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7. Of HELENOPOLIS. The name of Palladius occurs repeatedly in the ecclesiastical and literary history of the early part of the fifth century. The difficulty is in determining whether these notices refer to one individual or to more. We include in this one article a notice of the author of the biographies usually termed the Lausiac History, the author of the life of Chrysostom.and the bishop of Helenopolis, and subsequently of Aspona, noticing, as we proceed, what grounds there are for belief or disbelief as to their being one and the same person.

Palladius, who wrote the Lausiac History, states in the introduction, that he composed it in his fifty-third year; and as there is reason to fix the date of the composition in A. D. 419 or 420, his birth may be placed in or about 367. He adds also, that it was the thirty-third year of his monastic life, and the twentieth of his episcopate. It is this last date which furnishes the means of determining the others. The Latin versions of his history (100.41, Meurs., 43. Bibl. Pat.) make him reply to a question of Joannes of Lycopolis, an eminent Egyptian solitary, that he was a Galatian, and a companion or disciple (ex sodalitate) of Evagrius of Pontus. But the passage is wanting in the Greek text, and that not, as Tillemont thinks, from an error or omission of the printer, for the omission is found both in the text of Meursius (100.41 ) and that of the Bibliotheca Patrum (100.43) ; so that the statement is not free front doubt. In two other places he refers to his being a long time in Galatia (100.64, Meurs., 100.113, Bibl. Patr.). and being at Ancyra (100.98. Meurs., 100.114, Bibl. Patr.), but these passages do not prove that he was born there, for he was in that province in the latter part of his life. He embraced a solitary life, as already observed, at the age of twenty, which, if his birth was in A. D. 367, would be in A. D. 387. The places of his residence, at successive periods, can only be conjectured from incidental notices in the Lausiac History. Tillemont places at the commencement of his ascetic career his abode with Elpidius of Cappadocia, in some caverns of Mount Lucas, near the banks of the Jordan (100.70, Meurs., 106, Bibl. Pair.), and his residence at Bethlehem, and other places in Palestine. He supposes that it was at this time that he saw several other saints who dwelt in that country, and among them, perhaps (for Palladius does not directly say that he knew him personally), St. Jerome, of whom his impressions, derived chiefly, if not wholly, from the representations of Posidonius, were by no means favourable (100.42, 50, Meurs., 78, 124, Bibl. Patr.). Palladius first visited Alexandria in the second consulship of the emperor Theodosius the Great, i. e. in A. D. 388 (100.3, Meurs., 1, Bibl. Patr.), and by the advice of Isidorus, a presbyter of that city, placed himself under the instruction of Dorotheus, a solitary, whose mode of life was so hard and austere that Palladius was obliged, by sickness, to leave him, without completing the three years which he had intended to stay (100.4, Meurs., 2, Bibl. Pair.) He remained for a short time in the neighbourhood of Alexandria, and then resided for a year among the solitaries in the mountains of the desert of Nitria, who amounted to five thousand (100.9, Meurs., 6, Bibl. Patr.), of whose place of abode and manner of life he gives a description (ibid.). From Nitria he proceeded further into the wilderness, to the district of the cells, where he arrived the year after the death of Macarius the Egyptian, which occurred in A. D. 390 or 391. [MACARIUS, No. 1.] Here he remained nine years, three of which he spent as the companion of Macarius the younger, the Alexandrian [MACARIUS, No. 2], and was for a time the companion and disciple of Evagrius of Pontus [EVAGRIUS, No. 4], who was charged with entertaining Origenistic opinions. [ORIGENES.] How long he remained with Evagrius is not known (100.21, 22, 29, Meurs., 100.19, 20, 29, Bibl. Patr.). But he did not confine himself to one spot: he visited cities, or villages, or deserts, for the purpose of conversing with men of eminent holiness, and his history bears incidental testimony to the extent of his travels. The Thebaid or Upper Egypt, as far as Tabenna [PACHOMIUS], and Syene, Lybia, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, and even Rome and Campania, and as he vaguely and boastfully states, the whole Roman empire, were visited by him, and that almost entirely on foot (100.2, Meurs., Prooem. in Bibl. Patr. pp. 897, 898).

