Melito of Sardis (Greek: Μελίτων Σάρδεων Melíton Sárdeon) (died c. 180) was the bishop of Sardis near Smyrna in western Anatolia, and a great authority in early Christianity. Melito held a foremost place in terms of Bishops in Asia due to his personal influence on Christianity and his literary works, most of which have been lost but of what has been recovered has provided a great insight into Christianity during the second century.Jerome, speaking of the Old Testament canon established by Melito, quotes Tertullian to the effect that he was esteemed as a prophet by many of the faithful. This work by Tertullian has been lost but pieces regarding Melito are quoted by Jerome as to the high regard that Melito was considered at the time. Melito is remembered for his work on developing the first Old Testament Canon. Though it cannot be determined what date he was elevated to episcopacy, it is probable that he was bishop during the arising controversy at Laodicea in regards to the observance of Easter, which resulted in him writing his most famous work, an Apology for Christianity to Marcus Aurelius. Little is known of his life outside of what works are quoted or read by Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Eusebius. A letter of Polycrates of Ephesus to Pope Victor about 194 (Eusebius, Church History V.24) states that “Melito the eunuch [this is interpreted “the virgin” by Rufinus in his translation of Eusebius], whose whole walk was in the Holy Spirit”, was buried at Sardis. His feast day is celebrated on April 1.
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