Ecclesiastical history (Philostorgius)/Epitome of book IV

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Ecclesiastical history by Philostorgius
- Epitome of book IV

Chapter 1[edit]

Constantius was much enraged when he heard what had happened to Montius and Domitian, and summoned to his presence Gallus, who immediately obeyed the command, because, although he suspected no good from his sudden summons, yet he feared the chance of a civil war following in the event of his refusal. Constantia, however, went on before him, and endeavoured to obtain an interview with her brother before her husband, and to implore mercy on his behalf. But upon her arrival at Bithynia, her journey and her life were at once broken off by a sudden attack which ended fatally. By this mischance the fears of Gallus were considerably increased, but still he did not depart from his previous resolution, so he went on his way accompanied by Theophilus the Indian. Moreover, upon the arrival of Gallus in Noricum, Barbation is sent from Milan, where Constantius then happened to be, to strip him of his purple robes, and to banish him to an island in Dalmatia. But Theophilus, who chanced to be at hand, would by no means allow the matter to be brought to so ready a decision: for at the time when Gallus was created Caesar, he was himself the mediator of the treaty made between Gallus and Constantius, by which they mutually pledged themselves to friendship, and promised that they would not lay plots against each other; and it was he who all along had kept them at peace. Accordingly, on being informed of this middle position thus held by Theophilus, Constantius ordered him to be sent away into exile, and Gallus to be stripped of his purple and carried in the dress of a private citizen into a certain island, where a military guard was set over him. Moreover, the eunuch Eusebius, who had been elevated to the dignity of a Praepositus, was supported by a party in his attempts to excite the mind of Constantius more and more against Gallus; for they feared that Constantius, either in remembrance of his oath, or moved by the tie of consanguinity, would recall the Caesar from banishment, and that Gallus, as soon as he had escaped that danger, would miserably destroy them all. Accordingly, they fraudulently and treacherously plotted together and sent persons to put Gallus to death. But, before the deed of blood was accomplished, Constantine relented, and sent another party to prevent the bloodshed. But Eusebius persuaded them not to approach the island, and not to show any one the rescript of the emperor forbidding the execution of Gallus before he was actually put to the sword. The matter was carried out in accordance with their designs: and hence it was that Julian, when he afterwards succeeded to the purple, put to death Eusebius and his comrades on account of the iniquitous execution of Gallus.

Chapter 2[edit]

Constantius, moreover, weighing well the weight of the imperial power, and his own inability to support it single-handed, summoned Julian, the brother of Gallus, out of Ionia, and appointed him Caesar, at the same time giving him his sister Helen in marriage; and sent him forthwith into Gaul as governor; for matters were in a very troubled state in those parts.

Chapter 3[edit]

He went however himself to Sirmium, where he settled for some time. At this period he recalled from exile and restored to his citizens Liberius the bishop of Rome, for whose recall the Romans were very clamorous. Philostorgius then goes on to say that this same Liberius, and with him Hosius the bishop [of Cordova], wrote openly against the term "consubstantial," and against Athanasius himself, when a synod had been convened there, and had brought over the aforementioned prelates to its own opinion. But as soon as they had subscribed, adds Philostorgius, Hosius returned to his see of Cordova in Spain and governed the church in that place, while Liberius administered the church of Rome. Felix, who had been consecrated as bishop during the absence of Liberius, voluntarily retired, retaining the dignity of a bishop, though he presided over no local church.

Chapter 4[edit]

Upon the death of Leontius, bishop of Antioch, the friends and partisans of Eudoxius, as Philostorgius relates, translated him from his see of Germanicea, and placed him in the chair of Antioch. This Eudoxius followed the opinions of the Arians, except only in as far as he was led by the writings of Asterius to profess the opinion of those who held that the Son was like in substance to the Father. But the Arians led him to abandon this opinion, and brought him over to believe the persons to be unlike in substance. But Philostorgius says that Eudoxius was gentle and modest in his character, and endued with no small degree of dexterity and cunning, but he vehemently censures him for want of courage. He says also that his father's name was Caesarius, and that he derived his origin from Arabissus, a town of Armenia Minor ; adding at the same time, that though he yielded to the blandishments of women, yet he ended his life by martyrdom, thus blotting out the spots upon his character, and gaining moreover a heavenly crown.

