Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Gennadius (10), bp. of Constantinople
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Gennadius (10), bp. of Constantinople
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Gennadius (10), 21st bp. of Constantinople, 458–471. between Anatolius and Acacius. His first public appearance was in an attack on Cyril, in two works, c. 431 or 432, Against the Anathemas of Cyril, and Two Books to Parthenius. In the latter he exclaims, "How many times have I heard blasphemies from Cyril of Egypt? Woe to the scourge of Alexandria!" In 433 Gennadius was probably one of those who became reconciled with Cyril.
In 458 he was a presbyter at Constantinople and designated by Leo to fill the see as a man of spotless reputation, on whom no suspicion had ever breathed, and of holy life and conspicuous learning. From the beginning of his episcopate Gennadius proved his zeal for the Catholic faith and the maintenance of discipline. His discretion was before long tested. Timothy Aelurus, chased from the see of Alexandria by order of the emperor, had obtained leave to come to Constantinople, intending, by a pretence of Catholicism, to re-establish himself on his throne. Gennadius, urged by Leo, bp. of Rome, June 17, 460, did his utmost to prevent the voyage of Timothy, and to secure the immediate consecration of an orthodox prelate for Alexandria. All happened as Leo desired; Timothy Aelurus was banished to the Chersonese, and Timothy Solofaciolus was chosen bp. of Alexandria in his stead. An appointment which Gennadius made about this time, that of Marcian, who had been a Novatianist, but had come over to the orthodox church, to the important post of chancellor of the goods of the church of Constantinople, shewed his liberality, penetration, and desire for order. Two Egyptian solitaries told John Moschus a story which is also told by Theodorus Lector. The church of St. Eleutherius at Constantinople was served by a reader named Carisius, who led a disorderly life. Gennadius severely reprimanded him in vain. According to the rules of the church, the patriarch had him flogged, which was also ineffectual. The patriarch sent one of his officers to the church of St. Eleutherus to beg that holy martyr either to correct the unworthy reader or to take him from the world. Next day Carisius was found dead, to the terror of the whole town. Theodorus also relates how a painter, presuming to depict the Saviour under the form of Jupiter, had his hand withered, but was healed by the prayers of Gennadius.
Gennadius ordained Daniel the Stylite presbyter, as related in that saint's life, at the request of the emperor Leo, standing at the foot of the Pharos and performing the ceremonies there. The buying and selling of
holy orders was a crying scandal of the age. Measures had been taken against simony by the council of Chalcedon. In 459 or 460 Gennadius, finding the evil practice unabated, held a council at Constantinople to consider it. An encyclical was issued, adding anathema to the former sentence.
Gennadius died in 471, and stands out as an able and successful administrator, for whom no historian has anything but praise, if we except the criticism naturally aroused by his attack in his younger days against Cyril of Alexandria, an attack which the unmeasured language of Cyril perhaps excuses.
Gennadius wrote a commentary on Daniel and many other parts of O.T. and on all the epistles of St. Paul, and a great number of homilies. Of these only a few fragments remain. The principal are on Gen., Ex., Ps., Rom., I. and II. Cor., Gal., and Heb., and are interesting specimens of 5th-cent. exegesis. That on Romans, a series of explanatory remarks on isolated texts, is the most important. He fails to grasp the great central doctrine of the epistle, but shews thought and spiritual life. Gennadius, CP. Patr., Patr. Gk. lxxxv. p. 1611, etc.; Bolland. AA. SS. Aug. 25, p. 148; Ceillier, x. 343.