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Seve'rus or Seve'rus Bar

2. Of ANTIOCH. An eminent leader of the Monophysites in the earlier part of the sixth century, whence he is designated HAERESIARCHA and ACEPHALUS (the Acephali, Ἀκέφαλοι, " the headless," were the stricter Monophysites, and were so called because they renounced the communion of Peter Mongus, the trimming head of their party), not to enumerate the other reproachful epithets heaped upon hint by the members of the orthodox Greek and Latin churches. As a compensation for all this abuse, it may be observed that he enjoys, to this day, the highest reputation among the Jacobites of Syria and other parts of the East. He was born at Sozopolis, a town of Pisidia, in Asia Minor ; and was in early life a pleader at Berytus in Syria, being at that time a heathen. He is charged by his adversaries with having practised magic (Evagrius, H. E. 3.33; Epistola Orthodoxor. Episcop. Orientalium, and Libellus Monachor. ad Mennam apud Concil. vol. v. col. 40, 120, 121, ed. Labbe). Having, however, embraced Christianity and been baptized in the church of St. Leontius, the Martyr, at Tripolis in Syria, he quitted the bar and devoted himself to a monastic life, in a monastery of Palestine, between Gaza and its port Maiuma. He appears to have embraced the Monophysite doctrine almost immediately after his conversion; for he is charged (Libellus Monachor. l.c.) with renouncing, before the days of his baptism were complete, the church into which he had been baptized; " calling the holy temples of God receptacles of heresy and impiety " (ibid.). It is probable, and indeed Theophanes distinctly asserts it (Chronog. p. 241, ed. Bonn.), that the monastery to which he withdrew, was a monastery of the Monophysites; and it was there that he met with Peter the Iberian, bishop of Gaza, a strenuous Monophysite and a follower of Timotheus Aelurus [TIMOTHEUS], whose banishment he had shared. Severus was so earnest a Monophysite that he rejected the Henoticon of the emperor Zeno [ZENO], and anathematized Peter Mongus, the more moderate Monophysite patriarch of Alexandria [PETRUS, literary and ecclesiastical, No. 22.], because he received the Henoticon (Liberat. Breviar. 100.19). Severus ridiculed the emperor's edict in his writings, calling it not the " Henoticon" (ἑνωτικόν, " edict of union"), but Kenoticon (κενωτικόν, " edict of vanity"), and Diaereticon (διαιρετικόν, " edict of disunion"). From his monastery in Palestine, Severus appears to have removed to another monastery in Egypt, of which Nephalius was abbot. Possibly his ultra opinions had rendered him a dangerous or a disagreeable inmate of his Palestinian monastery and he hoped to find a more cordial welcome or a securer shelter with Nephalius. In this hope he was disappointed : Nephalius embraced the side of Council of Chalcedon, and Severus and others were expelled from the monastery (Evagr. l.c.). Hereupon he fled to Constantinople, to plead his own cause and that of his fellow-sufferers; and in this way became known to the emperor Anastasius, who had (A. D. 491) succeeded Zeno. Severus is charged (Libellus Monachor. l.c.) with exciting troubles in the city of Alexandria, and occasioning the burning of many houses and the slaughter of many citizens, though the city had afforded him a shelter " in his adversity :" but it is difficult to fix the time to which these charges refer. If he was in Alexandria after leaving the monastery in Palestine, and before entering that of Nephalius, the expression " in his adversity " intimates that he had been diven from his monastery in Palestine : but it is not unlikely that the disturbances at Alexandria may have been consequent on his expulsion and that of his fellow-monks by Nephalius ; and the term "his adversity" may be understood as referring to that expulsion.

