Rufinus, who wrote an Ecclesiastical History in Latin, has erred in respect to chronology. For he supposes that what was done against Athanasius occurred after the death of the Emperor Constantine: he was also ignorant of his exile to the Gauls and of various other circumstances. Now we in the first place wrote the first two books of our history following Rufinus; but in writing our history from the third to the seventh, some facts we collected from Rufinus, others from different authors, and some from the narration of individuals still living. Afterward, however, we perused the writings of Athanasius, wherein he depicts his own sufferings and how through the calumnies of the Eusebian fiction he was banished, and judged that more credit was due to him who had suffered, and to those who were witnesses of the things they describe, than to such as have been dependent on conjecture, and had therefore erred. Moreover, having obtained several letters of persons eminent at that period, we have availed ourselves of their assistance also in tracing out the truth as far as possible. On this account we were compelled to revise the first and second books of this history, using, however, the testimony of Rufinus where it is evident that he could not be mistaken. It should also be observed, that in our former edition, neither the sentence of deposition which was passed upon Arius, nor the emperor's letters were inserted, but simply the narration or facts in order that the history might not become bulky and weary the readers with tedious matters of detail. But in the present edition, such alterations and additions have been made for your sake, O sacred man of God, Theodore, in order that you might not be ignorant what the princes wrote in their own words, as well as the decisions of the bishops in their various Synods, wherein they continually altered the confession of faith. Wherefore, whatever we have deemed necessary we have inserted in this later edition. Having adopted this course in the first book, we shall endeavor to do the same in the consecutive portion of our history, I mean the second. On this let us now enter.
After the death of the Emperor Constantine, Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, and Theognis of Nicæa, imagining that a favorable opportunity had arisen, used their utmost efforts to expunge the doctrine of homoousion, and to introduce Arianism in its place. They, nevertheless, despaired of effecting this, if Athanasius should return to Alexandria: in order therefore to accomplish their designs, they sought the assistance of that presbyter by whose means Arius had been recalled from exile a little before. How this was done shall now be described. The presbyter in question presented the will and the request of the deceased king to his son Constantius; who finding those dispositions in it which he was most desirous of, for the empire of the East was by his father's will apportioned to him, treated the presbyter with great consideration, loaded him with favors, and ordered that free access should be given him both to the palace and to himself. This license soon obtained for him familiar intercourse with the empress, as well as with her eunuchs. There was at that time a chief eunuch of the imperial bed-chamber named Eusebius; him the presbyter persuaded to adopt Arian's views, after which the rest of the eunuchs were also prevailed on to adopt the same sentiments. Not only this but the empress also, under the influence of the eunuchs and the presbyters, became favorable to the tenets of Arius; and not long after the subject was introduced to the emperor himself. Thus it became gradually diffused throughout the court, and among the officers of the imperial household and guards, until at length it spread itself over the whole population of the city. The chamberlains in the palace discussed this doctrine with the women; and in the family of every citizen there was a logical contest. Moreover, the mischief quickly extended to other provinces and cities, the controversy, like a spark, insignificant at first, exciting in the auditors a spirit of contention: for every one who inquired the cause of the tumult, found immediately occasion for disputing, and determined to take part in the strife at the moment of making the inquiry. By general altercation of this kind all order was subverted; the agitation, however, was confined to the cities of the East, those of Illyricum and the western parts of the empire meanwhile were perfectly tranquil, because they would not annul the decisions of the Council of Nicæa. As this affair increased, going from bad to worse, Eusebius of Nicomedia and his party looked upon popular ferment as a piece of good fortune. For only thus they thought they would be enabled to constitute some one who held their own sentiments bishop of Alexandria. But the return of Athanasius at that time defeated their purpose; for he came there fortified by a letter from one of the Augusti, which the younger Constantine, who bore his father's name, addressed to the people of Alexandria, from Treves, a city in Gaul. A copy of this epistle is here subjoined.
It cannot, I conceive, have escaped the knowledge of your devout minds, that Athanasius, the expositor of the venerated law, was sent for a while unto the Gauls, lest he should sustain some irreparable injury from the perverseness of his blood-thirsty adversaries, whose ferocity continually endangered his sacred life. To evade this [perverseness], therefore, he was taken from the jaws of the men who threatened him into a city under my jurisdiction, where, as long as it was his appointed residence, he has been abundantly supplied with every necessity: although his distinguished virtue trusting in divine aid would have made light of the pressure of a more rigorous fortune. And since our sovereign, my father, Constantine Augustus of blessed memory, was prevented by death from accomplishing his purpose of restoring this bishop to his see, and to your most sanctified piety, I have deemed it proper to carry his wishes into effect, having inherited the task from him. With how great veneration he has been regarded by us, you will learn on his arrival among you; nor need any one be surprised at the honor I have put upon him, since I have been alike influenced by a sense of what was due to so excellent a personage, and the knowledge of your affectionate solicitude respecting him. May Divine Providence preserve you, beloved brethren.
Relying on this letter, Athanasius came to Alexandria, and was most joyfully received by the people of the city. Nevertheless as many in it as had embraced Arianism, combining together, entered into conspiracies against him, by which frequent seditions were excited, affording a pretext to the Eusebians for accusing him to the emperor of having taken possession of the Alexandrian church on his own responsibility, in spite of the adverse judgment of a general council of bishops. So far indeed did they succeed in pressing their charges, that the emperor became exasperated, and banished him from Alexandria. How indeed this came about I shall hereafter explain.
At this time Eusebius, who was bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine, and had the surname of Pamphilus, having died, Acacius, his disciple, succeeded him in the bishopric. This individual published several books, and among others a biographical sketch of his master.
Not long after this the brother of the Emperor Constantius, Constantine the younger, who bore his father's name, having invaded those parts of the empire which were under the government of his younger brother Constans, engaging in a conflict with his brother's soldiery, was slain by them. This took place under the consulship of Acindynus and Proclus.
About the same time another disturbance in addition to those we have recorded, was raised at Constantinople on the following account. Alexander, who had presided over the churches in that city, and had strenuously opposed Arius, departed this life, having occupied the bishopric for twenty-three years and lived ninety-eight years in all, without having ordained any one to succeed him. But he had enjoined the proper persons to choose one of the two whom he named; that is to say, if they desired one who was competent to teach, and of eminent piety, they should elect Paul, whom he had himself ordained presbyter, a man young indeed in years, but of advanced intelligence and prudence; but if they wished a man of venerable aspect, and external show only of sanctity, they might appoint Macedonius, who had long been a deacon among them and was aged. Hence there arose a great contest respecting the choice of a bishop which troubled the church exceedingly; for ever since the people were divided into two parties, one of which favored the tenets of Arius, while the other held what the Nicene Synod had defined, those who held the doctrine of consubstantiality always had the advantage during the life of Alexander, the Arians disagreeing among themselves and perpetually conflicting in opinion. But after the death of that prelate, the issue of the struggle became doubtful, the defenders of the orthodox faith insisting on the ordination of Paul, and all the Arian party espousing the cause of Macedonius. Paul therefore was ordained bishop in the church called Irene, which is situated near the great church of Sophia; whose election appeared to be more in accordance with the suffrage of the deceased.
Not long afterwards the emperor having arrived at Constantinople was highly incensed at the consecration [of Paul]; and having convened an assembly of bishops of Arian sentiments, he divested Paul of his dignity, and translating Eusebius from the see of Nicomedia, he appointed him bishop of Constantinople. Having done this the emperor proceeded to Antioch.
Eusebius, however, could by no means remain quiet, but as the saying is, left no stone unturned, in order to effect the purpose he had in view. He therefore causes a Synod to be convened at Antioch in Syria, under pretense of dedicating the church which the father of the Augusti had commenced, and which his son Constantius had finished in the tenth year after its foundations were laid, but with the real intention of subverting and abolishing the doctrine of the homoousion. There were present at this Synod ninety bishops from various cities. Maximus, however, bishop of Jerusalem; who had succeeded Macarius, did not attend, recollecting that he had been deceived and induced to subscribe the deposition of Athanasius. Neither was Julius, bishop of the great Rome, there, nor had he sent a substitute, although an ecclesiastical canon commands that the churches shall not make any ordinances against the opinion of the bishop of Rome. This Synod assembled at Antioch in presence of the emperor Constantius in the consulate of Marcellus and Probinus, which was the fifth year after the death of Constantine, father of the Augusti. Placitus, otherwise called Flaccillus, successor to Euphronius, at that time presided over the church at Antioch. The confederates of Eusebius had previously designed to calumniate Athanasius; accusing him in the first place of having acted contrary to a canon which they then constituted, in resuming his episcopal authority without the license of a general council of bishops, inasmuch as on his return from exile he had on his own responsibility taken possession of the church; and then because a tumult had been excited on his entrance and many were killed in the riot; moreover that some had been scourged by him, and others brought before the tribunals. Besides they brought forward what had been determined against Athanasius at Tyre.
On the ground of such charges as these, they proposed another bishop for the Alexandrian church, and first indeed Eusebius surnamed Emisenus. Who this person was, George, bishop of Laodicea, who was present on this occasion, informs us. For he says in the book which he has composed on his life, that Eusebius was descended from the nobility of Edessa in Mesopotamia, and that from a child he had studied the holy Scriptures; that he was afterwards instructed in Greek literature by a master resident at Edessa; and finally that the sacred books were expounded to him by Patrophilus and Eusebius, of whom the latter presided over the church at Cæsarea, and the former over that at Scythopolis. Afterwards when he dwelt in Antioch, it happened that Eustathius was deposed on the accusation of Cyrus of Berœa for holding the tenets of Sabellius. Then again he associated with Euphronius, successor of Eustathius, and avoiding a bishopric, he retired to Alexandria, and there devoted himself to the study of philosophy. On his return to Antioch he formed an intimate acquaintance with Placitus [or Flaccillus], the successor of Euphronius. At length he was ordained bishop of Alexandria, by Eusebius, bishop of Constantinople; but did not go there in consequence of the attachment of the people of that city to Athanasius, and was therefore sent to Emisa. As the inhabitants of Emisa excited a sedition on account of his appointment—for he was commonly charged with the study and practice of judicial astrology, — he fled and came to Laodicea, to George, who has given so many historical details of him. George having taken him to Antioch, procured his being again brought back to Emisa by Placitus and Narcissus; but he was afterwards charged with holding the Sabellian views. George more elaborately describes the circumstances of his ordination and adds at the close that the emperor took him with him in his expedition against the barbarians, and that miracles were wrought by his hand. The information given by George concerning Eusebius of Emisa may be considered reproduced at sufficient length by me here.
Now at that time Eusebius having been proposed and fearing to go to Alexandria, the Synod at Antioch designated Gregory as bishop of that church. This being done, they altered the creed; not as condemning anything in that which was set forth at Nicæa, but in fact with a determination to subvert and nullify the doctrine of consubstantiality by means of frequent councils, and the publication of various expositions of the faith, so as gradually to establish the Arian views. How these things issued we will set forth in the course of our narrative; but the epistle then promulgated respecting the faith was as follows:
'We have neither become followers of Arius—for how should we who are bishops be guided by a presbyter?— nor have we embraced any other faith than that which was set forth from the beginning. But being constituted examiners and judges of his sentiments, we admit their soundness, rather than adopt them from him: and you will recognize this from what we are about to state. We have learned from the beginning to believe in one God of the Universe, the Creator and Preserver of all things both those thought of and those perceived by the senses: and in one only-begotten Son of God, subsisting before all ages, and co-existing with the Father who begot him, through whom also all things visible and invisible were made; who in the last days according to the Father's good pleasure, descended, and assumed flesh from the holy virgin, and having fully accomplished his Father's will, that he should suffer, and rise again, and ascend into the heavens, and sit at the right hand of the Father; and is coming to judge the living and the dead, continuing King and God for ever. We believe also in the Holy Spirit. And if it is necessary to add this, we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, and the life everlasting.'
Having thus written in their first epistle, they sent it to the bishops of every city. But after remaining some time at Antioch, as if to condemn the former, they published another letter in these words:
Another Exposition of the Faith.
In conformity with evangelic and apostolic tradition, we believe in one God the Father Almighty, the Creator and Framer of the universe. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, his Son, God the only-begotten, through whom all things were made: begotten of the Father before all ages, God of God, Whole of Whole, Only of Only, Perfect of Perfect, King of King, Lord of Lord; the living Word, the Wisdom, the Life, the True Light, the Way of Truth, the Resurrection, the Shepherd, the Gate; immutable and inconvertible; the unaltering image of the Divinity, Substance and Power, and Counsel and Glory of the Father; born 'before all creation'; who was in the beginning with God, God the Word, according as it is declared in the Gospel, John 1:1 and the Word was God, by whom all things were made, and in whom all things subsist: who in the last days came down from above, and was born of the virgin according to the Scriptures; and was made man, the Mediator between God and men, the Apostle of our Faith, and the Prince of Life, as he says, John 6:38 'I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.' Who suffered on our behalf, and rose again for us on the third day, and ascended into the heavens, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; and will come again with glory and power to judge the living and the dead. [We believe] also in the Holy Spirit, who is given to believers for their consolation, sanctification, and perfection; even as our Lord Jesus Christ commanded his disciples, saying, Matthew 28:19 'Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit'; that is to say of the Father who is truly the Father, of the Son who is truly the Son, and of the Holy Spirit who is truly the Holy Spirit, these words not being simply or insignificantly applied, but accurately expressing the proper subsistence, glory, and order, of each of these who are named: so that there are three in person, but one in concordance. Holding therefore this faith in the presence of God and of Christ, we anathematize all heretical and false doctrine. And if any one shall teach contrary to the sound and right faith of the Scriptures, affirming that there is or was a period or an age before the Son of God existed, let him be accursed. And if any one shall say that the Son is a creature as one of the creatures, or that he is offspring as one of the offsprings, and shall not hold each of the aforesaid doctrines as the Divine Scriptures have delivered them to us: or if any one shall teach or preach any other doctrine contrary to that which we have received, let him be accursed. For we truly and unreservedly believe and follow all things handed down to us from the sacred Scriptures by the prophets and apostles.
Such was the exposition of the faith published by those then assembled at Antioch, to which Gregory also subscribed as bishop of Alexandria, although he had not yet entered that city. The Synod having done these things, and legislated some other canons, was dissolved. At this time it happened that public affairs also were disturbed. The nation called Franks made incursions into the Roman territories in Gaul, and at the same time there occurred violent earthquakes in the East, and especially at Antioch, which continued to suffer concussions during a whole year.
After these things, Syrian, the military commander, and the corps of heavy armed soldiers, five thousand in number, conducted Gregory to Alexandria; and such of the citizens as were of Arian sentiments combined with them. But it will be proper here to relate by what means Athanasius escaped the hands of those who wished to apprehend him, after his expulsion from the church. It was evening, and the people were attending the vigil there, a service being expected. The commander arrived, and posted his forces in order of battle on every side of the church. Athanasius having observed what was done, considered within himself how he might prevent the people's suffering in any degree on his account: accordingly having directed the deacon to give notice of prayer, after that he ordered the recitation of a psalm; and when the melodious chant of the psalm arose, all went out through one of the church doors. While this was doing, the troops remained inactive spectators, and Athanasius thus escaped unhurt in the midst of those who were chanting the psalm, and immediately hastened to Rome. Gregory then prevailed in the church: but the people of Alexandria, being indignant at this procedure, set the church called that of Dionysius on fire. Let this be sufficient on this subject. Now Eusebius, having thus far obtained his object, sent a deputation to Julius, bishop of Rome, begging that he would himself take cognizance of the charges against Athanasius, and order a judicial investigation to be made in his presence.
But Eusebius did not live to learn the decision of Julius concerning Athanasius, for he died a short time after that Synod was held. Whereupon the people introduced Paul again into the church of Constantinople: the Arians, however, ordained Macedonius at the same time, in the church dedicated to Paul. This those who had formerly co-operated with Eusebius (that disturber of the public peace) brought about, assuming all his authority. These were Theognis, bishop of Nicæa, Maris of Chalcedon, Theodore of Heraclea in Thrace, Ursacius of Singidunum in Upper Mysia, and Valens of Mursa in Upper Pannonia. Ursacius and Valens indeed afterward altered their opinions, and presented a written recantation of them to bishop Julius, so that on subscribing the doctrine of consubstantiability they were again admitted to communion; but at that time they warmly supported the Arian error, and were instigators of the most violent conflicts in the churches, one of which was connected with Macedonius at Constantinople. By this intestine war among the Christians, continuous seditions arose in that city, and many lives were sacrificed in consequence of these occurrences.
