Palladius of Helenopolis
Palladius Of Helenopolis an Eastern ecclesiastic, flourished in the 5th century. His name occurs repeatedly in the ecclesiastical and literary history of the early part of the 5th century. Very little is known of him except from his own records in the Lausiac History, of which he is the reputed author. He was probably born in or about 367. He seems to have been a Galatian, and a companion or disciple of Evagrius of Pontus. In two places of his history he refers to his being a long time in Galatia and at Ancyra, but these passages do not prove that he was born there. He embraced a solitary life at the age of twenty, which, if his birth was in 367, would be in 387. The places of his residence at successive periods can only be conjectured from incidental notices in the Lausiac History. Tillemont places at the commencement of his ascetic career his abode with Elpidius of Cappadocia, in some caverns of Mount Lucas, near the banks of the Jordan, and his residence at Bethlehem, and other places in Palestine. Tillemont supposes that it was at this time that he saw several other saints who dwelt in that country, and among them perhaps St. Jerome, of whom his impressions, derived chiefly if not wholly from, the representations of Posidonius, were by no means favorable. Palladius first visited Alexandria in the consulship of the emperor Theodosius the Great, i.e. in 388; and by the advice of Isidorus, a presbyter of that city, placed himself under the instruction of Dorotheus, a solitary, whose mode of life was so austere that Palladius was obliged. by sickness to leave him without completing the three years which he had intended to stay. Having remained a short time near Alexandria, he took up his abode for a year among the solitaries in the mountains of the desert of Nitria, who numbered five thousand, and whose dwelling-place and manner of life he describes. From Nitria he proceeded farther into the wilderness to the district of the cells. where he arrived the year after the death of Macarius the Egyptian (390 or 391). Here he remained nine years, three of which he spent as companion of Macarius the younger, the Alexandrian. He was for a time the companion and disciple of Evagrius of Pontus, who was charged with entertaining Origenistic opinions. How long he remained with Evagrius is not known. But he did not confine himself to one spot: he visited cities or villages or deserts, for the purpose of conversing with men of eminent holiness, and his history bears incidental testimony to the extent of his travels. The Thebaid, or Upper Egypt, as far as Tabenna, and Syene, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, and even Rome and Campania, and, as he vaguely and boastfully states, the whole Roman empire, were visited by him, and that almost entirely on foot. In consequence of severe illness, Palladius was sent by the other solitaries to Alexandria; and from that city, by the advice of his physicians, he went to Palestine, and thence into Bithynia, where he was ordained bishop. He gives neither the date of his appointment nor the name of his bishopric, but intimates that it was the occasion of great trouble to him; so that, "while hidden for eleven months in a gloomy cell," he remembered a prophecy of Joannis of Lycopolis, who, three years before Palladius was taken ill and sent to Alexandria, had foretold his elevation to the episcopacy and his consequent troubles. As he was present with Evagrius of Pontus about the time of the latter's death, which probably occurred in 399, he could not have left Egypt till that year, nor can we well place his ordination as bishop before 400, when he was present in a synod held by Chrysostom at Constantinople, and was sent into Proconsular Asia to procure evidence on a charge against the bishop of Ephesus. The deposition of Chrysostom (q.v.) involved Palladius in troubles, as we learn from his Lausiac History. Chrysostom, in his exile, frequently wrote to "Palladius the bishop," exhorting him to continue in prayer, for which his seclusion gave him opportunity. All the foregoing particulars relate to the author of the Lausiac History, from the pages of which the notices of him are gleaned. We learn from Photius that in the "Synod of the Oak," at which Joannis or John Chrysostom was condemned, and which was held in 403, one of the charges against him related to the ordination of a Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis, in Bithynia, a follower of the opinions of Origen. The province in which the diocese was situated, the Origenistic opinions (imbibed from or cherished by Evagrius of Pontus), and the intimation of something open to objection in his ordination, compared with the ambiguous manner in which the author of the Lausiac History speaks of his elevation, seem conclusive as to the identity of the historian with Palladius of Helenopolis. He is, doubtless, the Palladius charged by Epiphanius, and by Jerome himself, with Origenism. Tillemont, however, attempts to. show, that Palladius the Origenist was not the bishop of Helenopolis. Through fear of his enemies, Palladius of Helenopolis fled to Rome in 405, where he probably received the letter of encouragement addressed to him and the other fugitive bishops, Cyriacus of Syrmada, Alysius or Eulysius of the Bithynian Apameia; and Demetrius of Pessinus. At this time Palladius probably became acquainted with the monks of Rome and Campania. When some bishops and presbyters of Italy were delegated by the Western emperor Honorius and pope Innocent I, and the bishops of the Western Church generally, to protest to the Eastern emperor Arcadius against the banishment of Chrysostom, and to demand the assembling of a new council for the consideration of his case, Palladius and his fellow-exiles returned into the East, apparently as members of the delegation. But their return was ill timed and unfortunate: they were both arrested on approaching Constantinople, and both delegates and exiles were confined at Athyra, in Thrace; and then the four returning fugitives were banished to separate and distant places, Palladius to the extremity of Upper Egypt, in the vicinity of the Blemmyes. Tillemont supposes that after the death of Theophilus of Alexandria-the great enemy of Chrysostom in 412, Palladius obtained some relaxation of his punishment, though he was not allowed to return to Helenopolis or to resume his episcopal functions, and says that in the interval between 412 and 420 the Lausiac History was written. Palladius resided for four years at Antinoe, or Antinopolis, in the Thebaid, and three years inn the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem, and then also made his visits to many parts of the East. After a time he was restored to the bishopric of Helenopolis, from which he was transferred to that of Aspona or Aspuna, in Galatia; but the dates, of his restoration and his transfer cannot be fixed: they probably took place after the healing of the schism occasioned by Chrysostom's affair in 417, and probably after the composition of the Lausiac History, in 419 or 420. Pailadius probably died before 431, when in the third general (first Ephesian) council the see of Aspona was held by another person. He appears to have been bishop of Aspona only a short time, as he is currently designated from Helenopolis.
