Zachariah of Mitylene, Syriac Chronicle (1899). Book 6.
THE sixth Book taken from the work of Zachariah, containing seven chapters.
The first tells about the Separatists from the communion of Peter, because he received the Henotikon.
The second tells of Cosmas the Spatharius who was sent by Zeno ; and the transactions which took place in Alexandria with the seceding monks.
In the third there is an account of Peter and Isaiah the monk.
In the fourth we are told about Arsenius the prefect, who was sent to Alexandria; and how he acted towards the Separatists.
Then the fifth tells of the letter of Fravitta, who was bishop in Constantinople, to Peter.
The sixth contains a record of the letter of Peter to Fravitta.
The seventh gives information respecting the chief priests who were in the days of Zeno ; and also concerning the length of Zeno's life. |133
THE FIRST CHAPTER OF THIS SIXTH BOOK TELLS ABOUT THOSE WHO SECEDED FROM THE COMMUNION OF PETER, BECAUSE THERE WAS NO EXPRESS ANATHEMA OF THE SYNOD OF CHALCEDON AND THE TOME OF LEO, EITHER IN THE HENOTIKON OR IN THE LETTERS OF THE CHIEF PRIESTS TO HIM
Matters having been thus arranged by the king's Henotikon, and three or four of the chief priests, namely, the bishops of Ephesus, and of Jerusalem, and of Alexandria, and of Antioch, together with the bishops in their jurisdictions, being united and agreed together according to the purport of this Henotikon of Zeno, and having received and subscribed to it; then Julian and John, presbyters of Alexandria, and Helladius and Serapion, deacons, venerable men belonging to the Church there, and Theodore the bishop of Antinoe, and John and another Egyptian, and Andrew the great archimandrite, and Paul the Sophist, and other illustrious monks, seceded from the communion of Peter of Alexandria. But they took this course because there was no clear and decided anathema of the Synod and the Tome, either in the Henotikon or in the letters of the chief priests to Peter. And gradually the number of these Separatists was increased, and they received a considerable accession to their numbers in the monastery. And Acacius of the royal city, having heard it, wrote to urge them to be reunited.
But Peter in his public address, and the other apologies which he made before the people, continued to revile the Synod. And, at length, Acacius heard this also, and he sent his presbyter to inquire into the freedom and the faith of Peter. And there ensued an investigation before the judge of the |134 city on this point, that the Synod had not been expressly anathematised by Peter, and the report of this reached the ears of many and proved a stumbling-block to them. And many demands were made of him by the seceding archimandrite and bishop. Then Peter the Iberian, the bishop of Gaza, who was sojourning there, and Elijah the monk, sur-named the potter, were appointed to consider and examine into these matters. And having examined into them, together with the council of the monks, they selected four of Peter's discourses concerning the faith, and they said to him, "If thou dost agree to these, sign them"; and he signed them. Whereupon several of them entered into communion with him, because he thereby anathematised the Synod and the Tome, when he delivered those discourses in the ears of the people. However, the others remained unwilling to hold communion with Peter. And the latter, seeing this, took away the monastery of Bishop Theodore, and thrust out that wonderful man, who had opened the eyes of a blind man by the aspersion of water from the baptismal font. Upon which there arose a great agitation among the monks, and they sent Nephalius, who was one of those that had been ejected by Peter, and was also a disturber of the people, to Zeno the king.
THE SECOND CHAPTER OF THIS SIXTH BOOK TELLS ABOUT NEPHALIUS, WHO WENT UP TO THE KING, AND MADE A COMPLAINT AGAINST PETER ; AND HOW COSMAS THE SPATHARIUS WAS SENT (TO ALEXANDRIA), AND WHAT WAS DONE UPON HIS ENTRY THERE
Nephalius,1 a monk,2 and by his disposition and habits a disturber of the people, made preparations and went up to Zeno the king, bringing with him a letter from his fellow |135 Separatists ; in which they testified against Peter that he had plundered them, and ejected them, and taken away their monasteries.
And the king, when he heard it, was very angry with Peter, and sent Cosmas his Spatharius with a letter containing threats against Peter, and declaring that his Majesty had been so indulgent as to appoint him the bishop of Alexandria, with the object of uniting the people together, and not keeping them divided into two parts.
And Cosmas having arrived, in company with Nephalius, and the letter having been delivered to Peter: then the monks assembled at the Martyr Church of St. Euphemia, to the number of about thirty thousand, and ten bishops with them. But a message was sent to them, that they should not enter the city lest the people should be excited, and a tumult should ensue. However, Theodore the bishop, and John, and Julian and John the presbyters, and Palladius3 and Serapion the deacons, and Andrew the Great, and Paul the Sophist, with about two hundred archimandrites, were selected as representatives ; and they entered the great church to have an interview with Peter. Then they had a long conversation with Cosmas the Spatharius and the prefect of the city. And the king's letter was read aloud.