Intelligence of these proceedings reached the ears of the Emperor Constantius, whose residence was then at Antioch. Accordingly he ordered his general Hermogenes, who had been dispatched to Thrace, to pass through Constantinople on his way, and expel Paul from the church. He, on arriving at Constantinople, threw the whole city into confusion, attempting to cast out the bishops; for sedition immediately arose from the people in their eagerness to defend the bishop. And when Hermogenes persisted in his efforts to drive out Paul by means of his military force, the people became exasperated as is usual in such cases; and making a desperate attack upon him, they set his house on fire, and after dragging through the city, they at last put him to death. This took place in the consulate of the two Augusti,— that is to say, the third consulship,— Constantius, and the second of Constans: at which time Constans, having subdued the Franks, compelled them to enter into a treaty of peace with the Romans. The Emperor Constantius, on being informed of the assassination of Hermogenes, set off on horseback from Antioch, and arriving at Constantinople immediately expelled Paul, and then punished the inhabitants by withdrawing from them more than 40,000 measures of the daily allowance of wheat which had been granted by his father for gratuitous distribution among them: for prior to this catastrophe, nearly 80,000 measures of wheat brought from Alexandria had been bestowed on the citizens. He hesitated, however, to ratify the appointment of Macedonius to the bishopric of that city, being irritated against him not only because he had been ordained without his own consent; but also because on account of the contests in which he had been engaged with Paul, Hermogenes, his general, and many other persons had been slain. But having given him permission to minister in the church in which he had been consecrated, he returned to Antioch.
About the same time the Arians ejected Gregory from the see of Alexandria, on the ground that he was unpopular and at the same time because he had set a church on fire, and did not manifest sufficient zeal in promoting the interests of their party. They therefore inducted George into his see, who was a native of Cappadocia, and had acquired the reputation of being an able advocate of their tenets.
Athanasius, meanwhile, after a lengthened journey, at last reached Italy. The western division of the empire was then under the sole power of Constans, the youngest of Constantine's sons, his brother Constantine having been slain by the soldiers, as was before stated. At the same time also Paul, bishop of Constantinople, Asclepas of Gaza, Marcellus of Ancyra, a city of the Lesser Galatia, and Lucius of Adrianople, having been accused on various charges, and expelled from their several churches arrived at the imperial city. There each laid his case before Julius, bishop of Rome. He on his part, by virtue of the Church of Rome's peculiar privilege, sent them back again into the East, fortifying them with commendatory letters; and at the same time restored to each his own place, and sharply rebuked those by whom they had been deposed. Relying on the signature of the bishop Julius, the bishops departed from Rome, and again took possession of their own churches, forwarding the letters to the parties to whom they were addressed. These persons considering themselves treated with indignity by the reproaches of Julius, called a council at Antioch, assembled themselves and dictated a reply to his letters as the expression of the unanimous feeling of the whole Synod. It was not his province, they said, to take cognizance of their decisions in reference to any whom they might wish to expel from their churches; seeing that they had not opposed themselves to him, when Novatus was ejected from the church. These things the bishops of the Eastern church communicated to Julius, bishop of Rome. But, as on the entry of Athanasius into Alexandria, a tumult was raised by the partisans of George the Arian, in consequence of which, it is affirmed, many persons were killed; and since the Arians endeavor to throw the whole odium of this transaction on Athanasius as the author of it, it behooves us to make a few remarks on the subject. God the Judge of all only knows the true causes of these disorders; but no one of any experience can be ignorant of the fact, that such fatal accidents are for the most part concomitants of the factious movements of the populace. It is vain, therefore, for the calumniators of Athanasius to attribute the blame to him; and especially Sabinus, bishop of the Macedonian heresy. For had the latter reflected on the number and magnitude of the wrongs which Athanasius, in conjunction with the rest who hold the doctrine of consubstantiality, had suffered from the Arians, or on the many complaints made of these things by the Synods convened on account of Athanasius, or in short on what that arch-heretic Macedonius himself has done throughout all the churches, he would either have been wholly silent, or if constrained to speak, would have spoken more plausible words, instead of these reproaches. But as it is intentionally overlooking all these things, he willfully misrepresents the facts. He makes, however, no mention whatever of the heresiarch, desiring by all means to conceal the daring enormities of which he knew him to be guilty. And what is still more extraordinary, he has not said one word to the disadvantage of the Arians, although he was far from entertaining their sentiments. The ordination of Macedonius, whose heretical views he had adopted, he has also passed over in silence; for had he mentioned it, he must necessarily have recorded his impieties also, which were most distinctly manifested on that occasion. Let this suffice on this subject.
When the Emperor Constantius, who then held his court at Antioch, heard that Paul had again obtained possession of the episcopal throne, he was excessively enraged at his presumption. He therefore dispatched a written order to Philip, the Prætorian Prefect, whose power exceeded that of the other governors of provinces, and who was styled the second person from the emperor, to drive Paul out of the church again, and introduce Macedonius into it in his place. Now the prefect Philip, dreading an insurrectionary movement among the people, used artifice to entrap the bishop: keeping, therefore, the emperor's mandate secret, he went to the public bath called Zeuxippus, and on pretense of attending to some public affairs, sent to Paul with every demonstration of respect, requesting his attendance there, on the ground that his presence was indispensable. The bishop came; and as he came in obedience to this summons, the prefect immediately showed him the emperor's order; the bishop patiently submitted condemnation without a hearing. But as Philip was afraid of the violence of the multitude— for great numbers had gathered around the building to see what would take place, for their suspicions had been aroused by current reports— he commanded one of the bath doors to be opened which communicated with the imperial palace, and through that Paul was carried off, put on board a vessel provided for the purpose, and so sent into exile immediately. The prefect directed him to go to Thessalonica, the metropolis of Macedonia, whence he had derived his origin from his ancestors; commanding him to reside in that city, but granting him permission to visit other cities of Illyricum, while he strictly forbade his passing into any portion of the Eastern empire. Thus was Paul, contrary to his expectation, at once expelled from the church, and from the city, and again hurried off into exile. Philip, the imperial prefect, leaving the bath, immediately proceeded to the church. Together with him, as if thrown there by an engine, Macedonius rode seated in the same seat with the prefect in the chariot seen by everybody, and a military guard with drawn swords was about them. The multitude was completely overawed by this spectacle, and both Arians and Homoousians hastened to the church, every one endeavoring to secure an entrance there. As the prefect with Macedonius came near the church, an irrational panic seized the multitude and even the soldiers themselves; for as the assemblage was so numerous and no room to admit the passage of the prefect and Macedonius was found, the soldiers attempted to thrust aside the people by force. But the confined space into which they were crowded together rendering it impossible to recede, the soldiers imagined that resistance was offered, and that the populace intentionally stopped the passage; they accordingly began to use their naked swords, and to cut down those that stood in their way. It is affirmed that about 3150 persons were massacred on this occasion; of whom the greater part fell under the weapons of the soldiers, and the rest were crushed to death by the desperate efforts of the multitude to escape their violence. After such distinguished achievements, Macedonius, as if he had not been the author of any calamity, but was altogether guiltless of what had been perpetrated, was seated in the episcopal chair by the prefect, rather than by the ecclesiastical canon. Thus, then, by means of so many murders in the church, Macedonius and the Arians grasped the supremacy in the churches. About this period the emperor built the great church called Sophia, adjoining to that named Irene, which being originally of small dimensions, the emperor's father had considerably enlarged and adorned. In the present day both are seen within one enclosure, and have but one appellation.
At this time another accusation was concocted against Athanasius by the Arians, who invented this pretext for it. The father of the Augusti had long before granted an allowance of grain to the church of the Alexandrians for the relief of the indigent. This, they asserted, had usually been sold by Athanasius, and the proceeds converted to his own advantage. The emperor, giving credence to this slanderous report, threatened Athanasius with death, as a penalty; who, becoming alarmed at the intimation of this threat, took to flight, and kept himself concealed. When Julius, bishop of Rome, was apprised of these fresh machinations of the Arians against Athanasius, and had also received the letter of the then deceased Eusebius, he invited the persecuted Athanasius to come to him, having ascertained where he was secreted. The epistle also of the bishops who had been some time before assembled at Antioch, just then reached him; and at the same time others from the bishops in Egypt, assuring him that the entire charge against Athanasius was a fabrication. On the receipt of these contradictory communications, Julius first replied to the bishops who had written to him from Antioch, complaining of the acrimonious feeling they had evinced in their letter, and charging them with a violation of the canons, because they had not requested his attendance at the council, seeing that the ecclesiastical law required that the churches should pass no decisions contrary to the views of the bishop of Rome: he then censured them with great severity for clandestinely attempting to pervert the faith; in addition, that their former proceedings at Tyre were fraudulent, because the investigation of what had taken place at Mareotes was on one side of the question only; not only this, but that the charge respecting Arsenius had plainly been proved a false charge. Such and similar sentiments did Julius write in his answer to the bishops convened at Antioch; we should have inserted here at length, these as well as those letters which were addressed to Julius, did not their prolixity interfere with our purpose. But Sabinus, the advocate of the Macedonian heresy, of whom we have before spoken, has not incorporated the letters of Julius in his Collection of Synodical Transactions; although he has not omitted that which the bishops of Antioch sent to Julius. This, however, is usual with him; he carefully introduces such letters as make no reference to, or wholly repudiate the term homoousion; while he purposely passes over in silence those of a contrary tendency. This is sufficient on this subject. Not long after this, Paul, pretending to make a journey from Thessalonica to Corinth, arrived in Italy: upon which both the bishops made an appeal to the emperor of those parts, laying their respective cases before him.
When the Western emperor was informed of their affairs, he sympathized with their sufferings; and wrote to his brother [Constantius], begging him to send three bishops who should explain to him the reason for the deposition of Athanasius and Paul. In compliance with this request, Narcissus the Cilician, Theodore the Thracian, Maris of Chalcedon, and Mark the Syrian, were deputed to execute this commission; who on their arrival refused to hold any communication with Athanasius or his friends, but suppressing the creed which had been promulgated at Antioch, presented to the Emperor Constans another declaration of faith composed by themselves, in the following terms:
Another Exposition of the Faith.
We believe in one God the Father Almighty, the Creator and Maker of all things, of whom the whole family in heaven and upon earth is named; Ephesians 3:15 and in his only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was begotten of the Father before all ages; God of God; Light of Light; through whom all things in the heavens and upon the earth, both visible and invisible, were made: who is the Word, and Wisdom, and Power, and Life, and true Light: who in the last days for our sake was made man, and was born of the holy virgin; was crucified, and died; was buried, arose again from the dead on the third day, ascended into the heavens, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and shall come at the consummation of the ages, to judge the living and the dead, and to render to every one according to his works: whose kingdom being perpetual, shall continue to infinite ages; for he shall sit at the right hand of the Father, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. [We believe] in the Holy Spirit, that is, in the Comforter, whom the Lord, according to his promise, sent to his apostles after his ascension into the heavens, to teach them, and bring all things to their remembrance: by whom also the souls of those who have sincerely believed on him shall be sanctified; and those who assert that the Son was made of things which are not, or of another substance, and not of God, or that there was a time when he did not exist, the Catholic Church accounts as aliens.
Having delivered this creed to the emperor, and exhibited it to many others also, they departed without attending to anything besides. But while there was yet an inseparable communion between the Western and Eastern churches, there sprang up another heresy at Sirmium, a city of Illyricum; for Photinus, who presided over the churches in that district, a native of the Lesser Galatia, and a disciple of that Marcellus who had been deposed, adopting his master's sentiments, asserted that the Son of God was a mere man. We shall, however, enter into this matter more fully in its proper place.
After the lapse of about three years from the events above recorded, the Eastern bishops again assembled a Synod, and having composed another form of faith, they transmitted it to those in Italy by the hands of Eudoxius, at that time bishop of Germanicia, and Martyrius, and Macedonius, who was bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia. This expression of the Creed, being written in more lengthy form, contained many additions to those which had preceded it, and was set forth in these words:
'We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, the Creator and Maker of all things, of whom the whole family in heaven and upon earth is named; and in his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was begotten of the Father before all ages; God of God; Light of Light; through whom all things in the heavens and upon the earth, both visible and invisible, were made: who is the Word, and Wisdom, and Power, and Life, and true Light: who in the last days for our sake was made man, and was born of the holy virgin; who was crucified, and died, and was buried, and rose again from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and shall come at the consummation of the ages, to judge the living and the dead, and to render to every one according to his works: whose kingdom being perpetual shall continue to infinite ages; for he sits at the right hand of the Father, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. We believe also in the Holy Spirit, that is, in the Comforter, whom the Lord according to his promise sent to his apostles after his ascension into heaven, to teach them and bring all things to their remembrance, through whom also the souls of those who sincerely believe in him are sanctified. But those who assert that the Son was made of things not in being, or of another substance, and not of God, or that there was a time or age when he did not exist, the holy catholic Church accounts as aliens. The holy and catholic Church likewise anathematizes those also who say that there are three Gods, or that Christ is not God before all ages, or that he is neither Christ, nor the Son of God, or that the same person is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or that the Son was not begotten, or that the Father begot not the Son by his own will or desire. Neither is it safe to affirm that the Son had his existence from things that were not, since this is nowhere declared concerning him in the divinely inspired Scriptures. Nor are we taught that he had his being from any other pre-existing substance besides the Father, but that he was truly begotten of God alone; for the Divine word teaches that there is one unbegotten principle without beginning, the Father of Christ. But those who unauthorized by Scripture rashly assert that there was a time when he was not, ought not to preconceive any antecedent interval of time, but God only who without time begot him; for both times and ages were made through him. Yet it must not be thought that the Son is co-inoriginate, or co-unbegotten with the Father: for there is properly no father of the co-inoriginate or co-unbegotten. But we know that the Father alone being inoriginate and incomprehensible, has ineffably and incomprehensibly to all begotten, and that the Son was begotten before the ages, but is not unbegotten like the Father, but has a beginning, viz. the Father who begot him, for
the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3 Now although according to the Scriptures we acknowledge three things or persons, viz. that of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do not on that account make three Gods: since we know that that there is but one God perfect in himself, unbegotten, inoriginate, and invisible, the God and Father of the only-begotten, who alone has existence from himself, and alone affords existence abundantly to all other things. But neither while we assert that there is one God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten, do we therefore deny that Christ is God before the ages, as the followers of Paul of Samosata do, who affirm that after his incarnation he was by exaltation deified, in that he was by nature a mere man. We know indeed that he was subject to his God and Father: nevertheless he was begotten of God, and is by nature true and perfect God, and was not afterwards made God out of man; but was for our sake made man out of God, and has never ceased to be God. Moreover we execrate and anathematize those who falsely style him the mere unsubstantial word of God, having existence only in another, either as the word to which utterance is given, or as the word conceived in the mind: and who pretend that before the ages he was neither the Christ, the Son of God, the Mediator, nor the Image of God; but that he became the Christ, and the Son of God, from the time he took our flesh from the virgin, about four hundred years ago. For they assert that Christ had the beginning of his kingdom from that time, and that it shall have an end after the consummation of all things and the judgment. Such persons as these are the followers of Marcellus and Photinus, the Ancyro-Galatians, who under pretext of establishing his sovereignty, like the Jews set aside the eternal existence and deity of Christ, and the perpetuity of his kingdom. But we know him to be not simply the word of God by utterance or mental conception, but God the living Word subsisting of himself; and Son of God and Christ; and who did, not by presence only, co-exist and was conversant with his Father before the ages, and ministered to him at the creation of all things, whether visible or invisible, but was the substantial Word of the Father, and God of God: for this is he to whom the Father said, prophets; and being at last made man, he manifested his Father to all men, and reigns to endless ages. Christ has not attained any new dignity; but we believe that he was perfect from the beginning, and like his Father in all things; and those who say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are the same person, impiously supposing the three names to refer to one and the same thing and person, we deservedly expel from the church because by the incarnation they render the Father, who is incomprehensible and insusceptible of suffering, subject to comprehension and suffering. Such are those denominated Patropassians among the Romans, and by us Sabellians. For we know that the Father who sent, remained in the proper nature of his own immutable deity; but that Christ who was sent, has fulfilled the economy of the incarnation. In like manner those who irreverently affirm that Christ was begotten not by the will and pleasure of his Father; thus attributing to God an involuntary necessity not springing from choice, as if he begot the Son by constraint, we consider most impious and strangers to the truth because they have dared to determine such things respecting him as are inconsistent with our common notions of God, and are contrary indeed to the sense of the divinely-inspired Scripture. For knowing that God is self-dependent and Lord of himself we devoutly maintain that of his own volition and pleasure he begot the Son. And while we reverentially believe what is spoken concerning him;
The Lord created me the beginning of his ways on account of his works: yet we do not suppose that he was made similarly to the creatures or works made by him. For it is impious and repugnant to the church's faith to compare the Creator with the works created by him; or to imagine that he had the same manner of generation as things of a nature totally different from himself: for the sacred Scriptures teach us that the alone only-begotten Son was really and truly begotten. Nor when we say that the Son is of himself, and lives and subsists in like manner to the Father, do we therefore separate him from the Father, as if we supposed them dissociated by the intervention of space and distance in a material sense. For we believe that they are united without medium or interval, and that they are incapable of separation from each other: the whole Father embosoming the Son; and the whole Son attached to and eternally reposing in the Father's bosom. Believing, therefore, in the altogether perfect and most holy Trinity, and asserting that the Father is God, and that the Son also is God, we do not acknowledge two Gods, but one only, on account of the majesty of the Deity, and the perfect blending and union of the kingdoms: the Father ruling over all things universally, and even over the Son himself; the Son being subject to the Father, but except him, ruling over all things which were made after him and by him; and by the Father's will bestowing abundantly on the saints the grace of the Holy Spirit. For the Sacred Oracles inform us that in this consists the character of the sovereignty which Christ exercises.
