Maximus III of Jerusalem

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Maximus III of Jerusalem was Bishop of Jerusalem from 334 to 350. After an initial uncertainty, Bp. Maximus became a firm supporter of the Nicene creed.

During the persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian, Maximus was tortured severely in which he lost one eye and had one of his feet burned and then condemned to forced labor. He was a priest in Jerusalem, whose sufferings in the cause of Christianity and great character so endeared him to the people of Jerusalem that when Bp. Macarius of Jerusalem tried to appoint him to the vacant see of Diospolis (Lydda), the people would not let him depart. This caused Bp. Macarius to name someone else. After the death of Macarius, Maximus became bishop of Jerusalem. [1]

Although he initially opposed Athanasius of Alexandria at the Council of Tyre in 335, an Arian dominated council called to judge Athanasius, Maximus soon realized his error and became a dedicated enemy of Arianism. When Athanasius returned from his exile in Treves (Trier), circa 346, Maximus convened a synod of Palestinian bishops to welcome Athanasius back from exile. Socrates Scholasticus wrote that Maximus "restored communion and rank" to him. By independently convening the synod Maximus advanced the desire of the bishops of Jerusalem to have their see gain equal status to that of the metropolitan see of Caesarea without withdrawing from the jurisdiction of Caesarea.

While Bishop of Jerusalem, Maximus dedicated the newly built basilica of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Maximus was succeeded as bishop of Jerusalem by Cyril. Sozomen[2] said that Maximus was deposed about 350 through the influence of the Arians Acacius of Caesarea and Patrophilus of Scythopolis. Cyril was appointed in his place. Theodoret does not relate this story, yet he does say that Maximus had intended a different successor. Maximus' successor, Jerome said, was to be Heraclius, whom Maximus had named upon his death bed. However, Acacius and Cyril deposed Heraclius and made Cyril bishop. Regardless of how the succession came about, Cyril and Acacius became bitter enemies during the following few years, disagreeing both in their positions concerning the Arian controversy and in terms of the precedence and rights of their respective sees.

The date of the repose of Maximus is not known, but was probably shortly after his deposition, probably in 350.


Succession box:
Maximus III of Jerusalem
Preceded by:
Macarius I
Bishop of Jerusalem
Succeeded by:
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