You are viewing a draft
Not for citation.

Epiphanius, Medicine Cabinet, or Against Heresies 69.6.1-5


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 in wayward sectarianism, stretching from the Greek philosophers and Judaism up to his own time. The aim was to furnish 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 cites a letter written by Arius to his ally Eusebius of Nicomedia. Arius complains of his unjust exile from Egypt by Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, on theological grounds, and named various eastern bishops as agreeing with his beliefs, including Eusebius of Caesarea.


(1) Κυρίῳ ποθεινοτάτῳ ἀνθρώπῳ θεοῦ πιστῷ ὀρθοδόξῳ Εὐσεβίῳ, Ἄρειος ὁ διωκόμενος ὑπὸ Ἀλεξάνδρου πάπα ἀδίκως διὰ τὴν πάντα νικῶσαν ἀλήθειαν, ἧς καὶ σὺ ὑπερασπίζεις, ἐν Κυρίῳ χαίρειν. (2) Τοῦ πατρός μου Ἀμμωνίου εἰς τὴν Νικομήδειαν ἀφικομένου εὔλογον καὶ ὀφειλόμενον ἐφάνη μοι προσαγορεῦσαί σε δι’ αὐτοῦ, ὁμοῦ τε καὶ ὑπομνῆσαι τὴν ἔμφυτόν σου ἀγάπην καὶ διάθεσιν, ἣν ἔχεις πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς διὰ τὸν θεὸν καὶ τὸν Χριστὸν αὐτοῦ, ὅτι μεγάλως ἡμᾶς ἐκπορθεῖ καὶ διώκει καὶ πᾶν κακὸν κινεῖ καθ’ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐπίσκοπος, (3) ὥστε ἐκδιῶξαι ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῆς πόλεως ὡς ἀνθρώπους ἀθέους, ἐπειδὴ οὐ συμφωνοῦμεν αὐτῷ δημοσίᾳ λέγοντι· “ἀεὶ θεὸς ἀεὶ υἱός, ἅμα πατὴρ ἅμα υἱός, συνυπάρχει ὁ υἱὸς ἀγεννήτως τῷ θεῷ, ἀειγενής, ἀγενητογενής, οὔτ’ ἐπινοίᾳ οὔτ’ ἀτόμῳ τινὶ προάγει ὁ θεὸς τοῦ υἱοῦ, ἀεὶ θεός, ἀεὶ υἱός, ἐξ αὐτοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ υἱός.” (4) καὶ ἐπειδὴ Εὐσέβιος ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἐν Καισαρείᾳ καὶ Θεόδοτος καὶ Παυλῖνος καὶ Ἀθανάσιος καὶ Γρηγόριος καὶ Ἀέτιος καὶ πάντες οἱ κατὰ τὴν ἀνατολὴν λέγουσιν ὅτι προϋπάρχει ὁ θεὸς τοῦ υἱοῦ ἀνάρχως, ἀνάθεμα ἐγένοντο, δίχα Φιλογονίου καὶ Ἑλλανικοῦ καὶ Μακαρίου, ἀνθρώπων αἱρετικῶν ἀκατηχήτων, τὸν υἱὸν λεγόντων οἱ μὲν ἐρυγήν, οἱ δὲ προβολὴν ἀγένητον. (5) καὶ τούτων τῶν ἀσεβ<ει>ῶν οὐδὲ ἀκοῦσαι δυνάμεθα, ἐὰν μυρίους θανάτους ἡμῖν ἐπαπειλῶσιν οἱ αἱρετικοί.1

Textual Note

Ed. Holl 1933


(1) Greetings in the Lord from Arius, unjustly persecuted by Pope Alexander for the all-conquering truth of which you too are a defender, to the most beloved man of God, the faithful and orthodox Master Eusebius. (2) As my father Ammonius is arriving in Nicomedia, it seems to me reasonable and appropriate to address you through him, at the same time recalling your characteristic love and disposition toward the brothers for the sake of God and his Christ. For the bishop is harassing and persecuting us severely, and stirring up every sort of evil against us, (3) so that he has driven us from the city as godless men because we do not agree with his public declaration, “Always God, always Son. Together with Father, Son. The Son co-exists with God without organization, ever begotten, begotten without origination. Not by a thought or a moment does God precede the Son, (but there is) ever a God, ever a Son, the Son from God himself.” (4) And as Eusebius, your brother in Caesarea, and Theodotus, Paulinus, Athanasius, Gregory, Aëtius, and all the bishops in the East say that God exists before the Son without beginning, they have become anathema—except for the uneducated heretics Philogonius, Hellanicus, and Macarius, some of whom say that the Son is an eructation, and others an uncreated emanation. (5) And we cannot listen to these unholy men, even if the heretics threaten us with a thousand deaths.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: 69.6, p: 337.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: 69.6.1-5, p: 336.Link to Zotero Bibliographic RecordLink to Worldcat Bibliographic record


Copyright and License for Reuse

Except for materials quoted from other sources, this entry is copyright 2022 by the contributors (Joseph L. Rife, et al.) and the Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project. It is licensed under the Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

Some texts quoted in this entry may be in the public domain in the United States. No copyright is asserted for these quotations.

Some texts quoted in this entry may have copyright restrictions and are reused under Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 (Title 17 of the United States Code) which permits “fair use” of copyrighted materials for purposes such as criticism, comment, scholarship, and research. These texts remain under copyright of their owners. No copyright infringement is intended.

How to Cite This Entry

Joseph L. Rife, “Epiphanius, Medicine Cabinet, or Against Heresies 69.6.1-5,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, entry published October 19, 2022,


Joseph L. Rife, “Epiphanius, Medicine Cabinet, or Against Heresies 69.6.1-5.” 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 69.6.1-5

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 69.6.1-5
  • Joseph L. Rife, entry contributor, “Epiphanius, Medicine Cabinet, or Against Heresies 69.6.1-5

Additional Credit:

  • TEI encoding by William L. Potter
  • Electronic text added by Joseph L. Rife
  • Testimonia identified by Joseph L. Rife
Show full citation information...