John of Antioch (1)

John Of Antioch (1), a prelate of the early Greek Church, distinguished for the part he took in the controversy between Cyril and Nestorius, flourished in the first half of the 5th century, and succeeded Theodotus in the patriarchate of Antioch about A.D. 427. Favorably disposed towards Nestorius, who is said to have been a schoolmate of his in the monastery of St. Euprepius, near Antioch, he was forced to take decided ground against Cyril by the impolitic conduct of the latter at the Council of Ephesus (q.v.). Among the Eastern bishops who came with John of Antioch to attend the council, he was the acknowledged leader, and we need not wonder, therefore, that he swayed them all in favor of Nestorius, when, on arriving at Ephesus, they learned that the sessions had not only commenced, but that Nestorius had already been actually condemned without their sanction. As long as Irenaeus (q.v.) and Candidius succeeded in maintaining the Nestorians at the court of the emperor Theodosius, John proved faithful to his course taken at Ephesus; but when he found the Cyrillian party gaining the upper hand, he slowly modified his position until a reconciliation with Cyril followed (A.D. 432). He now turned actually against his former friend Nestorius, and after much trouble and opposition, which he vanquished, partly by persuasion, partly by deposing the pertinacious, the other Eastern bishops also — in provincial councils held at Antioch (A.D. 432), Anazarbus (A.D. 433), and Tarsus (A.D. 434) — declared for Cyril and the decrees of the third Ecumenical Council. Nay, it is said that John of Antioch was even the man who instigated the emperor to make the banishment of Nestorius perpetual; no doubt actuated by a desire to convince the Cyrillians of the truthfulness of his conversion. In the controversy with Theodore of Mopsuestia he took more liberal ground, declining, at a council held in 438, to condemn the writings and opinions of Theodore; according to Liberatus, he even appeared in his defense. John died in 441 or 442. He is spoken of by Gennadius (De Viris Illustribus, c. 54) as possessed of great rhetorical power. He wrote

(1) Ε᾿πιστολαί (Epistoloe) and Α᾿ναφοραί (Relationes) respecting the Nestorian controversy and the Council of Ephesus, of which several are contained in the various editions of the Concilia: —

(2) ῾Ουιλία (Homilia), the homily or exhortation delivered at Chalcedon, just after the Council of Ephesus, to the people of Constantinople, with the aim to animate them to continue steadfast in their adherence to the old Nicene Confession; a fragment of it we have in the Concilia: —

(3) Περὶ τῶν Μεσαλιανιτῶν (De Messalianis), a letter to Nestorius, enumerated by Photius (Bibl. Cod. 32) among the episcopal and synodical papers against that heretical body, contained in the history or acta of the Council of Side (A. D. 383): —

(4) Contra eos qui una tantum substantia asserunt adorandum Christum (only known to us by Gennadius; probably the work from which the passages are taken with which Eulogius credits John of Antioch). See Smith, Dict. Gr. and Rom. Biog. 2, 586 sq.; Tillemont, Memoires, vol. 14; Mansi, Concilia, 4, 1259 sq.; Neale, Hist. East. Ch. (Alexandria), 1, bk. 2, sect. 2 and 3; Hefele, Conciliengesch. 2, 178 sq.: Schaff, Ch. Hist. Ai, § 138-140; Milman, Latin Christianity, 5, 224 sq.; Gibbon, Decl. and Fall Rom. Emp. ch. 47.

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