« Melania, a Roman lady Melania the younger, daughter of Publicola Meletius, bp. of Lycopolis »

Melania the younger, daughter of Publicola

Melania (2), daughter of Publicola son of MELANIA (1); born at Rome c. 383. She married Pinianus when exceedingly young, yielding to the wish of her father, though she was already imbued with the ascetic teachings of her grandmother, then living at Jerusalem. The young husband and wife were induced by Melania the elder in 397 to take a vow of continence, but refused to separate. They accompanied the grandmother from Rome (a.d. 408) to Sicily and Africa; but, when she returned to Jerusalem, they remained at Sagaste, attaching themselves to the bp. Alypius and enjoying the friendship of Augustine. On the death of the elder Melania the still considerable remains of her estates became the property of her granddaughter. She gave away those in Gaul and Italy, but kept those in Sicily, Spain, and Africa; and this led to the attempt of the people of Hippo to induce PINIANUS to become a priest of their church. In the scene in which a promise was exacted from them to remain at Hippo, Melania shewed great courage. When through the rapacity of the rebel count Heraclian she was denuded of her property, and thus set free from the promise to remain at Hippo, she accompanied her husband to Egypt, and, after staying among the monastic establishments of the Thebaid and visiting Cyril at Alexandria, eventually went to Palestine, and, together with her mother Albina, settled at Bethlehem in 414. There they attached themselves to Jerome, and to the younger Paula, who then presided over the convent. Their ascetic convictions had so developed that they now accepted that separation which the elder Melania had vainly urged in her lifetime. Pinianus became the head of a monastery and Melania entered a convent. By the settlement of Melania at Bethlehem the feud was extinguished which had separated the followers of Rufinus from those of Jerome; and although in his letter to Ctesiphon (cxxiii. 3, ed. Vall., date 415) Jerome still has a bitter expression about the elder Melania, in his last wetter to Augustine (cxliii. 2, ed. Vall.) in 419, Albina, Pinianus, and Melania are joined with Paula in their reverential greetings. Their intercourse with Augustine continued, and in answer to their questions on the Pelagian controversy he wrote his treatise On Grace and Original Sin, a.d. 418. Melania apparently lived on for many years. Photius says that 718she came to Constantinople in 437 and obtained his conversion and baptism at the hands of Proclus. Palladius, Hist. Laus. 119, 121; Augustine, Epp. 125, 126, and de Grat. Christi, ii. and xxxii., Surius, p. 380, Dec. 31; Photius, Cod. 53, p. 44.

[W.H.F.]

« Melania, a Roman lady Melania the younger, daughter of Publicola Meletius, bp. of Lycopolis »





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