eagerly dispatched by Anastasius to occupy the vacant throne of Antioch a.d.511. He was ordained, or, in the words of his adversaries, |received the shadow of ordination| (Labbe, v.40), and enthroned on the same day in his patriarchal city (ib. iv.1414; Theod. Lect. ii.31, pp.563, 567; Theophan. p.134), and that very day solemnly pronounced in his church an anathema on Chalcedon, and accepted the Henoticon he had previously repudiated. He caused the name of Peter Mongus to be inscribed in the diptychs; declared himself in communion with the Eutychian prelates, Timotheus of Constantinople and John Niciota of Alexandria; and received into communion Peter of Iberia and other leading members of the Acephali (Evagr. H. E. iii.33; Labbe, iv.1414, v.121, 762; Theod. Lect. l.c.). Eutychianism seemed now triumphant throughout the Christian world. Proud of his patriarchal dignity and strong in the emperor's protection, Severus despatched letters to his brother-prelates, announcing his elevation and demanding communion. In these he anathematized Chalcedon and all who maintained the two natures. They met with a very varied reception. Many rejected them altogether, nevertheless Monophysitism was everywhere in the ascendant in the East, and Severus was deservedly regarded as its chief champion (Severus of Ashmunain apud Neale, Patr. Alex. ii.27). Synodal letters were interchanged between John Niciota and Severus; the earliest examples of that intercommunication between the Jacobite sees of Alexandria and Antioch, which has been kept up to the present day (Neale, l.c.). The triumph of Severus was, however, short. His sanguinary tyranny over the patriarchate of Antioch did not survive his imperial patron. Anastasius was succeeded in 518 by Justin, who at once declared for the orthodox faith. The Monophysite prelates were everywhere replaced by orthodox successors. Severus was one of the first to fall. Irenaeus, the count of the East, was commissioned to arrest him. Severus, however, escaped, and in Sept.518 sailed by night for Alexandria (Liberat. Brev. l.c.; Theophan.141 ; Evagr. H. E. iv.4). Paul was ordained in his room. Severus and his doctrines were anathematized in various councils. At Alexandria his reception by his fellow-religionists was enthusiastic. He was gladly welcomed by the patriarch Timotheus, and generally hailed as the champion of the orthodox faith against the corruptions of Nestorianism. His learning and argumentative power established his authority as |os omnium doctorum,| and the day of his entrance into Egypt was long celebrated as a Jacobite festival (Neale, u.s. p.30). Alexandria speedily became the resort of Monophysites of every shade of opinion, who formed too powerful a body for the emperor to molest. But fierce controversies sprang up among themselves on various subtle questions connected with Christ's nature and His human body. A vehement dispute arose between Severus and his fellow-exile Julian of Halicarnassus as to the corruptibility of our Lord's human body before His resurrection. Julian and his followers were styled |Aphthartodocetae| and |Phantasiastae,| Severus and his adherents |Phthartolatrae| or |Corrupticolae,| and |Ktistolatrae.| The controversy was a warm and protracted one and no settlement was arrived at. The Jacobites, however, claim the victory for Severus (Renaudot, p.129). After some years in Egypt spent in continual literary and polemical activity, Severus was unexpectedly summoned to Constantinople by Justin's successor Justinian, whose consort Theodora warmly favoured the Eutychian party. The emperor was utterly weary of the turmoil caused by the prolonged theological discussions. Severus, he was told, was the master of the Monophysite party. Unity could only be regained by his influence. At this period, a.d.535. Anthimus had been recently appointed to the see of Constantinople by Theodora's influence. He was a concealed Eutychian, who on his accession threw off the orthodox mask and joined heartily with Severus and his associates, Peter of Apamea and Zoaras, in their endeavours to get Monophysitism recognized as the orthodox faith. This introduction of turbulent Monophysites threw the city into great disorder, and large numbers embraced their pernicious heresy (Labbe, v.124). For the further progress of this audacious attempt to establish Monophysitism in the imperial city see JUSTINIANUS; AGAPETUS. Eventually, at the instance of pope Agapetus, who happened to visit Constantinople on political business at this time, the Monophysites Anthimus and Timotheus were deposed, and Severus again subjected to an anathema. The orthodox Mennas, succeeding Anthimus (Liberat. Breviar. c. xxi.; Labbe, v.774), summoned a synod in May and June 536 to deal with the Monophysite question. Severus and his two companions were cast out |as wolves| from the true fold, and anathematized (Labbe, v.253-255). The sentence was ratified by Justinian (ib.265). The writings of Severus were proscribed; any one possessing them who failed to commit them to the flames was to lose his right hand (Evagr. H. E. iv.11; Novell. Justinian. No.42; Matt. Blastar. p.59). Severus returned to Egypt, which he seems never again to have left. The date of his death is fixed variously in 538, 539, and 542. According to John of Ephesus, he died in the Egyptian desert (ed. Payne Smith, i.78).

He was a very copious writer, but we possess little more than fragments. An account of them, so far as they can be identified, is given by Cave (Hist. Lit. vol. i. pp.499 ff.) and Fabricius (Bibl. Graec. lib. v. c.36, vol. x. pp.614 ff., ed. Harless). A very large number exist only in Syriac, for which consult the catalogue of the Syriac MSS. in the Brit. Mus. by Prof. Wright.

Severus was successful in his great aim of uniting the Monophysites into one compact body with a definitely formulated creed. For notwithstanding the numerous subdivisions of the Monophysites, he was, in Dorner's words, |strictly speaking, the scientific leader of the most compact portion of the party,| and regarded as such by the Monophysites and their opponents. He was the chief object of attack in the long and fierce contest with the orthodox, by whom he is always designated as the author and ringleader of the heresy. His opinions, however, were far from consistent, and his opponents apparently had much difficulty in arriving at a clear and definite view of them, and constantly asserted that he contradicted himself. This was partly forced upon him by the conciliatory position he aimed at. Hoping to embrace as many as possible of varying theological colour, he followed the traditional formulas of the church as closely as he could, while affixing his own sense upon them (Dorner, Pers. of Christ, div. ii. vol. i. p.136, Clark's trans.). In 1904 the Sixth Book of the Select Letters of Severus, in the Syriac version of Athanasius of Nisibis, were ed. by G. E. W. Brooks (Lond.). For a full statement of his opinions see the great work of Dorner, and art. |Monophysiten| in Herzog's Encyc.


Severus, patriarch of Aquileia
Severus (31), patriarch of Aquileia, succeeding Elias c.586. Like his predecessors, he was a strenuous champion of the Three Chapters. Soon after his consecration the exarch Smaragdus seized him in his basilica at Grado, where the bishops of Aquileia had taken refuge, and carried him off to Ravenna with three other bishops -- Severus of Trieste, John of Parenzo, and Videmius of Ceneda. There he was imprisoned a whole year and subjected to personal ill-treatment till he consented with those three suffragans, and two others, to communicate with John, archbp. of Ravenna. He was then allowed to return to Grado, but the people refused to communicate with him till he had acknowledged his fault in communicating with those who condemned the Three Chapters and had been received by a synod of ten bishops at Marano, c.589 (Paulus Diac. Hist. Lang. iii.26).

Gregory the Great, at the end of 590 or beginning of 591, wrote to him expressing his regret at his relapse into schism, and summoning him by the emperor's orders to Rome, with his followers, that a synod might decide the matter (Epp. i. and. ix.317 in Migne, Patr. Lat. lxxvii.461). Three separate appeals were presented to the emperor Maurice, the third (and only one extant) being by the bishops of the continental part which was in the hands of the Lombards. In it the bishops urge the injustice of the pope, from whose communion they had separated, being judge in his own cause. They profess willingness, when peace is restored, to attend and accept the decisions of a free council at Constantinople, and point out that the clergy and people of the suffragans of Aquileia are so zealous for the Three Chapters that, if the patriarch is compelled to submit by force, when future vacancies occur among his suffragans the new bishops would be compelled to seek consecration from the bishops of Gaul, and the province of Aquileia would thus be broken up (Mansi, x.463). Maurice accordingly directed the pope to leave Severus and his suffragans alone for the present. Gregory submitting, Severus maintained his position through Gregory's life, and died in 606 or 607 (Paulus Diac. iv.33), after an episcopate of 21 years and a month. He bequeathed all his property to his cathedral at Grado (Chr. Patr. Grad. in Script. Rer. Lang.394).


Sidonius Apollinaris, St
Sidonius (2) Apollinaris, St. His grandfather Apollinaris had been praefectus praetorio of Gaul under the rival emperor Constantine, a.d.408 (Zos. vi.4; Olympiodorus, ap. Phot. Bibl. p.57, ed. Bekker), and was the first of the family to become a Christian. An epitaph written by his grandson for his tomb near Lyons speaks of him in the highest terms, especially on this account. His great-grandfather held a high official situation (Sid. Ep. iii.12, i.3); his father was a tribune and a notary or secretary under Honorius, and under Valentinian III. became praefectus praetorio of Aquitania I. a.d.449 (ib. iii.1, v.9, viii.6).

First Period, 431-471. -- Sidonius was born Nov.5, 431 or 432, probably at Lyons (Carm. xx.1). He was apparently educated at that then famous seat of education, in the same school as his cousin Avitus. Soon after he was 20 years old he married Papianilla, only daughter of Flavius Eparchius Avitus, a native of Auvergne, who was praefectus praetorio at Arles from 439 to 443. Avitus, a soldier, diplomatist and lover of nature and literature, retired after 451 to his own house and patrimonial estate at Avitacum, near the modern Clermont (ib. vii.230, 316, 339, 460, etc.). Avitus had two sons, Ecdicius and Agricola, with whom, after his marriage, Sidonius lived on most friendly and affectionate terms. He had a son Apollinaris and two daughters, Roscia and Severiana. A letter is extant, addressed to Apollinaris when almost 16 years old, commending his blameless behaviour, and warning him against the bad example and vicious society of some profligates at Lyons, where he was studying (Ep. iii.13). There is also a letter to Agricola, mingling tender feeling with quiet humour, excusing himself from joining a fishing excursion as his daughter Severiana was alarmingly ill, on whose behalf, as well as his own, he begs Agricola's prayers. He expresses his firm trust in Christ as his best support (Ep. ii.12). On the death of Maximus, Avitus was proclaimed emperor at Toulouse and at Beaucaire, a.d.455, and was followed to Rome by his son-in-law, who pronounced on him a panegyric poem of 602 hexameter lines on Jan.1, 456 (Carm. vii.369-404, 510-572), and as a reward received the honour of a brazen statue in the basilica of Trajan, in a space between the two libraries. The reign of Avitus ended in 456. Majorian, who became emperor, crossed the Alps, defeated the Burgundian invaders, captured Lyons, imposing hard conditions and heavy taxes on the citizens, which he was induced to remit (Mar.459) by a florid panegyric in 603 hexameters pronounced by Sidonius and some elegiac verses addressed to him and to his principal secretary Peter, a man ambitious of literary renown, whom Sidonius calls his Maecenas. Sidonius obtained also, perhaps somewhat later, the office of count of the Palace (Ep. i. ii; Carm. iii. iv. v. xiii.). In 460, when the emperor was holding his court at Arles, and had gathered round him the most eminent literary men Of Gaul, Domnulus, Lampridius, and Severianus, Sidonius distinguished him. self by an improvised poem in praise of a book by secretary Peter. From 461 to 465 Sidonius appears to have lived in retirement from public business, but fulfilling his part as a great landed proprietor at Avitacum of a possession into which he came in right of his wife on the death of Avitus, and which he describes enthusiastically, in a letter written in the style of Pliny to his friend Domitius. His description of the house and grounds is very pleasing and picturesque, its trees and underwood, its lake, fountains, and cascade.

Several letters to friends belong to this period, especially one to Eriphius, a citizen of Lyons, perhaps a.d.461, describing a church gathering in commemoration of St. Justus at Lyons on Sept.2, the procession before daybreak, the large congregation of both sexes, the psalms sung antiphonally by monks and clerks, the Eucharistic celebration, the great heat caused by the crowd and the number of lights, cooled after a time by the autumnal morning.

When Anthemius became emperor, a.d.467, he sent for Sidonius to Rome, on business which the people of Auvergne deputed him to manage on their behalf. Under the favour of Christ, as he says, he undertook the mission, his expenses being provided by the imperial treasury. At Rome he stayed at the house of Paulus, a man of prefectorian rank, possessing literary and scientific ability, who persuaded him, as likely to promote his own interests, to celebrate the inauguration of Anthemius the new consul by a poem. The result was a panegyric in 548 hexameters. This was rewarded by the high office of prefect of the senate and of the city of Rome, of which he writes in a tone of gratified ambition to Philimatius. He remained at Rome until 469, and then retired to Gaul, residing partly at Lyons and partly at Avitacum. Towards the end of that year or the beginning of 470, the province of Lugdunensis I. was surrendered by Anthemius to the Burgundians as the price of their assistance against the Visigoths (Tillem. Emp. vi. p.357) These barbarians Sidonius describes as less ferocious than other German races, but complains of their perverse ways, revolting and odious to those over whom they domineered. Of their ruler (tetrarches) Chilperic II., and his wife Agrippina, he speaks more favourably (Ep. v.7; Carm. xii. ). About this time a new church was erected at Lyons through the exertions of bp. Patiens, for whom Sidonius had the most affectionate reverence. He was present at the dedication, which he describes in hendecasyllables (Ep. ii.10). At the request of bp. Perpetuus he wrote an elegiac inscription for the church of St. Martin at Tours, which Perpetuus had enlarged (Ep. iv.18).

Second Period, 471-475. -- Threatened by invasion and surrounded by enemies political and religious (for Euric, the Visigothic king, whose capital was Toulouse, was a zealous supporter of Arian doctrine and persecuted the Catholics with great severity), the people of Clermont, when their bishop, Eparchius, died, a.d.471, united in a clamorous demand that Sidonius should succeed him. He was not in holy orders, but had shewn himself without ostentation a devout Christian, though a somewhat flexible and elastic politician. His ability was beyond question; as a man of letters he stood in the foremost rank; he held a high place, probably the highest, among the landed proprietors of his province, whose interests he was firm and patriotic in upholding, and had taken an active part more than once on behalf of its inhabitants, in which also he had been ably and zealously supported by his friends, of whom, both in military and civil affairs, Ecdicius, his wife's brother, held the chief place in the district (Greg. Tur. ii.21). Fully aware of his own deficiencies, he accepted the office unwillingly, begging his friends, among them Fonteius bp. of Vaison, Euphronius bp. of Autun, Leontius bp. of Arles, and Lupus bp. of Troyes, who wrote to congratulate him on his appointment, to pray for him (Epp. v.3; vi.1, 3, 7; vii.8, 9; ix.2). From this time he gave up writing verses of a light kind, as ill-suited to his time of life and the gravity of his office (Ep. ix.12). But at his friends' requests he criticized compositions and wrote hymns in honour of martyrs. With his wife Papianilla, though there is no doubt of his undiminished affection for her, he probably, as is assumed by Sirmond, Tillemont, and others, lived on terms not of connubial but of fraternal intimacy; no evidence of this appears from his own writings. That they continued to live together is plain from the story told by Gregory of Tours, that she found fault with him for parting with his plate to give to the poor (Greg. Tur. ii.22). He became a diligent student of Scripture, though disclaiming earnestly any ability as a commentator, and also of ecclesiastical writers, as Augustine, Jerome, Origen, etc. (Epp. viii.4; ix.2).

From 471 until 474, when Auvergne was first attacked formally by the Visigoth, it is not easy to fix accurately all the dates of events or of letters.

After he came to the throne of Toulouse in 466 Euric lost no opportunity of increasing his dominions by aggression upon the Roman. During 473, or early in 474, the province of Berry fell to him, and he took advantage of the weakness of the Roman empire after the death of Anthemius to extend his dominion towards the Rhone and the Loire; Auvergne being now the only province remaining to the Romans W. of the Rhone and in constant danger of invasion. No formal attack, however, took place until the autumn of 474. At some time in 474, as it seems, Avitus, brother-in-law of Sidonius, endowed the see of Clermont with a farm called Cuticiacum (Cunhiae), not far from the city, and in the letter mentioning this Sidonius speaks also of the threatened invasion and of his confidence in Avitus in case of negotiation (Ep. iii.1). Meanwhile, as the autumn advanced, the Visigoths entered the territory of Auvergne, and communication with distant places became more difficult. In preparations to resist the enemy Sidonius acted as a leader of the people, and was greatly assisted by his brother-in-law Ecdicius, who with a handful of cavalry attacked and defeated a large force of the enemy. They retired at the end of 474 or beginning of 475, but not so completely as to remove the apprehension of future attack or the necessity for watch to be kept on the walls during the snowy days and dark nights of winter (Ep. iii.7). A brief truce with the Visigothic king appears to have been arranged early in 475, perhaps through the agency of Epiphanius, bp. of Pavia. During this temporary cessation of hostilities a report became current that Euric had invaded the Roman territory of Auvergne, and Sidonius summoned his people to join in acts of fasting and prayer conducted like the Rogations instituted, or rather revived and reorganized, some years previously by Mamertus, bp. of Vienne, and of which, in a letter to him, he recounts the history. He also begs the prayers of the bishop and his flock for the people of Auvergne, and as a claim upon their attention mentions the transfer to Vienne at some previous time of the remains of Ferreolus and the head of Julian, both of them martyrs and natives of Auvergne. He also wrote to his friend Aper, entreating him as a citizen of Clermont to leave his warm baths at Aquae Calidae and come to Clermont to take part in the solemn service (Epp. v.14; vii.1; Greg. Tur. Hist. Fr. ii.11, de Mirac. ii.1, 2; |Rogation Days,| D. C. A. vol. ii. p.1809; Baron. ann.475, xii.-xxi.; Tillem. vol. xvi. pp.247, 248). No actual invasion of Auvergne appears to have occurred, and negotiations, in which bps. Basilius of Aix, Faustus of Riez, Graecus of Marseilles, and Leontius of Arles, were among the acting counsellors, ultimately resulted in the surrender of Auvergne to the Visigoths. It was probably during these negotiations that Euric, a zealous partisan of the Arian heresy, whose hostility in this direction, Sidonius says, he feared more than his attacks on Roman fortifications, deprived of their sees and in many cases put to death or banished many bishops in the regions subject to him, allowing no successors to be appointed. Churches were overthrown, their sites overrun by animals, Christian discipline destroyed; and writing to Basilius, Sidonius implores him, as in touch with the political negotiators, to obtain permission for the exercise of episcopal ordination (Ep. vii.6).

The surrender of Auvergne, marking as it did the utter prostration of Roman influence, was a heavy blow to Sidonius, and he wrote to Graecus, bp. of Marseilles, recounting the unswerving loyalty of the Auvergnians and their sufferings during the siege, and inveighing bitterly against the selfish policy which, to secure for a time only the districts in which the negotiators were interested, had handed over the faithful province of Auvergne for punishment to the enemy. The remonstrance was fruitless, and Auvergne passed to the Visigoth. It was placed under a governor named Victorius, with the title of Count, who appears at first to have behaved with real or affected moderation (Greg. Tur. Hist. Fr. ii.20; Sid. Ep. vii.17; Chaix, ii.290).

Third Period, a.d.475-489. -- Sidonius was soon banished for a time to a fort named Livia, probably Capendu, about ten miles from Carcassonne on the road to Narbonne (Epp. viii.3; ix.3; Vaissette, Hist. de Languedoc, V. vol. i. p.501). Some of the inconveniences he suffered there are described in his letters to Faustus, bp. of Riez, and to a friend, Leo, a native of Narbonne and of Roman origin, but filling a high office under Euric. They consisted chiefly in the annoyance caused by his neighbours, two quarrelsome drunken old Gothic women (Ep. viii.3). Through Leo's influence he soon obtained release from confinement, but his return to Clermont was delayed by an enforced sojourn at Bordeaux, whither he went to seek from Euric authority for recovering the inheritance belonging to him in right of his mother-in-law. Two months passed before Euric would grant him an interview, nor do we know its result.

In no letter does he speak of opposition or personal ill-treatment, and the tone of his later letters is cheerful, and he appears from the last of them to have met with no hindrance in his episcopal duties except from weather. Gregory of Tours relates that, in the later years of his life, he was much annoyed by two priests, probably of Arian opinions, whose names he does not mention, but said by Chaix, though without citing any authority, to have been Honorius and Hermanchius. These men, Gregory says, succeeded in preventing him exercising his episcopal functions and even in reducing him to extreme poverty; but after the death of Honorius he was restored to his office, and being attacked by fever, desired to be carried into the church of St. Mary, and there, after speaking words of love to his people, and pointing out Aprunculus, bp. of Langres, as fit to be his successor, he died, though not, apparently, in the church, Aug.489. He was buried in the chapel of St. Saturninus, in the centre of Clermont, beside his predecessor Eparchius, and an epitaph in hendecasyllabic verse by an unknown author was placed near his tomb with the date, |XII. Kal. Sept. Zenone imperatore.| This has disappeared, but a copy is preserved in a MS. of the abbey of Cluny.

