|« Prev||2. To the Death of Constantius.||Next »|
Never again in the history of the Church has there been a victory so complete and so quickly secured as that at Nicæa, and no other decision of the Church approaches it in importance. The victors had the feeling that they had set up for all ages146146Athanas. ad Afros II. and elsewhere. a “warning notice against all heresies” (στηλογραφία κατὰ πασῶν αἱρέσεων), and this estimate of the victory has continued to be the prevailing one in the Church.147147Up to time of the Chalcedonian Creed the conceptions Homoousia and Orthodoxy were quite identical; the latter involved no more than the former. Thus the orthodoxy of Origen is for Socrates (VI. 13) undoubted, just because none of his four chief opponents (Methodius, Eustathius, Apollinaris, and Theophilus) charge him with heresy in reference to his doctrine of the Trinity. The grand innovation, the elevation of two unbiblical expressions to the rank of catchwords of the Catholic Faith, insured the unique nature of this Faith. At bottom not only was Arianism rejected, but also Origenism; for the exclusive Ὁμοούσιος separated the Logos from all spiritual creatures and seemed thus to do away with scientific cosmology in every form.
But it was just because of this that the strife now began. The Nicene Creed effected in the East a hitherto unprecedented concord, but this was amongst its opponents, while its friends, on the other hand, felt no genuine enthusiasm for its subtle formulae. The schismatic Meletians of Egypt made common cause with the Arians and Origenists; those of the bishops 60who were indifferent or stupid were induced to oppose it by the bugbear of Sabellianism and by the unbiblical shape in which the new faith was formulated. Society was still for the most part heathen, and this heathen society openly sided with the anti-Nicenes; the Jews too, who were still influential, ranged themselves on this side. The clever sophist Asterius was able, as “travelling professor”, to interest large numbers in “the one Unbegotten”. But, above all, the two Eusebiuses sought again to be masters of the situation. The one necessarily strove in the first instance to regain his seat, the other to make the weight of his untouched personal authority once more felt in theology also. What their mutual relationship was is not clear; in any case they marched separately and struck unitedly.148148The best investigation regarding Eusebius of Nicomedia is contained in the article in the Dict. of Chr. Biogr. We know Eusebius, it is true, almost exclusively from the picture which his opponents have drawn of him. But in his actions he has portrayed himself as an imperious prince of the Church of a secular type, for whom all means were justifiable. The Nicomedian always thought first of himself and then of his cause; the Bishop of Cæsarea saw science and theology disappear in the movement which received its impulse from Alexandria. Both, however, had made up their minds not to part company with the Emperor if they could not otherwise succeed in managing him. The great mass of the bishops always were, in accordance with this policy, purely “imperial”. With regard to the strict Arians, however, it must be admitted to their credit that during the whole controversy they were as little willing to accept as authoritative the decisions of the Emperors in matters of faith as were Athanasius, Hilary, and Lucifer.
When Constantine interfered in the great controversy, he had only just come to the East. He was under the guidance of Western bishops, and it was Western Christianity alone with which he had hitherto been acquainted. And so after an abortive attempt to compose the controversy, he had accomplished the “work of peace” at Nicæa in accordance with Western views. But already during the years which immediately followed he must have learned that the basis upon which he had reared it was too narrow, that, above all, it did not meet the requirements of 61the “common sense” of the East. As a politician he was prudent enough not to take any step backward, but, on the other hand, as a politician he knew that every law gets its meaning quite as much from the method in which it is carried out as from the letter of it. Feeling this—to which has to be added the presence of Arian influences at the Court—he had since about the year 328 resolved, under cover of the Nicene Creed, to reinstate the broader doctrinal system of older days whose power he had first got to know in Asia, in order to preserve the unity of the Church which was endangered.149149If Eusebius is right the Emperor had already at Nice also advocated a broad application of the orthodox formula. But Constantine did not get the length of doing anything definite and conclusive. He merely favoured the anti-Nicene coalition to such an extent that he left to his sons a ruptured Church in place of a united one. The anti-Nicene coalition, however, had already become during the last years of Constantine’s life an anti-Athanasian one. On the eighth of June, 328, Athanasius, not without opposition on the part of the Egyptian bishops,150150The matter, so far as the particulars are concerned, is quite obscure. had mounted the Episcopal throne in Alexandria. The tactics of the coalition were directed first of all towards the removal of the main defenders of the Nicene faith, and it was soon recognised that the youthful bishop of Alexandria was the most dangerous of these. Intrigues and slanders of the lowest kind now began to come into play, and the conflict was carried on sometimes by means of moral charges of the worst kind, and sometimes by means of political calumnies. The easily excited masses were made fanatical by the coarse abuse and execrations of the opponents, and the language of hate which hitherto had been bestowed on heathen, Jews, and heretics, filled the churches. The catchwords of the doctrinal formula, which were unintelligible to the laity and indeed even to most of the bishops themselves, were set up as standards, and the more successful they were in keeping up the agitation the more surely did the pious-minded turn away from them and sought satisfaction in asceticism and polytheism in a Christian garb. In every diocese, however, personal interests, struggles about 62sees and influence, were mixed up with the controversy, and this was the case in the West too, especially in Rome, as we may gather from the events of the year 366. Thus a series of bloody town-revolutions accompanied the movement.
In the midst of all this Athanasius alone in the East stood like a rock in the sea. If we measure him by the standard of his time we can discover nothing ignoble or mean about him. The favourite charge of hierarchical imperiousness has something naïve about it. His stern procedure in reference to the Meletians was a necessity, and an energetic bishop who had to represent a great cause could not be anything else but imperious. It is certainly undeniable that for years he was formally in the wrong, inasmuch as he would not admit the validity of his deposition. He regarded it as the task committed to him, to rule Egypt, to regulate the Church of the East in accordance with the standard of the true faith, and to ward off any interference on the part of the State. He was a Pope, as great and as powerful a one as there ever has been.
