Petrus, bp. of Apamea
Petrus (12), bp. of Apamea, the metropolis of Syria Secunda, under
Anastasius, c. 510; a Monophysite, a warm partisan of Severus the intruding
patriarch of Antioch, the leader of the Acephali, and charged with sharing in
the violent and sanguinary attempts to force the Monophysite creed on the reluctant
Syrian church. Peter was accused of having taken forcible possession of his
see, in violation of all ecclesiastical order, not having received canonical
ordination either as monk or presbyter (Labbe, v. 120). The first formal complaint
against him was made before count Eutychianus, governor of the province, by
the clergy of Apamea, substantiated by their affidavits (ib. 219, 243).
In these he is charged with declaring himself the enemy of the Chalcedonian
decrees, erasing from the diptychs the names of orthodox bishops and fathers,
and substituting those of Dioscorus, Timothy Aelurus, and other heresiarchs.
Evidence is given of insulting language and overbearing conduct toward his clergy,
acts of violence and grossness, and intercourse with females of loose character.
He was accused with Severus of having hired a band of Jewish banditti, who slew,
from an ambuscade, a body of 350 orthodox pilgrims and left their corpses by
the roadside (ib. 119). Clergy were violently dragged from the altar
by his emissaries and ruthlessly butchered if they refused to anathematize the
Chalcedonian faith. On the accession of Justin,
a.d. 518, the bishops of Syria
Secunda laid their complaints against Peter and Severus before the council assembled
at the imperial city, July 518, asking the emperor to deliver them from so intolerable
a tyranny (ib. 215). Their prayer was granted; Peter was deposed and
sentenced to exile as a Manichee—as the Monophysites were popularly designated
(Theoph. p. 142). Nothing seems known of Peter between his banishment and reappearance
at Constantinople with Severus, on the temporary revival of the fortunes of
the Monophysites, through the influence of the empress Theodora. In 536 Mennas
was appointed to the patriarchal chair, and lost no time in summoning a council
to pronounce the condemnation of Monophysitism and its chief leaders, Peter
and Severus being cut off from communion as men who had "voluntarily chosen
the sin unto death," and "shown no signs of repentance and a better mind" (ib.153).
Justinian confirmed this sentence. Peter was forbidden to reside in or near
Constantinople, or any other important city, commanded to live in complete retirement,
and abstain from association with others lest he should poison them with his
heresy (ib. 267). Nothing more is known of him. Letters to him from Severus
exist among the Syriac MSS. of the Brit. Mus. (Wright, Catal. p. 559,
No. 5, No. 20). Le Quien, Or. Christ. ii. 913; Fleury, Hist. eccl.
livre xxxi., 40, 44; livre xxxii., 52, 54, 57.