Eustathius of Thessalonica

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Latest revision as of 10:33, December 22, 2012

Archbishop Eustathius (Katafloros) of Thessalonica, Greek: Εὐστάθιος Θεσσαλονίκης, was the Archbishop of Thessalonica of the Church of Constantinople from 1175 to 1194. He was a scholar, author, reformer, and one of foremost men of learning of his time in the Orthodox East.  

Life

The future Abp. Eustathius was born about the year 1115 in Constantinople, but little else is known of his early life including his secular name. He received his education at the Convent of St. Euphemia. He became a monk, receiving the name Eustathius, in the monastery of St. Florus in Constantinople. He then received ordination as a deacon and appointment to the offices of superintendent of petitions (ἐπὶ τῶν δεήσεων) and teacher of rhetoric (μαΐστωρ ῥητόρων) in the Patriarchal school of Constantinople.

In 1175, he was appointed Bishop of Myra, but before his installation he was appointed the Archbishop of Thessalonica, a position he held for the remainder of his life. He was a model bishop: pious, faithful, unselfish, unsparing in rebuke, and wise in counsel. During the siege and sack of Thessalonica in 1185 by the Normans under King William II of Sicily, Abp. Eustathius bargained with the invaders for the safety of his people, the events of which he recounted in his De Thessalonica urbe a Normannis capta (“On the Conquest of Thessalonica by the Normans”).

Abp. Eustathius is remembered mainly for his scholarly works. In addition to his "On the Conquest…", his commentaries on Homer's works displayed an extensive knowledge of Greek literature from its earliest times as well as having preserved parts that otherwise have perished. A supporter of the Eastern Roman emperor Manuel I, he was an original thinker who sometimes praised such secular values as military prowess. Abp. Eustathius decried slavery and believed in the concept of historical progress of civilization from a primitive to a more advanced state.

He opposed the formalism that was then petrifying the Eastern Church. He criticized clerical complacency in his treatise “On Hypocrisy” and urged the moral and cultural reawakening of monasticism in his famous piece Inquiry into the Monastic Life.

Abp. Eustathius reposed about the year 1194 in Thessalonica. He is honored locally as a saint by many Greek Orthodox Christians.

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Eustathius of Thessalonica
Preceded by:
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Archbishop of Thessalonica
1175-1194
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