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On this page: Melete – Meletius



Melesippus to Athens, in the hope of effecting a negotiation ; but the Athenians would not even admit him to a hearing. (Thuc. i. 139—145, ii. 12.) [E.E.]

MELETE (M€\er^), the name of one of the Muses. (Pausanias, ix. 29. § 2 ; compare Mu- sae.) [L. S.]

MELETIUS (MeAeVtos), literary and ecclesias­tical.

1. Of antioch, an eminent Greek ecclesiastic of the fourth.century. He was born at Melitene, near the right bank of the Euphrates, in the dis­trict of Melitene, in Armenia Minor. His parents were persons of rank, at least of respectable condi­tion (Gregor. Nyssen. Oratio habit, in funere Mektii\ and he probably inherited from them an estate which he possessed in Armenia. (Basil. Epist. 187, editt. vett., 99, ed. Benedict.) His gentleness of disposition, general excellence of cha­racter, and persuasive eloquence, acquired for him a high reputation: but his first bishopric, that of Sebaste, in Armenia, in which he succeeded Eus-tathius [eustathius, No. 7], apparently after the latter had been deposed in the council of Meli­tene (a. d. 357), proved so troublesome, through the contumacy of his people, that he withdrew from his charge and retired to Beroea, now Aleppo in Syria, of which city, according to one rendering of a doubtful expression in Socrates, he became bishop. The East was at this time torn with the Arian contro­versy ; but the character of Meletius won the respect of both parties, and each appears to have regarded him as belonging to them, a result promoted by his dwelling, in his discourses, on practical rather than polemical subjects. According to Philostor-gius he feigned himself an Arian, and subscribed the Confession of the Western bishops, probably that of Ariminum ; and, according to Socrates, he subscribed the creed of the Acacians, at Seleuceia in a. d. 359. These concurrent testimonies fix on him the charge either of instability or dissimulation. Still his real tendency to the Hornoousian doctrine was known to or suspected by many ; and, there­fore, when, by the influence of.Acacius and the Arians, he was appointed to the see of Antioch (a. d. 360 or 361), all the bishops, clergy, and people of the city and neighbourhood, Arians and Orthodox, went out to meet him. Even the Jews and Heathens flocked to see a person who had al­ready attained so great celebrity. For a time, but apparently a very short time, he confined himself to practical subjects, avoiding or speaking ambi­guously on the doctrines in dispute between the contending parties, but presently gave more open indications of his adherence to the orthodox party. It was probably to draw out his sentiments more distinctly that lie was desired by the emperor Constantius to give an exposition of the passage, Prov. viii. 22. [georgius, No. 29.J He was preceded in the pulpit by George of Laodiceia and by Acacius of Caesareia, who gave explanations more or less heterodox ; and when Meletius in his turn came to speak, and avowed his adherence to the orthodox doctrine, a scene of great excitement ensued, the people applauding, and the Arians among the clergy, especially the archdeacon, at­tempting to stop his mouth. Determined now to get rid of him, the Arians charged him with Sa-bellianism, and persuaded the emperor to depose him and banish him, apparently on a charge either of perjury or of having violated the discipline of


the church, to his native country, Melitene, while Euzoius was appointed bishop of Antioch in his room (a. d. 361). This step led to an immediate and extensive schism: the orthodox party broke off from the communion of the Arians, and met in the church of the Apostles, in what was called the old town of Antioch. There had been a previous secession of the more zealous part of the orthodox on occasion of the deposition of Eustathius (a. d. 331), but the two seceding bodies remained separate, the Eustathians objecting that Meletius had been or­dained by Arians. On the accession of the emperor Julian Meletius returned to Antioch (a. d. 362), ; and the most earnest endeavours were made to re­concile the two sections of the orthodox party : but though the death of Eustathius seemed to present a fair opportunity for such reconciliation, all the, efforts made, were frustrated by the intemperate zeal of Lucifer of Cagliari [lucifer], who ordained Paulinus bishop of the Eustathiaris. Meanwhile, the Arians appear to have retained possession of most of the churches, the orthodox having one or two assigned for their use, of which, however, on the accession of the emperor Valens, they were de­prived, and Meletius was again (a. d. 365 ?) ba­nished from the city. According to Tillemont, who grounds his assertion on two passages of Gregory Nyssen (ibid.), Meletius was twice banished under Valens, or three times in all, which supposes a return from his first banishment under that prince. Gregory's assertion, however, is not cor­roborated by any of the ecclesiastical historians ; and we have no means of determining the dates of Meletius-s return and subsequent exile, if they really took place. Tillemont thinks he was recalled in a. d. 367 at latest, and places his last banish­ment in a. d. 371. During his exile his party were directed by Flavian and Diodorus. [FLA-vianus, No. 1 ; diodorus, No. 3.] He was recalled on the death of Valens a. d. 378, but the edict of Gratian, which recalled all those who were in exile, allowed the Arians (who had chosen Do-rotheus their bishop in the room of Euzoius, now deceased) to retain the churches which they occu­pied ; however they were after a time delivered up to Meletius, who again manifested his anxiety to heal the schism between his own party and the Eustathians ; but his equitable offers were rejected by his more tenacious rival Paulinus. In a. d. 381 Meletius was at Constantinople at the second general council, and died in that city during its session. His body was conveyed with great honour to Antioch, and deposited close to the tomb of the martyr Baby las. His funeral oration, pronounced by Gregory Nyssen, is extant. There is no reason to doubt the truth of the encomiums bestowed on the gentleness of his temper and general kindness of his disposition: that these very qualities, com­bined perhaps with indifference to the points in dispute, rendered him more pliant in the earlier part of his life than was consistent with strict in­tegrity, at least with consistency. But from the time of his elevation to the "see of Antioch, there is no need to doubt his consistent adherence to what he judged to be the truth. In the Western church, indeed, which, fraternized with the ultra party of the Eustathians, his reputation was lower : he was regarded as an Arian, and it was long before the imputation was removed. A short piece, ascribed to Athanasius, and published with his works (vol. ii. p. 30, ed. Benedict.),.. but the genuineness of

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