FIND in
<--prev V20 next-->

From: "Alex David Groce" <adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu>
Subject: (urth) Here's Severian
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 14:14:09 

I just sent the article to the online CE.  Here it is, for what it's worth
(doesn't suggest any new interpretations of BOTNS to me, but maybe I'm just not
being creative enough...)

Severian, Bishop of Gabala in Syria, flourished in the fourth and fifth
centuries.  Concerning his life before his episcopal consecration nothing has
come down to us.  He was regarded by his contemporaries as a good preacher, and
was known as the author of Biblical commentaries and sermons:  "Vir in divinis
Scripturis eruditis et in homiliis declamator admirabilis fuit" (Gennadius, "De
script. eccles.", xxi, in P. L., LVIII, 1073).  Posterity has preserved his
name on account of the prominent but regrettable role which he played in the
deposition and banishment of St. John Chrysostom.  Incited by the great
oratorical and financial success attained in Constantinople by his
fellow-Syrian, Antiochus, Bishop of Ptolemais, Severian came to the capital
about 400, provided with a series of Greek sermons.  Invited by Chrysostom to
preach, he succeeded, in spite of his strong Syrian accent, in winning the
approval of his hearers (Sozomen, "Hist eccl.", VIII, x).  Owing to the
strained relations between Chrysostom and the Empress Eudoxia, Severian had to
declare for one of the parties, and, since he allowed himself to be swayed by
personal interests, his choice was soon made.  Nevertheless, the unsuspecting
Chrysostom, when ecclesiastical affairs necessitated a journey into the
Province of Asia in 401, appointed his guest his representative for liturgical
functions.  Severian took advantage of Chrysostom's absence and was soon
engaged in open conflict with Serapion, archdeacon and administrator of the
ecclesiastical property and the episcopal palace, who remained true to
Chrysostom.  The resulting scandal and general excitement were so great that on
his return (401) Chrysostom requested Severian to return again to his diocese
(Socrates, "Hist. eccl.", VI, xi; the longer version, ibid. in P. G., LXVII,
731).  Eudoxia now interfered personally, and at her request Chrysostom allowed
Severian to return to Constantinople.  In this place Chrysostom delivered in
Severian's presence an address to the people (P. G., LII, 423 sqq.; Severian's
answer, ibid., 425 sqq.; cf. Socrates, "Hist. eccl.", VI, xi; Sozomen, VIII,
	The peace thus effected was not lasting.  Severian commenced anew his
intrigues, and at the Synod of the Oak was one of Chrysostom's most active
opponents.  He also signed the lampoon against Chrysostom which Theophilus of
Alexandria (q. v.) sent to Pope Innocent (Palladius, "Dialogus", III, in P. G.,
XLVII, 14).  He even ventured to proclaim to the people from the pulpit this
success of his party immediately after the first banishment of Chrysostom, and
to proclaim the removal of the archbishop a just punishment for his pride.
Rapid flight alone saved him from violence at the hands of the enraged populace
(Sozomen, VIII, xviii).  Shortly after Chrysostom's return from his first
exile, we find Severian with Acacius of Beroea and Antiochus of Ptolemais at
the head of the party opposed to the archbishop.  It was this party which on
the night of Easter Sunday, 404, incited the attack on the catechumens and
clerics of Chrysostom, and finally approached the emperor directly to procure
the final banishment of their hated opponent (Palladius, III, IX, loc. cit.,
14, 31 sqq.).  On the death of Flavian (404), the friend of Chrysostom, this
same triumvirate proceeded to Antioch, and, in defiance of justice and right,
consecrated in an underhanded fashion Porphyrius (Chrysostom's opponent) Bishop
of Antioch (Palladius, XVI, loc. cit., 54).  Thus ends Severian's role in
church history.  Of the later period of his life and activity, as little is
known as concerning the first period.  According to Gennadius (loc. cit.) he
died during the reign of Theodosius II (408-50).
	Writings.--(1) Sermons.--Of these the following are extant:  "Orationes
sex in mundi creationem" (P. G., LVI, 429-500); "Oratio de serpente, quem
Moyses in cruce suspendit" (ibid., 500-516); "In illud Abrahae dictum:  Pone
manum tuam sub femur meum, Gen., xxiv, 2" (ibid., 553-64); "De ficu arefacta"
(ibid., LIX, 585-90); "Contra Judaeos" (ibid., LXI, 793-802; cf. LXV, 29 sqq.);
"De sigillis librorum" (ibid., LXIII, 531-44); "In Dei apparitionem" (ibid.,
LXV, 26); "De pace" (ibid., LII, 425-28), completed by A. Papadopulos,
'xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx, I (St. Petersburg, 1891), 15-26; "De
nativitate Christi", edited under Chrysostom's name by Savile, VII, 307, but
attributed by Theodoret (Eranistes, III, in P. G., LXIII, 308) to Severian;
fifteen homilies in an Old Armenian translation, edited by J. B. Aucher,
"Severiani . . . homilae nunc primum editae ex antiqua versione armena in
latinum sermonem translatae" (Venice, 1827), of which no. 7 is the homily "In
Abrahae dictum: Gen., xxiv, 2, no. 13 "De ficu arefacta", and no. 10 the homily
of St. Basil on Baptism (P. G., XXXI, 423-44).  The Codex Ambrosianus of Milan,
c. 77 sup. (VII-VIII saec.) contains eighty-eigh "semones sancti Severiani";
the "Homilarium Lacense" (Berlin Cod. lat. 341) has addresses of Peter
Chrysologus under the name of "Severianus episcopus".  (2) The commentaries of
Severian are all lost; he had composed such on Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy,
Job, the Epsistles to the Romans, the Galatians, I Corinthians, II
Thessalonians, and the Colossians (cf. Cosmas Indicopleustes, "Topographica
christ.", I, vi, x, in P. G., LXXXVIII, 373, 417; Gennadius, "De script.
eccles.", xxi).
LUDWIG, Der hl. Joh. Chrysostomus in seinem Verhaltniss zum byzantin.  Hof
(Braunsberg, 1883), 51 sqq.; TILLEMONT, Memiores, XI (1706), 170-77, 587-89;
FABRICIUS-HARLES, Bibliotheca graeca, X, 507-11.


"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." - John 8:32
Alex David Groce (adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu)
Senior (Computer Science/Multidisciplinary Studies in Technology & Fiction)
'98-99 NCSU AITP Student Chapter President
608 Charleston Road, Apt. 1E (919)-233-7366

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

<--prev V20 next-->