Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Eusebius (24), bp. of Caesarea

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181287Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature — Eusebius (24), bp. of Caesarea

Eusebius (24), bp. of Caesarea in Cappadocia, by whom Basil the Great was ordained to the presbyterate. Eusebius was a layman, and unbaptized at the time of his elevation to the episcopate, A.D. 362. On the death of Dianius, the church of Caesarea was divided into two nearly equal factions, and the choice of a layman universally known and respected was the readiest way out of the dilemma. Military force had to be employed to overcome his reluctance and to compel the prelates to consecrate. No sooner were they free than the bishops endeavoured to declare their consecration of Eusebius void. But the counsels of the elder Gregory of Nazianzus prevailed (Greg. Naz. Orat. xix. 36, pp. 308, 309). Eusebius proved a very respectable prelate, but quite unequal to the circumstances of severe trial in which he soon found himself. One of the earliest acts of his episcopate was to ordain Basil priest. A coldness grew up between Eusebius and Basil, leading to Basil's three years' retirement to Pontus. [Basilius of Caesarea.] (Greg Naz. Orat. xx. §§ 51-53; Ep. 19, 20, 169, 170.) In 366 Basil returned to Caesarea. Each had learnt wisdom from the past (Greg. Naz. Orat. xx. §§ 57-59), and harmonious relations existed unbroken to the death of Eusebius, a.d. 370.

Fleury states that Eusebius is reckoned by some as a martyr (Fleury, xv. 13, 14; xvi. 9, 14, 17), but Usuard probably confounds Eusebius of Cappadocia with Eusebius the historian. See Papebrochius in AA. SS. Boll. Jun. iv. 75; and on the other side, Tillem. Mém. vii. 39. [Eusebius of Caesarea.]