Maximian of Constantinople

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Our father among the saints Maximian, also Maximianus, was the archbishop of Constantinople from October 431 to April 434, during the Christological controversy following the Third Ecumenical Council and the deposition of Nestorius. His election was influenced greatly by the desires of Emperor Theodosius II. His feast day is April 21. Before the twelfth century he was remembered on November 20.


Maximian was of Roman background, born in Rome, who was a childhood friend of Pope Celestine I of Rome. He was noted to be a pious man, but was not known for his intellect. He had a good reputation among the Christians, in part because at his own expense he constructed monuments to bury the departed. Maximian led a monastic life before he entered the Holy Orders. He became a priest of the Church of Constantinople, ordained by Abp. Sisinnius. He was a member of the clergy since the days of John Chrysostom. After the deposition of Nestorius, Maximian became Archbishop of Constantinople at the insistence of Emperor Theodosius II who apparently was looking for an ordinary candidate and perhaps one who was not overly under the influence of his sister, Pulcheria. His selection passed over Proclus, who was a favorite of the aristocrats.

Maximian was consecrated on October 25, 431. The attendees at his consecration reflected the ongoing controversy as the Orientals (Syrians) were not invited because they continued to regard Nestorius' removal from the see of Constantinople as uncanonical. Maximian held Orthodox beliefs and thus followed in the stead of such former archbishops as John Chrysostom, Atticus, and Sisinnius.

After initially enforcing the rulings of the Council of Ephesus, Theodosius, in mid 432, decided to try to heal the split with the Syrians and, after consulting with Bp. Maximian, wrote to John of Antioch deploring the animosity and setting conditions for reconciliation with the synod at Constantinople. Among the conditions was a requirement that the Syrians accept Maximian as bishop of Constantinople and renounce Nestorius. But, the Syrians, including John of Antioch, had objection over the 'two natures' issues with Cyril of Alexandria and his Letters and Chapters. After much negotiations Cyril and the Syrians settled their differences with the Chapters and John accepted Maximian and renounced Nestorius.

Throughout these negotiations, Maximian remained distant and blind to what was happening around him. Thus, it became clear that age and diminished intellectual alertness showed that he was not up to the job. On April 12, 434, Holy Thursday, in the midst of the negotiations Maximian reposed.

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Maximian of Constantinople
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Bishop of Constantinople
Succeeded by:
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