Melito

SECOND CENTURY. Bishop of Sardis. Among the known prolific second-century Christian authors preserved solely in testimony and fragment, Melito has fared well in the twentieth- century recovery of papyrus copies. Eusebius placed him as bishop of Sardis in the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-80) and gave a catalog of his works. He quoted Melito's “petition to the emperor,” an early apology dated shortly after the announcement of Commodus as heir in 175, in which Melito initiates the thesis that the church and the imperial state are two conjoint works of God for the benefit of mankind. Another fragment, known already to Clement of Alexandria, to which Eusebius adds reference, indicates that Melito was fully involved in the problem of the date of Easter. Completely recovered texts demonstrate Melito's rhetorical style and his use of the typology of the slain Pascal Lamb to account for Christ's death and resurrection. He had evidently traveled to the places important to Christian origins, making him the first known Christian pilgrim. An analysis of the recovered fragment of his treatise On Baptism indicates his pioneering importation of Stoic Homeric exegesis into Christian thought; his theology falls within the Logos Christology of other apologists.