'We have been compelled, since the publication of our former epitome, to give this more ample exposition of the creed; not in order to gratify a vain ambition, but to clear ourselves from all strange suspicion respecting our faith which may exist among those who are ignorant of our real sentiments. And that the inhabitants of the West may both be aware of the shameless misrepresentations of the heterodox party; and also know the ecclesiastical opinion of the Eastern bishops concerning Christ, confirmed by the unwrested testimony of the divinely-inspired Scriptures, among all those of unperverted minds.'
The Western prelates on account of their being of another language, and not understanding this exposition, would not admit of it; saying that the Nicene Creed was sufficient, and that they would not waste time on anything beyond it. But when the emperor had again written to insist on the restoration to Paul and Athanasius of their respective sees, but without effect in consequence of the continual agitation of the people— these two bishops demanded that another Synod should be convened, so that their case, as well as other questions in relation to the faith might be settled by an ecumenical council, for they made it obvious that their deposition arose from no other cause than that the faith might be the more easily perverted. Another general council was therefore summoned to meet at Sardica,— a city of Illyricum—by the joint authority of the two emperors; the one requesting by letter that it might be so, and the other, of the East, readily acquiescing in it. It was the eleventh year after the death of the father of the two Augusti, during the consulship of Rufinus and Eusebius, that the Synod of Sardica met. According to the statement of Athanasius about 300 bishops from the western parts of the empire were present; but Sabinus says there came only seventy from the eastern parts, among whom was Ischyras of Mareotes, who had been ordained bishop of that country by those who deposed Athanasius. Of the rest, some pretended infirmity of body; others complained of the shortness of the notice given, casting the blame of it on Julius, bishop of Rome, although a year and a half had elapsed from the time of its having been summoned: in which interval Athanasius remained at Rome awaiting the assembling of the Synod. When at last they were convened at Sardica, the Eastern prelates refused either to meet or to enter into any conference with those of the West, unless they first excluded Athanasius and Paul from the convention. But as Protogenes, bishop of Sardica, and Hosius, bishop of Cordova, a city in Spain, would by no means permit them to be absent, the Eastern bishops immediately withdrew, and returning to Philippopolis in Thrace, held a separate council, wherein they openly anathematized the term homoousios; and having introduced the Anomoian opinion into their epistles, they sent them in all directions. On the other hand those who remained at Sardica, condemning in the first place their departure, afterwards divested the accusers of Athanasius of their dignity; then confirming the Nicene Creed, and rejecting the term anomoion, they more distinctly recognized the doctrine of consubstantiality, which they also inserted in epistles addressed to all the churches. Both parties believed they had acted rightly: those of the East, because the Western bishops had countenanced those whom they had deposed; and these again, in consequence not only of the retirement of those who had deposed them before the matter had been examined into, but also because they themselves were the defenders of the Nicene faith, which the other party had dared to adulterate. They therefore restored to Paul and Athanasius their sees, and also Marcellus of Ancyra in Lesser Galatia, who had been deposed long before, as we have stated in the former book. At that time indeed he exerted himself to the utmost to procure the revocation of the sentence pronounced against him, declaring that his being suspected of entertaining the error of Paul of Samosata arose from a misunderstanding of some expressions in his book. It must, however, be noticed that Eusebius Pamphilus wrote three entire books against Marcellus, in which he quotes that author's own words to prove that he asserts with Sabellius the Libyan, and Paul of Samosata, that the Lord [Jesus] was a mere man.
But since some have attempted to stigmatize even Eusebius Pamphilus himself as having favored the Arian views in his works, it may not be irrelevant here to make a few remarks respecting him. In the first place then he was both present at the council of Nicæa, which defined the doctrine of the homoousion and gave his assent to what was there determined. And in the third book of the Life of Constantine, he expressed himself in these words: 'The emperor incited all to unanimity, until he had rendered them united in judgment on those points on which they were previously at variance; so that they were quite agreed at Nicæa in matters of faith.' Since therefore Eusebius, in mentioning the Nicene Synod, says that all differences were removed, and that all came to unity of sentiment, what ground is there for assuming that he was himself an Arian? The Arians are also certainly deceived in supposing him to be a favorer of their tenets. But some one will perhaps say that in his discourses he seems to have adopted the opinions of Arius, because of his frequently saying through Christ, to whom we should answer that ecclesiastical writers often use this mode of expression and others of a similar kind denoting the economy of our Saviour's humanity: and that before all these the apostle made use of such expressions, and never has been accounted a teacher of false doctrine. Moreover, inasmuch as Arius has dared to say that the Son is a creature, as one of the others, observe what Eusebius says on this subject, in his first book against Marcellus:
'He alone, and no other, has been declared to be, and is the only-begotten Son of God; whence any one could justly censure those who have presumed to affirm that he is a Creature made of nothing, like the rest of the creatures; for how then would he be a Son? And how could he be God's only-begotten, were he assigned the same nature as the other creatures...and were he one of the many created things, seeing that he, like them, would in that case be partaker of a creation from nothing? But the Sacred Scriptures do not thus instruct us.' He again adds a little afterwards: 'Whoever then defines the Son as made of things that are not, and as a creature produced from nothing pre-existing, forgets that while he concedes the name of Son, he denies him to be a Son in reality. For he that is made of nothing, cannot truly be the Son of God, any more than the other things which have been made; but the true Son of God, forasmuch as he is begotten of the Father, is properly denominated the only-begotten and beloved of the Father. For this reason also, he himself is God; for what can the offspring of God be, but the perfect resemblance of him who begot him? A sovereign indeed builds a city, but does not beget it; and is said to beget a son, not to build one. An artificer, also, may be called the framer, but not the father of his work; while he could by no means be styled the framer of him whom he had begotten. So also the God of the Universe is the Father of the Son; but might be fitly termed the Framer and Maker of the world. And although it is once said in Scripture, Proverbs 8:22
The Lord created me the beginning of his ways on account of his works, yet it becomes us to consider the import of this phrase, which I shall hereafter explain; and not, as Marcellus has done, from a single passage to jeopardize the most important doctrine of the church.'
These and many other such expressions Eusebius Pamphilus has given utterance to in the first book against Marcellus; and in his third book, declaring in what sense the term creature is to be taken, he says:
'Accordingly, these things being thus established, it follows that in the same sense as that which preceded, the words,
The Lord created me the beginning of his ways, on account of his works, must have been spoken. For although he says that he was created, it is not as if he should say that he had arrived at existence from what was not, nor that he himself also was made of nothing like the rest of the creatures, which some have erroneously supposed; but as subsisting, living, pre-existing, and being before the constitution of the whole world; and having been appointed to rule the universe by his Lord and Father: the word created being here used instead of ordained or constituted. Certainly the apostle 1 Peter 2:13 expressly called the rulers and governors among men creature, when he said,
Submit yourselves to every human creature for the Lord's sake; whether to the king as supreme, or to governors as those sent by him. The prophet also when he says,
Prepare, Israel, to invoke your God. For behold he who confirms the thunder, creates the Spirit, and announces his Christ unto men: ...has not used the word
he who creates in the sense of makes out of nothing. For God did not then create the Spirit, when he declared his Christ to all men, since Ecclesiastes 1:9
There is nothing new under the sun; but the Spirit existed, and had being previously: but he was sent at what time the apostles were gathered together, when like thunder
There came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. And thus they declared unto all men the Christ of God, in accordance with that prophecy which says, Amos 4:13
Behold he who confirms the thunder, creates the Spirit, and announces his Christ unto men: the word
creates being used instead of
sends down, or appoints; and thunder in another figure implying the preaching of the Gospel. Again he that says,
Create in me a clean heart, O God, said not this as if he had no heart; but prayed that his mind might be purified. Thus also it is said, Ephesians 2:15
That he might create the two into one new man, instead of unite. Consider also whether this passage is not of the same kind, Ephesians 4:24
Clothe yourselves with the new man, which is created according to God; and this, 2 Corinthians 5:17
If, therefore, any one be in Christ, he is a new creature; and whatever other expressions of a similar nature any one may find who shall carefully search the divinely inspired Scripture. Wherefore, one should not be surprised if in this passage,
The Lord created me the beginning of his ways, the term
created is used metaphorically, instead of
appointed or constituted.'
Such words Eusebius uses in his work against Marcellus; we have quoted them on account of those who have slanderously attempted to traduce and criminate him. Neither can they prove that Eusebius attributes a beginning of subsistence to the Son of God, although they may find him often using the expressions by accommodation; and especially so, because he was an emulator and admirer of the works of Origen, in which those who are able to comprehend the depth of Origen's writings, will perceive it to be everywhere stated that the Son was begotten of the Father. These remarks have been made in passing, in order to refute those who have misrepresented Eusebius.
Those convened at Sardica, as well as those who had formed a separate council at Philippopolis in Thrace, having severally performed what they deemed requisite, returned to their respective cities. From that time, therefore, the Western church was severed from the Eastern; and the boundary of communion between them was the mountain called Soucis, which divides the Illyrians from the Thracians. As far as this mountain there was indiscriminate communion, although there was a difference of faith; but beyond it they did not commune with one another. Such was the perturbed condition of the churches at that period. Soon after these transactions, the emperor of the Western parts informed his brother Constantius of what had taken place at Sardica, and begged him to restore Paul and Athanasius to their sees. But as Constantius delayed to carry this matter into effect, the emperor of the West again wrote to him, giving him the choice either of re-establishing Paul and Athanasius in their former dignity, and restoring their churches to them; or, on his failing to do this, of regarding him as his enemy, and immediately expecting war. The letter which he addressed to his brother was as follows:
'Athanasius and Paul are here with me; and I am quite satisfied after investigation, that they are persecuted for the sake of piety. If, therefore, you will pledge yourself to reinstate them in their sees, and to punish those who have so unjustly injured them, I will send them to you; but should you refuse to do this, be assured, that I will myself come there, and restore them to their own sees, in spite of your opposition.'
On receiving this communication the emperor of the East fell into perplexity; and immediately sending for the greater part of the Eastern bishops, he acquainted them with the choice his brother had submitted to him, and asked what ought to be done. They replied, it was better to concede the churches to Athanasius, than to undertake a civil war. Accordingly the emperor, urged by necessity, summoned Athanasius and his friends to his presence. Meanwhile the emperor of the West sent Paul to Constantinople, with two bishops and other honorable attendance, having fortified him with his own letters, together with those of the Synod. But while Athanasius was still apprehensive, and hesitated to go to him—for he dreaded the treachery of his calumniators—the emperor of the East not once only, but even a second and a third time, invited him to come to him; this is evident from his letters, which, translated from the Latin tongue, are as follows:
Epistle of Constantius to Athanasius.
Constantius Victor Augustus to Athanasius the bishop.
Our compassionate clemency cannot permit you to be any longer tossed and disquieted as it were by the boisterous waves of the sea. Our unwearied piety has not been unmindful of you driven from your native home, despoiled of your property, and wandering in pathless solitudes. And although I have too long deferred acquainting you by letter with the purpose of my mind, expecting your coming to us of your own accord to seek a remedy for your troubles; yet since fear perhaps has hindered the execution of your wishes, we therefore have sent to your reverence letters full of indulgence, in order that you may fearlessly hasten to appear in our presence, whereby after experiencing our benevolence, you may attain your desire, and be re-established in your proper position. For this reason I have requested my Lord and brother Constans Victor Augustus to grant you permission to come, to the end that by the consent of us both you may be restored to your country, having this assurance of our favor.
Another Epistle to Athanasius.
Constantius Victor Augustus to the bishop Athanasius.
Although we have abundantly intimated in a former letter that you might confidently come to our court, as we are extremely anxious to reinstate you in your proper place, yet we have again addressed this letter to your reverence. We therefore urge you, without any distrust or apprehension, to take a public vehicle and hasten to us, in order that you may be able to obtain what you desire.
Another Epistle to Athanasius.
Constantius Victor Augustus to the bishop Athanasius.
While we were residing at Edessa, where your presbyters were present, it pleased us to send one of them to you, for the purpose of hastening your arrival at our court, in order that after having been introduced to our presence, you might immediately proceed to Alexandria. But inasmuch as a considerable time has elapsed since you received our letter, and yet have not come, we now therefore hasten to remind you to speedily present yourself before us, that so you may be able to return to your country, and obtain your desire. For the more ample assurance of our intention, we have dispatched to you Achetas the deacon, from whom you will learn both our mind in regard to you, and that you will be able to secure what you wish; viz., our readiness to facilitate the objects you have in view.
When Athanasius had received these letters at Aquileia,— for there he abode after his departure from Sardica,— he immediately hastened to Rome; and having shown these communications to Julius the bishop, he caused the greatest joy in the Roman Church. For it seemed as if the emperor of the East also had recognized their faith, since he had recalled Athanasius. Julius then wrote to the clergy and laity of Alexandria on behalf of Athanasius as follows:
Epistle of Julius, Bishop of Rome, to those at Alexandria.
I also rejoice with you, beloved brethren, because you at length see before your eyes the fruit of your faith. For that this is really so, any one may perceive in reference to my brother and fellow-prelate Athanasius, whom God has restored to you, both on account of his purity of life, and in answer to your prayers. From this it is evident that your supplications to God have unceasingly been offered pure and abounding with love; for mindful of the divine promises and of the charity connected with them, which you learned from the instruction of my brother, you knew assuredly, and according to the sound faith which is in you clearly foresaw that your bishop would not be separated from you for ever, whom you had in your devout hearts as though he were ever present. Wherefore it is unnecessary for me to use many words in addressing you, for your faith has already anticipated whatever I could have said; and the common prayer of you all has been fulfilled according to the grace of Christ. I therefore rejoice with you, and repeat that you have preserved your souls invincible in the faith. And with my brother Athanasius I rejoice equally; because, while suffering many afflictions, he has never been unmindful of your love and desire; for although he seemed to be withdrawn from you in person for a season, yet was he always present with you in spirit. Moreover, I am convinced, beloved, that every trial which he has endured has not been inglorious; since both your faith and his has thus been tested and made manifest to all. But had not so many troubles happened to him, who would have believed, either that you had so great esteem and love for this eminent prelate, or that he was endowed with such distinguished virtues, on account of which also he will by no means be defrauded of his hope in the heavens? He has accordingly obtained a testimony of confession in every way glorious both in the present age and in that which is to come. For having suffered so many and diversified trials both by land and by sea, he has trampled on every machination of the Arian heresy; and though often exposed to danger in consequence of envy, he despised death, being protected by Almighty God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, ever trusting that he should not only escape the plots [of his adversaries], but also be restored for your consolation, and bring back to you at the same time greater trophies from your own conscience. By which means he has been made known even to the ends of the whole earth as glorious, his worth having been approved by the purity of his life, the firmness of his purpose, and his steadfastness in the heavenly doctrine, all being attested by your unchanging esteem and love. He therefore returns to you, more illustrious now than when he departed from you. For if the fire tries the precious metals (I speak of gold and silver) for purification, what can be said of so excellent a man proportionate to his worth, who after having overcome the fire of so many calamities and dangers, is now restored to you, being declared innocent not only by us, but also by the whole Synod? Receive therefore with godly honor and joy, beloved brethren, your bishop Athanasius, together with those who have been his companions in tribulation. And rejoice in having attained the object of your prayers, you who have supplied with meat and drink, by your supporting letters, your pastor hungering and thirsting, so to speak, for your spiritual welfare. And in fact you were a comfort to him while he was sojourning in a strange land; and you cherished him in your most faithful affections when he was plotted against and persecuted. As for me, it makes me happy even to picture to myself in imagination the delight of each one of you at his return, the pious greetings of the populace, the glorious festivity of those assembled to meet him, and indeed what the entire aspect of that day will be when my brother shall be brought back to you again; when past troubles will be at an end, and his prized and longed-for return will unite all hearts in the warmest expression of joy. This feeling will in a very high degree extend to us, who regard it as a token of divine favor that we should have been privileged to become acquainted with so eminent a person. It becomes us therefore to close this epistle with prayer. May God Almighty and his Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ afford you this grace continually, thus rewarding the admirable faith which you have manifested in reference to your bishop by an illustrious testimony: that the things most excellent which 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man; even the things which God has prepared for them that love him,' 1 Corinthians 2:9 may await you and yours in the world to come, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom be glory to God Almighty for ever and ever, Amen. I pray that you may be strengthened, beloved brethren.
