John Archaph

John Archaph (Α᾿ρχάφ), an Egyptian schismatic of some note, was a contemporary of Athanasius. He was a devoted follower of Melitius, who, just before his death, which occurred shortly after his condemnation by the Council of Nice (A.D. 325), made John the Meletian bishop of Memphis, and intrusted to him also the leadership of the Melitian as a body. John, supported by the Arians, renewed the attacks against the orthodox party, and the schism soon became as violent as ever. Athanasius, now patriarch of Alexandria, and leader of the orthodox party, was the great object of attack; and John and his followers sought to throw on him the odium of originating the disturbances, and of persecuting his opponents; and, especially, they charged him with the murder of Arsenius, a Melitian bishop, whom they had secreted in order to give color to the charge. Athanasius (q.v.), on his part, appealed to the emperor, Constantine the Great, charging John and his followers with unsoundness in the faith, with a desire to alter the decrees of the Nicene Council, and with raising tumults and insulting the orthodox; he also objected to them as being irregularly ordained. He refuted their charges, especially the charge of murder, ascertaining that Arsenius was alive, and obliged them to remain quiet. John professed to repent of his disorderly proceedings and to be reconciled to Athanasius, and returned with his party into the communion of the orthodox Church, but the reconciliation was not sincere or lasting; troubles broke out again, and a fresh separation took place, John and his followers either being ejected from communion by the Athanasian party, or their return opposed. The Council of Tyre (A.D. 335), in which the opponents of Athanasius were triumphant, ordered them to be readmitted; but the emperor, deeming John to be a contentious man, or at least thinking that his presence was incompatible with the peace of the Egyptian Church, banished him (A.D. 336), just after he had banished Athanasius into Gaul. The place of his exile and his subsequent fate are not known — Sozomen, Hist. Eccles. 2, 21, 22, 25, 31; Athanasius, Apol. contra Arianos, c. 65, 67, 70, 71; Tillemont, Mémoires, vol. 6 passim, vol. 7 passim; Neale, Hist. Eastern Ch. (Alexandria) 1, 131; Smith, Dict. Greek and Rom. Biog, 2, 587.

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