A gentleman of easy fortune living in the country, Sidonius entered eagerly into its employments and active amusements, but was also keenly sensible of the more refined and tranquil pleasures derived from natural objects. He exerted without scruple a lordly influence over his own dependants in the province, sometimes in a high-handed and peremptory manner, but usually with kindness and consideration. Affectionate and constant to his friends, he loved to give and receive hospitality, and some of his most agreeable letters describe such social gatherings. His eulogies were poured forth without stint or discrimination, alike on Avitus, Majorian, and Anthemius, and even Nepos did not fail to obtain a small share. He has compliments at fitting seasons, direct or indirect, for Euric and his wife. A poet laureate by nature, he must be regarded as a pliant politician, but he never forgot his duty as a patriotic citizen. Faithful to his countrymen, whether by birth as of Lyons, or of adoption as in Auvergne, he never failed to plead their cause, uphold their interests, denounce their oppressors, and stand by them against injustice or hostile invasion, nor need we wonder that his memory should be revered by them as that of a saint. Invested against his will, and without previous preparation, with the episcopate, he laboured hard to repair the deficiencies of which he was conscious. He shrank from no duty, personal trouble, or responsibility, and in times of extreme difficulty shewed courage, prudence, and discretion. His character and abilities commanded the respect and cordial affection of the best men of his time, as Basilius, Felix, Graecus, Lupus, Patiens, Principius, Remigius, as well as Leo and Arbogastes, and many others; and though he did not shrink from remonstrating gravely and even bitterly with some of them, especially Graecus, he does not appear to have forfeited their esteem and affection. A man of kindly disposition, he treated his slaves with kindness and took pains to induce others to do likewise. He was friendly to Jews, employed them, and recommended them to the good offices of his friends.

Literary Character. -- Though he shewed himself a sincere and devout Christian, both before and after he became bishop, it is as a man of letters that he will always be best known, for, as it has been observed, his writings are the best-furnished storehouse we possess of information as to the domestic life, the manners and habits of public men, and in some points the public events of his period. Gifted with a fatal facility of composition, his longer poems are remarkable more for adroit handling of unpoetical material than for poetry in its true sense, and deserve to a great extent the contemptuous judgment of Gibbon. Yet some of the shorter compositions, especially those in hendecasyllabic metre, are more successful, and touch scenes and characters with a light and discerning hand. His letters, though often turgid and pedantic, defaced by an artificial phraseology and abounding in passages of great obscurity, often describe persons, objects, and transactions in a very lively and picturesque manner.

The ed. of his works by M. Eugène Baret (Paris, 1879) has an extremely valuable introduction, containing remarks on the times and state of society, and lists of grammatical forms, words, and phrases used by Sidonius, illustrating the transition state of the Latin language, and some peculiar to himself; also an attempt to settle the chronology of the letters, a task of great difficulty. The best ed. is by Lütjohann, in Monum. Germ. Hist. Auct. Antiquiss. (Berlin, 1887), viii., and a smaller ed. is by P. Mohr (Leipz.1895).


Sigebert I
Sigebert (1) I., king of the Austrasian Franks (561-575), son of Clotaire I. by Ingundis (Greg. Tur. Hist. Franc. iv.1). Scarcely had the four brothers buried their father at Soissons when Chilperic the youngest began the civil wars which desolated France. Seizing the royal treasure at Braine, near Soissons, and purchasing the support of the Franks, he occupied Paris. His three half-brothers leagued together and compelled him to make a fair division. To Sigebert fell the kingdom which had belonged to Theodoric I., i.e. the country occupied by the Ripuarian Franks and a part of Champagne, with Rheims for his capital, which division was now beginning to be known as Austrasia (Greg. Tur. iv.21, 22; Hist. Epitom. lv.; Marius Aventic. ann.560). To Sigebert fell also, on the death of Charibert I., as far as can be gathered from later events (see Greg. Tur. ix.20), a third share of the city of Paris, the coast of Provence with Avignon, the former possessions of Theodoric I., in Aquitaine, the N. part of Brie, Beauce, Touraine, and Poitou (Richter, Annalen, 68; Bonnell, Anfänge des Karolingischen Hauses, Beilage, pp.206 sqq.; Fauriel, Hist. de la Gaule Mérid. ii.175-177). About this time he married the famous Brunichild (Brunehaut), a daughter of Athanagild, the Visigothic king in Spain, she having first renounced Arianism for orthodoxy (Greg. Tur. iv.27; Venant. Fort. vi.2, 3, Migne, Patr. Lat. lxxxviii.204-209. For the character and accomplishments of this queen, who in later life became almost supreme in France, see also Fauriel, ii.166 sqq.). The remainder of the reign was taken up with miserable civil wars between the brothers, in which Chilperic strove to capture parts of Sigebert's dominion; Tours and Poictiers, with their respective districts, being his principal object of attack. Two years running (A.D.574-575) his armies overran those districts (Greg. Tur. iv.46, 48). On the second occasion Gregory, after depicting the churches burnt and plundered, clergy killed, monasteries in ruins, and nuns outraged, uses these memorable words: |fuitque illo in tempore pejor in ecclesiis gemitus quam tempore persecutionis Diocletiani| (iv.48. See too his outburst of indignation in c.49). Sigebert recruited his forces with pagan Germans from beyond the Rhine (iv.50, 51), and finally in 575, with the assistance of Guntram, carried his arms to Paris and Rouen, and while Chilperic was shut up in Tournay, was raised by his subjects on the shield and declared king in his place. At that very moment, however, he was struck down by assassins, probably emissaries of Fredegund (Greg. Tur. iv.52; Marius Avent. Chronicon.; Venant. Fort. Miscell. ix.2, Migne, u.s.298 sqq.). He left a son of five years, Childebert II.

Sigebert was much the best of the sons of Clotaire. In happier circumstances he might have been a humane and enlightened king, but his misfortune was to reign at perhaps the darkest period of French history. His clemency towards Chilperic's son Theodebert, who had invaded his territory (Greg. Tur. iv.23), his motives in seeking Brunichild's hand in marriage, as described by Gregory (iv.27), and his intrepid attempts to restrain his barbarian trans-Rhenish allies from plundering (iv.30), throw light upon his character. He was true to the orthodoxy of his race (iv.27), and recalled St. Nicetius of Trèves from exile and appointed Gregory to Tours.


Sigismundus, St
Sigismundus, St., martyr, 5th king of the Burgundians (516-524), brought up under the influence of Avitus, the orthodox archbp. of Vienne, who succeeded in winning him, with two of his children, from the Arianism of his nation and family (Avitus, Epp.27, 29, Migne, Patr. Lat. lix.243, 246; Agobardus, adv. Leg. Gund. xiii. Patr. Lat. civ.124), and sought to lead his inclinations towards the Roman empire (see Mascou, Annotation ii., where the passages are collected, and Fauriel, Hist. de la Gaule Mérid. ii.100). He married Ostrogotha, the daughter of Theodoric the Ostrogothic king of Italy (Jornandes in Bouquet, ii.28). While his father was still living, Sigismund was invested with regal dignity and held his court at Geneva (Avit. Epp.29, 30; Greg. Tur. Epitom. xxxiv.). In 515 he founded or (Hist. litt. de la France, iii.89, 91) refounded the monastery of St. Maurice at Agaunum, where tradition placed the martyrdom of the Legio Thebaea (Marius Avent. Chronicon, Patr. Lat. lxxii.796). In 516 he succeeded his father (Marius, ib.), and in 517 convened a council, under the presidency of Avitus, at Epaunum (supposed to be the present Iene on the Rhone; |Epaon,| D. C. A.; Hist. litt. iii.9). If the extent of his dominion may be inferred from the sees of the bishops present, Burgundy then included, besides the later duchy and county, Dauphiny and Savoy, the city and dominion of Lyons and the Valais, besides a part of the present Switzerland (Mascou, xi.10, 31). In 523 Clodomir, Clotaire, and Childebert, three of the four sons of Clovis, stirred up by their mother the widowed Clotilda, invaded Burgundy. Sigismund was defeated and fled to St. Maurice, where he was betrayed by his own subjects to Clodomir and carried prisoner in the garb of a monk to Orleans. Shortly afterwards, with his wife and two children, he was murdered at the neighbouring village of Coulmiers, by being cast alive, as was said, into a well (Marius, ib.; Greg. Tur. iii.6). His brother, Godemar, succeeded him as 6th and last king of the Burgundians.

Sigismund was well-intentioned but weak. He apparently yielded too much to the influence of Roman ideas and habits for the king of a barbarian people, neighboured on one side by the powerful Ostrogothic monarchy and on others by the fiercely aggressive Franks. His partisanship for the orthodox faith, while it harmed him with his subjects, was not thorough-going enough to win the clergy from their leaning towards the Franks (see Fauriel, ii.100 sqq.).


Silvania. [[538]SYLVIA.]

Silvanus, bishop of Gaza
Silvanus (2), bp. of Gaza, a martyr in the persecution of Maximin, c.305. He was a presbyter at its outbreak, and from the very beginning he endured many varied sufferings with the greatest fortitude. Not long before his martyrdom, which was one of the last in Palestine, he obtained the episcopate. Eusebius speaks with high admiration of his Christian endurance, saying that he was |reserved to the last to set the seal, as it were, to the conflict in Palestine| (Eus. H. E. viii.7, 13). He was decapitated, according to the Roman martyrology, on May 4., 308. Theoph. p.9; Le Quien, Or. Christ. iii.605.


Silvanus, bishop of Emesa
Silvanus (3), bp. of Emesa. In extreme old age, after 40 years' episcopate, he was thrown to the wild beasts in Diocletian's persecution. Eus. H. E. viii.13; ix.6; Theophan. p.9; Le Quien, Or. Christ. ii.837.


Silvanus, bishop of Cirta
Silvanus (4), bp. of Cirta, subdeacon under Paulus, bp. of that see during the persecution under Diocletian, and, as well as he, guilty of |tradition.| These facts were elicited at the inquiry under Zenophilus, a.d.320, at which it was proved, by ample evidence, that Silvanus was guilty of this charge, and also that with others he had appropriated plate and ornaments from the heathen temple of Serapis; and after he became a bishop received as a bribe for ordaining Victor, a fuller, to be a presbyter, money which ought to have been given to the poor. After the inquiry he was banished for refusing to communicate with Ursacius and Zenophilus, at the time of the mission of Macarius, a.d.348. Aug. Petil. i.23, iii.69, 70; de Gest. Emer.5; c. Cresc. iii.32, 33, 34, iv.66; de Unico Bapt.30.31; Aug. Ep.53.4; Mon. Vet. D. pp.178, 180, 182, ed. Oberthür; pp.167-171 ed. Dupin.


Silvanus, bishop of Tarsus
Silvanus (6), bp. of Tarsus and metropolitan, one of the most excellent of those semi-Arians whom Athanasius described as |brothers who mean what we mean, and differ only about the terms| (Ath. de Synod.41). He succeeded Antonius in the reign of Constantius. He was one of the 22 Oriental bishops who, at the council of Sirmium, in 351, joined in the deposition of Photinus (Hilar. Synod, p.129; fragm. i. p.48). On the deposition and banishment of Cyril from Jerusalem, early in 358, Silvanus received him hospitably at Tarsus, despite the remonstrances of Acacius (Theod. H. E. ii.22). That year he took part in the semi-Arian council of Ancyra (Labbe, ii.790), and in 359 in that of Seleucia, at which he vociferously advocated (mega anekrage) the acceptance of the Lucianic dedication creed of Antioch (Socr. H. E. ii.39), the mere mention of which made the Acacian party leave the place of assembly as a protest. Silvanus was among the semi-Arian leaders who, first of the rival church parties, memorialized Julian on his arrival at Antioch after becoming emperor, requesting him to expel the Anomoeans and call a general council to restore peace to the church, and declaring their acceptance of the Nicene faith (Socr. H. E. iii.25). In 366 he was, with Eustathius of Sebaste and Theophilus of Castabala, a deputy to Liberius. He returned with the letters of communion of Liberius and the Roman synod (Basil. Ep.67 ). His death is placed by Tillemont in 373 (Mém. eccl. t. vi. p.592; Le Quien, Or. Christ. ii.872).


Silvanus, solitary of Sinai
Silvanus (12), solitary of Sinai, a native of Palestine. |He founded at Geraris near the great torrent a very extensive establishment for holy men, over which the excellent Zachariah subsequently presided| (Soz. H. E. vi.32). He trained his followers to industrial pursuits. A wandering ascetic seeing all the brethren working very diligently said to them, |Labour not for the meat which perisheth; Mary chose the better part.| Silvanus over-hearing this said, |Give a book to the brother and lead him to an empty cell.| When the ninth hour came, no one came to call the stranger to eat. At last, wearied and hungry, he sought Silvanus, and said, |Father, the brethren have not eaten to-day.| |Oh yes,| replied the abbat, |they have eaten.| |And why,| said the other, |did you not send for me?| |Because,| responded Silvanus, |thou art a spiritual man, and dost not require food; but we are carnal and wish to eat, and therefore are compelled to work. Thou, however, hast chosen the better part and continuest in study the whole day, nor art willing to consume carnal food.| The stranger confessed his fault and was forgiven, Silvanus playfully saying, |Martha is evidently necessary to Mary.| Cotelerius tells stories of his prolonged trances. On one occasion he awoke very sad because he had been in the eternal world and seen many monks going to hell and many secular persons to heaven (Monument, t. i. p.679).


SiIvanus, bishop of Calahorra
Silvanus (14), first known bp. of Calahorra. We know of him from 2 letters of Ascanius, bp. of Tarragona, and the bishops of his province to pope Hilary, and Hilary's reply dated Dec.30, 465 (in Migne, Patr. Lat. lviii.14). The first letter shows that Silvanus had, 7 or 8 years before, consecrated a bishop without any request from the places comprised in his see or the approval of Ascanius. The other bishops of the province were satisfied with admonishing him, and received the new bishop; but the see in question being again vacant Silvanus had lately repeated the act, with the aggravation that the priest consecrated belonged to the diocese of another bishop, and the other bishop at the instance of the bishops of Saragossa having refused to join, Silvanus had performed the consecration alone. In the second letter the bishops express their surprise at the pope's delay in answering. His reply was remarkably favourable, in consequence probably of letters from people of rank and property at Calahorra, Tarazona, and neighbouring towns, which alleged in excuse for Silvanus that his were not the only irregularities, bishops having been consecrated for other cities without the previous approval of the metropolitan. The pope in consideration of the troubled times granted an amnesty for the past, while enjoining strict observance of the canons for the future. As the first letter was written some time before Hilary's reply, Silvanus probably became bp. c.455. Esp. Sag. xxxiii.128; Gams, Kirchg. von Sp. ii. (1) 430.


Silverius, bishop of Rome
Silverius, bp. of Rome during the reign of Justinian I. Agapetus having died at Constantinople when about to return to Italy (on April 22, according to Anastasius) in 536, Liberates tells us (Breviar.) that on the news of his death reaching Rome, Silverius, a subdeacon and son of pope Hormisdas, was elected and ordained, doubtless in the same year. According to Anastasius (Lib. Pontif. in Vit. Silverii) the election of Silverius was forced upon the Romans by the Gothic king Theodatus, who then held the city, the presbyters assenting for the sake of unity. Silverius did not long enjoy his dignity. Belisarius, having got possession of Naples, entered Rome in the name of Justinian on Dec.10, 536. Vitiges, the successor of Theodatus, commenced a siege of Rome, now in the possession of Belisarius, in Mar.537. Belisarius, after entering Rome, is said in the Hist. Miscell (lib.16 in Muratori, t. i. pp.106, 107) to have been reproved and subjected to penance by Silverius for cruel treatment of the Neapolitans; whereas the contemporary historian Procopius (Bell. Goth. lib. i.) commends the peculiar humanity of Belisarius after the capture of Naples.

Vigilius, one of the deacons of Agapetus at Constantinople, had, on that pope's death there, been sent for by the empress Theodora and promised the popedom through the agency of Belisarius on condition of his disallowing, after his elevation, the council of Chalcedon, and supporting the Monophysites whom she favoured. Vigilius, on his arrival in Italy, found Belisarius at Naples, to whom he communicated the commands of Theodora (Liberatus, Breviar.). Belisarius having gained possession of Rome, Vigilius followed him there and measures were taken to carry out the wishes of the empress. Accusations were laid against Silverius of having been in communication with the Goths who were besieging Rome, and having written to Vitiges offering to betray the city. Summoned before Belisarius, with whom was his wife Antonina, who was the spokeswoman and real agent in these proceedings, he was charged with the crime, and banished to Patara and then to Greece. The emperor, on hearing the facts, asserted himself, ordering his recall to Rome and investigation to be made. But the empress succeeded somehow in keeping her husband quiet. For, on the arrival of Silverius at Rome (as we are informed by Liberatus), Vigilius represented to Belisarius that he could not do what was required of him unless the deposed pope were delivered into his hands. He was thereupon given up to two dependants of Vigilius, under whose custody he was sent to Palmaria in the Tyrrhene sea (or Pontia, according to Martyrol. Rom. and Anastasius), where he died from famine, according to Liberatus and Anastasius. Procopius (Hist. Arcan.) speaks of one Eugenius, a servant of Antonina, as having been her instrument in bringing about his death, the expression used seeming to imply a death by violence. Allemann (note on Hist. Arcan.) argues that the account of Procopius, who was living at Rome at the time and likely to know the facts, is preferable; and attributes the implication of Vigilius to prejudice on the part of Liberatus.

Silverius died June 20 (xii. Kal. Jul. al. Jun. Anastas.), most probably A.D.538, his deposition certainly occurring in 537.

[J.B -- Y.]

Silvester, bishop of Rome
Silvester (1), bp. of Rome after Miltiades, Jan.31, 314, to Dec.31, 335. Though his time was important in church history, we have few genuine records of any personal action of his, but a great store of legend.

In his first year of episcopate Constantine the Great summoned the first council of Arles to reconsider the decision against the African Donatists of the synod held at Rome by his order in 313 under pope Miltiades. At the council of Arles Silvester was represented by two presbyters, Claudianus and Vitus, and two deacons, Eugenius and Cyriacus, whose names appear in his behalf fifth among the signatures. Whoever presided, the general conduct of the council seems to have been committed by the emperor to Chrestus, bp. of Syracuse (see a letter to him from Constantine preserved by Eusebius, H. E. x.5). Certainly Silvester did not preside, nor did any representative in his place. Constantine, in making arrangements for the council, evidently takes no account of him, not even mentioning him in writing to Chrestus.

There is indeed a letter of the bishops of the Arles council to Silvester. It opens: |To the most beloved pope Silvester,| and concludes in reference to the decrees: |We have thought it fit also that they should be especially made known to all through you, who hold the greater dioceses.| The phrase, |qui majores dioceses tenes,| with the consequent desire expressed that the pope should promulgate the decrees, has been used in proof of the pope's then acknowledged patriarchal jurisdiction over the great dioceses (i.e. exarchates) of the western empire. For the word dioikesis denoted the jurisdiction of a patriarch, larger than that of metropolitans, the word for a diocese in the modern sense being properly paroikia. But it is highly improbable that diocese was used ecclesiastically in this sense so early as 314. Hence Bingham contended (Ant. ix. i.12, and ii.2) that if the passage, |by all acknowledged to be a very corrupt one,| be accepted, dioiokesis must be taken in the sense then generally expressed by paroikia; and he adduces instances of its use in this sense in canons of Carthaginian councils. But probably the whole epistle (note its general anachronism of tone) is a forgery intended to magnify the Roman see.

