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Epiphanius of Salamis

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Saint Epiphanius
Epiphanius-Kosovo.jpg
Icon of St. Epiphanius (Gračanica monastery, Kosovo)
Bishop of Salamis (Cyprus), Oracle of Palestine
Born ca. 310-320, Judea
Died 403, at sea
Venerated in Eastern Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Roman Catholic Church
Feast May 12, 17 Pashons (Coptic Orthodox)
Attributes Vested as a bishop in omophorion, sometimes holding a scroll

Epiphanius (ca. 310–320 – 403) was bishop of Salamis and metropolitan of Cyprus at the end of the 4th century. He is considered a Church Father. He gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy. He is best known for composing a very large compendium of the heresies up to his own time, full of quotations that are often the only surviving fragments of suppressed texts, and for instigating, with Tychon (Bishop of Amathus), a persecution against the non-Christians living on Cyprus, and the destruction of most of their temples.

Ecclesiastical LifeEdit

He was born into a Christian family in the small settlement of Besanduk, which is near Eleutheropolis, [1] Palestine, and lived as a monk in Egypt, where he was educated and came into contact with Valentinian groups. He returned to Palestine around 333, when still he was still a young man, and he founded a monastery at Ad nearby [2] which is often mentioned in the polemics of Jerome with Rufinus and John, Bishop of Jerusalem. He was ordained a priest, and lived and studied as superior of the monastery in Ad that he founded for thirty years and gained much skill and knowledge in that position. In that position he gained the ability to speak in several tongues including Hebrew, Syriac, Egyptian, Greek, and Latin and was called by Jerome on that account Pentaglossis ("Five tongued").

His reputation for learning prompted his nomination and consecration as Bishop of Salamis, Cyprus [3] in 367. He was also the Metropolitan of the Church of Cyprus. He served as bishop for nearly forty years, as well as traveling widely to combat unorthodox beliefs. He was present at a synod in Antioch (376) where the Trinitarian questions were debated against the heresy of Apollinarianism. He upheld the position of Bishop Paulinus, who had the support of Rome, over that of Meletius of Antioch, who was supported by the Eastern Churches. In 382 he was present at the Council of Rome, again upholding the cause of Paulinus.

On 8 November 392, Theodosius I outlawed all non-Christian rituals, and ordered large-scale persecution of the non-Christians; together with Tychon, Epiphanius organised this persecution on Cyprus, destroying most of the temples on the island, and killing thousands of non-Christians.[citation needed] During a visit to Palestine in 394 he attacked Origen's followers and urged the Bishop of Jerusalem, John II, to condemn his writings. Origen's writings were eventually condemned at the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553. When Epiphanius was nearly 80, in 402, at the behest of Bishop Theophilus of Alexandria, the saint went to Constantinople to support Theophilus in his campaign against Saint John Chrysostom, and the four "Tall Brothers." When he realized he was being used as a tool by Theophilus against Saint John Chrysostom, who had given refuge to the monks persecuted by Theophilus and who were appealing to the emperor, Epiphanius started back to Salamis, only to die on the way home in 403.

WritingsEdit

His earliest known work is the Ancoratus (the well anchored man), which includes arguments against Arianism and the teachings of Origen.

His best-known book is the Panarion which means "medicine-chest" (also known as Adversus Haereses, "Against Heresies"), presented as a book of antidotes for those bitten by the serpent of heresy. Written between 374 and 377, it forms a handbook for dealing with the arguments of heretics.

It lists 80 heresies, some of which are not described in any other surviving documents from the time. While Epiphanius often let his zeal come before facts - he admits on one occasion that he writes against the Origenists based only on hearsay (Panarion, Epiphanius 71) - the Panarion is a valuable source of information on the Christian church of the fourth century. It is also an important source regarding the early Jewish gospels such as the Gospel according to the Hebrews circulating among the Ebionites, the Nazarenes as well as the followers of Cerinthus and Merinthus. [4]

The Panarion was only recently (1987 and 1990) translated into English.

Aside from the polemics by which he is known, Epiphanius wrote a work of biblical antiquarianism, called, for one of its sections, On Measures and Weights (περί μέτρων καί στάθμων). It was composed in Constantinople for a Persian priest, in 392.[5] The first section discusses the canon of the Old Testament and its versions, the second of measures and weights, and the third, the geography of Palestine. The texts appear not to have been given a polish but consist of rough notes and sketches, his modern editor, Allen A. Shaw, concluded; nevertheless Epiphanius' work on metrology was important in the History of measurement.

The collection of homilies traditionally ascribed to a "Saint Epiphanius, bishop" are dated in the late fifth or sixth century and are not connected with Epiphanius of Salamis by modern scholars.[6]

WorksEdit

  • The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Book I (Sects 1-46) Frank Williams, translator, 1987 (E.J. Brill, Leiden) ISBN 90-04-07926-2
  • The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Book II and III (Sects 47-80, De Fide) Frank Williams, translator, 1993 (E.J. Brill, Leiden) ISBN 90-04-09898-4
  • The Panarion of St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis Philip R. Amidon, translator, 1990 (Oxford University Press, New York) ISBN 01-95-06291-4

NotesEdit

  1. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book I (Sects 1-46) By Epiphanius, Epiphanius of Salamis, Translated by Frank Williams, 1987 ISBN 9004079262 p xi
  2. The more famous Monastery of Epiphanius near Thebes, Egypt was founded by an anchorite named Epiphanius towards the end of the sixth century; it was explored by an expedition from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1912-14.
  3. Salamis was also known as Constantia after Constantine II.
  4. Panarion, Epiphanius 30 iii 7
  5. Allen A. Shaw, "On Measures and Weights by Epiphanius" National Mathematics Magazine 11.1 (October 1936: 3-7).
  6. Alvar Erikson, Sancti Epiphani Episcopi Interpretatio Evangelorum (Lund) 1938, following Dom Morin.

External linksEdit

This article incorporates text from the entry Epiphanius of Salamis in Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, a publication now in the public domain.ca:Epifani I de Constànciako:에피파니우스la:Epiphanius (episcopus Salaminis) hu:Epiphanioszpt:Epifânio ro:Epifanie de Salamina ru:Епифаний Кипрский sr:Епифаније Кипарски fi:Epifanios sv:Epiphanius av Salamis uk:Святий Епіфаній

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