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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen.: Severian, Bishop of Gabales, and Antiochus, Bishop of Ptolemaïs. Dispute between Serapion and Severian. Reconciliation between them effected by the Empress.

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Chapter X.—Severian, Bishop of Gabales, and Antiochus, Bishop of Ptolemaïs. Dispute between Serapion and Severian. Reconciliation between them effected by the Empress.

John likewise incurred the enmity of the empress, through the machinations of Severian, bishop of Gabali in Syria. 1596 Severian and Antiochus, bishop of Ptolemaïs, a city in Phœnicia, were both learned men, and well qualified to teach in the churches. Antiochus had so fine a voice and delivery that, by some persons, he was surnamed Chrysostom. Severian, on the other hand, had the harshness of the Syrians in his speech; but, in point of knowledge and the evidences of the Scriptures, he was considered superior to Antiochus. It appears that Antiochus was the first to visit Constantinople; he gained great applause by his discourses, amassed some property, and then returned to his own city. Severian followed his example, and went to Constantinople. He formed an intimacy with John, spoke frequently in the churches, and was admired. He was in honor, and became well known to many of those in power, and to the emperor and empress. When John went to Asia, he commended the Church to his care; for he was so far deceived by the adulation of Severian as to imagine him to be his zealous friend. Severian, however, thought only of gratifying his auditors, and of pleasing the people by his discourses. 1597 When John was apprised of this, he was filled with jealousy; and his resentment was further kindled, it is said, by the representations of Serapion. After the return of John from Asia, Serapion happened to see Severian passing; but, instead of rising to salute him, he kept his seat, in order to show his utter contempt for the man. Severian was offended by this manifestation of disrespect, and exclaimed, “If Serapion die a clergyman, then Christ was not incarnate.” Serapion reported these words; and John, in consequence, expelled Severian from the city as insolent, and as a blaspheme against God; for witnesses were brought forward to attest that the above words had been really uttered by him. Some of the friends of Serapion even went so far as to suppress part of the speech of Severian, and to affirm that he had declared that Christ was not incarnate. John also rebuked Severian, by asking whether, “If Serapion should not die among the clergy, it would follow that Christ had not been incarnate?” As soon as the wife of the emperor was informed by the friends of Severian of what had occurred, she immediately sent for him from Chalcedon. John, notwithstanding all her remonstrances, positively refused to hold any intercourse with him, until the empress placed her son Theodosius on his knees in the church named after the apostles; then she entreated him persistently, and frequently adjured him, until John yielded a reluctant consent to receive Severian into friendship. Such are the accounts which I have received of these transactions. 1598



Soc. vi. 11; Pallad. Dialog.


A number of the homilies still attributed to Chrysostom, as well as those now acknowledged not to be his, were from the eloquent Severian.


Chrys. Homilia de recipiendo Severiano; andSermo ipsius Severiam de pace, iii. 421–423.

Next: Question agitated in Egypt, as to whether God has a Corporeal Form. Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria, and the Books of Origen.

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