In the year 451 the fourth general council was called at Chalcedon to pronounce upon the Eutychian or monophysite heresy which was spreading very rapidly in the Eastern portion of the Church. Dioceses were being split into factions which, in some cases, elected rival bishops and refused communion to their opponents. The decision of the council, which totally condemned the heresy, was accepted at once by a great proportion of the Palestinian monks, but there were many exceptions. At the head of these was Theodosius, a violent and unscrupulous man who obtained sufficient following to enable him to expel Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, and to gain possession of the see for himself. He then raised so cruel a persecution in Jerusalem that he filled the city with blood, as we learn from a letter of the Emperor Marcian. At the head of a band of soldiers he then proceeded to carry desolation over the country, although in certain places he met with opponents who had the courage to stand firm in their orthodoxy. Of these no one showed more determination than Severian, Bishop of Scythopolis, who received as his reward the crown of martyrdom. The soldiers seized him, dragged him out of the city, and then put him to death.
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