Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

of the audience were anticipated, or confirmed, by the testi. mony of their own conscience; and the intrepid preacher assumed the dangerous right of exposing both the offence and the offender to the public abhorrence. The secret resentment of the court encouraged the discontent of the clergy and monks of Constantinople, who were too hastily reformed by the fervent zeal of their archbishop. He had condemned, from the pulpit, the domestic females of the clergy of Constantinople, who, under the name of servants, or sisters, af. forded a perpetual occasion either of sin or of scandal. The silent and solitary ascetics, who had secluded themselves from the world, were entitled to the warmest approbation of Chrysostom; but he despised and stigmatized, as the disgrace of their holy profession, the crowd of degenerate monks, who, from some unworthy motives of pleasure or profit, so frequently infested the streets of the capital. To the voice of persuasion, the archbishop was obliged to add the terrors of authority; and his ardor, in the exercise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, was not always exempt from passion; nor was it always guided by prudence. Chrysostom was naturally of a choleric disposition.” Although he struggled, according to the precepts of the gospel, to love his private enemies, he indulged himself in the privilege of hating the enemies of God and of the church; and his sentiments were sometimes delivered with too much energy of countenance and expression. He still maintained, from some considerations of health or abstinence, his former habits of taking his repasts alone; and this inhospitable custom,” which his enemies imputed to pride, contributed, at least, to nourish the infirmity of a morose and unsocial humor. Separated from that familiar intercourse, which facilitates the knowledge and the despatch of business, he reposed an unsuspecting confidence in his deacon Serapion; and seldom applied his speculative knowledge of human nature to the particular characters, either of his dependents, or of his equals. Conscious of the purity of his intentions, and perhaps of the superiority of his genius, the archbishop of Constantinople extended the jurisdiction of the Imperial city, that he might enlarge the sphere of his pastoral labors; and the conduct which the profane imputed to an ambitious motive, appeared to Chrysostom himself in the light of a sacred and indispensable duty. In his visitation through the Asiatic provinces, he deposed thirteen bishops of Lydia and Phrygia; and indiscreetly declared that a deep corruption of simony and licentiousness had infected the whole episcopal order.” If those bishops were innocent, such a rash and unjust condemnation must excite a well-grounded discontent. If they were guilty, the numerous associates of their guilt would soon discover that their own safety depended on the ruin of the archbishop; whom they studied to represent as the tyrant of the Eastern church. This ecclesiastical conspiracy was managed by Theophilus," archbishop of Alexandria, an active and ambitious prelate, who displayed the fruits of rapine in monuments of ostentation. His national dislike to the rising greatness of a city, which degraded him from the second to the third rank in the Christian world, was exasperated by some personal disputes with Chrysostom himself.” By the private invitation of the empress, Theophilus landed at Constantinople with a stout body of Egyptian mariners, to encounter the populace; and a train of dependent bishops, to secure by their voices, the majority of a synod. The synod * was convened in the suburb of Chalcedon, surnamed the Oak, where Rufinus had erected a stately church and monastery; and their proceedings were continued during fourteen days or sessions. A bishop and a deacon accused the archbishop of Constantinople; but the frivolous or improbable nature of the forty-seven articles which they presented against him, may justly be considered as a fair and unexceptionable panegyric. Four successive summons were signified to Chrysostom ; but he still refused to trust either his person or his reputation in the hands of his implacable enemies, who, prudently declining the examination of any particular charges, condemned his contumacious disobedience, and hastily pronounced a sentence of deposition. The synod of the Oak immediately addressed the emperor to ratify and execute their judgment, and charitably insinuated, that the penalties of treason might be inflicted on the audacious preacher, who had reviled, under the name of Jezebel, the empress Eudoxia herself. The archbishop was rudely ar. rested, and conducted through the city, by one of the Imperial messengers, who landed him, after a short navigation, near the entrance of the Euxine; from whence, before the expiration of two days, he was gloriously recalled. The first astonishment of his faithful people had been mute and passive : they suddenly rose with unanimous and irresistible fury. Theophilus escaped, but the promiscuous crowd of monks and Egyptian mariners was slaughtered without pity in the streets of Constantinople.” A seasonable earthquake justified the interposition of Heaven; the torrent of sedition rolled forwards to the gates of the palace; and the empress, agitated by fear or remorse, threw herself at the feet of Arcadius, and confessed that the public safety could be purchased only by the restoration of Chrysoston. The Bosphorus was covered with innumerable vecsels; the shores of Europe and Asia were profusely illuminated; and the acclamations of a victorious people accompanied, from the port to the cathedral, the triumph of the archbishop; who, too easily, consented to resume the exercise of his functions, before his sentence had been legally reversed by the authority of an ecclesiastical synod. Ignorant, or caréless, of the impending danger, Chrysostom indulged his zeal, or perhaps his resentment; declaimed with peculiar asperity against female vices; and condemned the profane honors which were addressed, almost in the precincts of St. Sophia, to the statue of the empress. . His imprudence tempted his enemies to inflame the haughty, spirit of Eudoxia, by reporting, or perhaps inventing, the famous exordium of a sermon, “Herodias is again furious; Herodias again dances ; 50 Palladius owns (p. 30) that if the people of Constantinople had found Theophilus, they would certainly llave thrown him into the sea. Socrates mentions (s. vi. c. 17) a battle between the mob and the sailors, of Alexandria, in won many wounds were given, and some lives were lost...The massacre of the momi.