To the more memorable council of Nicaea in 325 Silvester was invited, but excusing himself on account of age, sent two presbyters, Vitus and Vincentius, as his representatives (Eus. V. C. iii.7; Socr. H. E. i.14; Sozs. H. E. i.17; Theod. H. E. i.6). The view that they presided in his name, or that (as Baronius maintains) Hosius of Cordova did so, is without foundation. In the subscriptions to the decrees Hosius signs first, but simply as bp. of Cordova, not as in any way representing Rome; after which come those of Vitus and Vincentius, who sign |pro venerabili viro papa et episcopo nostro, sancto Sylvestro, ita credentes sicut scriptum est.| The earliest and indeed only authority for Hosius having presided in the pope's name is that of Gelasius of Cyzicus (end of 5th cent.), who says only that Hosius from Spain, |qui Silvestri episcopi maximae Romae locum obtinebat,| together with the Roman presbyters Bito and Vincentius, was present (Gelas. Hist. Concil. Nic. l. ii. c.5, in Labbe, vol. ii. p.162). Equally groundless is the allegation first made by the 6th oecumenical council (680), that Silvester in concert with the emperor summoned the Nicene fathers. The gradual growth of this idea appears in the pontifical annals. The catalogue of popes called the Felician (A.D.530) says only that the synod was held with his consent (|cum consensu ejus|); some later MSS. improve this phrase into |cum praecepto ejus.| It is evident from all authentic documents that the synod of Nicaea, as that of Arles, was convened by the sole authority of the emperor, and that no peculiarly prominent position was accorded to the pope in either case.

But the most memorable fable about Silvester is that of the baptism of Constantine by him, and the celebrated |Donation.| It is, though variously related, mainly as follows: The emperor, having before his conversion authorized cruel persecution of the Christians, was smitten with leprosy by divine judgment. He was advised to use a bath of infants' blood for cure. A great multitude of infants was accordingly collected for slaughter; but the emperor, moved by their cries and those of their mothers, desisted from his purpose. He was thereupon visited in night visions by SS. Peter and Paul, and directed to seek and recall Silvester from his exile in Soracte, who would shew him a pool by immersion in which he would be healed. He recalled the pope, was instructed by him in the faith, cured of his leprosy, and baptized. Moved by gratitude, he made over to the pope and his successors the temporal dominion of Rome, of the greatest part of Italy, and of other provinces, thinking it unfit that the place where the monarch of the whole church and the vicar of Christ resided should be subject to earthly sway. (See Lib. Pontif. in Vit. Sylvestri, and the Lections in Fest. S. Sylvestri in the Breviaries of the various uses). The earliest known authority for the whole story appears to be the Acta Sylvestri (see below).

The attribution of Constantine's conversion and baptism to Silvester is as legendary as the rest. His profession and patronage of Christianity were anterior to the time spoken of, and he was not actually baptized till long afterwards, at the close of his life. There is abundant testimony that he did not seek baptism, or even imposition of hands as a catechumen, till in a suburb of Nicomedia, as death drew near, he received both from Eusebius, the Arian bishop of that see. (Eus. V. C. iv.61, 62; Theod. i.32; Soz. ii.34, iv.18; Socr. i.39; Phot. Cod.127; Ambrose, Serm. de obit. Theodos.; Hieron. Chron. an.2353; Council of Rimini.)

The Acta S. Sylvestri, which seem to have furnished the materials for most of the legends -- including the banishment to Soracte, the leprosy of Constantine, his lustration by Silvester, and his Donation -- are mentioned and approved as genuine in the Decretum de Libris Recipiendis et non Recipiendis, commonly attributed to pope Gelasius (492-496), but probably of a later date. They are quoted in the 8th cent. by pope Hadrian in a letter to Charlemagne, where the Donation is alluded to, and in another to the empress Irene and her son Constantine on the occasion of the 2nd Nicene council in 787. The original Acts have not been preserved. The extant editions of them, given in Latin by Surius (Acta SS. Dec. p.368), and in Greek by Combefis (Act. p.258), purport to be only compilations from an earlier document.

Silvester died on Dec.31, 335, and was buried in the cemetery of St. Priscilla.

[J.B -- Y.]

Sylvia, bp. of Jerusalem
Sylvia [[539]Gordianus (7).]

Simeon (1)
Simeon (1), 2nd bp. of Jerusalem, succeeding James, the Lord's brother. According to the statement of Hegesippus preserved by Eusebius, Simeon was the son of Clopas |mentioned in Holy Scripture| (John xix.25), the brother of Joseph, and therefore, legally, the uncle of our Lord, while Simeon himself -- ho ek tou theiou tou Kuriou -- was, legally, his cousin, onta anepsion tou Kuriou, and of the royal line of David (Eus. H. E. iii. ii, 32 ; iv.22). The language of Hegesippus (H. E. iv.82) evidently distinguishes between the relationship of James and Simeon to our Lord. Dr. Mill, however, follows Burton (H. E. i.290) in regarding Simeon as a brother of James and also of Jude, though perhaps by another mother (Mill, Pantheistic Principles, pp.234, 253). Such an interpretation of Hegesippus's language is very unnatural and at variance with the statement of Epiphanius that Simeon was the cousin -- anepsios -- of James the Just (Epiph. Haer. lxxvii. c.14, p.1046; cf. Lightfoot, Galatians, p.262). Bp. Lightfoot regards his age as |an exaggeration,| and suggests that his being |a son of Cleopas mentioned in the Evangelical records |requires us to place his death earlier than the generally received date. According to Hegesippus, Simeon was unanimously chosen to fill the vacant see of Jerusalem on the violent death of James the Just, the date usually assigned for which being 62 or 63 (see Josephus, Ant. xx.9.1). Whether the appointment of Simeon immediately succeeded or was not made till the retirement of the Christian Jews to Pella cannot be determined. The former seems rather more probable. His retreat at Pella would save him from the inquisition after descendants of the royal line of David, made by Vespasian, according to Eusebius (H. E. iii.12), as well as the later inquiry instituted by Domitian (ib.19, 20). He must have returned with the Christians to Jerusalem when allowed to do so by the Roman authorities. Of his episcopate we know nothing. He was martyred in the reign of Trajan (epi Traianou; Eus. H. E. iii.32), but the exact date is uncertain. By a misinterpretation of the Chronicon of Eusebius, which seemed to assign his martyrdom with that of Ignatius to the 9th or 10th year of Trajan, Simeon's death has been assigned to 107 or 108. Bp. Lightfoot has shewn good reason for placing it earlier in Trajan's reign (Lightfoot, Ignatius, i.21, 58-60, ii.442-450). Hegesippus says that in his 121st year Simeon was accused before Atticus, then proconsul, by certain Jewish sectaries, first, that being of the line of David, he was a possible claimant of the throne of his royal ancestor, and secondly that he was a Christian. He was tortured for many days in succession, and bore his sufferings with a firmness which astonished all the beholders, especially Atticus himself, who marvelled at such endurance in one so advanced in age. Finally he was ordered to be crucified (Eus. H. E. iii.32).


Simeon Stylites
Simeon (12) Stylites, a.d.388-460. Simeon was, according to Theodoret, originally an enclosed anchorite, and raised his cell to avoid the honours paid to him (cf. Reeves on church of St. Doulough, pp.8-11, with Evagr. H. E. i.21). The fashion rapidly spread even to the sects, as we learn from Joannes Moschus (Prat. Spirit. cxxix.; cf. Ceill. xi.701 that the 6th-cent. Monophysites had pillar saints. Sometimes both parties had opposition Stylites in the same district. Evagrius tells us that Simeon's pillar was only three feet in circumference at the top, which would barely afford standing ground. Assemani has depicted Simeon's column in his Life of the saint with a railing or kind of wooden pulpit at the summit. Some such structure must have been there, not only to prevent his fall, but also for him to write the epistles he sent broadcast to emperors, bishops, and councils on all pressing questions. He was born at Sisan, a village on the borders of Cilicia and Syria, and when about 16 embraced the monastic life. From 413 to 423 Simeon dwelt in an enclosed cell near Antioch, where his austerities speedily attracted a number of followers, who formed a society called the Mandra. In 423 he built a low pillar, which he gradually raised, till in 430 it was 40 cubits high; there, with his neck manacled by an iron collar, he spent his last 30 years of life engaged in perpetual adoration, save when he was bestowing advice about mundane matters. His extraordinary life made a great impression; large numbers of Arabians, Armenians, and other pagans were converted by him, while emperors, bishops, and pilgrims from distant lands, even Spain and Britain, consulted him most reverently. An object of deepest reverence all through life, at the news of his approaching death great crowds assembled (July 459) round his pillar to receive his last words. On Aug.29 he was seized with a mortal illness, and died Sept 2, 459. His body was transported with great pomp to Antioch, attended by bishops and clergy, and guarded by the troops under Ardabryius, commander of the forces of the East. The emperor Leo sent letters to the bp. of Antioch demanding It to be brought to Constantinople. The people of Antioch piteously reminded Leo, |Forasmuch as our city is without walls, for we have been visited in wrath by their fall, we brought hither the sacred body to be our wall and bulwark,| and were permitted to retain it; but this did not avail to protect the city against capture by the Persians. Simeon wrote many epistles on current ecclesiastical matters: (1) one Evagrius mentions (H. E. i.13), to the emperor Theodosius against restoring their synagogues to the Jews. It effectually incited the emperor to intolerant courses. He withdrew the concession and dismissed the official who advised it. (2) An epistle to Leo, on behalf of the council of Chalcedon, and against the ordination of Timotheus Aelurus (ii.10). (3) Evagrius gives (ib.) extracts from one to Basil of Antioch on the same topic. (4) An epistle to the empress Eudocia on the same (Niceph. xv.13 ), by which she was converted from Eutychian error. (5) Eulogius of Alexandria mentions his profession of the Catholic faith, which Cave conjectures to have been identical with (2) (cf. Phot. Biblioth. cod.230). Besides these, there is extant a Latin version of a sermon, de Morte Assidue Cogitanda, which in the Biblioth. Patr. is usually ascribed to our Simeon. Lambecius, on the authority of a MS. in the imperial library at Vienna, ascribes it to Simeon of Mesopotamia (Comm. de Biblioth. Caesarea, vol. viii. lib. v. col.198 D, ed. Kollar). Evagrius (i.13) describes the appearance of Simeon's relics in his time, and also (i.14) a visit he paid to the monastery and pillar of Simeon. The pillar was then enclosed in a church, which no woman was ever allowed to enter, and where supernatural manifestations were often seen. Count de Vogüé (Syrie Centrale, t. i. pp.141-154, Paris, 1865-1877) describes fully the present state of the church, and shews Evagrius's minute accuracy.


Simon Magus
Simon (1) Magus, the subject of many legends and much speculation. It is important to discriminate carefully what is told of him by the different primary authorities.

The Simon of the Acts of the Apostles. -- Behind all stories concerning Simon lies what is related Acts viii.9-24, where we see Simon as a magician who exercised sorcery in Samaria with such success that the people universally accepted his claim to be |some great one,| and accounted him |that power of God which is called great.| We are further told that he was so impressed by the miracles wrought by Philip, that he asked and obtained admission to Christian baptism; but that he subsequently betrayed the hollowness of his conversion by offering money to Peter to obtain the power of conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost. All subsequent accounts represent him as possessing magical power and coming personally into collision with Peter. The Acts say nothing as to his being a teacher of heretical doctrine; nor do they tell whether or not he broke off all connexion with the Christian society after his exposure by Peter.

The Simon of Justin Martyr. -- When Justin Martyr wrote his Apology the Simonian sect appears to have been formidable, for he speaks four times of their founder Simon (Apol. i.26, 56; ii.15; Dial.20), and undoubtedly identified him with the Simon of Acts. He states that he was a Samaritan, born at a village called Gitta; he describes him as a formidable magician, who came to Rome in the days of Claudius Caesar and made such an impression by his magical powers that he was honoured as a god, a statue being erected to him on the Tiber, between the two bridges, bearing the inscription |Simoni deo Sancto.| Now in 1574 there was dug up in the place indicated by Justin, viz. the island in the Tiber, a marble fragment, apparently the base of a statue, bearing the inscription, |Semoni Santo Deo Fidio,| with the name of the dedicator (see Gruter, Inscrip. Antiq. i. p.95, n.5). The coincidence is too remarkable to admit of any satisfactory explanation other than that Justin imagined a statue really dedicated to a Sabine deity (Ovid. Fasti, vi.214) to have been in honour of the heretic Simon.

Justin further states that almost all the Samaritans, and some even of other nations, worshipped Simon, and acknowledged him as |the first God| (|above all principality, power, and dominion,| Dial.120), and that they held that a woman named Helena, formerly a prostitute, who went about with him, was his |first conception| (ennoia prote). In connexion with Simon, Justin speaks of another Samaritan heretic, MENANDER, and states that he (Justin) had published a treatise against heresies. When Irenaeus (Haer. i.23) deals with Simon and Menander, his coincidences with Justin are too numerous and striking to leave any doubt that he here uses the work of Justin as his authority, and we get the following additional particulars: Simon claimed to be himself the highest power, that is to say, the Father who is over all; he taught that he was the same who among the Jews appeared as Son, in Samaria descended as Father, in other nations had walked as the Holy Spirit. He was content to be called by whatever name men chose to assign to him. Helen was a prostitute whom he had redeemed at Tyre and led about with him, saying that she was the first conception of his mind, the mother of all, by whom he had in the beginning conceived the making of angels and archangels. Knowing thus his will, she had leaped away from him, descended to the lower regions, and generated angels and powers by whom this world was made. But this |Ennoea| was detained in these lower regions by her offspring, and not suffered to return to the Father of whom they were ignorant. In this account of Simon there is a large portion common to almost all forms of Gnostic myths, together with something special to this form. They have in common the place in the work of creation assigned to the female principle, the conception of the Deity; the ignorance of the rulers of this lower world with regard to the Supreme Power; the descent of the female (Sophia) into the lower regions, and her inability to return. Special to the Simonian tale is the identification of Simon himself with the Supreme, and of his consort Helena with the female principle, together with the doctrine of transmigration of souls, necessary to give these identifications a chance of acceptance, it not being credible that the male and female Supreme principles should first appear in the world at so late a stage in history.

It is possible that Justin's Simon was not identical with the contemporary of the Apostles, the name Simon being very common, and the Simon of the Acts being a century older than Justin. Moreover, Justin's Simon could hardly have carried his doctrine of transmigration of souls to the point of pretending that it was he himself who had appeared as Jesus of Nazareth, unless he had been born after our Lord's death. Hence it is the writer's opinion that the Simon described by Justin was his elder only by a generation; that he was a Gnostic teacher who had gained some followers at Samaria; and that Justin rashly identified him with the magician of the Acts of the Apostles.

The section on Simon in the Refutation of all Heresies, by Hippolytus, divides itself into two parts; the larger portion is founded on a work ascribed to Simon called the megale apophasis, which we do not hear of through any other source than Hippolytus. But towards the close of the art. on Simon there is a section which can be explained on the supposition that Hippolytus is drawing directly from the source used by Irenaeus, viz. the anti-heretical treatise of Justin. In connexion with this section must be considered the treatment of Simon in the lost earlier treatise of Hippolytus, which may be conjecturally gathered from the use made of it by Philaster and Epiphanius. Between these two there are verbal coincidences which prove that they are drawing from a common source. When this common matter is compared with the section in the Refutation, it is clear that Hippolytus was that source.

But one thing common to them was apparently not taken from Hippolytus. Both speak of the death of Simon, but apart from the section which contains the matter common to them and Hippolytus, and here they have no verbal coincidences. Both, however, know the story which became the received account of his death, viz. that to give the emperor a crowning proof of his magical skill he attempted to fly through the air, and, through the efficacy of the apostle's prayers, the demons who bore him were compelled to let him go, whereupon he perished miserably.

We may conclude that the story known to Philaster and Epiphanius, though earlier than the end of the 4th cent. when they wrote, is of later origin than the beginning of the 3rd cent. when Hippolytus wrote. That Hippolytus did not find his account of Simon's death in Justin may be concluded from the place it occupies in his narrative, where it is in a kind of appendix to what is borrowed from Justin; and also because this form of the story is unknown to all other writers.

The Simon of the Clementines. -- The Clementines, like Justin, identify Simon of Gitta with the Simon of Acts ; but there is every reason to believe that they were merely following Justin. Justin has evidently direct knowledge of the Simonians, and regards them as formidable heretics; but in the Clementines the doctrines which Justin gives as Simonian have no prominence; and the introduction of Simon is merely a literary contrivance to bring in the theological discussions in which the author is interested.

The Simon of 19th Cent. Criticism. -- The Clementine writings were produced in Rome early in 3rd cent. by members of the Elkesaite sect, one characteristic of which was hostility to Paul, whom they refused to recognize as an apostle. Baur first drew attention to this characteristic in the Clementines, and pointed out that in the disputations between Simon and Peter, some of the claims Simon is represented as making (e.g. that of having seen our Lord, though not in his lifetime, yet subsequently in vision) were really the claims of Paul; and urged that Peter's refutation of Simon was in some places intended as a polemic against Paul. The passages are found only in the Clementine Homilies, which may be regarded as one of the latest forms which these forgeries assumed. In the Clementine Recognitions there is abundance of anti-Paulism; but the idea does not appear to have occurred to the writer to dress up Paul under the mask of Simon. The idea started by Baur was pressed by his followers into the shape that, wherever in ancient documents Simon Magus is mentioned, Paul is meant. We are asked to believe that the Simon of Acts viii. was no real character, but only a presentation of Paul. Simon claimed to be the power of God which is called Great; and Paul calls his gospel the power of God (Rom. i.16; I. Cor. i.18), and claims that the power of Christ rested in himself (II. Cor. xii.9), and that he lived by the power of God (xiii.4). In Acts viii. the power of bestowing the Holy Ghost, which Philip does not appear to have exercised, is clearly represented as the special prerogative of the apostles. When, therefore, Simon offered money for the power of conferring the Holy Ghost, it was really to obtain the rank of apostle. We are therefore asked to detect here a covert account of the refusal of the elder apostles to admit Paul's claim to rank with them, backed though it was by a gift of money for the poor saints in Jerusalem. Peter tells him that he has no lot in the matter, i.e. no part in the lot of apostleship (see Acts i.17, 25); that he is still in the |gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity| -- i.e. full of bitter hatred against Peter (Gal. ii.11) and not observant of the Mosaic Law. We are not to be surprised that St. Luke, Paulist though he was, should assert in his history this libel on his master. He knew the story to be current among the Jewish disciples, and wished to take the sting out of it by telling it in such a way as to represent Simon as a real person, distinct from Paul. So, having begun to speak of Paul in the beginning of c. viii., he interpolates the episode of Philip's adventures, and does not return to speak of Paul until his reader's attention has been drawn off, so as not to be likely to recognize Paul under the mask of Simon.

It is not necessary to spend much time in pulling to pieces speculations exhibiting so much ingenuity, but so wanting in common sense. If, by way of nickname, a public character is called by a name not his own, common sense tells us that that must be a name to which discreditable associations are already known to attach. If a revolutionary agitator is called Catiline, that is because the name of Catiline is already associated with reckless and treasonable designs. It would be silly to conclude from the modern use of the nickname that there never had been such a person as Catiline, and that the traditional story of him must be so interpreted as best to describe the modern character. Further, while obscure 3rd-cent. heretics, fearing the odium of assailing directly one held in veneration through the rest of the Christian world, might resort to disguise, Paul's opponents, in his lifetime, had no temptation to resort to oblique attacks: they could say what they pleased against Paul of Tarsus without needing to risk being unintelligible by speaking of Simon of Gitta.

