Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Flavianus (8), bp. of Constantinople

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search


Flavianus (8), 18th bp. of Constantinople, between Proclus and Anatolius, for about two or three years. He is described by Nicephorus as being at his election guardian of the sacred vessels of the great church of Constantinople, with a reputation for a heavenly life. At the time of his consecration Theodosius II. was staying at Chalcedon. Chrysaphius his minister immediately plotted against the new patriarch. Foiled in an attempt to extort a present of gold to the emperor for acknowledging his elevation, Chrysaphius, with the empress Eudocia for an ally, planned two methods of attack against Flavian—the direct subversion of the authority of the emperor's sister Pulcheria; and the support of Eutyches, to whom the archbishop was opposed. Pulcheria had devoted herself to a religious life; let the emperor order the prelate to ordain her a deaconess. Flavian, receiving the emperor's command to this effect, and beyond measure grieved, sent a private message to Pulcheria, who divined the scheme, and to avoid a struggle retired to Hebdomum, where for a time she led a private life (Theoph. u. infr.).

Flavian having assembled a council of 40 bishops at Constantinople Nov. 8, 448, to compose a difference between the metropolitan bp. of Sardis and two bishops of his province, Eusebius, bp. of Dorylaeum, appeared and presented his indictment against Eutyches. The speech of Flavian remains, concluding with this appeal to the bp. of Dorylaeum: "Let your reverence condescend to visit him and argue with him about the true faith, and if he shall be found in very truth to err, then he shall be called to our holy assembly, and shall answer for himself." For the particulars of this great controversy see Dioscorus and Eutyches. When, on Aug. 8, 449 the Latrocinium assembled at Ephesus, Eutyches violently attacked the archbishop.

On Aug. 11, 449, Flavian expired at Hypepe in Lydia from the effects of the barbarous ill-usage which resulted from this attack. When Pulcheria returned to power, after her brother's death, she had Flavian's remains, which had been buried obscurely, brought with great pomp to Constantinople. It was more like a triumph, says the chronicler, than a funeral procession.

Among the documents which touch on the career of Flavian are the reply of Petrus Chrysologus, archbp. of Ravenna, to a circular appeal of Eutyches, and various letters of Theodoret. Leo wrote Flavian a beautiful letter before hearing that he was dead.

Leo. Mag. Epp. 23, 26, 27, 28, 44; Facund, Pro Trib. Capit. viii. 5; xii. 5; Evagr. ii. 2. etc.; Liberatus Diac. Breviar. xi. xii.; Soz. H. E. ix. 1; Theophan. Chronogr. pp. 84-88, etc.; Niceph. Constant. xiv. 47.

[W.M.S.]