[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus

IV/V Centuries
One of the first and most vociferous opponents of Origen, St. Epiphanius was born c. 315 in Palestine. His parents were Christians, and he studied languages in Egypt before returning to his native land, where he established a monastery near Eletheropolis. An ardent proponent of monasticism and Nicene Christianity, Epiphanius was elected metropolitan of Constantia in 367 and continued as abbot of his monastery until his death. He also attacked the theology of Apollinaris of Laodocia and of Melitus of Antioch, but he regar ded Origen as the source of all error and urged Patriarch John of Jerusalem to condemn Origen and his thought. When John refused, Epiphanius excommunicated him, an action which Jerome supported. Epiphanius later ordained Jerome's brother Paulinus to the priesthood, although Paulinus was under John's jurisdiction.

When Patriarch John Chrysostom of Constantinople granted refuge to the Tall Brothers, whom Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria had condemned as Origenist, Epiphanius began to attack Chrysostom, his friend. Epiphanius left Constantinople before the Council of the Oak, which deposed Chrysostom, and died at sea in 403.

Epiphanius' most famous work is the Panarion, also known as a Refutation of All Heresies. Ancoratus is an exposition of tritarian theology that contains a draft of the Nicene Creed. He also wrote On Weights and Measures, a manual for studying the Bible, and On Gems, an explanation of the priest's breastplate. His criticisms of the use of art in worship prefigure iconoclasm.

Karen Rae Keck


Return to St Pachomius Library.