5. Of BYZANTIUM or CONSTANTINOPLE, an ecclesiastical writer of the latter part of the sixth and the commencement of the seventh century, sometimes designated, from his original profession, SCHOLASTICUS, i. e. the pleader. Several works of about the same period bear the name of Leontius, distinguished by the surnames of BYZANTINUS, PRESBYTER CONSTANTINOPOLITANUS, CYPRIUS, HIEROSOLYMITANUS, MONACHUS, NEAPOLITANUS, and PRESBYTER et ABBAS ST. SABAE; and as there is difficulty in determining how many individuals are designated by these various epithets, and which of the various works ascribed to them should be assigned to each, it will be desirable to compare the present article, which refers to the author of the work De Sectis,
with Nos. 20 and 26.
According to Cave, Leontius, having given up the exercise of his profession as a scholasticus, retired to the monastery which had been founded by St. Saba near Jerusalem, but was rejected by that saint for his adherence to the obnoxious tenets of Origen. But Cave is manifestly in error, and has confounded two different persons of the same name and place. The Leontius of Byzantium, who was excluded by St. Saba for Origenism, died in the reign of the emperor Justinian I. (Cyril. Scythopolit. Vita S. Sabae,
c. 86, apud Coteler. Eccles. Graec. Monum.
vol. iii. p. 366), but the work De Sectis
appears from internal evidence to have been written at least half a century after Justinian's death, and must therefore be the work of a later Leontius. Photius (cod. 231) and Nicephors Callisti (H. E.
18.48) call the author of the De Sectis
a monk, and do not notice his earlier profession. Galland (Bibl. Patrum,
vol. xii. Prolegom.
c. 20) says that Leontius retired from the bar, and embraced a monastic life in Palestine; but we apprehend this is only a supposition, intended to account for the designation HIEROSOLYMITANUS in the title of some of the works, which he ascribes to this Leontius. Oudin, who is disposed to identify several of the Leontii, supposes that the exscholasticus became a monk and abbot of St. Saba (comp. No. 26), near Jerusalem. (De Scriptorib. Eccles.
vol. i. col. 1462, &c.)
The works which appear to be by this Leontius are as follows:--
" taken down from the lips of Theodorus, the most godly abbot and wisest philosopher, accomplished alike in sacred and profane learning."
This work, which is more commonly cited by the title De Sectis,
consists of ten divisions called πράχεις
It was first published with a Latin version by Leunclavius, in a volume containing several other pieces, 8vo. Basel, 1578, and was reprinted in the Auctarium Bibliothecae Patrum of Ducaeus, vol. i. fol. Paris, 1624
; in the Bibliotheca Patrum, vol. xi. fol. Paris, 1644
; and in the Bibliotheca Patrum of Galland, vol. xii. p. 625, &c., fol. Venice, 1778. The Latin version alone is given in several other editions of the Bibliotheca Patrum.
Some speak of the three books into which this treatise is divided as distinct works.
These pieces have not been printed in the original, but Latin versions from the papers of Franciscus Turrianus were published by Canisius in his Lectiones Antiquae, vol. iv. (or vol. i. p. 525, &c. ed. Basnage), and were reprinted in the Bibliotheca Patrum, vol. ix. fol. Lyon, 1677, and in the above mentioned volume of the Bibliotheca of Galland.
This was printed with a Latin version and notes, by Antonio Bongiovanni, in the Concilia, vol. vii. p. 799, ed. Mansi, fol. Florence, 1762, and was reprinted by Galland, l.c.
In the title Leontius is called Monachus Hierosolymitanus, but the word Hierosolymitanus is possibly an error of the transcriber.
At any rate Galland identifies the writer with our Leontius; and the subject of the work makes it probable that he is right.
This work is described by Canisius as being extant in MS. at Munich, and by Fabricius as occurring in the catalogue of the Palatine library.
Labbe and Cave speak of this as extant in MS. at Vienna; and they add to it Disputatio contra Philosophum Arianum,
but this last piece seems to be an extract from Gelasius of Cyzicus [GELASIUS, No. 3], and is probably one of the discussions between the " holy bishops " of the orthodox party and the" philosophers "who embraced the opposite side. If so, the Leontius who took part in it was not our Leontius, but a much older person, bishop of the Cappadocian Caesareia, contemporary of Athanasius, by whom he is mentioned, and author of several works not now extant.
9. Against the Tritheistic Heresy
According to Nicephorus Callisti (l.c.
), our Leontius wrote also " an admirable work" in thirty books, in which he entirely overthrew the tritheistic heresy of Joannes Philoponus, and firmly established the orthodox doctrine; but this work, if Nicephorus has correctly described it, is lost
A homily, entitled Oratio in medium Pentecostem et in Caecum a Nativitate, necnon in illud: Nolite iudicare secundum faciem,
by " Leontius presbyter Constantinopolitanus," was published by Combéfis, with a Latin version, in his Auctarium Novum,
vol. i. fol. Paris, 1648.
The editors of the Bibliotheca Patrum
(vol. ix. fol. Lyon, 1677), by placing this piece among the works of our Leontius, appear to identify the writer with him; and Cave, though with hesitation, ascribes the homily to him.
But it is not given by Galland; and Fabricius (Bibl. Graec.
vol. viii. p. 321) ascribes the homily to Leontius of Neapolis. [No. 20.]
Other possible homlies
A homily on the parable of the good Samaritan, printed among the supposititious works of Chrysostom (Opera,
vol. vii. p. 506, ed. Savill), is ascribed by Allatius and Fabricius (Biblioth. Graec.
vol. viii. p. 326, vol. x. p. 304) to " Leontius of Jerusalem," who is perhaps the same as our Leontius.
There are various homilies extant in MS. by "Leontius presbyter Constantinopolitanus."
Photius and Niceph. Callisti, ll. cc.;
Canisius, Vita Leontii,
apud Biblioth. Patrum,
vol. ix. fol. Lyon, 1677, and Lectiones Antiquae,
vol. i. pp. 527, &c., ed. Basnage; Cave, Hist. Litt.
vol. i. p. 543; Vossius, De Historicis Graecis,
lib. 4. c. 18; Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. viii. p. 309, &c., 318, vol. xii. p. 648; Oudin, de Scriptorib. et Scriptis Eccles.
vol i. col. 1462; Mansi, Concilia,
vol. vii. col. 797, &c.; Galland. Biblioth. Patrum,
vol. xii. Prolegom.