HESYCHIUS, a bishop in late third- and early fourth-century Egypt and a biblical scholar. The name "Hesychius," familiar in late antiquity, appears twenty-seven times in W. Smith's and H. Wace's Dictionary of Christian Biography. One reference states that five bishops of that name attended the Council of NICAEA in 325. The most famous is the Hesychius who was bishop of an unknown Egyptian diocese probably during the patriarchate of PETER I. He is known in biblical studies as an exegete who revised the text of the Septuagint on the basis of the Hebrew original and compiled the Gospels. His recension was widely used in the churches of Egypt and Alexandria instead of the text of ORIGEN, but it was severely criticized in the West. Jerome speaks of interpolations and false additions to the Hesychian recension of the Bible. The Decretum Gelasianum (c. A.D. 500) described the work of Hesychius as "apocryphal." Modern criticism of the labors of Hesychius, however, appears to be less severe.
As a churchman, Hesychius participated in the condemnation of the MELITIAN SCHISM. About 296 he, Phileas, Theodorus, and Pachomius wrote a letter addressed to MELITIUS, schismatic bishop of Lycopolis, repudiating his errors and his irregular ordinations outside his diocese. Later Eusebius (Historia ecclesiastica 8.13) states that Hesychius and his three companions were martyred at Alexandria during the persecutions by DIOCLETIAN.
AZIZ S. ATIYA
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