Melitius was the Bishop of Lycopolis (Assiut) during the patriarchate of Peter, the Seal of Martyrs (300-311). He opposed the patriarch of Alexandria on two issues. The first was the admission of the Lapsi (those who under torture deny Christ), and the second issue was the authority of the bishops to consecrate other bishops.
Melitius consecrated many bishops during the persecution era. Regarding the first issue, Melitius adopted the rigorist point of view of the Donatists in North Africa and the Novatianists in Rome. Melitius was exiled during the persecution and upon his return organized a schismatic church.
In 325, Alexander, the Bishop of Alexandria (313-328), submitted this affair to the Council of Nicaea. The council decided on the sixth canon, referring to ancient custom, that the Bishop of Alexandria has authority over all the bishops of Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis. The council approved the bishops ordained by Melitius.
Papyri attest the activity of the Melitians in the fourth century among the monks. According to Ugo Zanetti, the Saracote monks mentioned in the life of John of Scetis in the seventh century could be Melitians. This sect disappeared in the eighth century.