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Religious figures biography (25)


St. Nestor

d.c. 304, feastday: October 8 (Catholic). Martyr. He was executed at Thessalonika under Emperor Diocletian, although the account of his martyrdom is considered dubious in its details.

St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki

St. Abundius

d. 469, Feastday: April 2

St. Aristarchus

d. 1st century, feastday: August 4

St. Domninus

d.c. 304, feastday: March 30

St. Porphyrius

Bishop of Gaza in Palestine, b. at Thessalonica about 347; d. at Gaza, 26 February, 420. After five years in the Egyptian desert of Scete he lived five years in a cave near the Jordan. In spite of his impaired health, he frequently visited the scene of the Resurrection. Here he met the Asiatic Mark, at a later date a deacon of his church and his biographer. To effect the sale of the property still owned by Porphyrius in his native city, Mark set out for Thessalonica and, upon his return, the proceeds were distributed among the monasteries of Egypt and among the necessitous in and around Jerusalem. In 392 Porphyrius was ordained to the priesthood, and the relic of the Holy Cross was intrusted to his care. In 395 he became Bishop of Gaza, a stronghold of paganism, with an insignificant Christian community. The attitude of the pagan population was hostile so that the bishop appealed to the emperor for protection and pleaded repeatedly for the destruction of pagan temples. He finally obtained an imperial rescript ordering the destruction of pagan sanctuaries at Gaza. A Christian church was erected on the site of the temple of Marnas. In 415 Porphyrius attended the Council of Diospolis. The "Vita S. Porphyrii" of Mark the Deacon, formerly known only in a Latin translation, was published in 1874 by M. Haupt in its original Greek text; a new edition was issued in 1895 by the Bonn Philological Society.

N.A. Weber, ed.
Transcribed by: Kenneth M. Caldwell
This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Isidore of Thessalonica

  Cardinal and sometime Metropolitan of Kiev or Moscow, b. at Thessalonica (Saloniki) towards the end of the fourteenth century; d. at Rome, 27 April, 1463. He was one of the chief Eastern defenders of reunion at the time of the Council of Florence. The date of his birth is unknown, nor is his nationality certain. He has been variously described as a Bulgar and a Greek. In any case all his education was Greek. He arrived at Constantinople, became a monk, and was there made hegumenos of the monastery of St. Demetrius. He had evidently received an unusually complete education: he knew Latin well, and had considerable fame as a theologian. He was also an accomplished orator; he seems from the beginning to have been eager for reunion with the West. It was the time when the Court of Constantinople, on the eve of its final destruction by the Turks, was considering the chance of rescue from the Western princes as a result of reuniting with Rome. In 1434 Isidore was sent to Basle by Emperor John VIII (1425-48) as part of an embassy to open negotiations with the Council of Basle. Here he made a mellifluous speech about the splendour of the Roman Empire at Constantinople. On his return he continued to take part in all the preparations for reunion among his own people. In 1437 he was sent by the Byzantine patriarch (Joseph II, 1416-39, a conspicuous friend of reunion, who died a Catholic at Florence) to be Metropolitan of Moscow (or was his title Kiev? He is constantly called Bishop of Kiev, though he certainly went to Moscow and stayed there. They were two separate sees. Kiev was the old metropolis of Russia. Moscow was made so about this time). As soon as he arrived he began to arrange a Russian legation for the council about to be held at Ferrara. The Russian tsar, Vasili II (1425-62), made difficulties about this, and let him go eventually only after he had promised to come back with "the rights of Divine law and the constitution of the holy Church" uninjured. Syropulus and other Greek writers charge Isidore with perjury because in spite of this he accepted the union. Isidore set out with a great following on 8 Sept., 1437, travelled by Riga and Luebeck, and arrived at Ferrara on 15, August, 1438. On the way he offended his suite by his friendly conduct towards the Latins. At Ferrara and at Florence, whither the council moved in January, 1439, Isidore was one of the six chief speakers on the Byzantine side. Together with Bessarion he steadfastly worked for the union, and never swerved afterwards in his acceptance of it.
  After the council, the pope (Eugene IV, 1431-47) made him his legate for all Russia and Lithuania. On his way back news reached Isidore, at Benevento, that he had been made Cardinal-Priest of the Title of St. Peter and St. Marcellinus. This is one of the few cases in which a person not of the Latin Rite has been made a cardinal. From Budapest in March, 1440, he published an encyclical calling on all Russian bishops to accept the union. But when he at last arrived in Moscow (Easter, 1441), and proclaimed the union in the Kremlin church, he found that the tsar and most of the bishops and people would have none of it. Then, at the tsar’s command, six Russian bishops met in a synod, deposed Isidore, and shut him up in prison. He escaped, fled to Rome, and was graciously received by the pope in 1443. Nicholas V (1447-55) sent him as legate to Constantinople to arrange the reunion there in 1452, and gave him two hundred soldiers to help the defence of the city. On 12 December of that year he was able to unite three hundred of the Byzantine clergy in a celebration of the short-lived reunion. He saw the taking of the city by the Turks on 29 May, 1453, and only escaped the massacre by dressing up a dead body in his cardinal’s robes. While the Turks were cutting off its head and parading it through the streets, the real cardinal was shipped off to Asia Minor with a number of insignificant prisoners, as a slave. Afterwards he wrote an account of the horrors of the siege in a letter to Nicholas V (P.G., CLIX, 953). He escaped from captivity, or bought himself free, and came back to Rome. Here he was made Bishop of Sabina, presumably adopting the Latin Rite. Pius II (1458-64) later gave him two titles successively, those of Patriarch of Constantinople and Archbishop of Cyprus, neither of which he could convert into real jurisdiction. He died at Rome on 27 April, 1463.

