Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Eusebius (34), bp. of Dorylaeum

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181288Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature — Eusebius (34), bp. of Dorylaeum

Eusebius (34), bp. of Dorylaeum in Phrygia Salutaris, the constant supporter of orthodoxy against Nestorius and Eutyches alike. About Christmas a.d. 428, when Nestorius was asserting his heresy in a sermon at Constantinople, there stood up in church a layman of excellent character, distinguished for erudition and orthodox zeal, who asserted in opposition to Nestorius that the "eternal Word begotten before the ages had submitted also to be born a second time" (i.e. according to the flesh of the Virgin). This bold assertion of the faith caused great excitement in the church. (Cyril. Alex. adv. Nestor. i. 20 in Migne, vol. ix. p. 41 D; Marius Mercator, pars ii. lib. i.; Patr. Lat. xlviii. p. 769 B.) This was certainly, as Theophanes (Chron. p. 76) expressly says, our Eusebius, who thus was the first to oppose the Nestorian heresy (Evagr. Hist. i. 9 in Patr. Gr. lxxxvi. 2445). He was also the first to protest against the heretical utterances of Anastasius, the syncellus of Nestorius (Theophan. Chron. p. 76). He was a "rhetor" (Evagr. l.c.) distinguished in legal practice (Leont. Byzant. cont. Nestor. et Eutych. lib. iii. in Patr. Gk. lxxxvi. 1389) and an "agens in rebus" to the court (Gesta de Nom. Acacii, cap. i. in Galland. Biblioth. x. 667; cf. Tillem. xiv. n. xi. on Cyril of Alex.). Theophanes (l.c.) calls him a σχολαστικὸς of the empress.

After the sermon of St. Proclus against Nestorius, and before the orthodox had separated from the communion of Nestorius, in consequence of the council of Ephesus, there appeared, fixed in a public place, a document exposing the identity of Nestorius's doctrine with that of Paul of Samosata. This document common opinion attributed to Eusebius (Leont. Byzant. u.s.). It begins by conjuring its readers to make its contents known or give a copy of it to all bishops, clergy, and laity in Constantinople. It draws out the parallel between the doctrines of Nestorius and Paul of Samosata, who both deny that the child born of Mary was the Eternal Word; and ends with an anathema on him who denies the identity of the Only begotten of the Father and the child of Mary. Eusebius must have been a priest at the time when St. Cyril wrote his five books against Nestorius (Cyril. Alex. u.s.—so much is implied in the τελῦν ἔτι ἐν λαικοῖς), i.e. c. 430. He was certainly bp. of Dorylaeum in 448. He himself states that he was poor (Labbe, Conc. iv. 221 D.). Common hostility to Nestorius had hitherto united Eusebius and Eutyches; but about this time Eusebius, perceiving the heretical tendencies of his friend, frequently visited him, and exhorted him to reconsider his ways (ib. 154 D). Finding him immovable, Eusebius presented a "libellus" against Eutyches at a council at Constantinople under Flavian, Nov. 8, 448 (ib. 151). He deplores the persistency of Eutyches in error, and demands that he should be summoned before the council to answer charges of heresy. His petition was granted, though with unwillingness. At the second session of the council (Nov. 12), Eusebius requested that the second letter of St. Cyril to Nestorius and his letter to John of Antioch should be read as representing the standard of orthodoxy. This led to a profession of the orthodox faith from Flavian, assented to by the other bishops. At the third session (Nov. 15) Eusebius found that Eutyches had refused to come, alleging a determination never to quit his monastery, and saying that Eusebius had been for some time (πάλαι) his enemy. [Eutyches (4).] Only on the third summons was he induced to appear. Meanwhile Eusebius pressed his point persistently and even harshly, behaving with such warmth that, as Flavian said, "fire itself seemed cold to him, in his zeal for orthodoxy." Finding that Eutyches had attempted to secure the adhesion of the other archimandrites to his views [Faustus (28)], Eusebius urged that he should be immediately treated with the rigour he deserved (Labbe, iv. 211). Flavian still urged patience and moderation. At last, on Nov. 22, Eutyches appeared with a large monastic and imperial escort, and was examined. Eusebius said of Eutyches: "I am poor, he threatens me with exile; he has wealth, he is already depicting (ἀναζωγραφεῖ) the oasis for me." He feared also lest Eutyches should turn round and assent to the orthodox faith—thus causing him to be suspected of making calumnious charges (ib. 221, C, D, E). The crucial question he put to Eutyches was: "My lord archimandrite, do you confess two natures after the Incarnation, and do you say that Christ is consubstantial with us according to the flesh or not?" To the first part Eutyches would not assent; he was condemned by all the bishops, and sentence of deposition was passed. He at once wrote to pope Leo I. in his own defence (Leo Mag. Ep. xxi. 739), complaining of the "machinations" of Eusebius.

