[St. Pachomius Library]

Severus, Patriarch of Antioch

V/VI Centuries
A native of Pisidia, Severus studied law and philosophy at Alexandria and Berytus before his baptism in 488 in Leontinum, Libya. Influenced by Peter the Iberian, Severus became a monk; some say that he became an ascetic at a monophysite monastery in Palestine. In 508, he travelled to Constantinople to intercede on behalf of monophysite monks who were being persecuted in Palestine. His mission was successful. After the depostion of Flavian then Patriarch of Antioch in 512, Severus was named patriarch and was himself deposed six years later, after Justin became emperor. Severus took refuge with Patriarch Timothy of Alexandria, who was also a monophysite. A council at Constantinople excommunicated Severus in 536, after Justinian condemned his writings. Severus, who is said to have written liturgical texts and hymns in addition to theology, died two years after his excommunication.

Known for his erudition and piety, Severus was well-acquainted with the writings of the church fathers. He is considered a moderate monophysite because he believes that Christ's human nature was an annex to his divine nature. He argues that if Christ were both divine and human, he would have to have been two persons. Severus was the first systematic monophysite theologian and is often called the Father of Monophysitism.

Karen Rae Keck


Return to St Pachomius Library.