FLAVIAN: The name of two bishops of Antioch.
1. Patriarch 381-404; b. in the early part of the fourth century; d. in Antioch June, 404.
Of the sixty years of his life before he was consecrated bishop of Antioch in 381 little is known; Chrysostom states that he was the child of wealthy parents who died while he was still young. Despite his wealth he remained faithful to the ascetic ideal, and as an adherent of the Nicene party, to which he may have been converted by Eustathius (see EUSTATHIUS OF ANTIOCH), whose last sermon he heard, was one of the successful opponents of the Arianism of Bishop Leontius (344-357). At that period he evidently sided with the partizans of Eustathius, but after the formation of the neo-Nicene party Flavian joined it and during the banishment of Meletius (see MELETIUS OF ANTIOCH) he and his friend Diodorus (q.v.) directed the fortunes of the neo-Nicenes of Antioch with wise resistance to Arian teachings. In 378 Diodorus was consecrated bishop of Tarsus, and three years later Flavian accompanied Meletius to Constantinople, only to be chosen, after the sudden death of this bishop, his successor by the neo-Nicene majority in the First Council of Constantinople. This choice, however, resulted in many dissensions, the primary consequence being a revival of the Meletian schism (see MELETIUS OF ANTIOCH). Apart from this there is but scanty knowledge of his episcopate. He ordained both Chrysostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia to the priesthood, the former in 386, while in the following year he hastened to Constantinople in a successful endeavor to appease the emperor's anger at the affront shown him by the riotous citizens of Antioch who had mutilated the imperial statues. He emphasized the honor due to the saints, and was eager that they should be interred far from heretical graves. Flavian convened a synod of three other bishops and thirty priests and deacons to oppose the Messalians (q.v.), and Adelphius, one of their leaders, was condemned, with his followers, and excommunicated. He was still able to travel to Constantinople in 394. The precise day of his death is unknown, but it certainly was not Sept. 27, his festival in the Greek Church.
Except for an allusion of Photius to two letters of Flavian against the Messalians, one to the inhabitants of Osrhoene and the other to an Armenian bishop, only nine brief citations from nine homilies are known, seven of these being found in the Eranistes, of Theodoret and two in Leontius of Byzantium. These fragments are sufficient, however, to show that he was Antiochian in dogmatics. The oration ascribed to him by Chrysostom as delivered before Theodosius is in great part, if not entirely, the invention of his pupil.
2. Bishop 498-512. See MONOPHYSITES.