Adrian Fortescue, ed.
Transcribed by: John Fobian
This text is cited May 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.



   (Eustathios). An archbishop of Thessalonica, who flourished in the twelfth century under the emperors Manuel, Alexius, and Andronicus Comnenus. He is celebrated for his erudition as a grammarian, and is especially known as a commentator on Homer and Dionysius the geographer. It is evident, however, that in the former of these commentaries (Parekbolai) he is largely indebted to the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus. The commentary of Eustathius was united to the edition of Homer which appeared at Rome (1542-50) in 3 vols., and was reprinted at Basle (1560), also in 3 vols. The best edition is the Leipzig one of 1825-30, 6 vols., by G. Stallbaum; for that of Politus, undertaken in 1730, with a Latin version, was never finished. The three volumes of it which appeared at Florence (1730-35) extend only to the end of the fifth book of the Iliad. Muller and Baumgarten-Crusius have performed a valuable service for the student, in publishing extracts from Eustathius along with the text of the Iliad and Odyssey. The commentary on Dionysius is less valuable, from the scanty nature, most probably, of the materials employed. A commentary on Pindar is lost, with the exception of the Prooemium, which has been edited by Schneidewin (Gottingen, 1837). Some letters of the archbishop are to be found in the public libraries of Europe, of which a part was edited by Tafel in 1832. Eustathius died about the year 1194.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Eustathius. Archbishop of Thessalonica, was a native of Constantinople, and lived during the latter half of the twelfth century. At first he was a monk in the monastery of St. Florus, but afterwards he was appointed to the offices of superintendent of petitions (eoia ton deeseon), professor of rhetoric (maistor rhetoron), and diaconus of the great church of Constantinople. After being bishop elect of Myra, he was at once raised to the archbishopric of Thessalonica, in which office he remained until his death in A. D. 1198. The funeral orations which were delivered upon him by Euthymius and Michael Choniates are still extant in MS. in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The praise which is bestowed upon him by Nicetas Choniates (viii., x.) and Michael Psellus (Du Cange, Glossar. s. v. rhetor) is perfectly justified by the works of Eustathius that have come down to us: they contain the amplest proofs that he was beyond all dispute the most learned man of his age. His works consist of commentaries on ancient Greek poets, theological treatises, homilies, epistles, &c., the first of which are to us the most important. These commentaries shew that Eustathius possessed the most extensive knowledge of Greek literature, from the earliest to the latest times; while his other works exhibit to us the man's high personal character, and his great power as an orator, which procured him the esteem of the imperial family of the Comneni. The most important of all his works is, 1. His commentary on the Iliad and Odyssey (Parekbolai eis ten Homerou Iliada ksi Odusseian), or rather his collection of extracts from earlier commentators of those two poems. This vast compilation was made with the most astonishing diligence and perseverance from the numerous and extensive works of the Alexandrian grammarians and critics, as well as from later commentators; and