History of the Arians/Part V

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History of the Arians by Athanasius
- Part V "Persecution and Lapse of Liberius"

35[edit]

Persecution and Lapse of Liberius.

Now it had been better if from the first Constantius had never become connected with this heresy at all; or being connected with it, if he had not yielded so much to those impious men; or having yielded to them, if he had stood by them only thus far, so that judgment might come upon them all for these atrocities alone. But as it would seem, like madmen, having fixed themselves in the bonds of impiety, they are drawing down upon their own heads a more severe judgment. Thus from the first[1] they spared not even Liberius, Bishop of Rome, but extended[2] their fury even to those parts; they respected not his bishopric, because it was an Apostolical throne; they felt no reverence for Rome, because she is the Metropolis of Romania;[3] they remembered not that formerly in their letters they had spoken of her Bishops as Apostolical men. But confounding all things together, they at once forgot everything, and cared only to shew their zeal in behalf of impiety. When they perceived that he was an orthodox man and hated the Arian heresy, and earnestly endeavoured to persuade all persons to renounce and withdraw from it, these impious men reasoned thus with themselves: `If we can persuade Liberius, we shall soon prevail over all.' Accordingly they accused him falsely before the Emperor; and he, expecting easily to draw over all men to his side by means of Liberius, writes to him, and sends a certain eunuch called Eusebius with letters and offerings, to cajole him with the presents, and to threaten him with the letters. The eunuch accordingly went to Rome, and first proposed to Liberius to subscribe against Athanasius, and to hold communion with the Arians, saying, `The Emperor wishes it, and commands you to do so.' And then shewing him the offerings, he took him by the hand, and again besought him saying, `Obey the Emperor, and receive these.'

Notes[edit]

  1. On the suneisaktai, vid. [D. C. A. 1939 sqq. Bright, Notes on Canons, p. 839], Mosheim de Rebus Ante Const. p. 599, Routh, Reliqu. Sacr. t. 2. p. 606. t. 3. p. 445. Basnag. Diss. vii. 19. in Ann. Eccles. t. 2. Muratori, Anecdot. Graec. p. 218. Dodwell, Dissert. Cyrian. iii. Bevereg. in Can. Nic. 3. Suicer. Thesaur. in voc. &c. &c. It is conjectured by Beveridge, Dodwell, Van Espen, &c., that Leontius gave occasion to the first Canon of the Nicene Council, peri twn tolmwntwn eautouj ektemnein.
  2. Can. Ap. 17. but vid. Morin. de Poen. p. 185.
  3. After Sardica, vid. Apol. Ar. 50, note 10.