When the sons of Constantine entered upon the inheritance of their father, the heads of the Nicene party in the East had been deposed or exiled; Arius, however, was dead.151151The dates put shortly are as follows. Some three years after the Nicene Council, years which for us are absolutely dark (the letter of Constantine in Gelas., Hist. Conc. Nic. III. I is probably not genuine), Constantine begins to turn round. (Was this owing to the influence of Constantia and her court-clergyman?) The recall of Arius, Eusebius of Nicom. and Theognis (the latter’s letter in Socrat. I. 14, is perhaps not genuine). Eusebius gains a decisive influence over the Emperor. At an Antioch synod 330. Eustathius of Antioch, one of the chief champions of the Nicene Creed is deposed (for adultery) at the instigation of the two Eusebiuses. Arius presents to the Emperor a diplomatically composed confession of faith which satisfies him, (Socr. I. 26) is completely rehabilitated, and demands of Athanasius that he be allowed to resume his position in Alexandria. Athanasius refuses, and succeeds in making good his refusal and in clearing himself from the personal charges brought against him on the part of the Eusebians. At the Synod of Tyre 335 (not 336) held under the presidency of the Church historian Eusebius, the coalition nevertheless succeeds in passing a resolution for the deposition of Athanasius on account of certain alleged gross excesses, and in persuading the Emperor to proceed against him as a disturber of the peace, and this spite of the fact that in the year 334 Athanasius, in opposition to the Synod of Cæsarea, had convinced the Emperor of his perfect innocence and of the base intrigues of the Meletian bishops. Athanasius notwithstanding this succeeded a second time in inducing the Emperor to give his case an impartial trial, by hastening to Constantinople and making a personal statement to the Emperor, who was taken by surprise. His opponents, who had meanwhile been commanded to go from Tyre to Jerusalem, now expressly declared that the doctrinal explanations given by Arius and his friends were sufficient, and already made preparations for burying the Nicene Creed in their pretentious assembly, and also for bringing to trial Marcellus, the friend of Athanasius. They were, however, summoned by the Emperor to come to Constantinople and to carry on their deliberations. Only the worst of Athanasius’ opponents complied with this demand, and they succeeded by bringing forward new accusations (at the beginning of the year 336), in inducing the Emperor to banish Athanasius (to Trier). Still it is at least doubtful if the Emperor did not wish him to escape for a while from his enemies. His chair in any case was not filled. Marcellus, who had also appealed to the Emperor, was deposed and condemned on account of erroneous doctrine. The solemn induction of Arius into his Church—against the wish of the bishop, Alexander of Constantinople—was immediately robbed of its significance by his sudden death. The Emperor sought to carry on his energetic peace-policy by the banishment of other “disturbers of the peace,” such as the Meletian leading spirit, and Paulus, the newly elected bishop of Constantinople. He died, however, in May 337, in his own opinion in the undoubted Nicene faith. His son maintained that he had himself further resolved on the restitution of Athanasius. Sources: besides the Church historians and Epiphanius, chiefly Athan. Apolog. c. Arian.; in addition, the Festival letters, the Hist. Arian. ad monach. de morte Arii ad Serapionem, Ep. ad epp. Æg. 19, and Euseb., Vita Constant. IV. The exiled 63bishops in accordance with a resolution152152On this resolution see Schiller II., p. 277 f. come to in common by the Emperors, were free to return as a body. This was the case in the latter part of the autumn of 337. But as soon as Constantius became master in his own domain he continued the policy of his father. He wished to rule the Church as the latter had done; he perceived that this was possible in the East only if the Nicene innovation, or at least the exclusive application of it, were got rid of, and he did not feel himself bound to the Nicene Creed as his father had done. One cannot but admit that the youthful monarch shewed statesmanlike insight and acted with energy, and with all his devotion to the Church he never allowed churchmen to rule as his brother did. He had not, however, the patience and moderation of his father, and though he had indeed inherited from the latter the gift of ruling, he had not got from him the art of managing men by gentle force. The brutal trait which Constantine knew how to keep in check in himself, appeared in an undisguised fashion in his son, and the development of the Emperor into an Oriental despot advanced a stage further in Constantius.153153The best characterisation is in Ranke IV., p. 35 ff.; see also Krüger, Lucifer, p. 4 ff., Gwatkin, p. 109 sq., Schiller II., p. 245 ff. First of 64all, Paul of Constantinople was deposed for the second time; Eusebius of Nicomedia at last secured the seat he had so long striven after. Eusebius of Cæsarea died, and his place was taken by a man deserving of little respect, Acacius, a friend of the Arians. The tumults which took place in Egypt after the return of Athanasius made it easier for his enemies, who regarded him as deposed and once more pronounced the sentence of deposition at a Synod in Antioch, to move the Emperor to proceed against him. His energetic conduct in his diocese and the violence of his Egyptian friends (Apol. c. Arian. 3-19) aggravated the situation. Constantius listened to the Eusebians, but did not sanction the choice of Bishop Pistus whom they had set apart for Alexandria. He decreed the deposition of Athanasius, and sent as bishop to Alexandria, a certain Gregory, a Cappadocian who had nothing to commend him save the imperial favour. Athanasius anticipated a violent expulsion by leaving Alexandria—in the spring of 339. He betook himself to Rome, leaving his diocese behind him in a state of wild uproar.
The Eusebians were now masters of the situation, but just because of this they had a difficult task to perform. What had now to be done was to get the Nicene Creed actually out of the way, or to render it ineffective by means of a new formula. This could only be done in conjunction with the West, and it would have to be done in such a way that they should neither seem to be giving the lie to their own vote in Nicæa—and therefore they would have to make it appear that they were attacking only the form and not the contents of the confession—nor seem to the Church in the West to be proclaiming a new faith. It is in the light of these facts that we are to regard the symbols of Antioch and the negotiations with Julius of Rome. They found themselves shut up in a position from which they could not escape without a certain amount of evasion. The faith of Athanasius must not be attacked any more than that of the Westerns.154154This explains why the canons of the Synod of Antioch came to enjoy a high reputation and why Hilary (de synod. 32) designated the assembly a ‘synodus sanctorum.’ All the same such a description is not quite intelligible; we know too little both of the character and of the proceedings of the Synod. The condemnation of the great bishop 65had thus always throughout to be based on personal accusations. As regards the doctrinal question, the whole stress had to be laid on getting the Homousios put quietly aside, on the ground that it was unbiblical and gave an inlet to Sabellianism. In this respect the doctrine of Marcellus of Ancyra was very welcome to the Eusebians, for they sought, not without justice, to shew from it to what destructive results a theology which based itself on the Homousios must lead.155155Marcellus is an extremely interesting phenomenon in the history of theology; he did not, however, succeed in effecting any change in the history of dogma or in creating any noteworthy number of followers. At the Council of Nicæa he belonged to the few who zealously championed the Homousios (Apol. c. Arian. 