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The Catholic Encyclopedia

Apollonius of Ephesus

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Anti-Montanist Greek ecclesiastical writer, between 180 and 210, probably from Asia Minor, for he is thoroughly acquainted with the Christian history of Ephesus and the doings of the Phrygian Montanists. If we may accept what the unknown author of "Praedestinatus" says (I, 26, 27, 28; P.L., LIII, 596), he was a Bishop of Ephesus, but the silence of other Christian writers renders this testimony doubtful. He undertook the defence of the Church against Montanus, and followed in the footsteps of Zoticus of Comanus, Julian of Apamaea, Sotas of Anchialus, and Apollinaris of Hierapolis. His work is cited by Eusebius (Church History V.18), and is praised by St. Jerome (Illustrious Men 40), but has been lost, and not even its title is known. It seems certain that it showed the falsity of the Montanist prophecies, recounted the unedifying lives of Montanus and his prophetesses, also gave currency to the report of their suicide by hanging, and threw light on some of the adepts of the sect, including the apostate Themison, and the pseudo-martyr Alexander. The former, having evaded martyrdom by means of money, posed as an innovator, addressing a letter to his partisans after the manner of the Apostles, and finally blasphemed Christ and the Church; the latter, a notorious thief, publicly condemned at Ephesus, had himself adored as a god. We know from Eusebius that Apollonius spoke in his work of Zoticus, who had tried to exorcise Maximilla, but had been prevented by Themison, and of the martyr-Bishop Thraseas, another adversary of Montanism. He very probably gave the signal in it for the movement of opposition to Montanism which the reunion of the first synods developed. At all events, he recalls the tradition according to which Our Lord had advised the Apostles not to go far from Jerusalem during the twelve years immediately following His Ascension, a tradition known to Clement of Alexandria from the apocryphal "Praedicatio Petri". He moreover recounts the restoration to life of a dead man at Ephesus by the Apostle St. John, whose Apocalypse he knew and quotes. He takes rank among the opponents of Montanism with the "Anonymous" of Eusebius (Church History V.16-17), with Miltiades and with Apollinaris. Eusebius (loc. cit.) says his work constituted "an abundant and excellent refutation of Montanism". St. Jerome qualified it as "a lengthy and remarkable volume". It did not therefore pass unnoticed, and must have roused some feeling among the Montanists since Tertullian felt it necessary to reply to it. After his six books peri ekstaseos, in which he apologized for the ecstasies into which the Montanist prophetesses fell before prophesying, Tertullian composed a seventh especially to refute Apollonius; he wrote it also in Greek for the use of the Asiatic Montanists.

Sources

BAREILLE in Dict. de théol. cath., II, 1507; VENABLES in Dict. of Christ. Biogr., I, 135; BARDENHEWER, Gesch. d. altkirchl. Litt. (Freiburg, 1902), I, 525. For the fragments of Apollonius see ROUTH, Reliquiae Sacrae (2d ed.), I, 463-85.

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Bibliography Information
Obstat, Nihil. Lafort, Remy, Censor. Entry for 'Apollonius of Ephesus'. The Catholic Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/a/apollonius-of-ephesus.html. Robert Appleton Company. New York. 1914.

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