Maximus of Jerusalem

Maximus Of Jerusalem (Hierosolymitanus), a Greek ecclesiastical writer, flourished in the latter part of the 2d century. Jerome (De Viris Illustr. 100:47) speaks of Maximus as writing on the questions of the origin of evil and the creation of matter, and as having lived under the emperors Commodus (A.D. 180- 193) and Severus (A.D. 193-211), but he does not designate what office he held in the Church, or whether he held any; nor does he connect him with any locality. Honorius of Autun (De Scriptor. Eccles. 1:47), extracting from Jerome, mentions the name of Maximinus; and Rufinus, translating from Eusebius, who has a brief passage relating to the same writer (H. E. 5:27), gives the name in the same form; but it is probably incorrect. A Maximus, bishop of Jerusalem, lived in the reign of Antoninus Pius or Marcus Aurelius, or the early part of that of Commodus, somewhere between A.D. 156 and A.D. 185; another Maximus occupied the same see from A.D. 185, and the successive episcopates of himself and seven successors occupy about eighty years, the duration of each episcopate not being known. The date of this latter Maximus of Jerusalem accords sufficiently with the notice in Jerome respecting the writer; but it is remarkable that though both Eusebius and Jerome mention the bishop (Eusebius, Chronic. and Jerome, Euseb. Chronic. Interpretatio), they do not either of them identify the writer with him; and it is remarkable that in the list given by Eusebius of the bishops of Jerusalem, in his Histor. Eccles. (5:27), the names of the second Maximus and his successor Antoninus do not appear. It is uncertain, therefore, whether the writer and the bishop are the same, though it is extremely probable they were. The title of the work of Maximus noticed by Jerome and Eusebius (for the two questions of the origin of evil and the creation of matter appear to have been comprehended in one treatise) was De Materia. Eusebius has given a long extract from it (Praep. Evang. 7:21, 22). A portion of the same extract is inserted, without acknowledgment, in the Dialogus Adamantii de recta in Deum Fide, or Contra Marcionitas, sect. 4, commonly attributed to Origen, but in reality written long after his time. It is also quoted in the Philocalia, 100:24, compiled by Gregory Nazianzen and Basil the Great almost entirely from the works of Origen. In the inscription to the chapter they are said to be from the Praeparatio Evangelica of Eusebius; and their being contained also in the supposed work of Origen, De Recta Fide, is affirmed in a probably interpolated sentence of the concluding paragraph of the chapter (Delarue, Opera Origenis, 1:800 sq.). This passage, apparently the only part of Maximus's work which has come down to us, is given in the Bibliotheca Patrum of Galland (2:146), who identifies the author with the bishop, and gives his reasons for so doing in the Prolegomena to the volume, 100:6 ; see also Cave, Hist. Litt. ad ann. 196, 1:95; Tillemont, Memoires, 2:706, note 13 on Origen.

There was a third bishop of Jerusalem of this name, besides the two previously mentioned, who lived in the reign of Constantine the Great and his sons. He suffered in one of the later persecutions of the heathen emperors, apparently under Maximnian Galerius (Philostorgius, H. E. 3:12). His sufferings in the cause of Christianity, and the great excellence of his character, so endeared him to the people of Jerusalem, among whom he officiated as priest, that when he was appointed by Macarius, bishop of that city, to the vacant bishopric of Diospolis, the multitude would not permit his departure, and Macarius was forced to nominate another in his place. According to some accounts, Macarius repented almost immediately of the nomination of Maximus to Diospolis, and readily acquiesced in his remaining in Jerusalem, taking him for his assistant in the duties of the episcopal office (Sozomen, Hist. Eccles. 2:20). Upon the death of Macarius (some time between A.D. 331 and 335), Maximus succeeded him, and was present at the Council of Tyre, A.D. 335, when Athanasius was condemned. Sozomen records (Hist. Eccles. 2:25) that at this council Paphnutius, a bishop of the Thebais or Upper Egypt, and himself a confessor, took Maximus by the hand, and told him to leave the place; "for," said he, "it does not become us, who have lost our eyes and been hamstrung for the sake of religion, to join the council of the wicked." This appeal was in vain, and Maximus was induced, but unfairly, to subscribe to the decree condemning Athanasius. But he soon regretted this step, and, at a synod of sixteen bishops of Palestine, joyfully admitted Athanasius to communion when returning from the Council of Sardica, through Asia, to Alexandria. Sozomen relates (Hist. Eccles. 4:20) that Maximus was deposed by the influence of Acacius of Caesarea and Patrophilus (A.D. 349 or 350), and Cyril (St. Cyrillus of Jerusalem) appointed in his place; but if there is any truth in this statement, the death of Maximus must have very shortly followed his deposition (Socrates, Hist. Eccles. 2:8; Sozomen, l. c., and 3:6; Theodoret, l. c.; Philostorgius, l. c.; Le Quien; Oriens Christianus, vol. 3, col. 156). — Smith, Dict. of Greek and Roman Biog. vol. 2, s.v.

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