The split in the church at Antioch went back to the time of the council of Nicaea, soon after which, perhaps as early as 327, Bishop Eustathius of Antioch was deposed for conduct unbecoming and for discourtesy to the emperor's mother Helena on pilgrimage to the holy places. A congregation loyal to his memory met separately in 'the old church' in the city, while the main body worshipped elsewhere, after 341 in the fine building begun under Constantine and dedicated in that year. They were led by a presbyter named Paulinus. When Leontius was bishop in the fifties, the separate congregations were able to meet together for devotions other than the eucharistic liturgy, but did not share communion.
Paulinus' congregation, however, was recognized as the true church of Antioch by Athanasius of Alexandria and by Rome. This western and Alexandrian recognition became a difficulty after 360 when Meletius became bishop. Being rejected by Eudoxius and his friends, he soon supported the Nicene creed; there were then two Nicene congregations in the same city. They were theologically divided, however, by the fact that, like Basil of Caesarea and his Cappadocian friends, Meletius with his homoian background was sympathetic to saying that the Trinity is 'three hypostases', which asserted the independence of Father, Son, and Spirit and which had formed part of the central eastern bishops' programme since 341. In strict accord with the Nicene anathema, Paulinus insisted (like Marcellus of Ankyra, with whom he had compromising correspondence) on only one hypostasis. He thought Meletius a hypocrite, since he pretended to profess Nicene faith when expressly glossing the creed to say that the Son is 'like' the Father: 'the kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed, but not much.' Moreover, when Athanasius visited Antioch (probably on return from Jovian at Hierapolis in 363), Meletius did not share communion with him (Basil, ep. 89; 258), a decision fateful for the future. Politically communion with Athanasius in 363 could have been highly disadvantageous. Perhaps Meletius