Arethas of Caesarea

Arethas of Caesarea

St. Arethas with Saint Eustratius. In the roundels, Mercurius and Thomas the Apostle. From the Harbaville Tryptych.

Arethas of Caesarea (Greek: Ἀρέθας; born c. 860 AD) became Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (modern Kayseri, Turkey) early in the 10th century, and is considered one of the most scholarly theologians of the Greek Orthodox Church.


  • Life 1
  • Works 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


He was born at Patrae (modern-day Greece). He was a disciple of Photius. He studied at the University of Constantinople. The latest known date of his life is 932.


He is the compiler of a Greek commentary (scholia) on the Apocalypse, for which he made considerable use of the similar work of his predecessor, Andrew of Caesarea. It was first printed in 1535 as an appendix to the works of Oecumenius.[1] Ehrhard inclines to the opinion that he wrote other scriptural commentaries. To his interest in the earliest Christian literature, caught perhaps from the above-named Andrew, we owe the Arethas Codex,[2] through which the texts of almost all of the ante-Nicene Greek Christian apologists have, in great measure, reached us.[3]

He is also known as a commentator of Plato and Lucian; the famous manuscript of Plato (Codex Clarkianus), taken from Patmos to London, was copied by order of Arethas. Other important Greek manuscripts, e.g. of Euclid,[4] the rhetor Aristides, and perhaps of Dio Chrysostom, are owing to him. Not a few of his minor writings, contained in a Moscow manuscript, are said still to await an editor.[5] Krumbacher emphasizes his fondness for ancient classical Greek literature and the original sources of Christian theology, in spite of the fact that he lived in a "dark" century, and was far away from any of the few remaining centres of erudition.

Arethas' works are also the first surviving ones that make concrete references as to the existence of the Meditations (written c. 175 AD) of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, which Arethas admits to holding in high personal favor in his letters to the Byzantine emperor Leo VI the Wise and his books (Scholia to Lucian and Scholia to Dio Chrysostom). Arethas is considered to be the individual responsible for reintroducing the Meditations into public discourse.


  1. ^ It is found in P.G., CVI, 493.
  2. ^ Paris, Gr. 451.
  3. ^ Otto Bardenhewer, Patrologie, 40.
  4. ^ L.D. Reynolds and Nigel G. Wilson, Scribes and Scholars 2nd. ed. (Oxford, 1974) p. 57
  5. ^ See P.G., loc. cit., 787.



External links

  • Opera Omnia by Migne Patrologia Graeca with analytical indexes