PATRISTICS/ Epiphanius of Salamis
Saint Epiphanius of Salamis (ca. 310-320 - 403) was bishop of Salamis and metropolitan of Cyprus at the end of the 4th century. He is considered a Church Father. He gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy. He is best known for composing a very large compendium of the heresies up to his own time, full of quotations that are often the only surviving fragments of suppressed texts, and for instigating, with Tychon (Bishop of Amathus), a persecution against the non-Christians living on Cyprus, and the destruction of most of their temples.
He was born into a Christian family in the small settlement of Besanduk, which is near Eleutheropolis, Palestine, and lived as a monk in Egypt, where he was educated and came into contact with Valentinian groups. He returned to Palestine around 333, when he was still a young man, and he founded a monastery at Ad nearby which is often mentioned in the polemics of Jerome with Rufinus and John, Bishop of Jerusalem. He was ordained a priest, and lived and studied as superior of the monastery in Ad that he founded for thirty years and gained much skill and knowledge in that position. In that position he gained the ability to speak in several tongues including Hebrew, Syriac, Egyptian, Greek, and Latin and was called by Jerome on that account Pentaglossis ("Five tongued").
His reputation for learning prompted his nomination and consecration as Bishop of Salamis, Cyprus in 367. He was also the Metropolitan of the Church of Cyprus. He served as bishop for nearly forty years, as well as traveling widely to combat unorthodox beliefs. He was present at a synod in Antioch (376) where the Trinitarian questions were debated against the heresy of Apollinarianism. He upheld the position of Bishop Paulinus, who had the support of Rome, over that of Meletius of Antioch, who was supported by the Eastern Churches. In 382 he was present at the Council of Rome, again upholding the cause of Paulinus.
During a visit to Palestine in 394 he attacked Origen's followers and urged the Bishop of Jerusalem, John II, to condemn his writings. Origen's writings were eventually condemned at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553. When Epiphanius was nearly 80, in 402, at the behest of Bishop Theophilus of Alexandria, the saint went to Constantinople to support Theophilus in his campaign against Saint John Chrysostom, and the four "Tall Brothers." When he realized he was being used as a tool by Theophilus against Saint John Chrysostom, who had given refuge to the monks persecuted by Theophilus and who were appealing to the emperor, Epiphanius started back to Salamis, only to die on the way home in 403.
IMAGE Icon of St. Epiphanius (Gracanica monastery, Kosovo