Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Eustathius (22), bp. of Berytus

181300Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature — Eustathius (22), bp. of Berytus

Eustathius (22), bp. of Berytus (Beyrout), a time-serving prelate attached to the court, who kept steadily in view the aggrandizement and independence of his see of Berytus, then suffragan to Tyre. As a bishop of some consideration for theological knowledge, he was appointed commissioner, with Photius of Tyre and Uranius of Himera, by Theodosius II., a.d. 448, to examine the tenets of Ibas of Edessa, charged by the monastic party with favouring the Nestorian heresy. This commission, dated Oct. 26, 448, and addressed to Damasus, the secretary of state (Labbe, Conc. iv. 638), was opened at Berytus, Feb. 1, a.d. 449. In the residence of Eustathius, recently erected by him near his magnificent new church. Ibas indignantly disclaimed the blasphemies attributed to him, and produced a protest, signed by a large number of his clergy, that they had never heard him utter words contrary to the faith (ib. p. 637). The accusation broke down. But the investigation was revived a week or two afterwards at Tyre (ib. 635). Eustathius and his brother commissioners drew up a concordat, which was signed, Feb. 25, by Ibas and his accusers, and countersigned by Eustathius and Photius (ib. 632). At the second council of Ephesus, the disgraceful "Robbers' Synod," Aug. 8, 449, Eustathius, Eusebius of Ancyra, and Basil of Seleucia were the imperial commissioners (ib. 1079). Eustathius lent all his influence to Dioscorus and the dominant party against the venerable Flavian, voting for the rehabilitation of Eutyches and declaring that he had stated the true faith in perfect conformity to the doctrine of godliness (ib. 262). In 450, through the influence of pope Leo and his legates at Constantinople, Eustathius's name was erased from the diptychs of the church as an accomplice in Flavian's violent death. He and his associates, however, were allowed to retain their sees, in the hope that this leniency might lead them to repent (Leo Magn. Ep. 60). The feeble Theodosius II. being now replaced by the orthodox and vigorous Marcian, Eustathius found it politic to change his camp, and at the council of Chalcedon promptly abandoned Dioscorus, declaring his agreement in faith with Flavian, and with exaggerated expressions of penitence asking pardon for his share in the acts of the recent synod (Labbe iv. 141, 176, 177). The abject humiliation of Eustathius and his party prevailed with the orthodox bishops, who acquitted them as mere tools of Dioscorus and received them as brothers (ib. 508-509). At a later session of the council, Oct. 20, the issue between Eustathius and Photius of Tyre was discussed (ib. 539). As a reward for his support of the court party at the "Latrocinium," Eustathius had obtained from Theodosius a decree giving metropolitical rank to Berytus (Lupus, in Canon. 950). Flavian's successor Anatolius, together with Maximus of Antioch and other court bishops, had consequently, at the close of 449, dismembered the diocese of Tyre and assigned five churches to the formerly suffragan see of Berytus (Labbe, iv. 542-546). Photius, disregarding this, and continuing to consecrate bishops for these churches, was excommunicated by Anatolius, and the prelates he had consecrated were deposed and degraded by Eustathius (ib. 530). Photius submitted to this interference on the threat of deposition, protesting that he did so by constraint. The council supported him, maintained the ancient prerogatives of the metropolitical see of Tyre, and pronounced the acts of Eustathius void.

When in 457 the emperor Leo, anxious to give peace to the church of Alexandria, dealt with the intrusion of Timothy Aelurus, Eustathius was consulted, and joined in the condemnation of that intruding patriarch (ib. 890). The church built by Eustathius at Berytus is described by Zacharias Scholasticus as de mundi opificio. Tillem. Mém. eccl. xv.; Le Quien, Oriens Christ. ii. 818; Cave, Hist. Lit. i. 440.