Eustathius of Antioch

May 13, 2022

Archbishop Eustathius of Antioch was born in Side, Pamphylia in 324. His people requested his elevation to the See of Antioch, which the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council (325) granted him on their own initiative. He was Bishop of Beroea (now Aleppo), where he was well-liked and respected.

Saint Eustathius was a scholarly theologian who was also known for his extensive grasp of secular sciences. Saint Eustathius fought passionately for the integrity of the Orthodox Faith through his words and writings when the heresy of Arius started to grow in the East (Arianism rejected the consubstantiality of the Son of God with the Father).

Emperor Constantine the Great called the First Ecumenical Council in 325. (306-337). Saint Eustathius was the first to preside. The Council denounced Arius’ heresy and included it in the Symbol of Faith (the Nicene Creed). But Arius, as Eustathius nicknamed him, refused to own his mistakes.

The Council excommunicated him and his supporters. The Nicene Symbol of Faith was signed by bishops who supported Arius’ heresy yet signed the Acts of the Council to avoid censure. Following the Council, his foes conspired against him. They cleverly got his permission to hold a local council in Antioch. They bribed a lady and had her appear before the Council with a baby, claiming Saint Eustathius was the father.

The Arians deposed Saint Eustathius, breaking the Apostolic Rule requiring two witnesses to support clerical allegations. He was sent to Thrace without a trial. But the lady repented after becoming very sick. She went to the priest and confessed her sin in front of numerous people. Constantine the Great died during this period, and his son Constantius (337-361) inherited the throne. Saint Eustathius fought for Orthodoxy while in exile. He died in exile at Philippi or Trajanopolis in 337.


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