Chapter 5[edit]

Eudoxius, according to Philostorgius, promoted Eunomius to the diaconate. But Eunomius refused to undertake the office of a deacon before he had arrived at an accurate knowledge of the doctrines of that party.

Chapter 6[edit]

When the administration of the church at Antioch was put into the hands of Eudoxius, Philostorgius relates that Basil of Ancyra bore the disappointment with great impatience. For he had himself cast an ambitions eye towards that see, and carried it about fixed in his breast as the one desire of his heart.

Chapter 7[edit]

Constantius, when his wife Eusebia, whom he dearly loved, was afflicted with a disease of the womb, found it necessary to recall Theophilus from exile, for the latter was celebrated for his divine skill in healing diseases. Accordingly Constantius implored his pardon for all the injuries which he had inflicted upon him, and earnestly entreated him to cure his wife. And his request, as Philostorgius testifies, was not made in vain, for as soon as Theophilus had laid his healing hands upon the empress, she was set free from her malady.

Chapter 8[edit]

He says that Basil, having taken with him Eustathius, bishop of Sebaste, and other leaders of the churches, brought charges before the emperor against Aetius and Eudoxius, alleging against them] among other matters, that they had been privy to the conspiracy of Gallus, and actual participators in it. Theophilus too was implicated in the same series of charges. The emperor believed the story of Basil, which was supported by the women, whom Basil had already brought over to his side, and accordingly sentenced Theophilus to exile, and banished him to Heraclea on the Pontus, while he ordered Eudoxius to quit Antioch, and to keep himself within his own house. Afterwards he gave up Aetius and the rest of his party into the power of his calumniators. But Basil had held a disputation concerning the faith in the presence of the emperor. In this disputation he maintained that the Son was like to the Father in all things, but he made no mention of the question of substance, and totally avoided the term. They also endeavoured to get this opinion confirmed by the sentence and signature of the senate. And not long afterwards, as soon as the news of what Basil had done reached Antioch, Eunomius undertakes the ordination of a deacon, and being sent as an ambassador to Constantius to get the decrees rescinded, he was taken prisoner on his road by the followers of Basil, and was banished to Midasus in Phrygia. Aetius, however, fell into the hands of Basil and his party, and was sent into banishment at Pepuza, a small village of the same country: at the same time Eudoxius retired into Armenia, his native country. Other individuals also, to the number of seventy, were condemned by the voice of Basil and his party, and were sent into exile.

Chapter 9[edit]

The victorious party, upon accomplishing the above-mentioned matters, traversed the country in every direction, confirming men everywhere in the Homoiousian belief, that is, in the likeness of substance between the Father and the Son ; and when many flocked over to their opinion, they drew over to their side Macedonius, the bishop of Constantinople, although he had previously been more inclined to the sentiments of Eunomius. Many other bishops also they induced to join their party, being drawn over partly by their speeches and partly by the force which they added to their persuasions.

Chapter 10[edit]

He says that Patrophilus, bishop of Scythopolis, and Narcissus, of Irenopolis, together with some others, came to Singidunum, a city of Maesia, and brought back to Constantius news of what had been fraudulently done by Basil. Constantius was amazed and confounded with grief, and recalled the condemned from exile, ordering at the same time two synods to be convened, one at Rimini, for the bishops of the West, and the other at Nicomedia, to assemble together the bishops of the East, and Libya, and Thrace, in order that the arguments alleged by either side might be diligently weighed and sifted. But the impious Philostorgius asserts that an earthquake put a stop to the holding of the synod at Nicomedia, because the greater part of the bishops there were favourably inclined to the Homoousian creed ; this earthquake, he says, killed Cecropius, bishop of Nicomedia, and fifteen other bishops, who had arrived before the rest, shattering the church in which they were assembled. But the synod of Rimini, at which three hundred bishops were present, entirely rejected the use of the term "substance," but declaring the Son to be like to the Father according to the Scriptures, it confirmed that belief with the signatures of the bishops present.

