« Felix (212) Firmilianus (1), bp. of Caesarea Flavianus (4) I., bp. of Antioch »

Firmilianus (1), bp. of Caesarea

Firmilianus (1), St., bp. of Caesarea in Cappadocia, one of the greatest prelates of his time. In 232 he already occupied his see (Eus. vi. 26, 27), though Cave (Hist. i. p. 123) speaks of 233 as the year of his elevation. When Origen soon after left Egypt, Firmilian induced him to visit Cappadocia; subsequently he paid Origen long visits in Judaea to advance his own knowledge of theology (Eus. l.c.). He urged Dionysius of Alexandria to attend the council of Antioch, held to repudiate Novatianism (ib. vi. 46; cf. Routh, R. S. iii. 51).

In 256 he is addressed by Cyprian in a letter now lost as to the Asiatic practice of rebaptizing those baptized by heretics. In his long reply (Cyp. Ep. 75) Firmilian describes it as impossible to add much to the strength of Cyprian's arguments. He is clear as to the antiquity of the practice in Asia, which he regards as ratified by the action of the council of Iconium in the case of the Montanists. He speaks of several meetings of the Cappadocian bishops, one immediately before his writing. Baronius, Labbe, and other Roman writers have been anxious to prove that the baptismal dispute originated with Firmilian and the East, but the attempt is against the whole tenor of Cyprianic correspondence as well as the express statement of Eusebius (vii. 3). To Firmilian the see of Jerusalem appears to be the central see, so far as such an idea arises. He presided at Antioch, a.d. 266, in the first synod held to try Paul of Samosata, and visited Antioch twice on this business (Concil. Antioch. contr. Paul. Samos. in Routh, R. S. iii. 304; Eus. vii. 30). Imposed upon by Paul's promises, he procured the postponement of a decision against him. But when it was necessary to convene another synod in 272, Firmilian, who was to have again presided, died on his journey, at Tarsus. To his contemporaries his 40 years of influential episcopate, his friendship with Origen and Dionysius, the appeal to him of Cyprian, and his censure of Stephanus might well make him seem the most conspicuous figure of his time.

Routh (vol. iii. p. 149) points to him as one of the oldest authorities who states with precision the anti-Pelagian doctrine. Basil (de Spiritu Sancto, xxix.) speaks of his discourses as early testimonies to the exactness of his own doctrine, and quotes his agreement with Cyprian on baptism in the epistle to Amphilochius (Ep. 188).


« Felix (212) Firmilianus (1), bp. of Caesarea Flavianus (4) I., bp. of Antioch »
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