* Sozomen, and more especially Socrates, have defined the real character of Chrysostom with a temperate and impartial freedom, very offensive to his blind admirers. Those historians lived in the next generation, when party violence was abated, and had conversed with many persons intimately acquainted with the virtues and imperfections of the saint.

** Palladius (tom. xiii. p. 40, &c.) very seriously defends the archbishop. 1. He never tasted wine. 2. The weakness of his stomach required a peculiar diet. 3. Business, or study, or devotion, often kept him fasting till sunset. 4. He detested the noi, ie and levity of great dinners. 5. He saved the expense for onc use of the poor. 6. He was apprehensive, in a capital like Constantinople, of the envy and reproach of partial invitations.

40 Chrysostom declares his free opinion (tom. ix. hom. iii. in Act. Apostol. p. 20) that the number of bishops, who might be saved, bore a very o proportion to those who would be damned. Ai See Tillemont, Mém. Ecclés. tom. xi. pp. 441–500. * I have purposely omitted the controversy which arose among the monks of Egypt, concerning Origenism and Anthropomorphism ; the dissimulation and violence of Theophilus ; his artful management of the simplicity of Epiphanius; the persecution and flight of the long, or tall, brothers; the ambiguous support Which they received at Constantinople from Chrysostom, &c. &c. *Photius (pp. 53–60) has preserved the original acts of the synod of the Oak ; which destroys the false assertion, that Chrysostom was condemned by no moré than thirty-six bishops, of whom twenty-nine were Egyptians. Forty-five bishops subscribed his sentence. See Tillemont, Mém. Ecclés. tom. xi. p. 595.”

*Tillemont argues strongly for the number of thirty-six.-M.

is only observed by the Pagan, Zosimuş (loy, p. 324), who acknowledges to: §§§. hai, olar o to lead the illiterate multitude, ivyapá #.

ãAoyow 5xxov virayayêa 9at oeuvos.