23, 32). After the Council he was, besides Eustathius, at first the sole literary representative of orthodoxy, since he wrote a comprehensive treatise περὶ ὑποταγῆς by way of reply to the work of the Arian Asterius. This work, in which he defends the unity of substance of the Logos, drew upon him from the dominant party the accusation of Sabellianism and Samosatenism. His case was dealt with at the Councils of Tyre, Jerusalem, and Constantinople, since he also personally defended Athanasius and opposed the restoration of Arius. Spite of his appeal to the Emperor he was at Constantinople deprived of his office as a teacher of erroneous doctrine, another bishop was sent to Ancyra, and Eusebius of Cæsarea endeavoured in two works (c. Marcell., de ecclesiast. theolog.) to refute him. These works are for us the source for the teaching of Marcellus. Marcellus did not recognise the common doctrinal basis of Arianism and orthodoxy; he went back behind the traditional teaching of Origen, like Paui of Samosata, and consequently got rid of the element which caused the trouble to Arianism and, in a higher degree, to orthodoxy. His doctrinal system presents, on the one hand, certain points of agreement with that of the old Apologists, though these are more apparent than real, and on the other with that of Irenmus; still it cannot be proved that there is any literary dependence. Marcellus was at one with Arius in holding that the conceptions “Son”, “begotten” etc., involve the subordination of the being thus designated. But just because of this he rejected these conceptions as being inapplicable to the divine in Christ. He clearly perceived that the prevalent theology was on a wrong track owing to its implication with philosophy; he wished to establish a purely biblical system of doctrine and sought to shew that these conceptions are all used in the Scriptures in reference to the incarnate one, the view of most in the older days, e.g., Ignatius. The Scripture supplies only one conception to express the eternal-divine in Christ, that of the Logos (the Logos is image or type only in connection with man created in his image): the Logos is the indwelling power in God, which has manifested itself in the creation of the world as δύναμις δραστική, in order then for the first time to become personal with the view of saving and perfecting the human race. Thus the Logos is in and for itself, in its essential nature, the unbegotten reason of God indwelling in God from all eternity and absolutely inseparable from him; it begins its actuality in the creation of the world, but it first becomes a personal manifestation distinct from God in the incarnation, through which the Logos as the image of the invisible God becomes visible. In Christ consequently the Logos has become a person and son of God—a person who is as surely ὁμοούσιος τῷ Θεῷ as he is the active working of God Himself. After the work has been completed, however, the Son subordinates Himself to the Father in such a way that God is again all in all, since the hypostatic form of the Logos now ceases (hence the title of M.’s work: περὶ ὑποταγῆς; the idea is an old one, see Vol. II.). M. confessed that he did not know what became of the humanity of Christ. The stumbling-blocks which this system presented to that age were (1) that M. called only the incarnate one Son of God, (2) that he taught no real pre-existence, (3) that he assumed the Kingdom of Christ would have an end, and (4) that he spoke of an extension of the indivisible monad. Marcellus having been recalled (337) and then expelled again from his diocese (338), like Athanasius, betook himself to Rome, and by means of a confession in which he disguised his doctrine, induced Bishop Julius to recognise his orthodoxy. (The confession is in the letter to Julius in Epiph. H. 72. 2: Zahn, Marcell. p. 70 f., vainly attempts to dispute the fact of a “disguising.” In the letter he avows his belief in the Roman Creed also.) The Roman synod of the year 340 declared him to be sound in the faith. It scarcely fully understood the case; what is of much more importance is that Athanasius and consequently also the Council of Sardica did not abandon Marcellus, and the Council indeed remarked that the Eusebians had taken as a positve statement what he had uttered only tentatively (ζητῶν). That Athanasius spite of all remonstrances should have pronounced Marcellus orthodox, is a proof that his interest in the matter was confined to one point, and centred in the godhead of the historical Jesus Christ as resting upon the unity of substance with God. Where he saw that this was recognised, he allowed freedom of thought on other points. At a later period, it is true, when it became possible still more to discredit Marcellus through his pupil Photinus, there was a disagreement of a temporary kind between him and Athanasius. Athanasius is said to have refused to have intercourse with him and Marcellus is said to have dropped him. Athanasius also combatted the theology of M. (Orat. c. Arian. IV), though he afterwards again recognised the truth of his faith. Epiphanius informs us (72. 4) that he once put some questions to the aged Athanasius regarding M.: Ὁ δὲ οὔτε ὑπεραπελογήσατο, οὔτε πάλιν πρὸς αὐτὸν ἀπεχθῶς ἡνέχθη, μόνον δὲ διὰ τοῦ προσώπου μειδίασας ὑπέφηνε , μοχθηρίας μὴ μακρὰν αὐτὸν εἶναι, καὶ ὡς ἀπολογησάμενον εἶχε. Marcellus’ followers in Ancyra also possessed at a later date an epistle of Athanasius (Epiph. 72. 11) which was favourable to them. The East, however, stuck firmly to the condemnation of Marcellus, and so too did the Cappadocians at a later period—a proof this also of a radical difference between them and Athanasius The further history of this matter has no place here (see Zahn op. cit. and Möller, R.-Encykl., 2nd Ed., p. 281 f.). Marcellus died in the year 373, close on a hundred years old, after that his theology had repeatedly done good service to the opponents of orthodoxy, without, however, helping them to discredit Athanasius. But the 66Roman bishop was not to be corrupted, he did not even sacrifice Marcellus; and the creeds of Antioch which were not actually heterodox, but which were not sincere, did not at all meet with his approval. He did not concern himself with the attempt, justifiable from the point of view of the Orientals and 67of Constantius, to create for the East a doctrinal form of expression which was more in accordance with the convictions of the majority. The most important result of the operations of the Eusebians at Antioch, and the one which was of the greatest consequence, was that they had to bring themselves to renounce Arianism in order to gain over the West. Arianism was now condemned on all sides in the Church; nevertheless the Eusebians did not attain their aim.156156The negotiations between Bishop Julius and the Eusebians assembled at Antioch (Rom. Council, autumn 340 Council at Antioch, summer and autumn 341) are from the point of view of Church politics of great significance, and more particularly the letter of Bishop Julius to the Eusebians after the Roman Council (Apol. c. Arian. 21) is a masterpiece. But we cannot enter on this matter here. The four formula of Antioch (it is to them that the reproach brought by Athanasius against his opponents chiefly refers—namely, that they betrayed their uncertainty by the new forms of faith they were constantly publishing see de decret. 