Athanasius, relying on these letters, arrived at the East. The Emperor Constantius did not at that time receive him with hostility of feeling; nevertheless at the instigation of the Arians he endeavored to circumvent him, and addressed him in these words: 'You have been reinstated in your see in accordance with the decree of the Synod, and with our consent. But inasmuch as some of the people of Alexandria refuse to hold communion with you, permit them to have one church in the city.' To this demand Athanasius promptly replied: 'You have the power, my sovereign, both to order, and to carry into effect, whatever you may please. I also, therefore, would beg you to grant me a favor.' The emperor having readily promised to acquiesce, Athanasius immediately added, that he desired the same thing might be conceded to him, which the emperor had sought from him, viz.: that in every city one church should be assigned to those who might refuse to hold communion with the Arians. The Arians perceiving the purpose of Athanasius to be inimical to their interests, said that this affair might be postponed to another time: but they suffered the emperor to act as he pleased. He therefore restored to Athanasius, Paul, and Marcellus their respective sees; as also to Asclepas, bishop of Gaza, and Lucius of Adrianople. For these, too, had been received by the Council of Sardica: Asclepas, because he showed records from which it appeared that Eusebius Pamphilus, in conjunction with several others, after having investigated his case, had restored him to his former rank; and Lucius, because his accusers had fled. Hereupon the emperor's edicts were dispatched to their respective cities, enjoining the inhabitants to receive them readily. At Ancyra indeed, when Basil was ejected, and Marcellus was introduced in his stead, there was a considerable tumult made, which afforded his enemies an occasion of calumniating him: but the people of Gaza willingly received Asclepas. Macedonius at Constantinople, for a short time gave place to Paul, convening assemblies by himself separately, in a separate church in that city. Moreover the emperor wrote on behalf of Athanasius to the bishops, clergy, and laity, in regard to receiving him cheerfully: and at the same time he ordered by other letters, that whatever had been enacted against him in the judicial courts should be abrogated. The communications respecting both these matters were as follows:
The Epistle of Constantius in Behalf of Athanasius.
The most reverend bishop Athanasius has not been forsaken by the grace of God. But although he was for a short time subjected to trial according to men, yet has he obtained from an omniscient Providence the exoneration which was due to him; having been restored by the will of God, and our decision, both to his country and to the church over which by divine permission he presided. It was therefore suitable that what is in accordance with this should be duly attended to by our clemency: so that all things which have been heretofore determined against those who held communion with him should now be rescinded; that all suspicion against him should henceforward cease; and that the immunity which those clergymen who are with him formerly enjoyed, should be, as it is meet, confirmed to them. Moreover, we thought it just to add this to our grace toward him, that the whole ecclesiastical body should understand that protection is extended to all who have adhered to him, whether bishops or other clergymen: and union with him shall be a sufficient evidence of each person's right intention. Wherefore we have ordered, according to the similitude of the previous providence, that as many as have the wisdom to enroll themselves with the sounder judgment and party and to choose his communion, shall enjoy that indulgence which we have now granted in accordance with the will of God.
Another Epistle sent to the Alexandrians.
Setting before us as an aim your good order in all respects, and knowing that you have long since been bereft of episcopal oversight, we thought it just to send back to you again Athanasius your bishop, a man known to all by the rectitude and sanctity of his life and manners. Having received him with your usual and becoming courtesy, and constituted him the assistant of your prayers to God, exert yourselves to maintain at all times, according to the ecclesiastical canon, harmony and peace, which will be alike honorable to yourselves, and grateful to us. For it is unreasonable that any dissension or faction should be excited among you, hostile to the prosperity of our times; and we trust that such a misfortune will be wholly removed from you. We exhort you, therefore, to assiduously persevere in your accustomed devotions, by his assistance, as we before said: so that when this resolution of yours shall become generally known, entering into the prayers of all, even the pagans, who are still enslaved in the ignorance of idolatrous worship, may hasten to seek the knowledge of our sacred religion, most beloved Alexandrians. Again, therefore, we exhort you to give heed to these things: heartily welcome your bishop, as one appointed you by the will of God and our decree; and esteem him worthy of being embraced with all the affections of your souls. For this becomes you, and is consistent with our clemency. But in order to check all tendency to seditions and tumult in persons of a factious disposition, orders have been issued to our judges to give up to the severity of the laws all whom they may discover to be seditious. Having regard, therefore, to our determination and God's, as well as to the anxiety we feel to secure harmony among you, and remembering also the punishment that will be inflicted on the disorderly, make it your special care to act agreeably to the sanctions of our sacred religion, with all reverence honoring your bishop; that so in conjunction with him you may present your supplications to the God and Father of the universe, both for yourselves, and for the orderly government of the whole human race.
An Epistle respecting the Rescinding of the Enactments against Athanasius.
Victor Constantius Augustus to Nestorius, and in the same terms to the governors of Augustamnica, Thebaïs, and Libya.
If it be found that at any time previously any enactment has been passed prejudicial and derogatory to those who hold communion with Athanasius the bishop, our pleasure is that it should now be wholly abrogated; and that his clergy should again enjoy the same immunity which was granted to them formerly. We enjoin strict obedience to this command, to the intent that since the bishop Athanasius has been restored to his church, all who hold communion with him may possess the same privileges as they had before, and such as other ecclesiastics now enjoy: that so their affairs being happily arranged, they also may share in the general prosperity.
Athanasius the bishop being fortified with such letters as these, passed through Syria, and came into Palestine. On arriving at Jerusalem he acquainted Maximus the bishop both with what had been done in the Council of Sardica, and also that the Emperor Constantius had confirmed its decision: he then proposed that a Synod of the bishops there should be held. Maximus, therefore, without delay sent for certain of the bishops of Syria and Palestine, and having assembled a council, he restored Athanasius to communion, and to his former dignity. After which the Synod communicated by letter to the Alexandrians, and to all the bishops of Egypt and Libya, what had been determined respecting Athanasius. Whereupon the adversaries of Athanasius exceedingly derided Maximus, because having before assisted in his deposition, he had suddenly changed his mind, and as if nothing had previously taken place, had voted for his restoration to communion and rank. When Ursacius and Valens, who had been fiery partisans of Arianism, ascertained these things, condemning their former zeal, they proceeded to Rome, where they presented their recantation to Julius the bishop, and gave their assent to the doctrine of consubstantiality: they also wrote to Athanasius, and expressed their readiness to hold communion with him in future. Thus Ursacius and Valens were at that time subdued by the good fortune of Athanasius and induced to recognize the orthodox faith. Athanasius passed through Pelusium on his way to Alexandria, and admonished the inhabitants of every city to beware of the Arians, and to receive those only that professed the Homoousian faith. In some of the churches also he performed ordination; which afforded another ground of accusation against him, because of his undertaking to ordain in the dioceses of others. Such was the progress of affairs at that period in reference to Athanasius.
About this time an extraordinary commotion shook the whole state, of the principal heads, of which we shall give a brief account, deeming it necessary not to pass over them altogether. We mentioned in our first book, that after the death of the founder of Constantinople, his three sons succeeded him in the empire: it must now be also stated, that a kinsman of theirs, Dalmatius, so named from his father, shared with them the imperial authority. This person after being associated with them in the sovereignty for a very little while, the soldiers put to death, Constantius having neither commanded his destruction, nor forbidden it. The manner in which Constantine the younger was also killed by the soldiers, on his invading that division of the empire which belonged to his brother, has already been recorded more than once. After his death, the Persian war was raised against the Romans, in which Constantius did nothing prosperously: for in a battle fought by night on the frontiers of both parties, the Persians had to some slight extent the advantage. And this at a time when the affairs of the Christians became no less unsettled, there being great disturbance throughout the churches on account of Athanasius, and the term homoousion. Affairs having reached this pass, there sprang up a tyrant in the western parts called Magnentius, who by treachery slew Constans, the emperor of the western division of the empire, at that time residing in the Gauls. This being done, a furious civil war arose, and Magnentius made himself master of all Italy, reduced Africa and Libya under his power, and even obtained possession of the Gauls. But at the city of Sirmium in Illyricum, the military set up another tyrant whose name was Vetranio; while a fresh trouble threw Rome itself into commotion. For there was a nephew of Constantine's, Nepotian by name, who, supported by a body of gladiators, there assumed the sovereignty. He was, however, slain by some of the officers of Magnentius, who himself invaded the western provinces, and spread desolation in every direction.
The conflux of these disastrous events occurred during a short space of time; for they happened in the fourth year after the council at Sardica, during the consulate of Sergius and Nigrinian. When these circumstances were published, the entire sovereignty of the empire seemed to devolve on Constantius alone, who, being accordingly proclaimed in the East sole Autocrat, made the most vigorous preparations against the usurpers. Hereupon the adversaries of Athanasius, thinking a favorable crisis had arisen, again framed the most calumnious charges against him, before his arrival at Alexandria; assuring the Emperor Constantius that he was subverting all Egypt and Libya. And his having undertaken to ordain out of the limits of his own diocese, tended not a little to accredit the accusations against him. Meanwhile in this conjuncture, Athanasius entered Alexandria; and having convened a council of the bishops in Egypt, they confirmed by their unanimous vote, what had been determined in the Synod at Sardica, and that assembled at Jerusalem by Maximus. But the emperor, who had been long since imbued with Arian doctrine, reversed all the indulgent proceedings he had so recently resolved on. And first of all he ordered that Paul, bishop of Constantinople, should be sent into exile; whom those who conducted strangled, at Cucusus in Cappadocia. Marcellus was also ejected, and Basil again made ruler of the church at Ancyra. Lucius of Adrianople, being loaded with chains, died in prison. The reports which were made concerning Athanasius so wrought on the emperor's mind, that in an ungovernable fury he commanded him to be put to death wherever he might be found: he moreover included Theodulus and Olympius, who presided over churches in Thrace, in the same proscription. Athanasius, however, was not ignorant of the intentions of the emperor; but learning of them he once more had recourse to flight, and so escaped the emperor's menaces. The Arians denounced this retreat as criminal, particularly Narcissus, bishop of Neronias in Cilicia, George of Laodicæa, and Leontius who then had the oversight of the church at Antioch. This last person, when a presbyter, had been divested of his rank, because in order to remove all suspicion of illicit intercourse with a woman named Eustolium, with whom he spent a considerable portion of his time, he had castrated himself and thenceforward lived more unreservedly with her, on the ground that there could be no longer any ground for evil surmises. Afterwards however, at the earnest desire of the Emperor Constantius, he was created bishop of the church at Antioch, after Stephen, the successor of Placitus. So much respecting this.
At that time Paul having been removed in the manner described, Macedonius became ruler of the churches in Constantinople; who, acquiring very great ascendancy over the emperor, stirred up a war among Christians, of a no less grievous kind than that which the usurpers themselves were waging. For having prevailed on his sovereign to co-operate with him in devastating the churches, he procured that whatever pernicious measures he determined to pursue should be ratified by law. And on this account throughout the several cities an edict was proclaimed, and a military force appointed to carry the imperial decrees into effect. Accordingly those who acknowledged the doctrine of consubstantiality were expelled not only from the churches, but also from the cities. Now at first they were satisfied with expulsion; but as the evil grew they resorted to the worse extremity of inducing compulsory communion with them, caring but little for such a desecration of the churches. Their violence indeed was scarcely less than that of those who had formerly obliged the Christians to worship idols; for they applied all kinds of scourgings, a variety of tortures, and confiscation of property. Many were punished with exile; some died under the torture; and others were put to death while they were being led into exile. These atrocities were exercised throughout all the eastern cities, but especially at Constantinople; the internal strife which was but slight before was thus savagely increased by Macedonius, as soon as he obtained the bishopric. The cities of Greece, however, and Illyricum, with those of the western parts, still enjoyed tranquillity; inasmuch as they preserved harmony among themselves, and continued to adhere to the rule of faith promulgated by the council of Nicæa.
What cruelties George perpetrated at Alexandria at the same time may be learned from the narration of Athanasius, who both suffered in and witnessed the occurrences. In his 'Apology for his flight,' speaking of these transactions, he thus expresses himself:
'Moreover, they came to Alexandria, again seeking to destroy me: and on this occasion their proceedings were worse than before; for the soldiery having suddenly surrounded the church, there arose the din of war, instead of the voice of prayer. Afterwards, on his arrival during Lent, George, sent from Cappadocia, added to the evil which he was instructed to work. When Easter-week was passed, the virgins were cast into prison, the bishops were led in chains by the military, and the dwellings even of orphans and widows were forcibly entered and their provisions pillaged. Christians were assassinated by night; houses were sealed; and the relatives of the clergy were endangered on their account. Even these outrages were dreadful; but those that followed were still more so. For in the week after the holy Pentecost, the people, having fasted, went forth to the cemetery to pray, because all were averse to communion with George: that wickedest of men being informed of this, instigated against them Sebastian, an officer who was a Manichæan. He, accordingly, at the head of a body of troops armed with drawn swords, bows, and darts, marched out to attack the people, although it was the Lord's day: finding but few at prayers—as the most part had retired because of the lateness of the hour—he performed such exploits as might be expected from them. Having kindled a fire, he set the virgins near it, in order to compel them to say that they were of the Arian faith: but seeing they stood their ground and despised the fire, he then stripped them, and so beat them on the face, that for a long time afterwards they could scarcely be recognized. Seizing also about forty men, he flogged them in an extraordinary manner: for he so lacerated their backs with rods fresh cut from the palm-tree, which still had their thorns on, that some were obliged to resort repeatedly to surgical aid in order to have the thorns extracted from their flesh, and others, unable to bear the agony, died under its infliction. All the survivors with one virgin they banished to the Great Oasis. The bodies of the dead they did not so much as give up to their relatives, but denying them the rites of sepulture they concealed them as they thought fit, that the evidences of their cruelty might not appear. They did this acting as madmen. For while the friends of the deceased rejoiced on account of their confession, but mourned because their bodies were uninterred, the impious inhumanity of these acts was sounded abroad the more conspicuously. For soon after this they sent into exile out of Egypt and the two Libyas the following bishops: Ammonius, Thmuïs, Caïus, Philo, Hermes, Pliny, Psenosiris, Nilammon, Agatho, Anagamphus, Mark, Ammonius, another Mark, Dracontius, Adelphius, and Athenodorus; and the presbyters Hierax and Discorus. And so harshly did they treat them in conducting them, that some expired while on their journey, and others in the place of banishment. In this way they got rid of more than thirty bishops, for the anxious desire of the Arians, like Ahab's, was to exterminate the truth if possible.'
Such are the words of Athanasius in regard to the atrocities perpetrated by George at Alexandria. The emperor meanwhile led his army into Illyricum. For there the urgency of public affairs demanded his presence; and especially the proclamation of Vetranio as emperor by the military. On arriving at Sirmium, he came to a conference with Vetranio during a truce; and so managed, that the soldiers who had previously declared for him changed sides, and saluted Constantius alone as Augustus and sovereign autocrat. In the acclamations, therefore, no notice was taken of Vetranio. Vetranio, perceiving himself to be abandoned, immediately threw himself at the feet of the emperor; Constantius, taking from him his imperial crown and purple, treated him with great clemency, and recommended him to pass the rest of his days tranquilly in the condition of a private citizen: observing that a life of repose at his advanced age was far more suitable than a dignity which entailed anxieties and care. Vetranio's affairs came to this issue; and the emperor ordered that a liberal provision out of the public revenue should be given him. Often afterwards writing to the emperor during his residence at Prusa in Bithynia, Vetranio assured him that he had conferred the greatest blessing on him, by liberating him from the disquietudes which are the inseparable concomitants of sovereign power. Adding that he himself did not act wisely in depriving himself of that happiness in retirement, which he had bestowed upon him. Let this suffice on this point. After these things, the Emperor Constantius having created Gallus his kinsman Cæsar, and given him his own name, sent him to Antioch in Syria, providing thus for the guarding of the eastern parts. When Gallus was entering this city, the Savior's sign appeared in the East: for a pillar in the form of a cross seen in the heavens gave occasion of great amazement to the spectators. His other generals the emperor dispatched against Magnentius with considerable forces, and he himself remained at Sirmium, awaiting the course of events.
During this time Photinus, who then presided over the church in that city more openly avowed the creed he had devised; wherefore a tumult being made in consequence, the emperor ordered a Synod of bishops to be held at Sirmium. There were accordingly convened there of the Oriental bishops, Mark of Arethusa, George of Alexandria, whom the Arians sent, as I have before said, having placed him over that see on the removal of Gregory, Basil who presided over the church at Ancyra after Marcellus was ejected, Pancratius of Pelusium, and Hypatian of Heraclea. Of the Western bishops there were present Valens of Mursa, and the then celebrated Hosius of Cordova in Spain, who attended much against his will. These met at Sirmium, after the consulate of Sergius and Nigrinian, in which year no consul celebrated the customary inaugural solemnities, in consequence of the tumults of war; and having met and found that Photinus held the heresy of Sabellius the Libyan, and Paul of Samosata, they immediately deposed him. This decision was both at that time and afterwards universally commended as honorable and just; but those who continued there, subsequently acted in a way which was by no means so generally approved.
