Maximus II of Antioch

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Maximus II was patriarch of Antioch from 450 to 455. He was the first bishop of Antioch to use the title Patriarch after the sees of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were made patriarchates in 451.

Maximus' life before he was installed as bishop of Antioch is largely unknown. He apparently was a member of the clergy of Constantinople when emperor Theodosius II filled the vacant see of Antioch after the deposition of Domnus II during the Robber Council of Ephesus on August 8, 449. The selection and consecration of Maximus was a violation of canon law by Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople who acted without the official sanction of the clergy or people of Antioch.

Notwithstanding the questionable conditions under which he was elevated, Maximus II gained a positive reputation in the conduct of his diocese and province. He promptly issued general letters, especially those of dogmatic importance called epistolae tractoriae, to the metropolitans of the churches subject to him, requiring the signatures of his bishops to Pope Leo's famous Tome and to another document condemning both Nestorius and Eutyches and, thus, discreetly assured his position as bishop of Antioch.

When he was summoned to the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon in October 451, he took his seat without question. When the acts of the Robber Council of 449 were quashed, and the depositions of the bishops made at that council were canceled, Maximus was given an exception because Pope Leo had opened communion with him and recognized his episcopate. Domnus II was the only bishop not restored. [1]

During the Council the issue came up of the territorial limits of the Antiochan and Jerusalem patriarchates as Juvenal of Jerusalem strove for territory that had been within the Patriarchate of Antioch. After a long and bitter confrontation the Council accepted a compromise that transferred the three provinces of Palestine to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, although issues of prerogatives remained.

During his patriarchate Maximus remained close to Leo I of Rome. Leo, in a letter of June 11, 453, promised to help Maximus in disputes with either Constantinople or Jerusalem and exhorting him to assert his privileges as bishop of the third see in Christendom, inferior only to Alexandria and Rome.

Maximus' episcopate mysteriously came to a disastrous conclusion in 455 by his deposition for an offense that is nowhere specified. The date of his death is not known.


  1. Philippe Labbe, Concilia, iv. 682
Succession box:
Maximus II of Antioch
Preceded by:
Domnus II
Patriarch of Antioch
Succeeded by:
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