Gennadius of Constantinople

Christian priest and historian.


AD 1405
AD 1472


Gennadius (also known as Gennadius Scholasticus or Gennadius of Marseille), was a priest of Massilia (now Marseille) and a contemporary of Pope Gelasius I. Gelasius reigned from 492-496, so Gennadius must have lived at the end of the fifth century.

Little is known of his life, save what he tells us himself in the last of the biographies he wrote: "I, Gennadius, presbyter of Massilia, wrote eight books against all heresies, five books against Nestorius, ten books against Eutyches, three books against Pelagius, a treatise on the thousand years of the Apocalypse of John, this work, and a letter about my faith sent to blessed Gelasius, bishop of the city of Rome".

His best-known work is De Viris Illustribus (Of Famous Men), a biography of over 90 contemporary significant Christians, which continued a work of the same name by Jerome. In its most commonly accepted form was probably published about 496 and contains, in some ten folio pages, short biographies of ecclesiastics between the years 392 and 495. It is a very important source and in part the only source of our acquaintance with the over ninety authors treated therein.

It is a continuation of St. Jerome's De Viris Illustribus. In that work Jerome had for the first time drawn up a series of 135 short biographies of famous Christians, with lists of their chief writings. It was the first patrology and dictionary of Christian biography. This book of reference was so useful that it naturally became popular, and many people wrote continuations after the same method.

It was Gennadius's continuation that became most popular and was accepted everywhere as a second part of Jerome's work, and was always written (eventually printed) together with his. Gennadius's part contains about one hundred lives, modeled closely after those of Jerome. The present form of the text indicates a repeated revision of the entire work.

Works About Gennadius of Constantinople

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Gennadius (external)

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