Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume II/Socrates/Book V/Chapter 6
Chapter VI.—Gregory of Nazianzus is transferred to the See of Constantinople. The Emperor Theodosius falling Sick at Thessalonica, after his Victory over the Barbarians, is there baptized by Ascholius the Bishop.
By the common suffrage of many bishops, Gregory was at this time translated from the see of Nazianzus to that of Constantinople,
and this happened in the manner before described. About the same time the emperors Gratian and Theodosius each obtained a victory over the barbarians.
And Gratian immediately set out for Gaul, because the Alemanni were ravaging those provinces: but Theodosius, after erecting a trophy, hastened towards Constantinople, and arrived at Thessalonica. There he was taken dangerously ill, and expressed a desire to receive Christian baptism.
Now he had been instructed in Christian principles by his ancestors, and professed the ‘homoousian’ faith. Becoming increasingly anxious to be baptized therefore, as his malady grew worse, he sent for the bishop of Thessalonica, and first asked him what doctrinal views he held? The bishop having replied, ‘that the opinion of Arius had not yet invaded the provinces of Illyricum, nor had the novelty to which that heretic had given birth begun to prey upon the churches in those countries; but they continued to preserve unshaken that faith which from the beginning was delivered by the apostles, and had been confirmed in the Nicene Synod,’ the emperor was most gladly baptized by the bishop Ascholius; and having recovered from his disease not many days after, he came to Constantinople on the twenty-fourth of November, in the fifth consulate of Gratian, and the first of his own.
- So also Gregory Nazianz. Carmen de Vita Sua, 595. ‘The grace of the Spirit sent us, many shepherds and members of the flock inviting.’ See, however, on Gregory’s episcopate at Nazianzus, IV. 26 and note.
- Cf. Zosimus, IV.; Sozom. VII. 4; Am. Marcellinus, XXXI. 9 and 10.
- Cf. Zosimus, IV. 39, on the dangerous illness of Theodosius. On delayed baptism, called ‘clinic,’ see I. 39, note 2. Evidently baptism was not thought essential to one’s title to be called a Christian. Theodosius and Constantine were both considered Christians and ‘professed the homoousian faith, and yet they both postponed their baptism to what they believed to be the latest moments of their lives.’
- 380 a.d.