Lipsius, whose account of his predecessors' speculations we have abridged from his art. |Simon,| in Schenkel's Bibel-Lexikon, exercises his own ingenuity in dealing with the legendary history of Simon. The ingenuity which discovers Paul in the Simon of the Acts has, of course, a much easier task in finding him in the Simon of the legends. But since the history, as it has come down to us, leaves much to be desired as an intentional libel on Paul, we must modify the legends so as best to adapt them to this object, and must then believe we have thus recovered the original form of the legend. Thus, the Homilies represent the final disputation between Peter and Simon to have occurred at Laodicea; but we must believe that the original form laid it at Antioch, where took place the collision between Peter and Paul (Gal. ii.). The Clementines represent Simon as going voluntarily to Rome; but the original must surely have represented him as taken there as a prisoner by the Roman authorities, and so on. It is needless to examine minutely speculations vitiated by such methods of investigation. The chronological order is -- the historical personage comes first; then legends arise about him; then the use made of his name. The proper order of investigation is, therefore, first to ascertain what is historical about Simon before discussing his legends. Now, it cannot reasonably be doubted that Simon of Gitta is an historical personage. The heretical sect which claimed him for its founder was regarded by Justin Martyr as most formidable; he speaks of it as predominant in Samaria and not unknown elsewhere; probably he had met members of it at Rome. Its existence is testified by Hegesippus (Eus. iv.22); Celsus (Orig. adv. Cels. v.62), who states that some of them were called Heleniani; and Clement of Alexandria (Strom. vii.17), who states that one branch was called Eutychitae. It had become almost extinct in Origen's time, who doubts (adv. Cels. i.57) whether there were then 30 Simonians in the world; but we need not doubt its existence in Justin's time, nor the fact that it claimed Simon of Gitta as its founder. Writings in his name were in circulation, teste the Clementine Recognitions, and Epiphanius as confirming Hippolytus. The Simon of Acts is also a real person. If we read Acts viii., which relates, the preaching of Philip, in connexion with c. xxi., which tells of several days spent by Luke in Philip's house, we have the simple explanation of the insertion of the former chapter, that Luke gladly included in his history a narrative of the early preaching of the gospel communicated by an eye-witness. We need not ascribe to Luke any more recondite motive for relating the incident than that he believed it had occurred. There is no evidence that this Samaritan magician had obtained elsewhere any great notoriety; and there is every reason to think that all later writers derive their knowledge from the Acts of the Apostles. We have already said that we believe Justin mistaken in identifying Simon of the Acts with Simon of Gitta, whom we take to have been a 2nd-cent. Gnostic teacher; but this identification is followed in the Clementines. In any case, we see that the whole manufacture of the latter story is later than Simon of Gitta, if not, as we believe, later than Justin Martyr. The anti-Paulists, therefore, who dressed Paul in the disguise of Simon, are more than a century later than any opponents Paul had in his lifetime, who, if they wished to fix a nickname on the apostle, were not likely to go to the Acts of the Apostles to look for one.


Simplicianus, St., bp. of Milan
Simplicianus, St., bp. of Milan next after St. Ambrose, a resident there between 350 and 360 and instrumental in converting Victorious (Aug. Conf. viii.2). Later perhaps than this he became intimate with St. Ambrose, whose father in the Christian faith he is called by Augustine. About 374, the year Ambrose was raised to the episcopate, Simplician appears to have settled at Milan (Tillem. vol. x. p.398). He was held in deep reverence by St. Ambrose, who was often consulted by him, and speaks of his continual study of Holy Scripture (Aug. Conf. viii.2; Ambr. Epp.37.2, 65.1). Four reply-letters to him by St. Ambrose on points of Scripture are extant (Ambr. Epp.37, 38, 61, 67).

Augustine, residing near Milan a.d.386, became acquainted with Simplician, whose account of the conversion of Victorinus awakened an eager desire to follow his example (Conf. viii.5); and the friendship lasted throughout Augustine's life. Simplician's appointment to the see of Milan, a.d.397, is described by Paulinus in his Life of St. Ambrose (c.46). He apparently died in 400, and was succeeded by Venerius. his inquiries elicited the treatise of Augustine, de Diversis Quaes., concerning various passages in O. and N. T. Tillem. x.401; Ceill. iv.325, vi.7, ix.6, 78, 249-254; Cave, Hist. Litt. vol. i. p.299.


Simplicius, bp. of Rome
Simplicius (7), bp. of Rome after Hilarius, from Feb.22, 468 (according to the conclusion of Pagi, in Baron. ad ann.467, iv.), to Mar.483. According to Lib. Pontif. he was a native of Tibur, the son of one Castinus. He witnessed, during his episcopate, the fall of the Western empire and the accession (a.d.476) of Odoacer as king of Italy. This change, however politically important, does not seem to have affected at the time the pope or the church at Rome. The later emperors, Anthemius, Nepos, Augustulus, who reigned during the earlier years of Simplicius's popedom, being merely nominees of the Eastern emperor, had little power; and Odoacer, himself an Arian, did not interfere with church affairs.

The reigning emperors of the East were, first Leo I., the Thracian, called also |the Great,| and after him Zeno, his son-in-law, who succeeded him a.d.474, but whose reign was interrupted from 475 to 477 by the usurpation of Basiliscus. The contemporary bp. of Constantinople was Acacius (471-489). The most memorable incidents of the pontificate of Simplicius were his negotiations, and eventual breach, with this prelate and with the emperor Zeno who supported him leading up to the long schism between the churches of the East and West, which ensued in the time of the following pope, FELIX III (or II.). The difference arose on questions connected partly with the rival claims of the sees of Rome and Constantinople, partly with the Monophysite or Eutychian heresy.

The first occasion was the promulgation of an edict by the emperor Leo I., at the instance of Acacius, confirming the 28th canon of Chalcedon. This canon, said to have been passed unanimously by all present except the legates of pope Leo I., not only confirmed the 3rd canon of Constantinople, which had given to the bp. of new Rome (i.e. Constantinople) a primacy of honour (i.e. honorary rank) next after the bp. of old Rome, but further gave him authority to ordain the metropolitans of the Pontic, Asian, and Thracian dioceses, thus investing him with the powers as well as the rank of a patriarch, second only to the pope of Rome. Pope Leo had subsequently objected to this canon and never gave it his assent. He claimed that it was an infringement of the canons of Nice and entrenched on the rights of other patriarchs. It indicated a desire on the part of the bps. of Constantinople, then the real seat of empire, to rival and perhaps eventually to supersede the old primacy of Rome. At Rome the position maintained was that the authority of a see rested on its ecclesiastical origin, and that of Rome especially on its having been the see of St. Peter. The view at Constantinople was that the temporal pre-eminence of a city was a sufficient ground for ecclesiastical ascendancy. Hence the long struggle.

Acacius, by inducing the emperor to confirm the 28th canon of Chalcedon by a special edict, hoped to make it plain that the eminence and authority thereby assigned to his see were still maintained and had not been conceded to the remonstrances of pope Leo. The language used by the emperor in his edict -- styling the church of Constantinople |the Mother of his Piety, and of all Christians, and of the orthodox faith| -- confirms the supposition that an idea was even entertained of the new seat of empire superseding the old one in ecclesiastical prerogative as well as temporal rank. Simplicius naturally took alarm. He sent Probus, bp. of Canusium in Apulia, as his legate to Constantinople to remonstrate; but with what success we know not.

In the doctrinal controversies of the day between Rome and Constantinople, Simplicius appears to have been in accord with the emperor Leo, and for some time with Zeno, as well as with Acacius. The great patriarchal sees were, during the first years of his reign, occupied by orthodox prelates, who had the imperial support. Alexandria had been held by Timothy Salofaciolus since the Eutychian Timothy Aelurus had been banished by the emperor Leo I. in 460. At Antioch Julian, an orthodox patriarch, elected on the expulsion of Peter Fullo by Leo I., a.d.471, was still in possession. But the usurpation of the empire by Basiliscus, a.d.475, introduced immediate discord and disturbance. Basiliscus declared at once for Eutychianism, and promptly recalled Timothy Aelurus to Alexandria. Having taken possession of the see and driven Salofaciolus to flight, Aelurus repaired to Constantinople to procure the calling of a new general council to reverse the decisions of Chalcedon.

Certain clergy and monks of Constantinople sent a messenger with letters to represent this state of things to Simplicius at Rome. Simplicius promptly wrote to Basiliscus and Acacius. His letter to Basiliscus expresses horror at the doings of Aelurus, of whom he speaks in no measured language. The opportunity is not lost, in the course of the letter, of insinuating to the new emperor the peculiar spiritual authority of the Roman see: |The truths which have flowed pure from the fountain of the Scriptures cannot be disturbed by any arguments of cloudy subtilty. For there remains one and the same rule of apostolical doctrine in the successors of him to whom the Lord enjoined the care of the whole sheepfold -- to whom He promised that the gates of hell should not prevail against him, and that what by Him should be bound on earth should not be loosed in heaven.| And the pope conjures the emperor in the voice of St. Peter, the unworthy minister of whose see he is, not to allow impunity to the enemies of the ancient faith, and especially urges him to prevent, if possible, the assembling a council to review the decisions of Chalcedon.

Meanwhile Basiliscus at Constantinople, issuing an encyclic letter, repudiated and condemned the council of Chalcedon; required all, under pain of deposition, exile, and other punishments, to agree to this condemnation; and ordered the copies of pope Leo's letters and of the Acts of Chalcedon, wherever found, to be burnt. The document is given in full by Evagrius (iii.4). Acacius refused to sign it. But in the compliant East elsewhere it was accepted generally. At Constantinople Acacius, supported by the clergy and monks, was resolute and successful in his resistance. Daniel Stylites, descending from his pillar, aided in rousing the populace; and Basiliscus had to leave the city for safety. The disaffection was taken advantage of by Zeno, who in 477 marched on Constantinople, and without further difficulty became again emperor of the East.

During these troubles under Basiliscus Simplicius seems to have had no opportunity of exercising influence; but as soon as he heard of the restitution of Zeno he wrote to that emperor, exhorting him to follow the steps of his predecessors Marcian and Leo, to allow no tampering with the decisions of Chalcedon, to drive all Eutychian bishops from the sees they had usurped, and especially to send Aelurus into solitude. To Acacius he wrote to the same effect. Zeno does not appear, however, to have taken any step against Peter Mongus. Possibly the emperor and his advisers were already disposed to the conciliatory policy towards the Eutychians which they afterwards maintained in spite of indignant protests from the pope. Simplicius complained, too, of the Eutychian leaders having been allowed to remain at Antioch, and attributed the troubles there to this cause.

The death of Timothy Salofaciolus at Alexandria in 482 gave rise to much more serious differences between Constantinople and Rome. Strained relations now resulted in decided conflict, ending in an open schism, which lasted 35 years, between Eastern and Western Christendom. John Talaias was elected canonically by a synod of the orthodox at Alexandria in the room of Salofaciolus. Simplicius received a notification of the election from the synod, and was about to express his assent, when he was startled by a letter from Zeno accusing Talaias of perjury, and intimating that Peter Mongus was the most proper person to succeed Salofaciolus. Simplicius at once (July 15, 482) addressed Acacius (who had not written himself), imploring him to do all he could to prevent it. The letter written to Zeno himself has not been preserved. Hearing nothing from Acacius, he wrote to him again in Nov., but still got no reply. So much appears from the extant letters of Simplicius (Epp. xvii. xviii. Labbe). [[542]ACACIUS (7); JOANNES (11).]

Liberatus (c.18) informs us that, driven from Alexandria, John Talaias appealed for support to Simplicius, who on his behalf wrote to Acacius, but received the reply that Acacius could not recognize Talaias, having received Peter Mongus into communion on the basis of the emperor's HENOTICON. Simplicius wrote to Acacius that he ought not to have received Peter into communion without the concurrence of the apostolic see; that a man condemned by a common decree could not be freed from the ban except by a common council; and that he must first accept unreservedly the council of Chalcedon and the Tome of pope Leo. Simplicius received no reply to this second letter, and died not long after, early in Mar.483, according to Anastasius.

[J.B -- Y.]

Siricius, bp. of Rome
Siricius, bp. of Rome after Damasus from late in Dec.384, or early in Jan.385, to Nov.26 (?), 398. He followed the example of Damasus in maintaining the authority of the Roman see. When the prefecture of East Illyricum had been assigned (a.d.379) to the Eastern division of the empire, Damasus had insisted on its being still subject to the spiritual authority of Rome, and had constituted Acholius, bp. of Thessalonica, and after him Anysius (who succeeded Acholius a.d.383) his own vicars for the maintenance of such authority. Siricius, on his accession, renewed this vicariate jurisdiction to Anysius (Innoc. Epp. i., xiii.).

One of his earliest acts was to issue the first Papal Decretal that has any claim to genuineness, though he speaks in it of earlier decreta sent to the provinces by pope Liberius. It is dated Feb.11, 385. Its genuineness is undisputed. It is plainly referred to by pope Innocent I. (Ep. vi. ad Exsuperium). Quesnel includes it without hesitation in his Cod. Rom. cum Leone edit. c.29. Its occasion was a letter from Himerius, bp. of Tarragona in Spain, addressed to Damasus but received by Siricius, asking the pope's advice on matters of discipline and with regard to abuses prevalent in the Spanish church. Siricius, having taken counsel in a Roman synod, issued this decretal in reply, to be communicated by Himerius to all bishops of Spain and neighbouring provinces with a view to universal observance. The opportunity was taken of asserting in very decided terms the authority of the Roman see: |We bear the burdens of all who are heavy laden; nay, rather the blessed apostle Peter bears them in us, who, as we trust, in all things protects and guards us, the heirs of his administration.| Among the rules thus promulgated for universal observance, one relates to the rebaptizing of Arians returning to the church, and another to clerical celibacy, which is insisted on. Thus what the oecumenical council had refused to require Siricius now, on the authority of the apostolic see, declared of general obligation. The rule laid down by him affected, however, only the higher clerical orders, not including subdeacons, to whom it was extended by Leo I. (c.442. See Epp. xiv.4; cxlvii.3), in Sicily, by pope Gregory the Great (Greg. Epp. lib. i. Ind. ix., Ep.42).

The zeal of Siricius against heresy appears in his
correspondence with the usurper Maximus, who in 383 had obtained the imperial authority in Gaul. The pope wrote, exhorting him to support the Catholic faith and complaining of the recent ordination of one Agricius, who seems to have been suspected of heresy. Maximus, in his extant reply, declares his desire to maintain the true faith, undertakes to refer the case of Agricius to a synod of clergy, and takes credit for measures already in force against the Manicheans in Gaul, doubtless alluding to the Priscillianists, who were often called Manicheans. The pope was zealous against the Manicheans at Rome, where |he found Manicheans, whom he sent into exile, and provided that they should not communicate with the faithful, since it was not lawful to vex the Lord's body with a polluted mouth| (Lib. Pontif. in Vita. Sisicii). The reference seems to be to the alleged habit of the Manicheans to make a show of conformity by frequenting Catholic communion. It is added that even converts from them were to be sent into monasteries, and not admitted to communion till at the point of death.

Another class of heretics afterwards fell under the condemnation of Siricius. Jovinian, notorious through St. Jerome's vehement writings against him, having been expelled from Milan, had come to Rome and obtained a following there. His teaching came under the notice of two eminent laymen, Pammachius and Victorinus, who represented it to pope Siricius who assembled a synod of clergy at which Jovinian was excommunicated, together with his abettors, Auxentius, Genialis, Germinator, Felix, Frontinus, Martianus, Januarius, and Ingenius. These departed to Milan, whither Siricius sent three presbyters with a letter to the Milanese clergy, informing them of what had been done at Rome, and expressing confidence that they would pay regard to it. The letter is full of strong invective against Jovinian and his colleagues -- |dogs such as never before had barked against the church's mysteries| -- but contains no arguments. Siricius disclaims any disparagement of marriage, |at which,| he says, |we assist with the veil,| though he |venerates with greater honour virgins devoted to God, who are the fruit of marriages.| The synodical reply from Milan is preserved among the epistles of St. Ambrose (Ep. xlii. ed. Bened.), who presided at the Milanese synod. He and his colleagues thank Siricius for his vigilance, concur with his strictures on Jovinian, supply the arguments which the pope's letter lacked, and declare that they had condemned those whom the pope condemned, according to his judgment. The introductory words of this epistle have been adduced in proof of the view then held of the pope's supreme authority. They are: |We recognize in the letter of your holiness the watchfulness of a good shepherd, diligently keeping the door committed to thee, and with pious solicitude guarding the sheepfold of Christ, worthy of being heard and followed by the sheep of the Lord.| This language, though expressing recognition of the bp. of Rome as the representative of St. Peter, cannot be pressed as implying that he was the one doorkeeper of the whole church or an infallible authority in definitions of faith. On the contrary, the bishops at Milan endorsed his judgment, not as a matter of course or as being bound to do so, but on the merits of the case, setting forth their reasons. These proceedings apparently occurred in 390.

About the same time, or soon after, the Meletian schism at Antioch came under the notice of Siricius. His attitude to it is not certainly known. Some six months after the death of Damasus, whose highly valued secretary he had been, Jerome had left Rome for ever. In his bitterly expressed letter to Asilla, inveighing against his opponents and calumniators, he does not mention the new pope; but it may be concluded, if only from his silence, that he had lost the countenance he had enjoyed under Damasus. One expression suggests that he had been a little disappointed at not being made pope himself, and that coolness between him and Siricius may have arisen from this. Siricius and he were at one in their advocacy of virginity against Jovinian and in their general orthodoxy, but there seems to have been no intercourse between them, and, even in the course of the controversy against Jovinian, Siricius appears to have joined others at Rome in disapproving of Jerome's alleged disparagement of matrimony. Further, Rufinus, the once close friend of Jerome, having quarrelled with him in Palestine about Origenism but been temporarily reconciled, in 395 left Jerusalem for Rome. He was favourably received by Siricius, who gave him a commendatory letter on his departure, the quarrel with Jerome having recommenced with increased violence.

For his neglect of Jerome and patronage of Rufinus, Baronius disparages Siricius, even saying that his days were shortened by divine judgment (Baron. ad ann.397; xxxii.). A further ground of complaint (ad ann.394; xl.) is his supposed unworthy treatment of another ascetic saint, Paulinus of Nola, who says he was badly treated by the Roman clergy when passing through Rome (a.d.395) on his way to Nola, and especially blames the pope (Paulin. ad Sulpic. Severum, Ep. i. in nov. edit. v.). For such reasons Baronius has excluded Siricius from the Roman Martyrology. Pagi (in Baron ad ann.398, 1) defends the pope against the animadversions of Baronius. Siricius died in 398.

[J.B -- Y.]

Sirmium, Stonemasons of
Sirmium, Stonemasons of. The Acts giving the history of the martyrdom of the five stonemasons of Sirmium have been known for centuries, being found in substance in Ado's Martyrology, but only last century was their relation to the history of Diocletian's period recognized. They were stonemasons belonging to Pannonia, engaged in the imperial quarries; one of them, Simplicius, was a pagan. They distinguished themselves by their genius and ability, and attracted the notice of Diocletian by the beauty of their carving. Simplicius was converted by his four companions, and baptized secretly by a bishop, Cyril of Antioch, who had been three years a slave in the quarries and had suffered many stripes for the faith. The pagans, jealous of their skill, accused them before Diocletian, who, however, continued to protect them. When, however, the emperor ordered them to make, among other statues, one of Aesculapius, the masons made all the others, but refused to carve that. The pagans thereupon procured an order for their execution. They were enclosed in lead coffins and flung into the Save. Their Acts then proceed to narrate the martyrdom of the saints called the Quatuor Coronati, whose liturgical history has been told at length in D. C. A. t. i. p.461. Diocletian, coming to Rome, ordered all the troops to sacrifice to Aescuapius. Four soldiers, Carpophorus Severus, Severianus, and Victorinus, refusing, were flogged to death, and their bodies buried by pope Melchiades and St. Sebastian on the Via Lavicana at the 3rd milestone from the city. These Acts are very valuable illustrations of the great persecution, but are full of difficulties. The whole story is in Mason's Diocletian Persecution, p.259. Attention was first called to the Acts as illustrating Diocletian's period by Wattenbach in the Sitsungsberichte der Wiener Akad. Bd. x. (1853) S.118-126. They were discussed in Büdinger, Untersuch. zur röm. Kaisergesch, ii.262, iii.321-338, with elaborate archaeological and chronological commentaries.


Sisinnius, bp. of Novatianists
Sisinnius (7), a bishop of the Novatianists at Constantinople, succeeding on Marcian's death in Nov.395 (Socr. H. E. v.21; vi.1; Soz. H. E. viii.1). He published a treatise warmly controverting Chrysostom's impassioned language as to the efficacy of repentance and the restoration of penitents to communion, de Poenitentia (Socr. H. E. vi.21). Chrysostom, taking umbrage at this and at his claim to exercise episcopal functions in Constantinople, threatened to stop his preaching. Sisinnius jocosely told him he would be much obliged to him for sparing him so much trouble, and thus disarmed his anger (ib.22). Sisinnius enjoyed a great reputation for witty repartees. Several are collected by Socrates (l.c.), but do not give a very high idea of his powers. He is described as a man of great eloquence, enhanced by dignity of countenance and person, gracefulness of action, and by the tones of his voice. He had a considerable reputation for learning, being very familiar with philosophical writings as well as expositions of Scripture, and was well skilled in dialectics. Together with Theodotus of Antioch he composed a synodic letter against the Thessalians, in the name of the Novatianist bishops assembled at Constantinople for his consecration, addressed to Berinianus, Amphilochius, and other bishops of Pamphylia (Phot. Cod. Iii. col.40; Cave, Hist. Lit. i.290). Though a bishop of a schismatic body, he was much esteemed by the orthodox bishops, especially by Atticus, and was the honoured friend of leading aristocrats of Constantinople. He kept a sumptuous table, though not exceeding the bounds of moderation himself. Sisinnius died the same year as Chrysostom, a.d.407, and was succeeded by Chrysanthus (Socr. H. E. vii.6; Cave, u.s.).


