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Arethas, Archbishop of Caesarea


Exegete; b. Patras, c. 850; d. c. 944. Possibly he was a pupil of the Patriarch of Constantinople photius; Arethas was prominent in the revival of classical and patristic letters at Constantinople during the latter part of the 9th century. He procured several classical manuscripts, of which the Cod. Clarkianus of Plato is the best-known survivor, and he is responsible for the preservation of many excerpts from the works of the early Church Fathers, particularly the Greek text of the Apologists. The Arethas codex (Paris gk. 451) testifies to his scholarship. He was ordained deacon c. 895 and became court orator to the Byzantine Emperor leo vi in 900. After his appointment to the See of Caesarea (c. 903), he produced a series of tracts and letters in opposition to the Emperor Leo's fourth marriage, for which the Patriarch of Constantinople nicholas I wished to grant a dispensation (906907). Arethas wrote a treatise on polygamy, quoting patristic authors; a diatribe; and an elenchus against Nicholas's position. But later he seems to have acquiesced in the dispensation granted by the next patriarch, euthymius i. The most famous of Arethas's exegetical writings is his commentary on the Johannine Apocalypse (c. 913) based on that of Andrew of Caesarea (between 563 and 614). He wrote a commentary and gloss on the Pauline letters, attempted to complete the homilies of St. Basil of Caesarea on the Old Testament, and provided scholia for the writings of the earliest Church Fathers, such as clement of alexandria and justin. He fought for the right of asylum and against the translation of bishops. His pastoral interests brought him into contact with the theological problems of the day, and he wrote letters and sermons for the consecration of bishops and churches. Many of his writings are still unpublished.

Bibliography: Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich 591595. u. riedinger, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 1:832. o. von gebhardt, "Der Arethascodex Paris Gr. 451" Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 1.3 (Berlin 1883) 154196. f. diekam, Analecta patristica (Orientalia Christiana Analecta 117 (Rome 1938) 230236. g. heinrici, j. j. herzog and a. hauck, eds., Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie 2:15. r. j. jenkins and b. laourdas, "Eight Letters of Arethas," Hellenika 14 (1956), 293372. r. j. jenkins et al., Byzantinische Zeitschrift 47 (1954), 140, Photius Scholia. j. schmid, Biblische Zeitschrift 19 (1931), 228254, Apocalypse. j. compernass, Studi bizantine 144, psalms; 4 (1935), 87125, translation of bishops.

[f. x. murphy]

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