Timothy III


The thirty-second patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (517-535) and the last ruler of an undivided Egyptian church. On the Emperor Justin’s accession in 518, the was proclaimed in the Eastern empire generally, but Timothy was left in peace in a church and province loyal to its own orthodoxy. He doubtless profited from the support of THEODORA, empress from 527, who is said to have claimed him as her spiritual father.

He was used by the government as a means of with the Ethiopian kingdom of Axum, and is reported to have assembled a council to assure the Axumite king, Caleb (or Elesbaas), of imperial support, at least for launching his expedition in defense of the Christians of Yemen. Timothy was able to welcome refugees from the persecution elsewhere, conspicuous among them SEVERUS OF ANTIOCH and JULIAN OF HALICARNASSUS, whose theological difference on the corruptibility or incorruptibility by nature of the humanity of Christ thus entered the Egyptian church.

Timothy’s is known from polemical quotations. Like Severus he asserted the full humanity of Christ, and is quoted in this sense by the Nestorian (or Nestorianizing) COSMAS INDICOPLEUSTES. In one example, a sermon on 30 Kiyahk of the tenth indication (517 or 532), he writes, “the Virgin brought forth a perfect man, without sin,” and again, “the Lord became man in nature and truth and not in appearance.” Timothy’s excellent government was praised by Maximian, of Ravenna. But he does not seem to have realized the intensity of the difference between the supporters of Severus and those of the more extreme Julian, who predominated in monastic circles for a while so that Severan monks needed the protection of a powerful lay patron.


  • Hardy, E. R. Christian Egypt, pp. 127-32. New York, 1952.
  • Maspero, J. des patriarches d’Alexandrie, chap. 3. Paris, 1923.
  • Vasiliev, A. Justin the First, pp. 224-27, 284-99. Cambridge, Mass. 1950.
  • Wigram, W. A. The Separation of the Monophysites, pp. 95, 151-54, 203. London, 1923.