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A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Julianus Eclanensis, Bishop of Eclana

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Julianus (15) ( Eclanensis ), bp. of Eclana or Aeculanum (Noris, ad Hist. Pelag. in Opp. iv. 747, ed. 1729–1732), near Beneventum ( ib. i. 18, in Opp. i. 178; Pagi, Critic , s.a. 419, ix.), a distinguished leader of the Peagians of 5th cent. A native of Apulia (August. Opus Imperf. vi. 18 in Patr. Lat. xlv. 1542), his birth is assigned to c. 386 (Gainer, Diss. i. ad part. i. Opp. Mar. Merc. c. 6, in Patr. Lat. xlviii. 291). His father was an Italian bishop named Memor or Memorius (Mar. Merc. Subnot. iv. 4, Garner's n. g. u.s. p. 130; Pagi, u.s. ; Cappelletti, Chies. Ital. xx. 19) and his mother a noble lady named Juliana (Mar. Merc. u.s. ). Augustine of Hippo was intimate with the family, and wrote of them in terms of great affection and respect, c. 410 ( Ep. 101; Noris, Opp. i. 422, iv. 747). Julian, c. 404, became a "lector" in the church over which his father presided, and while holding that office married a lay named Ia. Paulinus, afterwards bp. of Nola, composed an elaborate Epithalamium , which represents him as on terms of great intimacy with the family (Poem. xxv. in Pali. lii. 633). By c. 410 Julian had become a deacon, but whether Ia was then living does not appear.

He was consecrated to the episcopate by Innocent I. c. 417 (Mar. Merc. Commonit. iii. 2), but the name of his see is variously given. Marius Mercator, who was his contemporary, distinctly speaks of him as "Episcopus Eclanensis" ( Nestor. Tract. praef. § 1, Migne, 184; Theod. Mops. praef. § 2, Migne, 1043). Innocent I. died Mar 12, 417. Up to that date Julian had maintained a high reputation for ability, learning, and orthodoxy, and Mercator concludes that he must have sympathized with Innocent's condemnation of the Pelagians ( Commonit. iii. 2). Yet there is reason to believe that even Innocent had ground for at least suspecting his proclivities (August, cont. Julian. i. 13). When the cases of Pelagius and Coelestius were reopened by Zosimus, shortly after the death of Innocent, Julian seems to have expressed himself strongly in their favour in the hearing of Mercator ( Subnot. vii. 2; Noris, Opp. i. 183); and when ZOSIMUS issued his Epistola Tractoria against the Pelagians (A.D. 417; Jaffé, Reg. Pont. Rom. 417) and sent it to the bishops of the East and West for subscription, Julian was among those who refused. He was accordingly deposed, and afterwards exiled under the edicts issued by the emperor Honorius in Mar 418 (Mar. Merc. Commonit. iii. 1). Julian now addressed two letters to Zosimus (August. Op. Imp. i. 18), one of which was very generally circulated throughout Italy before it reached the pontiff. Of this Mercator has preserved some fragments ( Subnot. vi. 10–13, ix. 3). Of the other we have no remains (Pagi, Critic. A.D. 418, lvii.).

About the same time Julian addressed a letter to Rufus, bp. of Thessalonica (410–431), on his own behalf and that of 18 fellow-recusants. Rufus was vicarius of the Roman see in Illyricum (Innocent's ep. to Rufus, June 17, 412, in Mansi, viii. 751) and just then in serious collision with Atticus the patriarch of Constantinople. As Atticus was a strenuous opponent of the Pelagians (Noris, Opp. iv. 884), Julian and his brethren perhaps thought Rufus might be persuaded to favour them ( ib. i. 201, 202). Zosimus died Dec. 26, 418, and was succeeded by Boniface I., Apr. 10, 419. The letter of Julian to Rufus, with another to the clergy of Rome which he denied to be his (August. Op. Imp. i. 18), were answered by Augustine in his contra Duas Epistolas Pelagianorum . Julian avows an earnest desire to gain the aid of the Oriental bishops against the "profanity of Manicheans," for so he styles the Catholics (cont. Duas. Ep. ii. 1); accuses Zosimus of tergiverisation and the Roman clergy of having been unduly influenced in their condemnation of the Pelagians (ii. 3); charges both with various heresies (ii. 2–5); and protests that by their means the subscriptions of nearly all the Western bishops had been uncanonically extorted to a dogma which he characterizes as "non minus stultum quam impium" (iv. 8, § 20 init. ). Garnier assigns the letter to Rufus and the two to Zosimus to A.D. 418 (ad Primam Partem , diss. i. Migne, 292).

When Julian addressed his two letters to Zosimus he was preparing a reply to the first of Augustine's two books de Nuptiis et Concupiscentiâ (Mar. Merc. Subnot. praef. § 7), which he addressed to a fellow-recusant named Turbantius, whose prayers he earnestly asks that the church may be delivered from the defilement of Manicheism ( ib. iii.). He sent some extracts from the work, which was in four books, and apparently entitled Contra eos qui nuptias damnant et fructus earum diabolo assignant (August. de Nuptiis et Concupisc. ii. 4, § 11), to Valerius, who forwarded them to his friend Augustine, who at once rejoined in a second book de Nuptiis et Concupiscentiâ (August. Retract. ii. 53). When Julian's work subsequently came into his hands, Augustine published a fuller rejoinder in his contra Julianum Pelagianum . Augustine freely quotes his antagonist, and we see that Julian again insisted upon the Manicheism of his opponents (lib. ii. passim ); again charged Zosimus with prevarication (iii. 1, vi. 2), and elaborated the whole anthropology for which he contended.

