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Headword: Σισίννιος
Adler number: sigma,481
Translated headword: Sisinnios, Sisinnius
Vetting Status: high
bishop of [the] Novatians,[1] an eloquent man and a consummate philosopher. He concerned himself especially with dialectic, so that even Eunomios the heretic[2] often avoided dialogue with him. He did not have a simple life-style, but with the height of self-control he lived expensively, both habitually luxuriating in white garments and two or three times a day bathing at the public baths. And when once someone asked him, why, being a bishop, he bathed twice a day, he answered, because he could not manage a third time. At another time visiting the bishop Arsacius[3] out of respect, he was asked by one of Arsaciu' followers why he wore a garment unsuitable for a bishop, and "Where is it written, that a man in priestly orders should wear white?" He said, "First you tell me where it is written that a bishop should wear a black garment." And when the questioner was puzzled about his reply, Sisinnios added, "But you will not be able to prove that a man in priestly orders should wear black; but even Solomon has advised me, saying, 'Let your cloaks be white.'[4] And the Savior in the Gospels appears wearing a white garment. Not only so, but he showed to his apostles Moses and Elijah both dressed in white."[5] He caused amazement by these and many other sayings. And when Leontios the bishop of Ankyra in Galatia, who had taken a church away from the Novatians, was visiting in Constantinople, Sisinnios went to him and begged him to give the church back. But he replied hotly and said, "You Novatians ought not have a church, since you take away repentance and shut off the loving-kindness of God."[6] But Sisinnios said, "Truly, no one repents like me." When [Leontios] asked in return, "How do you repent?" Sisinnios said, "That I visited you." When John the bishop said that a city cannot have two bishops, Sisinnios said, "It does not." When John became annoyed and said, "You see, because you want to be the only bishop?" And Sisinnios said, "I am not saying this, but that with you alone I am not a bishop, I who am [a bishop] for everyone else." But John said, "I will stop you from preaching, for you are a heretic." But Sisinnios wittily said, "But I will pay you, if you relieve me from such great toil." But John being softened said, "I will not stop you from preaching, if indeed speaking gives you distress." So witty was Sisinnios. He wrote many things, and in them he hunts for [clever] words. He impressed people more by speaking than by being read, for there was such grace in his countenance and his voice and his glance and in the whole movement of his body.
Greek Original:
