Bishop of Antioch, prominent opponent of Arianism b. 270; d.most probably in 360
Eustathius, Saint, Bishop of Antioch, b. at Side in Pamphylia, c. 270; d. in exile at Trajanopolis in Thrace, most probably in 360, according to some already in 336 or 337. He was at first Bishop of Beroea in Syria, whence he was transferred to Antioch c. 323. At the Council of Nicaea (325), he was one of the most prominent opponents of Arianism and from 325-330 he was engaged in an almost continuous literary warfare against the Arians. By his fearless denunciation of Arianism and his refusal to engage any Arian priests in his diocese, he incurred the hatred of the Arians, who, headed by Eusebius of Caesarea and his namesake of Nicomedia, held a synod at Antioch (331) at which Eustathius was accused, by suborned witnesses, of Sabellianism, incontinency, cruelty, and other crimes. He was deposed by the synod and banished to Trajanopolis in Thrace by order of the Emperor Constantine, who gave credence to the scandalous tales spread about Eustathius. The people of Antioch, who loved and revered their holy and learned patriarch, became indignant at the injustice done to him and were ready to take up arms in his defense. But Eustathius kept them in check, exhorted them to remain true to the orthodox faith and humbly left for his place of exile, accompanied by a large body of his clergy. The adherents of Eustathius at Antioch formed a separate community by the name of Eustathians and refused to acknowledge the bishops set over them by the Arians. When, after the death of Eustathius, St. Meletius became Bishop of Antioch in 360 by the united vote of the Arians and the orthodox, the Eustathians would not recognize him, even after his election was approved by the Synod of Alexandria in 362. Their intransigent attitude gave rise to two factions among the orthodox, the so-called Meletian Schism (q.v.), which lasted till the second decade of the fifth century (Cavallera, Le schisme d’Antioche, Paris, 1905).
Most of the numerous dogmatic and exegetical treatises of Eustathius have been lost. His principal extant work is “De Engastrimytho”, in which he maintains against Origen that the apparition of Samuel (I Kings, xxviii) was not a reality but a mere phantasm called up in the brain of Saul by the witch of Endor. In the same work he severely criticizes Origen for his allegorical interpretation of the Bible. A new edition of it, together with the respective homily of Origen, was made by A. Jahn in Gebhardt and Harnack’s “Texte and Untersuchungen zur Gesch. der altchristl. Literatur” (Leipzig, 1886), II, fast. iv. Cavallera recently discovered a Christological homily: “S. Eustathii ep. Antioch. in Lazarum, Mariam et Martham homilia christologica”, which he edited together with a commentary on the literary fragments of Eustathius (Paris, 1905). Fragments of lost writings are found in Migne (P.G., XVIII, 675-698), Pitra and Martin (Analecta Sacra, II, Proleg., 37-40; IV, 210-213 and 441-443). “Commentarius in Hexaemeron” (Migne, P.G., XVIII, 707-794) and “Allocutio ad Imp. Constantinum in Conc. Nicaeno” (Migne, P.G., XVIII, 673-676) are spurious. His feast is celebrated in the Latin Church on July 16, in the Greek on February 21 His relics were brought to Antoch.