Epiphanius of Salamis, St.
EPIPHANIUS OF SALAMIS, ST.
Church Father; b. near Eleutheropolis, Palestine, c. 315; d. at sea, May 402. Epiphanius studied classics in Egypt, and in addition to Syrian, his native language, acquired a knowledge of Coptic and Hebrew; he remained for some time among the monks. On his return to Palestine he founded a monastery near Eleutheropolis that he governed for 30 years and on this basis was ordained. The bishops of cyprus selected him for the See of Constantia (Salamis) in 367; he was strongly attached to the doctrine of St. athanasius (except for the date of Easter) and opposed both the Arians and Origenists with passion but uncritically.
He took part in the meletian schism of Antioch, and broke allegiance with Meletius, whom he accused of refusing to subscribe to the homoousios before 363, and of dealing with the Pneumatics. Having tried in vain to win St. basil to the cause of Paulinus, he antagonized Vitalis, head of a third Antiochene party. After the Council of constantinople i (381), over whose beginning Meletius had presided, Epiphanius journeyed to Rome with (St.) jerome and Paulinus to protest that Council's decisions. Between 387 and 393 he traveled through Palestine with john of jerusalem, and destroyed the painting of a holy image in a church in Jerusalem (see pneumato-machians).
Origenism. Epiphanius was aware of Origenistic tendencies among the Palestinian monks (after 374), but in his Panarion (ch. 64) he describes origenism according to the treatise of methodius of olympus. He reproaches Origen for teaching subordinationism, the preexistence of souls, and the fall or original sin before the union of the soul with the body. In 393 he attacked Origen in the presence of Bp. john of jerusalem; in the following year, he failed to force John to condemn Origen (Jerome, Ep. 51), thus inaugurating a new phase of the Origenistic controversy, and added to his accusations that of the apocatastasis of the devil. He attacked both rufinus of aquileia and Palladius, justly the latter, as he sought to describe contemporary Origenism as a pagan philosophy, or even outright gnosticism.
After the condemnation of Origen in 400, Epiphanius went to Constantinople (402) to agitate against (St.) john chrysostom, who had succored the Tall Brothers, expelled from Nitria as Origenists; but when Epiphanius realized that theophilus of alexandria was involved in the matter, he did not await the Synod of the oak that deposed Chrysostom, but departed; he died at sea.
Works. Epiphanius, of mediocre Greek culture, was opposed to speculation in theology, and considered philosophy a source of heresy; but his literary style furnishes an interesting example of the contemporary Greek Koine.
Ancoratus, 374, deals with the Trinity. It opposes Apollinarianism regarding the Incarnation, and Origenism in reference to the Resurrection and the interpretation of Genesis ch. 1. It closes with a text of the Creed of Nicaea-Constantinople (which a copyist substituted for the original of Nicaea) and a Creed of Epiphanius's own composition (see nicene creed).
Panarion, a tract against heretics written c. 374–76, draws heavily from the Adv. Haereses of hippolytus and irenaeus, as well as original documents. It gives the titles of certain Gnostic works otherwise unknown, and extracts from the Apostolica of marcion or the Montanist Oracles, and includes interesting judgments on his contemporaries.
His De mensuris et ponderibus (392) is a manual for the study of the Bible. De duodecim gemmis (c. 394) is an allegorical interpretation of the 12 jewels on the breastplate of the High Priest. It is preserved in a Georgian translation, and partly in Latin (Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum (Vienna 1866) 35:743–773), with Greek, Coptic, and Ethiopic fragments.
Fragments of three works by Epiphanius against images utilized in the eighth-century controversies over iconoclasm have been identified as his: a Pamphlet against the Images; a Letter to Theodosius I; and the Testament. Other of his extant works are letters. One is a Letter to the Arabs (Panarion 78.2–25) on the perpetual virginity of Mary; another letter survives in Ancoratus (77) and in a Syriac version; and two letters were translated into Latin by Jerome (Epist. 51, 91).
In Greek catenae there are Epiphanian scholia on the Octateuch; and in Coptic catenae, on Mark and Luke. For Arab catenae, see G. Graf, Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur (Vatican City 1944–1953) 1:356.
Among the works falsely attributed to him are an Anakephalaiosis, or summary of the Panarion; the Physiologus that had great influence on medieval iconography; commentaries on the Old Testament; homilies; and a Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Feast: May 12.
Bibliography: epiphanius of salamis, "Ancoratus" und "Panarion," ed. k. holl, 3 v. (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der erstendrei Jahrhunderte 25, 31, 37; 1915, 1922,1933); Texte und Untersuchungenzur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 36.2 (1910). o. bardenhewer, Geschichte der altkirchlichen Literatur (Freiburg 1913–1932) 3:293–302. b. e. perry, Paulys Realenzyklopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, ed. g. wissowa 20.1 (1941) 1074–1129. a. puech, Histoire de la littérature grecque chrétienne, 3 v. (Paris 1928–30) 3:643–669. b. altaner, Patrology, tr. h. graef (New York 1960) 365–368. j. quasten, Patrology (Westminster, MD 1950) 3:384–396. j. n. d. kelly, Early Christian Creeds (2d ed. London 1960). g. jouassard, Gregorianum 42 (1961) 5–36. Der Physiologus, tr. and ed. o. seel (Zurich 1960). p. nautin, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912) 15:617–631. d. fernÁndez, De mariologia sancti Epiphanii (Rome 1968). l. a. eldridge, The Gospel Text of Epiphanius of Salamis (Salt Lake City 1969). g. vallÉe, A Study in Anti-Gnostic Polemics (Waterloo, Ont. 1981). j. f. dechow, Dogma and Mysticism in Early Christianity: Epiphanius of Cyprus and the Legacy of Origen (Macon, GA 1988). a. pourkier, L'hérésiologie chez Epiphane de Salamine (Paris1992). m. e. stone and r. ervine, The Armenian Texts of Epiphanius of Salamis De mensuris et ponderibus (Sterling, Va. 2000).