Meletius, Or Melltius, author of the Mele-tian schism, horn in Egypt about 200, died at Lycopolig, in the Thebais, in 326. He was made bishop of Lycopolis about 300, and during the persecution became the head of the extreme party who refused to admit the lapsi to fellowship. Peter, bishop of Alexandria, who entertained more moderate opinions, having concealed himself in 305, Meletius, who had been condemned to death by the persecutors, escaped from prison, and, being second metropolitan of Egypt, undertook to set aside the authority of the absent Peter and of his vicars. He persisted in exercising full episcopal jurisdiction in Alexandria in spite of the remonstrances of the other bishops, and for this was excommunicated and deposed in a synod held there about 306. He resisted the action of the synod, and, calling his own party the pure church of the martyrs, created a schism in Egypt, which continued even after the martyrdom of Bishop Peter in 311. The council of Nice in 325 condemned the conduct of Meletius, and, while allowing him to retain the episcopal rank because he had suffered for the faith, forbade him to exercise any jurisdiction. But at that time 29 bishops had embraced his views, and four priests with three deacons in the city of Alexandria held out for him.

After apparently submitting to the Nicene decision, he resumed his episcopal functions, consecrated a schismatic bishop, and a few days before his death appointed one of his own followers to be his successor. The Meletian party, without professing Arian doctrines, sided with the Arians against Athanasius. This schism disappeared early in the 5th century.