Sixtus I., bp. of Rome
Sixtus I. -- so called in the Liberian Catalogue by Optatus (l.2) and Augustine (Ep. liii.); but Xystus, Xistus, or Xestus, in Catal. Felic., Irenaeus (adv. Haer. iii.3), Eusebius (H. E. iv.4, 5, and Chron.), Epiphanius (Haer.97, 6) -- one of the early bps. of Rome, called the 6th after the apostles, and the successor of Alexander. All assign him an episcopate of about 10 years, and place him in the reign of Hadrian. Catal. Liber. dates his episcopate 117-126; Eusebius (H. E.) 119-128; his Chronicle 114-124. Lipsius (Chronol. der röm. Bischöf.) gives 124-126 as the possible limits for his death. The Felician Catalogue and the Martyrologies represent him as a martyr, and he is commemorated among the apostles and martyrs, after Linus, Cletus, Clemens, in the canon of the mass. But Telesphorus being the first bp. of Rome designated a martyr by Irenaeus, the claim to the title of Sixtus and other early bps. of Rome, to the great majority of whom it has been since assigned, is doubtful.

[J.B -- Y.]

Sixtus II., bp. of Rome
Sixtus II. (Xystus), bp. of Rome after Stephen for about one year, martyred under Valerian Aug.6, 258. A contemporary letter of St. Cyprian (Ep.80) confirms this date as given in the Liberian Catalogue. Probably his accession was on Aug- 31, 257 (see Lipsius, Chronol. der röm. Bischöf.). His predecessor Stephen had been at issue with Cyprian of Carthage as to the rebaptism of heretics. Under Xystus, who was more conciliatory, though he upheld the Roman usage, peace was restored (Eus. H. E. vii.5-7).

The circumstances of his martyrdom appear to have been as follows. The emperor Valerian had already, before the accession of Xystus, forbidden the resort of Christians to the cemeteries on pain of banishment. But in the middle of 258, when Valerian was arming for his Persian war, he sent a rescript to the senate of much severer import; ordering bishops, priests, and deacons to be summarily executed; senators and other persons of rank to be visited with loss of dignity and goods, and, on refusal to renounce Christianity, with death; matrons to be despoiled and exiled; and imperial officials (Caesarians) to be sent in chains to labour on the imperial domains (Cyp. Ep.80). Xystus fell an early victim to this rescript. He was found by the soldiers seated on his episcopal chair, in the cemetery of Praetextatus on the Appian Way, surrounded by members of his flock. As these endeavoured to protect him, he thrust himself forward lest they should suffer in his stead, and was beheaded and several companions slain. His body was afterwards removed by the Christians to the usual burial place of the bishops of that period, the neighbouring cemetery of Callistus. His two deacons, Agapetus and Felicissimus, with others, were buried in the cemetery where they fell. This account of the occurrence is gathered from Cyprian's contemporary letter to Successus (Ep.80), and from the Damasine inscription in the papal crypt of the cemetery of Callistus, of which a few fragments have been found by De Rossi, and which originally began as follows:

|Tempore quo gladius secuit pia viscera matris
Hic positus rector coelestia done docebam . . .|
(Gruter, 1173, 13)

That these verses refer to Xystus, and not, as assumed in the Acts of St. Stephen, to his predecessor, is satisfactorily shewn by Lipsius (op. cit.). That he was buried there is expressly stated in the Liberian Catalogue of Martyrs, as well as by all later authorities; and the statement is confirmed by numerous graffiti on the walls of the crypt, in which his name is prominent. The line |Hic positus,| etc., may refer to the cathedra on which he sat when found by the soldiers, which had been removed with his body to the papal crypt. That the cemetery of Praetextatus was the scene of his martyrdom ancient tradition bears witness, and in accordance with it an oratory was afterwards built on the spot, |coemeterium ubi decollatus est Xystus.| The tradition is confirmed by representations of him and his chair in this cemetery, under one of which is the legend SVSTVS.

[J.B -- Y.]

Sixtus III., bp. of Rome
Sixtus III., bp. of Rome (432-441) after Coelestinus, and the immediate predecessor of Leo the Great. Two notable heresies of his day were Pelagianism and Nestorianism. Before his accession he had taken part in both controversies. It appears from Augustine's letters to him when he was still a Roman presbyter under Zosimus, that the Pelagians had claimed him as being, with the pope, on their side; but that, when the pope was at length induced to condemn the heresy, he also had written to the African church expressing his concurrence with a vigour of language that fully satisfied Augustine, who also rejoices to have heard that he had been foremost in anathematizing Pelagianism in a large assembly at Rome (Aug. Epp.191, al.104, and 194, al.105). Apparently Sixtus had, before his accession, also intervened in the Nestorian conflict, for in his letter to John of Antioch (Ep. ii.) he speaks of having once admonished Nestorius; and this must have been before the latter's final condemnation, and hence before the accession of Sixtus, who was evidently a man of mark and influence at Rome before becoming pope.

It seems, however, that the Nestorians as well as the Pelagians claimed Sixtus as once having favoured them; and he was reported to have taken in ill part the condemnation of Nestorius. These claims may have arisen from his having evinced a conciliatory spirit and a reluctance to condemn too hastily.

There are two extant epistles of his, written to Cyril and John of Antioch, expressing his great joy in their reconciliation; from one of which it further appears that he had written often previously to Maximian, the successor of Nestorius at Constantinople. A synod had been held at Rome on the occasion of his birthday, at which the joyful news of the reconciliation had been made known, and he was, when he wrote, expecting the speedy arrival of a deputation of clergy from John of Antioch. These two letters are given by Baronius (A.D.433, xii. and xvii.); from a Vatican MS., which he speaks of as corrupt but trustworthy. (See also Labbe, Concil. Eph. iii.1689, 1699.) The letter to John is quoted by Vincent of Lerins (adv. Haer.).

Two previous letters of Sixtus, conceived in a similar spirit, are given by Cotelerius from MSS. in the Biblioth. Reg. (Coteler. Monum. Graec. Eccles. vol. i. p.42). One was to Cyril; the other was apparently an encyclic to him and the Easterns generally, sent by two bishops from the East, Hermogenes and Lampetius, who had been present at the pope's ordination. Both announced, as was usual, his accession to his see, and declared his communion with the Eastern churches. But in both, while he fully concurs in the condemnation of Nestorius by the council of Ephesus, he refers with regret to the dissent of John of Antioch and his adherents, whose reception into communion he desires and recommends, if they should come to a better mind, as he hopes they will.

Sixtus was no less vigilant than preceding popes in maintaining the jurisdiction of the Roman see over Illyricum, and that of the bp. of Thessalonica as the pope's vicar over the rest of the bishops there. Four letters of his (two written in 435, another in 437) on this subject were read in the Roman council held under Boniface II., a.d.531. (See Labbe, vol. v., Concil. Rom. III. sub Bonifac. II.) In the fourth, addressed to all the bishops of Illyricum, he enjoins them to submit themselves to Anastasius of Thessalonica as, like his predecessor, vicar of the apostolic see, with authority to summon synods and adjudicate on all cases, except such as it might be necessary to refer to Rome. He bids them pay no regard to the decrees of |the oriental synod,| except those on faith, which had his own approval. He probably refers to the council of Constantinople, which in its 3rd canon had given a primacy of honour after old Rome to Constantinople. On the strength of this the patriarchs of Constantinople had already assumed jurisdiction over the Thracian dioceses, though not till the council of Chalcedon (A.D.451; can. xxviii.) was the express power of ordaining metropolitans in Illyricum formally given to them, despite the protest of pope Leo's legates.

Towards the end of his life Sixtus still concurred decidedly in the condemnation of Pelagianism. For we are told by Prosper (Chron.) that Julian, the eminent Pelagian, being deposed from the see of Eclanum in Campania, essayed in 439, by profession of penitence, to creep again into the communion of the church, but that Sixtus, under the advice of his deacon Leo, |allowed no opening to his pestiferous attempts.| This Leo was the successor of Sixtus in the see of Rome, Leo the Great, who thus appears to have been his archdeacon and adviser.

Three works issued under the name of Sixtus (de Divitiis, de Malis Doctoribus, etc., and de Castitate) are apparently of Pelagian origin (see Baron. ad ann.440, vi.), possibly put out in his name on the strength of the old report of his having once favoured Pelagianism.

Sixtus died a.d.440, and was buried (according to Anastasius, Lib. Pontif.), |ad S. Laurentium via Tiburtini.| He is commemorated as a confessor on Mar.28: |Romae S. Sixti tertii, papae et confessoris| (Martyrol. Roman). Why he should be called a confessor is not obvious. The title may rest on a spurious letter to the bishops of the East, which complains of persecution.

In the Lib. Pontif. extraordinary activity in building, endowing, and decorating churches is attributed to him, and to the emperor Valentinian under his instigation. He is said to have built the basilicas of St. Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline (called Ad Praesepe), and of St. Laurence, and to have furnished both with great store of precious instruments and
ornamentations. Pope Hadrian, in writing to Charlemagne (Ep.3, c.19) alludes to the former.

[J.B -- Y.]

Socrates, a historian
Socrates (2), one of the most interesting and valuable historians of the early Christian age, was born at
Constantinople, probably early in the reign of Theodosius the younger, a.d.408. He tells us that he was educated there under Helladius and Ammonius, two heathen grammarians, who had fled from Alexandria to escape the emperor's displeasure. They had been guilty of many acts of cruel retaliation upon the Christians there, who had sought to overthrow the idols and temples (H. E. v.16). Socrates studied rhetoric, assisted Troilus the rhetorician and sophist, and entered the legal profession, hence his name Scholasticus, the title for a lawyer. His life was spent at Constantinople, and hence he, in his history, occupies himself much with the affairs of that city. |No wonder,| he says, |I write more fully of the famous acts done in this city (Constantinople), partly because I beheld most of them with my own eyes, partly because they are more famous and thought more worthy of remembrance than many other acts| (v.23). Here we see the true spirit of the historian, and a worthy anxiety to be correct. How sincerely Socrates desired to be so is shewn by his use of similar expressions in the beginning of bk. vi., where he says he had a greater liking for the history of his own than of bygone times, because he had either seen it or learned it from eye-witnesses. A certain Theodorus, otherwise unknown, encouraged him to become a historian of the church. His object was to continue its history from where Eusebius had ended down to his own day. His work is divided into seven books, from Constantine's proclamation as emperor, a.d.306 to 439, a period of 133, or, as he himself calls it, in round numbers, 140 years. Especially in bks. i. and ii. Rufinus appears to have exercised considerable influence. But at that point, the writings of Athanasius and the letters of other celebrated men coming into his hands, he found that Rufinus had been misinformed and had misled him on many points. His own statement seems to imply that he rewrote those books to have the satisfaction of knowing that he had set forth the history |in a most absolute and perfect manner| (ii.1).

Of his own style Socrates, addressing Theodorus, says, |But I would have you know, before you read my books, that I have not curiously addicted myself unto a lofty style, neither unto a glorious show of gay sentences; for so peradventure, in running after words and phrases I might have missed of my matter and failed of my purpose and intent. . . . Again, such a penning profiteth very little the vulgar and ignorant sort of people, who desire not so much the fine and elegant sort of phrase as the furtherance of their knowledge and the truth of the history. Wherefore, lest our story should halt of both sides, and displease the learned in that it doth not rival the artificial skill and profound knowledge of ancient writers, the unlearned in that their capacity cannot comprehend the substance of the matter by reason of the painted rhetoric and picked sentences, I have tied myself unto such a mean as that, though the handling be simple, yet the effect is soon found and quickly understood| (vi. pref.).

His matter was to be chiefly the affairs of the church, but not to the complete exclusion of |battles and bloody wars,| for even in these there was something worthy to be recorded. He believed the narrative of such events would help to relieve the weariness which might overcome his readers if he dwelt only on the consideration of the bishops' affairs and their practices everywhere one against another. Above all, he had observed that the weal of church and state was so closely bound up together that the two were either out of joint at the same time, or that the misery of the one followed closely the misery of the other (v. pref.). It was the troubles of the church, too, that he desired chiefly to record. His idea was that, when peace prevailed, there was no matter for a historiographer (vii.47).

One important qualification Socrates possessed for his task was that he was a layman. This in no degree hindered his capability of forming a correct judgment on theological controversies, for around these the main interest of lay as well as clerical Christians centred in his days and they were thoroughly understood by all educated Christian men; while his lay position and training unquestionably helped to raise him above the bitter animosities and persecuting spirit of his age, and led him to see the amount of hairsplitting in not a few of the current disputes. His recognition of good in those from whom he differed forms one of the most pleasing characteristics of his history. His impartiality has, indeed, exposed him to a charge of heresy. He saw, and ventured to own, some good in the Novatianists, and especially in several of their bishops, and he has been accordingly often charged with Novatianism. But his history shews little, if any, reason why we should doubt his orthodoxy. Like the most enlightened men of his age, he gave easy credence to miraculous stories, and there are many scattered throughout his pages quite as improbable and foolish as those found in the most superstitious writers of his time. Yet Socrates often displays a singular propriety of judgment, while his occasional reflections and digressions constitute one of the most interesting and instructive parts of his history. Thus his defence of the study by Christians of heathen writers may still be read with profit, and perhaps much more could not even now be added to his argument (iii.14). His chapter on ceremonies, their place in the Christian system, the ground of their obligation, and their relation to the true word of the gospel, shews an enlargement and enlightenment of mind (v.21). His whole history shews his keen eye for the mischief done by heated ecclesiastics, and for the unworthy motives that frequently swayed them (vi.14).

For many other points the student will find his History valuable. It contains many original documents, e.g. decrees of councils and letters of emperors and bishops. It gives many important details as to the councils of Nicaea, Chalcedon, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, Ephesus, etc.; the emperors of the time treated of; the most distinguished bishops, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzum, Ambrose, Athanasius, Chrysostom, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Cyril, etc.; the Egyptian monks and their miracles; Ulphilas, bp. of the Goths, and the famous Hypatia. It embraces some important statements on the independence of Rome claimed by the Eastern church and the encroachments of the Roman see upon the latter; on the beginnings of the secular power of the Roman church; and on the introduction of disciplinary arrangements. The progress of the gospel amongst the Goths, Saracens, and Persians, the persecutions of the Jews, and the progress of the Eastern controversy are treated at large.

A Greek and Latin ed., with notes, by Valesius, was pub. at Paris in 1668, repeated at Cambridge in 1720, and in Migne's Patr. Gk. (t. lxvii.) in 1859. In 1853 appeared the Gk. and Lat. ed. of R. Hussey (Oxf.3 vols.8vo). An ed. with Eng. notes and intro. by W. Bright is pub. by the Clar. Press. There is an Eng. trans. by Meredith Hammer, Prof. of Divinity, pub. in London by Field, 1619, and more recent ones pub. by Bagster in 1847, and in Schaff and Wace's Post-Nicene Lib., and in Bohn's Lib. (Bell).


Sophronius, ecclesiastical writer
Sophronius (7), a learned Greek friend of Jerome, who was with him in 391-392, and is included in his catalogue of ecclesiastical writers. He had, while still young, composed a book on the glories of Bethlehem, and, just before the catalogue was written, a book on the destruction of the Serapeum, and had translated into Greek Jerome's letter to Eustochium on virginity, his Life of Hilarion, and his Latin version of the Psalms and Prophets. Jerome records that it was at Sophronius's instance that he wrote the last-named. Sophronius had, in dispute with a Jew, quoted from the Psalms, but the Jew said that the passages read differently in Hebrew. Sophronius therefore asked from Jerome a version direct from the Hebrew, which Jerome gave, though he knew that alterations from the received version would cause him some obloquy. The importance of these alterations led Sophronius to translate the versions into Greek. They were well received, and were read in many of the Eastern churches instead of the Septuagint. The translations have not come down to us; but a Greek version of the catalogue of ecclesiastical writers bears the name of Sophronius. It is not quite accurate, but appears to have been the version used by Photius. The presence of his name on this book probably gave rise to its insertion in some MSS. between the names of Jerome, who, however, does not appear to have adopted it. Hieron., de Vir. Ill.134; cont. Ruf. ii.24; Ceillier, vi.278; and Vallarsi's pref. to Jerome, de Vir. Ill.


Sophronius, bishop of Tella
Sophronius (10), bp. of Tella or Constantina in Osrhoene, first cousin of Ibas, bp. of Edessa. He was present at the synod of Antioch which investigated the case of Athanasius of Perrha, in 445 (Labbe, iv.728). At the |Robbers' Synod| of Ephesus in 449 (Evagr. H. E.10) he was accused of practising sorcery and magical arts. He was also accused of Nestorian doctrine, and his case was reserved for the hearing of the orthodox metropolitan of Edessa, to be appointed in the place of Ibas. No further steps appear to have been taken, and at the council of Chalcedon he took his seat as bp. of Constantia (Labbe, iv.81). His orthodoxy, however, was not beyond suspicion, and in the 8th session, after Theodoret had been compelled by the tumultuous assembly reluctantly to anathematize Nestorius, Sophronius was forced to follow his example, with the addition of Eutyches (Labbe, iv.623). Theodoret wrote to him in favour of Cyprian, an African bp. driven from his see by the Vandals (Theod. Ep.53). Assemani, Bibl. Orient. i.202, 404; Chron. Edess.; Tillemont, Mém. eccl. xv.258, 579, 686; Martin, Le Pseudo-Synode d'Ephèse, p.184; Le Quien, Or. Christ. ii.967.


Soter, bp. of Rome
Soter, bp. of Rome after Anicetus, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, during 8 or 9 years. Lipsius (Chronol. der röm. Bischöf.) gives 166 or 167 and 174 or 175 as the probable dates of his accession and death. In his time the Aurelian persecution afflicted the church, though there is no evidence of Roman Christians having suffered under it. But they sympathized with those who did. Eusebius (H. E. iv.23) quotes a letter from Dionysius, bp. of Corinth, to the Romans, acknowledging their accustomed benevolence to sufferers elsewhere, and the fatherly kindness of bp. Soter: |From the beginning it has been your custom to benefit all brethren in various ways, to send supplies to many churches in every city, thus relieving the poverty of those that need, and succouring the brethren who are in the mines. This ancient traditional custom of the Romans your blessed bp. Soter has not only continued, but also added to, in both supplying to the saints the transmitted bounty, and also, as an affectionate father towards his children, comforting those who resort to him with words of blessing.|

The unknown author of a book called Praedestinatus (c.26) states that Soter wrote a treatise against the Montanists. But the writer is generally so unworthy of credit that his testimony is of no value. [[545]MONTANUS; PRAEDESTINATUS.]

As to the Easter dispute between Rome and the Asian Quartodecimans, it seems probable that Soter was the first bp. of Rome who was unwilling to tolerate the difference of usage. His immediate predecessor Anicetus had communicated with Polycarp when at Rome; but Victor, who succeeded Soter's successor Eleutherus, incurred the reproof of St. Irenaeus and others for desiring the general excommunication of the Asiatic churches on account of the dispute; and Irenaeus, in remonstrating with Victor, refers only to bps. of Rome before Soter, mentioning them by name, and ending his list with Anicetus, as having maintained communion with the Quartodecimans (Eus. H. E. v.24).

[J.B -- Y.]

Sozomen, author of a history
Sozomen, author of a well-known Ecclesiastical History, born c.400. In his book Sozomen has some notices of his birth and of his bringing up (v.15). His family belonged to Bethelia, a small town near Gaza in Palestine, where his grandfather had been one of the first to embrace Christianity. Thus Sozomen was nurtured amidst Christian influences. He tells us (l.c.) that his grandfather was endowed with great natural ability, which he consecrated especially to the study of the sacred Scriptures, that he was much beloved by the Christians of those parts, who looked to him for explanations of the word of God and the unloosing of its difficulties. Sozomen came to the writing of ecclesiastical history in no spirit of indifference. He believed in Christianity, and even in the more ascetic forms of it, with a genuine faith, |for I would neither,| he says, |be considered ungracious, and willing to consign their virtue [that of the monks] to oblivion, nor yet be thought ignorant of their history; but I would wish to leave behind me such a record of their manner of life that others, led by their example, might attain to a blessed and happy end| (i.1).

