« Euzoïus, Arian bp. of Antioch Evagrius, bp. of Antioch Evagrius Ponticus, anchoret and writer »

Evagrius, bp. of Antioch

Evagrius (5), known as Evagrius of Antioch, was consecrated bishop over one of the parties in Antioch in 388 or 389, and must have lived until at least 392. Socr. H. E. v. 15; Soz. H. E. vii. 15; Theod. H. E. v. 23; Hieron. de Vir. Ill. cap. 25; Ambrose, Ep. lvi.

Evagrius belonged to the Eustathian division of the orthodox church at Antioch, of which he became a presbyter. After the schism at Antioch caused by Lucifer's consecration of Paulinus, Evagrius left Antioch, and accompanied Eusebius of Vercelli to Italy in 363 or 364. Here he zealously co-operated with Eusebius in restoring peace to the churches distracted by the results of the council of Ariminum, and re-establishing orthodoxy on the terms laid down by the synod of Alexandria in 362. He also afforded pope Damasus important aid against Ursicius and his faction, a.d. 367. At Milan he resolutely withstood the Arian bp. Auxentius. After nine or ten years he returned to the East, with Jerome, with the view of healing the schism that still divided the church of Antioch. He called at Caesarea to visit Basil in the autumn of 373, and found him suffering from ague. He was commissioned by the Western bishops to return to Basil the letters he had sent them, probably relating to the Meletian schism, as unsatisfactory, and to convey terms dictated by them, which he was to embody in a fresh letter to be sent into the West by some duly authorized commissioners. Only thus would the Western prelates feel warranted in interfering in the Eastern church, and making a personal visit (Basil, Ep. 138 [8]). On his return to Antioch, Evagrius wrote in harsh terms to Basil, accusing him of a love of controversy and of being unduly swayed by personal partialities. If he really desired peace, let him come himself to Antioch and endeavour to re-unite the Catholics, or at least write to them and use his influence with Meletius to put an end to the dissensions. Basil's reply is a model of courteous sarcasm. If Evagrius was so great a lover of peace, why had he not fulfilled his promise of communicating with Dorotheus, the head of the Meletian party? It would be far better for Evagrius to depute some one from Antioch, who would know the parties to be approached and the form the letters should take (ib. 156 [342]). On the death of Paulinus, a.d. 388, Evagrius manifested the hollowness of his professed desire for peace by becoming himself the instrument of prolonging the schism. He was ordained by the dying bp. Paulinus, in his sick-chamber, without the presence or consent of any assisting bishops, in direct violation of the canons. Flavian had been consecrated by the other party on the death of Meletius, a.d. 381. Thus the hope of healing the schism was again frustrated (Socr. H. E. v. 15; Theod. H. E. v. 23). A council was summoned at Capua, a.d. 390, to determine whether Flavian or Evagrius was lawful bp. of Antioch, but found the question too knotty, and relegated the decision to Theophilus of Alexandria and the Egyptian bishops. 359The death of Evagrius deprived Flavian of his rival. This was not before 392, in which year Jerome speaks of him as still alive (de Vir. Ill. c. 125). Jerome praises treatises on various subjects which he heard Evagrius read while still a presbyter, but which he had not yet published. He translated into Latin the Life of St. Anthony by St. Athanasius (Migne, Patr. Gk. xxvi. 835-976). Its genuineness has been much disputed, but the balance of critical judgment seems in its favour.

[J.C.G. AND E.V.]

« Euzoïus, Arian bp. of Antioch Evagrius, bp. of Antioch Evagrius Ponticus, anchoret and writer »


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