When driven from the West, Julian and some of his fellow-exiles went into Cilicia and remained for a time with Theodorus, bp. of Mopsuestia (Mar. Merc. Theod. Mops. praef. § 2), who is charged by Mercator with having been one of the originators of Pelagianism ( Subnot. praef. § 1, Symb. Theod. Mops. praef. § 2) and who wrote against Augustine (Phot. Bibl. Cod. 177; Mar. Merc. Garnier, ad Prim. Partem , diss. vi.). Meanwhile the rejoinder of Augustine had reached Julian, who answered it in 8 books, addressed to Florus, a fellow-recusant (Co. Eph. A.D. 431, actio v. in Mansi, iv. 1337; Mar. Merc. Subnot. praef.). Mercator has given various extracts ( Subnot. passim), but it is best known from Augustine's elaborate Opus Imperfectum , which was evoked by it (August. Opp. t. x. in Patr. Lat. xlv. 1050), but left incomplete. On the death of Boniface I. and the succession of Celestine I. in Sept. 422, Julian apparently left Cilicia and returned to Italy, probably hoping that the new pontiff might reconsider the case of the Pelagians, especially as a variance had then arisen between the Roman see and the African bishops. Celestine repulsed him, and caused him to be exiled a second time (Prosper. contra Collator. xxi. 2, in Patr. Lat. li. 271). Julian was also condemned, in his absence, by a council in Cilicia, Theodorus concurring in the censure (Mar. Merc. Symb. Theod. Mops. praef. § 3; Garnier, ad Prim. Part. diss. ii. Migne, 359). On this Julian went to Constantinople, where the same fate awaited him both from Atticus and his successor Sisinnius (A.D. 426, 427) (Garnier, u.s. 361; Coelest. ad Nestor. in Mansi iv. 1025). On the accession of Nestorius to the patriarchate (A.D. 428) the expectations of Julian were again raised, and he appealed both to Nestorius and to the emperor Theodosius II. Both at first gave him some encouragement (Mar. Merc. Nestor. Tract. praef. § 1), which may be why there is no mention of the Pelagians in the celebrated edict which the emperor issued against here sies at the instance of Nestorius ( Cod. Theod. XVI. v. 65, May 30, 428; Socr. H. E. vii. 29). The patriarch wrote to Celestine more than once in his behoof and that of his friends (Nestor. Ep. to Celest. in Mansi, iv. 1022, 1023), but the favour he shewed them necessitated his defending himself in a public discourse delivered in their presence, and translated by Mercator ( u.s. Migne, 189 seq.). In 429 Mercator presented his Commonitorium de Coelestio to the emperor, wherein he carefully relates the proceedings against the Pelagians and comments severely upon their teaching. Julian and his friends were then driven from Constantinople by an imperial edict (Mar. Merc. Commonit. praef. § 1). Towards the close of 430 Celestine convened a council at Rome, which condemned Julian and others once more (Garnier, u.s. diss. ii.). Whither he went from Constantinople does not appear, but he with other Pelagians seem to have accompanied Nestorius to the convent of Ephesus, A.D. 431, and took part in the "Conciliabulum" held by Joannes of Antioch ( Relat. ad Coel. in Mansi, iv. 1334). Baronius ( s.a. 431 lxxix.) infers from one of the letters of Gregory the Great (lib. ix. ind. ii. ep. 49 in Patr. Lat. , xv. lxxvii. 981) that the "Conciliabulum" absolved Julian and his friends, but Cardinal Noris (Opp. i. 362) has shewn that the council repeat their condemnation of the Pelagians, expressly mentioning Julian by name ( Relat. u.s. ; Mar. Merc. Nestor. Tract. praef. § 2).

Sixtus III., the successor of Celestine (July 31, 432) when a presbyter, had favoured the Pelagians, much to the grief of Augustine (Ep. 174). Julian attempted to recover his lost position through him, but Sixtus evidently treated him with severity, mainly at the instigation of Leo, then a presbyter, who became his successor, A.D. 440 (Prosper. Chron. s.a. 439). When pontiff himself, Leo shewed the same spirit toward the Pelagians, especially toward Julian ( de Promiss. Dei , pt. iv. c. 6 in Patr. Lat. li. 843). We hear no more of Julian until his death in Sicily, c. 454 (Gennad. Script. Eccl. xlv. in Patr. Lat. lviii. 1084; Garnier, u.s. diss. i. Migne, 297).

Some years after his death Julian was again condemned by Joannes Talaia, formerly patriarch of Alexandria, but c. 484 bp. of Nola in Italy (Phot. Bibl. Cod. liv.; s.f. August. Opp. in Patr. Lat. xlv. 1684).

Julian was an able and a learned man. Gennadius speaks of him as "vir acer ingenio, in divinis Scripturis doctus, Graeca et Latina lingua scholasticus" (u.s. ). He was of high character, and especially distinguished for generous benevolence (Gennad. u.s. ), and seems actuated throughout the controversy by a firm conviction that he was acting in the interests of what he held to be the Christian faith and of morality itself.

Besides his works already mentioned, Bede speaks of his Opuscula on the Canticles, and among them of a "libellus" de Amore , and a "libellus" de Bono Constantiae , both of which he charges with Pelagianism, giving from each some extracts (in Cantica , praef. Migne, 1065–1077). Garnier claims Julian as the translator of the Libellus Fidei a Rufino Palaestinae Provinciae Presbytero , which he has published in his ed. of Marius Mercator (ad Primam Partem , dissert. v. Migne, 449, dessert. vi. Migne, 623), and as the author of the liber Definitionum seu Ratiocinationem , to which Augustine replied in his de Perfectione Justitiae (note 6 in Mar. Merc. Subnot. Migne, 145, 146). Cf. A: Bruckner, Julian von Eclanum (Leipz. 1897) in Texte und Untersuch. xv. 3.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Julianus Eclanensis, Bishop of Eclana'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2020
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