We next hear of Eusebius in Apr. 449 at the examination of the Acts of the council of Constantinople, which Eutyches had declared to have been falsified. With him were 14 of the 34 bishops who had condemned Eutyches (Labbe, iv. 235). Eutyches was represented by three delegates; Eusebius and others remonstrated against his absence, but the emperor's orders overruled them. Eusebius insisted that all examination into the case of Eutyches, and into any question other than the authenticity of the Acts, should be referred to a general council (ib. 268). The examination of the Acts does not seem to have brought to light any inaccuracy of importance. When Eusebius arrived in Ephesus early in Aug. 449 to attend the council, he apparently lodged with Stephen of Ephesus (ib. 111 D, E), but was not permitted to attend the meetings of the council, on the ground that the emperor had forbidden it (ib. 145 A, B). Flavian urged that he should be admitted and heard, but Elpidius, one of the imperial commissioners, opposed it (Hefele, Concil. ii. 355) and the same wish or command of the emperor was urged by Dioscorus at the council of Chalcedon also. When the passage in the acts of Constantinople was read where Eusebius pressed Eutyches to acknowledge the two natures after the Incarnation, the council burst forth, "off with Eusebius! burn him!" (Labbe, iv. 224 A). Sentence of deposition was pronounced against Flavian and Eusebius, and they were imprisoned (Liberat. cap. xii.; Galland, xii. p. 140) and then sent into exile (Gest. de Nom. Acac. Galland, x. 668). Eusebius escaped to Rome, where Leo welcomed him and granted him communion. He was there till Apr. 481 (Leo Mag. Ep. lxxix. lxxx. 1037, 1041). Leo commends him to the care of Anatolius of Constantinople, the successor of Flavian, as one who had suffered much for the faith. Eusebius left Rome to attend the council of Chalcedon. He had addressed a formal petition to the emperor Marcian against Dioscorus, and appears in the council as his accuser. He complains more than once of the conduct of Dioscorus in excluding him from the council of Ephesus (Labbe, iv. 145, 156). His innocence, with that of St. Flavian, was fully recognized at the close of the 1st session of the council of Chalcedon (ib. 322, 323); but at the 3rd session, on Oct. 13, he presented a further petition against Dioscorus, on behalf of himself, of Flavian (τοῦ ἐν ἁγίοις), and of the orthodox faith. He urges the iniquities of Dioscorus at Ephesus, and begs for complete exculpation for himself and condemnation for Dioscorus (ib.381). In the 4th session Eusebius took part in the case of certain Egyptian bishops who declined to condemn Eutyches, alleging that they were bound to follow their patriarch (i. e. Dioscorus), in accordance with the council of Nicaea. Eusebius has but one word to say, "ψεύδονται" (ib. 513 A). We find him later (5th session, Oct. 22) siding at first against the imperial officers, and the wishes of the Roman legates for making no addition to the council's definition of faith (ib. 558 D; cf. Bright, Hist. of the Church, p. 409). Afterwards, however, he assisted at the revision which made that definition a completer expression of the doctrine of Leo's tome. In the 11th session he (Labbe, iv. 699 A) voted for the deposition of both claimants to the see of Ephesus, Bassian and Stephen, as being both alike irregularly consecrated. In the 15th session (Oct. 23) he signed the much-contested 28th canon of the council on the position to be held by the see of Constantinople. [Leo I..] The last time his name appears is in the rescript of the emperor Marcian, June 452, which had for its special object to rehabilitate the memory of Flavian, but which secured also that the condemnation of the robber council should in no way injure the reputation of Eusebius and Theodoret (ib. 866). His name appears in the list of bishops signing the decrees of the council at Rome in 503, but this list certainly belongs to some earlier council (cf. Baron. ann. 503, ix.). Comparing him with Flavian, we cannot but feel his want of generosity in his treatment of Eutyches, whose superior in logical power and theological perception he undoubtedly was. But none can deny him the credit of having been a watchful guardian of the doctrine of the Incarnation all through his life, and a keen-sighted and persistent antagonist of error, whether on the one side or the other, who by his sufferings for the orthodox faith merits the title of confessor.