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Chapter II.—Death of Nectarius and Ordination of John.

A short time after Nectarius824824    Cf. V. 8. also, bishop of Constantinople died, during the consulate of Cæsarius and Atticus,825825    397 a.d. on the 27th of September. A contest thereupon immediately arose respecting the appointment of a successor, some proposing one person, and some another: at length however it was determined to send for John,826826    The well-known bishop of Antioch and Constantinople, who on account of his extraordinary gift of eloquence was surnamed Chrysostom, ‘the Golden-mouth.’ See The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IX. Prolegomena on the life and writings of St. John Chrysostom by Dr. Schaff. Also cf. ancient authorities: Palladius, Dialogus historicus de vita et conversatione beati Joannis Chrysostomi cum Theodoro Ecclesiæ Romanæ diacono; Jerome, de Viris Illustribus, c. 129; Sozomen, VIII. 2–23; Theodoret, H. E. V. 27–36; and modern Smith & Wace, Dict. of Christ. Biog.; F. W. Farrar, Lives of the Fathers, Vol. II. p. 460–527, and many monograms and longer or briefer notices in the standard church histories. a presbyter of the church at Antioch, for there was a report that he was very instructive, and at the same time eloquent. By the general consent therefore of both the clergy and laity, he was summoned very soon afterwards to Constantinople by the Emperor Arcadius: and to render the ordination more authoritative and imposing, several prelates were requested to be present, among whom also was Theophilus bishop of Alexandria.827827    Cf. Theodoret, V. 22, under this Theophilus the pagan temples of Mithras and Serapis were attacked, as related above in V. 16 and 17. For a fuller notice of Theophilus, see Smith & Wace, Dict. of Christ. Biog. This person did everything he could to detract from John’s reputation, being desirous of promoting to that see, Isidore828828    Cf. chap. 9 of this book. a presbyter of his own church, to whom he was greatly attached, on account of a very delicate and perilous affair which Isidore had undertaken to serve his interests. What this was I must now unfold. While the Emperor Theodosius was preparing to attack the usurper Maximus, Theodosius sent Isidore with gifts giving twofold letters, and enjoining him to present both the gifts and the proper letters to him who should become the victor. In accordance with these injunctions Isidore on his arrival at Rome awaited there the event of the war. But this business did not long remain a secret: for a reader who accompanied him privately sequestered the letters; upon which Isidore in great alarm returned to Alexandria. This was the reason why Theophilus so warmly favored Isidore. The court however gave the preference to John: and inasmuch as many had revived the accusations against Theophilus, and prepared for presentation to the bishops then convened memorials of various charges, Eutropius829829    Cf. Zosimus, V. 3, 8, 10, 17, 18, and Eunapius, Fragm. 53, 56. the chief officer of the imperial bed-chamber collected these documents, and showed them to Theophilus, bidding him ‘choose between ordaining John, and undergoing a trial on the charges made against him.’ Theophilus terrified at this alternative, consented to ordain John. Accordingly John was invested with the episcopal dignity on the 26th of February, under the following consulate,830830    398 a.d. which the Emperor Honorius celebrated with public games at Rome, and Eutychian, then Prætorian prefect, at Constantinople. But since the man is famous, both for the writings he has left, and the many troubles he fell into, it is proper that I should not pass over his affairs in silence, but to relate as compendiously as possible whence he was, and from what ancestry; also the particulars of his elevation to the episcopate, and the means by which he was subsequently degraded; and finally how he was more honored after his death, than he had been during his life.


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