Then Peter delivered an apologetic address to them, anathematising, in their ears, the Synod and the Tome. And he further wrote in his own hand to the following effect: "I, Peter, the bishop of Alexandria, do now, as I have often before, anathematise all that was said and devised in Chalcedon against the true faith of the holy fathers, the three hundred and eighteen bishops; and also the Tome of Leo. And I confess that these are my own works, and that anyone not agreeing with them, whether bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, or monk, or layman, is an alien. And if I (or any other person) shall ever write in agreement with the transactions of the Synod and the contents of the Tome, I shall become thereby a castaway from the Holy Trinity." |136
However, the monks would not accept this confession, for they said that Peter associated in communion with the chief priests, who had uttered no express anathema against the Synod and the Tome, as he had done.
And Peter replied, "My reason for holding communion with them is that they have accepted the king's Henotikon, which cancels all additions, and the transactions of every place, except the three holy Synods, I mean those of Nicea, Ephesus, and Constantinople. And in my public address I explained the Henotikon, and showed you how it nullified the Synod of Chalcedon, by accepting the twelve Heads of the blessed Cyril, and by anathematising Nestorius, and Eutyches, and every other who would assert the duality of the Natures in Christ, and would ascribe the miracles to one and the sufferings to the other, and would divide the Persons in properties and in operations.
But after all this discussion, even then only a few of the monks consorted with Peter. And the others presented a libel against him to Cosmas. And they took their monasteries and dwelt in them, assembling by themselves. But they endeavoured to appoint a bishop instead of Peter. However, Theodore the bishop, being an orderly man, restrained them, saying, "It is not fitting treatment for one who believes as we do, and anathematises the Synod and the Tome (even though he may hold communion with those that have received and signed the Henotikon), lest we be blamed for rejecting him, and be accounted as disorderly persons." But they say that Theodore took this course because he was one of the bishops who laid hands upon Peter.
The people, however, since they received Peter without dispute when he anathematised the Synod, were greatly incensed against the monks. But they were restrained by the chiefs and by Peter, so that there was no public tumult. |137
THE THIRD CHAPTER TELLS HOW COSMAS, WHEN RETURNING TO THE KING, PASSED THROUGH TO PALESTINE, IN ORDER TO TAKE WITH HIM PETER THE IBERIAN AND ISAIAH THE MONK, ACCORDING TO THE KING'S ORDERS
But Cosmas on his return passed through Palestine, and sought for Peter the Illustrious and Isaiah the able monk. However, he could not find Peter, because the latter had previous intimation of his coming, and had departed from before him.
But Isaiah prayed to God that a sickness might overtake him ; lest, if he were to go up to the royal city, he might show himself a flatterer of the rich men there. And so it befell him.
And when Cosmas reached him and gave him the king's letter, he showed him his sickness and infirmity, saying, "As I am a sick man, I cannot possibly endure to embark upon the sea, lest I die at once. And then I could not appear before the king; and you would be censured both by God and the king if you were to carry a corpse round the world." And in this way he succeeded in escaping. And shortly afterwards he recovered. And he persevered in the exercise of his habits, and of his conflicts all the days of his life. This man was indeed a seer, a sharer (as we may say) in the name and in the actions of the prophet Isaiah. |138
THE FOURTH CHAPTER TELLS HOW ARSENIUS WAS SENT AS PREFECT TO ALEXANDRIA BY THE KING, WHEN THE LATTER LEARNED THE STATE OF AFFAIRS FROM COSMAS RESPECTING THE SEPARATIST MONKS AND THE ORDERS THEN GIVEN BY THE PREFECT
When Cosmas 4 the Spatharius returned to the king, and presented a written communication informing him of the affairs in Alexandria, and about the Separatist monks, and their leaders, and the bishops; then he sent Arsenius there as prefect, and also gave him authority over the Romans. And he ordered that Theodore and John the bishops, and Agathon, and Julian, and John the presbyters, and Helladius and Serapion the deacons, and Paul and Andrew the archimandrites, and all the others should be called to unity, according to the terms of the faith laid down in the Henotikon, once or twice, by Peter the bishop of Alexandria ; and that, in the event of their refusing to join in communion with him, they should be ejected from their monasteries.
