A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

2. EPHRAIMIUS (Ἐφραίμιος), or, as Theophanes writes the name, EUPHRAIMIUS (Εὐφραΐμιος), patriarch of ANTIOCH, or, as it was then called, Theopolis. If the designation given him by Theophanes (ὁ Ἀμίδιος) indicates the place of his birth, he was a native of Amida in Armenia, near the source of the Tigris. His first employment were civil : and in the reign of the emperor Justin I. he attained to the high dignity of Count of the East. While in this office he received, according to a curious story, recorded in the Λειμωνάριος, or Pratum Spirituale, written by Joannes Moschus, but erroneously ascribed, by ancient as well as modern writers, to Sophronius patriarch of Jerusalem, an intimation of the ecclesiastical dignity to which he was destined to attain. In the years 525 and 526, Antioch was nearly destroyed by successive shocks of an earthquake, and by a fire which had been occasioned by the overthrow of the buildings. Among the suf ferers was Euphrasius the patriarch, who was buried in the ruins of the falling edifices; and the people, grateful for the compassionate care which Ephraimius manifested for them in their distress, chose him successor to the deceased prelate. His elevation to the patriarchate is generally placed in the year 526, but perhaps did not take place till the year following. His conduct as patriarch is highly eulogized by ecclesiastical writers, who speak especially of his charity to the poor, and of the zeal and firmness with which he opposed heresy. His zeal against heretics was manifested in a curious encounter with an heretical stylite, or pillar-saint, in which the heretic is said to have been converted by the miraculous passing of the patriarch's robes, unconsumed, through the ordeal of fire. He condemned, in a synod at Autioch, those who attempted to revive the obnoxious sentiments of Origen; and wrote various treatises against the Nestorians, Eutychians, Severians, and Acephali, and in defence of the Council of Chalcedon. But, toward the close of his life, he was obliged by the Emperor Justinian, under a threat of deposition, to subscribe the condemnation of three of the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon, which he had hitherto so earnestly supported. Facundus of Hermia, the strenuous advocate of the condemned

decrees, reproaches Ephraimius on this occasion, and with justice, as more solicitous for the preservation of his office than for the interests of what e deemed divine and important truth. Ephraimius died soon after this transaction, A. D. 546, or perhaps 545, after a patriarchate, according to Theophanes, of eighteen years, or, according to other calculations, of twenty years.

The works of Ephraimius are known to us only by the account of them preserved in the Bibliotheca of Photius, who says that three volumes written in defence of the dogmas of the Church, and especially of the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon, had come down to his day : but he gives an account only of two. The first comprehended, 1. An epistle to Zenobius, a scholasticus or advocate of Emesa, and one of the sect of the Acephali ; 2. Some epistles to the emperor Justinian ; 3. Epistles to Anthimus, bishop of Trapezus, Dometianus Syncleticus, metropolitan of Tarsus, Brazes the Persian, and others ; 4. An act of a synod (συνοδικὴ πρᾶξις) held by Ephraimius respecting certain unorthodox books; and, 5, Panegyrical and other discourses. The second volume contained a treatise in four books, in which were defences of Cyril of Alexandria and the synod of Chalcedon against the Nestorians and Eutychians; and answers to some theological questions of his correspondent the advocate Anatolius. (Phot. Bibl. Codd. 228, 229; Facundus, 4.4; Evagrius, Eccles. Hist. 4.5, 6 ; Joannes Moschus (commonly cited as Sophronius) Pratum Spirituale, 100.36, 37 in Biblioth. Patrum, vol. xiii. ed. Paris, 1654; Theophanes, Chronograph. ad Ann. 519 (Alex. Era=526 Common Era) and table ad Ann. 537, 538; Baronius, Annales ; Cave, Hist. Liter. vol. i. p 507, ed. 1740-3; Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. x. p 750.)