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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Sisinnius, Bishop of Novatianists

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Sisinnius (7), a bishop of the Novatianists at Constantinople, succeeding on Marcian's death in Nov. 395 (Socr. H. E. v. 21; vi. 1; Soz. H. E. viii. 1). He published a treatise warmly controverting Chrysostom's impassioned language as to the efficacy of repentance and the restoration of penitents to communion, de Poenitentia (Socr. H. E. vi. 21). Chrysostom, taking umbrage at this and at his claim to exercise episcopal functions in Constantinople, threatened to stop his preaching. Sisinnius jocosely told him he would be much obliged to him for sparing him so much trouble, and thus disarmed his anger ( ib. 22). Sisinnius enjoyed a great reputation for witty repartees. Several are collected by Socrates ( l.c. ), but do not give a very high idea of his powers. He is described as a man of great eloquence, enhanced by dignity of countenance and person, gracefulness of action, and by the tones of his voice. He had a considerable reputation for learning, being very familiar with philosophical writings as well as expositions of Scripture, and was well skilled in dialectics. Together with Theodotus of Antioch he composed a synodic letter against the Thessalians, in the name of the Novatianist bishops assembled at Constantinople for his consecration, addressed to Berinianus, Amphilochius, and other bishops of Pamphylia (Phot. Cod. Iii. col. 40; Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 290). Though a bishop of a schismatic body, he was much esteemed by the orthodox bishops, especially by Atticus, and was the honoured friend of leading aristocrats of Constantinople. He kept a sumptuous table, though not exceeding the bounds of moderation himself. Sisinnius died the same year as Chrysostom, a.d. 407, and was succeeded by Chrysanthus (Socr. H. E. vii. 6; Cave, u.s. ).


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Sisinnius, Bishop of Novatianists'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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