Chapter XIX.—Obstinancy of Theophilus. Enmity between the Egyptians and the Citizens of Constantinople. Flight of Theophilus. Nilammon the Ascetic. The Synod concerning John.
Although Theophilus would fain have brought an accusation against John, 1609 under the plea that he had unlawfully reinstated himself in his bishopric, yet he was deterred from doing so by the fear of offending the emperor, who had been compelled to recall John, as the means of suppressing the popular insurrection. Theophilus, however, received an accusation against Heraclides during the absence of the accused, in the hope of thereby authorizing the sentence of condemnation which had been issued against John. But the friends of Heraclides interposed, and declared that it was unjust, and contrary to ecclesiastical law, to condemn one who was absent. Theophilus and his partisans maintained the opposite side of the question: the people of Alexandria and of Egypt sided with them, and were opposed by the citizens of Constantinople. The strife between the two parties became so vehement that bloodshed ensued; many were wounded, and others slain in the contest. Severian, and all the bishops at Constantinople who did not support the cause of John, became apprehensive for their personal safety, and quitted the city in haste. Theophilus, also, fled the city at the commencement of the winter; and, in company with Isaac the monk, sailed for Alexandria. A wind arose which drove the vessel to Gera, a small city about fifty stadia from Pelusium. The bishop of this city died, and the inhabitants, I have been informed, elected Nilammon to preside over their church; he was a good man, and had attained the summit of monastic philosophy. He dwelt without the city, in a cell of which the door was built up with stones. He refused to accept the dignity of the priesthood; and Theophilus, therefore, visited him in person, to exhort him to receive ordination at his hands. Nilammon repeatedly refused the honor; but, as Theophilus would take no refusal, he said to him, “To-morrow, my father, you shall act as you please; to-day it is requisite that I should arrange my affairs.” Theophilus repaired, on the following day, to the cell of the monk, and commanded the door to be opened; but Nilammon exclaimed, “Let us first engage in prayer.” Theophilus complied and began to pray. Nilammon likewise prayed within his cell, and in the act of prayer he expired. Theophilus, and those who were standing with him without the cell, knew nothing at the time of what had occurred; but, when the greater part of the day had passed away, and the name of Nilammon had been loudly reiterated without his returning any answer, the stones were removed from the door, and the monk was found dead. They honored him with a public burial after they had clothed him in the necessary vestments, and the inhabitants built a house of prayer about his tomb; and they celebrate the day of his death, in a very marked way, until this day. Thus died Nilammon, if it can be called death to quit this life for another,—rather than accept a bishopric of which, with extraordinary modesty, he considered himself unworthy.
p. 412 After his return to Constantinople, John appeared to be more than ever beloved by the people. Sixty bishops assembled together in that city, and annulled all the decrees of the council of “The Oak.” They confirmed John in the possession of the bishopric, and enacted that he should officiate as a priest, confer ordination, and perform all the duties of the church usually devolving on the president. At this time Serapion was appointed bishop of Heraclea in Thrace.
Soc. vi. 17; Pallad. ibid.; and Chrys. Ep. ad Inn. Soz. has independent material.