2. Of ANTIOCH. According to Evagrius he was originally a monk of Tilmognon, in Coele-Syria ; and, as appears from Theophanes, afterwards became a presbyter and apocrisiarius of the church at Antioch.
He was promoted to the see of Antioch by the emperor Anastasius I. on the death of Palladius, in the year 496, or 497, or 498, according to calculations or statements of Baronius, Victor Tununensis, and Pagi respectively : the last date, which is also given by Tillemont, is probably correct.
The church throughout the whole Byzantine empire was divided by the Nestorian and Eutychian controversies and the dispute as to the authority of the Council of Chalcedon : and the impression that Flavian rejected the authority of that council may perhaps have conduced to his elevation, as the emperor countenanced the Eutychian party in rejecting it.
But if Flavian was ever opposed to the council, he gave up his former views after his elevation to the bishopric.
His period of office was a scene of trouble, through the dissensions of the church, aggravated by the personal enmity of Xenaias or Philoxenus, bishop of Hierapolis, in Syria, who raised the cry against him of favouring Nestorianism. Flavian endeavoured to refute this charge by anathematizing Nestorius and his doctrine; but Xenaias, not satisfied, required him to anathematize a number of persons now dead (including Diodorus of Tarsus, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrus, and others), who were suspected, justly or not, of Nestorianism, declaring that if he refused to anathematize them, he must remain subject to the imputation of being a Nestorian himself. Flavian refused for a time to comply; but pressed by the enmity of Xenaias and his supporters, and anxious to satisfy the emperor, who supported his opponents. he subscribed the Henoticon or Edict of Union of the late emperor Zeno; and having assembled the bishops of his province, he drew up a synodal letter, and sent it to the emperor, owning the authority of the three councils of Nice, Constantinople, and Ephesus, and silently passing over that of Chalcedon, and pronouncing the required anathema against the prelates enumerated by Xenaias.
He also sent to the emperor a private assurance of his readiness to comply with his wishes. (A. D. 508 or 509.) Victor Tununensis states that Flavian and Xenaias presided over a council at Constantinopie A. D. 499, when the obnoxious prelates and the Council of Chalcedon itself were anathematized : but his account seenis hardly trustworthy.
The ememies of Flavian were not, however, satisfied. They required him distinctly to anathematize the Council of Chalcedon, and all who held the doctrine of the two natures. [EUTYCHES.] This he refused to do, and in a confession of faith which he drew up, supported the authority of the council in the repudiation both of Nestorius and Eutyches, but not in its definition of the true faith.
The cry of Nestorianism was again raised against him; and new disturbances were excited; and the Isaurian, and apparently some other Asiatic churches, broke off from communiion with Flavian.
A synod was held A. D. 510 at Sidon, to condemn the Council of Chalcedon and depose its leading supporters; but Flavian and Elias of Jerusalem managed to prevent its effecting anything. Flavian still hoped to appease his opponents, and wrote to the emperor, expressing his readiness to acknowledge the first three councils, and pass over that of Chalcedon in silence; but his efforts were in vain; a tumultuous body of monks of the province of Syria Prima assembled at Antioch, and frightened Flavian into pronouncing an open anathema against the Council of Chalcedon, and against Theodore of Mopsuestia and the other bishops whom Xenaias had already obliged him to condemn.
The citizens were not equally compliant; they rose against the monks, and killed many of them : and the confusion was renewed by the monks of Coele-Syria, who embraced the side of Flavian, and hasted to Antioch to defend him.
These disturbances, or some transactions connected with the Council of Sidon, gave the emperor a ground or pretext for deposing Flavian (A. D. 511) and putting Severus in his place. Victor Tununensis places the deposition of Flavian as early as the consulship of Cethegus, A. D. 504. Flavian was banished to Petra in Arabia, where he died. His death is assigned by Tillemoint, on the authority of Joannes Moschus, to A. D. 518. In Vitalian's rebellion (A. D. 513 or 514) his restoration to his see was one of the demands of that rebel. [ANASTASIUS.] Flavian is (at least was) honoured in the Greek Church as a confessor, and was recognised as such by the Romish Church, after long opposition. (Evagr. Hist. Ecc.
3.23, 30, 31, 32; Theophan. Chronog.
pp. 220-247, ed. Bonn; Marcellin, Chron.
(Paul. et Musc. Cass.
); Vict. Tun. Chiron.
(ab Anast. Aug. Cos. ad Cet/heg. Cos.
); Baron. Annal. Eccles.
ad Ann. 496 et 512; Pagi, Critice in Baron. ;
vol. xvi. p. 675, &c.)