Palladius's principal, if not his only work, is entitled ῾Η πρὸς Λαύσωνα τὸν πραιπόσιτον ἱστορία περιέχουσα βίους ὁσίων πατέρων-Ad Lausum Prepositum Historia, quce Sanctorumn Patrum vitas complectitur — usually cited as Historia Lausiaca, the Lausiac History. This work, Palladius says, was composed in his fifty-third year, in the thirty-third year of his monastic life, and the twentieth of his episcopate, which last date furnishes the means of determining several others in his personal history. The work contains biographical notices and anecdotes of a number of ascetics whom Palladius knew personally, or of whom he received information through others who knew them. The value of the work is diminished by the author's credulity (characteristic, however, of his age and class) concerning miracles and other marvels; but it exhibits the prevailing religious tendencies of the age, and is valuable as recording various facts relating to eminent men. The Lausus, or Lauson, to whom the work is addressed, was chamberlain apparently to the emperor Theodosius the younger. The first edition of the Greek text, but a very imperfect one, was that of Meursius (Leyden, 1616). The Greek text and version were reprinted from the Auctarium of Ducaeus, in the editions of the Bibliotheca Patrum (Paris, 1644 and 1654). It is probable that the printed text is still very defective.
Another work ascribed to Palladius is entitled Διάλογος ἰστορικὸς Παλλαδίου ῾Ελενουπόλεως γενόμενος πρὸς Θεόδωρον διάκονον ῾Ρώμης, περὶ βίου καὶ πολιτείας τοῦ μακαρίου Ι᾿ωάννου ἐπισκόπου Κωνσταντινοπόλεως τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου — Dialogus Historicus Palladii episcopi Helenopolis cunm Theodoro ecclesice Romnance diacono, de vita et conversatione Beati Joannis Chrysostomi, episcopi Constantinopolis. The title of the work misled many into the belief that it was written by Palladius of Helenopolis; but a more attentive examination proves the author of the Dialogus to have been a different person, several years his senior, though Palladius's companion and fellow- sufferer in the delegation from the Western emperor and Church on behalf of Chrysostom, which occasioned the imprisonment and exile of the bishop. Tillemont, assuming that the author of the Dialogus was called Palladius, thinks he may have been the person to whom Athanasius wrote in 371 or 372.
Περὶ τῶν τῆς Ι᾿νδίας ἐθνῶν καὶ τῶν Βραγμάνων- De Gentibus Indice et Bragmanibus — whose authorship is also ascribed to Palladius, is by Oudin and Cave regarded as the work of another writer of that period. Lambecius ascribes the work to Palladius of Methone. All that can be gathered from the work itself is that the author was a Christian, and lived while the Roman empire was still in existence; but this mark of time is of little value, as the Byzantine empire retained to the last the name of Roman. The supposed work of St. Ambrose, published by Blisse, is. repudiated by the Benedictine editors of that father, and has been shown by Kollar to be a free translation of the work ascribed to Palladius. See Cave, Hist. Litter. ad amn. 401, i, 376 (Oxford, 1740-43); Fabricius, Bibl. Grceca, i, 727; 8:456; 10:98, etc.; Oudin, Comnent. de Scriptor. Eccles. 1, col. 908, etc.; Tillemont. Memoires, 11:500, etc.; Ceillier, Hist. des
Auteurs ecclesiast. 7:484-493; Vossins, De Historicis Grcecis, lib. 2, c. 19; Smith, Dic. of Greek and Roman Biog. and Mythol. s.v.