Saturday, August 29, 2009

St. Justinian the Great Not an Aphthartodocetist

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MYTH
Emperor Justinian became an Aphthartodocetist in his old age

Unfortunately, some sources repeat the myth that St. Justinian the Great (11/14) succumbed to the heresy of Aphthartodocetism.{1} Fr. Asterios Gerostergios destroys this accusation in Justinian the Great: The Emperor and Saint. Fr. Asterios argues in the following manner. If the saintly emperor really became a heretic, anti-Justinian Bishop Victor of Northern Africa would have mentioned it in his Chronicle. Pope St. Gregory I the Great of Rome (Doctor, 9/3) lauds St. Justinian of "pious memory" as a champion of orthodoxy,{2} and also praises the successor of Patriarch St. Eutychios of Constantinople (4/6), St. John III the Scholastic (8/28), for his right faith, whereas St. John would have been an Aphthartodocetist if St. Justinian had really issued such an edict. Notes & References
{1} See, e.g., Evans, J. A. S. "Justinian I, Byzantine Emperor." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 99. 15 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Fordham University Libraries. 23 Mar. 2009.
{2} See Epistle IV:4 to Queen Theodelinda of the Lombards [PL 77:671C], Epistle VII:34 to Patriarch St. Eulogios of Alexandria [PL 77:893B], Epistle IX:122 to King Recarred I (†601) of the Visigoths [PL 77:1056A], and Epistle XIV:13 to Queen Theodelinda of the Lombards [PL 77:1316A].

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