Nilus (2)

Nilus (Νεῖλος), ST., OF CONSTANTINOPLE, surnamed the ascetic and the monk, was a religious writer of the 5th century. He belonged to one of the most distinguished families in Constantinople, and rose to be governor of that city. He subsequently resigned his office, and with his son Theodulus retired into a monastery on Mount Sinai, while his wife and daughter went into an Egyptian nunnery. His son was killed in an attack of the Arabs against the convent, while St. Nilus escaped and lived until 450 or 451. He wrote a number of theological works, some of which are lost, and only known to us by some extracts from Photius, others were published separately at various times, but it is, only of late that what we possess of them has been published as a whole. The best edition is that of Suares, entitled Sancti Patris nostri Nili abbatis Tractatus seu opudla ex codicibus manuscriptis Vaticanis, Cassinentibus, Barberinis et Altcempsianis eruta J. M. Suaresius Greece nunc primum edidit, Latine vertit ac notis illustravit (Rome, 1673, fol.). The most important of Nilus's works are advice on the manner of leading a Christian life: it is a compendium of practical theology; and Ε᾿πιχτήτου ἐγχειρίδιον, arranged for the use of Christians. Schweighauser gives this manual in the fifth volume of his edition of Epictetus. The letters of Nilus, one of his most important works, and treating generally of the same subjects as his, Παραινέσεις, were published by Possinus (Paris, 1657, 4to); a better edition, with a Latin translation by Leo Allatius, appeared at Rome (1668, fol.). The latest edition of Nilus's complete works was published by Migne (Paris, 1860, roy. 8vo), under the title of S. P. N. Nili abbatis Opera qua reperiri potuerunt omnia, variorum curis olim, nemnpe Leonis Allatii, Petri Passini, etc., seorsim, edita, nuncprimum in unum collecta et ordinata. See Photius, Cod. p. 276; Nicephorus, Hist. Eccl. 14:54; Leo Allatius, Diatribe de Nilis et eorum scriptis, in his edition of the letters of Nilus, and in Fabricius, Bibl. Graeca, 10:3 sq. ed. Harless; Cave, Hist. Liter.; Tillemont, Mem. pour servir a 1'hist. ecclesiastique, xiv; Ceillier, list. des auteurs sacrss, 8:205 sq.; Richard and Giraud, Ribl. Sacroe, s.v.; Neander, Ch. Hist. 2:238, 241; 250-253 292, 670, 671. (J.N.P.)

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