And upon the arrival of Arsenius, this Nephalius, the disturber of the people, again attached himself to him. Then he brought together the bishops and the presbyters and the archimandrites; and he showed them the king's command, which he read aloud in their hearing. And Peter also readily repeated to them his explanation and anathema, at the same time entreating them to join in communion with himself. However, they would neither accept nor be satisfied with this. But Theodore the bishop said to him, "If you make a written statement abjuring the communion of the other chief priests and sign it, then we will enter into communion with you." And Peter, in reply, made the same defence as before, saying, "It is right for me to associate with those who receive the Henotikon, which teaches the true faith." |139
Whereupon these men were compelled by Arsenius to go to the king, and personally to lay their petitions and wishes before him; so that then his command might be fully carried out. And they all went, with the exception of Theodore, who withdrew himself. And when they appeared before the king, he was astonished both at their chastity and at their reasoning with him about everything which was displeasing to them in his transactions.
But while they were there, Acacius 5 the bishop of Constantinople died. And Fravitta was appointed as his successor; a gentle and believing man, who wrote a letter, after the canonical manner, and sent it by some clergy, to Peter of Alexandria. And Peter received it gladly; and he also wrote a reply, in which he expressly anathematised the Synod and the Tome of Leo. And while this was on its way, Fravitta died. And Euphemius, a man of Apamea, who was educated at Alexandria, was appointed as his successor. However, he was tainted with the Nestorian heresy.
And when he received the letter he was very indignant. And he was even angry with Longinus the presbyter and Andrew the deacon, the clergy who conveyed this letter; and he brought an accusation against them. But they deprecated his accusation by showing the zeal of the people of Alexandria. And Euphemius severed himself from Peter's communion ; and he sought to bring about the deprivation of Peter, intending for that purpose to convene a separate Synod. But Archelaus the bishop of Caesarea, a man of wonderful learning, restrained him, saying, "It is not possible for the great bishop of Alexandria to be accused and ejected by a Synod of one province; only a General Council could do that." But when Peter heard it, he also uttered threats against Euphemius; that, just as the blessed Cyril had sent Nestorius to Oasis, so he would in like manner eject Euphemius from his see. However, Peter also departed this life. But his letter was seen in Constantinople, and it convinced many that he was a believer. And John and Julian the Alexandrians, and the rest of their associates who happened to be there, the Separatists, on seeing |140 his letter to Fravitta, changed their minds; and they were ready on their return to Alexandria to join in communion with him. But while they were returning, he died. And his successor 6 was Athanasius, an eloquent, believing, and peace-loving man. He, desiring and exerting himself to bring the Separatist monks into communion with the Church, in the course of his address to the people mentioned the names of Dioscorus and Timothy, but he purposely omitted to mention the name of Peter in order to try them. Whereupon they became greatly excited (and they would not be quiet) until he named Peter also in his discourse.
THE FIFTH CHAPTER OF THIS BOOK GIVES THE LETTER OF FRAVITTA OF CONSTANTINOPLE TO PETER OF ALEXANDRIA, IN THE FOLLOWING TERMS
"To our holy father, and God-loving fellow - minister, Peter, from Fravitta, who sends greetings in the Lord. When I weigh mine own natural weakness, and I wonder at the merciful acts of God towards me, I truly perceive that it is absolutely (?) that 'He raises up the poor from the dunghill to set him with the princes of the people.' And it is well known that this mercy of God is not the consequence of any meritorious deeds on man's part; but that it results from the divine grace which arises, time after time, upon the sons of the Church, through the love of the Father. So that it is not the wise, nor the disputers, nor the eloquent of this world whom grace raises up as leaders by the election.
"Now, before the Law, Abel, though not learned, was acceptable to God; as were also the righteous fathers who came after him. But under the Law, grace marked out shepherds and herdsmen, and gatherers of sycamore fruit,7 and raised them up as prophets. And after the Law, the same |141 grace appointed fishermen, and a tent-maker, to be the preachers of the living word from heaven. That thus the power of God might be truly known to be made manifest and perfect in the weak. And such are the mysteries of Christians who hold fast the Incarnation of Christ; according to His own word in the Gospel, 'I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father, for such is Thine own will.'8
"For Jesus Christ our God is the foundation and the corner-stone of the Holy Church. And therefore these blessings, which we have received, are not a strange display of His mercy. But we hope that from them we shall understand His equal mercy towards other men ; and we shall show ourselves gentle and kind to our brethren in the flesh and in the faith, and to the priests who are our fellow-ministers and Christ-loving brothers. Thus we shall endeavour to rule the Holy Church everywhere in the same right faith, and in perfect love. And by the events which are taking place (the Lord helping us) we shall show the rational flock which has been intrusted to our care in all places to be one; that of the Great Shepherd, Who has appointed us to be the leaders of His flock. And we shall drive out those grievous wolves, the accursed heresies, more especially of Nestorius and Eutyches, by preaching and holding the faith of the holy fathers, who maintained the truth and preserved the order of the Church, and in our day teaching the right faith to the people and to mankind, as well as they.