As if they would rescind their former determinations respecting the faith, they published anew other expositions of the creed, viz.: one which Mark of Arethusa composed in Greek; and others in Latin, which harmonized neither in expression nor in sentiment with one another, nor with that dictated by the bishop of Arethusa. I shall here subjoin one of those drawn up in Latin, to that prepared in Greek by Mark: the other, which was afterwards recited at Sirmium, will be given when we describe what was done at Ariminum. It must be understood, however, that both the Latin forms were translated into Greek. The declaration of faith set forth by Mark, was as follows:
'We believe in one God the Father Almighty, the Creator and Maker of all things, of whom the whole family in heaven and on earth is named, Ephesians 3:15 and in his only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was begotten of the Father before all ages, God of God, Light of Light, by whom all things visible and invisible, which are in the heavens and upon the earth, were made: who is the Word, and the Wisdom, and the true Light, and the Life; who in the last days for our sake was made man and born of the holy virgin, and was crucified and died, and was buried, and rose again from the dead on the third day, and was received up into heaven, and sat at the right hand of the Father, and is coming at the completion of the age to judge the living and the dead, and to requite every one according to his works: whose kingdom being everlasting, endures into infinite ages; for he will be seated at the Father's right hand, not only in the present age, but also in that which is to come. [We believe] also in the Holy Spirit, that is to say the Comforter, whom, having promised to his apostles after his ascension into the heavens, to teach them, and bring all things to their remembrance, he sent; by whom also the souls of those who have sincerely believed in him are sanctified. But those who affirm that the Son is of things which are not, or of another substance, and not of God, and that there was a time or an age when he was not, the holy and catholic Church recognizes to be aliens. We therefore again say, if any one affirms that the Father and Son are two Gods, let him be anathema. And if any one admits that Christ is God and the Son of God before the ages, but does not confess that he ministered to the Father in the formation of all things, let him be anathema. If any one shall dare to assert that the Unbegotten, or a part of him, was born of Mary, let him be anathema. If any one should say that the Son was of Mary according to foreknowledge, and not that he was with God, begotten of the Father before the ages, and that all things were not made by him, let him be anathema. If any one affirms the essence of God to be dilated or contracted, let him be anathema. If any one says that the dilated essence of God makes the Son, or shall term the Son the dilatation of his essence, let him be anathema. If any one calls the Son of God the internal or uttered word, let him be anathema. If any one declares that the Son that was born of Mary was man only, let him be anathema. If any man affirming him that was born of Mary to be God and man, shall imply the unbegotten God himself, let him be anathema. If any one shall understand the text,
I am the first, and I am the last, and besides me there is no God, Isaiah 44:6 which was spoken for the destruction of idols and false gods, in the sense the Jews do, as if it were said for the subversion of the only-begotten of God before the ages, let him be anathema. If any one hearing
the Word was made flesh, John 1:14 should imagine that the Word was changed into flesh, or that he underwent any change in assuming flesh, let him be anathema. If any one hearing that the only-begotten Son of God was crucified, should say that his divinity underwent any corruption, or suffering, or change, or diminution, or destruction, let him be anathema. If any one should affirm that the Father said not to the Son,
Let us make man, Genesis 1:26 but that God spoke to himself, let him be anathema. If any one says that it was not the Son that was seen by Abraham, but the unbegotten God, or a part of him, let him be anathema. If any one says that it was not the Son that as man wrestled with Jacob, but the unbegotten God, or a part of him, let him be anathema. If any one shall understand the words,
The Lord rained from the Lord, not in relation to the Father and the Son, but shall say that he rained from himself, let him be anathema: for the Lord the Son rained from the Lord the Father. If any one hearing Son Lord, and saying
the Lord from the Lord shall assert that there are two Gods, let him be anathema. For we do not co-ordinate the Son with the Father, but [conceive him to be] subordinate to the Father. For he neither came down to the body without his Father's will; nor did he rain from himself, but from the Lord (i.e. the Father) who exercises supreme authority: nor does he sit at the Father's right hand of himself, but in obedience to the Father saying,
Sit thou at my right hand [let him be anathema]. If any one should say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one person, let him be anathema. If any one, speaking of the Holy Spirit the Comforter, shall call him the unbegotten God, let him be anathema. If any one, as he has taught us, shall not say that the Comforter is other than the Son, when he has himself said,
the Father, whom I will ask, shall send you another Comforter, let him be anathema. If any one affirm that the Spirit is part of the Father and of the Son, let him be anathema. If any one say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three Gods, let him be anathema. If any one say that the Son of God was made as one of the creatures by the will of God, let him be anathema. If any one shall say that the Son was begotten without the Father's will, let him be anathema: for the Father did not, as compelled by any natural necessity, beget the Son at a time when he was unwilling; but as soon as it pleased him, he has declared that of himself without time and without passion, he begot him. If any one should say that the Son is unbegotten, and without beginning, intimating that there are two without beginning, and unbegotten, so making two Gods, let him be anathema: for the Son is the head and beginning of all things; but
the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3 Thus do we devoutly trace up all things by the Son to one source of all things who is without beginning. Moreover, to give an accurate conception of Christian doctrine, we again say, that if any one shall not declare Christ Jesus to have been the Son of God before all ages, and to have ministered to the Father in the creation of all things; but shall affirm that from the time only when he was born of Mary, was he called the Son and Christ, and that he then received the commencement of his divinity, let him be anathema, as the Samosatan.'
Another Exposition of the Faith set forth at Sirmium in Latin, and afterwards translated into Greek.
Since it appeared good that some deliberation respecting the faith should be undertaken, all points have been carefully investigated and discussed at Sirmium, in presence of Valens, Ursacius, Germinius, and others.
It is evident that there is one God, the Father Almighty, according as it is declared over the whole world; and his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, God, and Saviour, begotten of him before the ages. But we ought not to say that there are two Gods, since the Lord himself has said 'I go unto my Father and your Father, and unto my God and your God.' John 20:17 Therefore he is God even of all, as the apostle also taught, 'Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yea of the Gentiles also; seeing that it is one God who shall justify the circumcision by faith.' Romans 3:29-30 And in all other matters there is agreement, nor is there any ambiguity. But since it troubles very many to understand about that which is termed substantia in Latin, and ousia in Greek; that is to say, in order to mark the sense more accurately, the word homoousion or homoiousion, it is altogether desirable that none of these terms should be mentioned: nor should they be preached on in the church, for this reason, that nothing is recorded concerning them in the holy Scriptures; and because these things are above the knowledge of mankind and human capacity, and that no one can explain the Son's generation, of which it is written, 'And who shall declare his generation?' Isaiah 53:5 It is manifest that the Father only knows in what way he begot the Son; and again the Son, how he was begotten by the Father. But no one can doubt that the Father is greater in honor, dignity, and divinity, and in the very name of Father; the Son himself testifying 'My Father who has sent me is greater than I.' John 14:28 And no one is ignorant that this is also catholic doctrine, that there are two persons of the Father and Son, and that the Father is the greater: but that the Son is subject, together with all things which the Father has subjected to him. That the Father had no beginning, and is invisible, immortal, and impassible: but that the Son was begotten of the Father, God of God, Light of Light; and that no one comprehends his generation, as was before said, but the Father alone. That the Son himself, our Lord and God, took flesh or a body, that is to say human nature, according as the angel brought glad tidings: and as the whole Scriptures teaches, and especially the apostle who was the great teacher of the Gentiles, Christ assumed the human nature through which he suffered, from the Virgin Mary. But the summary and confirmation of the entire faith is, that [the doctrine of] the Trinity should be always maintained, according as we have read in the gospel, 'Go ye and disciple all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.' Matthew 28:19 Thus the number of the Trinity is complete and perfect. Now the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, sent by the Son, came according to his promise, in order to sanctify and instruct the apostles and all believers.
They endeavored to induce Photinus, even after his deposition, to assent to and subscribe these things, promising to restore him his bishopric, if by recantation he would anathematize the dogma he had invented, and adopt their opinion. But he did not accept their proposal, and on the other hand he challenged them to a disputation: and a day being appointed by the emperor's arrangement, the bishops who were there present assembled, and not a few of the senators, whom the emperor had directed to attend to the discussion. In their presence, Basil, who at that time presided over the church at Ancyra, was appointed to oppose Photinus, and short-hand writers took down their respective speeches. The conflict of arguments on both sides was extremely severe; but Photinus having been worsted, was condemned, and spent the rest of his life in exile, during which time he composed treatises in both languages— for he was not unskilled in Latin— against all heresies, and in favor of his own views. Concerning Photinus let this suffice.
Now the bishops who were convened at Sirmium, were afterwards dissatisfied with that form of the creed which had been promulgated by them in Latin; for after its publication, it appeared to them to contain many contradictions. They therefore endeavored to get it back again from the transcribers; but inasmuch as many secreted it, the emperor by his edicts commanded that the version should be sought for, threatening punishment to any one who should be detected concealing it. These menaces, however, were incapable of suppressing what had already fallen into the hands of many. Let this suffice in regard to these affairs.>
Since we have observed that Hosius the Spaniard was present [at the council of Sirmium] against his will, it is necessary to give some brief account of him. A short time before he had been sent into exile by the intrigues of the Arians: but at the earnest solicitation of those convened at Sirmium, the emperor summoned him there, wishing that by persuasion, or by compulsion he should give his sanction to their proceedings; for if this could be effected, they considered it would give great authority to their sentiments. On this ground, therefore, as I have said, he was most unwillingly obliged to be present: and when he refused to concur with them, stripes and tortures were inflicted on the old man. Wherefore he was constrained by force to acquiesce in and subscribe to their exposition of the faith. Such was the issue of affairs at that time transacted at Sirmium. But the emperor Constantius after these things still continued to reside at that place, awaiting there the result of the war against Magnentius.
Magnentius in the meanwhile having made himself master of the imperial city Rome, put to death many members of the senatorial council, as well as many of the populace. But as soon as the commanders under Constantius had collected an army of Romans, and commenced their march against him, he left Rome, and retired into the Gauls. There several battles were fought, sometimes to the advantage of one party, and sometimes to that of the other: but at last Magnentius having been defeated near Mursa— a fortress of Gaul— was there closely besieged. In this place the following remarkable incident is said to have occurred. Magnentius desiring to reassure the courage of his soldiers who were disheartened by their late overthrow, ascended a lofty tribunal for this purpose. They, wishing to give utterance to the usual acclamation with which they greet emperors, contrary to their intention simultaneously all shouted the name not of Magnentius, but of Constantius Augustus. Regarding this as an omen unfavorable to himself, Magnentius immediately withdrew from the fortress, and retreated to the remotest parts of Gaul. Thither the generals of Constantius hastened in pursuit. An engagement having again taken place near Mount Seleucus, Magnentius was totally routed, and fled alone to Lyons, a city of Gaul, which is distant three days' journey from the fortress at Mursa. Magnentius, having reached this city, first slew his own mother; then having killed his brother also, whom he had created Cæsar, he at last committed suicide by falling on his own sword. This happened in the sixth consulate of Constantius, and the second of Constantius Gallus, on the fifteenth day of August. Not long after, the other brother of Magnentius, named Decentius, put an end to his own life by hanging himself. Such was the end of the enterprises of Magnentius. The affairs of the empire were not altogether quieted; for soon after this another usurper arose whose name was Silvanus: but the generals of Constantius speedily put him also out of the way, while raising disturbances in Gaul.
About the same time there arose another intestine commotion in the East: for the Jews who inhabited Dio-Cæsarea in Palestine took up arms against the Romans, and began to ravage the adjacent places. But Gallus who was also called Constantius, whom the emperor, after creating Cæsar, had sent into the East, dispatched an army against them, and completely vanquished them: after which he ordered that their city Dio-Cæsarea should be razed to the foundations.
Gallus, having accomplished these things, was unable to bear his success with moderation; but immediately attempted innovations against the authority of him who had constituted him Cæsar, himself aspiring to the sovereign power. His purpose was, however, soon detected by Constantius: for he had dared to put to death, on his own responsibility, Domitian, at that time Prætorian prefect of the East, and Magnus the quæstor, not having disclosed his designs to the emperor. Constantius, extremely incensed at this conduct, summoned Gallus to his presence, who being in great terror went very reluctantly; and when he arrived in the western parts, and had reached the island of Flanona, Constantius ordered him to be slain. But not long after he created Julian, the brother of Gallus, Cæsar, and sent him against the barbarians in Gaul. It was in the seventh consulate of the emperor Constantius that Gallus, who was surnamed Constantius, was slain, when he himself was a third time consul: and Julian was created Cæsar on the 6th of November in the following year, when Arbetion and Lollian were consuls; of him we shall make farther mention in the next book. When Constantius was thus relieved from the disquietudes which had occupied him, his attention was again directed to ecclesiastical contentions. Going therefore from Sirmium to the imperial city Rome, he again appointed a synod of bishops, summoning some of the eastern prelates to hasten into Italy, and arranging for those of the west to meet them there. While preparations were making in the east for this purpose, Julius bishop of Rome died, after having presided over the church in that place fifteen years, and was succeeded in the episcopal dignity by Liberius.
At Antioch in Syria another heresiarch sprang up, Aëtius, surnamed Atheus. He agreed in doctrine with Arius, and maintained the same opinions: but separated himself from the Arian party because they had admitted Arius into communion. For Arius, as I have before related, entertaining one opinion in his heart, professed another with his lips; having hypocritically assented to and subscribed the form of faith set forth at the council of Nicæa, in order to deceive the reigning emperor. On this account, therefore, Aëtius separated himself from the Arians. He had, however, previously been a heretic, and a zealous advocate of Arian views. After receiving some very scanty instruction at Alexandria, he departed thence, and arrived at Antioch in Syria, which was his native place, was ordained deacon by Leontius, who was then bishop of that city. Upon this he began to astonish those who conversed with him by the singularity of his discourses. And this he did in dependence on the precepts of Aristotle's Categories; there is a book of that name, the scope of which he neither himself perceived, nor had been enlightened on by intercourse with learned persons: so that he was little aware that he was framing fallacious arguments to perplex and deceive himself. For Aristotle had composed this work to exercise the ingenuity of his young disciples, and to confound by subtle arguments the sophists who affected to deride philosophy. Wherefore the Ephectic academicians, who expound the writings of Plato and Plotinus, censure the vain subtlety which Aristotle has displayed in that book: but Aëtius, who never had the advantage of an academical preceptor, adhered to the sophisms of the Categories. For this reason he was unable to comprehend how there could be generation without a beginning, and how that which was begotten can be co-eternal with him who begot. In fact, Aëtius was a man of so superficial attainments, and so little acquainted with the sacred Scriptures, and so extremely fond of caviling, a thing which any clown might do, that he had never carefully studied those ancient writers who have interpreted the Christian oracles; wholly rejecting Clemens and Africanus and Origen, men eminent for their information in every department of literature and science. But he composed epistles both to the emperor Constantius, and to some other persons, wherein he interwove tedious disputes for the purpose of displaying his sophisms. He has therefore been surnamed Atheus. But although his doctrinal statements were similar to those of the Arians, yet from the abstruse nature of his syllogisms, which they were unable to comprehend, his associates in Arianism pronounced him a heretic. Being for that reason expelled from their church, he pretended to have separated himself from their communion. Even in the present day there are to be found some who from him were formerly named Aëtians, but now Eunomians. For some time later Eunomius, who had been his amanuensis, having been instructed by his master in this heretical mode of reasoning, afterwards became the head of that sect. But of Eunomius we shall speak more fully in the proper place.
Now at that time the bishops met in Italy, very few indeed from the East, most of them being hindered from coming either by the firmities of age or by the distance; but of the West there were more than three hundred. It was a command of the emperor that they should be assembled at Milan. On meeting, the Eastern prelates opened the Synod by calling upon those convened to pass a unanimous sentence of condemnation against Athanasius; with this object in view, that he might thenceforward be utterly shut out from Alexandria. But Paulinus, bishop of Treves in Gaul, and Dionysius, of whom the former was bishop of Alba, the metropolis of Italy, and Eusebius of Vercellæ, a city of Liguria in Italy, perceiving that the Eastern bishops, by demanding a ratification of the sentence against Athanasius, were intent on subverting the faith, arose and loudly exclaimed that 'this proposition indicated a covert plot against the principles of Christian truth. For they insisted that the charges against Athanasius were unfounded, and merely invented by his accusers as a means of corrupting the faith.' Having made this protest with much vehemence of manner, the congress of bishops was then dissolved.