as nearly all the works from which Eustathius made his extracts are lost, his commentary is of incalculable value to us, for he has preserved at least the substance of their remarks and criticisms. The number of authors whose works he quotes, is prodigious (see the list of them in Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. i.); but although we may admit that he had not read all of them, and that he quoted some at second-hand, yet there seems to be no sufficient reason for believing that he was not personally acquainted with the greatest of the ancient critics, such as Aristophanes of Byzantium, Aristarchus, Zenodotus and others, whose works were accessible to him in the great libraries of Constantinople. If, on the other hand, we look upon the work as a commentary, and estimate it by the standard of what a good commentary should be, we find it extremely deficient in plan and method; the author, however, cannot be blamed for these deficiencies, as his title does not lead us to expect a regular commentary. His remarks are, further, exceedingly diffuse, and frequently interrupted by all kinds of digressions; the many etymological and grammatical fancies which we meet with in his work are such as we might expect. There is very little in the commentary that is original, or that can be regarded as the opinion of Eustathius himself. He incorporated in it everything which served to illustrate his author, whether it referred to the language or grammar, or to mythology, history, and geography. The first edition of it was published at Rome, 1542-1550, in 4 vols. fol., of which an inaccurate reprint appeared at Basle in 1559-60. The Florence edition by A. Potitus (1730, 3 vols. fol.), contains only the commentary to the first five books of the Iliad with a Latin translation. A tolerably correct reprint of the Roman edition was published at Leipzig in two sections; the first, containing the commentary on the Odyssey in 2 vols. 4to., appeared in 1825-26, and the second, or the commentary on the Iliad, in 3 vols. 4to. was edited by G. Stalbaum, 1827-29. Useful extracts from the commentary of Eustathius are contained in several editions of the Homeric poems. 2. A commentary on Dionysius Periegetes, dedicated to Joannes Ducas, the son of Andronicus Camaterus, is on the whole of the same kind and of the same diffuseness as the commentary on Homer. Its great value consists in the numerous extracts from earlier writers to illustrate the geography of Dionysius. It was first printed in R. Stephens's edition of Dionysius (Paris, 1547, 4to.), and afterwards also in that of H. Stephens (Paris, 1577, 4to., and 1697, 8vo.), in Hudson's Geograph. Minor. vol. iv., and lastly, in Bernhardy's edition of Dionysius (Leipzig, 1828, 8vo.). 3. A commentarv on Pindar, which however seems to be lost, at least no MS. of it has yet come to light. The intrtoduction to it, however, is still extant, and was first edited by Tafel in his Eustathii Thessalonicensis Opuscula, Frankfurt, 1832, 4to., from which it was reprinted separately by Schneidewin, Eustalhiiprooenium commentariorum Pindaricorum, Gottingen, 1837, 8vo. The other works of Eustathius which were published for the first time by Tafel in the Opuscula just mentioned, are chiefly of a theological nature; there is, however, among them one which is of great historical interest, viz. the account of the taking of Thessalonica by the Normans in A. D. 1185.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Cabasilas, Neilus

