Chalcedonians

Although their cause enjoyed support from Roman popes and Constantinopo-litan emperors, not all Chalcedonians were urban theologians from great sees. Symeon Stylites the Elder (c. 390-459), a Syrian, had supported Chalcedon when Pope Leo I sought his opinion on Christology. He was the first of the 'pillar saints' who pioneered a form of asceticism that was widely emulated. He mounted a column in a place northeast of Antioch and stayed there the rest of his life. The pillar was enlarged, but he was brought down only occasionally when others saw him collapse from sickness or cold weather. Food was sent up, excrement sent down. A large monastic complex grew up around him. As a holy man in a culture that highly honoured them, he converted people from far away who came to see him and even influenced the decisions of emperors: Theodosius II forsook his plan to give Antiochene synagogues back to the Jews when Symeon protested and threatened to come off his pillar.86

Other monks were more directly involved in the discussions than Symeon. The case of Nephalius of Alexandria showcases monastic involvement on both sides of the controversy. In 482, he participated as a Miaphysite in a revolt of about 30,000 monks against Chalcedonian rulers. He insisted on a robustly anti-Chalcedonian reading of Zeno's Henotikon, but by 507 he had come round to the Chalcedonian view and led a violent uprising of monks against anti-Chalcedonian monks who supported Severus of Antioch. Most knowledge about Nephalius' thinking comes from accusations against him and fragments. Our primary source is Severus' Orationes ad Nephalium, which does not however contain quotations from Nephalius' own works. It would

84 W. Tabbernee, Montanist inscriptions and testimonia.

85 J. van Ginkel, John of Ephesus; S. A. Harvey, Asceticism and society in crisis.

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