Patrophilus of Scythopolis
Patrophilus (1) of Scythopolis, one of the original Arian party, took
a leading part in all their principal acts and was one of the most relentless opponents
of Athanasius, by whom he is designated as a πνευματόμαχος
(adv. Serap. iv. 7, p. 360). He enjoyed considerable reputation for theological
learning, and trained Eusebius of Emesa in the exposition of Scripture (Socr.
H. E. ii. 9). When Arius, driven from Alexandria, took refuge in Palestine,
Patrophilus was one of the Palestinian bishops who warmly espoused his cause, wrote
in support of his teaching (Athan. de Synod. p. 886), and in
a.d. 323 joined
with Paulinus of Tyre and Eusebius of Caesarea in summoning a local synod, which
granted Arius permission to hold private religious assemblies (Soz. H. E.
i. 15). At Nicaea he was one of the 17 episcopal partisans of Arius, and united
with them in drawing up a creed which was indignantly rejected by the council (Theod.
H. E. i. 7) Embittered by defeat, he became one of the most relentless persecutors
of Athanasius. In 330 he took part in the synod at Antioch by which Eustathius was
deposed (ib. i. 21). At the synod of Tyre (a.d. 335) he was one of the most
active in bringing about the condemnation of Athanasius (Labbe, ii. 436; Athan.
Apol. c. Arian. cc. 73, 74, 77), and the same year he attended the abortive
synod of the Dedication at Jerusalem (Socr. H. E. i. 31; Soz. H. E.
ii. 26; Theod. H. E. i. 31). Passing thence to Constantinople at the empress's
command, he denounced Athanasius as having threatened the imperial city with starvation
by preventing the sailing of the Alexandrian corn-ships, and procured his banishment
to Trèves (Socr. H. E. i. 35; Theod. H. E. i. 31; Theophan. p. 26;
Athan. Apol. c. Asian. c. 87). In 341 be took part in the ambiguous council
of Antioch, in Encaeniis (Soz. H. E. iii. 5). He was one of the ordainers
of George, the violent heterodox intruder into the see of Alexandria in 353 (ib.
iv. 8), and with his leader Acacius kept entirely aloof from Athanasius when Maximus
of Jerusalem welcomed him on his return from banishment in 346, and before long
contrived to establish Cyril in Maximus's place as their own nominee (Theophan.
p. 34; Gwatkin, Studies of Arianism, p. 145). He was one of the few Eastern
bishops who attended the council of Milan in 355 (his name appearing erroneously
in the lists as Stratophilus), and he took part in the condemnation and deposition
of Eusebius of Vercelli, on whose banishment to Scythopolis, Patrophilus, "his jailer,"
as Eusebius calls him, vented his annoyance by studied insults and ill-treatment
(Eus. Vercell. Ep. apud Baronium Annal. 356, No. 93). According to
Philostorgius (H. E. iv. 8–10) Patrophilus poisoned the mind of Constantius
against Basil of Ancyra, who had at one time exercised unbounded influence over
him, and was the proposer of the scheme of breaking up the proposed general council
into two. When the Eastern division met at Seleucia, Sept. 27, 359, Patrophilus
was a leading member of the shifty Acacian party pledged to the Homoiousion. Finding
the majority of the synod against them, he and his party refused to take part in
the later sessions, and at the fourth sitting, Oct. 1, he shared in the sentence
of deposition passed on Acacius and his followers (Socr. H. E. ii. 40; Soz.
808iv. 23). He immediately returned home, where he was kept
informed by Acacius of the course events were taking in the synod held at Constantinople
(Jan. 360), when Aetius and the Anomoeans were condemned, several leading semi-Arians
deposed, the Ariminian creed imposed, and Eudoxius enthroned bp. of Constantinople
(Socr. H. E. ii. 43). He died very soon afterwards, for his grave was desecrated
during the temporary pagan reaction under Julian in 361, when his remains were scattered
and his skull mockingly used as a lamp (Theoph. p. 40; Niceph. x. 13; Chron.
Pasch. (ed. Ducange, 1688), p. 295; Tillem. Mém. ecclés. t. vi. vii.;
Le Quien, Or. Christ. iii. 683).