In what year Severus went to Constantinople, or how long he abode there, is not clear. Tillemont places his arrival in A. D. 510; but he probably relied on a passage in Theophanes (Chronoy. ad A. M. 6002) which is ambiguous. The fellow-monks for whom Severus came to plead, were partisans of Peter Mongus [PETRUS, No. 22.]; and Severus, because he had formerly anathematized Peter, was reproached with inconsistency in taking their part (Liberat l.c.). He appears to have been at Constantinople, A. D. 512; when, in consequence of the disturbances, excited on account of Flavian, patriarch of Antioch [FLAVIANUS, Ecclesiastics, No. 2.], that prelate was deposed and banished to Petra in Idumaea (Evagr. H. E. 3.32), and Anastasius eagerly seized the opportunity afforded by this vacancy to procure the appointment of Severus to the patriarchate. The appointment was most offensive to the orthodox party. Whether Anastasius or Severus took any steps to abate its offensiveness is not clear. A letter of Epiphanius, archbishop of Tyre, and some other prelates to the synod of Constantinople states it as a matter of common report, vet with a cautious expression of doubt as to its truth, that Severus, before his consecration as patriarch, renounced the ordination to the office of presbyter, which he had received when among the Monophysites. This renunciation, if it really took place, implies that he was re-ordained to the priesthood by some orthodox prelate. Theodore Anagnostes or Lector (Hist. Eccles. 2.31) states, on the authority of Joannes Diacrinomenus, or John the Dissenter [comp. JOANNES, literary and ecclesiastical, No. 2.], that Anastasius obliged Severus to swear that he would not anathematize the Council of Chalcedon (comp. Synodicon, apud Fabric. Biblioth. Graec. vol. xii. p. 401, and apud Concilia, vol. iv. col. 1414); but that Severus on the very day of his consecration, which appears to have taken place at Antioch, yielded to the urgent solicitations of his Monophysite friends, and, ascending the pulpit, publicly anathematized the Council, and afterwards (A. D. 413) obtained the confirmation of the anathema by a council which he assembled at Antioch (Synodicon, l.c.). He anathematized Macedonius, the deposed patriarch of Constantinople [MACEDONIUS, No. 4.], and his own predecessor at Antioch, Flavianus. But he accepted the Henoticon of Zeno, and declared himself to be in communion with Timotheus and Joannes, or John III., the patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria; and restored to the diptychs the name of Peter Mongus [PETRUS, No. 22.], whom he had once anathematized. At the same time he received into communion Peter the Iberian, his old comrade in the monastery in Palestine, who had retained the more rigid Monophysite views which had marked the early years of Severus himself, and continued out of communion with the more moderate Monophysites of Alexandria who had received the Henoticon. In fact, from the time of his going to Constantinople, Severus's policy appears to have been to unite all the Monophysites, whether moderates or ultras, into one great body, and to resist the orthodox or supporters of the Council of Chalcedon, by whom his appointment was not recognized, and against whom, if the representations of his opponents may be believed, he directed a fierce persecution with atrocious cruelty (Relatio Archimandritarum Syriae apud Concil. vol. iv. coll. 1461, 1462; Libell. Monachor. l.c.; Supplicatio Clericor. Antioch. and Epistola Epiphanii Tyrii, apud Concilia, vol. v. col. 157, 194, &c.). He is especially charged, in conjunction with Peter of Apameia, with having engaged a " band of Jewish robbers," and placing them in ambush for a company of three hundred and fifty of the orthodox, who were all slain, and their limbs left unburied and scattered about the road. Many of the bishops of Severus's patriarchate fled from their sees, others were banished, and others apparently were compelled to conceal their real sentiments. Elias I., patriarch of Jerusalem [ELIAS, No. 1.], was deposed, and the Monophysite party became triumphant in most parts of the East. Their triumph indeed was not complete, nor of long duration. Some bishops of Severus's own patriarchate renounced communion with him : two of them, Cosmas of Epiphaneia, and Severianus of Arethusa, had the audacity to send to him a document declaring him deposed; and so strongly were they supported by the people of their dioceses, that the emperor, who had sentenced them to banishment for their contumacy, was obliged to leave them in possession of their sees, finding he could not remove them without bloodshed (Evagr. H. E. 3.34). The patriarch of Jerusalem who succeeded Elias, prompted by the Anachorets Saba [SABA] and Theodosius, adhered to the orthodox faith, which was also supported by the pope and the Roman