Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Zoaras

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Zoaras (2), a turbulent Monophysite Syrian monk, a zealous adherent of Severus, associated with him and Peter of Apamea in the petitions of the orthodox clergy of Syria to the council of Constantinople under Mennas, a.d. 536, as leaders of the Monophysite heresy, and condemned with them by the synod. He became a Stylite. On being driven after several years from his pillar by the orthodox party (the "Synodites"), he started for Constantinople with ten of his monks to complain to Justinian, who hastily summoned a synod to give him audience. Zoaras uncompromisingly denounced "the accursed council of Chalcedon." This greatly irritated Justinian, who rebuked him for his presumption. Zoaras in no measured terms denounced the emperor for his support of heresy. A monastery in the suburb of Sykas was assigned as a residence to him and his followers by the emperor, where he lived quietly, exercising great liberality. The embassage of Agapetus, patriarch of Rome, with whom Zoaras held a very stormy encounter which resulted in the deposition of the patriarch Anthimus as a concealed Monophysite and the appointment of Mennas, a.d. 536, caused an outbreak of orthodox fury against Zoaras and his followers. In the various "libelli" presented to the synod under Mennas he and his heresy are denounced in no measured terms. He is described as a leader of the Acephali (Labbe, v. 108). He had been already condemned and excommunicated by Anthimus's predecessor Epiphanius (ib. 251). Mennas and his synod repeated the condemnation, and Justinian banished Zoaras from Constantinople and its vicinity, and from all the chief cities of the empire, charging him to live in solitude. According to the biography in Land, however, Justinian assigned him a monastery in Thrace, named Dokos, 30 miles away. Here Theodorus, the Monophysite patriarch of Alexandria, was living and propagating his doctrines. The length of Zoaras's residence here is uncertain. After a time he left Thrace, and after some years died, leaving as his successor his disciple the presbyter Ananias. Assem. Bibl. Or. ii. 58, 235; Land, Anecdot. Syr. ii. 12–22; Bar-heb. Chron. Eccl. ed. Abbeloos, i. pp 206-208; Labbe, v. 108, 254, 267.

[E.V.]