Chapter 11[edit]

Nicomedia being thus overthrown, as Philostorgius says, by the earthquake and a consequent conflagration and inundation of the sea, a synod was at length convened at Seleucia, Basil and his party having refused to meet at Nicaea, and Eudoxius and Aetius to adopt Tarsus. But the party of Basil, having contrived by their artifices to divide the synod into two factions, and having met together apart from the rest, declared the Son to be like to the Father in substance; they also proceeded to depose such as entertained the opposite opinion, condemned the doctrine which asserts the Persons to be unlike, and finally by themselves ordained Annianus bishop of Antioch. But Eudoxius and Aetius, having subscribed their names to the doctrine of unlikeness, sent their letters about in every direction.

Chapter 12[edit]

But the emperor, on being informed of these matters, ordered the whole of the bishops to assemble at Constantinople. Accordingly they meet together, nearly all the episcopate, as well from the West as from the East and from Libya, Basil and Eustathius being the leaders of those who professed to hold that the Son was like to the Father in substance. These these had a great number of supporters present, and among them a second Basil, who even at that time was only of the order of deacon; he was superior to many in his powers of speech, though from natural timidity and shyness he shrunk from public discussions. But of those who professed their belief in the unlikeness of the Persons, Aetius and Eunomius were the leaders, so far as concerned power and influence, each of them being only of the rank of a deacon. Next to these came the bishops Maris and Eudoxius, who at that time was bishop of Antioch, but was afterwards promoted to the see of Constantinople, as likewise Acacius, bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, who pretended that he was of their party in order to cause pain to Basil, because the latter treated with marked respect Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, whom he had deposed. Acacius, moreover, was bold in discussion, most acute in discerning the point in matters of business, and very eloquent in enforcing his opinion. Hence also the acts of this synod, which are not few in number, were digested and arranged by him. Accordingly, as soon as both parties had come into conflict concerning their respective dogmas, Basil was the patron of those who professed to believe that the Son was like in substance to the Father. But those who asserted the dissimilarity of substance, put forward Aetius and Eunomius as the champions of their cause. Moreover, Basil and his partisans, when they saw Aetius pitted against him as his adversary, in fear of his eloquence, avowed that it was indecorous for bishops to contend with a deacon concerning the doctrines of the faith. But when the leaders of the opposite cause shrunk back from the contest, saying that the matter at stake was not their dignity, but the question of the truth. Basil came forward to the contest, though unwillingly; and, as he writes, he was entirely overcome by his eloquence. So that he not only confessed that the substance of the begotten Son differed from that of the Father who begot him, and was like him in no respect; but also, as Aetius demanded, he confirmed his profession by the subscription of his signature. When the emperor learned these tidings, and still bore in his mind all fresh the calumny of Basil against Aetius, he took advantage of that event to gratify his anger. Accordingly, he ordered both of them to appear in his presence, and asked Basil what were the charges which he brought against Aetius. Basil answered, that he asserted the Son to be unlike the Father in substance. Upon this Aetius said, "I am so far from thinking or asserting that the Son is unlike the Father, that I confess him to be like without any difference." But Constantine, laying hold of that word, "without any difference," and not even enduring to learn in what sense Aetius used that term, gave orders that he should be expelled from the palace. But afterwards, with the assistance of Acacius, he brought about the judicial deposition of Aetius from the episcopate; and it was not only the orthodox who subscribed his degradation, but also those who were of his own opinion; of whom some had changed their former opinion, while others defended, under the name of economy, what they had been unwillingly compelled to do. Further, Constantius, bringing into the midst of the synod the epistle of the Western bishops, ordered it to be confirmed by the subscription of the bishops who were present. Now, in the letter were contained the following words, " That the Son is like to the Father according to the Scriptures." Then also, by the artifice of this same Acacius, who always had one thing hidden in his bosom and another ready upon his tongue, both all the bishops who were present, and also those who hitherto had professed to believe the Persons to be unlike in substance, added their subscriptions.