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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Andreas Samosatensis of Samosata

Andreas Samosatensis , bp. of Samosata at the time of the council of Ephesus, A.D. 431. Sickness prevented his attending the council (Labbe, Conc. iii. 506), but he took a leading part in the controversies between Cyril and the Oriental bishops that succeeded it. Without identifying himself with the erroneous teaching ascribed to Nestorius, he shewed himself his zealous defender, and remained firm to him when his cause had been deserted by almost all. For his zeal in the defence of an heresiarch he is styled by Anastasius Sinaita ὁ δράκων . The reputation of Andreas for learning and controversial skill caused John of Antioch to select him, together with his attached friend Theodoret, to answer Cyril's anathemas against Nestorius (Labbe, iii. 1150; Liberatus, c. iv. p. 16). Cyril replied and wrote in defence of his anathemas, which called forth a second treatise from Andreas (Labbe, iii. 827). In 453 Andreas accompanied Alexander and Theodoret to the council summoned at Antioch by Aristolaus the tribune, in compliance with the commands of Theodosius, to consult how the breach with Cyril might be healed (ib. 764). On the amicable reception by Acacius and John of Cyril's letter written in answer to the rescript of this council, Andreas fully sympathized with his aged metropolitan Alexander's distress and indignation. Andreas deplored the recognition of Cyril's orthodoxy by so many bishops, and desired to bury himself in some solitude where he might weep ( ib. 784, 785, 796, 797). This was before he had see Cyril's letter. On perusing Cyril's own statement his opinions changed. What Cyril had written was orthodox. No prejudice against him ought to prevent his acknowledging it. The peace of the church was superior to all private feelings. His alteration of sentiments exasperated Alexander, who refused to see or speak to his former friend ( ib. 810, 811). Andreas deeply felt this alienation of one he so much venerated, but it could not lead him to retrace his steps. He used his utmost endeavours in vain to persuade Alexander to attend the council at Zeugma, which acknowledged the orthodoxy of Cyril's letter ( ib. 805).

His death must have occurred before 451, when Rufinus was bp. of Samosata. Theodoret speaks of Andreas with much affection and esteem, praising his humility and readiness to help the distressed (Theod. Ep. xxiv. p. 918). His own letters give us a high idea of his sound, practical wisdom, readiness to confess an error, and firmness in maintaining what he believed right.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Andreas Samosatensis of Samosata'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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