1: de synod. 22—23: Encycl. ad epp. Ægypt. 7 sq.: Ep. ad. Afros 23) are in Athan., de synod. 22 sq. (Hahn § 84, 115, 85, 86). There are some good remarks in Gwatkin, p. 114 sq. The zealous efforts made by the Eusebians to arrive at a harmonious agreement with the West were probably closely connected also with the general political situation. After the fall of Constantine II. (spring 340) Constans had promptly made himself master of the whole of his brother’s domain Constantius, whose attention was claimed by severe and incessant wars on the eastern boundary, was unable to hinder this. From the year 340 Constans thus had the decisive preponderance in the Empire. The first Antiochian formula still supports Arius, though with the odd qualification that those who were in favour of him had not followed him (πῶς γὰρ ἐπίσκοποι ὄντες ἀκολουθήσαν πρεσβυτέρῳ), but had tested his teaching: it limits itself to describing the Son as μονογενῆ, πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων ὑπάρχοντα καὶ συνόντα τῷ γεγεννηκότι αὐτὸν πατρί, but it already contains the anti-Marcellian proposition descriptive of the Son: διαμένοντα βασιλέα καὶ Θεὸν εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. The second, so-called Lucian, formula already gathers together all designations for the Son which could possibly be used of His Godhead from an Origenistic standpoint (above all, μονογενῆ Θεὸν, Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ, ἄτρεπτον τε καὶ ἀναλλοίωτον, τῆς θεότηρος οὐσίας τε καὶ βουλῆς καὶ δυνάμεως καὶ δόξης τοῦ πατρὸς ἀπαράλλακτον εἰκόνα, Θεὸν λόγον); it then adopts once more the addition which Eusebius had appended to the outline of his belief presented at Nicæa (see p. 52), and formulates the following proposition against Marcellus; τῶν ὀνομάτων οὐχ ἁπλῶς οὐδὲ ἀργῶς κειμένων σημαινόντων ἀκριβῶς τὴν οἰκείαν ἑκάστου τῶν ὀνομαζομένων ὑπόστασιν (N.B. = οὐσίαν) καὶ τάξιν καὶ δόξαν, ὡς εἶναι τῇ μὲν ὑποστάσει τρία, τῇ δὲ συμφωνίᾳ ἕν; but on the other hand, without mentioning Arius, it expressly rejects the Arian catchwords objected to at Nicæa. The third, submitted by the Bishop of Tyana, has a still stronger anti-Marcellan colouring (Ἰ. Χρ. ὄντα πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν ἐν ὑποστάσει . . . μένοντα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας), repudiates Marcellus, Sabellius, and Paul of Samosata by name, but otherwise in place of all other possible designations it has the Nicene sounding: Θεὸν τέλειον ἐκ Θεοῦ τελείου. At length the fourth formula, drawn up some months later, became the final one. It is constructed as far as possible on the model of the Nicene Creed; at the end too some Arian catchwords are expressly condemned. The most important propositions run thus: καὶ εἰς τὸν μονογενῆ αὐτοῦ υἱόν, τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰ. Χρ., τὸν πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς γεννηθέντα, Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ, φῶς ἐκ φωτός . . . λόγον ὄντα καὶ σοφίαν καὶ δύναμιν καὶ ζωὴν καὶ φῶς ἀληθινόν, at the close of this section (against Marcellus): οὗ βασιλεια ἀκατάλυτος οὖσα διαμενεῖ εἰς τοὺς ἀπείρους αἰῶνας· ἔσται γὰρ καθεζόμενος ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ πατρὸς οὐ μὸνον ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι. All four formulæ have this in common, that they are compatible with the theology of Origen; the three last, that Arianism in the strict sense is repudiated. The fourth was communicated to the Emperor Constans by a deputation in Gaul. For the rest it ought not to be forgotten that the Eusebians formally adhered to the basis of the Nicene Creed; see Hefele I., p. 502 ff.68
During the following years Constantius’ hands were tied by the Persian war, and he was forced to keep on good terms with his brother so as to avoid having trouble on the western boundary of his kingdom also. At the same time, just after the death of Eusebius of Nicomedia, which took place in the autumn of 342, the party amongst the conservatives of the East who, partly no doubt for political reasons, were actually set on coming to an agreement with the West, gained the lead. A general Council which was summoned by Constans to meet at Sardica in the summer of 343 and was approved of by Constantius, was to restore the unity of the Church. But the Western bishops, about a hundred in number, rejected the preliminary demand of the Eastern bishops for the deposition of Athanasius and Marcellus, both of whom were present in Sardica; pronounced sentence of deposition upon the leaders of the Orientals after the exodus of the latter; after an investigation declared the bishops attacked to be innocent, that is to say, orthodox; avowed their belief in the Nicene Creed, and under the guidance of Hosius took up the most rigid attitude possible on the doctrinal question.157157Sardica was situated in the territory of Constans. The most influential of the Eastern bishops were present. Hosius took the lead. (Histor. Arian 15.) The formal restatement of the Nicene Creed desired by some of them was not proceeded with. (Athan. Tom. ad Antioch. 5 against Socrates II., 20); but the description of the Faith which will be found at the close of the encyclical letter, although it is not to be regarded as an official declaration, is a document whose importance has hitherto not been sufficiently recognised. It originated with Hosius and Protogenes of Sardica, and is the most unambiguous expression of the Western view in the matter, so unambiguous that for the moment it seemed even to the orthodox Orientals themselves to be questionable (the formula is in Theodoret II. 8, lat. translation discovered by Maffei). It is here first of all that the proposition is found: μίαν ὑπόστασιν, ἣν αὐτοὶ οἱ αἱρετικοὶ οὐσίαν προσαγορεύουσι (for ὑπόστασιν we have in the Latin “substantiam” ), τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος. Καὶ εἰ ζητοῖεν, τίς τοῦ υἱοῦ ἡ ὑπόστασις ἐστιν, ὁμολογοῦμεν ὡς αὕτη ἦν ἡ μόνη τοῦ πατρὸς ὁμολογουμένη. In the second place the doctrine of the Son is put in such a way that one can very easily understand how the Westerns refused to condemn Marcellus; there are turns of expression which approach the doctrine of Marcellus. (A comparison with the Christology of Prudentius is instructive in this connection.) Ursacius and Valens amongst others were declared deposed. Their bishoprics were situated in the territory of Constans, but they were of an Arian way of thinking. Ηefele, op. cit. p. 533 ff., treats in great detail the canons and acts of the Council. In opposition to this the bishops, 69who met together in the neighbouring Philippopolis, framed a circular letter, dated from Sardica, in which they set forth the illegality of the procedure of their opponents, and confessed the faith in terms essentially identical with those of the fourth formula of Antioch.158158Above all, the Eusebians repeated their old statement that the decrees of deposition pronounced by Councils in reference to bishops are irrevocable. So too they held to the charges against Marcellus (of erroneous doctrine) and against Athanasius (of flagrant abuse of his power). There is a wish to introduce something entirely new, “ut orientales episcopi ab occidentalibus judicarentur”; but whoever holds by Marcellus and Athanasius let him be Anathema. The doctrinal formula (Hilarius Fragm. III. and de synod, 34) differs little from the fourth formula of Antioch and thus condemns Arianism. Formally the Easterns were in the right as regards Athanasius.
