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Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies.
« Evaristus, bp. of Rome Evodius, bp. of Antioch Eznik, Armenian doctor of the church »

Evodius, bp. of Antioch

Evodius (1), according to early tradition, first bp. of Antioch (Eus. Chron. ann. Abr. 2058; H. E. iii. 22). His episcopate has indirectly the older testimony of Origen, who speaks of Ignatius as the second bishop after Peter (in Luc. Hom. 6, vol. iii. p. 938; see also Eus. Quaest. ad Steph. ap Mai, Scr. Vet. i. p. 2). This tradition has all the appearance of being historical. Ignatius early acquired such celebrity that it is not likely the name of an undistinguished person would have been placed before his, if the facts did not require this arrangement. The language used about episcopacy in the Ignatian epistles agrees with the conclusion that Ignatius was not the first at Antioch to hold the office. As time went on, the fitness of things seemed to demand that Ignatius should not be separated from the Apostles. Athanasius (Ep. de Synodis, i. 607) speaks of Ignatius as coming after the Apostles without mention of any one intervening; Chrysostom makes him contemporary with the Apostles (Hom. in Ignat. vol. ii. p. 593); the Apostolic Constitutions (vii. 46) have recourse to the expedient adopted in the parallel case of Clement of Rome, the hypothesis of a double ordination, Evodius being said to have been ordained by Peter, Ignatius by Paul. Theodoret (Dial. I. Immutab. iv. 82, Migne) and others represent Ignatius as ordained by Peter. The authorities are given at length by Zahn (Patres Apostol. ii. 327).

There is reason to believe that the earliest tradition did not include an ordination even of Evodius by Peter; for the chronicle of Eusebius places the departure of Peter from Antioch three years, or, according to St. Jerome's version, two years before the ordination of Evodius. The chronology of the early bishops of Antioch has been investigated by Harnack (Die Zeit des Ignatius). He infers that the earliest list must have contained only names of bishops of Antioch without any note of lengths of episcopates, but still that Eusebius must have had the work of some preceding chronologer to guide him. We may well believe, as Harnack suggests, that Eusebius got his chronology of early bishops of Antioch from Africanus, to whom he acknowledges his obligation, and whose chronicle has generally been believed to be the basis of that of Eusebius. If the belief had been entertained at the beginning of the 3rd cent. that Evodius had been ordained by Peter, it is incredible that Africanus would have assigned a date which absolutely excludes an ordination by Peter. The date assigned by the chronicle of Eusebius to the accession of Evodius appears to have no historic value, and thus, while we accept the episcopate of Evodius as an historic fact, we have no data for fixing his accession, but may safely place it considerably later than a.d. 42.

[G.S.]

« Evaristus, bp. of Rome Evodius, bp. of Antioch Eznik, Armenian doctor of the church »

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