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John of Ephesus


Sixth century Monophysite bishop and Church historian; b. near Amida (diarbekr), c. 507; d. 586. John of Ephesus, known also as John of Asia or of Amida, began his career as a monk. Because of the anti-Monophysite decrees of justin i (521) he was forced to lead a nomadic life. Going to Constantinople, he gained the favor of Empress theodora (1) and, through her, of justinian i. He became "titular" bishop of Ephesus (c. 542) and was sent to convert the pagans of the mountainous areas of Lydia and Caria in Asia Minor. His efforts were most successful; more than 70,000 persons were baptized, pagan temples were destroyed, and Christian churches and monasteries were built in their places. Under justin ii John's fervent Monophysitism led to his imprisonment. After being released, he wandered about until his death.

John of Ephesus is the most important early historian in the Syriac language. He wrote an Ecclesiastical History in three volumes, tracing Church history from the time of Julius Caesar to 585. Only the third volume is extant (years 571585). He was also the author of Lives of the Eastern Saints (c. 568), which contains 58 sketches of the lives of Oriental monks and ascetics.

Bibliography: Lives of the Eastern Saints, ed. and tr. e. w. brooks, 17 v. (Paris 192325). Patrologia orientalis, ed. r. graffin and f. nau (Paris 1903) 17.1; 18.4; 19.2. Corpus scriptorum Christianorum orientalium (Paris-Louvain 1903) 105. e. stein, Histoire du Bas-Empire, tr. j. r. palanque, 2 v. in 3 (Paris 194959) 371372, 683684, 829831. h. rahner, Lexikon für Theologie, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 5:1030. b. altaner, Patrology, tr. h. graef from 5th German ed. (New York 1960) 258. e. tisserant, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 8.1:752753. l. duchesne, L'Église au VI e siècle (Paris 1925) 276280.

[j. f. krastel]

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