« Maximus, patriarch of Antioch Maximus, bp. of Turin Maximus, an ecclesiastical writer »

Maximus, bp. of Turin

Maximus (16), bp. of Turin, writer, reckoned as Maximus II., the third bishop, by Cappelletti (Le Chiese d’Ital. xiv. 12, 14, 76), who puts a Maximus I. in 390 as the first bishop. Ughelli (Ital. Sac. iv. 1022) counts them as one (cf. Boll. Acta SS. 25 Jun. v. 48). He was present at the council of Milan in 451 and signed the letter to pope Leo (Leo, Ep. 97; Labbe, iv. 583). He was also at the council of Rome in 465, where his name appears next after pope Hilary's, apparently on account of his seniority (Labbe, v. 86). Gennadius of Massilia (d. 496) gives a sketch of his works, most of which are still extant, but strangely says that he died in the reign of Arcadius and Honorius, i.e. before 423. This has led some to think that there were two bishops of this name, but the early date given by Gennadius seems irreconcilable with the many allusions to Nestorian doctrines in the homilies on the Nativity, and the general opinion is that he is wrong (Gennad. de Scrip. Eccl. c. xl. in Patr. Lat. lviii. 1081). The works of Maximus are in vol. lvii. of Migne's Patrologia Latina. They consist of 117 homilies, 116 sermons, 3 tractates on baptism, 2 (of very doubtful authority) entitled respectively contra Paganos and contra Judaeos, and a collection of expositions de Capitulis Evangeliorum (also doubtful). Many of the sermons and homilies were formerly ascribed to St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Leo, etc. Several are on the great church festivals.

Points of interest in the homilies and sermons are: the notice of fixed lections (e.g. Hom, 36 and 37); abstinence from flesh meat in Lent (Hom. 44); no fasting or kneeling at prayer between Easter and Pentecost (Hom. 61). In Hom. 62, on the other hand, he mentions that the vigil of Pentecost was observed as a fast. This custom therefore probably originated in his time. St. Leo, mentioning the fast of Pentecost, makes it clear that he means the fast immediately following the festival. In Hom. 83 Maximus comments on the creed, which is exactly the same as the Roman creed given by Rufinus. Among contemporary events alluded to may be noticed the synod of Milan in 389, at which Jovinian was condemned (Hom. 9). Seven homilies (86–92) refer to the terror of the city at an impending barbaric invasion, apparently Attila's inroad, 452. Another homily (94) refers to the destruction of the church of Milan on the same occasion. He several times refers to superstitions in his diocese; their observance of the Calends of Jan. (16), their tumults during an eclipse (100), the idolatry still lurking among the lower orders (Serm. 101, 102). There are homilies on the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, on St. Lawrence, St. Cyprian, St. Agnes, and St. Eusebius of Vercelli, and several on the festival of SS. Peter and Paul which are worth particular attention. In some of these he uses very decided language on the supremacy of St. Peter, e.g., speaking of him as the keystone of the church (Hom. 54), the "magister navis" (Serm. 114); and as entrusted with "totius Ecclesiae gubernacula" (Hom. 70). But in other places he speaks of St. Peter as supreme in discipline, St. Paul in doctrine, and remarks "inter ipsos quis cui praeponatur incertum est" (72). Nowhere does he allude to the church of Rome as inheriting exclusively the supremacy of St. Peter. Gennadius mentions a work of Maximus de Spiritali Baptismi Gratia, and three treatises on this subject, formerly ascribed to St. Augustine, are published by Migne with the works of Maximus, on the strength of three ancient MSS., one of which the church of Turin possesses. Nothing in their style is against Migne's conclusion. The first treatise dwells on the significance of the anointing of the ears before baptism; the second gives an interrogatory creed identical with the one mentioned above in the homilies, and alludes to the custom of baptizing on the third day after the profession of faith; the third speaks of the anointing of the head after baptism, by which is conferred the full regal and sacerdotal dignity spoken of by St. Peter, and of the custom of washing the feet at the same time, after the example of Christ. See F. Savio's Gli Antichi Veseovi d'Italia (Turin, 1899), p. 283.

[M.F.A.]

« Maximus, patriarch of Antioch Maximus, bp. of Turin Maximus, an ecclesiastical writer »





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