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Theoleptus, Metropolitan of Philadelphia


Byzantine polemicist and spiritual writer; b. c. 1250;d. c. 1326. As opponent of the reunion of Rome and the Byzantine Church of 1274, he organized opposition in Bithynia against Emperor michael viii's policies. He was a recently married deacon when, c. 1275, he left his wife and retired into solitude, probably to Mount Athos, and practiced the Hesychastic spirituality as taught by Nicephorus the Athonite. His writings link Nicephorus's 13th-century Hesychastic renaissance to the Palamite school of the 14th century. After the repudiation of the reunion with Rome, he was appointed archbishop of Philadelphia (1285) and became a central figure in the political and religious issues of the day. He wrote a trenchant treatise against the followers of john xi beccus, and caused the dismissal of the patriarch of Constantinople, gregory ii cyprius, by his attacks on the latter's theory of the splendescent procession of the Holy Spirit through the Son.

Most of his works remain unedited, but in those works available, he shows himself as a safe spiritual guide wedded to the methods of hesychasm, rather than an original or technical theologian.

Bibliography: j. gouillard, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 15.1:339341, with list of works. s. salaville, "Théolepte de Philadelphie," Mélanges Joseph de Ghellinck, 2 v. (Gembloux 1951) 2:877887. a. ehrhard in k. krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Literatur (Munich 1897) 99. h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich 1959) 693694.

[g. a. maloney]

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