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MAXIMUS


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MAXIMUS


orthcKlox patriarch. Aftertho Ecthcsis h;ul been with- (Innvn, and the Type, Tvnos, svibstitvitod by the Em- peror Cinistans, St. Ma.\im\i.s was pre.senl at the great Lateral! council held by >St. Martin at his instance in t)49. He wrote from Rome (where he stayed some years): "The extremities of the earth, and all in every part of it who purely and rightly confess the Lord, look directly towards the mo.st holy Roman Church and iis confession and faith, as it were to a sun of un- failing hght, awaiting from it the bright radiance of the sacred dogmas of our Fathers, according to what the six inspired and holy councils ha\e purely and piously decreed, declaring most expressly the symbol of faitli. For from the coming down of the incarnate Word amongst us. all the Churches in every part of the world have held that greatest Church alone as their base and foundation, seeing that according to the promise of Christ our Saviour, the gates of hell do never prevail against it, that it has the keys of a right confession and faith in Him, that it opens the true and only religion to svich as approach with piety, and shuts up and locks every heretical mouth that speaks injus- tice against the Most High."

Pope Martin was dragged from Rome in 653, and died of ill treatment at Inkerman in March, 655. It was jirobably later in that year that an official named Gregory came to Rome to get Pope Eugene to receive the Type. He came to the cell of St. Maximus, who argued with him and denounced the Type. As the saint was recognized as the leader of the orthodox Easterns, he was sent to Constantinople at the end of 655 (not, as is commonly stated, at the same time as St. ^Ia^tin). He was now seventy-five years old. The acts of liis trials have been preserved by Anastasius Bibhothecarius. He was accused of conspiring with the usurper Gregory, together with Pope Theodore, and it was said that he had caused the loss to the empire of Egypt, Alexandria, Pentapolis, and Africa. He refused to communicate with the See of Constanti- nople, " because they have cast out the four holy coun- cils by the propositions made at Alexandria, by the Ecthesis and Ijy the Type . . . and because the dog- mas which they asserted in the propositions they damned in the Ecthesis, and what they proclaimed in the Ecthesis they annulled in the Type, and on each occasion they deposed themselves. What mysteries, I ask, do they celebrate, who have condemned them- selves, and have been condemned by the Romans and by the (Lateran) synod, and stripped of their sacer- dotal dignity?" He disbelieved the statement made to him that the envoys of the pope had accepted the confession of "two wills on account of the diversity and one will on account of the union ", and pointed out that the union not being a substance could have no will. He wrote on this account to his disciple the Abbot Anastasius, who was able to send a letter to warn " the men of elder Rome firm as a rock " of the deceitful confession which the Patriarch Peter was despatching to the pope. On the day of the first trial, a council of clergy was held, and the emperor was per- suaded to send Maximus to Byzia in Tlirace, and his disciples. Abbot Anastasius and Anastasius the papal apocrisiarius, to Perlieris and Mesembria.

They suffered greatly from cold and hunger. On 24 September, 656, Theodosius, Bishop of Caesarea in Bithynia, visited Maximus by the emperor's com- mand, accompanied by the consuls, Theodosius and Paul. The saint confounded his visitors with the authority of the Fathers, and declared that he would never accept the Type. The bishop then replied: " We declare to you in response that if you will com- municate, our master the emperor will annul the T\-pe." Maximus answered that the Ecthesis, though taken down, had not been disowned, and that the canons of the Lateran Council must be formally ac- cepted before he would communicate. The Byzantine bishop unblushingly urged: "The synod is invalid,


since it was heUl without the Emperor's orders." Maximus retorts: " If it is not pious faith but the order of the emperor that validates synods, let them accept the synods that were hckl against the Homocmsion at Tyre, at Antioch, at Seleucia, and the Robber council of Ephesus." The bishop is ready to consent to two wills and two operations: but St. Maximus says he is himself but a monk and cannot receive his declaration; the bishop, and also the emperor, and the patriarch and his synod, must send a supplication to the pope. Then all arose with joy and tears, and knelt down and prayed, and kissed the Gospels and the crucifix and the image of the Mother of God, and all embraced. But the consul doubted: "Do you think," he said "that the emperor will make a supplication to Rome?" "Yes", said the abbot, "if he will humble himself as God has humbled Himself." The bishop gave him money and a tunic; but the tunic was seized by the Bishop of Byzia. On 8 September, the abbot was honourably sent to Rhegium, and next day two patricians arrived in state with Bishop Theodosius, and offered the saint great honour if he would accept the Type and communicate with the emperor. Maxi- mus solemnly turned to the bishop and reminded him of the day of judgment. " What could I do if the emperor took another view?" whispered the misera- ble man. The abbot was struck and spat upon. The patrician Epiphanius declared that all now accepted two wills and two operations, and that the Type was only a compromise. Maximus reiterated the Roman view that to forbid the use of an expression was to deny it. Next morning, 19 September, the saint was stripped of his money and even of his poor stock of clothes, and was conveyed to Salembria, and thence to Perberis (Perbera).

Six years later, in 662, Maximus and the two Anas- tasii were brought to trial at Constantinople. They were anathematized, and with them St. Martin and St. Sophronius. The prefect was ordered to beat them, to cut out their tongues aiul lo|5 off their right hands, to exhibit them thus mutilated in every quar- ter of the city, and to send them to perpetual exile and imprisonment. A long letter of the Roman Anastasius tells us of their sufferings on the journey to Colchis where they were imprisoned in different forts. He tells us that St. Maximus foresaw in a vision the day of his death, and that miraculous lights appeared nightly at his tomb. The monk Anastasius had died in the preceding month; the Roman lived on until 666.

Thus St. Maximus died for orthodo.xy and obedience to Rome. He has always been considered one of the chief theological writers of the Greek Church, and has obtained the honourable title of the Theologian. He may be said to complete and close the series of patris- tic writings on the Incarnation, as they are summed up by St. John of Damascus. His style is unfortunately very obscure; but he is accurate in his thought and deeply learned in the Fathers. His exegetical works explain Holy Scripture allegorically. We have com- mentaries on Psalm lix, on the Lord's Prayer, and a number of explanations of different texts. "These are principally intended for the use of monks, and deal much with mystical theology. More professedly mys- tical are his "Scholia" on Rseudo-Dionysius, his ex- planations of difficulties in Dionysius and St. Gregory Nazianzen and his " Ambigua" on St. Gregory. This last work was translated into Latin by Scotus Erigena at the request of Charles the Bald. The polemical writings include short treatises against the Monophy- sites, and a more important series against the Mono- thelites, beside which must be placed the letters and the disputation with Pyrrhus. The numerous ascetical writings have always received great honour in Eastern monasteries. The best known is a beautiful dialogue between an abl^ot and a young monk on the spiritual life; there are also various collections of sententicE,