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A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Elpidius (8), Bishop of Laodicea

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Elpidius (8) , bp. of Laodicea in Syria at the close of the 4th cent. and opening of the 5th. He was originally a priest of Antioch under Meletius, whose confidence he enjoyed and with whom he resided (σύσκηνος ) (Theod. H. E. v. 27). He shared in his master's sufferings under Valens, and accompanied by Flavian, attended him at the council of Constantinople a.d. 381 (Labbe, ii. 955). We next find him as bishop at a council at Constantinople a.d. 394 (Labbe, ii. 1151), and again at Constantinople at the close of a.d. 403, as a member of the council summoned by Chrysostom's enemies, and issuing in his deposition. Elpidius had been an intimate friend of Chrysostom at Antioch, and now lent the weight of his age and well-deserved reputation to the defence of his old associate. When the validity of the canons of the council of Antioch, of suspected orthodoxy, used by Chrysostom's enemies as an instrument to secure their object, came into question before the emperor, Elpidius adroitly turned the tables on Acacius and his party by proposing that the advocates of the canons should declare themselves of the same faith with those who had promulgated them (Pallad. Dial. c. 9, p. 80). After Chrysostom's deposition and exile, Elpidius exerted himself strenuously in his behalf, dispatching letters to bishops and faithful laity in all parts of the world, exhorting them to remain true to Chrysostom, and encouraging them to bear up against persecution. Chrysostom wrote to Elpidius shortly after his arrival at Cucusus in 404, thanking him most warmly, and giving him information concerning the place of his banishment, his companions, and his health (Chrys. Ep. 114). Four other letters from Chrysostom to Elpidius are extant, all written from Cucusus ( Epp. 25, 138, a.d. 405; Ep. 131, a.d. 406; Ep. 142, a.d. 407).

Elpidius suffered for his fidelity to his friend in the persecution against the Joannite party under Atticus and Porphyry. In 406 he was deposed from his see, and was closely imprisoned in his house for three years (Pallad. Dial. p. 195). In 414 Alexander, succeeding Porphyry as bp. of Antioch, restored Elpidius to his see in a manner which testified deep reverence for his character, and pope Innocent heard of it with extreme satisfaction (Baron. 408 ยงยง 35, 37; Tillem. xi. 274).


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Elpidius (8), Bishop of Laodicea'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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