PAUL THE BLACK
A sixth-century Monophysite patriarch of Antioch. Paul the Black was a Copt born in Alexandria. He moved to Syria, where he took his monastic vows in one of its monasteries. He was ultimately consecrated patriarch of Antioch by Bar Hebraeus, with whom he shared the Monophysite profession against CHALCEDON. His career was rather stormy and, being a Monophysite, he was pursued by the Byzantine authorities and had to take refuge from his persecutors at the court of the Christian Ghassanid king al-Harith ibn Jabalah and his successor, al-Mundhir, before the emergence of Muhammad and Islam.
On other occasions, he fled to the Mareotis Desert southwest of Alexandria in Egypt. To deceive his persecutors, he apparently feigned conciliation toward Chalcedon and was warmly welcomed at the imperial court in Constantinople, where he spent a few years and where he died after a checkered career of oscillation and schisms within his Antiochene church. He was even accused of the heresy of tritheism. He was deposed by Pope PETER IV of Alexandria, and a new menace of a split between the two sister churches loomed on the horizon.
To mend this rift, JACOB BARADAEUS had to accept Paul’s deposition and prepare a delegation of bishops to go to Egypt to reestablish the unity between Antioch and Alexandria.
- Atiya, A. S. A History of Eastern Christianity. London, 1967. Honigmann, H. Evêques et évêches monophysites d’Asie antérieure au VIe siècle. CSCO 127. Louvain, 1951.
- Rustum, A. The Church of the City of God Great, Antioch, 3 vols. Beirut, 1966.
AZIZ S. ATIYA