He was probably educated at fast in Bethelia or Gaza, for some memories of his youth are connected with Gaza (vii.28). Thence he seems to have gone to Berytus, a city of Phoenicia, to be trained in civil law at its famous school. His education finished, he proceeded to Constantinople, and there entered on his profession (ii.3).

While thus engaged he formed the plan of his Ecclesiastical History (ii.3), being attracted to the subject both by his own taste and the example of Eusebius. It appeared in 9 books, extending over the years 323-439, and was dedicated to Theodosius the Younger. It thus covers the same period as that of Socrates, and as both were written about the same time and have many resemblances, the question arises as to which was the original and which not unfrequently the copyist. Valesius, upon apparently good grounds, decides against Sozomen, although allowing that he often adds to and corrects his authority. Like Socrates, Sozomen is habitually trustworthy, and a conscientious and serious writer. In his account of the council of Nicaea, which may be taken as a favourable specimen of his work as a whole, he seems to have drawn from the best sources, to have proceeded with care, and to have made a sufficiently good choice among the apocryphal traditions and innumerable legends which in the 5th cent. obscured the reports of this great council (cf. De Broglie, iv. siècle, ii.431). But he inserted in his history not a little that is trifling and superstitious. In style he is generally allowed to be superior, but in judgment inferior, to Socrates.

His History is especially valuable for its accounts of the monks, which, though by an admirer, are not therefore to be despised, or we should be equally entitled to set aside accounts by their detractors. It is impossible to read his repeated notices of the monastic institutions of his time or his long account of their manners and customs (i.12), without feeling that here are statements as to the nature and influence of monasticism which cannot be set aside. He also gives not a few important particulars concerning both the events and men of the time covered by it, particularly of the council of Nicaea, the persecutions, the general progress of the gospel, the conversion of Constantine, the history of Julian, the illustrious Athanasius, and many bishops and martyrs of the age; and also a number of original documents.

The best ed., by Valesius, appeared at Paris in 1668, and was followed by one, with the notes of Valesius, at Cambridge, in 1720. The ed. of Hussey (Oxf.1860) also deserves mention. An Eng. trans. in Bohn's Eccl. Lib. (1855) deserves high commendation; another was pub. by Baxter in 1847; and there is one in the Lib. of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.


Spyridon, bp. of Trimithus
Spyridon, bp. of Trimithus in Cyprus, one of the most popularly celebrated of the bishops attending the council of Nicaea, although his name is not found in the list of signatures. He was the centre of many legendary stories which Socrates heard from his fellow-islanders (Socr. H. E. i.12). Spyridon was married, with at least one daughter, Irene. He continued his occupation as a sheep farmer after, for his many virtues, he had been called to the episcopate. He is mentioned by Athanasius among the orthodox bishops at the council of Sardica (Athan. Apol. ii. p.768). His body was first buried in his native island, then removed to Constantinople, and when the Turks captured the city it was transmitted to Corfu, where it is annually carried in procession round the capital as the patron saint of the Ionian isles (Stanley, Eastern Church, p.126). His Life, written in iambics by his pupil, Triphyllius of Ledra, is spoken of by Suidas as |very profitable| (Suidas sub voc. Triphyllius, ii.947). Rufin.1, 3-5; Socr. H. E. i.8, 12; Soz. H. E. i.11; Niceph. H. E. viii.15, 42; Tillemont, Mém. eccl. vi.643, 679, vii.242-246; Hefele, Hist. of Councils, vol. i. p.284, Clark's trans.; Stanley, op. cit. pp.124-126, 132).


Stagirus, friend of Chrysostom
Stagirus (Stagirius), a young friend of Chrysostom, of noble birth, who against his father's wishes embraced a monastic life, joining the brotherhood of which Chrysostom was a member, and continuing there after failure of health compelled Chrysostom's return to Antioch. The self-indulgent life Stagirus had led was a door preparation for the austerities of monasticism, and he proved a very unsatisfactory monk. He found the nightly vigils intolerable, and reading hardly less distasteful. He spent his time m attending to a garden and orchard. He also manifested much pride of his high birth. His health broke down under the strain of so uncongenial a life. He became subject to convulsive attacks, which were then considered to indicate demoniacal possession. He employed all recognised means for expelling the evil spirit. He applied to persons of superior sanctity, often taking long journeys to obtain the aid of those who had the reputation of healing those afflicted with spiritual maladies, and visited the most celebrated martyrs' shrines, and prayed long and fervently both there and at home, but in vain, though his religious character sensibly improved. He rose at night and devoted much time to prayer and became meek and humble. Chrysostom's counsels to him are in the 3 books ad Stagirium a daemone vexatum, or de Divina Providentia (Socr. H. E. vi.3). What the physical issue was we do not know. Nilus highly commends his piety, humility, and contrition, but uses language which indicates that his attacks did not entirely pass away (Nilus, Epp. lib. iii.19).


Stephanus I., bp. of Rome
Stephanus (1) I., bp. of Rome, after Lucius, from May 12, 254, to Aug.2, 257. These dates are arrived at by Lipsius (Chron. der röm. Bischöf.) after careful examination. Those given by the ancient catalogues are erroneous and conflicting. If Lucius died, as is supposed, on Mar.5, 254, Stephen was appointed after a vacancy of 61 days.

At the time of his accession the persecution of the church, begun by Decius and renewed by Gallus, had ceased for a time under Valerian. The internal disputes as to the reception of the lapsi, which had given rise to the schism of NOVATIAN, still continued.

In the autumn of 254 a council was held at Carthage, the first during the episcopate of Stephen, on the matter of two Spanish bishops, Basilides and Martialis, deposed for compliance with idolatry. Basilides had been to Rome to represent his case to Stephen and procure reinstatement in his see; and Stephen had apparently supported him. The synodical letter of the council (drawn up, without doubt, by Cyprian) confirmed the deposition of the two prelates and the election of their successors, on the ground that compliance with idolatry incapacitated for resumption of clerical functions, though not for reception into the church through penance. The action of Stephen was put aside as of no account, though excused as due to the false representations of Basilides (Cyp. Ep.67). A letter from Cyprian to Stephen himself, probably written soon after the council and in the same year, is further significant of the relations between Carthage and Rome. Stephen seems to have been determined to act independently in virtue of the supposed prerogatives of his see, while Cyprian shews himself equally determined to ignore such prerogatives. The subject of the letter is Marcian, bp. of Arles, who had adopted Novatianist views, and whose deposition Stephen is urged to bring about by letters to the province and people of Arles. The letter shews that Faustinus of Lyons had repeatedly written to Cyprian on the subject, having also, together with other bishops of the province, in vain solicited Stephen to take action. While allowing that it rested with the bp. of Rome to influence with effect the Gallic provinces, Cyprian is far from conceding him any prerogative beyond that of the general collegium of bishops, by whose concurrent action, according to his theory, the true faith and discipline of the Church Catholic was to be maintained. In praising the late bps. of Rome, Cornelius and Lucius, whose example he exhorts Stephen to follow, Cyprian seems to imply a doubt whether the latter was disposed to do his duty (ib.68).

A new question of dispute, that of the rebaptism of heretics, led to an open rupture between Rome and Carthage, in which the Asian as well as the African churches sided with Cyprian against Rome. The question was raised whether the adherents of Novatian who had been baptized in schism should be rebaptized when reconciled to the church (ib.69 ad Magnum). But it soon took the wider range of all cases of heretical or schismatical baptism. It had been long the practice in both Asia and Africa to rebaptize heretics, and the practice had been confirmed by synods, including the first Carthaginian synod under Agrippinus. Cyprian (Ep.73, ad Jubaianum) does not trace the African custom further back than Agrippinus, but he insisted uncompromisingly on the necessity of rebaptism, and was supported by the whole African church. At Rome admission by imposition of hands only, without iteration of baptism, seems to have been the immemorial usage, the only alleged exception being what Hippolytus states (Philosophum. p.291) about rebaptism having been practised in the time of Callistus. Stephen took a view opposite to that of Cyprian. Cyprian would baptize all schismatics, whether heretical in doctrine or no; Stephen would apparently rebaptize none, whatever their heresies or the form of their baptism (Cyp. Ep.74).

The first council of Carthage on the subject, held in 255, issued a synodal letter supporting Cyprian's position. Cyprian then sent to Stephen a formal synodal letter, agreed on in a synod at Carthage, probably at Easter, 256, in which the necessity of baptizing heretics and of the exclusion from clerical functions of apostate clergy on their readmission into the church, is urged. But the tone of the letter is not dictatorial. Stephen may retain his own views if he will without breaking the bond of peace with his colleagues, every prelate being free to take his own line, and responsible to God (Ep.72).

Stephen's reply, written, according to Cyprian, |unskilfully and inconsiderately,| contained things |either proud, or irrelevant, or self-contradictory.| Cyprian charges Stephen with |hard obstinacy,| |presumption and contumacy,| referring, by way of contrast, to St. Paul's admonition to Timothy, that a bishop should not be |litigious,| but |mild and docile,| and replying to the arguments advanced by Stephen. Stephen had so far apparently not broken off communion with those who differed from him (Ep.74). Cyprian summoned a plenary council of African, Numidian, and Mauritanian bishops, numbering 87, with presbyters and deacons, in the presence of a large assembly of laity, which met on Sept.1, 256. Cyprian and other bishops separately gave their opinions, unanimously asserting the decision of the previous synod. But Cyprian was careful, in his opening address, to repudiate any intention of judging others or breaking communion with them on the ground of disagreement. After this great council, probably towards the winter of 256, Firmilian, bp. of Neocaesarea, wrote his long letter to Cyprian, from which it appears that Stephen had by this time renounced communion with both the Asian and African churches, calling Cyprian a false Christ, a false apostle, a deceitful worker. The question has been raised whether Stephen's action was an excommunication of the Eastern and African churches, or only a threat. H. Valois and Baronius say the latter only; but Firmilian's language seems to imply more, and so Mosheim (Comm. de Rebus Christian. pp.538 seq.) thinks. Routh and Lipsius also hold that excommunication was pronounced. Stephen claimed authority beyond other bishops as being St. Peter's successor, and took much amiss Cyprian's independent action; Cyprian, supported by all the African and Asian churches, utterly ignored any such superior authority; his well-known position being that, though Christ's separate commission to St. Peter had expressed the unity of the church, this commission was shared by all the apostles and transmitted to all bishops alike. Unity, according to his theory, was to be maintained, not by the supremacy of one bishop, but by the consentient action of all, allowing considerable differences of practice without breach of unity. Stephen seems to have taken the position, carried to its full extent by subsequent popes, of claiming a peculiar supremacy for the Roman see, and requiring uniformity as a condition of communion.

The arguments of Stephen were mainly these: |We have immemorial custom on our side, especially the tradition of St. Peter's see, which is above all others. We have also Scripture and reason on our side; St. Paul rejoiced at the preaching of the gospel, and recognized it, though preached out of envy and strife. There is but one baptism; to reiterate it is sacrilege, and its efficacy depends, not on the administrators, but on the institution of Christ; whoever, then, has been once baptized in the name of Christ, even by heretics, has been validly baptized, and may not be baptized again.| Cyprian's answer was: |As to your custom, however old, it is a corrupt one, and not primitive; no custom can be set against truth, to get at which we must go back to the original fountain. Scripture is really altogether against you; those at whose preaching of the gospel St. Paul rejoiced were not schismatics, but members of the church acting from unworthy motives; he rebaptized those baptized only unto St. John's baptism, without acknowledgment of the Holy Ghost; he and the other apostles regarded schism and heresy as cutting men off from Christ; the Catholic Church is one, `a closed garden, a fountain sealed'; outside it there is no grace, no salvation, consequently no baptism; people cannot confer grace if they have not got it; we do not reiterate baptism, for those whom we baptize have not previously been baptized at all; it is you that make two baptisms in allowing that of heretics as well as that of the church.|

Stephen's martyrdom under Valerian is asserted in the Felician Catalogue, but not in the earlier Liberian Catalogue.

[J.B -- Y.]

Stephanus, bp. of Ephesus
Stephanus (12), bp. of Ephesus at the time of the |Robber Synod| and the 4th council of Chalcedon. The 11th session of that council (Oct.29, 451) was wholly occupied with investigating a complaint brought by Bassianus, formerly bp. of Ephesus, against Stephen, who was in advanced age, having been then 50 years one of the clergy of Ephesus. Bassianus had been expelled by violence from the see c.448, and succeeded by Stephen. Both were deprived of the see by decree of the synod, but allowed a pension of 200 gold pieces (Mansi, t. vii.271-294; Hefele's Councils, t. iii. p.371, Clark's trans.). The name of Stephen of Ephesus is attached to a MS. collection of sermons in the Vienna imperial library (Lambecii, Comment. iii.66; Fabric. Bib. Graec. xii.183, ed. Harles).


Stephanus I., patriarch of Antioch
Stephanus (16) I., patriarch of Antioch a.d.478-480 (Clinton, F. R. ii.536, 553). Stephen having sent a synodic letter to Acacius bp. of Constantinople acquainting him with the circumstances of his consecration, Acacius convened a synod, a.d.478, by which the whole transaction was confirmed. The partisans of Peter the Fuller accused Stephen to Zeno of Nestorian heresy, and demanded to have his soundness in the faith investigated by a synod. Zeno yielded, and a synod was called for the Syrian Laodicea (Labbe, iv.1152 ). The charge was declared groundless (Theophan.108). Stephen's enemies, rendered furious by defeat, made an onslaught on the church of St. Barlaam in which he was celebrating the Eucharist, dragged him from the altar, tortured him to death, and threw his body into the Orontes (Evagr. H. E. iii.10; Niceph. H. E. xv.88). The emperor, indignant at the murder of his nominee, despatched a military force to punish the Eutychian party, at whose instigation the crime had been committed (Simplicii Ep. xiv. ad Zenonem, Labbe, iv: 1033; Lib. Synod. ib.1152). According to some authorities it was Stephen's successor, another Stephen, who was thus murdered. Valesius, Seb. Binius, Tillemont (Mém. xvi.315) and Le Quien (Or. Christ. ii.726) take the view given above.


Stratonice, martyr at Cyzicum
Stratonice, martyr at Cyzicum in Mysia with Seleucus her husband at the quinquennalia of Galerius during Diocletian's persecution. The wife of a leading magistrate of the town, she came to see a large number of Christians tortured. Their patience converted her and she converted her husband. Her father, Apollonius, after every effort to win her back to paganism had failed, became her most bitter accuser. Husband and wife were beheaded, and buried in one tomb over which Constantine built a church (Assemani, Acta Mart. Orient. t. ii. p.65 ). The Acts offer many marks of authenticity. Cf. Le Blant, Actes des Martyrs; p.224, etc.; AA. SS. Boll. Oct. xiii. pp 893-916; Ceill. ii.481-483.


Sylvia, sister of Flavius Rufinus
Sylvia (Silvania), sister of Flavius Rufinus, consul in 392 and prefect of the East under Theodosius and Arcadius. A work written by her was discovered at Arezzo in 1885, bound up with an unpublished work of St. Hilary of Poictiers (de Mysteriis). It contained 2 hymns and an account of a journey in the East. M. Ch. Kohler gave an analysis of the text in Bibl. de l'Ecole des Chartres, and M. Gamurrini discussed its authorship in a paper before the Academy of Christian Archaeology at Rome (cf. Revue Critique, May 25, 1885, p.419). It has since been shown by M. Fératin that the pilgrim author is Etheria, a Spanish nun, mentioned by the monk Valerius (Migne, Patr. Lat. lxxxvii.421). It has been generally quoted, however, as the Peregrinatio Silviae. It is of the highest interest from its account of the services at Jerusalem at the time (c.385 ). Important extracts from it are given in Duchesne's Origines du Culte Chrétien, of which a good trans. by Mrs. McClure has been pub, by S.P.C.K. Cf. also F. Cabrol, Les Eglises de Jerusalem; la discipline et la liturgae au IV^mé Siècle, Etude sur la Peregrinatio Salviae.

[G.T.S. AND H.W.]

Symmachus, author O.T. in Greek
Symmachus (2), author of the Greek version of O.T., which in Origen's Hexapla and Tetrapla occupied the column next after that of Aquila and before those of the LXX and Theodotion. Eusebius speaks of Symmachus as a heretical Christian, while Epiphanius represents him merely as passing from the Samaritan sect to Judaism. The account of Eusebius is confirmed (1) by the name |Symmachians,| which, as we know from the Ambrosiaster (Prol. in Ep. ad Galat.) and from Augustine (cont. Cresc. i.31; cont. Faust. xix.4), was applied even in the 4th cent. to the Pharisaic or |Nazarean| Ebionites; (2) by the fact that Eusebius could refer to a work of Symmachus as extant, in which he maintained the Ebionite heresy in the shape of an attack on St. Matthew's Gospel. This work, according to Eusebius (H. E. vi.17; Demonstr. Esang. vii.1), was stated by Origen to have been obtained by him, together with other interpretations on the Scriptures, from one Juliana, who had received them from Symmachus himself. A later writer, Palladius (c.420), adds that this Juliana was a virgin who lived in Caesarea of Cappadocia, and gave refuge to Origen for two years during a persecution, adducing as his authority an entry which he found in Origen's own hand |This book I found in the house of Juliana the virgin in Caesarea, when I was hiding there; who said that she had received it from Symmachus himself, the interpreter of the Jews| (Hist. Laus.147). Heut (Origeniana, libb. I. iii.2; III. iv.2) is probably right in assigning the sojourn of Origen in this lady's house to the time of Maximin's persecutions (a.d.238-241). Eusebius speaks of the version of Symmachus (vi.16) as being, like those of Aquila and Theodotion, in common use in Origen's day, in contrast with the obscure |Fifth| and |Sixth| versions, which Origen brought to light; and Origen's extant remains shew that he knew and used Symmachus's version long before the time of Maximin (236-239).

Palladius, by his incidental statement, coming almost direct from Origen himself and resting on the testimony of a lady who had known Symmachus personally, powerfully confirms Eusebius, and makes it clear that Symmachus was a Christian (or |semi-Christian| as Jerome expresses it) of the Nazareo-Ebionite sect. Epiphanius's account is therefore to be rejected; and with it the theory of Geiger, who seeks to identify him with the Jew Symmachus, son of Joseph. The authority of Epiphanius has, however, been commonly accepted for placing the date of Symmachus under the reign of Severus (193-211) -- e.g. by the compiler of the Chronicon Paschale (s.a.202), Cave (Hist. Lit. s.a.201), etc. The extract from Palladius roughly fixes limits for the possible date of Symmachus, by shewing that he was an elder contemporary of Juliana, who was contemporary with Origen, but that he had died before Origen's sojourn in her house.

Symmachus's object in his version seems to have been to imitate Aquila in following the Hebrew exclusively, but to avoid his barbarous diction and to commend his work to Greek readers by purity of style. Thus, his renderings are externally dissimilar to Aquila's, but (frequently) internally akin. Remarkable cases of identity of translation between these two versions occur, e.g. Dan. ix.26, 27, which appears to have been borrowed by Symmachus verbally from Aquila. Of his other writings nothing is known.


Symmachus Q. Aurelius
Symmachus (3) Q. Aurelius, the last eminent champion of paganism at Rome, son of L. Aurelius Avianus Symmachus, who was prefect of the city in 364, consul suffect and pretorian prefect in 376, and one of the envoys sent by Julian to Constantius (Ammian. xxi.12, 24). He was educated at Bordeaux (Epp. ix.88), where he and Ausonius became firm friends (Auson. Id.11, in Migne, Patr. Lat. xix.895; Symm. Epp. i.13-43). After being questor and praetor, he became corrector of Lucania and Bruttium in 365 and proconsul of Africa in 373 (Cod. Theod. viii. tit. v.25; xii. tit. i.73). Being again in Gaul c.369, he delivered his first panegyric on Valentinian as he witnessed the construction of his fortifications on the Rhine (Laud. in Valent. Sen. ii.6). He was appointed prefect of the city at the end of 383 or the beginning of 384. He bore himself modestly in that office, which had been conferred on him unsolicited, declining the silver chariot which his predecessors had permission to use (Epp. x.24, 40) and the title of |Magnificence| (Epp. iv.42). In 382 he headed a deputation in the name of the majority of the senate, to the emperor Gratian, to request the replacement of the altar of Victory in the senate house and the restoration of their endowments to the vestals and the colleges of priests. The Christian senators, who, according to St. Ambrose, were really the majority, forwarded through pope Damasus a counter-petition, and by the influence of St. Ambrose the efforts of Symmachus were defeated, as again in 384, after Gratian's death (S. Ambi. Epp.17, 18, 57, in Patr. Lat. xvi.961, 972, 1175; Symm. Epp. x.61. He probably took part in the missions for the same purpose sent by the senate by Theodosius after the fall of Maximus, and to Valentinian II. in 392 (S. Ambr. Ep.57); and again suffered the same disappointment. In 393 the pagan party had a momentary triumph. Eugenius, at the instigation of Flavian and Arbogast, who had placed him on the throne, restored the altar of Victory and the endowments of the priests (Paulin. Vita S. Amb.. in Patr. Lat. xvi.30), but they were again abolished by Theodosius after the defeat of Eugenius and Arbogast. Symmachus appears to have made a final attempt in 403 or 404; at least such is the natural inference from the two books of Prudentius, contra Symmachum, written after Pollentia and consequently c.404.

