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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Timotheus i., Archbaptist of Alexandria

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Timotheus (7) I., archbp. of Alexandria, unanimously elected, as Theodosius I. affirms ( Cod. Theod. t. vi. p. 348; Tillem. vi. 621), on the death of his brother, Peter II., in the latter half of Feb. 381. He was an elderly man of high character, who had sat at the feet of Athanasius; and his distinguishing epithet of ἀκτήμων (Coteler. Eccl. Gr. Mon. i. 366) indicates that he had parted with all his property. The council of Constantinople met in May 381; he and his attendant suffragans arrived late, and did not contribute to the peace of the assembly (Greg. Naz. Carm. de Vita Sua , 1800 ff.). They were annoyed at finding Gregory of Nazianzus established in the see of Constantinople; their jealousy of the "oriental" bishops who had "enthroned him" broke forth in angry debate. They assured Gregory that they had no objection to him personally; but they probably resented the disgrace of Maximus, who had attempted, by the aid of some Egyptian bishops, to possess himself of the see. Gregory was glad to take this opportunity of resigning it, and Timotheus perhaps presided over the council during the few days between this abdication and the appointment of Nectarius (Tillem. ix. 474). The third canon gave to the see of Constantinople the second rank throughout the church; Neale says that Timotheus "refused to allow" its "validity" (Hist. Alex. i. 209). The council of Aquileia alludes to some annoyance given to him and Paulinus of Antioch by those whose orthodoxy had previously been suspected (Ambr. Ep. 12); yet that he did not break off openly from the majority is proved by the law of July 30, 381, in which Theodosius names him as one of the centres of Catholic communion (Soz. vii. 9; cf. Tillem. ix. 720). His episcopate was brief and uneventful. Facundus transcribes a letter of his to Diodore of Tarsus, referring to Athanasius as having spoken highly of Diodore, and professing his own inability to do justice to his virtue and orthodox zeal ( Pro Defens. Tri. Capit. iv. 2). Timotheus wrote an account of several eminent monks, which Sozomen used (vi. 29). His 18 "canonical answers" to requests by his clergy for direction are interesting, and became part of the church law of the East (see Beveridge, Pand. Can. ii. 165; Galland. vii 345). He died on Sun., July 20, 385 (see Tillem. vi. 802), and was succeeded by Theophilus.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Timotheus i., Archbaptist of Alexandria'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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