In consequence of severe illness, Palladius was sent by the other solitaries to Alexandria, and from that city, by the advice of his physicians, he went to Palestine, and from thence into Bithynia, where, as he somewhat mysteriously adds, either by human desire or the will of God, he was ordained bishop. He gives neither the date of his appointment nor the name of his bishopric, but intimates that it was the occasion of great trouble to him, so that, "while hidden for eleven months in a gloomy cell," he remembered a prophecy of the holy recluse, Joannes of Lycopolis, who, three years before Palladius was taken ill and sent to Alexandria, had foretold both his elevation to the episcopacy and his consequent troubles. As he was present with Evagrius of Pontus, about the time of his death (100.86, Bibl. Pair.), which probably occurred in A. D. 399 [EVAGRIUS, No. 4], he could not have left Egypt till that year, nor can we well place his ordination as bishop before A. D. 400.

All the foregoing particulars relate to the author of the Lausiac History, from the pages of which the notices of them are gleaned. Now we learn from Photius (Biblioth. Cod. 57), that in the Synod "of the Oak," at which Joannes or John Chrysostom was condemned [CHRYSOSTOMUS], and which was held in A. D. 403, one of the charges against him related to the ordination of a Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis, in Bithynia, a follower of the opinions of Origen. The province in which the diocese was situated, the Origenist opinions (probably imbibed from or cherished by Evagrius of Pontus), and the intimation of something open to objection in his ordination, compared with the ambiguous manner in which the author of the Lausiac History speaks of his elevation, are, we think, conclusive as to the identity of the historian with Palladius of Helenopolis. He is doubtless the Palladius charged by Epiphanius (Epistol. ad Joan. Jerosol. apud Hieronymi Opera, vol. i. col. 252, ed. Vallars.), and by Jerome himself (Prooem. in Dial. adv. Pelagianos) with Origenism. Tillemont vainly attempts to show that Palladius the Origenist was a different person from the bishop of Helenopolis. Assuming this identity, we may place his elevation to the episcopacy in A. D. 400, in which year he was present in a synod held by Chrysostom at Constantinople, and was sent into Proconsular Asia to procure evidence on a charge against the bishop of Ephesus. (Pallad. Dial. de Vita S. Joan. Chrys. p. 131.) The deposition of Chrysostom involved Palladius also in troubles, to which, as we have seen, he refers in his Lausiac History. Chrysostonm, in his exile, wrote to "Palladius the bishop" (Epistol. cxiii. Opera, vol. iii p. 655, ed. Benedictin., p. 790, ed. Bened. secund. Paris, 1838, &c.), exhorting him to continue in prayer, for which his seclusion gave him opportunity; and from this notice we could derive, if needful, a farther proof of the identity of the two Palladii, since the historian, as we have seen, speaks of his concealment for "eleven months in a gloomy cell."

Fearful of the violence of his enemies, Palladius of Helenopolis fled to Rome (Dialog. de Vita S. Chrysost. 100.3. p. 26, and Hist. Lausiac, 100.121, Bibl. Pair.) in A. D. 405; and it was probably at Rome that he received the letter of encouragement addressed to him and the other fugitive bishops, Cyriacus of Synnada, Alysius, or Eulysius of the Bithynian Apameia, and Demetrius of Pessinus. (Chrys. Epistol. cxlviii. Opera, vol. iii. p. 686, ed. Benedictin., p. 827, ed. Benedict. secund.) It was probably at this time that Palladius became acquainted with the monks of Rome and Campania. When some bishops and presbyters of Italy were delegated by the Western emperor Honorius, the pope, Innocentius I. [INNOCENTIUS], and the bishops of the Western Church generally, to protest to the Eastern emperor Arcadius against the banishment of Chrysostom, and to demand the assembling of a new council in his case, Palladius and his fellow-exiles returned into the East, apparently as members of the delegation. But their return was ill-timed and unfortunate: they were arrested on approaching Constantinople, and both delegates and exiles were confined at Athyra in Thrace; and then the four returning fugitives were banished to separate and distant places, Pailadius to the extremity of Upper Egypt, in the vicimty of the Blemmyes. (Dial. de Vita Chrysost. 100.4,19, pp. 30, &c., 192, &c.) Tillemont supposes that after the death of Theophilus of Alexandria, the great enemy of Chrysostom (A. D. 412), Palladius obtained some relaxation of his punishment, though he was not allowed to return to Helenopolis, or to resume his episcopal functions. He places in the interval between 412 and 420, when the Lausiac History was written, a residence of four years at Antinöe or Antinoopolis, in the Thebaid (100.81, vilas., 96, Bibl. Patr.), and of three years in the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem (100.63, Menrs., 103, Bibl. Patr.), as well as the visits which Palladius paid to many parts of the East. After a time he was restored to his bishopric of Helenopolis, from which he was translated to that of Aspona or Aspuna in Galatia (Socrat. 7.36): but the dates both of his restoration and his translation cannot be fixed: they probably took place after the healing of the schism occasioned by Chrysostom's affair, in A. D. 417, and probably after the composition of the Lausiac History, in A. D. 419 or 420. Palladius was probably dead before A. D. 431, when, in the third General (first Ephesian) Council, the see of Aspona was held by another person. He appears to have held the bishopric of Aspona only a short time, as he is currently designated from Helenopolis.


