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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Eustathius (3), Bishop of Berrhoea

Eustathius (3) bp. of Berrhoea in Syria then of Antioch c. a.d. 324-331 designated by Theodoret (H. E. i. 7) "the Great," one of the earliest and most vigorous opponents of Arianism venerated for his learning virtues and eloquence (Soz. H. E. i. 2 ii. 19; Theod. H. E. i. 20) recognized by Athanasius as a worthy fellow-labourer for the orthodox faith (Athan. Hist. Arian. § 5). He was a native of Side in Pamphylia (Hieron. de Vir. Illus. c. 85). The title of "confessor" given him by Athanasius more than once (t. i. pp. 702 812) indicates that he suffered in the persecution of Diocletian. As bp. of Berrhoea he was one of the orthodox prelates to whom Alexander of Alexandria sent a copy of his letter to Alexander of Constantinople concerning Arius and his errors (Theod. H. E. i. 4). His translation from Berrhoea is placed by Sozomen after the council of Nicaea (Soz. H. E. i. 2). Theodoret states more correctly that he sat at that council as bp. of Antioch and that his election to that see was the unanimous act of the bishops presbyters and faithful laity of the city and province (Theod. H.E. i. 7). According to Theodoret he was the immediate successor of Philogonius; but according to the Chronicle of Jerome Theophanes and others a certain Paulinus not the Paulinus of Tyre intervened for a short time (Tillem. vol. vii. p. 22 n. i. p. 646). At the council of Nicaea Eustathius occupied one of the first if not the very first place among the assembled prelates (Facund. viii. 4). That he occupied the seat of honour at the emperor's right hand and pronounced the panegyrical address to Constantine is asserted by Theodoret (H. E. i. 7) but contradicted by Sozomen (H. E. i. 19) who assigns the dignity to Eusebius of Caesarea. Eusebius himself maintains a discreet silence but he evidently wishes it to be inferred that the place of honour was his own (Eus. de Vit. Const. iii. 11). On his return to Antioch Eustathius banished those of his clergy suspected of Arian tenets and resolutely rejected all ambiguous submissions. Among those whom he refused to receive were Stephen Leontius ὁ ἀπὸκοπος and Eudoxius (who successively occupied his episcopal seat after his deposition) George of Laodicea Theodosius of Tripolis and Eustathius of Sebaste (Athan. Hist. Arian. § 5). In his writings and sermons he lost no opportunity of declaring the Nicene faith and shewing its agreement with Holy Scripture. Theodoret (H. E. i. 8) specially mentions one of his sermons on Pro_8:22 and gives a long extract. The troubled relations of Eustathius with the two Eusebii may be dated from the council of Nicaea. At this synod Eusebius of Caesarea and Eustathius were rivals both in theological views and for favour with the emperor. To one of Eustathius's uncompromising orthodoxy Eusebius appeared a foe to the truth the more dangerous on account of his ability and the subtlety which veiled his heretical proclivities. Eustathius denounced him as departing from the Nicene faith. Eusebius retorted with the charge of Sabellianism accusing Eustathius of holding one only personality in the Deity (Socr. H. E. i. 23; Soz. H. E. ii. 18; Theod. H. E. i. 21). Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nicaea in their progress of almost royal magnificence to Jerusalem passed through Antioch and had a fraternal reception from Eustathius and left with every appearance of friendship. Their inspection of the sacred buildings over Eusebius returned to Antioch with a large cortège of partisan bishops—Aetius of Lydda Patrophilus of Scythopolis Theodotus of Laodicea and Eusebius of Caesarea. The cabal entered Antioch with the air of masters. The plot had been maturing in their absence. Witnesses were prepared with charges against the bishop of incontinency and other gross crimes. Eustathius was summoned before this self-constituted tribunal and despite the opposition of the better-minded bishops and the absence of trustworthy evidence was condemned for heresy profligacy and tyrannical conduct and deposed from his bishopric. This aroused the indignation of the people of Antioch who took up arms in defence of their beloved bishop. Some of the magistrates and other officials headed the movement. An artfully coloured account of these disturbances and Eustathius's complicity in them was transmitted to Constantine. A count was dispatched to quell the sedition and to put the sentence of the council into execution. Eustathius submitted to constituted authority. Accompanied by many of his clergy he left Antioch without resistance or manifesting any resentment (Socr. H. E. i. 24; Soz. H. E. ii. 19; Theod. H. E. i. 21; Philost. H. E. ii. 7; Eus. Vit. Const. iii. 59). He appears to have spent the larger part of his exile at Philippi where he died c. 337. The date of his deposition was probably at the end of 330 or beginning of 331 (Tillem. Mém. eccl. vol. vii. note 3 sur Saint Eustathe; Wetter Restitutio verae Chronolog. rerum contra Arian. Gest.; de Broglie L’Eglise et l’Empire c. vii.). The deposition of Eustathius led to a lamentable schism in the church of Antioch which lasted nearly a century not being completely healed till the episcopate of Alexander a.d. 413-420.

Eustathius was a copious writer, and is much praised by early authorities (Soz. H. E. ii. 19; Hieron. Ep. 70 [84], ad Magnum). We possess only scattered fragments and one entire work, named by Jerome de Engastrimytho adv. Origenem . In this he attacks Origen with great vehemence, ridicules him as a πολυΐστωρ , and controverts his idea that the prophet Samuel was actually called up by the witch of Endor (Gall. Vet. Patr. Bibl. vol. iv., and Migne, Patr. vol. xviii. pp. 614 ff.). In Texte und Untersuchungen (1886), ii. 4, a new ed. of this treatise was edited by A. Zahn. Fabr. Bibl. Graec. vol. ix. pp. 131 ff. ed. Harles; Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 187; Migne, Patr. t. ix. pp. 131 ff.; Tillem. u.s. pp. 21 ff.; De Broglie, op. cit. t. ii. pp. 294 ff.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Eustathius (3), Bishop of Berrhoea'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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