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History of the Christian Church, Volume IV: Mediaeval Christianity. A.D. 590-1073.
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§ 148. Theophylact.


I. Theophylact: Opera omnia, in Migne, Patrol. Gr. Tom. CXXIII.-CXXVI., reprint of ed. Of de Rubeis. Venice, 1754–63, 4 vols. fol. Du Pin, IX. 108, 109; Neander, III. 584–586; Ceillier, XIII. 554–558.


Theophylact, the most learned exegete of the Greek Church in his day, was probably born at Euripus,933933    This is the name likewise of the narrowest part of the Euboic Sea. on the Island of Euboea, in the Aegean Sea. Very little is known about him. He lived under the Greek Emperors Romanus IV. Diogenes (1067–1071), Michael VII. Ducas Parapinaces (1071–1078), Nicephorus III. Botoniates (1078–1081), Alexius I. Comnenus (1081–1118). The early part of his life he spent in Constantinople; and on account of his learning and virtues was chosen tutor to Prince Constantine Porphyrogenitus, the son of Michael Ducas. From 1078 until after 1107 he was archbishop of Achrida and metropolitan of Bulgaria. He ruled his diocese in an independent manner, but his letters show the difficulties he had to contend with. It is not known when he died.

His fame rests upon his commentary934934    Migne, CXXIII.-CXXVI. col. 104. on the Gospels, Acts, Pauline, and Catholic Epistles; and on Hosea, Jonah, Nahum and Habakkuk, which has recently received the special commendation of such exegetes as De Wette and Meyer. It is drawn from the older writers, especially from Chrysostom, but Theophylact shows true exegetical insight, explaining the text clearly and making many original remarks of great value.

Besides his commentary, his works embrace orations on the Adoration of the Cross,935935    Migne, CXXVI. col. 105-129. the Presentation of the Virgin936936    Ibid. col. 129—144. and on the Emperor Alexius Comnenus;937937    Ibid. col 288-305. a treatise on the Education Of Princes;938938    Ibid. col. 253-285. a History of Fifteen Martyrdoms939939    Ibid. col. 152-221. and an Address on the Errors of the Latin Church.940940    Ibid. col. 221-249. Two of these call for further mention. The Education of Princes is addressed to Constantine Porphyrogenitus. It is in two books, of which the first is historical and discourses upon the parents of the prince, the second discusses his duties and trials. It was formerly a very popular work. It is instructive to compare it with the similar works by Paulinus, Alcuin, and Smaragdus.941941    Viz. Exhortations, On Virtues and Vices, and Way of the King, spoken of farther on. The Address is the most interesting work of Theophylact. It is written in a singularly conservative and moderate strain, although it discusses the two great matters in dispute between the Greek and Latin Churches,—the procession of the Holy Spirit, and the bread of the Eucharist. Of these matters Theophylact considered the first only important, and upon it took unhesitatingly the full Greek position of hostility to the Latins. Yet his fairness comes out in the remark that the error of the Latins may be due to the poverty of their language which compelled them to “employ the same term to denote the causality of the communication of the Holy Spirit and the causality of his being. The Latins, he observed, moreover, might retain the less accurate forms of expression in their homiletic discourses, if they only guarded against misconception, by carefully explaining their meaning. It was only in the confession of faith in the symbol, that perfect clearness was requisite.”942942    Neander, l.c. p. 586. In regard to the bread of the Eucharist the Latins held that it should be unleavened, the Greeks that it should be leavened. Each church claimed to follow the usage of Christ. Theophylact admitted that Christ used unleavened bread, but maintained that His example in this respect is not binding, for if it were in this then it would be in everything connected with the Supper, and it would be necessary to use barley bread and the wine of Palestine, to recline at table and to hold the Supper in a ball or upper room. But there is such a thing as Christian liberty, and the kind of bread to be used is one of the things which this liberty allows. Upon both these points of fierce and long controversy he counseled continual remembrance of the common Christian faith and the common Christian fellowship.



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