Epiphanius of Salamis

Epiphanius
Epiphanius-Kosovo.jpg
Icon of St. Epiphanius (Gračanica Monastery)
Bishop of Salamis (Cyprus), Oracle of Palestine
Bornc. 310–320
Judea
Died403 (aged 82–93)
at sea
Venerated inEastern Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Roman Catholic Church
Feast12 May[1]
17 Pashons (Coptic Orthodoxy)
AttributesVested as a bishop in omophorion, sometimes holding a scroll

Epiphanius of Salamis (Greek: Ἐπιφάνιος; c. 310–320 – 403) was bishop of Salamis, Cyprus, at the end of the 4th century. He is considered a saint and a Church Father by both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. He gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy. He is best known for composing the Panarion, a very large compendium of the heresies up to his own time, full of quotations that are often the only surviving fragments of suppressed texts. According to Ernst Kitzinger, he "seems to have been the first cleric to have taken up the matter of Christian religious images as a major issue", and there has been much controversy over how many of the quotations attributed to him by the Byzantine Iconoclasts were actually by him. Regardless of this he was clearly strongly against some contemporary uses of images in the church.[2]

Life

Epiphanius was born into a Christian Greek family in the small settlement of Besanduk, near Eleutheropolis (modern-day Beit Guvrin, Israel),[3] and lived as a monk in Egypt, where he was educated and came into contact with Valentinian groups. He returned to Palestine around 333, when he was still a young man, and he founded a monastery at Ad nearby,[4] which is often mentioned in the polemics of Jerome with Rufinus and John, Bishop of Jerusalem. He was ordained a priest, and lived and studied as superior of the monastery in Ad that he founded for thirty years and gained much skill and knowledge in that position. In that position he gained the ability to speak in several tongues, including Hebrew, Syriac, Egyptian, Greek, and Latin, and was called by Jerome on that account Pentaglossis ("Five tongued").[5]

His reputation for learning prompted his nomination and consecration as Bishop of Salamis, Cyprus,[6] in 365 or 367, a post which he held until his death. He was also the Metropolitan of the Church of Cyprus. He served as bishop for nearly forty years, as well as travelled widely to combat unorthodox beliefs. He was present at a synod in Antioch (376) where the Trinitarian questions were debated against the heresy of Apollinarianism. He upheld the position of Bishop Paulinus, who had the support of Rome, over that of Meletius of Antioch, who was supported by the Eastern Churches. In 382 he was present at the Council of Rome, again upholding the cause of Paulinus.

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