Church. Still, notwithstanding this opposition, the Monophysites having men of their own party in the patriarchal sees of Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople, possessed a decided superiority. But the accession of Justin I., who adhered to the Council of Chalcedon [JUSTINUS I.], occasioned their overthrow; for in the balanced state of parties, and the servility or timidity of the ecclesiastics and people, the predominance of one side or the other depended on the individual filling the imperial throne. While the heretical Anastasius survived, heresy was in the ascendant; it succumbed to orthodoxy, on the accession of the orthodox Justin. Another circumstance which, perhaps, conduced to the overthrow of the Monophysites, was the re-action occasioned in many minds by their abuse of their pre-eminence. Among those who were thus led to return to the orthodox faith was Mamas, abbot of the convent near Gaza, under whom Severus had passed the earlier part of his monastic life. Early in the reign of Justin I. [JUSTINUS I.], that emperor, at the instigation perhaps of Vitalian, commanded that Severus should be deposed and apprehended : according to some accounts he ordered his tongue to be cut out, and he was anathematized in a council held at Constantinople (A. D. 518). Severus, however, eluded the emperor's severity; and taking ship at Seleuceia, the port of Antioch, fled with Julian bishop of Halicarnassus, to Alexandria (A. D. 518 or 519). Paul was chosen patriarch of Antioch in his room (Evagrius, H. E. 4.4) : and the change was followed by the secession from the church of the followers of the deposed patriarch, and by the pronouncing, in various ecclesiastical councils, of anathemas upon him (Concilia, vol. iv. col. 1673 ; Liberat. Breriar. 100.19). Meanwhile Severus remained at Alexandria, protected by the patriarch Timotheus : and, as if it was his destiny to be the troubler of the Church, he and his fellow-exile Julian started the controversy on the corruptibility of Christ's human body before the resurrection, Severus affirming, and Julian denying, that it was corruptible; the patriarch Timotheus rather inclined to the side of Severus. After the death of Justin, and the accession of Justinian I., the prospects of Severus became more favourable ; for although the new emperor himself [JUSTINIANUS I.] supported the Council of Chalcedon, his empress Theodora favoured the Monophysite party, and by her influence Severus obtained the emperor's permission to return to Constantinople (Evagrius. l.c.). On his arrival, Severus found that Anthimus, who had just obtained the patriarchate of Constantinople, A. D. 535, was a Monophysite, and he prevailed on him to avow his sentiments. Timotheus of Alexandria was a Monophysite also, and the avowal of that obnoxious heresy by the heads of the church, naturally excited the alarm of the orthodox party. Anthimus and Timotheus were both deposed; and in the councils of Constantinople and Jerusalem (A. D. 536), and in an imperial edict, Severus was again anathematized ; his writings also were ordered to be burned. These decisive measures secured the predominance of the orthodox : and Evagrius boasts that the church remained from thenceforth united and pure. But this result was obtained by the separation of Monophysites, and the formation of the great Jacobite schismatical churches of Egypt and the East, by whom Severus has been ever regarded as, to his death, legitimate patriarch of Antioch. Some authorities state that Severus was compelled through the interference of Pope Agapetus (A. D. 535, 536) to leave Constantinople and return to Alexandria. The date of his death is uncertain : Joannes, bishop of Tela, his contemporary, in his Liber Directionum (apud Assemani, Biblioth. Orient. vol. ii. p. 54) places it in the year of the Greeks, i. e. the Seleucidae, 849 = A. D. 538; the Chronicon of Gregorius Bar Hebraeus, or Abulpharagius (apud eundem, p. 321), in the year of the Greeks 850= A. D. 539; and Assemani himself (ibid. note), in A. D. 542. It is said to have taken place at Alexandria, where he lurked in the disguise of a monk. The Jacobites recognize Sergius as his successor in the patriarchate. (Marcellinus, Chronicon Victor Tunnunensis, Chronicon ; Theophanes, Chronog. pp. 130-142. ed. Paris, pp. 104-113, ed. Venice, pp. 233-255, ed. Bonn; Evagrius, H. E. ll. cc.; Concilia, ll. cc.; Liberatus, Brexiarium Caussae Nestorianorum et Eutychianorum, 100.19; Nicephorus Callisti H. E. lib. 16.29-32, 34, 45, 17.2, 8, 9, 18.45, 49, 50; Cave, Hist. Litt. ad ann. 513, vol. i. p. 499; Tillemont Mémoires, xvi. pp. 632, &100.709, &c.; Le Quien, Oriens Christianus, vol. ii. col. 730; Abulpbaragius, Hist. Dynastiarnm, pp. 93, 94 of Pococke's Latin Version, 4to. Oxon, 1663; L'Art de vérifier lcs Dates, 8vo. Paris, 1818, vol. iv. p. 16, &c.)

