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Epiphanius, Medicine Cabinet, or Against Heresies 69.4.3-5


Epiphanius, who spent his early life and career as a student and monk in southern Palestine and Egypt, was appointed bishop of Salamis on Cyprus in ca. 365-367 C.E., a post he held until his death in 403 C.E. He became a formidable champion of Orthodoxy, repeatedly entering into bitter controversy with the sees at Jerusalem and Alexandria. His Medicine Cabinet (πανάριον, κιβώτιον, panarion, arcula), or Against Heresies (κατὰ αἱρέσεων, adversus haereses), was a long compendium of portraits of wayward sectarianism, stretching from the Greek philosophers and Judaism up to his own time, intended to give theological and rhetorical antidotes to heresy. It has great historical value for its detailed information on figures of the eastern Church, frequently paraphrasing or quoting from earlier works or otherwise lost documents. In his chapter on the Arians, Epiphanius records how Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, circulated letters to the Palestinian, Phoenician, and Syrian bishops exhorting them to rebuke and to refuse quarter to Arius, whom Alexander had exiled from Egypt during the tense times before the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in 325 C.E.


μετέπειτα δὲ εἰς ὦτα ἔρχεται τοῦ ἐπισκόπου Ἀλεξάνδρου καὶ γράφει ἐπιστολὰς ἐγκυκλίους, αἵτινες παρὰ φιλοκάλοις ἔτι σῴζονται, ὡς τὸν ἀριθμὸν ἑβδομήκοντα, τῶν ἐπισκόπων ἑκάστῳ, Εὐσεβίῳ εὐθὺς τῷ ἐν Καισαρείᾳ (περιῆν γάρ), καὶ Μακαρίῳ Ἱεροσολύμων, Ἀσκληπιῷ ἐν Γάζῃ, Λογγίνῳ ἐν Ἀσκάλωνι, Μακρίνῳ τῷ ἐν Ἰαμνίᾳ καὶ ἄλλοις, ἔν τε τῇ Φοινίκῃ Ζήνωνί τινι ἀρχαίῳ ἐν Τύρῳ καὶ ἄλλοις, ἅμα καὶ <τοῖς> ἐν τῇ Κοίλῃ Συρίᾳ. ὡς οὖν ἀπεστάλησαν αἱ ἐπιστολαί, μεμφόμεναι τοὺς αὐτὸν ὑποδεξαμένους, ἕκαστος ἀντέγραψε τῷ μακαρίῳ Ἀλεξάνδρῳ ἀπολογούμενος. καὶ οἱ μὲν εἰρωνείᾳ γεγράφασιν, ἄλλοι δὲ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, οἱ μὲν λέγοντες μὴ ὑπο- δέχεσθαι τοῦτον, ἄλλοι δὲ κατὰ ἄγνοιαν ὑποδέχεσθαι, ἕτεροι δὲ φάσκοντες, ὡς διὰ τῆς ὑποδοχῆς κερδῆσαι αὐτόν, ἀπολογούμενοι. καὶ πολλή τίς ἐστιν ἡ περὶ τούτων ὑπόθεσις.1

Textual Note

Ed. Holl 1933


(3) Afterwards this came to the ears of the bishop Alexander, and he wrote to each bishop encyclical letters, around 70 altogether, which are still preserved by scholars. He wrote immediately to Eusebius in Caesarea—he was alive—and to Macarius in Jerusalem, Asclepius in Gaza, Longinus in Ascalon, Macrinus in Iamnia, and others; and in Phoenicia to Zeno, a senior bishop in Tyre, and others, along with (the bishops) in Coele Syria. (4) When the letters had been sent reproving those who had received (Arius), each bishop replied to the blessed Alexander with his defense. (5) And some wrote deceitfully, others truthfully, some explaining that they had not received him, others that they had received him in ignorance, and others claiming in self-defense that they had won him over by hospitality. And the story about these matters is a long one.2

Translation Note

Rev. Williams 2013

Works Cited

  • 1 Epiphanius, Epiphanius: Panarion haereses 65-80; De fide, ed. Karl Holl, vol. 3, Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller 37 (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1933), bk: 69.4, p: 155.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 Burchard of Mt. Sion, Burchard of Mt. Sion OP: Description of the Holy Land (1274-85), in Pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, 1187-1291, trans. Denys Pringle, Crusade Texts in Translation 23 (London: Routledge, 2018), 241–320, bk: 69.4.3-5, p: 336.Link to Zotero Bibliographic RecordLink to Worldcat Bibliographic record


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How to Cite This Entry

Joseph L. Rife, “Epiphanius, Medicine Cabinet, or Against Heresies 69.4.3-5,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, entry published October 19, 2022,


Joseph L. Rife, “Epiphanius, Medicine Cabinet, or Against Heresies 69.4.3-5.” In Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, edited by Joseph L. Rife, Phillip I. Lieberman and David A. Michelson., edited by Joseph L. Rife et al.. Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project, 2022. Entry published October 19, 2022.

About this Entry

Entry Title: Epiphanius, Medicine Cabinet, or Against Heresies 69.4.3-5

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Joseph L. Rife, general editor, Vanderbilt University
  • Joseph L. Rife, Phillip I. Lieberman, and David A. Michelson, editors, Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia
  • David A. Michelson, Daniel L. Schwartz, and William L. Potter, technical editor, “Epiphanius, Medicine Cabinet, or Against Heresies 69.4.3-5
  • Joseph L. Rife, entry contributor, “Epiphanius, Medicine Cabinet, or Against Heresies 69.4.3-5

Additional Credit:

  • TEI encoding by William L. Potter
  • Electronic text added by Joseph L. Rife
  • Testimonia identified by Joseph L. Rife
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