The date of birth of this person is not known. It is known only that he became a monk in NITRIA and then became a priest. This took place around 391, when the celebrated monk of Nitria, Benjamin, died a little after the arrival of PALLADIUS in KELLIA. At the urging of the patriarch THEOPHILUS, Dioscorus agreed to become bishop of Damanhur, in whose see Nitria lay.
Theophilus, at first an admirer of the writings of ORIGEN and hence very favorable to the intellectuals of Nitria, who thrived on these books (it was from the desert of Nitria that he chose several of the bishops of Damanhur), changed sides in 399. He proved himself a relentless opponent of Origenist tendencies. Dioscorus, before acceding to the episcopate between 390 and 394, was one of the Tall Brothers (see AMMONIUS OF KELLIA and THEOPHILUS OF ALEXANDRIA) at Nitria who were persecuted by Theophilus.
Dioscorus, although by then no longer at Nitria, was a target in the persecution by Theophilus and indeed appears to have been evicted by him from the administration of his diocese (Chitty, 1966, p. 58). It is said that driven from his see, Dioscorus rejoined the Tall Brothers in Constantinople, where they were welcomed in their exile by John Chrysostom. For this, Theophilus was never to forgive him.
It does not appear that Dioscorus recovered his see at Damanhur, and he probably died in Constantinople.
- Chitty, D. J. The Desert a City. London and Oxford, 1966.