The works ascribed to Palladius are the following:

πρὸς Λαύσανα τὸν πραιπόστιον ἱστορία περιέχουσα βίους ὁσίων πατέρων, Ad Lausum Praepositum Historia, quae Sanctorum Patrum vitas complectitur, usually cited as Historia Lausiaca, the Lausiac History. This work contains biographical notices or characteristic anecdotes of a number of ascetics, with whom Palladius was personally acquainted, or concerning whom he received information from those who had known them personally. Though its value is diminished by the records of miracles and other marvels to which the author's credulity (the characteristic, however, of his age and class rather than of the individual) led him to give admission, it is curious and interesting as exhibiting the prevailing religious tendencies of the time, and valuable as recording various facts relating to eminent men. Sozomen has borrowed many anecdotes from this work, but without avowedly citing it. Socrates, who mentions the work (H. E. 4.23) describes the author as a monk, a disciple of Evagrius of Pontus, and states that he flourished soon after the death of Valens. The date, and the absence of any reference to his episcopal dignity, might induce a suspicion that the author and the bishop were two different persons; but the coincidences are too many to allow the casual and inaccurate notice of Socrates to outweigh them. The Lausus or Lauson (the name is written both ways, Λαῦσυς and Λαύσων), to whom the work is addressed, was chamberlain (πραιπόσιος τοῦ κοιτῶνος, praepositus culiculo), apparently to the Emperor Theodosias the Younger. The Historia Lausiaca was repeatedly translated into Latin at an early period. There are extant three ancient translations, one ascribed by Heribert Rosweyd, but improperly, to Rufmus, who died before the work was written; and two others, the authors of which are not known; beside a comparatively modern version by Gentianuis Hervetus. The first printed edition of the work was in one of the ancient Latin versions, which appeared in the infancy of the typographic art in the Vitae Patrum, printed three times without mark of year or place, or printer's name. It was reprinted in the Prototypus Veteris Ecclesiae of Theodoricus Loher a Stratis, fol. Cologn. 1547. The version ascribed by Rosweyd to Rufinus had also been printed many times before it appeared in the first edition of the Vitae Patrum of that editor, fol. Antwerp, A. D. 1615. The remaining ancient Latin version, with several other pieces, was printed under the editorial care of Faber Stapulensis, fol. Paris, 1504, under the following title: Paradysus Heraclidis (Panzer, Annal. Typ. vol. vii. p. 510), or more fully Heraclidis Eremitae Liber qui dicitur Paradisus, sen Palladii Galatae Historia Lausiaca. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol.x. p. 194.) The first edition of the Greek text, but a very imperfect one, was that of Meursius, who added notes, small 4to. Leyden, 1616. Another edition of the Greek text, fuller than that of Meursius, was contained in the Auctarium. of Fronto Ducaeus, vol. ii. fol. Paris, 1624, with the version of Hervetus, which had been first published 4to. Paris, 1555, and had been repeatedly reprinted in the successive editions of the Bibliotheca Patrum, the Vitae Patrum of Rosweyd, and elsewhere. The Greek text and version were reprinted from the Auctarium of Ducaeus, in the editions of the Bibliotheca Patrum, fol. Paris, 1644 and 1654. Our references are to the edition of 1654. Some additional chapters are given in the Ecclesiae Graecae Monumenta of Cotelerius, vol. 3.4to. Paris, 1686. It is probable that the printed text is still very defective, and that large additions might be made from MSS.