The endeavours of Constantius to give efficacy159159Histor. Arian. 18, 19. to the resolutions of his bishops fell through; in fact, the shameless attempt to set a trap for the two Western bishops sent as a deputation from Sardica to Constantius and provided with a letter of introduction from Constans, and who were to try and effect the recall of the banished bishops, turned out to their advantage.160160Histor. Arian. 20; Theodoret II. 9, 10. Bishop Stephanus of Antioch, who had tried the trick, was deposed. Constantius, so at least it seems, had not for a while any real confidence in his own party; or was it that he was afraid to rouse his brother? In a long-winded formula drawn up at Antioch in the summer of 344 they once more sought to hint to the West their orthodoxy and to suggest the minimum of their demands.161161Their motive in bringing forward the new formula was by almost completely meeting the demands of the Westerns in reference to the doctrinal question, to induce them to give way on the personal question. (Ekthesis macrostichos, see Athan., de synod. 26: Socrat II. 19). It begins with the fourth formula of Antioch, then follow detailed explanations of the faith as against the Arians, Sabellians, Marcellus, and Photinus who is mentioned here for the first time. Spite of the polemic against the proposition of Athanasius—who is, however, not mentioned by name—that the Son is begotten οὐ βουλήσει οὐδὲ θελήσει, this formula indicates the greatest approach conceivable on the part of the Eusebians towards meeting the views of their opponents. They emphasise in the strongest way the unity of the one Godhead (c. 4): οὔτε μήν, τρία ὁμολογοῦντες πράγματα καὶ τρία πρόσωπα (it has to be noticed that the bishops avoid the expression three “substances or hypostases” and use the Western πρόσωπον which had been brought into discredit by Sabellius) τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ ά. πνεύματος κατὰ τὰς γραφάς, τρεῖς διὰ τοῦτο Θεοὺς ποιοῦμεν, and they expressed themselves in such a way in c. 9, that the words must pass for an unobjectionable paraphrase of the Homousios. They are practically the very same expressions as those used by Athanasius to describe the relation of Father and Son. “Homousios” is, however, wanting: but, on the other hand, we find here, so far as I know, for the first time: κατὰ πάντα ὅμοιον. Socrates, II. 20, has candidly remarked on the formula macrostichos: ταῦτα οἱ κατὰ τὰ ἑσπέρια μέρη ἐπίσκοποι διὰ τὸ ἀλλογλώσσους εἶναι καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ συνιέναι οὐ προσεδέχοντο, ἀρκεῖν τὴν ἐν Νικαίᾳ πίστιν λέγοντες. On the Acts of a Synod at Köln, from which we gather that Bishop Euphrates of Köln who was sent to Antioch from Sardica, had afterwards fallen away to Arianism, see Rettberg (K.-G. Deutschlands, I., p. 123 ff.) and Hauck (K.-G. Deutschlands, I., p. 47 f.), who are opposed to their genuineness; Friedrich (K.-G. Deutschland, I., p. 277 f.) and Söder (Stud. u. Mitth. ans. d. Benedict. Orden, fourth year’s issue, I., p. 295 f., II., p. 344 f., fifth year, I., p. 83 f.) who are in favour of it. The Church in the West, it is true, rejected at 70both the Councils held at Milan in the years 345 and 347, the teaching of Photinus of Sirmium, who, in a surprising fashion, had developed an Adoptian doctrinal system out of the doctrine of Marcellus,162162Photinus of Sirmium, a fellow-countryman and pupil of Marcellus, developed the doctrinal system of the master in such a way as to represent even the ἐνέργεια δραστική of God as not assuming a concrete hypostatic form in Jesus Christ, (or if it did take a concrete form as a hypostasis, then this was a purely human one—the matter is not quite clear). He thus rigidly held fast the single personality of God, and accordingly, like Paul of Samosata, saw in Jesus a man miraculously born (Zahn, op. cit., p. 192 combats this; but neither is the evidence that Photinus denied the birth from the Virgin Mary certain enough, nor is it in itself credible that a catholic bishop in the fourth century should have departed so far from the tradition), predestined to his office by God, and who in virtue of his moral development has attained to divine honour. We thus have here the last inherently logical attempt to guard Christian monotheism, entirely to discard the philosophical Logos-doctrine, and to conceive of the Divine in Christ as a divine effect. But this attempt was no longer in harmony with the spirit of the age; Photinus was charged on all sides with teaching erroneous doctrine. His writings have disappeared: compare the scattered statements regarding him in Athanasius, Hilary, the Church historians, Epiph. H. 72 and the anathemas of various Councils, see also Vigilius Taps. adv. Arian., Sabell. et Photin.). The two Milan Councils, the date of which is not quite certain, condemned him, so too did a Sirmian Council of Eusebians which was perhaps held as early as 347. Still he remained in office till 351, held in high respect by his congregation. That the macrostic Confession of the Orientals ought not all the same to be accepted as so orthodox as it from its wording appears to be, is evident from the fact that the Eastern bishops who were deputed to take it to the West declined at Milan to condemn Arianism too. (Hilarius, Fragm. V.) but otherwise remained firm; and the ship of the Eusebians already appeared to be in so great danger that its two chief pilots, Ursacius and Valens, preferred to go over to 71the opposite party and to make their peace with Athanasius.163163For the documents relating to their conversion, which was hypocritical and dictated entirely by policy, and to their complete recognition of Athanasius, see Athanas. Apol. c. Arian. 58, Hilar., Fragm. II. Constantius, very sorely pressed by the Persians, sought to have peace in the Church at any price and even granted the prayer of his brother’s protégé, Athanasius, and allowed him to return to Alexandria (in October 346), where Gregory meanwhile had died (in June 345164164Schiller (op. cit. p. 282). “As a matter of fact Constans wished to establish a kind of supremacy in relation to his brother, which in spiritual matters was to be exercised through the Bishop of Rome. Trusting to his support, deposed bishops on their own authority returned to their dioceses, without having received the sanction of the Emperor. The restoration of Athanasius resolved on by the Council was a direct interference with the sovereignty of Constantius . . . But Constans was able once more to make such a skilful use of the existing Persian difficulty that his brother yielded.” The fact is that the recall of Athanasius was altogether forced upon Constantius; the relation of the great bishop to his Emperor at this time was not that of a subject, but that of a hostile power with which he had to treat. This is naturally glossed over in the papers issued by Constantius referring to the recall. It is specially characteristic that Athanasius did not personally present himself before Constantius till after repeated invitations; see, above all, Apol. c. Arian. 