NICEPHORUS, CALLISTUS XANTHOPULUS: Church historian of the fourteenth century. During the reigns of the Paleologues there were several writers of the name of Xanthopoulos. Two monks of Mount Athos, Callistus (patriarch 1397 A.D.) and Ignatius his brother, wrote a tractate on ascetics, while Gabriel composed hymns for liturgical use. Theodore attended the Council of Florence (1439) as secretary. But the most celebrated of the name was Callistos or Callistou (i.e., "son of Callistos "), who grew up at Constantinople and was trained, as it seems, by the famous George of Cyprus (patriarch 1283-89) in close relationship with Nicephorus Chumnos, Theodore Metochites, Maximos Planudes, and Michael Gabras, a coterie of classical students who, like the humanists of the fifteenth century, cultivated style and phraseology often at the expense of sense. The Emperor Andronicus was their adored patron, since he supported Greek culture and orthodoxy against the Latins.


Except fora few homilies, prayers, hymns, and commentaries, poems, and epigrams, the authenticity of which needs further investigation, the name of Nicephorus is chiefly connected with his ecclesiastical history in eighteen books, under the acrostic letters: Nikephorou Kallistou (610 A.D.). This work has been severely criticized by most Roman Catholic and Protestant writers, but has received high praise from the great Tübingen master Baur. As de Boor has pointed out, the whole work is nothing but a modernization of an anonymous church history of the tenth century. It is not valuable even for the reconstruction of its older sources (such as the Hist. eccl. of Eusebius), because the Byzantine author roughly paraphrases them. Some apocryphal matter is all that possesses interest.



Bibliography: His remains, including the "History," a Catalogus imperatorum et patriarcharum Constantinopolitanorum, and a Carmen de excidio Hierosolymitano are in MPG, cxlv.-cxlvii. Consult: Krumbacher, Geschichte, pp. 291-293; Fabricius-Harles, Bibliotheca Græca, vii. 437-444, Hamburg, 1801; G. J. Voss, De historicis Græcis, pp. 367-368, Leipsic, 1838; F. C. Baur, Die Epochen der kirchlichen Geschichteschreibung, pp. 32 sqq, Tübingen, 1852; C. de Boor, in ZKG, vi (1884), 478-494; J. Bidez and L. Parmentier, in Revue de l’instruction Publiqe en Belge, xl (1897), 161-178; Papadopoulos-Kerameus, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, xi (1902), 38 sqq.