Cabasilas, Neilus (Neilos Kabasilas), archbishop of Thessalonica, lived according to some about A. D. 1314, and according to others somewhat later, about 1340, in the reign of the emperor Joannes Cantacuzenus. He was a bitter opponent of the doctrines of the Latin Church, whence he is severely censured by modern writers of that church, whereas Greek and even Protestant writers speak of him in terms of high praise. Cabasilas is the author of several works, of which, however, two only have yet appeared in print. 1. An oration on the cause of the schism between the Latin and Greek churches (peri ton aition tes ekklesiastikes diastaseos), and 2. A small work on the primacy of the pope (peri tes arches tou papa). The first edition of the latter treatise, with a Latin translation by Mathias Flacius, appeared at Frankfurt in 1555, in small 8vo. This was followed by the editions of B. Vulcanius, Lugd. Bat. 1595, 8vo. and of Salmasius, Hanover, 1608, 8vo. This last edition contains also a work of Barlaam, on the same subject, with notes by the editor, and also the first edition of the oration of Cabasilas on the schism between the two churches, which Salmasius has printed as the second book of the work on the primacy of the pope. Of this latter work there is an English translation by Thomas Gressop, London, 1560, 8vo. A list of the works of Neilus Cabasilas which have not yet been printed is given by Fabricius. (Bibl. Graec. x. p. 20, &c.; comp. Wharton's Appendix to Cave's Hist. Lit. i. p. 34, &c., vol. ii. p. 521, &c. ed. London.)

Cabasilas, Nicolaus

Cabasilas, Nicolaus (Nikolaos Kabasilas), archbishop of Thessalonica, was the nephew and successor of Neilus Cabasilas, with whom he has often been confounded. He lived about A. D. 1350. He first held a high office at the imperial court of Constantinople, and in that capacity he was sent in 1346 by Joannes, patriarch of Constantinople, to the emperor Cantacuzenus to induce him to resign the imperial dignity. In the year following he was sent by the emperor Cantacuzenus himself, who had then conquered and entered the city, to the palace of the empress Anna, to lay before her the terms of peace proposed by the conqueror. (Cantacuz. Hist. Byz. iv. 39, &c., xiv. 16.) Nicolaus Cabasilas, who was a man of great learning, wrote several works, of which however only a few have been published, perhaps because he was, like his uncle, a vehement antagonist of the Latin church. The following works have appeared in print: 1. Hermeneia kephaleiodes, &c., that is, a compendious explanation of the holy mass or liturgy. It first appeared in a Latin translation by Gentianus Heruetianns, Venice, 1548, 8vo., from whence it was reprinted in the "Liturgia SS. Patrum," edited by J. S. Andreas and F. C. de Sainctes, Paris, 1560, fol., and Antwerp, 1562, 8vo., and also in the Biblioth. Patr. xxvi. p. 173, ed. Lugd. The Greek original was first edited by Fronto Ducaeus in the Auctarium to the Bibl. Patr. of 1624, vol. ii. p. 200, &c. 2. A work on the life of Christ, in six books, in which, however, the author treats principally of baptism, the last unction, and the eucharist. This work is as yet published only in a Latin version by J. Pontanus, together with some other works, and also an oration of Nicol. Cabasilas against usury, Ingolstadt, 1604, 4to. From this edition it was reprinted in the Bibl. Patr. xxvi. p. 136, ed. Lugd. In some MSS. this work consists of seven books, but the seventh has never appeared in print. 3. An oration on Usury and against Usurers, of which a Latin translation was published by J. Pontanus together with Cabasilas' life of Christ. The Greek original of this oration appeared at August. Vindel. 1595 by D. Hoeschel, and was afterwards published in a more correct form, together with the oration of Epiphanius on the burial of Christ, by S. Simonides, Samoscii, 1604, 4to. The many other orations and theological works of Nicolaus Cabasilas, which have not yet been printed, are enumerated in Fabric. Bibl. Grace. x. p. 25. &c.; comp. Wharton's Appendix to Cave's Hist. Lit. i. p. 44. ed. London.

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