"But, using brotherly love and concord in my salutation, I now present to thy Holiness the pledge of my affection, by the hands of Longinus the presbyter and Andrew the deacon. And to complete what is right, I send my greetings to all the pastors, and the honourable priests, and the chaste monks, and the believing people of thy jurisdiction. We, |142 moreover, entreat thy Holiness to pray along with us, that we may show ourselves wise men and rulers in all matters, like Solomon, and like Paul and Peter and the rest of the apostles, in preaching the truth to the sons of the Church; and that in everything about which you refer to us, we may be able, to the best of our ability, to render fitting aid to the other Churches; and also in those matters taking place in the Christ-loving city, through the enactment of the Christ-loving and indulgent king, who is watchful and studious and desirous to bring about the peace of the Churches, and the concord of the priests, and the unity of the people.
"I and the brethren with me send our best respects to thy Chastity, and to the brethren with thee."
THE SIXTH CHAPTER OF THIS SIXTH BOOK TELLS ABOUT THE LETTER OF PETER THE BISHOP OF ALEXANDRIA, WHICH HE WROTE IN REPLY TO FRAVITTA OF CONSTANTINOPLE, IN THE FOLLOWING TERMS
"To my pious and God-loving brother and fellow-minister, my lord Fravitta, from Peter, who sends greetings in the Lord.
"In consequence of the election of thine Eminence, it is time now for us to say, 'Ye heavens above be glad, and let the earth with her fulness rejoice, and let her sing with joy,' according to the word of the prophet.9
"For also, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the one only-begotten Son of God the Father, has not redeemed us with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but He rather laid down His life for us, as a lamb without blemish; and He offered a sacrifice of sweet savour to God His Father; and |143 gave His body as a substitute for the life of the whole human race. He Who is honoured by all creation, and is equal to the Father, God the Word, became incarnate; yet He suffered thereby no variation nor change; but He as man remains the same, and He is in truth alive for ever, the Word of His Father, and of the same nature. Come then, as with one tongue and one believing, Christ-loving mind, let us offer to Him thanksgiving, and say with the blessed Baruch, This is our God, there is none other beside Him. He found out the whole way of wisdom, and gave it to Jacob His servant, and to Israel His beloved. And afterwards, He appeared upon the earth, and had converse with men.'1 For there was not indeed One the Son of God, Who existed before the times and ages, through Whom all things were made; and another who, in the last time, was born in the flesh from the Theotokos; according to the notion of Nestorius. But rather He, being the10 same, took the seed of Abraham, according to the word of the blessed Paul;11 and also He was partaker of our flesh and blood, and was made like us in all points, sin only excepted. For neither do we say that the body of our Lord Jesus Christ is from heaven, as Eutyches in his folly affirms; nor that He became incarnate in semblance or imagination; on the contrary, we anathematise all such teachers. But we confess one only-begotten Son of God the Father, Who is our Lord Jesus Christ. And we know that He, God the Word of the Father, Who became incarnate for our redemption, in His divine nature took the likeness of a servant, by the dispensation.
"This is the faith of the Church of Alexandria, by which we are all adorned, both we, and the God-fearing bishops and clergy, and the monks, and all the people of God. And the congregation of the people grows and multiplies exceedingly in the Churches, while we are obedient to the apostle, who says, "If any man shall preach to you any other gospel than what we have preached, let him be accursed.'12
"But the cause of all these blessings so dear and acceptable to us, was the election of thy Piety's Eminence, which |144 has been mentioned above ; and also the goodwill of the believing and Christ-loving King Zeno, who consented to thine election. And he also, for the sake of the unity of the people, and that we might be established in power and in the truth, by what he wrote so faithfully in the Henotikon, anathematised all the rash thoughts and words of Chalcedon and the Tome of Leo.
