various minor cleanups Ⓣ
Aelia Pulcheria was born on [[January 19]], 399. Aelia Pulcheria should not be confused with her aunt Pulcheria, who was the daughter of [[Theodosius I]] and Aelian Flaccilla and died in 385 at the age of eight. Arcadius, who was the elder son of Theodosius I, died in 408. At the death of his father, and at a very young age, seven years old, Theodosius II became emperor under the tutelage of the eunuch Antiochus.
Pulcheria was a devout Christian and at an early age she expressed her devotion to the [[Theotokos]] and took a vow of virginity to avoid being forced into marriage. As the elder sister of Theodosius II (her older sister, Flaccilla, died young, probably before 408), she held much of the power when he became emperor. She was involved extensively in the education of her brother even though she was only two years older than him and maintained enormous influence over him for much of his reign. Sources recorded that in 412 at the age of thirteen she dismissed her
brother’s tutor, Antiochus, and herself assumed the role of her brother’s tutor.
The court quickly assumed a pious and austere atmosphere under her influence, befitting her almost monastic life style. On [[July 4]], 414, the Senate proclaimed her augusta (empress) and made her regent for her brother. When Theodosius became capable of ruling by himself in 416, Pulcheria continued to strongly influence over her brother and of the course of the empire. Through her influence Theodosius removed all pagans from the civil service. Under her influence Theodosius and his wife Aelia Eudoxia, who had been a pagan, became devout Christians.
Pulcheria used her wealth for the [[Church]]. In doing so she inspired her brother to do likewise. While she appeared to be indifferent to the [[Arianism]] was practiced by the German tribes, she took a firm position on the heretical teaching of [[Nestorius]]. She almost immediately showed her antagonism towards him when he became [[patriarch]] in 428. Whether the downgrading of the status of the Virgin Mary from Theotokos to Christotokos under Nestorianism was involved, Pulcheria greatly influenced her
brother’s position in the controversies that led up to the [[Third Ecumenical Council|Council in Ephesus]] in 431. At first he was a supporter of Nestorius before acceding to his sister’s position. In this controversy Patr. [[Cyril of Alexandria]] believed Pulcheria’s influence was important in the downfall of his rival.
Pulcheria’s influence on her brother began to wain as the eunuch Chrysaphius convinced Theodosius to dismiss his sister. But soon the [[Monophysitism|Monophysite]] controversy was raised by the [[archimandrite]] Eutyches and supported by Theodosius as well as by Cyril’s successor as [[Patriarchs of Alexandria|patriarch of Alexandria]], [[Pope Saint Dioscorus I of Alexandria (Coptic POV)|Dioscorus]]. When Eutyches’ views were validated at the ‘Robber Council’ of 449 in Ephesus, [[Leo the Great|Pope Leo I of Rome]] included Pulcheria among those he approached for help in reversing the council's decisions.
On [[July 26]], 450, Theodosius suddenly died, and Pulcheria returned to the court as the wife of the new emperor, Marcian. She agreed to the marriage with the understanding that her vow of chastity would be honored. In 451, the [[Fourth Ecumenical Council|Council of Chalcedon]], presided over by Marcian, was convened. It condemned both Nestorianism and the [[Robber Council of 449]] that had supported the Monophysite [[heresy]]. The [[heretic]] Eutyches was deposed and exiled.
[[Category: Empresses and Queens]]