51-56, Hist. Arian. 21-23.). The bishop got an enthusiastic welcome in his city. The protest of the Eastern Council at Sirmium—the first Council of Sirmium—had no effect. A large number of the Eastern bishops were themselves tired of the controversy, and it almost looked as if the refusal of the West to condemn Marcellus together with the word ὁμοούσιος, now virtually constituted the only stone of offence.165165A Council of Jerusalem held in 346 under Maximus actually recognised Athanasius as a member of the Church. (Apol. c. Arian. 57). Cyril’s Catecheses shew the standpoint of the Oriental extreme Right; they are undoubtedly based on Orig. de princip.; but they faithfully express the Christological standpoint of the formula macrostichos; the ὁμοούσιος only is wanting; as regards the matter of the Faith, Cyril is orthodox. The polemic directed against Sabellius and Marcellus (Catech. 15, 27) is severe and very bitter; Arianism is also refuted, but without any mention of names. Jews, Samaritans, and Manicheans are the chief opponents referred to, and Cyril is at great pains everywhere to adduce the biblical grounds for the formulæ which he uses. The Catecheses of Cyril are a valuable document in illustration of the fact that amongst the Eastern opponents of the Nicene formula there were bishops who, while fully recognising that Arianism was in the wrong, could not bring themselves to use a doctrinal formula which seemed to them a source of ceaseless strife and to be unbiblical besides.72
But the death of Constans in 350 and the overthrow of the usurper Magnentius in 353 changed everything. If in these last years Constantius had been compelled by the necessities of the situation to submit to the bishops, his own subjects, who had ruled his deceased brother, now that he was sole sovereign he was more than ever resolved to govern the Church and to pay back the humiliations which he had undergone.166166Schiller (p. 283 f.) supposes that Constantius was apprehensive before this that Athanasius would declare for Magnentius. Hence his friendly letter to Athanasius after the death of Constans, Hist. Arian. 24. Already in the year 351 the Easterns had at Sirmium—the second Council—again agreed upon taking common action, and Ursacius and Valens promptly rejoined them.167167Photinus was deposed here. The Creed of this Council, the first formula of Sirmium (in Athanas., de synod. 27, Hilar. de synod. 38 and Socr. II., 30), is identical with the Fourth Formula of Antioch, but numerous anathemas are added to it in which formulæ such as “two gods”, (2), “πλατυσμὸς τῆς οὐσίας ἐστὶν ὁ υἱός” (7), “λογος ἐνδιάθετος ἤ προφορικός” (8) are condemned, and already several explanations of Bible passages are branded as heretical (11, 12, 14-18). The subordination of the Son is expressly (18) avowed in this Creed, which otherwise strongly resembles the Nicene Creed. The anathemas 20-23 have to do with the Holy Ghost. In No. 19 the formula ἕν πρόσωπον is rejected. Nos. 12, 13, deny that the divine element in Christ is capable of suffering. One can see that new questions have emerged. The great thing now was to humiliate the stubborn West. Constantius set about the task with wisdom, but what he wanted done he carried out by the sheer force of terror. He demanded only the condemnation of Athanasius, his mortal enemy, as a rebel, and purposely put the doctrinal question in the background. He forced the Western bishops, at Arles in 353 and at Milan in 355, to agree to this, by terrorising the Councils. The moral overthrow of the Westerns was scarcely less complete than that of the Easterns at Nicæa. Though the great majority were unaware of the struggle and were not forced to adopt a new confessional 73formula, still the fact could not be concealed from those who better understood the state of things, that the projected condemnation of Athanasius meant something more than a personal question. The few bishops who refused were deposed and exiled.168168Of the Western bishops—leaving out Pannonia—almost all were orthodox. The Councils—that of Arles was a provincial Council, that of Milan a General Council, but apparently badly attended—were also managed by the new Pope Liberius (since 352), but ended quite contrary to his will. The best description is in Krüger Lucifer, pp. 11-20. At Arles Paulinus of Trier was the only one who remained firm, and he was exiled to Phrygia; even the Papal legates yielded. At Milan Lucifer and Eusebius. of Vercelli were exiled, and also Dionysius of Milan, although he had agreed to the condemnation of Athanasius. Soon after Hosius, Liberius, and Hilary had to follow them into exile. In Milan Constantius actually ruled the Church, but with a brutal terrorism. There are characteristic utterances of his in Lucifer’s works and in Athanasius. The order for his deposition was communicated to Athanasius in February 356. Yielding only to force, he made his escape into the desert where the Emperor could not reach him. Egypt was in a state of rebellion, but the revolt was put down by the Emperor with blood.169169Already in the years immediately preceding, an incessant agitation had again been kept up against Athanasius; see Socr. II., 26, Sozom. IV., 9, Athan. Apol. ad Const. 2 sq., 14 sq., 19 sq. He betook himself to the desert, but later on he seems to have remained in hiding in Alexandria. No one, it would appear, cared to secure the price set upon his head. We have several writings of his belonging to this period. His successor, George, was pretty much isolated in Alexandria. The unity of the Church was restored; above all, it was once more brought under the imperial sway. And now, forsooth, the orthodox bishops who had formerly secured so much by the help of Constans began to recollect that the Emperor and the State ought not to meddle with religion. Constantius became “Antichrist” for those who would have lauded him as they had his father and his brother, if he had given them the help of his arm.170170The watchword of the “independence” of the Church of the State was now issued by Athanasius, Hilary, and above all by the hot-blooded Lucifer. Hilary, who first emerges into notice in 355, speedily gained a high reputation. He was the first theologian of the West to penetrate into the secrets of the Nicene Creed, and with all his dependence on Athanasius was an original thinker, who, as a theologian, far surpassed the Alexandrian Bishop. On his theology see the monograph by Reinkens, also Möhler, op. cit. 449 ff., and Dorner.
