Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Helladius, bp. of Tarsus
Helladius (4), bp. of Tarsus c. 430, a disciple of St. Theodosius of Antioch, after whose death (c. 412) he presided over the monastery he had founded near Rhosus in Cilicia. Having spent 60 years in monastic life, he succeeded Marianus, bp. of the metropolitan see of Tarsus (Theod. Vit. Patr. c. 10). His episcopate illustrates the stormy period of the council of Ephesus. He was one of those who protested against commencing the council before the arrival of John of Antioch and the Oriental bishops (Baluz. Nov. Concil. Coll. p. 697), and he joined the opposition council (conciliabulum) presided over by John upon his arrival. He supported the counter-remonstrances addressed to the emperors by Nestorius (ib. 703), and his name is appended to the synodal letter to the clergy and laity of Hierapolis (ib. 705) and to that to John of Antioch and Theodoret and the other members of the Oriental deputation to Theodosius (ib. 725). Helladius steadily ignored the deposition of Nestorius and withheld all recognition of Maximian as his successor. John of Antioch wrote, commending his action (ib. 752, c. 48). When the rival leaders sought peace, Helladius kept aloof, and on the receipt of the six articles drawn up by John at a council at Antioch, which ultimately opened the way for reconcilation, he and Alexander of Hierapolis rejected the terms and all communion
with Cyril. He wrote to Alexander that, wearied by the struggle and sick at heart at the defection of his fellow-combatants, he longed to retire to a monastery, and was only restrained by his care for his flock (ib. 770, c. 68). The year 433 saw the concordat between Cyril and John confirmed, to the indignation of the irreconcilable party. A synod held by Helladius at Tarsus indignantly repudiated the "execrable agreement," and declared that the condemnation could not be removed from "the Egyptian" until he had "anathematized his own anathematisms." The firmness of Helladius rejoiced Alexander, who wrote that he intended to hold a synod himself, begging Helladius, whom he regarded as his leader, to attend it and sign its decrees (ib. 713, c. 110; 814, c. 111; 815, c. 114). Helladius with Eutherius of Tyana next drew up a long letter to pope Sixtus, giving their account of the council of Ephesus and begging him as a new Moses to save the true Israel from the persecution of the Egyptians. This was sent round to obtain the signatures of other bishops (ib. 817 sqq. c. 117). At this period we have a letter from Theodoret, complaining that Helladius refused to answer him and seemed to regard him as a deserter. Theodoret had. accepted Cyril's letter because he found it orthodox, but he would never desert Nestorius (ib. 813, c. 110). The resolution of Helladius now began to break down. The concordat was accepted by an increasing number of Oriental prelates and he was left more and more alone. John wrote to complain of his obstinacy (ib. 842, c. 140). Theodosius threatened to put the civil power in motion against him and the other recusants. He, Alexander, Theodoret, and Maximian were ordered to accept the concordat or resign their sees. All eventually yielded except Alexander. The quaestor Domitian and Theodoret both urged Helladius to submit (ib. 829, c. 125; 859, c. 160), and this was made easier by the death of Maximian, Apr. 12, 434, and the succession of the saintly Proclus (Socr. H. E. vii. 41). The orthodoxy of the new bishop was readily acknowledged by Helladius (Baluz. 850, c. 148), who, having determined on yielding, wrote to Alexander to explain his conduct (ib. 862, c. 164). Alexander bitterly reproached him with his weakness (ib. 863, c. 164), but the latter convoked the bishops of his province, whose synodical letters to Theodosius declared their complete acceptance of all required of them: admission of the decrees of the council of Ephesus, communion with Cyril, the ratification of Nestorius's sentence of deposition, and the anathematization of him and his adherents (ib. 887, c. 192). Helladius thus saved himself from deposition and exile at the expense of consistency. He had now to justify his conduct to Nestorius, whom he had repeatedly promised never to forsake. The task was no easy one; nor can we say that he fulfilled it with any honour to himself. He wrote Nestorius that though through men's evil deeds everything had turned out directly contrary to his prayers, his feeling towards him remained unchanged, and that, as he knew he was still struggling for true piety, he believed that he would joyfully endure all laid upon him, and that he hoped he might be reckoned with him at the last judgment, when his soul, tried by so many and great temptations, would shine forth. He excuses himself for joining Theodoret and those who had accepted the concordat, as the letters produced from Cyril were in perfect harmony with apostolical traditions (ib. 888, c. 193). Then Helladius passes from the history. The letters are printed by Chr. Lupus (Ep. Ephesinae, Nos. 68, 111, 114, 144, 154, 193) and by Baluze, Concil. Nov. Collect. in the Tragoedia Irenaei, cc. 68, 111, 114, 117, 130, 164, 192, 193. Tillem. Mém. t. xiv.; Le Quien, Or. Christ. t. ii, p 874; Cave, Hist. Lit. t. i. p. 418.