previous next


bishop of CONSTANTINOPLE, was born at Sebaste, now Sivas, in Armenia Minor. He was educated in the ascetic discipline of the Macedonian monks, under the eye of Eustathius, a celebrated bishop of that sect. However, when Atticus reached the age of manhood, he conformed to the orthodox church. He was ordained a presbyter at Constantinople; and in the violent contentions between the friends and the enemies of the famous Chrysostom, he sided with the latter. After the death of Arsacius, who had been elevated to the see of Constantinople on occasion of the second banishment of Chrysostom, Atticus succeeded to the office, although the illustrious exile was still living. The ecclesiastical historians, Socrates and Sozomen, describe Atticus as a man of great natural prudence, and both of them testify that he administered the affairs of the church with wisdom and success. His learning seems to have been respectable; his preaching, we are told, was not attractive. His general manner was extremely winning, and he was particularly distinguished for his liberality to the poor. On hearing that distress amounting almost to famine prevailed at Nicaea, he sent a large sum of money for the relief of the suffering population, accompanied by a letter to Calliopius, the bishop of the place, which is extant in the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates. In his treatment of heretics, he is said to have exhibited a judicious combination of kindness and severity. He spoke charitably of the Novatians, and commended their inflexible adherence to the true faith under the persecutions of Constantius and Valens, though he condemned their terms of communion as being in the extreme of rigour. It is recorded, however, by Marius Mercator that when Coelestius, the well-known disciple of Pelagius, visited Constantinople, Atticus expelled him from the city, and sent letters to the bishops of various sees, warning them against him. He was himself laid under sentence of excommunication by the western bishops for refusing to insert the name of the deceased Chrysostom in the diptychs or church registers. In the end, Atticus complied with the demand, and was again received into the communion of the western churches. He is said by Socrates to have foretold his own death: the prophecy, however, amounted to no more than this--that he told his friend Calliopius that he should not survive the ensuing autumn; and the event corresponded with his prognostication. He died in the twenty-first year of his episcopate. Gennadius informs us that he wrote, in opposition to the Nestorian doctrine, an excellent treatise de Fide et Virginitate, which he dedicated ad Reginas, that is, to the daughters of the eastern emperor, Arcadius. This work has perished; and nothing from the pen of Atticus has survived, except the following short pieces: 1. A letter to Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, exhorting him to follow his own example, and insert the name of Chrysostom in the sacred tables. This is preserved in the Church History of Nicephorus Callisti. 2. The above-mentioned letter to Calliopius. 3. A few inconsiderable fragments extant in the writing's of Marius Mercator and Theodoret, and the appendix to the acts of the council of Chalcedon. (Socrates, Hist. Eccl. 6.20, 7.25 ; Sozomen, Hist. Eccl. 8.27; Theodoret, Hist. Eccl. 5.3; Marius Mercator, Opera, ed. Baluz. pp. 133, 184, 185; Gennadius, de Viris Illustribus, 100.52; Nicephorus Callisti, 14.26.)


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: