“Sermo eorum sicut cancer serpit”. Chromatius of Aquileia against heresies
Bishop Chromatius (in office from 388 to 407), whose episcopal see was a cosmopolitan trade-center at the north end of the Adriatic Sea with the name of Aquileia, was one of the most prominent bishops in the period. He is acquainted with notable figures such as Ambrosius, Hieronymus, Rufinus, and Ioannes Chrysostomus and forth. Before being created a bishop, he was the secretary of bishop Valerianus and in the occasion of Council of Aquileia in 381, he had spoken against Arians. This Council was presided by Ambrosius and with its scale it could almost be considered as an ecumenical one. As shown in some of the Chromatius’ sermons, which are unearthed in the 20th century, he opposed not only to the ideas of Arians but also to the teaching of Fotinus, bishop of Sirmium. Chromatius was a very zealous fighter and he practically succeeded to uproot all heretical ideas in his diocese. The academia usually sees him as an anti-Arian theologian. After the Council of Constantinople (381), the Arian heresy seemed to be abated, but Chromatius said in one of his Tractatus, “Cuius (sc. Arii) discipuli hodieque oues Dei fallere ac decipere conantur per aliquantas ecclesias, sed iamdudum, magistro perfidiae prodito, discipuli latere non possunt”; it is evident that, the followers of Arius could still be found (with the mentioning of “hodie”, i.e. today) in the area of Aquileia, meanwhile one must not neglect the presence of the followers of Fotinus of Sirmium. The first part of my conference paper would be a general presentation of the religious situation in Aquileia at the time where Chromatius served as the local bishop; thus I will proceed with an in-depth reading on several passages of the Aquilerian bishop’s sermons (Sermones and Tractatus), in order to show the impact of the those heresies on his works and to identity his theological arguments against them. Among those teachings, there is the “unconquerable faith (invicta fide)”, which led to the surmounting (suppression) of heresies.
Chromatius of Aquileia; Arianism; heresies
Chromatius Aquileiensis, Tractatus in Mathaeum, R. Étaix – J. Lemarié, CCL 9A, Turnholti 1974, 183-498.
Hieronymus, Epistulae, ed. I. Hilberg: Hieronymus, Epistulae 1-70, CSEL 54, Vindobonae – Lipsiae 1910.
Joannes Chrysostomus, Epistulae, PG 52, 549-748.
Il Concilio di Aquileia del 381 nel XVI centenario, Udine 1980.
San Cromazio. Pastore e maestro da sedici secoli (408-2008). La testimonianza dell’antica chiesa di Aquileia e del suo piu grande vescovo, Udine 2007.
Hamman A. – Quéré-Jaulmes F., I padri della Chiesa: il mistero Pasquale, Brescia 1969.
Lemarié J., Indagini su San Cromazio d’Aquileia, “Aquileia nostra” 38 (1967) 151-176.
Lemarié J., Notes, in: Chromace d’Aquilée, Sermons, vol. 1, Introduction, texte critique, notes par J. Lemarié, SCh 154, Paris 1969.
Simonetti M., La crisi ariana nel IV secolo, SEA 11, Roma 1975.
Todde M. – Pelizzari G., Cromazio di Aquileia, Sermoni liturgici, Introduzione e testo a cura di M. Todde, Revisione critica e commento a cura di G. Pelizzari, Milano 2013.
Trettel G., Cromazio di Aquileia, Commento al Vangelo di Matteo, vol. 1-2, Roma 1984-1987.
Trettel G., I due interventi di Cromazio al Concilio di Aquileia del 381, in: Studi Forogiuliesi in onore di Carlo Guido Mor, ed. G. Fornasir, Pubblicazioni della deputazione di Storia patria per il Friuli 13, Udine 1983, 93-108.