Severus thus became the head of the Syrian Monophysites. His character is drawn by his enemies, probably not without reason, in the blackest colours. He had been originally a pagan, and he appears to have been a restless and ambitious man, proud, cunning, and malignant, but learned, and a subtle controversialist. He commenced his episcopal career with the most violent measures against those bishops and priests in his diocese who were favourers of the council of Chalcedon. Those who had ventured to oppose him, such as Epiphanius bishop of Tyre, Julian of Bostra, and Peter of Damascus, were obliged to take refuge from his resentment in Palestine and other parts that were beyond the reach of his jurisdiction. Elias bishop of Jerusalem was celebrated for his firmness in the orthodox creed. He called together the bishops of his party and anathematized Anastasius and Severus, and all who followed their opinions, thus drawing upon himself the full resentment of the emperor. Sabas, in company with others of the monks of Palestine, repaired to Constantinople, to expostulate, and he was treated with great respect by Anastasius, "who," to use the words of the old historian, "although he had been led astray by wicked advisers, was still a great lover of
collected from Evagrius, Hist. Eccl. lib. iii. Eutychius, p. 141. tom. ii. Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alexand. p. 129. Cyril. in Vit. S. Sabæ, p. 308. (Cotelier, tom. ii.) Severus was a native of Sozopolis.