Timothy Aelurus, Monophysite Patriarch
TIMOTHY AELURUS, MONOPHYSITE PATRIARCH
Of Alexandria, 457 to 460, 476 to 477; d. Alexandria, July 31, 477. A priest and supporter of the Patriarch dioscorus, Timothy was called Aelurus (the Cat) because of his stealthy movements. With Peter Mongos he had attended the Robber Council of ephesus in 449, but he remained faithful to Dioscorus after the patriarch's condemnation. As a strong partisan of the terminology of St. cyril of alexandria, he organized the rebellion against proterius, the patriarch of Alexandria, and considered Pope leo i a Nestorian. On the death of the Emperor marcian (457) Timothy was consecrated patriarch of Alexandria by Eusebius of Pelusium and Peter the Iberian of Maiuma (March 16, 457). Dionysius the governor expelled him from the city but had to recall him after the sedition that followed the assassination of Proterius (March 28). Timothy held a synod at Alexandria that excommunicated Pope Leo I and the Patriarchs anatolius of constantinople and Basil of Antioch, and attempted to install his followers as bishops in all the dioceses of Egypt.
In October 457 the Emperor Leo I sent a questionnaire to the bishops of the Oriental provinces asking whether the Council of chalcedon should be upheld and Timothy recognized as patriarch, and he was unanimously rejected as an intruder. Despite Emperor Leo's conciliatory tactics Timothy would not retract his anti-Chalcedonian convictions and repulsed the representations of the imperial Count Rusticus. Amid a popular uprising in his favor, he was sent into exile to Gangra in Paphlagonia, whence he continued to write to his partisans, and was finally sent to Cherson on the Crimea where he wrote his "Against Those Who Speak of Two Natures."
On the accession of the intruding Emperor basiliscus (Jan. 9, 475) Timothy was amnestied and received in honor by the court at Constantinople. He attended a synod at Ephesus that declared that diocese a metropolitan see with the right to consecrate bishops in the province of Asia, thus contradicting the canonical decisions of Chalcedon, and accepted the compromising encyclical of the Emperor Basiliscus. On his triumphal return to Alexandria his Catholic successor Timothy Solafaciol (of the white turban) retired to a monastery in Canopus and received a small pension. Timothy Aelurus returned the remains of Dioscorus for honorable burial in the patriarchs' crypt in Alexandria and died shortly after the restoration of the Emperor zeno. His many writings have been preserved only in fragments but indicate that he was not a thorough Monophysite. His opposition to Chalcedon was based on his intransigent devotion to the terminology of St. Cyril of Alexandria; and he opposed both the Eutychians and the followers of Julian of Halicarnassus.
Bibliography: a. fliche and v. martin, eds. Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusq'à nos jours (Paris 1935) 4:279–287. evagrius, Historia ecclesiasticae bk.2, ch.5–9. j. lebon, Le Monophysisme Sévérien (Louvain 1909); "La Christologie de T. A. d'après les sources syriaques inédites," Revue d'histoire ecclésiatique 9 (1908) 677–702. a grillmeier and h. bacht, Das Konzil von Chalkedon: Geschichte und Gegenwart (Würzburg 1951–54) 1:425–508, 637–676. t. schnitzler, Im Kampfe um Chalcedon (Analecta Gregoriana 16; 1938).