Melitius

d.381. Bishop of Antioch. Born in Melitene of Armenia Secunda (Armenia Minor), he is counted among the fourth-century members of the Antiochene* School of exegetical literalism. Of a wealthy and noble family, he first appears among the homoean supporters of Acacius* of Caesarea in 357. It appears that he was not old enough to have been a student of Lucian of Antioch, the school's founder, but should have been a contemporary of both Apollinaris of Laodicea and the school's fourth-century master, Diodorus of Tarsus (d.390). It was Melitius who discovered John Chrysostom,* sent him as a youth to Diodorus, and later ordained him deacon (381). Although venerated for his holy and ascetic life, he was caught up in the controversy of the times (see Melitian Schisms). Held at first to be too Nicene, he was hotly opposed as bishop of Sebaste, then (from 360) as bishop of Antioch where he had both Arian and ultra- Nicene rivals. When Theodosius I became emperor (379), Melitius was not only established in his see, but was designated to preside over the Council of Constantinople* (381), at which he died. Both the funeral oration by Gregory of Nyssa and the panegyric by John Chrysostom survive, as does a homily by Melitius preserved in Epiphanius.