Theologian, bishop of Cyzicus, and archbishop of Constantinople c. 434–46; d. Constantinople, 446. Proclus was an admirer of john chrysostom. He served as episcopal secretary to, and was ordained a priest by, Bp. Atticus of Constantinople; he was selected by Sisinnius I as bishop of Cyzicus in 426, but because of popular opposition, he was not able to take possession of that see and remained in the capital. A renowned preacher, Proclus delivered a homily on the theotokos (Hom. 1) during the Christmas season of 428 in the presence of Archbishop nestorius (428–431) that seems to have precipitated the Nestorian crisis, although Proclus did not play an important part in that controversy. At the instance of the Emperor theodosius ii, he was selected archbishop of Constantinople (April 12, 434) to replace Maximianus, who had succeeded to the see after the deposition of Nestorius at the Council of ephesus (431).
In his sermons Proclus did not discuss contemporary events, but he attacked the beliefs and morals of the Jews in classical fashion. In 435 he received a request from the bishops of the Church in Armenia regarding the theology of theodore of mopsuestia whose works were being translated into their language, and whom they suspected of Nestorian teaching. In his famous answer, Tomus ad Armenios de fide, Proclus did not mention Theodore; he discussed the Church's teaching on the single hypostasis and the two natures in the incarnate Word, and intimated the errors that could be ascribed to Theodore. In 438 Proclus had the relics of the exiled John Chrysostom (d. 407) returned to Constantinople, and through his letters seems to have extended the authority of his see. He is also thought to have introduced the Trisagion (Holy God, Holy Almighty …) into the liturgy, but a fragment of a De traditione divinae liturgiae attributed to him is a 16th-century forgery.
Approximately 35 of Proclus' homilies about feasts of Christ and the saints have been preserved. Homily six has long been suspect because of an interpolation on virginity (ch. 2–7) and two acrostic dialogues (see romanusmelodus). The sermon itself, however, is contemporary and could be his. Recent research has restored to credit to him for a mystagogic homily on Baptism (27), a homily on Good Friday and the Trinity preserved in Arabic (30), and another on the credulity of St. Thomas (Hom. 33; Patrologia Graeca. ed J. P. Migne [Paris 1857–66] 59:681–688). Of the 17 letters preserved under his name, seven were written by him. The fourth letter contains the famous phrase unum de Trinitate secundum carnem crucifixum that became the center of the Theopaschite controversy in the following century.
Feast: Oct. 24.
Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca ed j. p. migne (Paris 1857–66) 65:679–888. Acta conciliorum oecumenicorum (Berlin 1914–) I.1.1:103–107, Homily 1; IV.2:65–68, 187–195. j. quasten, Patrology (Westminster, Maryland 1950–) 3:521–525. g. fritz, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique. ed. a. vacant et al., (Paris 1903–50) 13.1:662–670. r. devreesse, Essai sur Théodore de Mopsueste (Studi e Testi 141; 1948) 125–152; Revue des sciences religieuses 11 (1931) 543–565. j. a. de aldama, "Investigaciones recientes sobre las homilías de San Proclo," Estudios Eclesiásticos 39 (1964) 239–244. v. inglisian, Oriens Christiana 41 (1957) 35–50. f. j. leroy, Recherches sur l'Homilétique de Proclus de Constantinople (Louvain 1963); Orientalia Christiana periodica 23 (1962) 288–299; Byzantion 33 (1963) 357–384, Homily6. Quattro omelie copte, ed. and tr. a. campagnano, a. maresca, and t. orlandi (Milan 1977).
[f. j. leroy]