The emperor on being apprised of what had taken place, sent these three bishops into exile; and determined to convene an ecumenical council, that by drawing all the Eastern bishops into the West, he might if possible bring them all to agree. But when, on consideration, the length of the journey seemed to present serious obstacles, he directed that the Synod should consist of two divisions; permitting those present at Milan to meet at Ariminum in Italy: but the Eastern bishops he instructed by letters to assemble at Nicomedia in Bithynia. The emperor's object in these arrangements was to effect a general unity of opinion; but the issue was contrary to his expectation. For neither of the Synods was in harmony with itself, but each was divided into opposing factions: for those convened at Ariminum could not agree with one another; and the Eastern bishops assembled at Seleucia in Isauria made another schism. The details of what took place in both we will give in the course of our history, but we shall first make a few observations on Eudoxius. About that time Leontius having died, who had ordained the heretic Aëtius as deacon, Eudoxius bishop of Germanicia— this city is in Syria— who was then at Rome, thinking no time was to be lost, speciously represented to the emperor that the city over which he presided was in need of his counsel and care, and requested permission to return there immediately. This the emperor readily acceded to, having no suspicion of a clandestine purpose: Eudoxius having some of the principal officers of the emperor's bedchamber as coadjutors, deserted his own diocese, and fraudulently installed himself in the see of Antioch. His first desire was to restore Aëtius; accordingly he convened a council of bishops for the purpose of reinvesting Aëtius with the dignity of the diaconate. But this could in no way be brought about, for the odium with which Aëtius was regarded was more prevalent than the exertions of Eudoxius in his favor. When the bishops were assembled at Ariminum, those from the East declared that they were willing to pass in silence the case of Athanasius: a resolution that was zealously supported by Ursacius and Valens, who had formerly maintained the tenets of Arius; but, as I have already stated, had afterwards presented a recantation of their opinion to the bishop of Rome, and publicly avowed their assent to the doctrine of consubstantiality. For these men always inclined to side with the dominant party. Germinius, Auxentius, Demophilus and Gaius made the same declaration in reference to Athanasius. When therefore some endeavored to propose one thing in the convocation of bishops, and some another, Ursacius and Valens said that all former draughts of the creed ought to be considered as set aside, and the last alone, which had been prepared at their late convention at Sirmium, regarded as authorized. They then caused to be read a paper which they held in their hands, containing another form of the creed: this had indeed been drawn up at Sirmium, but had been kept concealed, as we have before observed, until their present publication of it at Ariminum. It has been translated from the Latin into Greek, and is as follows:
'The catholic faith was expounded at Sirmium in presence of our lord Constantius, in the consulate of the most illustrious Flavius Eusebius, and Hypatius, on the twenty-third of May.
'We believe in one only and true God, the Father Almighty, the Creator and Framer of all things: and in one only-begotten Son of God, before all ages, before all beginning, before all conceivable time, and before all comprehensible thought, begotten without passion: by whom the ages were framed, and all things made: who was begotten as the only-begotten of the Father, only of only, God of God, like to the Father who begot him, according to the Scriptures: whose generation no one knows, but the Father only who begot him. We know that this his only-begotten Son came down from the heavens by his Father's consent for the putting away of sin, was born of the Virgin Mary, conversed with his disciples, and fulfilled every dispensation according to the Father's will: was crucified and died, and descended into the lower parts of the earth, and disposed matters there; at the sight of whom the (door-keepers of Hades trembled ): having arisen on the third day, he again conversed with his disciples, and after forty days were completed he ascended into the heavens, and is seated at the Father's right hand; and at the last day he will come in his Father's glory to render to every one according to his works. [We believe] also in the Holy Spirit, whom the only-begotten Son of God Jesus Christ himself promised to send to the human race as the Comforter, according to that which is written:
I go away to my Father, and will ask him, and he will send you another Comforter, the Spirit of truth. He shall receive of mine, and shall teach you, and bring all things to your remembrance. As for the term
substance, which was used by our fathers for the sake of greater simplicity, but not being understood by the people has caused offense on account of the fact that the Scriptures do not contain it, it seemed desirable that it should be wholly abolished, and that in future no mention should be made of substance in reference to God, since the divine Scriptures have nowhere spoken concerning the substance of the Father and the Son. But we say that the Son is in all things like the Father, as the Holy Scriptures affirm and teach.'
These statements having been read, those who were dissatisfied with them rose and said 'We came not hither because we were in want of a creed; for we preserve inviolate that which we received from the beginning; but we are here met to repress any innovation upon it which may have been made. If therefore what has been recited introduces no novelties, now openly anathematize the Arian heresy, in the same manner as the ancient canon of the church has rejected all heresies as blasphemous: for it is evident to the whole world that the impious dogma of Arius has excited the disturbances of the church, and the troubles which exist until now.' This proposition, which was not accepted by Ursacius, Valens, Germinius, Auxentius, Demophilus, and Gaïus, rent the church asunder completely: for these prelates adhered to what had then been recited in the Synod of Ariminum; while the others again confirmed the Nicene Creed. They also ridiculed the superscription of the creed that had been read; and especially Athanasius, in a letter which he sent to his friends, wherein he thus expresses himself:
'What point of doctrine was wanting to the piety of the catholic church, that they should now make an investigation respecting the faith, and prefix moreover the consulate of the present times to their published exposition of it? For Ursacius, Valens, and Germinius have done what was neither done, nor even heard of, at any time before among Christians: having composed a creed such as they themselves are willing to believe, they prefaced it with the consulate, month, and day of the present time, in order to prove to all discerning persons that theirs is not the ancient faith, but such as was originated under the reign of the present emperor Constantius. Moreover they have written all things with a view to their own heresy: and besides this, pretending to write respecting the Lord, they name another
Lord as theirs, even Constantius, who has countenanced their impiety, so that those who deny the Son to be eternal, have styled him eternal emperor. Thus are they proved to be the enemies of Christ by their profanity. But perhaps the holy prophets' record of time afforded them a precedent for [noticing] the consulate! Now even if they should presume to make this pretext, they would most glaringly expose their own ignorance. The prophecies of these holy men do indeed mark the times. Isaiah and Hosea lived in the days of Uzziah, Joatham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah; Jeremiah in the time of Josiah; Jeremiah 1:2 Ezekiel and Daniel in the reign of Cyrus and Darius; and others uttered their predictions in other times. Yet they did not then lay the foundations of religion. That was in existence before them, and always was, even before the creation of the world, God having prepared it for us in Christ. Nor did they designate the commencement of their own faith; for they were themselves men of faith previously: but they signified the times of the promises given through them. Now the promises primarily referred to our Saviour's advent; and all that was foretold respecting the course of future events in relation to Israel and the Gentiles was collateral and subordinate. Hence the periods mentioned indicated not the beginning of their faith, as I before observed, but the times in which these prophets lived and foretold such things. But these sages of our day, who neither compile histories, nor predict future events, after writing,
The Catholic Faith was published, immediately add the consulate, with the month and the day: and as the holy prophets wrote the date of their records and of their own ministration, so these men intimate the era of their own faith. And would that they had written concerning their own faith only— since they have now begun to believe— and had not undertaken to write respecting the Catholic faith. For they have not written,
Thus we believe; but,
The Catholic Faith was published. The temerity of purpose herein manifested argues their ignorance; while the novelty of expression found in the document they have concocted shows it to be the same as the Arian heresy. By writing in this manner, they have declared when they themselves began to believe, and from what time they wish it to be understood their faith was first preached. And just as when the evangelist Luke says, Luke 2:1
A decree of enrolment was published, he speaks of an edict which was not in existence before, but came into operation at that time, and was published by him who had written it; so these men by writing
The faith has now been published, have declared that the tenets of their heresy are of modern invention, and did not exist previously. But since they apply the term Montanus, so these style Constantius their Lord, instead of Christ. But if according to them the faith had its beginning from the present consulate, what will the fathers and the blessed martyrs do? Moreover what will they themselves do with those who were instructed in religious principles by them, and died before this consulate? By what means will they recall them to life, in order to obliterate from their minds what they seemed to have taught them, and to implant in its stead those new discoveries which they have published? So stupid are they as to be only capable of framing pretenses, and these such as are unbecoming and unreasonable, and carry with them their own refutation.'
Athanasius wrote thus to his friends: and the interested who may read through his whole epistle will perceive how powerfully he treats the subject; but for brevity's sake we have here inserted a part of it only. The Synod deposed Valens, Ursacius, Auxentius, Germinius, Gaïus, and Demophilus for refusing to anathematize the Arian doctrine; who being very indignant at their deposition, hastened directly to the emperor, carrying with them the exposition of faith which had been read in the Synod. The council also acquainted the emperor with their determinations in a communication which translated from the Latin into Greek, was to the following effect:
Epistle of the Synod of Ariminum to the Emperor Constantius.
We believe that it was by the appointment of God, as well as at the command of your piety, that the decrees formerly published have been executed. Accordingly we Western bishops came out of various districts to Ariminum, in order that the faith of the catholic church might be made manifest, and that those who held contrary views might be detected. For on a considerate review by us of all points, our decision has been to adhere to the ancient faith which the prophets, the gospels, and the apostles have revealed through our Lord Jesus Christ, the guardian of your empire, and the protector of your person, which faith also we have always maintained. We conceived that it would be unwarrantable and impious to mutilate any of those things which have been justly and rightly ratified, by those who sat in the Nicene council with Constantine of glorious memory, the father of your piety. Their doctrine and views have been infused into the minds and preached in the hearing of the people, and found to be powerfully opposed, even fatal, to the Arian heresy. And not only this heresy, but also all others have been put down by it. Should therefore anything be added to or taken away from what was at that time established, it would prove perilous; for if either of these things should happen, the enemy will have boldness to do as they please.
Wherefore Ursacius and Valens being heretofore suspected of entertaining Arian sentiments, were suspended from communion: but in order to be restored to it they made an apology, and claimed that they had repented of their shortcoming, as their written recantation attests: they therefore obtained pardon and complete absolution.
At the same time, having known that Constantine, who even after his death is worthy of honorable mention, exposed the faith with due precision, but being born of men was baptized and departed to the peace due to him as his reward, we have deemed it improper to innovate after him disregarding so many holy confessors and martyrs, who also were authors of this confession, and persevered in their faith in the ancient system of the catholic church. Their faith God has perpetuated down to the years of your own reign through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whose grace it also became possible for you to so strengthen your dominion as to rule over one portion of the world.
Yet have these infatuated and wretched persons, endued with an unhappy disposition, again had the temerity to declare themselves the propagators of false doctrine, and even endeavor to subvert the constitution of the Church. For when the letters of your piety had ordered us to assemble for the examination of the faith, they laid bare their intention, stripped of its deceitful garb. For they attempted with certain craft and confusion to propose innovations, having in this as allies Germinius, Auxentius, and Gaius, who continually cause strife and dissension, and their single teaching has surpassed the whole body of blasphemies. But when they perceived that we had not the same disposition or mind as they in regard to their false views they changed their minds during our council and said another expression of belief should be put forth. And short indeed was the time which convinced them of the falsity of their views.
In order, therefore, that the affairs of the Church may not be continually brought into the same condition, and in order that trouble and tumult may not continually arise and confuse all things, it appeared safe to preserve the previously determined views firm and unalterable, and to separate from our communion the persons above named; for which reason we have dispatched to your clemency delegates who will communicate the opinion of the council to you. And to our delegates we have given this commission above all, that they should accredit the truth taking their motive from the ancient and right decisions. They will inform your holiness that peace will not be established as Ursacius and Valens say when some point of the right be overturned. For how can those be at peace who destroy peace? Rather will strife and tumult be occasioned by these things in the church of Rome also, as in the other cities. Wherefore, now, we beseech your clemency that you should look upon our delegation with a calm eye and listen to it with favor, and not allow that anything should be changed, thus bringing insult to the deceased, but permit us to continue in those things which have been defined and legislated by our ancestors; who, we should say, acted with shrewdness and wisdom and with the Holy Spirit. For the innovations they introduce at present fill the believing with distrust and the unbelieving with cruelty. We further implore you to instruct that the bishops who dwell in foreign parts, whom both the infirmity of age and the ills of poverty harass should be assisted to return easily and speedily to their own homes, so that the churches may not remain bereft of their bishops. Still further we beg of you this also, that nothing be stricken off, nor anything be added, to the articles [of faith] remaining over from the times of your pious father even until now; but that these may continue inviolate. Permit us not to toil and suffer longer, nor to be separated from our dioceses, but that together with our own peoples we may in peace have time to offer prayers and thanksgiving, supplicating for your safety and continuance in the dominion, which may the divinity grant unto you perpetually. Our delegates bear the signatures and greetings of the bishops. These [delegates] will from the Divine Scriptures themselves instruct your piety.
The Synod then thus wrote and sent their communications to the emperor by the bishops [selected for that purpose]. But the partisans of Ursacius and Valens having arrived before them, did their utmost to calumniate the council, exhibiting the exposition of the faith which they had brought with them. The emperor, prejudiced beforehand towards Arianism, became extremely exasperated against the Synod, but conferred great honor on Valens and Ursacius and their friends. Those deputed by the council were consequently detained a considerable time, without being able to obtain an answer: at length, however, the emperor replied through those who had come to him, in the manner following:
'Constantius Victor and Triumphator Augustus to all the bishops convened at Ariminum.
'That our special care is ever exercised respecting the divine and venerated law even your sanctity is not ignorant. Nevertheless we have hitherto been unable to give an audience to the twenty bishops sent as deputation from you, for an expedition against the barbarians has become necessary. And since, as you will admit, matters relative to the divine law ought to be entered on with a mind free from all anxiety; I have therefore ordered these bishops to await our return to Adrianople; that when all public business shall have been duly attended to, we may be able then to hear and consider what they shall propose. In the meanwhile let it not seem troublesome to your gravity to wait for their return; since when they shall convey to you our resolution, you will be prepared to carry into effect such measures as may be most advantageous to the welfare of the catholic church.'
The bishops on receipt of this letter wrote thus in reply:
'We have received your clemency's letter, sovereign lord, most beloved of God, in which you inform us that the exigencies of state affairs have hitherto prevented your admitting our delegates to your presence: and you bid us await their return, until your piety shall have learned from them what has been determined on by us in conformity with the tradition of our ancestors. But we again protest by this letter that we can by no means depart from our primary resolution; and this also we have commissioned our deputies to state. We beseech you therefore, both with serene countenance to order this present epistle of our modesty to be read; and also to listen favorably to the representations with which our delegates have been charged. Your mildness doubtless perceives, as well as we, to how great an extent grief and sadness prevail, because of so many churches being bereft of their bishops in these most blessed times of yours. Again therefore we entreat your clemency, sovereign lord most dear to God, to command us to return to our churches, if it please your piety, before the rigor of winter; in order that we may be enabled, in conjunction with the people, to offer up our accustomed prayers to Almighty God, and to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, for the prosperity of your reign, as we have always done, and even now do in our prayers.'
The bishops having waited together some time after this letter had been dispatched, inasmuch as the emperor deigned no reply, they departed to their respective cities. Now the emperor had long before intended to disseminate Arian doctrine throughout the churches; and was anxious to give it the pre-eminence; hence he pretended that their departure was an act of contumely, declaring that they had treated him with contempt by dissolving the council in opposition to his wishes. He therefore gave the partisans of Ursacius unbounded license to act as they pleased in regard to the churches: and directed that the revised form of creed which had been read at Ariminum should be sent to the churches throughout Italy; ordering that whoever would not subscribe it should be ejected from their sees, and that others should be substituted in their place. And first Liberius, bishop of Rome, having refused his assent to that creed, was sent into exile; the adherents of Ursacius appointing Felix to succeed him, who had been a deacon in that church, but on embracing the Arian heresy was elevated to the episcopate. Some however assert that he was not favorable to that opinion, but was constrained by force to receive the ordination of bishop. After this all parts of the West were filled with agitation and tumult, some being ejected and banished, and others established in their stead. These things were effected by violence, on the authority of the imperial edicts, which were also sent into the eastern parts. Not long after indeed Liberius was recalled, and reinstated in his see; for the people of Rome having raised a sedition, and expelled Felix from their church, the emperor even though against his wish consented. The partisans of Ursacius, quitting Italy, passed through the eastern parts; and arriving at Nice, a city of Thrace, they dwelt there a short time and held another Synod, and after translating the form of faith which was read at Ariminum into Greek, they confirmed and published it afresh in the form quoted above, giving it the name of the general council, in this way attempting to deceive the more simple by the similarity of names, and to impose upon them as the creed promulgated at Nicæa in Bithynia, that which they had prepared at Nice in Thrace. But this artifice was of little advantage to them; for it was soon detected, they became the object of derision. Enough now has been said of the transactions which took place in the West: we must now proceed to the narrative of what was done in the East at the same time.
