Gelasius was the nephew of Cyril of Jerusalem. Historians guess that he was born sometime around 335, but little is known about the first thirty years of his life. Around 367, Gelasius became the bishop of Palestinian Caesarea, the office which he held intermittently until his death in about the year 395. Because he was a staunch defender of the Nicene faith, he was deposed for a time by the Arian emperor Valens. Upon coming to power in 379, Theodosius I restored Gelasius back to his position. Little else is known about his life as a bishop, other than that he participated in the Council of Constantinople in 381, once again defending the Nicene Creed.

We do, however, know a bit more about his life as a writer. Although he did not publish his works, he still acquired the reputation of a respected and reliable writer. Jerome spoke highly of him and his works, and many other writers, including Theodoret and the anonymous church historian, cited him in their own works. Unfortunately, all that remains of Gelasius’s writings are the fragments quoted by others in their writings.

Some fragments remain from a few dogmatic treatises which Gelasius wrote. Other works, such as the polemical Against the Anomoeans [CPG 3520] and the catechetical An Interpretation of the Creed, have been attributed to him as well. But his most notable work was his church history [3521], which the ninth century scholar and patriarch Photius claims he wrote because of his uncle Cyril’s dying request. Some scholars believe that much of Rufinus’s “original” material is actually just a translation of Gelasius’s continuation of the history after Eusebius, but the relationship between the two is still highly debated. Fragments of Gelasius’s church history survive in the church histories of Theodoret and the anonymous author. In addition, Photius’s Epitome of Gelasius seems to give us the basic outline and a comprehensive summary of his work. His work covers the years…




Labate, A. “Sozomen.” In Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity. Edited by Angelo Di Berardino. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014. pp. 622-623.

Norris, Frederick W. “Sozomen.” In Encyclopedia of Early Christianity. Edited by Everett Ferguson. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc, 1990. p. 864.

Rohrbacher, David. The Historians of Late Antiquity. London: Routledge, 2002. pp. 117-125.


Last edited – GLT 11.2.2021

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