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Chromatius, Saint

Bishop of Aquileia (d. about 406-407)

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.


Chromatius, Saint, Bishop of Aquileia, d. about 406-407. He was probably born at Aquileia, and in any case grew up there. He became a priest of that church and about 387 or 388, after the death of Valerianus, bishop of that important city. He was one of the most celebrated prelates of his time and was in active correspondence with his illustrious contemporaries, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, and Rufinus. Himself a scholarly theologian, he urged these three friends to the composition of many learned works. St. Ambrose was encouraged by him to write exegetical works; St. Jerome dedicated to him different translations and commentaries, which he had written at his suggestion (translations of the Books of Paralipomenon, Tobias, the books of Solomon, commentaries on the Prophecy of Habacuc). In the bitter quarrel between St. Jerome and Rufinus concerning Origenism, Chromatius, while rejecting the false doctrines of Origen, attempted to make peace between the disputants. He always maintained ecclesiastical communion with Rufinus and induced him not to answer the last attack of St. Jerome, but to devote himself to new literary works, especially to the translation of the "Ecclesiastical History" of Eusebius.

Chromatius opposed the Arian heresy with much zeal and rooted it out in his diocese. He gave loyal support to St. John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, when unjustly oppressed, and wrote in his favor to Honorius, the Western emperor, who sent this letter to his brother, Arcadius. This intercession, however, availed nothing. Chromatius was also active as an exegete. There are preserved seventeen treatises by him on the Gospel according to St. Matthew (iii, 15-17; v-vi, 24), besides a fine homily on the Eight Beatitudes (counted as an eighteenth treatise). His feast is celebrated December 2.

J. P. KIRSCH


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