« Philaster Phileas Philemon, Epistle to »


PHILEAS, fi-lê´as: Bishop of Thmuis (the modern Tmai, between the Tanite and Mendesian branches of the Nile) and martyr; d. at Alexandria 305. According to Eusebius, he was distinguished for his wealth, noble birth, honorable rank, and philosophical training, and the same church historian also gives a fragment of a letter written by Phileas from his prison in Alexandria to his diocese at Thmuis (Hist. eccl., VIII., x. 2–10; Eng. transl., NPNF, 1 ser., i. 330–331), holding up the example of the Alexandrian martyrs. Together with three other bishops imprisoned with him, Phileas wrote to Meletius of Lycopolis (q.v.), charging him with violating the rules of the Church by appointing other bishops in their places. The acts of Phileas, which are extant both in Greek and Latin, seem to have been known to Eusebius and to Jerome; and Rufinus (Hist, eccl., viii. 10) states that they were written by a Christian named Gregorius. The official who presided at the martyrdom of Phileas was Culcianus, who was succeeded by Hierocles apparently in 306, and at latest by 308.

(N. Bonwetsch.)

Bibliography: The letter is also in M. J. Routh, Reliquiæ sacræ, 5 vols., Oxford. 1846–48; Eng. trans. with introduction and notes is in ANF, vi. 161–164. The Acts of his Martyrdom are in ASB, Feb., i. 459 sqq. (with commentary); R. Knopff, Ausgewählte Märtyrakten, pp. 102 sqq., Freiburg, 1901; F. Combefis, Illustrium Christi martyrum lecti triumphi, pp. 145 sqq., Paris, 1660 (the Greek text). The older literature is given in ANF, Bibliography, p. 71. Consult: Jerome, De vir. ill., lxxviii.; N. Lardner, Credibility of Gospel History, in Works, iii. 234–237, London, 1838; J. M. Neale, Hist. of the Holy Eastern Church, i. 97, 99–101, London, 1847; E. le Blaut, Les Persécuteurs et les martyrs aux premiere siècles, pp. 226–227, Paris, 1893; Harnack, Litteratur, i. 441–442, ii. 2, pp. 69–72, 74, 83; C. Schmidt, in TU, v. 4b (1901); O. Bardenhewer, Geschichte der altkirchlichen Litteratur, ii. 211–212, Freiburg, 1903; Krüger, History, p. 219; DCB, iv. 353; KL, ix. 1998.

« Philaster Phileas Philemon, Epistle to »
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