Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Basilius, bishop of Seleucia

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Basilius, bp. of Seleucia, in Isauria, and metropolitan, succeeded Dexianus, who attended the council at Ephesus, and therefore after 431. He is erroneously identified by Photius with the early friend of Chrysostom, who must have been considerably his senior (Tillemont, xv. p. 340). He is very unfavourably known from the vacillation he displayed with regard to the condemnation of Eutyches. He took a leading part in the council at Constantinople in 448, at which Eutyches was condemned; and the next year, when the fidelity of the acts of the council was called in question, was one of the commission appointed to verify them (Labbe, Concil. vol. iv. 182, 230). But at the "Robbers' Synod" held at Ephesus a few months later his courage gave way, and he acquiesced in the rehabilitation of Eutyches, and retracted his obnoxious language. Before long he returned to orthodoxy, and in 450 affixed his signature to the famous Tome of pope Leo, on the Incarnation. At the council of Chalcedon, 451, the imperial commissioners proposed his deposition, together with that of other prelates who had aided in restoring Eutyches. But Basil submitted, concurred in the condemnation of Eutyches, and his offence was condoned (ib. 553, 604, 787).

His extant works comprise 39 homilies (17 on O.T. and 22 on N.T. ), the titles and subjects being given by Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. lib. v. c. 19, 10. Four on John xi., published as his, prove to be the work of St. Chrysostom. A Homily on the Transfiguration was added to the series in the ed. of the Jesuit Dausqueius, in 1604. A prose work on The Life and Miracles of St. Thecla has been attributed to him; but not only does the style differ, and savour of a later age, but we learn from Photius that Basilius wrote St. Thecla's life in verse. Another supposititious work is the Demonstratio contra Judaeos, which appears in the Heidelberg ed. of 1596. Basil's homilies shew much oratorical power and skill in the use of figurative language. He does not lose sight of perspicuity, but overburdens his style with metaphors. He not unfrequently reminds us of Chrysostom, though greatly his inferior in power. His homilies were first pub. in Gk. by Commelin, Lugd. Bat. 1596, 8vo; and in Latin by Claud. Dausqueius, 1604, 8vo. They are in the Bibl. Patr. Colon. v. and Lugd. Bat. viii. 1677. They were also printed at the end of the works of Gregory Thaumaturgus, Paris, 1672, fol. (Phot. Cod. 168 ; Tillemont, Mém. eccl. xv. 340, seq. et passim; Cave Hist. Litt. 441).

[E.V.]