Διάλογος ἱστορικὸς Παλλαδίου Ἑλενουπύλεως γενόμενος πρὸς Θεόδωρον διάκονον ῾ρώμης, περὶ βίου καὶ πολιτείας τοῦ μακαρίου Ἰωάννου ἐπισκόπου Κωνσταντινοπύλεως τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου. Dialogus Historicus Palladii episcopi Helenopolis cum Theodoro ecclesiae Romanae diacono, de vita et conversatione Beati Joannis Chrysostomi, episcopi Constantinopolis. This inaccurate title of the work misled many into the belief that it was really by Palladius of Helenopolis, to whom indeed, not only on account of his name, but as having been an exile at Rome for his adherence to Chrysostom, it was naturally enough ascribed. Photius calls the writer a bishop (Bibl. cod. 96. sub init.), and Theodorus of Trimithus, a Greek writer of uncertain date, distinctly identifies him with the author of the Historica Lausiaca. A more attentive examination, however, has shown that the author of the Dialogus was a different person from the bishop, and several years older, though he was his companion and fellow-sufferer in the delegation from the Western emperor and church on behalf of Chrysostom, which occasioned the imprisonment and exile of the bishop. Bigotius thinks that the work was published anonymously; but that the author having intimated in the work that he was a bishop was mistakenly identified with Palladius, and the title of the work in the MS. given accordingly.


Latin Edition

The Dialogus de Vita S. Chrysostomi first appeared in a Latin version by Ambrosius Camaldulensis, or the Camaldolite, 8vo. Venice, 1532 (or 1533), and was reprinted at Paris and in the Vitae Sanctorum of Lipomannus, and in the Latin editions of Chrysostom's works.

Greek Editions

The Greek text was published by Emericus Bigotius, with a valuable preface and a new Latin version by the editor, with several other pieces, 4to. Paris, 1680, and was reprinted 4to. Paris, 1738.

Περὶ τῶν τῆς Ἰνδίας ἐθνῶν καὶ τῶν Βραγμάνων (

Tillemont, assuming that the author of the Dialogue was called Palladius, thinks he may have been the person to whom Athanasius wrote in A. D. 371 or 372. 3. Περὶ τῶν τῆς Ἰνδίας ἐθνῶν καὶ τῶν Βραγμάνων, De Gentibus Indiae et Braymanibus. This work is, in several MSS., ascribed to Palladius of Helenopolis, and in one MS. is subjoined to the Historia Lausiaca.

All that can be gathered from the work itself, is that the author was a Christian (passim), and lived while the Roman empire was yet in existence (p. 7, ed. Biss.), a mark of time, however, of little value, as the Byzantine empire retained to the last the name of Roman; and that he visited the nearest parts of India in company with Moses, bishop of Adula, a place on the borders of Egypt and Aethiopia. If this be the Moses mentioned by Socrates (H. E. 4.36) and Sozomen (H. E. 6.38), he lived rather too early for Palladius of Helenopolis to have been his companion, nor is there any reason to suppose that the latter ever visited India, so that the work De Gentibus Indiae is probably ascribed to him without reason.


It was first published with a Latin version, but without the author's name, in the Liber Gnomologieus of Joachimus Camerarius, 8vo. Leipsic, without date, according to Fabricius, but placed by Niceron (Mémoires, vol. xix. p. 1l2),in 1571.

It was again printed, and this time under the name of Palladius, together with "S. Ambrosius De Ambrosius Brachmanorum," and "Anonymus, De Bragmanibus" by Sir Edward Bisse (Bissaeus), Clarenceux King of Arms, 4to., London, 1665.

Some copies were printed on large paper in folio. The editor was evidently ignorant of the work having been published by Camerarius, and consequently gave a new Latin version, which is not considered equal to that of his predecessor.

The authorship of Palladius is doubted by Cave, and denied by Oudin. Lambecius (De Biblioth. Caesaraea, vol. v. p. 181, ed. Kollar) ascribes the work to Palladius of Methone. [No. 9.]

Work of St. Ambrose ascribed to Palladius

The supposed work of St. Ambrose, published by Bisse, is repudiated by the Benedictine editors of that father, and has been shown by Kollar to be a free translation of the work ascribed to Palladius.

Further Information

Cave, Hist. Litt. ad ann. 401, vol. i. p. 376, fol. Oxford, 1740-43; Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. vol. i. p. 727, vol. viii. p. 456, vol. x. p. 98, &c.; Oudin, Comment. de Scriptor. Eccles. vol. i. col. 908, &c.; Tillemont, Mémoires, vol. xi. p. 500, &c.; Vossius, De Historicis Graecis, lib. 2. c.19.

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