That Severus was a man of indomitable courage and perseverance is obvious from his history. He was, in fact, the leader of the Monophysite party, and may be regarded as the principal author of the great Jacobite schism. His career was consistent, and, to all appearance, guided by integrity : and if lie largely partook of the bitter and uncharitable temper which the religious struggles of his day had generated, the general prevalence of his fault may be pleaded as extenuating the guilt of the individual. To which it must be added, that we know Him almost entirely from the representations of his opponents. His life was written by a contemporary ; but the work is lost, and is known to us only in the citations and references of Evagrius (H. E. 3.33), and Liberatus (Breriar. 100.19). A life of Severus in Syriac was noticed by Assemani among the MSS. of the Syriac convent of St. Mary, at Scete in the desert of Nitria, in Egypt, but it is not certain if it was the life of Severus of Antioch. (Assemani, Bibl. Orient. vol. iii. part 1, p. 19). Some statements of very doubtful credit, made by the Nestorians respecting him, are given by Assemani (ibid. p. 334, &c.).


Of the numerous works of Severus only fragments remain. There are citations from him in various Catenae in Genesim, in Jobum, in Esaiam, in Matthaeum, in Lucam, in Joannem, in Acta Apostolorum et Catholicas Epistolas (Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. viii. pp. 646, 664, 676, 679, 684, 695, 696, vol.x. p. 616); and on the ground, apparently, of these citations, Fabricius (vol. x. p. 616) ascribes to him,

1. on these various books of Scripture, though the extracts may be from his

or some of his other works. A Commentary on the Psalms is indeed mentioned by Gregorius Bar Hebraeus or Abulpharagius (Cave, Hist. Litt. p. 501), and a work, probably a Commentary, on St. Luke's Gospel, is cited in a Coislin MS. ( Montfauc. Bibl. Coislin. p. 54). Montfaucon published (Biblioth. Coislin. p. 63), under the name of Severus, and under the impression that it had never before been printed, a fragment, which he entitled Severi Archiepiscopi Antiocheni Concordantia Exangelistarum, circa ea quae in Sepulcro Domini contigerunt : item de Sabbatis et de Varietate Exemplarium S. Marci Exangelistae : but the fragment has been identified with a piece previously published among the works of Gregory of Nyssa, ed. Paris, A. D. 1615 and 1638 [GREGORIUS NYSSENUS], to whom, however, it does not belong; and A. D. 1648, again in the Auctarium Norum of Combéfis, by whom it was more correctly ascribed to Hesychius of Jerusalem [HESYCHIUS, No. 7]. How the piece came to be ascribed to Severus is discussed by Galland in the Prolegomena (100.3) to vol. xi. of his Bibliotheca Patrum, in which the piece is reprinted. An extract from a work of Severus is given under the title of Ἀπόκρισις, Responsum, to the question, Πῶς νοητέον τὴν τοῦ Κυρίον τριήμερον ταφὴν καἰ ἀνάστασιν; Quomodo sit intelligenda triduana Domini sepultura et resurrectio ? was given in the Quaestiones (Qu. lii) of Anastasius Sinaita [ANASTASIUS SINAITA, No. 3]; and was published by Gretser in his edition of that work. Fabricius has inaccurately confounded this extract with the fragment published by Montfaucon.

2. Severus wrote a vast number of Λόγοι, Λόγος ρξ́,

is cited in a MS. Catena in Prophetas Majores et Minores, in the King's Library at Paris (Montfaucon, l.c. p. 53), and there may have been many more than that number.

Many of these Sermones are extant in MS. in a Syriac version, by Jacobus of Edessa [JACOBUS, No. 8] and others (Assemani, Biblioth. Oriental. vol. i. p. 494). Of the Λόγοι of Severus some were designated Ἐνθρονιαστικοί, Inaugurales ; and a fragment of one of these was published by Le Quien, in his edition of the works of Joannes Damascenus (vol. i. p. 504), by whom it was cited in the Appendix to his Letter or Tract Περὶ τῶν άγίων νηστειῶν De Sanctis Jejuniis [DAMASCENUS, JOANNES]. Another citation from a discourse of Severus, entitled Homilia de Epithronio, appears in the Latin version by Masius of the Paradisus of Moyses Bar Cepha (Assemani, Biblioth. Orient. vol. ii. p. 129), published first at Antwerp, A. D. 1569, and reprinted in various editions of the Bibliotheca Patrum (vol. vi. ed. Paris, 1575, vol. i. ed. Paris, 1589 and 1654, vol. x. ed. Cologne, 1618, and vol. xvii. ed. Lyons, 1677). The polemical works of Severus, as might be expected from his character and position, were numerous. Citations are extant in MS. from his writings.