she once more requires the head of John ; ” an insolent allusion, which, as a woman and a sovereign, it was impossible for her to forgive.” The short interval of a perfidious truce was employed to concert more effectual measures for the disgrace and ruin of the archbishop. A numerous council of the Eastern prelates, who were guided from a distance by the advice of Theophilus, confirmed the validity, without examining the justice, of the former sentence; and a detachment of Barbarian troops was introduced into the city, to suppress the emotions of the people. On the vigil of Easter, the solemn administration of baptism was rudely interrupted by the soldiers, who alarmed the modesty of the naked catechumens, and violated, by their presence, the awful mysteries of the Christian worship. Arsacius occupied the church of St. Sophia, and the archiepiscopal throne. The Catholics retreated to the baths of Constantine, and afterwards to the fields; where they were still pursued and insulted by the guards, the bishops, and the magistrates. The fatal day of the second and final exile of Chrysostom was marked by the conflagration of the cathedral, of the senate-house, and of the adjacent buildings ; and this calamity was imputed, without proof, but not without probability, to the despair of a persecuted faction.” Cicero might claim some merit, if his voluntary banishment preserved the peace of the republic ; * but the submission of Chrysostom was the indispensable duty of a Christian and a subject. Instead of listening to his humble prayer, that he might be permitted to reside at Cyzicus, or Nicomedia, the inflexible empress assigned for his exile the remote and desolate town of Cucusus, among the ridges of Mount Taurus, in the Lesser Armenia. A secret hope was entertained, that the archbishop might perish in a difficult and dangerous march of seventy days, in the heat of summer, through the provinces of Asia Minor, where he was continually threatened by the hostile attacks of the Isaurians, and the more implacable fury of the monks. Yet Chrysostom arrived in safety at the place of his confinement; and the three years which he spent at Cucusus, and the neighboring town of Arabissus, were the last and most glorious of his life. His character was consecrated by absence and persecution; the faults of his administration were no longer remembered; but every tongue repeated the praises of his genius and virtue: and the respectful attention of the Christian world was fixed on a desert spot among the mountains of Taurus. From that solitude the archbishop, whose active mind was invigorated by misfortunes, maintained a strict and frequent correspondence “with the most distant provinces; exhorted the separate congregation of his faithful adherents to persevere in their allegiance; urged the destruction of the temples of Phoenicia, and the extirpation of heresy in the Isle of Cyprus; extended his pastoral care to the missions of Persia and Scythia; negotiated, by his ambassadors, with the Roman pontiff and the emperor Honorius; and boldly appealed, from a partial synod, to the supreme tribunal of a free and general council. The mind of the illustrious exile was still independent; but his captive body was exposed to the revenge of the oppressors, who continued to abuse the name and authority of Arcadius.” An order was despatched for the instant removal of Chrysostom to the extreme desert of Pityus: and his guards so faithfully obeyed their cruel instructions, that, before he reached the sea-coast of the Euxine, he expired at Comana, in Pontus, in the sixtieth year of his age. The succeeding generation acknowledged his innocence and merit. The archbishops of the East, who might blush that their predecessors had been the enemies of Chrysostom, were gradually disposed, by the firmness of the Roman pontiff, to restore the honors of that venerable name.” At the pious solicitation of the clergy and people of Constantinople, his

5. See Socrates, 1. vi. c. 18. Sozomen, 1. viii. c. 20. Zosimus (l. v. pp. 324,327) mentions, in general terms, his invectives against Eudoxia. The homily, which begins with #. famous words, is rejected as spurious. Montfaucon, tom. xiii. p. 151. Tillemont, Mém. Ecclés. tom. xi. p. 603.

52 We might naturally expect such a charge from Zosimus (l. v. p. 327); but it is remarkable enough, that it should be confirmed by Socrates (l. vi. c. 18), and the Paschal Chronicle (p. 307).

* He displays those snecious motives (Post. Reditum, c. 13, 14) in the language of an orator alid a politician.

B4 Two hundred and forty-two of the epistles of Chrysostom are still extant (Opera, tom. iii. pp. 528–736). They are addressed to a greatyariety of persons, and show a firmness of Imind much superior to that of Cicero in his exile. The fourteenth epistle contains a curious narrative of the dangers of his journey. J 55 oter the exile of Chrysostom, Theophilus published an enormous and horrible volume against him, in which he perpetually repeats the polite expressions of hostem humanitatis, sacrilegorum principem, immundum daemonem ; he afiirms, that John Chrysostom had delivered his soi'to be adulterated ly the devil; and wishes that some further punishment, adequate if possible to the magnitude of his crimes, may be inflicted on him. St. Jerom, at the request of his friend Theophilus, translated this edifying performance from Greek, into Latin. See Facundus Hermian. Defens. pro iii. Capitul. 1. vi. c. 5, published by Sirmond. Opera, tom. ii. pp. 595, 596,597.

* His name was inserted by his successor Atticus in the Dyptics of the church of Constantinople, A. D. 418. Ten years afterwards he was revered as a saint Cyril, who inherited the place, and the passions, of his uncle Theophilus, yielded with muclt reluctance. See Facund. Hermian..l. 4, c. 1. Tillemont, Mém. Ecclés. tonn. xiv. pp. 277-283.

« ForrigeFortsett »