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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen.: Concerning Melitius; the Excellent Directions made by the Holy Council in his Complications.

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Chapter XXIV.—Concerning Melitius; the Excellent Directions made by the Holy Council in his Complications.

After an investigation had been made into the conduct of Melitius when in Egypt, the Synod sentenced him to reside in Lycus, 1135 and to retain only the name of bishop; and prohibited him from ordaining any one either in a city or a village. Those who had previously been ordained by him, were permitted by this law, to remain in communion and in the ministry, but were to be accounted secondary in point of dignity to the clergy in church and parish. 1136 When by death an appointment became vacant, they were allowed to succeed to it, if deemed worthy, by the vote of the multitude, but in this case, were to be ordained by the bishop of the Church of Alexandria, for they were interdicted from exercising any power or influence in elections. This regulation appeared just to the Synod, p. 257 for Melitius 1137 and his followers had manifested great rashness and temerity in administering ordination; so that it also deprived the ordinations which differed from those of Peter of all consideration. He, when he conducted the Alexandrian Church, fled on account of the persecution then raging, but afterwards suffered martyrdom.



Lycus (Lycopolis) is not named in the letter of the Synod which says simply that he should reside in his own city. Soz. took the fact from Athan. Apol. cont. Arian. 71, where Melitius, in the brief to Alexander, calls himself bishop of Lycus. This is a proof of our historian’s use of the same documents to amplify the statements of Socrates.


Soc. i. 9, for text of the letter.


The best text reads Melitius, not Meletius, so Athanas. and Soc.; usually the books write Meletius and Meletians. We follow the reading.

Next: The Emperor prepared a Public Table for the Synod, after inviting its Members to Constantinople, and honoring them with Gifts, he exhorted all to be of One Mind, and forwarded to Alexandria and every other place the Decrees of the Holy Synod.

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