"And we consent to this same document; and we preach it, by word of mouth and by writing, to the believing nations; as also our ever-memorable and holy brother and fellow-minister Acacius was seen to hold and teach until his death, when the Alexandrians testified to us his true faith, as thy Holiness is also persuaded. For it is right for the Christ-loving king, not only to subdue enemies, and to set the Barbarian races beneath his feet; but also to expose the snares of these intellectual enemies, and to cause the true faith to shine upon the believing people. For thy Holiness has risen up and bloomed forth for us like the plant of peace. And this is the gift of the believing king to us, by the will of God, Who chose him before, as we have already said. And, therefore, we are delighted at this, that such a good priest should arise and appear for the believing nations. May God keep him, and may He adorn him with the heavenly crown by His own rich Hand, as we hope and pray that he may be found walking in the whole way of the truth, in the footsteps of the holy fathers, a believing chosen priest, by the mercy of our Saviour Christ, through Whom, to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, be glory for evermore!
"But we welcomed affectionately the bearers of the letter of thy Righteousness the excellent Longinus the presbyter and Andrew the deacon; and we now send them back in peace to thy Holiness."
But Athanasius 13 also wrote in the same strain, two years afterwards, to Palladius, who was Peter's successor in Antioch, expressly anathematising the Synod, and quoting freely from the Henotikon.14 |145
And John 15 was appointed as the successor of Athanasius; and when anyone would ask him to give an anathema of the Synod and the Tome in writing, he would give it cheerfully and without fear. Now Flavian, who was the successor of Palladius in Antioch, sent Solomon, a presbyter of his Church, to this John of Alexandria. And Solomon asked John for a letter to Flavian, concerning the concord in the faith. But John would not consent to do this for him, until he should receive from him a sworn statement that he would send him a letter from Flavian in which there would be an anathema of the Synod and the Tome. And John, his namesake and successor, was believing and acting in like manner. . Now after Zeno had reigned seventeen years, and matters had been thus carried on in the Church; and also the tyrants Basiliscus and Marcus had risen up against him, and been driven out, as we have related above; and again, Illus and Leontius and Euprepius had rebelled against him and been slain in the East; and again, in his days, one Theodoric a tyrant had taken captives from Thrace and many other places, and had gone to Rome and subdued it, because Odoacer the Anti-Caesar there fled before him to Ravenna a city of Italy; Zeno died in the year eight hundred and two, according to the Greek mode of reckoning.
And Anastasius, his successor, received the kingdom on the fourth day of the Great Week; when Euphemius was the bishop of Constantinople; and Flavian of Antioch; and Athanasius of Alexandria; and Sallustius, the successor of Martyrius, of Jerusalem ; and Felix, the successor of Simplicius, of Rome.
THE SEVENTH CHAPTER TELLS WHO WERE THE CHIEF PRIESTS IN THE DAYS OF ZENO
But the following were the chief priests in the days of Zeno. In Rome, after Hilarus, Simplicius, the author of the |146 letter to Zeno respecting John the liar, who was ejected from Alexandria; and after him Felix, who was still living when Anastasius became the emperor.
In Alexandria, Timothy the Great, who was recalled from banishment; and Timothy Salophiaciolus; and John, who was forthwith ejected; and Peter; and his successor, Athanasius.
In Jerusalem, Anastasius; and Martyrius; and Sallustius.
In Antioch, Martyrius, who was ejected ; and Julian ; and Stephen; and the other Stephen ; and Peter the Believer; and Calandion, who was ejected; and Palladius ; and Flavian, his successor, who was ejected in the days of Anastasius.
In Constantinople, after Gennadius, Acacius ; and Fravitta, his successor; and Euphemius, his successor, who was ejected in the days of Anastasius.
But in this sixth Book and in the fifth Book preceding it, which have been translated concisely and briefly (so to speak) in contracted style, for the information of the Syriac reader, from the Greek History of Zachariah the Rhetorician; which he wrote thus far, in protracted style, after the manner of Greek amplification; there is a period of seventeen years, comprising only the life of the Emperor Zeno.
[Note to the online edition: footnotes have been moved to the end. Footnotes concerned only with bits of Syriac and Greek have been omitted because of the time it would take to transcribe it.]
1. 1 Evag. iii. 22.
2. 2 A similar account of him is given in das Leben des Severus (ed. Spanuth), pp. 26 and 27.
3. 3 ... we should probably read ... Helladius.
4. 1 Evag. iii. 22.
5. 1 Evag. iii. 23.
6. 1 Evag. iii. 23. - Ps. cxiii. 7, 8.
7. 4 Amos vii. 14 (Syriac).
8. 1 Luke x. 21.
9. 2 It seems to be a free quotation from Isa. xliv. 23 or xlix. 13.
10. 1 Bar, iii. 35-37.
11. 2 Heb. ii. 16.
12. 3 Gal. i. 8 and 9.
13. 1 Evag. iii. 23.
14. 2 Or using more freedom of speech than the Henotikon.
15. 1 Liberat. 18.
This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2002. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press SPIonic font, free from here.
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