Σισίννιος, Ναυατιανῶν ἐπίσκοπος, ἀνὴρ ἐλλόγιμος καὶ ἄκρος φιλόσοφος. διαλεκτικῆς δὲ σφόδρα ἐπεμελεῖτο, ὡς καὶ τὸν Εὐνόμιον τὸν αἱρετικὸν πολλάκις αὐτοῦ φυγεῖν τὴν διάλεξιν. τὴν δὲ δίαιταν ἦν οὐ λιτός, ἀλλ' ἐν ἄκρᾳ σωφροσύνῃ πολυτελεῖ ταύτῃ ἐκέχρητο, τρυφῶν τε ἐν ἐσθῆτι λευκῇ, καὶ δὶς τῆς ἡμέρας ἐν λουτροῖς δημοσίοις λουόμενος διετέλει. καί ποτε ἐρομένου αὐτόν τινος, τοῦ χάριν ἐπίσκοπος ὢν δὶς λούοιτο τῆς ἡμέρας: ἐπειδὴ τὸ τρίτον οὐ φθάνει, ἀπεκρίνατο. ἄλλοτε δὲ Ἀρσάκιον τὸν ἐπίσκοπον κατὰ τιμὴν ὁρῶν ἠρωτήθη ὑπό τινος τῶν περὶ Ἀρσάκιον, διατὶ ἀνοίκειον ἐπισκόπῳ ἐσθῆτα φοροίη, καὶ ποῦ γέγραπται, λευκὰ τὸν ἱερωμένον ἀμφιέννυσθαι; ὁ δέ, σὺ πρότερον, ἔφη, εἰπέ, ποῦ γέγραπται, μέλαιναν ἐσθῆτα φορεῖν τὸν ἐπίσκοπον; τοῦ δὲ ἐρωτήσαντος ἐν ἀπόρῳ γενομένου πρὸς τὴν ἀντερώτησιν, ἐπήγαγεν ὁ Σισίννιος: ἀλλὰ σὺ μὲν οὐκ ἄν, ἔφη, δεῖξαι δυνήσῃ, ὡς δεῖ τὸν ἱερωμένον μέλαιναν ἀμφιέννυσθαι: ἐμοὶ δὲ καὶ ὁ Σολομὼν παρῄνεσε, λέγων: ἔστωσάν σοι ἱμάτια λευκά. καὶ ὁ Σωτὴρ ἐν τοῖς Εὐαγγελίοις φαίνεται λευκῇ ἐσθῆτι χρησάμενος. οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ Μωσῆν καὶ Ἠλίαν λευκοφοροῦντας τοῖς ἀποστόλοις ἔδειξε. ταῦτα καὶ ἄλλα πολλὰ εἰπὼν ἐθαυμάσθη. Λεοντίου δὲ τοῦ Ἀγκύρας τῆς Γαλατίας ἐπισκόπου Ναυατιανῶν ἐκκλησίαν ἀφαιρουμένου καὶ τῇ Κωνσταντίνου πόλει ἐπιδημοῦντος, ὁ Σισίννιος ἐλθὼν παρ' αὐτὸν παρεκάλει ἀποδοῦναι τὴν ἐκκλησίαν. ὁ δὲ θερμῶς ἀπήντησε καί φησιν: ὑμεῖς οἱ Ναυατιανοὶ οὐκ ὀφείλετε ἐκκλησίαν ἔχειν, τὴν μετάνοιαν ἀναιροῦντες καὶ τὴν φιλανθρωπίαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἀποκλείοντες. ὁ δὲ Σισίννιος ἔφη: καὶ μὴν οὐδεὶς οὕτω μετανοεῖ ὡς ἐγώ. τοῦ δὲ πάλιν ἐπάγοντος, πῶς μετανοεῖς; ἔφη ὁ Σισίννιος, ὅτι σε εἶδον. Ἰωάννου δὲ τοῦ ἐπισκόπου λέγοντος, ὅτι οὐ δύναται πόλις δύο ἐπισκόπους ἔχειν, ὁ Σισίννιος ἔφη, οὐδὲ γὰρ ἔχει. τοῦ δὲ Ἰωάννου χαλεπήναντος καὶ φήσαντος, ὁρᾷς, ὅτι μόνος εἶναι βούλει ἐπίσκοπος; καὶ ὁ Σισίννιος, οὐ τοῦτο, ἔφη, λέγω, ἀλλ' ὅτι ἐγὼ παρὰ σοὶ μόνῳ οὔκ εἰμι ἐπίσκοπος, ὃς τοῖς ἄλλοις εἰμί. ὁ δὲ Ἰωάννης, ἀλλ' ἐγώ σε, ἔφη, παύσω προσομιλεῖν: αἱρετικὸς γὰρ ὑπάρχεις. ὁ δὲ Σισίννιος χαριέντως: ἀλλ' ἐγώ, ἔφη, καὶ μισθοὺς παρέξω, εἴ γε τηλικούτου καμάτου ἀπαλλάξειας. ὁ δὲ Ἰωάννης διαμαλαχθείς, ἀλλ' οὐκ ἄν σε, ἔφη, παύσω τοῦ προσομιλεῖν ἐγώ, εἴγε ὅλως τὸ λέγειν λυπεῖ σε. οὕτως ἦν χαρίεις ὁ Σισίννιος. πολλὰ δὲ αὐτῷ γέγραπται: λεξιθηρεῖ δὲ ἐν αὐτοῖς. λέγων δὲ μᾶλλον ἢ ἀναγινωσκόμενος ἐθαυμάζετο: προσῆν γὰρ αὐτῷ χάρις τῷ τε προσώπῳ καὶ τῇ φωνῇ καὶ τῷ βλέμματι καὶ τῇ ὅλῃ κινήσει τοῦ σώματος.
Socrates, Ecclesiastical History 6.22 (translation at web address 1).
[1] See nu 50, nu 51 (where some of these anecdotes appear), sigma 482.
[2] Eunomios: epsilon 3598.
[3] Arsacius was archbishop of Constantinople from 404 up to 405, after the expulsion of John Chrysostom. See alpha 4361.
[4] Ecclesiastes 9.8 LXX.
[5] At the Transfiguration.
[6] The Novatians withheld forgiveness from those who had weakened under persecution: cf. nu 50.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; Christianity; clothing; ethics; geography; historiography; history; philosophy; religion; rhetoric
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 30 August 2009@01:21:29.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 31 August 2009@06:13:49.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note) on 5 June 2013@01:15:53.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 29 December 2013@05:21:18.
David Whitehead (coding) on 26 May 2016@03:32:51.


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