3. Κατὰ τοῦ Γραμματικοῦ, or Κατὰ Ἰωάννου τοῦ γραμματικοῦ τοῦ Καισαρέως,

in three books at least, written while in exile at Alexandria, after his deposition (Anast. Sinait. Hodegus, s. Viae Dux, 100.6.).

4. Κατὰ Φιλικισσίμου,

in four books at least.

5. Πρὸς Ἰονλιανὸν Ἀλικαρνασέα,

in several books, or more probably several successive works; from this work a short passage is quoted by Photius (Bibl. Cod. 225).

6. Κατὰ Ἀλεχάνδρου, or Κατὰ κωδικίλλων Ἀλεχάνδρου,

in several books.

7. Κατὰ τῆς διαθήκης Λαμπετίου,

i. e. the work of Lampetius the Massalian, entitled Διαθήκη, which, as well as the reply of Severus, is noticed by Photius (Biblioth. Cod. 52). Severus wrote this work before his elevation to the Patriarchate. Severus wrote also two works against the Council of Chalcedon : one,

8. Τὰ Φιλαλήθη, or rather Φιλαλήθης,

(comp. Anastas. Sinait. l.c.).

9. in defence of the former, under the title of ,

Perhaps the Φιλαλήθης is only another title for No. 3.

10. Fabricius mentions a work of Severus in eight books, if not more, Περὶ τῶν δύο φυδέων,

but does not cite his authority. Of the other works of Severus the principal were,

11. his ᾿Επιστολαί,

of which Montfaucon enumerates nearly sixty, without including those to the Emperor Justinian and the Empress Theodora, and to the patriarch Theodosias of Alexandria, cited by Evagrius (H. E. 4.10) and Nicephorus Callisti (H. E. 17.8), the Συνοδικά, Synodica, or Ἐπιστολαὶ συνοδικαί, Epistolae Synodicae, or Ἐπιστολαὶ ἐνθρονιστικαί, Epistolae Inaugurales, issued by him on his promotion to the patriarchate, in which he anathematized the council of Chalcedon, and all who supported the doctrine of the two natures of Christ. (Evagr. H. E. 3.33, 34 ; Niceph. Callist. H. E. 17.2.) Of his other works the following are cited in various MSS. :

12. Υ̓πακοὴ εἰς τοὺς μάρτυρας,

or simply Υ̓πακοή, Hypacöe.

13. Πρὸς Ἀναστάσιον διάλογος,

14. Πρὸς Εὐπράξιον κουβικουλάπιον ἀποκρίσεις,

15. Εἰς τὸ "ἅγιος Θεὸς," σύνταγμα, ""

16. Βίβλος τῶν ὑποσημειμθέντων ἰδιοχείρως διαφόπων κεφαλακ́ων, of which Joannes Damascenus cites a passage in the
to his

(Le Quien's ed. l.c.).

Other Works

Several citations of the works of Severus are given in the Hodegus s. Dux Viae of Anastasius Sinaita, and by Photius (Biblioth. Cod. 230) and in the Concilia ; but they are chiefly, if not wholly, from his Sermones and Epistolae..

A work, Liber de Ritibus Baptismi et Sacrae Synaxis apud Syros receptis, published in Syriac, with a Latin version, 4to. Antwerp, 1572, under the name of Severus, patriarch of Alexandria 1, is ascribed in some MSS. to our Severus; and Cave inclines to assign it to him. Dionysius Bar Salibi, a Syriac writer, cites a work of "Severus patriarcha oecumenicus," which he entitles Canticum Crucis (Assemani, Bibl. Orient. vol. ii. p. 205).

Further Information

The works of Severus are enumerated imperfectly by Cave (Hist. Litt. ad ann. 513, vol. i. p. 499, and more fully by Montfaucon (Biblioth. Coislin. p. 53, &c.), and Fabricius (Biblioth. Graec. vol. x. p. 616, &c.)

1 * The Severus of Alexandria, to whom this Liturgy is ascribed, is apparently Severus surnamed Bar Maschi, who lived in the tenth century after the Saracen conquest had superseded both the Greek government and the Greek language in Egypt; so that he comes not within the limits of our work.

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