known also as the cynic philosopher (Κυνικὸς φιλόσοφος
), was of rank, who had suffered on account of their religion; but whether from Pagan or Arian violence is not clear. Maximus united the faith of an orthodox believer with the garb and deportment of a cynic philosopher, and was held in great respect by the leading theologians of the orthodox party. Athanasius, in a letter written about A. D. 371 (Epist. ad Maxim. Philosoph.
Opp. vol. i. p. 917, &c. ed. Benedict.) pays him several compliments on a work written in defence of the orthodox faith. Tillemont and the Benedictine editor of the works of Gregory Nazianzen (Monitum ad Orat.
xxv.), misled by the virulent invectives of that father, attempt to distinguish between our Maximus and the one to whom Athanasius wrote, on the ground that Athanasius could never have spoken so well of so worthless a character. They also distinguish him from the Maximus to whom Basil the Great addressed a letter (Ep.
41, editt. vett. 9, ed. Benedict. vol. iii. p. 90, ejusd. edit. p. 127, ed. Benedict. alterae, Paris, 1839) in terms of the highest respect, discussing some doctrinal questions, and soliciting a visit from him; but they are not successful in either case. However, the Maximus Scholasticus, to whom Basil also wrote (Ep.
42, editt. vett. 277, ed. Benedict.), was a different person. In A. D. 374, during the reign of the emperor Valens, in the persecution carried on by Lucius, Arian patriarch of Alexandria [LUCIUS No. 2], Maximus was cruelly scourged, and banished to the Oasis, on account of his zeal for orthodoxy and the promptitude with which he succoured those who suffered in the same cause (Gregor. Nazianz. Orat.
He obtained his release in about four years (Ib.,
) probably on the death of Valens; and it was perhaps soon after his release that he presented to the emperor Gratian at Mediolanum (Milan), his work Περὶ τῆς πίστεως
, De Fidie,
written against the Arians (comp. Hieron. De Viris Illustr.
c. 127). Tillemont, however, thinks that the work was presented to the emperor when Maximus was in Italy, A. D. 382, after the council of Constantinople.
He wrote also against other heretics, but whether in the same work or in another is not clear (Greg. Naz. ib.);J
and disputed ably against the heathens (Ib.
). Apparently on his return from Milan he visited Constantinople, where Gregory Nazianzen had just been appointed to the patriarchate (A. D. 379). Gregory received him with the highest honour; and pronounced an oration in his praise (Orat.
xxv.), compared with which the sober commendations of Athanasius and Basil are cold treated him w ith the greatest confidence and regard.
He was, however, grievously disappointed in him. Whether the events which followed were the results solely of the ambition of Maximus, or whether Maximus was himself the tool of others, is not clear. Taking advantage of the sickncss of Gregory, and supported by some Egyptian ecclesiastics, sent by Peter, patriarch of Alexandria, under whose directions they professed to act, Maximus was ordained, during the night, patriarch of Constantinople, in the place of Gregory, whose election had not been perfectly canonical.
This audacious proceeding excited the greatest indignation among the people, with whom Gregory was popular. Nor did the emperor Theodosius, then at Thessalonica, to whom the usurper applied, show them any favour. Maximus therefore withdrew to Alexa native of Alexandria, from which he was in a short time expelled by his patron, Peter. (Gregor. Nazian. Carmen de Vita sua,
The resignation of Gregory, who was succeeded in the patriarchate of Constantinople by Nectarius, did not benefit MIaximus. His election was declared null by the second general (first Constantinopolitan) council, and the presbyters whom he had ordained were declared not to be presbyters. (Concil. CPolt.
can. 3. sec. Dionys. Exiguum; Capital. 6. sec. Isidor. Mercat.; apud Concil.
vol. i. col. 809, 810, ed. Hardouin.)
He attempted even after this to assert his claims to the patriarchate; but though the Italian bishops for a while seemed disposed to support him, he met with no success.
The invectives of Gregory Nazianzen against Maximus (Carmina,
sc. De Vita sua,
1. c.; In Invidos,
vs. 16, &c.; In Maximum
) were written after their struggle for the patriarchate, and contrast singularly with the praises of his twenty-fifth Oration, to which some of Gregory's admirers, to conceal the inconsistency, prefixed the name of Heron or Hero, Εις Ἡρῶνα
, In Laudem Heronis
(Hieron. De Viris Illustr.
1. c.), which it still bears.
The work of Maximus, De Fide,
which is well spoken of by Jerome, is lost. (Athanas., Basil., Gregor. Nazianz., Hieronym. ll. cc.;
Sozomen, H. E.
7.9. cum not. Vales.; Tillemont, Mémoires,
vol. ix. p. 443, &c.; Cave, Hist. Litt.
ad ann. 380, vol. i. p. 276, ed. Oxford, 1740-42 Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. iii. p. 520.)