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Paul the Jew was the Patriarch of Antioch, and head of the Melkite Church of Antioch, from 519 to 521.

Paul the Jew
Chalcedonian Patriarch of Antioch
ChurchChurch of Antioch
Term ended521
PredecessorSeverus I
Personal details
BornConstantinople, Eastern Roman Empire


Paul was born in Constantinople, where he became a priest and chief administrator of the Hospice of Euboulos.[1][2] Paul was consecrated Patriarch of Antioch by the end of June 519.[2] He was consecrated in Antioch on the insistence of Pope Hormisdas, despite initial plans to consecrate Paul in Constantinople.[1] The Church of Antioch suffered from a lack of funds at this time, and thus Emperor Justin I bestowed upon Paul a large amount of money for the maintenance of the Church.[1]

After his ascension to the throne, Emperor Justin ordered bishops within the Diocese of the East to accept the Council of Chalcedon or face deposition.[3] In November 519,[4] with the aid of the imperial army, the patriarch had Paul, Bishop of Edessa, who had refused to accept the council, forcibly removed from his church, despite the protestations of the local population, and exiled to Seleucia in Syria.[5] Fearing civil unrest,[5] Emperor Justin restored Paul to the see of Edessa after forty days.[3] According to John of Ephesus, Paul carried out assassinations and torture during his tenure as patriarch.[5]

Paul's persecution towards non-Chalcedonians earned him the cognomen, "the Jew".[1] He ordered non-Chalcedonian monks on the fringe of the Syrian Desert to sign a declaration of acceptance of the Council of Chalcedon, and those who failed to do so were threatened with removal from their monasteries.[3] The majority of monks refused to accept the council,[3] and thus Paul had the army led by Asclepius sent to dislocate the monks.[5] The resulting violence led Emperor Justin to depose Paul in 521, who died shortly afterwards.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Allen (2011), p. 27
  2. ^ a b Viezure (2011), p. 566
  3. ^ a b c d Evans (2000), p. 108
  4. ^ Gwynn (1911)
  5. ^ a b c d e Tate (2004), pp. 109-110


  • Allen, Pauline (2011). "Episcopal Succession in Antioch in the Sixth Century". Episcopal Elections in Late Antiquity. Walter de Gruyter.
  • Evans, J. A. S. (2000). The Age of Justinian: The Circumstances of Imperial Power. Routledge.
  • Gwynn, John (1911). "Paulus Edessenus". A Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies.
  • Tate, Georges (2004). Justinien. L'épopée de l'Empire d'Orient (527-565). Fayard.
  • Viezure, Dana luliana (2011). "The Election of Paul the Jew (519) in Light of the Theopaschite Controversy". Episcopal Elections in Late Antiquity. Walter de Gruyter.
Preceded by
Severus I
Chalcedonian Patriarch of Antioch
Succeeded by