« Demophilus Dianius, bp. of Caesarea Didymus, head of catechetical school »

Dianius, bp. of Caesarea

Dianius or Dianaeus, for more than 20 years bp. of Caesarea in Cappadocia, a saintly man 251much venerated in the early church, notwithstanding his somewhat doubtful orthodoxy. He was almost certainly the bishop who baptized Basil the Great on his return from Athens, and ordained him lector (Basil, de Sp. Sancto, 29, p. 357). Basil speaks of him in terms of most affectionate respect, describing him as remarkable for his virtues, frank, generous, and attractive from his amiability, venerable both in aspect and in character (Ep. 51 [84]). We see him, however, in these troubled times weak and undecided, led by his peaceful disposition to deprecate controversy, and by his feebleness to side with the strongest; destitute of strong theological convictions, and wanting the clearness of thought to appreciate subtleties of doctrine. He was, therefore, too often found on the semi-Arian side of the church. If, as Tillemont holds, he is the Danius who heads the list of bishops to whom pope Julius directed his dignified reply to the insolent letter addressed to him from Antioch, he took a leading part in the synod held at that city in the early months of a.d. 340, by which the deposition of Athanasius was confirmed, and George of Cappadocia placed on the throne of Alexandria (Epistola Julii, apud Athanas. Apolog. ii. p. 239). He also took part in the famous synod of Antioch, in Encaeniis, a.d. 341, and was present at Sardica, a.d. 347, where, according to Hilary (p. 29), he joined in the anathema against Julius and Athanasius. His weakness of character was still more fatally shewn when, after the council of Constantinople, a.d. 359, the formula of Rimini was sought to be imposed on the church by the authority of the emperor. To the intense grief of Basil, Dianius yielded to pressure and signed the heretical document. Basil could not hold communion with one who had so far compromised his faith, and fled to Nazianzum. It was reported that he had anathematized his bishop, but this he indignantly denies (Basil, Ep. 51 [84]). Dianius keenly felt the absence of his eloquent and able young counsellor, especially when Julian endeavoured to re-establish paganism. After two years he recalled Basil, and declared that he had signed the creed of Rimini in the simplicity of his heart, hoping to restore peace to the distracted church, with no idea of impugning the faith of Nicaea. Basil, satisfied with Dianius's explanations, returned to his former post of adviser of the bishop till his death, which occurred soon after, probably a.d. 362. [Basilius of Caesarea.]

[E.V.]

« Demophilus Dianius, bp. of Caesarea Didymus, head of catechetical school »
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