3. Of CONSTANTINOPLE. He was chosen successor to Proclus, bishop of Constantinople, who died anno 439 Alex. era, or 446 A. D.
At the time of his election he was a presbyter and keeper of the sacred vessels in the great church at Constantinople. Chrysaphius, the eunuch, a friend and supporter of the monk Eutyches [EUTYCHES], was at this time an influential person at court ; and he having a dislike to Flavian, managed to set the emperor Theodosius II. against him, from the very commencement of his episcopate. Dioscorus, who had just ascended the episcopal chair of Alexandria, and was persecuting the kinsmen of his predecessor, Cyril [CYRILLUS], was also irritated against Flavian, who had befriended the persecuted parties. Flavian was indeed befriended by Pulcheria, the emperor's sister; but her aid was more than counterbalanced by the enmity of the empress Eudocia [EUDOCIA AUGUSTA], who was influenced by Chrysaphitus, and was, moreover, irritated by Flavian's defeating a plan to remove Pulcheria altogether from the state and the court by having her ordained a deaconess. Flavian was not, however, daunted.
He assembled a synod of forty bishops, and deposed Eutyches from his office of archimandrite or abbot, and excommunicated him, on the ground of his heretical opinions. [EUTYCHES.] This bold step irritated the opponents of Flavian, and they prevailed on the emperor to summon a synod at Constantinople to try Flavian on a charge of falsifying the acts of the synod at which Eutyches was condemned. Flavian was acquitted, but his enemies persuaded Theodosius to summon a general council at Ephesus.
At this council, over which Dioscorus presided, and which is known in history as the Council of Robbers (ἡ λῃστρικὴ
)), Flavian and the other members of the synod which had condemned Eutyches were present, but were not allowed to vote, since their conduct was called in question. Their friends were overborne in an irregular manner, Eutyches was restored, and Flavian not only deposed and sentenced to banishment, but so roughly beaten and kicked by the Egyptian and other attendants of Dioscorus, that he died three days afterwards (A. D. 449).
This violence probably tended to the reaction which took place in the mind of the emperor. Pulcheria regained her ascendancy; the body of Flavian was, by her order, honourably conveyed to Constantinople, and buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles. Pope Leo the Great honoured him as a confessor, and the Council of Chalcedon as a martyr; and since the time of Baronius he has been commemorated in the Martyrology of the Romish Church.
A letter of Flavian to Pope Leo was published by Cotelerus (Monum. Eccles. Graec.
vol. i. p. 50); and a confession of his faith presented to the emperor Theodosius, and some other pieces, are given with the acts of the Council of Chalcedon in the Concilia
of Labbe and Harduin; and are also inserted in the Concilia
of Mansi, vol. viii. p. 833.
Evagr. Hist. Ecc.
1.8, 9, 10; Theophanes, Chronog.
pp. 150-158, ed Bonn; Marcellin, Chron.
(Protog. et Astur. Coss.
); Vict. Tun. Chron.
(Callip. ct Ardab. Coss. Post. et Zen. Coss.
); Synod. Vetus,
aptid Fabric. ; Fabr. Bibl. Gr.
vol. ix. p. 290, and vol. xii. pp. 393, 394, and 672; Tillemont, Mém.
vol. xv. pp. 446, &c.