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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Paulus, the Black

Paulus (11), surnamed The Black , Jacobite patriarch of Antioch from about the middle of 6th cent. to 578, was a native of Alexandria (Assem. B. O. ii. 331) and, like most Egyptians, a Monophysite. Before he became bishop he maintained at Constantinople a successful public dispute in the patriarchal palace with the Tritheites Conon and Eugenius ( ib. 329). Either Mennas or Eutychius must then have been patriarch. Paul was probably then syncellus to Theodosius, the Jacobite patriarch of Alexandria, who was in nominal exile at Constantinople, but exercising full authority over the Jacobite congregations there and in Egypt. Paul's connexion with Theodosius, and his success as a disputant, marked him out for the titular see of Antioch and the patriarchate of the whole Monophysite body, then beginning to be called Jacobites, and he was consecrated by Jacob Baradaeus himself who originated the name. We cannot feel sure that this was before 550. Paul appears in a list of celebrities flourishing in 571. All we hear of him afterwards is disastrous. The great persecution of the Monophysites by the patriarch John Scholasticus broke out at Constantinople, if the year is right, on Mar 20, 571, and Paul was one of four bishops (another being PAULUS (18)) barbarously treated by him. He was induced to leave the monastery of the Acoemetae in Constantinople for the patriarch's palace, whither the three others were also brought, under pretence of conferring on the unity of the church. The four were kept in close custody, and cruelly used until they agreed to communicate with the persecutor on his promise to eject the synod of Chalcedon from the church (John of Eph. H. E. p. 42). They twice communicated with him, loudly anathematizing the obnoxious synod; but the patriarch put off his part of the compact with the excuse that he must first obtain the consent of the bp. of Rome. Thus they "fell into communion" with the deceitful "synodite," and on their loading him with reproaches the severity of their treatment was increased and they were thrown into prison in the monastery of Beth Abraham in Constantinople, where their sufferings continued. After a time Paul was allowed to escape, and made his way to Syria, where Jacob Baradaeus received him with great displeasure, but, after keeping him 3 years in suspense, restored him to communion, probably in 575. In 578 a new patriarch of Antioch, Peter of Callinicus, was appointed, and Paul withdrew into concealment at Constantinople, where he died in 582, as detailed by John of Ephesus.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Paulus, the Black'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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