The bishops of the Arian party began to assume greater assurance from the imperial edicts. In what manner they undertook to convene a Synod, we will explain somewhat later. Let us now briefly mention a few of their previous acts. Acacius and Patrophilus having ejected Maximus, bishop of Jerusalem, installed Cyril in his see. Macedonius subverted the order of things in the cities and provinces adjacent to Constantinople, promoting to ecclesiastical honors his assistants in his intrigues against the churches. He ordained Eleusius bishop of Cyzicus, and Marathonius, bishop of Nicomedia: the latter had before been a deacon under Macedonius himself, and proved very active in founding monasteries both of men and women. But we must now mention in what way Macedonius desolated the churches in the cities and provinces around Constantinople. This man, as I have already said, having seized the bishopric, inflicted innumerable calamities on such as were unwilling to adopt his views. His persecutions were not confined to those who were recognized as members of the catholic church, but extended to the Novatians also, inasmuch as he knew that they maintained the doctrine of the homoousion; they therefore with the others underwent the most intolerable sufferings, but their bishop, Angelius by name, effected his escape by flight. Many persons eminent for their piety were seized and tortured, because they refused to communicate with him: and after the torture, they forcibly constrained the men to be partakers of the holy mysteries, their mouths being forced open with a piece of wood, and then the consecrated elements thrust into them. Those who were so treated regarded this as a punishment far more grievous than all others. Moreover they laid hold of women and children, and compelled them to be initiated [by baptism]; and if any one resisted or otherwise spoke against it, stripes immediately followed, and after the stripes, bonds and imprisonment, and other violent measures. I shall here relate an instance or two whereby the reader may form some idea of the extent of the harshness and cruelty exercised by Macedonius and those who were then in power. They first pressed in a box, and then sawed off, the breasts of such women as were unwilling to communicate with them. The same parts of the persons. of other women they burnt partly with iron, and partly with eggs intensely heated in the fire. This mode of torture which was unknown even among the heathen, was invented by those who professed to be Christians. These facts were related to me by the aged Auxanon, the presbyter in the Novatian church of whom I spoke in the first book. He said also that he had himself endured not a few severities from the Arians, prior to his reaching the dignity of presbyter; having been thrown into prison and beaten with many stripes, together with Alexander the Paphlagonian, his companion in the monastic life. He added that he had himself been able to sustain these tortures, but that Alexander died in prison from the effects of their infliction. He is now buried on the right of those sailing into the bay of Constantinople which is called Ceras, close by the rivers, where there is a church of the Novatians named after Alexander. Moreover the Arians, at the instigation of Macedonius, demolished with many other churches in various cities, that of the Novatians at Constantinople near Pelargus. Why I particularly mention this church, will be seen from the extraordinary circumstances connected with it, as testified by the same aged Auxanon. The emperor's edict and the violence of Macedonius had doomed to destruction the churches of those who maintained the doctrine of consubstantiality; the decree and violence reached this church, and those also who were charged with the execution of the mandate were at hand to carry it into effect. I cannot but admire the zeal displayed by the Novatians on this occasion, as well as the sympathy they experienced from those whom the Arians at that time ejected, but who are now in peaceful possession of their churches. For when the emissaries of their enemies were urgent to accomplish its destruction, an immense multitude of Novatians, aided by numbers of others who held similar sentiments, having assembled around this devoted church, pulled it down, and conveyed the materials of it to another place: this place stands opposite the city, and is called Sycæ, and forms the thirteenth ward of the town of Constantinople. This removal was effected in a very short time, from the extraordinary ardor of the numerous persons engaged in it: one carried tiles, another stones, a third timber; some loading themselves with one thing, and some with another. Even women and children assisted in the work, regarding it as the realization of their best wishes, and esteeming it the greatest honor to be accounted the faithful guardians of things consecrated to God. In this way at that time was the church of the Novatians transported to Sycæ. Long afterwards when Constantius was dead, the emperor Julian ordered its former site to be restored, and permitted them to rebuild it there. The people therefore, as before, having carried back the materials, reared the church in its former position; and from this circumstance, and its great improvement in structure and ornament, they not inappropriately called it Anastasia. The church as we before said was restored afterwards in the reign of Julian. But at that time both the Catholics and the Novatians were alike subjected to persecution: for the former abominated offering their devotions in those churches in which the Arians assembled, but frequented the other three — for this is the number of the churches which the Novatians have in the city— and engaged in divine service with them. Indeed they would have been wholly united, had not the Novatians refused from regard to their ancient precepts. In other respects however, they mutually maintained such a degree of cordiality and affection, as to be ready to lay down their lives for one another: both parties were therefore persecuted indiscriminately, not only at Constantinople, but also in other provinces and cities. At Cyzicus, Eleusius, the bishop of that place, perpetrated the same kind of enormities against the Christians there, as Macedonius had done elsewhere, harassing and putting them to flight in all directions and [among other things] he completely demolished the church of the Novatians at Cyzicus. But Macedonius consummated his wickedness in the following manner. Hearing that there was a great number of the Novatian sect in the province of Paphlagonia, and especially at Mantinium, and perceiving that such a numerous body could not be driven from their homes by ecclesiastics alone, he caused, by the emperor's permission, four companies of soldiers to be sent into Paphlagonia, that through dread of the military they might receive the Arian opinion. But those who inhabited Mantinium, animated to desperation by zeal for their religion, armed themselves with long reap-hooks, hatchets, and whatever weapon came to hand, and went forth to meet the troops; on which a conflict ensuing, many indeed of the Paphlagonians were slain, but nearly all the soldiers were destroyed. I learned these things from a Paphlagonian peasant who said that he was present at the engagement; and many others of that province corroborate this account. Such were the exploits of Macedonius on behalf of Christianity, consisting of murders, battles, incarcerations, and civil wars: proceedings which rendered him odious not only to the objects of his persecution, but even to his own party. He became obnoxious also to the emperor on these accounts, and particularly so from the circumstance I am about to relate. The church where the coffin lay that contained the relics of the emperor Constantine threatened to fall. On this account those that entered, as well as those who were accustomed to remain there for devotional purposes, were in much fear. Macedonius, therefore, wished to remove the emperor's remains, lest the coffin should be injured by the ruins. The populace getting intelligence of this, endeavored to prevent it, insisting 'that the emperor's bones should not be disturbed, as such a disinterment would be equivalent, to their being dug up': many however affirmed that its removal could not possibly injure the dead body, and thus two parties were formed on this question; such as held the doctrine of consubstantiality joining with those who opposed it on the ground of its impiety. Macedonius, in total disregard of these prejudices, caused the emperor's remains to be transported to the church where those of the martyr Acacius lay. Whereupon a vast multitude rushed toward that edifice in two hostile divisions, which attacked one another with great fury, and great loss of life was occasioned, so that the churchyard was covered with gore, and the well also which was in it overflowed with blood, which ran into the adjacent portico, and thence even into the very street. When the emperor was informed of this unfortunate occurrence, he was highly incensed against Macedonius, both on account of the slaughter which he had occasioned, and because he had dared to move his father's body without consulting him. Having therefore left the Cæsar Julian to take care of the western parts, he himself set out for the east. How Macedonius was a short time afterwards deposed, and thus suffered a most inadequate punishment for his infamous crimes, I shall hereafter relate.
But I must now give an account of the other Synod, which the emperor's edict had convoked in the east, as a rival to that of Ariminum. It was at first determined that the bishops should assemble at Nicomedia in Bithynia; but a great earthquake having nearly destroyed that city, prevented their being convened there. This happened in the consulate of Tatian and Cerealis, on the 28th day of August. They were therefore planning to transfer the council to the neighboring city of Nicæa: but this plan was again altered, as it seemed more convenient to meet at Tarsus in Cilicia. Being dissatisfied with this arrangement also, they at last assembled themselves at Seleucia, surnamed Aspera, a city of Isauria. This took place in the same year [in which the council of Ariminum was held], under the consulate of Eusebius and Hypatius, the number of those convened being about 160. There was present on this occasion Leonas, an officer of distinction attached to the imperial household, before whom the emperor's edict had enjoined that the discussion respecting the faith should be entered into. Lauricius also, the commander-in-chief of the troops in Isauria, was ordered to be there, to serve the bishops in such things as they might require. In the presence of these personages therefore, the bishops were there convened on the 27th of the month of September, and immediately began a discussion on the basis of the public records, shorthand writers being present to write down what each might say. Those who desire to learn the particulars of the several speeches, will find copious details of them in the collection of Sabinus; but we shall only notice the more important heads. On the first day of their being convened, Leonas ordered each one to propose what he thought fit: but those present said that no question ought to be agitated in the absence of those prelates who had not yet arrived; for Macedonius, bishop of Constantinople, Basil of Ancyra, and some others who were apprehensive of an impeachment for their misconduct, had not made their appearance. Macedonius pleaded indisposition, and failed to attend; Patrophilus said he had some trouble with his eyes, and that on this account it was needful for him to remain in the suburbs of Seleucia; and the rest offered various pretexts to account for their absence. When, however, Leonas declared that the subjects which they had met to consider must be entered on, notwithstanding the absence of these persons, the bishops replied that they could not proceed to the discussion of any question, until the life and conduct of the parties accused had been investigated: for Cyril of Jerusalem, Eustathius of Sebastia in Armenia, and some others, had been charged with misconduct on various grounds long before. A sharp contest arose in consequence of this demur; some affirming that cognizance ought first to be taken of all such accusations, and others denying that anything whatever should have precedence of matters of faith. The emperor's orders contributed not a little to augment this dispute, inasmuch as letters of his were produced urging now this and now that as necessary to be considered first. The dispute having arisen on this subject, a schism was thus made, and the Seleucian council was divided into two factions, one of which was headed by Acacius of Cæsarea in Palestine, George of Alexandria, Uranius of Tyre, and Eudoxius of Antioch, who were supported by only about thirty-two other bishops. Of the opposite party, which was by far the more numerous, the principal were George of Laodicea in Syria, Sophronius of Pompeiopolis in Paphlagonia, and Eleusius of Cyzicus. It being determined by the majority to examine doctrinal matters first, the party of Acacius openly opposed the Nicene Creed, and wished to introduce another instead of it. The other faction, which was considerably more numerous, concurred in all the decisions of the council of Nicæa, but criticised its adoption of the term homoousion. Accordingly they debated on this point, much being said on each side, until late in the evening, when Silvanus, who presided over the church at Tarsus, insisted with much vehemence of manner, 'that there was no need of a new exposition of the faith; but that it was their duty rather to confirm that which was published at Antioch, at the consecration of the church in that place.' On this declaration, Acacius and his partisans privately withdrew from the council; while the others, producing the creed composed at Antioch, read it, and then separated for that day. Assembling in the church of Seleucia on the day following, after having closed the doors, they again read the same creed, and ratified it by their signatures. At this time the readers and deacons present signed on behalf of certain absent bishops, who had intimated their acquiescence in its form.
Acacius and his adherents criticised what was done: because, that is to say, they closed the church doors and thus affixed their signatures; declaring that 'all such secret transactions were justly to be suspected, and had no validity whatever.' These objections he made because he was anxious to bring forward another exposition of the faith drawn up by himself, which he had already submitted to the governors Leonas and Lauricius, and was now intent on getting it alone confirmed and established, instead of that which had been subscribed. The second day was thus occupied with nothing else but exertions on his part to effect this object. On the third day Leonas endeavored to produce an amicable meeting of both parties; Macedonius of Constantinople, and also Basil of Ancyra, having arrived during its course. But when the Acacians found that both the parties had come to the same position, they refused to meet; saying that not only those who had before been deposed, but also such as were at present under any accusation, ought to be excluded from the assembly.' And as after much cavilling on both sides, this opinion prevailed; those who lay under any charge went out of the council, and the party of Acacius entered in their places. Leonas then said that a document had been put into his hand by Acacius, to which he desired to call their attention: but he did not state that it was the drought of a creed, which in some particulars covertly, and in others unequivocally contradicted the former. When those present became silent, thinking that the document contained something else besides an exposition of a creed, the following creed composed by Acacius, together with its preamble, was read.
'We having yesterday assembled by the emperor's command at Seleucia, a city of Isauria, on the 27th day of September, exerted ourselves to the utmost, with all moderation, to preserve the peace of the church, and to determine doctrinal questions on prophetic and evangelical authority, so as to sanction nothing in the ecclesiastic confession of faith at variance with the sacred Scriptures, as our Emperor Constantius most beloved of God has ordered. But inasmuch as certain individuals in the Synod have acted injuriously toward several of us, preventing some from expressing their sentiments, and excluding others from the council against their wills; and at the same time have introduced such as have been deposed, and persons who were ordained contrary to the ecclesiastical canon, so that the Synod has presented a scene of tumult and disorder, of which the most illustrious Leonas, the Comes, and the most eminent Lauricius, governor of the province, have been eye-witnesses, we are therefore under the necessity of making this declaration. That we do not repudiate the faith which was ratified at the consecration of the church at Antioch; for we give it our decided preference, because it received the concurrence of our fathers who were assembled there to consider some controverted points. Since, however, the terms homoousion and homoiousion have in time past troubled the minds of many, and still continue to disquiet them; and moreover that a new term has recently been coined by some who assert the anomoion of the Son to the Father: we reject the first two, as expressions which are not found in the Scriptures; but we utterly anathematize the last, and regard such as countenance its use, as alienated from the church. We distinctly acknowledge the homoion of the Son to the Father, in accordance with what the apostle has declared concerning him, Colossians 1:15
Who is the image of the invisible God.
'We confess then, and believe in one God the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and of things visible and invisible. We believe also in his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who was begotten of him without passion before all ages, God the Word, the only-begotten of God, the Light, the Life, the Truth, the Wisdom: through whom all things were made which are in the heavens and upon the earth, whether visible or invisible. We believe that he took flesh of the holy Virgin Mary, at the end of the ages, in order to abolish sin; that he was made man, suffered for our sin, and rose again, and was taken up into the heavens, to sit at the right hand of the Father, whence he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. We believe also in the Holy Spirit, whom our Lord and Saviour has denominated the Comforter, and whom he sent to his disciples after his departure, according to his promise: by whom also he sanctifies all believers in the church, who are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Those who preach anything contrary to this creed, we regard as aliens from the catholic church.'
This was the declaration of faith proposed by Acacius, and subscribed by himself and as many as adhered to his opinion, the number of whom we have already given. When this had been read, Sophronius bishop of Pompeiopolis in Paphlagonia, thus expressed himself: 'If to express a separate opinion day after day, be received as the exposition of the faith, we shall never arrive at any accurate understanding of the truth.' These were the words of Sophronius. And I firmly believe, that if the predecessors of these prelates, as well as their successors, had entertained similar sentiments in reference to the Nicene creed, all polemical debates would have been avoided; nor would the churches have been agitated by such violent and irrational disturbances. However let those judge who are capable of understanding how these things are. At that time after many remarks on all sides had been made both in reference to this doctrinal statement, and in relation to the parties accused, the assembly was dissolved. On the fourth day they all again met in the same place, and resumed their proceedings in the same contentious spirit as before. On this occasion Acacius expressed himself in these words: 'Since the Nicene creed has been altered not once only, but frequently, there is no hindrance to our publishing another at this time.' To which Eleusius bishop of Cyzicus, replied: 'The Synod is at present convened not to learn what it had no previous knowledge of, nor to receive a creed which it had not assented to before, but to confirm the faith of the fathers, from which it should never recede, either in life or death.' Thus Eleusius opposing Acacius spoke meaning by 'the faith of the fathers,' that creed which had been promulgated at Antioch. But surely he too might have been fairly answered in this way: 'How is it O Eleusius, that you call those convened at Antioch
the fathers, seeing that you do not recognize those who were their fathers? The framers of the Nicene creed, by whom the homoousian faith was acknowledged, have a far higher claim to the title of
the fathers; both as having the priority in point of time, and also because those assembled at Antioch were by them invested with the sacerdotal office. Now if those at Antioch have disowned their own fathers, those who follow them are unconsciously following parricides. Besides how can they have received a legitimate ordination from those whose faith they pronounce unsound and impious? If those, however, who constituted the Nicene Synod had not the Holy Spirit which is imparted by the imposition of hands, those at Antioch have not duly received the priesthood: for how could they have received it from those who had not the power of conferring it?' Such considerations as these might have been submitted to Eleusius in reply to his objections. But they then proceeded to another question, connected with the assertion made by Acacius in his exposition of the faith, 'that the Son was like the Father'; enquiring of one another in what this resemblance consisted. The Acacian party affirmed that the Son was like the Father as it respected his will only, and not his 'substance' or 'essence'; but the rest maintained that the likeness extended to both essence and will. In altercations on this point, the whole day was consumed; and Acacius, being confuted by his own published works, in which he had asserted that 'the Son is in all things like the Father,' his opponents asked him 'how do you now deny the likeness of the Son to the Father as to his Acacian faction conceiving this decision to be advantageous to themselves, also refused to meet with the others. The adverse party left alone met in the church and requested the attendance of those who followed Acacius, that cognizance might be taken of the case of Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem: for that prelate had been accused long before, on what grounds however I am unable to state. He had even been deposed, because owing to fear, he had not made his appearance during two whole years, after having been repeatedly summoned in order that the charges against him might be investigated. Nevertheless, when he was deposed, he sent a written notification to those who had condemned him, that he should appeal to a higher jurisdiction: and to this appeal the emperor Constantius gave his sanction. Cyril was thus the first and indeed only clergyman who ventured to break through ecclesiastical usage, by becoming an appellant, in the way commonly done in the secular courts of judicature: and he was now present at Seleucia, ready to be put upon his trial; on this account the other bishops invited the Acacian party to take their places in the assembly, that in a general council a definite judgment might be pronounced on the case of those who were arraigned: for they cited others also charged with various misdemeanors to appear before them at the same time, who to protect themselves had sought refuge among the partisans of Acacius. When therefore that faction persisted in their refusal to meet, after being repeatedly summoned, the bishops deposed Acacius himself, together with George of Alexandria, Uranius of Tyre, Theodulus of Chæretapi in Phrygia, Theodosius of Philadelphia in Lydia, Evagrius of the island of Mytilene, Leontius of Tripolis in Lydia, and Eudoxius who had formerly been bishop of Germanica, but had afterwards insinuated himself into the bishopric of Antioch in Syria. They also deposed Patrophilus for contumacy, in not having presented himself to answer a charge preferred against him by a presbyter named Dorotheus. These they deposed: they also excommunicated Asterius, Eusebius, Abgarus, Basilicus, Phœbus, Fidelis, Eutychius, Magnus, and Eustathius; determining that they should not be restored to communion, until they made such a defense as would clear them from the imputations under which they lay. This being done, they addressed explanatory letters to each of the churches whose bishops had been deposed. Anianus was then constituted bishop of Antioch instead of Eudoxius: but the Acacians having soon after apprehended him, he was delivered into the hands of Leonas and Lauricius, by whom he was sent into exile. The bishops who had ordained him being incensed on this account, lodged protests against the Acacian party with Leonas and Lauricius, in which they openly charged them with having violated the decisions of the Synod. Finding that no redress could be obtained by this means, they went to Constantinople to lay the whole matter before the emperor.
