5. Of ANTIOCH, was originally a monk in one of the convents of Constantinople, or in a convent called the convent of the Byzantines, which Valesius supposes to have been somewhere in Syria. Here he became eminent as an ascetic at an early age, and was chosen abbot of the convent. From Constantinople, he was removed by the emperor Justin II. to the abbacy of the convent of Mount Sinai. Here he was endangered by the Scenite (or Bedouin) Arabs, who besieged the monastery; but he succeeded in bringing them into peaceable relations to its inmates. On the deposition of Anastasius, patriarch of Antioch, about A. D. 570 or 571 (Baronius erroneously places it in 573), he was appointed his successor; and in that see, according to Evagrius, he acquired, by his charity to the poor and his fearlessness of the secular power, the respect both of the Byzantine emperor and the Persian king. When Chosroes I., or Khosru, invaded the Roman empire (A. D. 572), he sent the intelligence of his inroad to the emperor.
Anatolius, an intimate friend of Gregory, having been detected in the practice of magic, in sacrificing to heathen deities, and in other crimes, the populace of Antioch regarded the patriarch as the sharer of his guilt, and violently assailed him.
The attention of the emperor Tiberius II. was drawn to the matter, and he ordered Anatolius to be sent to Constantinople, where he was put to the torture: but the culprit did not accuse Gregory of any participation in his crimes, and was, after being tortured, put to death, being thrown to the wild beasts of the amphitheatre, and his body impaled or crucified.
Though delivered from this danger, Gregory soon incurred another.
He quarrelled with Asterius, count of the East; and the nobles and populace of Antioch took part against him, every one declaring that he had suffered some injury from him.
He was insulted by the mob; and though Asterius was removed, his successor, Joannes or John, was scarcely less hostile. Being ordered to inquire into the disputes which had taken place, he invited any who had any charge against the bishop to prefer it; and Gregory was in consequence accused of incest with his own sister, a married woman, and with being the author of the disturbances in the city of Antioch. To the latter charge he expressed his willingness to plead before the tribunal of count John, but with respect to the charge of incest, he appealed to the judgment of the emperor, and of an ecclesiastical council.
In pursuance of this appeal he went to Constantinople, taking Evagrius, the ecclesiastical historian, with him as his advocate.
This was about A. D. 589. [EVAGRIUS, No. 3.] A council of the leading prelates was convened; and Gregory, after a severe struggle with those opposed to him, obtained an acquittal, and returned to Antioch, the same year. When the mutinous soldiers of the army on the Persian frontier had driven away their general Priscus, and refused to receive and acknowledge Philippicus, whom the emperor Maurice had sent to succeed him [GERMANUS, No. 5], Gregory was sent, on account of his popularity with the troops, to bring them back to their duty: his address, which is preserved by Evagrius, was effectual, and the mutineers agreed to receive Philippicus, who was sent to them. When Chosroes II. of Persia was compelled to seek refuge in the Byzantine empire (A. D. 590 or 591), Gregory was sent by the emperor to meet him. Gregory died of gout A. D. 593 or 594, having, there is reason to believe, previously resigned his see into the hands of the deposed patriarch Anastasius.
He was an opponent of the Acephali, or disciples of Severus of Antioch, who were becoming numerous in the Syrian desert, and whom he either expelled or obliged to renounce their opinions.
The extant works of Gregory are, 1. Δημογορία πρὸς τὸν Στρατόν
, Oratio ad Exercitum,
preserved, as noticed above, by Evagrius, and given in substance by Nicephorus Callisti. 2. Λόγος εἰς τὰς Μυροφόρους Oratio in Mulieres Unguentiferas,
preserved in the Greek Menaeu,
and given in the Novum Auctarium
of Combefis, Paris, 1648, vol. i. p. 727. Both these pieces are in the twelfth vol. of the Bibliotheca Patrum
of Gallandius. Various memorials, drawn up by Evagrius in the name of Gregory, were contained in the lost volume of documents collected by Evagrius. [EVAGRIUS, No. 3.] (Evagr. H. E.
5.6, 9, 18, 6.4-7, 11-13, 18, 24; Niceph. Callist. H. E.
17.36, 18.4, 12-16, 23, 26; Fabric. Bibl. Gr.
vol. xi. p. 102 ; Cave, Hist. Litt.
vol. i. p. 534, &c.; Galland. Bibl. Patr.
vol. xii. Proleg.