« Pul Pulcheria Pulleyn, Robert »


PULCHERIA: Eastern empress, daughter of Arcadius and elder sister of Theodosius II.; b. 399; d. Sept. 10, 453. Notwithstanding her youth, in 414 the senate made her Augusta and guardian of her weak-minded brother. As empress she lived like a nun and transformed the palace into a convent, but for a decade her rule was absolute. After the marriage of Theodosius with Athenais, daughter of Leontius, a philosopher of Athens (the bride embracing Christianity and receiving with baptism the name of Eudocia), jealous quarrels broke out between the two sisters-in-law, although Pulcheria had herself chosen her brother's wife. In the Nestorian controversy (see Nestorius) Eudocia sided with Nestorius, Pulcheria plotted with Cyril and by her influence over the emperor secured the patriarch's downfall; her course was doubtless embittered by a charge which Nestorius had made against her chastity. The schism which had split the Church of Constantinople for thirty years Pulcheria terminated by bringing the bones of Chrysostom to the capital and giving them solemn burial in the Church of the Apostles (Jan. 27, 438). The relics of the forty martyrs of Sebaste, of Zacharias, and of St. Stephen were treated in like manner. In 446 Pulcheria was banished from the court, but four years later she regained her influence, Eudocia having been banished in the mean time and taken up her residence in Jerusalem, where she died in 461. After the death of Theodosius (450), Pulcheria consented to a nominal marriage with the aged senator and general, Marcian, who was elevated to the imperial dignity. She attended the sixth session of the Council of Chalcedon (Oct. 25, 451) and contributed to the condemnation of both Eutychianism and Nestorianism. The Greek Church reverences Pulcheria as one of its greatest saints.

(O. Zöckler†.)

Bibliography: F. Gregorovius, Athenais, Geschichte einer byzantinischen Kaiserin, pp. 60 sqq., Leipsic, 1881; A. Güldenpenning, Geschichte des öströmischen Reichs unter Arkadius . . . , ii. 217 sqq., 243 sqq., 291 sqq., 317 sqq., 373 sqq., Halle, 1885 (the best modern presentation); Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, vol. ii., passim, Eng. transl..vol. iii. passim, Fr. transl., vol. ii. passim; ASB, Sept., iii. 503–540, iv. 778–782; DCB, iv. 520–521.

« Pul Pulcheria Pulleyn, Robert »
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