Petrus, bp. of Edessa
Petrus (20), bp. of Edessa, succeeded Cyrus on his death, June 5,
498. During his episcopate Mesopotamia was ravaged by Cabades, king of Persia,
in his endeavour to wrest the province from Anastasius. Of the horrors of this
terrible time of war, pestilence, and famine, in which Edessa had a full share,
being more than once besieged by Cabades, we have a moving account from a contemporary
witness in the Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite. Peter signalized his
entrance on the episcopate by several ritual reforms. He was the first to institute
the feast of Palm Sunday in the church of Edessa, as well as the benediction
of water on the eve of the Epiphany, and the consecration of chrism on Maundy
Thursday, and he regulated the observance of other festivals (Jos. Stylit. c.
32). An earthquake occurring at Edessa
a.d. 500, he instituted public processional litanies of the whole population
(ib. 36). The same year, the city and province suffering grievously from
famine, he visited Constantinople to petition Anastasius personally for a remission
of taxes, but was only partially successful (ib.39). The famine returning
a.d. 505, Peter made a second application
to the emperor, who received him with frowns and rebuked him for leaving his
distressed flock at such a time, but, feeling the justice of the request, remitted
the taxes for the whole province, sending the order without informing Peter
(ib. 78). Peter died on Easter Eve,
a.d. 510. Asseman. Bibl. Orient.
t. i. pp. 268 ff., 279, 406 ff.