Saint Meletius, bishop of Antioch, born at Melitene, near the Euphrates, about 310, died in Constantinople in 381. In 357 he was elected to succeed Eustathius, the deposed bishop of Sebaste, but soon resigned in consequence of the bitter opposition of the partisans of Eustathius. He then led a monastic life at Beroea till about 361, when he was chosen bishop of Antioch in place of the Arian bishop Eudoxius, transferred to the see of Constantinople. The election took place in a large synod of Arian and orthodox bishops, who hoped by this choice to end the schism begun in 330 by the banishment of St. Eustathius. His inaugural discourse gave great offence to the Arian party supported by the emperor Constantius; they petitioned for his removal, and after holding the see of Antioch only 30 days, he was banished to Armenia. Thus two orthodox parties came to exist side by side in Antioch, the Eus-tathians, who since 330 had held no fellowship with the Arians and Semi-Arians, and the great mass of the people, who now remained attached to the exiled Meletius. The bishop Euzoius, chosen by the Arians in place of Meletius, was at the head of the heterodox party.
The Meletians asked the Eustathians to unite with them against the heretics, but were repulsed as infected with Arianism. Meletius was permitted to return to his flock in 362; but Lucifer of Cagliari, commissioned to examine into this charge and heal the schism between the Eustathians and Meletians, openly took part with the former, and consecrated their leader Paulinus as their bishop. Meanwhile Julian, intending to make Antioch the central seat of restored paganism, was opposed by Meletius, whom he banished again, He was recalled in 363, and held a council in which Acacius of Csesarea and his adherents adopted the Nicene creed. In 364 Meletius was exiled a third time by the Arians, and was only recalled in 378. The Eustathians during the interval had been losing ground, the orthodoxy of Meletius became better known at Rome and Alexandria, and he himself found supporters and advocates in Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory Nazianzen. In 379 he convened in Antioch a council of 144 bishops, who condemned the Apollinarian heresy; and in 381 he presided at the first general council of Constantinople. He died soon after, and his remains were taken to Antioch and buried in the church of St. Babylas. John Chrysos-tom pronounced over his tomb an eloquent panegyric, Feb. 12, 386, on which day Meletius was honored as a saint by the eastern churches; his name was inserted by Baronius in the Roman martyrology for the same date.