Meletius of Antioch

Meletius Of Antioch, an eminent Greek ecclesiastic, was born in the beginning of the 4th century at Melitene, in Armenia Minor. His first important appointment was that of bishop of Sebaste (AD. 357), to which office he succeeded Eustathius, who had been deposed. SEE EUSTATHIANS. The wilful conduct of the people soon caused Meletius to resign, and he retired to Beroea, in Syria. At this time the Arian controversy caused so much excitement that sectarian zeal was fast displacing true piety. Meletius, however, by confining himself to the essential doctrines of the Gospel and ignoring polemical subjects, succeeded in winning the esteem of all except the extremrists of both factions, and by universal assent was raised to the bishopric of Antioch (AD. 360). His new position gave such importance to his opinions that he could no longer remain indifferent to the disputes which were marring the concord of the Christian world. At the request of the emperor Constantius he gave an exposition of Pr 8:22, in which he expressed himself as being in sympathy. with the orthodox party. At this avowal the Arians became greatly excited, and succeeded in influencing the emperor to banish him to his native Melitene. Euzoius was installed in his place, and the orthodox party separated from the communion of the Arians. Previous to this the most zealous portion of the orthodox had withdrawn on account of the deposition of Eustathius, but the two seceding parties remained separate-the Eustathians adhering at this time to presbyter Paulinus, the intended successor of Eustathius, who had died in the mean while, and the other orthodox gathering around Meletius. On the accession of Julian as emperor (362), Meletius was recalled, and for two years endeavored to reconcile and unite the two factions of the orthodox party; but the Eustathians refused to recognise him, and elected Paulinus as their bishop, who was duly ordained by Lucifer of Cagliari. On the accession of Valens, Meletius was again banished, but by an edict of Gratian (378) was recalled, and shortly after reinstated. The unrelenting prejudice of Paulinus frustrated all attempts at reconciliation, though Meletius proposed to him a just plan of union. Meletius died at an advanced age while attending the Council of Constantinople in AD. 381. His funeral oration, pronounced by Gregorius Nyssenus, is still extant. The schism in the Church lasted until 413 or 415, when bishop Alexander succeeded in reconciling the old orthodox party with the successor of Meletius. See Schaff, Ch. Hist. 1:372 and 394; Gieseler, Ecclesiastes Hist. 1:201 sq.; Smith, Dict. of Gr. and Romans Biog. vol. ii, s.v.; Walch, Ketzerhistorie, vol. 4:SEE MELETIANS. (H. W. T.)

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