medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Meletius of Antioch (d. 381). The very wealthy but personally ascetic Meletius, a native of Melitene (the predecessor of today's Malatya in Turkey) and a moderate adherent of Nicene Christianity, was elected bishop of Sebaste (today's Sivas in Turkey) in 358 in place of an Arian who had been deposed. The city's Arian clergy quickly compelled him to withdraw. In 360, after the Arian bishop of Antioch had been translated to Constantinople, Meletius was elected in his stead in the hope that he would be able to unify that see's deeply divided church. Though his opponents managed to have him exiled three times, regime changes in Constantinople allowed him to return in 362, in 367, and, after the death of the vigorously anti-Nicene emperor Valens, late in 378. During his third exile Meletius was supported by St. Basil of Caesarea.
Valens' successor Gratian established Nicene orthodoxy as the officially approved form of Christianity for the empire. In 379 Meletius' past acceptance of Nicene Christology had been so impugned by an important faction in Antioch of strict adherents of that council's formula that he was not recognized either by Rome or by Alexandria. In response he called a council at Antioch that issued a profession of faith intended to establish his orthodoxy. Meletius consecrated St. Gregory of Nazianzus as bishop of Constantinople and in 381 he presided, until prevented either by his last illness or by death, at the First Council of Constantinople (also known as the Second Ecumenical Council).
At Constantinople St. Gregory of Nyssa delivered Meletius' funeral oration (BHG 1243, 1243b); an English-language translation of that will be found at <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2909.htm>. Meletius' body was then returned to Antioch, where it was laid to rest next to that of St. Babylas. Some six years later St. John Chrysostom, whom Meletius had baptized and later had ordained lector and then deacon, pronounced a eulogy for him (BHG 1244). Today is his feast in the Synaxary of Constantinople and in its modern descendants in Orthodox and other eastern-rite churches. Absent from the medieval martyrologies of the Latin West, Meletius entered the Roman Martyrology in the later sixteenth century in its preliminary form under Pietro Galesino (Baronio's predecessor as editor).
Some medieval images of Meletius of Antioch:
Meletius of Antioch (almost certainly; at center between Sts. John the Almsgiver and Epiphanius of Cyprus) as depicted in the late thirteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1295) by Eutychios and Michael Astrapas in the church of the Peribleptos (now Sv. Kliment Ohridski) in Ohrid:
Meletius of Antioch (at center betw. Sts. Nicephorus of Constantinople and Hierotheus of Athens) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1313 and 1318; conservation work in 1968) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of St. George in Staro Nagoričane in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:
Meletius of Antioch (almost certainly; at right; at left, St. Clement of Rome) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. ca. 1312 and 1321/1322) in the chapel of the Theotokos in the monastery church of dedicated to her at Gračanica in, depending on one's view of the matter, either Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo:
Detail view (Meletius of Antioch):
Meletius of Antioch (at far right, after the emperor Theodosius I and pope St. Damasus I [who was not present]) participating in the Second Ecumenical Council as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1335 and 1350) in the narthex of the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:
(matter from an older post revised)
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