Though a champion of the pagan cause, Symmachus was on excellent terms with the Christian leaders. He was a friend of pope Damasus and apparently of St. Ambrose himself, whom Cardinal Mai considers to be the Ambrose to whom seven of his letters are addressed (Epp. iii.31-37), of St. Ambrose's brother Satyrus (S. Ambr. de Excessu Fratris, i.32, in Patr. Lat. xvi.1300), and of Mallius Theodorus, to whom St. Augustine (Retr. i.2, in Patr. Lat. xxxii.588) dedicated one of his works. When prefect, he sent St. Augustine as a teacher of rhetoric to Milan (Conf. v.19, in Patr. Lat. xxxii.717), and was thus the unconscious instrument of his conversion. His Christian opponents always speak in high terms of his character and abilities. He was a member of the college of pontiffs, and as such exercised a strict supervision over the vestal virgins. In the case of one of the Alban vestals, who had broken her vow of chastity, he demanded the enforcement of the ancient penalty against her and her paramour (Epp. ix.128, 129), and sternly refused the request of another to be released from her vows before her time of service ended (Epp. ix.108).

The letters of Symmachus give a remarkable picture of the circumstances and life of a Roman noble just before the final break-up of the empire. His wealth, though not above that of an average senator (Olymp. ap. Not.), was very great. He had a mansion on the Coelian near S. Stefano Rotondo and other houses in Rome (Epp. iii.14), and numerous country residences, of which he mentions four suburban (Epp. i.6, ii.57, iii.55, vi.58) and several more remote (Epp. i.1, 8, 10, ii.60, iii.50, iv.44, vi.66, 81, vii.15, 35). He had property near Aquileia and in Samnium, Sicily, and Mauritania (Epp. iv.68, vi.11, ii.30, vii.66). The expenses of his son's praetorship; which he paid, amounted to 2,000 pounds of gold (Olymp. u.s.), and in many of his letters he asks his friends to send him rare wild beasts for the sports of his son's praetorship and questorship. Among other, seven Irish wolf-dogs are mentioned (Epp. ii.77). In three of his letters he speaks of his advancing years (Epp. iv.18, 32, viii.48). He was certainly alive in 404.

His letters are reprinted in 10 books in Patr. Lat. xviii. Early in the 19th cent. Cardinal Mai discovered in the Ambrosian Library fragments of 9 speeches of Symmachus, which he published in 1815, and again in 1846. A new ed. of the Relationes, his official correspondence with emperors, was pub. in 1872 by W. Meyer.


Symmachus, bp. of Rome
Symmachus (9), bp. of Rome from Nov.498, to July, 514, when Theodoric the Ostrogoth was king of Italy and Anastasius emperor in the East. For the circumstances of his election see LAURENTIUS (10).

The virulence of the two opposed parties is accounted for by the fact that they represented two opposite policies with regard to the then existing schism between the Western and Eastern churches. Laurentius was elected in the interests of the policy of concession to Constantinople and the East, which the previous pope, Anastasius II., had favoured; Symmachus for the maintenance of the unbending attitude taken by Felix III. when the schism first began.

Several extant letters of Symmachus refer to the rivalry between the Gallic sees of Arles and Vienne. [[549]ZOSIMUS; LEO I.; HILARIUS (pope); HILARIUS ARELAT .] Anastasius II., the predecessor of Symmachus, had sanctioned some invasion, on the part of Vienne, of the jurisdiction assigned to Arles by Leo. After the accession of Symmachus, Eonus, then the primate of Arles, complained to him, apparently in 499, of Avitus of Vienne having, under such sanction, ordained bishops beyond his proper jurisdiction. The reply of Symmachus shews an evident readiness to impute blame to Anastasius (whose whole policy, with regard to the East, he had been elected to counteract), and is remarkable as a decided repudiation by a pope of the action of a predecessor. He lays down the principle that the ordinances of former popes ought not to be varied under any necessity, as those of Leo had been by Anastasius, and must be now maintained. He, however, requires both Eonus and Avitus to send full statements of their case to Rome; and in his letter to Avitus, while he repeats that the confusion introduced by Anastasius was not to be tolerated, he invites Avitus to state any reasons for some equitable dispensation under existing circumstances. It was not till 513 that we find the bp. of Arles finally confirmed in the rights accorded to his see by pope Leo; Caesarius having then succeeded Eonus. Symmachus then wrote to this effect to the bishops of Gaul, and in 514 to Caesarius, warning him to respect the ancient rights of other metropolitans and to report anything amiss in Gaul or Spain to Rome.

After the defeat of the party of Laurentius at Rome and the final settlement of Symmachus in the see, the emperor Anastasius, to whom the result would be peculiarly unwelcome, issued a manifesto against Symmachus, reproaching him with having been unlawfully elected, accusing him of Manichean heresy, and protesting against his presumption in having (as he said) excommunicated an emperor. Symmachus replied in a letter entitled |Apologetica adversus Anastasii imperatoris libellum famosum,| and in strong and indignant language rebutted the charges against himself, and retorted that of heresy on the emperor; he accuses him of presuming on his temporal position to think to trample on St. Peter in the person of his vicar, and reminds him that spiritual dignity is, at least, on a par with that of an emperor; and he protests strongly against the violence used against the orthodox in the East. Anastasius was by no means awed or deterred by these papal fulminations, which had probably the opposite effect. He appears after this more than even determined to support Eutychianism.

Some time during the episcopate of Symmachus Theodoric visited Rome. Cassiodorus gives an account of the visit, placing it under the consuls of a.d.500; and that Theodoric remained at Ravenna while the case against the pope was pending may be gathered from the documents that refer to it. Himself an Arian, Theodoric evidently had no desire to intervene personally in the disputes of the Catholics, declaring it his sole desire that they should agree among themselves and order be restored at Rome.

Symmachus is said by Anastasius (Lib. Pontif.) to have built, restored, and enriched with ornaments many Roman churches, to have spent money in redeeming captives, to have furnished yearly money and clothing to exiled orthodox bishops, and to have ordered the |Gloria in excelsis| to be sung on all Sundays and Saints' days.

[J.B -- Y.]

Symphorianus, martyr
Symphorianus (1), martyr, according to the MSS. of his Acts, under Aurelian, for which name Ruinart would substitute Aurelius, dating his passion c.180. He was born in Autun, of noble parentage, and trained in Christianity from his childhood. Autun was devoted to the worship of Berecynthia; and the consular Heraclius, who governed there, anxious to convert the Christians by argument, entered into discussion with Symphorianus, who reviled his false deities. The judge used threats and tortures, and finally beheaded him outside the walls in the place of common execution. The Acts of this martyr have been evidently compiled out of very ancient documents. The judicial investigation is reported in the most exact and technical forms of Roman law. The questions proposed and the answers given are such as we find in the most genuine remains of antiquity. Yet there are also indications that they have been worked up into their present shape. The details of the worship of Cybele may be very usefully compared with those given in the passion of St. Theodotus and the Seven Virgins of Ancyra. Celtic idolatry in Asia and in Gaul followed precisely the same ritual. Ruinart, Acta Sincera, pp.67-73; Ceillier, i.472; AA. SS. Boll. Aug. iv.496-498.


Synesius, bp. of Ptolemais
Synesius (2), bp. of Ptolemais in the Libyan Pentapolis, early in 5th cent. A treatise by H. Druon, Etudes sur la vie et les oeuvres de Synesius (Paris, 1859), gives valuable information respecting the chronological arrangement of Synesius's writings, especially the letters; another by Dr. Volkmann, Synesius von Cyrene (Berlin, 1869), is a well-written treatise, but not so elaborate.

Synesius of Cyrene witnessed the accomplishment of two great events on which the whole course of history for many centuries depended -- the ruin of the Roman empire and the complete triumph of Christianity. He was born when the pagan world was mourning the untimely death of the last of the pagan emperors. He died amidst the horrors of the barbarian invasions, when the recent fall of Rome seemed to every portion of the Roman empire a sign of impending ruin.

He was born c.365 at Cyrene, |a Greek city of ancient fame,| but then already in decay, and superseded by Ptolemais as the capital of Pentapolis. He was of good family, inheriting an ample fortune, with considerable estates in the interior of the country. In his early years he served in the army and was passionately fond of field sports. Leaving the army, he commenced his studies at Alexandria, where Hypatia then lectured in philosophy. Through her he became attached to neo-Platonism.

But the great school of Alexandria was not then considered sufficient for any one who aimed at the reputation of a philosopher. To Athens, therefore, Synesius was driven by the remonstrances of his friends. But both with the city and its teachers he was profoundly disappointed. He returned to Pentapolis, determined to divide his time between country pursuits and literature, planting trees, breeding horses, training dogs for hunting, writing poetry, and studying philosophy. From this pleasant life he was called to plead the cause of his native city before the court of Constantinople, arriving there a.d.397, and remaining 3 years. Through the friendship and influence of Aurelian, a distinguished statesman, the leader at that time of what may be called the patriotic party, Synesius was allowed to pronounce before the emperor Arcadius and his court an oration on the nature and duties of kingship. This oration is still extant, but the language is in parts so bold, the invective so personal, as to suggest a doubt whether it was actually delivered, at least in its present form.

Some of the evils which Synesius anticipated were soon realized. The Gothic leader Gainas revolted, and triumphed without difficulty over the effeminate court of Arcadius. Aurelian was sent into banishment, and his supporters in Constantinople exposed to considerable danger. Synesius declared afterwards that he had only escaped the devices of his enemies through warnings sent him in dreams by God. In a few weeks the power of Gainas sank as rapidly as it had risen. Part of his army perished in a popular rising in Constantinople. The rest were destroyed by an army of Huns in the pay of the emperor. Aurelian returned to Constantinople, and for the remainder of Arcadius's reign had great influence at court. Through him Synesius obtained the boon he asked for Cyrene, and was able at length to quit the hateful city.

From his country retreat, and from the city of Cyrene, Synesius kept up a brisk correspondence with his friends in different parts of the world, especially at Alexandria and Constantinople. Some of his letters were to influential friends in behalf of persons in distress. Of the 156 letters still extant, 49 are to his brother Evoptius. They form a pleasant series, full of interesting details.

With the death of Theodosius the last hope of maintaining the grandeur of the Roman empire seemed suddenly to pass. Rome and Milan, Lyons and Arles, fell by turn before Goths and Vandals, leaving many records of suffering, but not one of a heroic struggle for life and liberty. The characteristics of the time are well illustrated by the letters of Synesius. The miseries of the empire did not spare the distant province of Pentapolis. The nomadic tribes of Libya took advantage of the weakness of the Roman government to sweep down upon the fertile land. Their inroads were at first merely predatory incursions. They seem to have begun not long after Synesius's return from Constantinople. At Cyrene, as elsewhere, there were no troops to oppose them. Synesius's spirits rose with the danger. |I at all events,| he writes, |will see what manner of men these are who think they have a right to despise Romans. I will fight as one who is ready to die, and I know I shall survive. I am Laconian by descent, and I remember the letter of the rulers to Leonidas -- 'Let them fight as men who are ready to die, and they will not die.'| Here and there a few displayed the same courage. Things grew worse, till he wrote almost in despair this touching letter to Hypatia: |I am surrounded by the misfortunes of my country, and mourn for her as each day I see the enemy in arms, and men slaughtered like sheep. The air I breathe is tainted by putrefying corpses, and I expect as bad a fate myself, for who can be hopeful when the very sky is darkened by clouds of carnivorous birds? Still, I cling to my country. How can I do otherwise, I who am a Libyan, born in the country, and who have before my eyes the honoured tombs of my ancestors?| Shortly afterwards, owing to the arrival probably of a new general, the Ausurians were repulsed, and Synesius in 403 left for Alexandria, where he married and remained two years. Returning, he found Cerealis governor, under whose rule the predatory incursions of the barbarians became a regular invasion. |He is a man,| wrote Synesius to an influential friend at Constantinople, |who sells himself cheaply, who is useless in war, and oppressive in peace.| Obviously Synesius thought that, at least in Pentapolis, the country might have been easily protected against the barbarians if there had been any ability in the government or vigour in the people. He was probably right. The Roman empire fell because so few of its citizens cared to do anything to preserve it.

It was but natural that men, even of strong patriotic feeling, like Synesius, should turn from the degradation of official life to live in thought among the glories of the heroic age of action in the pages of Homer, and the heroic age of thought in those of Plato. His philosophical studies did not meet with much encouragement among the people of Pentapolis. |I never hear in Libya the sound of philosophy, except the echo of my own voice. Yet if no one else is my witness, assuredly God is, for the mind of man is the seed of God, and I think the stars look down with favour on me as the only scientific observer of their movements visible to them in this vast continent.| He pursued the study of astronomy, not only from his love for the beauties of nature, but as a valuable introduction to the highest branches of philosophy. To him, as to Plato, astronomy is |not only a very noble science, but a means of rising to something nobler still, a ready passage to the mysteries of theology.| He had received instruction in it from Hypatia, his |most venerated teacher,| at Alexandria. While at Constantinople he sent his friend Paeonius a planisphere, constructed in silver according to his own directions, with a letter giving a curious description of it. He mentions that Ptolemy, and the sacred college of his successors, had been contented with the planisphere on which Hipparchus had marked only the 16 largest stars by which the hours of the night were known, but he himself had marked on his all the stars down to the 6th degree of magnitude.

In philosophy Synesius is not entitled to rank as an independent thinker. He is simply an eclectic blending together the elements of his belief from widely different sources, without troubling to reduce them to a strictly harmonious system. He had neither depth nor precision of thought sufficient to win a high place in the history of philosophy. But he constantly speaks of his delight in philosophical studies, and always claims as his especial title of honour the name of a philosopher. If he had been asked which he considered the most philosophical of his writings, he would probably have answered his poems. For, from his point of view, poetry was inseparably connected with philosophy; for both are occupied with the highest problems of life; both look at the ideal side of things, and in the union of the two religion itself consists. The Homeric poems were valuable to him, not only for literary excellency, but as furnishing a rule of conduct. He quotes Homer as a Christian then quoted his Bible. He evidently regarded Homer as an authority in political, social, moral, and even religious questions. He was certainly well versed in the whole range of Greek literature. There is hardly a poet, historian, or philosopher of eminence not quoted or alluded to by him. In this, as in other respects, he faithfully represents one of the latest phases of thought in the Alexandrine school. The ascetic system of Plotinus and Porphyry had failed as an opposing force to the rising tide of Christianity. The theurgical rites and mysterious forms of magical incantation with which Iamblichus and others sought to prop up the falling creed had had but a limited success. Repeated laws of increasing severity had been passed to repress the magical arts, and many accused of practising them imprisoned and even executed. Besides, the very persons over whose credulity such pretensions could exercise any influence would in the 4th cent. naturally be much more attracted by the far more wonderful pretensions of the Christian hermits, and the countless tales of visions seen and miracles wrought by monks of Nitria and Scetis, which continually excited the wonder and stimulated the religion of the people of Alexandria. In supposed miracles, as in real austerities, no pagan philosopher was likely to rival Anthony or Ammon. Among the higher classes the great majority of thinking men, who were still unwilling to embrace Christianity, were chiefly influenced in the Eastern empire by their attachment to Greek literature, in the Western empire by their reverence, partly political, partly religious, for Rome itself, whose greatness seemed to them to depend on the maintenance of that system, partly political, partly religious, under which it had been acquired. The Greek mythology had lost its hold on their belief, but the poetry that mythology had inspired still retained its power over the imagination of educated men among the cities of the Eastern empire, which, however slightly Greek in origin, had become thoroughly Greek in language and in culture. Besides, the ideal of life presented in Greek literature was far more attractive to many minds than that presented by the popular teaching of Christianity, especially to those minds in which the intellectual were stronger than the moral impulses. Those who |still cared for grace and Hellenism,| to use Synesius's expression, turned with increasing fondness from the intellectual degeneracy of their day to the masterpieces of former times, seeking to satisfy the universally felt craving for a definite religious creed, by taking from all the writers they admired the elements of a vague system, which they called a philosophy, but which depended far more upon poetical feelings than philosophical arguments.

Synesius's own poems are his most original works. Their literary merit is not of the highest order. His power lay not so much in the strength of imagination as in warmth of poetical feeling. The metres are unfortunately chosen and not sufficiently varied to escape monotony. The fatal facility of the short lines constantly led to a jingling repetition of the same cadences and turns of construction. Still, the ten hymns extant would be interesting, if only as specimens of a style of lyrical poetry, the meditative poetry partly philosophical and partly religious, which was hardly ever attempted in ancient Greece, though common enough in modern times. Their chief value, however, consists in the light thrown on the religious feelings and experiences of a man of deeply interesting character. Any one who wishes to know the religious aspect of neo-Platonism and the different phases of thought through which an able man of strong religious feelings could in the 5th cent. pass to Christianity, can hardly do better than study these hymns.

The God to Whom he thus offers the |unbloody sacrifice| of his prayers is at once One and Three -- |one root, one source, a triple form.| To attempt to explain the mystery of this Trinity would be the atheistic boldness of blinded men. The three persons of the Trinity, to use the Christian form of expression never employed by Synesius himself, are not as with Plotinus -- Unity, Intelligence, Soul. Most frequently the Christian terms are used -- Father, Spirit, Son -- for the resemblance between the attributes assigned in neo-Platonic philosophy to the soul, the third God, the ruler of the world, and the attributes assigned by Christianity to the Son apparently led Synesius to place the Son third in his system of the Trinity. The Father is also called the Unity. The Spirit is nowhere called the Intelligence, but is often called the Will. The Son, Who emanates from the Father through the Spirit, is also called, with a curious combination of expressions, the Word, the Wisdom, and the Demiurgus. The stream of life and intelligence descends from the Father through the Son to the intellectual worlds, and from them to the visible world which is the image of the intellectual. To all in heaven and in the sky, and on the earth and beneath the earth, the Son imparts life and assigns duties. Nor is the Father, however mysterious in His nature, so |hidden in His glory| as to be inaccessible to sympathy for His children. In the efficacy of prayer and in the reality of spiritual communion with God Synesius firmly believed. |Give, O Lord, to be with me as my companion the holy angel of holy strength, the angel of divinely inspired prayer. May he be with me as my friend, the giver of good gifts, the keeper of my life, the keeper of my soul, the guardian of my prayers, the guardian of my actions. May he preserve my body pure from disease, may he preserve my spirit pure from pollution, may he bring to my soul oblivion of all passions.| And again in the beautiful prayer of the soul for reunion with God: |Have pity, Lord, upon Thy daughter. I left Thee to become a servant upon earth, but instead of a servant I have become a slave. Matter has bound me in its magic spells. Yet still the clouded eye retains some little strength, its power is not altogether quenched. But the deep flood has poured over me and dimmed the God-discerning vision. Have pity, Father, on Thy suppliant child, who, often striving to ascend the upward paths of thought, falls back choked with desires, the offspring of seductive matter. Kindle for me, O Lord, the lights which lead the soul on high.|

Synesius has nowhere expressly stated that he regarded matter not as created by God but as existing independently and necessarily evil, but this idea is most consistent with the language he generally employs. God is nowhere said to have created the world, but the Son is said to have framed the visible world as the form and image of the invisible. At all events the corruption of the soul in each individual is attributed to the seductive influence of matter, a view expressed at some length in his very curious treatise on Dreams. The soul, he says, descends from heaven in obedience to a law of Providence to perform its appointed service in the world. It then receives, as a loan, the imagination, figuratively called the boat or chariot by which the soul travels on its earthward voyage. In other words, it is the connecting link between mind and matter. It is something intermediate between the corporeal and incorporeal, and philosophy therefore has great difficulty in determining its real nature. It is the duty of the soul to purify and elevate the imagination. It is the constant aim of the daemon of matter to corrupt and degrade it.