And now the emperor returned from the West and appointed a prefect over Constantinople, Honoratus by name, having abolished the office of proconsul. But the Acacians being beforehand with the bishops, calumniated them to the emperor, persuading him not to admit the creed which they had proposed. This so annoyed the emperor that he resolved to disperse them; he therefore published an edict, commanding that such of them as were subject to fill certain public offices should be no longer exempted from the performance of the duties attached to them. For several of them were liable to be called on to occupy various official departments, connected both with the city magistracy, and in subordination to the presidents and governors of provinces. While these were thus harassed the partisans of Acacius remained for a considerable time at Constantinople and held another Synod. Sending for the bishops at Bithynia, about fifty assembled on this occasion, among whom was Maris, bishop of Chalcedon: these confirmed the creed read at Ariminum to which the names of the consuls had been prefixed. It would have been unnecessary to repeat it here, had there not been some additions made to it; but since that was done, it may be desirable to transcribe it in its new form.
'We believe in one God the Father Almighty, of whom are all things. And in the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of God before all ages, and before every beginning; through whom all things visible and invisible were made: who is the only-begotten born of the Father, the only of the only, God of God, like to the Father who begot him, according to the Scriptures, and whose generation no one knows but the Father only that begot him. We know that this only-begotten Son of God, as sent of the Father, came down from the heavens, as it is written, for the destruction of sin and death: and that he was born of the Holy Spirit, and of the Virgin Mary according to the flesh, as it is written, and conversed with his disciples; and that after every dispensation had been fulfilled according to his Father's will, he was crucified and died, and was buried and descended into the lower parts of the earth, at whose presence hades itself trembled: who also arose from the dead on the third day, again conversed with his disciples, and after the completion of forty days was taken up into the heavens, and sits at the right hand of the Father, whence he will come in the last day, the day of the resurrection, in his Father's glory, to requite every one accord-to his works. [We believe] also in the Holy Spirit, whom he himself the only-begotten of God, Christ our Lord and God, promised to send to mankind as the Comforter, according as it is written, John 15:26
the Spirit of truth; whom he sent to them after he was received into the heavens. But since the term ousia [substance or essence], which was used by the fathers in a very simple and intelligible sense, but not being understood by the people, has been a cause of offense, we have thought proper to reject it, as it is not contained even in the sacred writings; and that no mention of it should be made in future, inasmuch as the holy Scriptures have nowhere mentioned the substance of the Father and of the Son. Nor ought the
subsistence of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit to be even named. But we affirm that the Son is like the Father, in such a manner as the sacred Scriptures declare and teach. Let therefore all heresies which have been already condemned, or may have arisen of late, which are opposed to this exposition of the faith, be anathema.'
These things were recognized at that time at Constantinople. And now as we have at length wound our way through the labyrinth of all the various forms of faith, let us reckon the number of them. After that which was promulgated at Nicæa, two others were proposed at Antioch at the dedication of the church there. A third was presented to the Emperor in Gaul by Narcissus and those who accompanied him. The fourth was sent by Eudoxius into Italy. There were three forms of the creed published at Sirmium, one of which having the consuls' names prefixed was read at Ariminum. The Acacian party produced an eighth at Seleucia. The last was that of Constantinople, containing the prohibitory clause respecting the mention of 'substance' or 'subsistence' in relation to God. To this creed Ulfilas bishop of the Goths gave his assent, although he had previously adhered to that of Nicæa; for he was a disciple of Theophilus bishop of the Goths, who was present at the Nicene council, and subscribed what was there determined. Let this suffice on these subjects.
Acacius, Eudoxius, and those at Constantinople who took part with them, became exceedingly anxious that they also on their side might depose some of the opposite party. Now it should be observed that neither of the factions were influenced by religious considerations in making depositions, but by other motives: for although they did not agree respecting the faith, yet the ground of their reciprocal depositions was not error in doctrine. The Acacian party therefore availing themselves of the emperor's indignation against others, and especially against Macedonius, which he was cherishing and anxious to vent, in the first place deposed Macedonius, both on account of his having occasioned so much slaughter, and also because he had admitted to communion a deacon who had been found guilty of fornication. They then depose Eleusius bishop of Cyzicus, for having baptized, and afterwards invested with the diaconate, a priest of Hercules at Tyre named Heraclius, who was known to have practiced magic arts. A like sentence was pronounced against Basil, or Basilas,— as he was also called—who had been constituted bishop of Ancyra instead of Marcellus: the causes assigned for this condemnation were, that he had unjustly imprisoned a certain individual, loaded him with chains, and put him to the torture; that he had traduced some persons; and that he had disturbed the churches of Africa by his epistles. Dracontius was also deposed, because he had left the Galatian church for that of Pergamos. Moreover they deposed, on various pretenses, Neonas bishop of Seleucia, the city in which the Synod had been convened, Sophronius of Pompeiopolis in Paphlagonia, Elpidius of Satala, in Macedonia, and Cyril of Jerusalem, and others for various reasons.
But Eustathius bishop of Sebastia in Armenia was not even permitted to make his defense; because he had been long before deposed by Eulalius, his own father, who was bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, for dressing in a style unbecoming the sacerdotal office. Let it be noted that Meletius was appointed his successor, of whom we shall hereafter speak. Eustathius indeed was subsequently condemned by a Synod convened on his account at Gangra in Paphlagonia; he having, after his deposition by the council at Cæsarea, done many things repugnant to the ecclesiastical canons. For he had 'forbidden marriage,' and maintained that meats were to be abstained from: he even separated many from their wives, and persuaded those who disliked to assemble in the churches to commune at home. Under the pretext of piety, he also seduced servants from their masters. He himself wore the habit of a philosopher, and induced his followers to adopt a new and extraordinary garb, directing that the hair of women should be cropped. He permitted the prescribed fasts to be neglected, but recommended fasting on Sundays. In short, he forbade prayers to be offered in the houses of married persons: and declared that both the benediction and the communion of a presbyter who continued to live with a wife whom he might have lawfully married, while still a layman, ought to be shunned as an abomination. For doing and teaching these things and many others of a similar nature, a Synod convened, as we have said, at Gangra in Paphlagonia deposed him, and anathematized his opinions. This, however, was done afterwards. But on Macedonius being ejected from the see of Constantinople, Eudoxius, who now looked upon the see of Antioch as secondary in importance, was promoted to the vacant bishopric; being consecrated by the Acacians, who in this instance cared not to consider that it was inconsistent with their former proceedings. For they who had deposed Dracontius because of his translation from Galatia to Pergamos, were clearly acting in contrariety to their own principles and decisions, in ordaining Eudoxius, who then made a second change. After this they sent their own exposition of the faith, in its corrected and supplementary form, to Arminium, ordering that all those who refused to sign it should be exiled on the authority of the emperor's edict. They also informed such other prelates in the East as coincided with them in opinion of what they had done; and more especially Patrophilus bishop of Scythopolis, who on leaving Seleucia had proceeded directly to his own city. Eudoxius having been constituted bishop of the imperial city, the great church named Sophia was at that time consecrated, in the tenth consulate of Constantius, and the third of Julian Cæsar, on the 15th day of February. It was while Eudoxius occupied this see, that he first uttered that sentence which is still everywhere current, 'The Father is impious, the Son is pious.' When the people seemed startled by this expression, and a disturbance began to be made, 'Be not troubled,' said he, 'on account of what I have just said: for the Father is impious, because he worships no person; but the Son is pious because he worships the Father.' Eudoxius having said this, the tumult was appeased, and great laughter was excited in the church: and this saying of his continues to be a jest, even in the present day. The heresiarchs indeed frequently devised such subtle phrases as these, and by them rent the church asunder. Thus was the Synod at Constantinople terminated.
It becomes us now to speak of Meletius, who, as we have recently observed, was created bishop of Sebastia in Armenia, after the deposition of Eustathius; from Sebastia he was transferred to Berœa, a city of Syria. Being present at the Synod of Seleucia, he subscribed the creed set forth there by Acacius, and immediately returned thence to Berœa. When the convention of the Synod at Constantinople was held, the people of Antioch finding that Eudoxius, captivated by the magnificence of the see of Constantinople, had contemned their church, they sent for Meletius, and invested him with the bishopric of the church at Antioch. Now he at first avoided all doctrinal questions, confining his discourses to moral subjects; but subsequently he expounded to his auditors the Nicene creed, and asserted the doctrine of the homoousion. The emperor being informed of this, ordered that he should be sent into exile; and caused Euzoïus, who had before been deposed together with Arius, to be installed bishop of Antioch in his stead. Such, however, as were attached to Meletius, separated themselves from the Arian congregation, and held their assemblies apart: nevertheless, those who originally embraced the homoousian opinion would not communicate with them, because Meletius had been ordained by the Arians, and his adherents had been baptized by them. Thus was the Antiochian church divided, even in regard to those whose views on matters of faith exactly corresponded. Meanwhile the emperor getting intelligence that the Persians were preparing to undertake another war against the Romans, repaired in great haste to Antioch.
Macedonius on being ejected from Constantinople, bore his condemnation ill and became restless; he therefore associated himself with the other faction that had deposed Acacius and his party at Seleucia, and sent a deputation to Sophronius and Eleusius, to encourage them to adhere to that creed which was first promulgated at Antioch, and afterwards confirmed at Seleucia, proposing to give it the counterfeit name of the ' homoiousian' creed. By this means he drew around him a great number of adherents, who from him are still denominated 'Macedonians.' And although such as dissented from the Acacians at the Seleucian Synod had not previously used the term homoiousios, yet from that period they distinctly asserted it. There was, however, a popular report that this term did not originate with Macedonius, but was the invention rather of Marathonius, who a little before had been set over the church at Nicomedia; on which account the maintainers of this doctrine were also called 'Marathonians.' To this party Eustathius joined himself, who for the reasons before stated had been ejected from the church at Sebastia. But when Macedonius began to deny the Divinity of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, Eustathius said: 'I can neither admit that the Holy Spirit is God, nor can I dare affirm him to be a creature.' For this reason those who hold the homoousion of the Son call these heretics ' Pneumatomachi.' By what means these Macedonians became so numerous in the Hellespont, I shall state in its proper place. The Acacians meanwhile became extremely anxious that another Synod should be convened at Antioch, in consequence of having changed their mind respecting their former assertion of the likeness 'in all things' of the Son to the Father. A small number of them therefore assembled in the following consulate which was that of Taurus and Florentius, at Antioch in Syria, where the emperor was at that time residing, Euzoïus being bishop. A discussion was then renewed on some of those points which they had previously determined, in the course of which they declared that the term ' homoios' ought to be erased from the form of faith which had been published both at Ariminum and Constantinople; and they no longer concealed but openly declared that the Son was altogether unlike the Father, not merely in relation to his essence, but even as it respected his will; asserting boldly also, as Arius had already done, that he was made of nothing. Those in that city who favored the heresy of Aëtius, gave their assent to this opinion; from which circumstance in addition to the general appellation of Arians, they were also termed 'Anomœans,' and 'Exucontians,' by those at Antioch who embraced the homoousian, who nevertheless were at that time divided among themselves on account of Meletius, as I have before observed. Being therefore questioned by them, how they dared to affirm that the Son is unlike the Father, and has his existence from nothing, after having acknowledged him 'God of God?' in their former creed? They endeavored to elude this objection by such fallacious subterfuges as these. 'The expression,
God of God,' said they, 'is to be understood in the same sense as the words of the apostle, 1 Corinthians 11:12
but all things of God. Wherefore the Son is of God, as being one of these all things: and it is for this reason the words
according to the Scriptures are added in the draught of the creed.' The author of this sophism was George bishop of Laodicea, who being unskilled in such phrases, was ignorant of the manner in which Origen had formerly explained these peculiar expressions of the apostle, having thoroughly investigated the matter. But notwithstanding these evasive cavilings, they were unable to bear the reproach and contumely they had drawn upon themselves, and fell back upon the creed which they had before put forth at Constantinople; and so each one retired to his own district. George returning to Alexandria, resumed his authority over the churches there, Athanasius still not having made his appearance. Those in that city who were opposed to his sentiments he persecuted; and conducting himself with great severity and cruelty, he rendered himself extremely odious to the people. At Jerusalem Arrenius was placed over the church instead of Cyril: we may also remark that Heraclius was ordained bishop there after him, and after him Hilary. At length, however, Cyril returned to Jerusalem, and was again invested with the presidency over the church there. About the same time another heresy sprang up, which arose from the following circumstance.
There were two men of the same name at Laodicea in Syria, a father and son: their name was Apollinaris; the former of them was a presbyter, and the latter a reader in that church. Both taught Greek literature, the father grammar, and the son rhetoric. The father was a native of Alexandria, and at first taught at Berytus, but afterwards removed to Laodicea, where he married, and the younger Apollinaris was born. They were contemporaries of Epiphanius the sophist, and being true friends they became intimate with him; but Theodotus bishop of Laodicea, fearing that such communication should pervert their principles, and lead them into paganism, forbade their associating with him: they, however, paid but little attention to this prohibition, their familiarity with Epiphanius being still continued. George, the successor of Theodotus, also endeavored to prevent their conversing with Epiphanius; but not being able in any way to persuade them on this point, he excommunicated them. The younger Apollinaris regarding this severe procedure as an act of injustice, and relying on the resources of his rhetorical sophistry, originated a new heresy, which was named after its inventor, and still has many supporters. Nevertheless some affirm that it was not for the reason above assigned that they dissented from George, but because they saw the unsettledness and inconsistency of his profession of faith; since he sometimes maintained that the Son is like the Father, in accordance with what had been determined in the Synod at Seleucia, and at other times countenanced the Arian view. They therefore made this a pretext for separation from him: but as no one followed their example, they introduced a new form of doctrine, and at first they asserted that in the economy of the incarnation, God the Word assumed a human body without a soul. Afterwards, as if changing mind, they retracted, admitting that he took a soul indeed, but that it was an irrational one, God the Word himself being in the place of a mind. Those who followed them and bear their name at this day affirm that this is their only point of distinction [from the Catholics]; for they recognize the consubstantiality of the persons in the Trinity. But we will make further mention of the two Apollinares in the proper place.
While the Emperor Constantius continued his residence at Antioch, Julian Cæsar engaged with an immense army of barbarians in the Gauls, and obtaining the victory over them, he became extremely popular among the soldiery and was proclaimed emperor by them. When this was made known, the Emperor Constantius was affected most painfully; he was therefore baptized by Euzoïus, and immediately prepared to undertake an expedition against Julian. On arriving at the frontiers of Cappadocia and Cilicia, his excessive agitation of mind produced apoplexy, which terminated his life at Mopsucrene, in the consulate of Taurus and Florentius, on the 3d of November. This was in the first year of the 285th Olympiad. Constantius had lived forty-five years, having reigned thirty-eight years; thirteen of which he was his father's colleague in the empire, and after his father's death for twenty-five years [sole emperor], the history of which latter period is contained in this book.
Source. Translated by A.C. Zenos. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 2. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1890.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/26012.htm>.
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