« Paulus I, bishop of Constantinople Paulus Edessenus Paulus, bishop of Emesa »

Paulus Edessenus

Paulus (28) Edessenus, Monophysite bp. of Edessa; consecrated a.d. 510 in succession to Peter. In the first year of his episcopate he took part with Gamalinus, bp. of Perrha, against certain sectarians who refused the use of bread, water, and wine, except in the Eucharist. Justin, becoming emperor, undertook to force the decrees of Chalcedon on Severus of Antioch and his followers, and committed the task to Patricius, who came in due course to Edessa (Nov. 519), and ordered Paul either to subscribe the council or resign. Paul refused, and took sanctuary in his baptistery; whence he was dragged by Patricius and sentenced to be exiled to Seleucia. Justin, however, hoping to overcome the bishop's resistance, reinstated him after 44 days. But Paul still refused to submit, and was at length deposed and banished to Euchaita in Pontus, July 522. A later imperial order placed Asclepius in the see.

Paul translated, no doubt in his days of exile, the Greek hymns of Severus and other Monophysite writers, and arranged them so as to form a Syriac hymnal. A MS. of this collection as corrected by his famous successor Jacob—dated in the lifetime of that prelate (a.d. 675), and probably written by his hand is in the Brit. Mus. (Add. MS. 17134). On the death of Asclepius (June 525), Paul "repented" (as the orthodox author of the Chronicon Edessenum states) and made submission to Justinian, then acting for Justin. From him he obtained a letter supporting the petition he addressed to Euphrasius, then patriarch, praying to be restored to his see. He was accordingly permitted to return to Edessa as bp. in Mar. 526. He survived this his third inauguration less than 8 months, dying on Oct. 30, less than a year before Justin died. The Jacobites, however, cannot have regarded him as a renegade, for he is commemorated in their calendar on Aug. 23, as "Mar Paulus, bp. of Edessa, Interpreter of Books," a title likewise given to Jacob of Edessa.

His hymnal consists of 365 hymns; 295 being by Severus, the rest by his contemporary John Bar-Aphtunaya; abbat of Kinnesrin, John Psaltes his successor there, and others. Though the trans. is no doubt mainly Paul's work, it includes a few hymns of obviously later date. Bp. Lightfoot (Ignatius, vol. i. p. 185) gives the hymns of this collection "on Ignatius" at length, with a trans.


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