An Extract from the Life of Saint Hypatius
An extract from the Life of Saint Hypatius (1) by Callinicus, his disciple
[Translator’s Note. In this passage we see the saint suppress the liturgical commemoration of Nestorius before any official judgement had been pronounced against him Although I had a reasonable knowledge of Greek when at university I have forgotten a lot and I do not translate that language professionally. Hence, while the present translation is substantially correct, I submit it to the correction of better Hellenists than I am.]
105. And when Nestorius came from Antioch to become bishop of the illustrious and ruling city of Constantinople (Dionysius, who had been named military commander of the East, brought him), as he was drawing nigh to the city, Saint Hypatius saw, in the holy Church of this capital city, that some worldly men installed him on the throne, and at once a voice saying, “Three times and a half a time and you (pl.) root up the cockle.”
106. So Hypatius began to say to certain persons and to the brothers, “I am anxious, children, about the man who is to become [bishop], for I have learned about him that he is to go astray in the faith and he governs three and a half years.” So when he arrived at the monastery, Nestorius, having somehow learned this, did not wish to go to meet the saint as he had everywhere made visitation of all in his journeying. So when he arrived in the capital and become bishop, he at once sent clerics to Hypatius saying, “Going, say to that dreamer of dreams that I have twenty years to be in charge of the City and where are your dreams?” But Hypatius says to them, “Say to the bishop that if the vision shall come to pass, it was a revelation, but if not, it was a dream and as a man I imagined it.” So left at a loss by the answer of those he had sent, a short time later he again sent certain others to seize upon his words. But after putting him to the test with vexatious and useless interrogations they not only found nothing in his words that could be used against him, but they returned wondering at the great discernment they had discovered in him. For this reason Nestorius fell silent and sent no one else to him. When the three years had been fulfilled, the evil treasure of his heart gradually began to appear. For speaking in public he prattled unspeakable things about the Lord, against his own head, and which dignity forbids us to say, not knowing — wretch that he was — the divine scripture saying, “Who shall declare his generation?”(2) and, “Seek not the things that are too high for thee.”(3)
107. And having learnt that Nestorius thought otherwise than ought to be thought, Hypatius immediately, in the church of the Apostle, removed his name, so that it should not be exalted in the oblation [i.e. not commemorated in the liturgical offering, equivalent to the Canon of the Mass]. The most circumspect Bishop Eulalius(4) having learned this and fearing the outcome of the event and since the word was out, and Nestorius ordered him to rebuke Hypatius, for that man was still in control in the city, and Eulalius spoke thus to Hypatius: “Why have you removed his name without considering the probable outcome?” To which Hypatius said, “Ever since I learned that he prattles unjust things about my Lord [i.e. makes heterodox statements about Christ], I am not in communion with him neither do I exalt his name [i.e. commemorate him liturgically in the Eucharist], for that man is not a bishop.” Then the bishop said in anger, “Away with you and put right what you have done, for I shall be taking action against you.” But Hypatius answered: “Do as you wish, for I have made up my mind to suffer all things [rather than desist] and thus I did this.” So as Nestorius journeyed to Ephesus, and the synod was being assembled, on the day when he was to be deposed, Hypatius sees that an angel of the Lord, seizing Saint John the Apostle, carried him off to the most religious emperor(5) saying, “Say to the emperor: ‘Give judgement on Nestorius.’” And hearing this, he gave it. And he made a note of the day, and it was found that on that day he was deposed, the three and a half years being fulfilled, as the Lord had foreshown to him. And after a few days the deposition of Nestorius was brought, and it was made known before of all the clergy and people, Eulalius and Hypatius being present in the church (or assembly).
(1) Saint Hypatius of Bithynia, Abbot of Rufiniana near Chalcedon, 366-446, feast: 17th June, life by the Bollandists, Vol. III, pp. 308-49. This extract is translated from the 1895 Leipzig edition of the Greek life of Saint Hypatius written c. 447-50 by his disciple the monk Callinicus. The extract begins at n. 105, l. 22 and continues as far as n. 107, l. 26.
(2) Isaias liii, 8.
(3) Ecclesiasticus iii, 22.
(4) Bishop of Chalcedon 430-435
(5) Theodosius II
© Copyright John S. Daly 2016