Epiphanius (ca 315–403), Bishop of Salamis (Cyprus), was a strong defender of orthodoxy, known for combating (heresies) during the troubled era in the Christian Church following the Council of Nicaea.

Ecclesiastical life

His reputation for learning prompted his nomination and installation as Bishop of Salamis on Cyprus in 367. He served as bishop for nearly forty years, travelling widely to combat unorthodox beliefs. He was present at a synod in Antioch (376) where the Trinitarian questions were debated against the heresy of Apollinarianism. He upheld the position of Bishop Paulinus, who had the support of Rome, over that of Meletius, who was supported by the Eastern Churches. In 382 he was present at the Council of Rome, again upholding the cause of Paulinus. During a visit to Palestine in 394 he attacked Origen's followers and urged the Bishop of Jerusalem to condemn his writings. Origen's writings were eventually condemned at the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553. In 402 he was induced by Theophilus of Alexandria to travel to a synod in Constantinople, where he argued against the supposed heresy of John Chrysostom. He died at sea on his return journey to Cyprus in 403.


His best-known book is the Panarion which means "Medicine-chest" (also known as Adversus Haereses). Written between 374 and 377, it forms a handbook for dealing with heretics, listing 80 heretical doctrines, some of which are not described in any other surviving documents from the time. The Panarion is a valuable source of information on the Christian church of the fourth century. His earliest known work is the Ancoratus ("well anchored"), which includes arguments against Arianism and the teachings of Origen.


  • The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Book I (Sects 1-46), Frank Williams, translator, 1987 (E.J. Brill, Leiden) ISBN 9004079262
  • The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Book II and III (Sects 47-80, De Fide), Frank Williams, translator, 1993 (E.J. Brill, Leiden) ISBN 9004098984 These are the only translations of Epiphanius in a modern language.

See also