The action of Providence in the government of the world is described by Synesius in his treatise written at Constantinople. All existence, he says, proceeds from God and has been assigned by Him to an infinite variety of beings, descending in regular gradations from God Himself, Who is pure existence, to matter, which, being in a state of constant flux, does not, properly speaking, admit of existence at all. The beings of the highest order are called gods, and they are divided into two classes, the first controlling the upper parts of the universe, the other ruling this earth: These gods find their chief happiness in contemplating the God Who is above them, but to preserve the earth from the evils which would soon result from the destructive activity of the earth-daemons they must interpose from time to time. This they do gladly, because thus they render their appointed service to the supreme Deity.

As regards a future state, Synesius says that philosophy teaches us that it is the result of the present life. With death the husk of matter, which we call the body, perishes, but the soul and the imagination remain.

He repeatedly protests against giving publicity to doctrines which are above the comprehension of men not thoroughly trained in philosophical studies. |Philosophy is one of the most ineffable of all ineffable subjects.| He reproves his friend Herculian for talking of such with unphilosophical persons, and will not even discuss them in letters lest they fall into the hands of others. Proteus is the problem of the true philosopher eluding vulgar curiosity by concealing the divine under earthly forms, and only revealing it to the persistent efforts of heroic men. This desire for secrecy arose from a fear lest the highest truths should be corrupted and degraded by those unfit to receive them, a feeling by no means unknown in the Christian church at that time. Lysis, the Pythagorean, quoted by Synesius with great approbation, says that |the publicity given to philosophy has caused many men to look with contempt upon the Gods.| Doubtless enough is plainly stated for us to form a sufficiently accurate idea of Synesius's philosophical and religious views, but there are subjects -- e.g. the nature of the Trinity, the connexion between the old mythology and philosophy, the reabsorption of the soul and of all intelligence and existence into the Divinity, the nature and origin of matter, the nature and work of the imagination, the scientific arrangement and nomenclature of the virtues -- on which we have not the last word of Hypatia's teaching.

We cannot say what means Synesius had of becoming acquainted with Christianity in his early years. No one living in any part of the Eastern empire at the close of the 4th cent. could fail to be brought into frequent contact with Christians. But throughout his works, written before he became a Christian himself, the same phenomenon appears which is so striking in Claudian's poems -- the existence of Christianity is entirely ignored. In his speech addressed to Arcadius, though the greatest prominence is given to the religious idea of duty, there is no allusion to the principles of Christianity, even where such a reference would have given force to his arguments. The orator appears unconscious that he is addressing a Christian emperor. The deity to whom he appeals is the god of the Theist, |whose nature no man has ever yet found a name to represent.| Still more striking is a passage in one of the hymns written immediately after his return from Constantinople: |To all Thy temples, Lord, built for Thy holy rites I went, and falling headlong as a suppliant bathed with my tears the pavement. That my journey might not be in vain, I prayed to all the gods Thy ministers, who rule the fertile plain of Thrace, and those who on the opposite continent protect the lands of Chalcedon, whom Thou hast crowned with angelic rays, Thy holy servants. They, the blessed ones, helped me in my prayers; they helped me to bear the burden of many troubles.| Of course the temples of which he speaks were Christian churches. No pagan temples had been erected in Constantinople, and even in the other cities they had been closed some years by an edict of Theodosius. Yet it is perfectly certain that Synesius was not then a Christian. This picture of a pagan philosopher praying in Christian church to the saints and angels of Christianity, while investing them with the attributes of the daemons of neo-Platonism is no bad illustration of the almost unconscious manner in which the pagan world in becoming Christian was then paganizing Christianity. As eclectic in religion as in philosophy, Synesius took from Christianity whatever harmonized with the rest of his creed, often adapting the tenets he borrowed to make them accord with his philosophical ideas.

How his opinions were so far altered in the next four years that he became a Christian we have, unhappily, but scanty means of knowing. In none of his letters is there the slightest trace of any mental struggle. The change was effected gradually, probably almost imperceptibly even to himself. He had never been really hostile to Christianity, and as the world gradually became more Christian he became more Christian too. Almost without a struggle the old pagan society had yielded, and was still yielding, to the tide which each year set more strongly in the direction of Christianity. With all the vigour he displayed, in great emergencies Synesius was not a man to stand long alone or to fight to the end a battle already lost. Some personal influences had also been brought to bear on him. He had known and highly respected Chrysostom at Constantinople, and afterwards come into contact with Theophilus the patriarch of Alexandria. His wife, to whom he was warmly attached and whom he married at Alexandria in 403, was a Christian, and in her he may have had an opportunity of remarking one of the noblest features of Christianity, the elevation it imparted to the female character by the prominence given to the feminine virtues in the character of Christ and therefore in the teaching of the church. But above all, when he returned to Pentapolis, in 404, to find his country desolated by barbarian invasion, he must have felt how little the highest form of neo-Platonism could meet the wants of such a troubled age. The philosophical and poetical creed was the religion of a prosperous man in peaceful times. When suffering and danger came, its support failed precisely where most needed. To enjoy that intellectual communion with God for which he craved with his whole heart, and on the possibility of which his whole system of belief depended, he needed above all things an untroubled mind. It was one of the points which had marked most strongly his separation from Christianity, that in his hymns he had always prayed at least as earnestly for freedom from anxieties as for freedom from sin. He had formed an ideal of life which could not be maintained in troubled times, and with it necessarily fell the beliefs with which it was intimately connected. The old creed told him that |the woe of earth weighs down the wings of the soul so that it cannot rise to heaven.| The new religion taught him that cares and sorrows rightly borne, so far from hiding the divine light, reveal it in increased brightness. In former days, when he shrank into private life from |the polluting influence of business and, the vicissitudes of fortune,| he had probably considered the doctrine of the Incarnation as the greatest obstacle to his becoming a Christian, because it seemed to degrade the Deity by connecting it with the contamination of matter. Now, when he had left his seclusion to battle and suffer with his
fellow-citizens, no doctrine of Christianity had such attraction for him as that which told of a God Who had resigned His glory to share the sufferings of His creatures and to be the Saviour of mankind. Formerly he had sought to purify his mind that it might ascend in thought to God; now he caught at the doctrine of the Holy Spirit descending into men's hearts to make them the temples of God. So the first hymn which marks the transition to Christianity begins with an invocation to Christ as the Son of the Holy Virgin, and ends with a prayer to Christ and to the Father to send down upon him the Holy Spirit | to refresh the wings of the soul, and to perfect the divine gifts.| But though his prayers were now addressed to Christ, it is obvious that he had rather added certain Christian tenets to his old creed than adopted a new religion. The attributes of Christ are described in almost exactly the same terms as the attributes of the Son had been described in former hymns. The prayers for himself are almost identical. It is also curious to find that he still considered the Spirit the second person of the Trinity; to use his own illustration, |the Father is the root, the Son the branch, the Spirit intermediate between root and branch.| Still, the decisive step had been taken by acknowledging Christ as the Saviour of mankind; after that the subsequent steps were natural and almost inevitable. He was baptized, probably about five years after his marriage. How far he then felt it necessary to give up the language and ideas of his old creed may be imagined from the following hymn, addressed to Christ:

|Thou camest down to earth and didst sojourn among men and drive the deceiver, the serpent-fiend, from Thy Father's garden. Thou wentest down to Tartarus, where death held the countless races of mankind. The old man Hades feared Thee, the devouring dog (Cerberus) fled from the portal; but, having released the soul of the righteous from suffering, Thou didst offer, with a holy worship, hymns of thanksgiving to the Father. As Thou wentest up on high the daemons, powers of the air, were affrighted. But Aether, wise parent of harmony, sang with joy to his seven-toned lyre a hymn of triumph. The morning star, day's harbinger, and the golden star of evening, the planet Venus, smiled on Thee. Before Thee went the horned moon, decked with fresh light, leading the gods of night. Beneath Thy feet Titan spread his flowing locks of light. He recognized the Son of God, the creative intelligence, the source of his own flames. But Thou didst fly on outstretched wings beyond the vaulted sky, alighting on the spheres of pure intelligence, where is the fountain of goodness, the heaven enveloped in silence. There time, deep-flowing and unwearied time, is not; there disease, the reckless and prolific offspring of matter, is not. But eternity, ever young and ever old, rules the abiding habitation of the gods.|

While the old and new were thus strangely blended in his creed, an unexpected event changed the whole current of his life. In defiance of the law, which enacted that no one should hold the governorship of the province of which he was a native, Andronicus had been appointed governor of Pentapolis. A native of Berenice, of low origin, he had gained the office, Synesius says, by bribery. Against his appointment Synesius vigorously protested, in a letter to an influential friend at
Constantinople: |Send us legitimate governors; men whom we do not know, and who do not know us; men who will not be biassed in their judgments by their private feelings. A governor is on his way to us who lately took a hostile part in politics here, and who will pursue his political differences on the judgment seat.| When the ancient Romans were threatened with oppressive rulers, they chose the bravest of their fellow-citizens as tribunes to protect them. In the 5th cent. of the Christian era, under similar circumstances, the people of Ptolemais elected Synesius a bishop. They knew him as a man of high character and great abilities, universally liked and respected, but probably still more recommended to them by the vigour he had displayed in the recent siege. No one who has attentively studied his life and writings can doubt that he was sincere in his wish to decline the proffered honour. A frank statement of his feelings was made in a letter written to his brother Evoptius, then resident at Alexandria, and intended to be shewn to Theophilus: |I should be devoid of feeling if I were not deeply grateful to the people of Ptolemais who have thought me worthy of higher honours than I do myself. But what I must consider is not the greatness of the favour conferred, but the possibility of my accepting it. That a mere man should receive almost divine honours is indeed most pleasing, if he is worthy of them, but if he is far from being so, his acceptance of them gives but a poor hope for the future. This is no new fear, but one I have long felt, the fear lest I should gain honour among men by sinning against God. From my knowledge of myself I feel I am in every respect unworthy of the solemnity of the episcopal office. . . . I now divide my time between amusements and study. When I am engaged in study, especially religious studies, I keep entirely to myself, in my amusements I am thoroughly sociable. But the bishop must be godly, and therefore like God have nothing to do with amusements, and a thousand eyes watch to see that he observes this duty. In religious matters, on the other hand, he cannot seclude himself, but must be thoroughly sociable, as he is both a teacher and preacher of the law. Single-handed, he has to do the work of everybody, or bear the blame of everybody. Surely then it needs a man of the strongest character to support such a burden of cares without allowing the mind to be overwhelmed, or the divine particle in the soul to be quenched, when he is distracted by such an infinite variety of employments.| Again, there was the difficulty of his marriage. |God and the law, and the sacred hand of Theophilus, gave me my wife. I therefore declare openly to all and testify that I will not separate entirely from her, or visit her secretly like an adulterer. The one course would be contrary to piety, the other to law. I shall wish and pray to have a large number of virtuous children.| Still more important in his opinion was the question of religious belief. |You know that philosophy is opposed to the opinions of the vulgar. I certainly shall not admit that the soul is posterior in existence to the body. I cannot assert that the world and all its parts will perish together. The resurrection which is so much talked about I consider something sacred and ineffable, and I am far from sharing the ideas of the multitude on the subject.| He would indeed be content to keep silence in public on these abstruser points of theology, neither pretending to believe as the multitude, nor seeking to convince them of their errors, |for what has the multitude to do with philosophy? the truth of divine mysteries is not a thing to be talked about. But if I am called to the episcopacy I do not think it right to pretend to hold opinions which I do not hold. I call God and man as witnesses to this. Truth is the property of God, before Whom I wish to be entirely blameless. Though fond of amusements -- for from my childhood I have been accused of being mad after arms and horses -- still I will consent to give them up -- though I shall regret to see my darling dogs no longer allowed to hunt, and my bows moth-eaten! Still I will submit to this if it is God's will. And though I hate all cares and troubles I will endure these petty matters of business, as rendering my appointed service to God, grievous as it will be. But I will have no deceit about dogmas, nor shall there be variance between my thoughts and my tongue. . . . It shall never be said of me that I got myself consecrated without my opinions being known. But let Father Theophilus, dearly beloved by God, decide for me with full knowledge of the circumstances of the case, and let him tell me his opinions clearly.|

For seven months at least the matter remained undecided. Synesius went to Alexandria to consult Theophilus, and popular feeling ran so high throughout the country that he felt if he declined the bishopric he could never return to his native land. The people also sent two envoys to Theophilus urging him to use all his influence to overcome Synesius's scruples. This Theophilus was sure to do, for, apart from the regard he may well have had for Synesius, it must have been a welcome triumph for him over his opponents at Alexandria that the most distinguished pupil of the Alexandrine school should be consecrated by him a Christian bishop, a visible sign to the people that even the noblest form of paganism was found insufficient by its noblest disciples. The religious difficulties were just those which might be expected in a pupil of the Alexandrine school, whether he derived his inspiration from Origen or from Hypatia. How far, and in what way, Theophilus, already so well known as a vigorous opponent of such views, succeeded in inducing Synesius to change them we have unfortunately no means of knowing. After all, these views were rather in opposition to the commonly received opinions among Christians than to any dogmatical teaching of the church. Even as regards the doctrine of the resurrection, Synesius would probably have had no difficulty in accepting the Greek form of the creed, the resurrection of the dead, though he could hardly have accepted the Latin form, the resurrection of the body, or the resurrection of the flesh. His amusements and his hunting seem to have been given up entirely. It has been assumed that he retained his wife, but there is no evidence whatever to shew that he did so. His own letter is a sufficient proof that a bishop was generally expected to separate from his wife, or, in the language of the day, to live with her as a sister, though it may be true, as Socrates asserts, that exceptions might easily have been found in the Eastern empire. The bishop, especially if occupying an important post, felt that by retaining his wife he lost caste among his people, and Synesius, in giving up so much in the hope of benefiting the people of Ptolemais, was hardly likely to pursue a course which must fatally damage his influence, even if his wife would have consented to a mode of life which must inevitably lower both herself and her husband in public estimation. Besides, Synesius never mentions his wife in any subsequent letter, and in one written only one year afterwards he speaks of his desolation m terms which make it almost incredible that his wife was living with him then. No child was born to him after he was elected bishop.

Yielding at last to the importunities and arguments of his friends, Synesius, in 410, wrote to the presbyters of the diocese of Ptolemais: |Since God has laid upon me not what I sought but what He willed, I pray that He Who has assigned me this life will guide me through the life He has assigned me.|

He soon found that his fears had been more prophetic than his friends' hopes. When he returned, Ptolemais presented the appearance of a city taken by storm. Nothing was to be heard in the public places but the groans of men, the screams of women, and the cries of boys. New instruments of punishment had been introduced by Andronicus, racks and thumbscrews and machines for torturing the feet, the ears, the lips, the nose.

At first Synesius remonstrated; his remonstrances were treated with contempt. He reproved; his reproofs made the governor more furious. His house was beset with crowds demanding sympathy and protection. He could not move without seeing and hearing the sufferings of his people. To add to his grief |the dearest of his children died.| With a heart wrung with anguish he turned for consolation to God. |But what was the greatest of my calamities, and what made life itself hopeless to me, I who had hitherto always been successful in prayer, now for the first time found that I prayed in vain.| He had accepted the office of a bishop in times of difficulty without being sufficiently in sympathy with the prevailing spirit of the Christian church, and the consciousness of this increased his natural self-distrust. The calm serenity of thought, with which in happier years he had held communion with God, was gone. As he prayed, the calamities of his house and country rose up before him as a sign that he had, by his unworthiness, profaned the mysteries of God. The soul, distracted by conflicting feelings, grief and anger, shame and fear, could not rise above the earth. He prayed, and God was afar off. At first it seemed that he would sink in despair under these accumulated sorrows; there were even thoughts of suicide. He was roused by fresh tidings of Andronicus's excesses. Ever ready to assist others in their misfortunes, however great his own might be, he heard the people murmuring that they were forsaken by their bishop. Self-distrust gave way to indignation. Once roused he acted with vigour and judgment. He wrote to influential friends at Constantinople, detailing the cruelties of Andronicus, and earnestly pleading for his recall. Then, without waiting the result of his appeal to the authorities of the state, he proceeded to pronounce against the offender the judgment of the church by a formal act of excommunication.

Before this letter of excommunication was sent, Andronicus professed his penitence for his crimes, and entreated that the sentence against him might not be published -- a strong proof of the power which the sentence of excommunication then exercised on men's minds. Synesius unwillingly yielded to his entreaties and to the representations of the other bishops of the province. Relieved from this momentary fear, Andronicus soon returned to his old cruelties, and the sentence of excommunication was definitely pronounced. A short time passed and Synesius wrote in triumph to Constantinople thanking his friends for procuring the dismissal of Andronicus. Another short interval, and Synesius was writing to the patriarch of Alexandria to implore his good offices for the fallen governor. |Justice has perished among men; formerly Andronicus acted unjustly, now he suffers unjustly.| Freed for a time from these secular cares, Synesius could attend to other episcopal duties. In a long letter addressed to Theophilus he has given a very interesting account of a visitation tour, undertaken at Theophilus's request in the course of the same year, through a part of the country still exposed to the incursions of the barbarians, to the villages of Palaebisca and Hydrax on the confines of the Libyan desert. Near the village of Hydrax, on the summit of a precipitous hill, stood the ruins of an old castle, much desired by the people as a place of retreat in invasion. Their bishop Paul had obtained it for them by a surreptitious consecration, turning it into a church; but Synesius refused to sanction that, and insisted on a regular purchase.

The next subject which occupied his attention was one of the worst evils resulting from the misgovernment of the country. He found that even bishops were often accused by other bishops, not that justice should be done but to give the commanders of the armies opportunities for extorting money.

Then Synesius asked the patriarch's advice as to certain bishops who did not choose to have a fixed diocese, wandering to wherever they thought they would be best off.

The time during which he held his bishopric was so short, apparently only three years, and marked by so many public and private calamities, that we possess but few letters which throw much light upon his life. His principal correspondent at this period was Theophilus, whom he always addresses with a reverence and affection which may surprise those who have only known that prelate as the persecutor of Chrysostom, and which are the more important because Synesius, even in writing to Theophilus, professed his admiration for Chrysostom. Equally noticeable is the unqualified obedience which Synesius, though himself metropolitan of Pentapolis, cheerfully yielded to the |apostolic throne| of Alexandria. |It is at once my wish and my duty to consider whatever decree comes from that throne binding upon me,| he writes to Theophilus. The unquestionable superiority of Alexandria to all the cities of E. Africa had given to the patriarch of Alexandria an authority over their bishops unsurpassed, even if it was rivalled, by the supremacy of Rome in that day over the bishoprics of Italy.

Of the bp. of Rome, and of the affairs of Rome, there is no mention in any of his letters -- one of the many proofs his works afford of the greatness of the separation, in government and in feeling, between the Eastern and Western empires. Though thoroughly well versed in all the branches of Greek literature, he never alludes to any Latin author. It is almost impossible to resist the belief that he was ignorant of the Latin language. Still some notice of the crowning calamity, when Rome yielded to Alaric without a struggle, could hardly have failed to appear in his writings, had not the misfortunes of Pentapolis been so great as to absorb all his thoughts.

In the winter Synesius lost |the last comfort of his life, his little son.| The blow was too much for the father already crushed by the cares of his office and the misery of his country. As death drew near his thoughts were curiously divided between the two objects to which in life he had given his faith. His last letter was addressed to Hypatia. His last poem was a prayer to Christ. The pagan philosopher retained to the end the reverence and affection of the Christian bishop. |You have been to me a mother, a sister, a teacher, and in all these relationships have done me good. Every title and sign of honour is your due. As for me, my bodily sickness comes from sickness of the mind. The recollection of the children who are gone is slowly killing me. Would to God I could either cease to live, or cease to think of my children's graves.| In the hymn to Christ Synesius added an epilogue to the poems in which he had already recounted the drama of his soul. The actor who began so confident of success ended with a humble prayer for pardon. |O Christ, Son of God most high, have mercy on Thy servant, a miserable sinner, who wrote these hymns. Release me from the sins which have grown up in my heart, which are implanted in my polluted soul. O Saviour Jesus, grant that hereafter I may behold Thy divine glory.| So in gloom and sadness, cheered by the Christian hope of the resurrection, closed the career of one who in his time had played many parts, who had been soldier, statesman, orator, poet, sophist, philosopher, bishop, and in all these characters had deserved admiration and love. A cheap popular Life of Synesius of Cyrene, by A. Gardner, is pub. by S.P.C.K. in their Fathers for Eng. Readers.


<<  Contents  >>

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Affiliate Disclosure | Privacy Policy