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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Meletius of Lycopolis

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MELETIUS OF LYCOPOLIS (4th century), founder of the sect known after him as the "Meletians," or as the "Church of the Martyrs," in the district of Thebes in Egypt. With Peter, archbishop of Alexandria, he was thrown into prison during the persecution under Diocletian. His importance is due to his refusal to receive, at least until the persecution had ceased, those Christians who during the persecutions had renounced their faith, and then repented. This refusal led to a breach with Peter, and other Egyptian bishops who were willing to grant absolution to those who were willing to do penance for their infidelity. Meletius, after regaining his freedom, held his ground and drew around him many supporters, extending his influence even so far away as Palestine. He ordained 29 bishops and encroached upon Peter's jurisdiction. The Council of Nicaea in 325 upheld the bishops, but Meletius was allowed to remain bishop of Lycopolis though with merely nominal authority. His death followed soon after. His followers, however, took part with the Arians in the controversy with Athanasius and existed as a separate sect till the 5th century.

See Achelis in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyk. xii. (1903) 55 8, with the authorities there quoted, and works on Church History.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Meletius of Lycopolis'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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