Amphilochius of Iconium, St.

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Fourth-century bishop of Iconium, Pisidia; b. Caesarea, c. 340; d. after 394. Amphilochius studied rhetoric under Libanius at Antioch, practiced as a lawyer in Constantinople for six years, and decided to become a hermit. His decision was frustrated by Basil of Caesarea, who forced on him the Diocese of Iconium. As bishop, Amphilochius campaigned against Arianism and the crypto-Manichean ascetical sects of the Apotactites, Encratites, and Messalians.

Basil dedicated his De Spiritu Sancto to Amphilochius, who used it to combat the propaganda of the Macedonians, against whose teachings he summoned a council at Iconium in 376. Amphilochius himself wrote a similar treatise on the Holy Spirit, but it has not been preserved. Basil's letters 190, 218, 188, 199, and 217 were addressed to Amphilochius; but virtually all of Amphilochius's letters and almost his entire literary output have been lost. A notable exception is his synodal letter to the bishops of another province, following the Council of Iconium (376), in which he explicitly defended the divinity of the Holy Spirit (Patrologia Graeca 39:9398). In 381 Amphilochius attended the Council of Constantinople I; he revisited the capital in 383 and 395, the last time probably shortly before his death and just after presiding at the anti-Messalian Council of Sidon in 394.

His 333 iambic verses to Seleucus are a treatise on the combination of the devout life with contemplative study that was preserved among the works of Gregory of Nazianzus. It has special importance for the history of the canon of the Bible. Eight of his sermons also have been preserved, dealing primarily with liturgical feasts. His authority as a theologian grew during the early fifth century, and all the major councils after Ephesus (431) appeal to him as a source of patristic doctrine.

Feast: Nov. 23.

Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca, ed. j. p. migne (Paris 185766) 39:9130. k. holl, Amphilochius von Ikonium in seinem Verhältnis zu den grossen Kappadoziern (Tübingen 1904; reprinted Darmstadt 1969). g. ficker, ed., Amphilochiana (Leipzig 1906). Altaner 357358. j. quasten, Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 1:448449. h. m. werhahn, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 47 (1954) 414418. g. bardy, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique, ed. m. viller et al. (Paris 1932) 1:544.

[a. g. gibson]