But the political victory of the Eastern bishops directly led to their disunion; for it was only under the tyranny of the West and in the fight against Athanasius and the word 74“ὁμοούσιος” that they had become united. Above all, Arianism in its rigid, aggressive form again made its appearance. Aëtius and Eunomius, two theologians of spirit who had been trained in the Aristotelian dialectic, and were opponents of Platonic speculation, expressed its tenets in the plainest possible way, would have nothing to do with any mediation, and had no scruple in openly proclaiming the conversion of religion into morality and syllogistic reasoning. The formula which they and their followers, Aëtians, Eunomians, Exukontians, Heterousiasts, Anomœans, defended, ran thus: “ἑτερότης κατ᾽ οὐσίαν”, “ἀνόμοιος καὶ κατὰ πάντα καὶ κατ᾽ οὐσίαν” (“different in substance”, “unlike in everything and also in substance”). If they allowed that the Son perfectly knows the Father, this was not in any way a concession, but an expression of the thought that there is no kind of mystery about the Godhead, which on the contrary can be perfectly known by every rightly instructed man. And so too the statement that the Logos had his superior dignity from the date of his creation, and did not first get it by being tested, was not intended at all as a weakening of the Arian dogma, but as an expression of the fact that God the Creator has assigned its limit to every being.171171After the full account given of the theology of Arius there was no need for any detailed description of the theology of Aëtius and Eunomius; for it is nothing but logical Arianism; see on the Ἒκθεσις πίστεως and the Ἀπολογητικός of Eunomius Fabricius-Harless T. IX. The rejection of all conciliatory formulæ is characteristic. The great majority of the Eastern bishops, for whom the Origenistic formula in very varied combinations were authoritative, were opposed to this party. The old watchword, however, “the unchangeable image”, which was capable of different interpretations, now received in opposition to Arianism, in its strict form, and on the basis of the formula of Antioch, more and more a precise signification as implying that the Son is of like nature with the Father in respect of substance also, and not only in respect of will (ὅμοιος κατὰ πὰντα καὶ κατὰ τὴν οὐσίαν), and that his begetting is not an act at all identical with creation. The likeness of the qualities of Son and Father was more and more recognised here; on the other hand, the substantial unity was disallowed, so as to avoid getting on the track of Marcellus; 75i.e., these theologians did not, like Athanasius, advance from the unity to the mystery of the duality, but, on the contrary, still started from the duality and sought to reach the unity by making Father and Son perfectly co-ordinate. They therefore still had a Θεὸς δεύτερος, and in accordance with this excluded the idea of full community of substance. The leaders of these Homoiousians, also called semi-Arians, were George of Laodicea,172172Dräseke (Ges. patristische Unters., 1889, p. 1 ff.) wishes to credit him with the anonymous work against the Manicheans, which Lagarde discovered (1859) in a MS. of Titus of Bostra. Eustathius of Sebaste, Eusebius of Emesa, Basilius of Ancyra, and others.
The point of supreme importance with the Emperor necessarily was to maintain intact the unity between those who up till now had been united, but this was all the more difficult as the Homoiousians more and more developed their doctrinal system in such a way that their ideas came to have weight even with those Westerns who lingered in exile in the East and whose theology was on Nicene lines.173173With Hilary, for example, as his work “de synodis” proves. It is very characteristic that Lucifer, the strictest of the Nicenes, never came to have a clear idea of the meaning of the formulæ, ὁμοούσιος and ὁμοιούσιος; see Krüger, p. 37 f. Some bishops who were devoted to Constantius and who represented simply and solely the interests of the Emperor and of the Empire, now sought by means of a formula of the most indefinite possible character to unite Arians and semi-Arians. These were Ursacius, Valens, Acacius of Cæsarea, and Eudoxius of Antioch. If up till 356 the Nicene Creed had, strictly speaking, been merely evaded, now at last a Confession was to be openly brought forward in direct opposition to the Nicene Creed. Simple likeness of nature was to be the dogmatic catchword, all more definite characterisations being omitted, and in support of this, appeal was made to the insoluble mystery presented by the Holy Scriptures (ὅμοιος κατὰ τὰς γραφάς—like according to the Scriptures). This ingenious formula, along with which, it is true, was a statement expressly emphasising the subordination, left it free to every one to have what ideas he chose regarding the extent of the qualities of Father and Son, which were thus declared to be of like kind. The relative ὅμοιος did not necessarily 76exclude the relative ἀνόμοιος, but neither did it exclude the ὁμοιούσιος. Already at the third Council of Sirmium (357), after Constantius, on a visit to Rome, had overthrown his enemies, a formula was set forth by the Western bishops of as conciliatory a character so far as Arianism was concerned as could possibly be conceived. It was proclaimed in presence of the Emperor, who under the influence of his consort came more and more to have Arian sympathies. This is the second Sirmian formula.174174The Confession is in Hilary, de Synod. 11, Athan. de synod. 28, Socrat. II. 30. Valens, Ursacius and Germinius of Sirmium took the lead. The words ὁμοούσιος and ὁμοιούσιος were forbidden as being unbiblical and because no one could express the generation of the Son. It is settled that the Father is greater, that the Son is subordinate. Here too the Christological problem of the future is already touched upon. Hilary pronounces the formula blasphemous. It marks the turning-point in the long controversy to this extent that it is the first public attempt to controvert the Nicene Creed. Against it Phobadius wrote the tractate “de filii divinitate”, which is severely Western-Nicene in tone, and in this respect is markedly different from the conciliatory work of Hilary “de synodis”; see on it Gwatkin, p. 159 sq. The Eastern bishops Acacius and Uranius of Tyre, who shared the sentiments of the court-bishops, accorded a vote of thanks to the latter at a Council at Antioch, held in 358. Hosius subscribed the second Sirmian formula (Socr. II. 31). But the bishops assembled at Ancyra did not acquiesce in the move towards the Left (358).175175Aëtius was in high favour with Eudoxius of Antioch, and his pupils occupied the Eastern bishoprics. The manifesto of Sirmium appeared like an edict of toleration for strict Arianism. At the instigation of George of Laodicea some Semi-Arians joined together to oppose it at the Council of Ancyra. The comprehensive synodal-letter of Ancyra (Epiph. p. 73, 2-11, see Hilar. de synod) indicates the transition on the part of the Semi-Arians to the point of view at which the Nicæans were able to meet them. It was re-echoed in the writings of Hilary and Athanasius de synodis (358-359). The Semi-Arians at Ancyra took up a position based on the fourth Antiochian formula, which was also that of Philippopolis and of the First Sirmian Council, but they explained that the new Arianism made it necessary to have precise statements. The following are the most important explanations given; (1) the name Father by its very form points to the fact that God must be the author of a substance of like quality with Him (αἴτιος ὁμοίας αὐτοῦ οὐσίας): πᾶς πατὴρ ὁμοίας αὐτοῦ οὐσίας νοεῖται πατήρ—this does away with the relation of Logos-Son and world-idea—(2) the designation “Son” excludes everything of a created kind and involves the full ὁμοιότης, (3) “the Son” is consequently Son in the peculiar and unique sense, and the analogy with men as sons of God is thus done away with. The likeness in substance is further based on Bible statements, and in the 19 anathemas together with Sabellianism all formulæ are rejected which express less than likeness in substance. Finally, however, “ὁμοούσιος” too, together with the characteristic addition “ἤ ταυτοούσιος” has an anathema attached to it, i.e., the substantial unity of essence is rejected as Sabellian. The Conservatives of the East have undoubtedly here quite changed their ground. A definitely defined doctrine has taken the place of prolix formulæ, at once cosmological and soteriological in drift, and derived from Origen, Lucian, and Eusebius. What a 77change! Easterns now defended purity of doctrine against Arianising Westerns! A deputation from this Council succeeded in paralysing the influence of the Arians with Constantius, and in asserting at the Fourth Council of Sirmium, in 358, their fundamental principles to which the Emperor lent the weight of his authority.176176The victory of the Semi-Arians at the court is a turn of affairs which we cannot clearly explain. The fact is incontestable. The third formula of Sirmium, drawn up at the Fourth Council of Sirmium, is identical with the fourth Antiochian formula. That Constantius should have fallen back on this is perhaps to be explained from the fact that the disturbances at Rome made it necessary for him to send Liberius back there, though the most he could hope for was to get him to subscribe that formula, but not the manifesto of the year 357. He actually got him to do this, i.e., Liberius subscribed several older confessional formularies which originated at a time when the Nicene Creed had been only indirectly attacked. It was not only, however, that Liberius bought his freedom at that time, but it was actually for the time being a question of a general victory of the Homoiousians, which they used too entirely in their own interest, after all the bishops present at Sirmium, including Ursacius and Valens, had had to make up their minds to subscribe the synodal decrees. Eudoxius of Antioch and Aëtius and in addition 70 Anomœans were banished at the instigation of Basil of Ancyra and there were many instances of the violent use of power. One cannot be certain if these same violent proceedings did not bring about once more a quick change of feeling on the part of the Emperor. But the triumph of the Homoiousians led by Basilius Ancyranus was of short duration. The Emperor saw that the Church could not be delivered up either to Nicæans, to semi-Arians, or to Arians. The alliance between the two first mentioned, which was so zealously pushed on by Hilary, was not yet perfect. A grand Council was to declare the imperial will, and Homoiousians and Arians vied with each other in their efforts to get influencing it. The Homœans alone, however, both in their character as leaders and as led, concurred with the Emperor’s views. They were represented by Ursacius, Valens, Marcus of Arethusa, Auxentius of Milan, and Germinius of Sirmium. The fourth Sirmian formula (359), an imperial cabinet-edict and a political masterpiece, was intended to embody what was to be laid before the Council.177177The Council was intended to bring about at last a general peace; at first the Emperor evidently intended to summon it to meet at Nicæa (Soz. IV. 16), then Nicomedia was next considered as a likely place, but it was destroyed by an earthquake. Then it was that Nicæa was again thought of; Basil of Ancyra had still a great influence at the time. Finally, the party opposed to this was victorious, and the plan of a division of the Councils was carried through. But it was just this opposition-party which now wished to unite all parties in a Homœan Confession and gained over the Emperor to assent to this. The actual result, however, was that Homœans and Anomœans on the one hand, Homoiousians and Homousians on the other, more and more drew together. Hilary, who was staying in the East, had indeed already explained to his Gallic compatriots that it was possible to attach an “unpious” meaning to ὁμοούσιος quite as readily as to ὁμοιούσιος. The bishops assembled in presence of the Emperor now composed in advance for the Council a Confession which, since Semi-Arians were also present, might serve as a means of reconciling Homœan and Homoiousian conceptions. It was already evident at the time of signing it that it was differently interpreted. The catchwords ran thus: ὅμοιον πατρὶ κατὰ τὰς γραφάς—ὅμοιον κατὰ πάντα ὡς οἱ ἅγιαι γραφαὶ λέγουσιν. Valens signed it and at the same time simply repeated the word ὅμοιον without the κατὰ πάντα; Basil in signing it expressly remarked that πάντα included being also. The formula is in Athan. de synd. 8, Socrat. II. 37; see Sozom. IV. 17. The dogmatic treatise of Basil in Epiph. H. 73, 12-22, has reference to this formula, which Athanasius (de synodis) had already scoffed at because of its being dated, i.e., because it bore the signs of its newness on its front. The latter 78was summoned to meet at Rimini and Seleucia because the circumstances in the East and West respectively differed so very much. In May 359 more than four hundred Western bishops assembled at Rimini. They were instructed to treat only of matters relating to the Faith and not to leave the Council till the unity aimed at had been attained. But the Emperor’s confidants failed to induce the great majority of the members to accept the Sirmian formula. The bishops, on the contrary, took their stand on the basis of the Nicene Creed which had been abandoned during these last years, rejected Arianism and declared its friends deposed. But when they sought by means of a Deputation to get the Emperor to give his sanction to their decisions, they did not get a hearing. The Deputation was not admitted to the Emperor’s presence, was at first detained and then conducted to Nice in Thrace, where the members at last shewed themselves docile enough to sign a formula—the formula of Nice—which was undoubtedly essentially identical with the Confession which the Westerns had themselves drawn up two years earlier at Sirmium, at the third Synod in 357—(“the Son is like the Father [κατὰ πάντα is omitted] according to the Scriptures”). Armed with this document 79Ursacius and Valens made their way to Rimini, taking the deputies with them, and by means of threats and persuasions finally induced the Assembly there to accept the formula into which one could indeed read the Homoiousia, but not the Homousia. In the autumn of 359 the Eastern Synod met at Seleucia. The Homoiousians, with whom some Niceans already made common cause, had the main say. Still the minority led by Acacius and Eudoxius, which defended the Sirmian formula and clung to the likeness while limiting it, however, to the will, was not an insignificant one. There was an open rupture in the Synod. The majority finally deposed the heads of the opposition-party.178178Socr. II. 37 explains that Nice was chosen with the view of giving to the new formula a name which sounded the same as that of the Nicene Creed. The formula is in Athan. de synod. 30, and Theodoret II. 21: ὁμοιον κατὰ τὰς γραφάς, οὗ τὴν γέννησιν οὐδεὶς οἶδεν. In addition: τὸ δὲ ὄνομα τῆς οὐσίας ὅπερ ἁπλούστερον ἐνετέθη ὑπὸ τῶν πατέρων, ἀγνοούμενον δὲ τοἶς λαοῖς σκάνδαλον ἔφερε, διὰ τὸ ἐν ταῖς γραφαὶς τοῦτο μὴ ἐκφέρεσθαι, ἤρεσε περιαιρεθῆναι καὶ παντελῶς μηδεμίαν μνήμην οὐσίας τοῦ λοιποῦ γίνεσθαι . . . μήτε μὴ δεῖν ἐπὶ προσώπου πατρὸς καὶ υἱοῦ καὶ ἁγίου πνεύματος μίαν ὑπόστασιν ὀνομάζεσθαι. One might be pleased with this rational explanation if polytheism did not in fact lurk behind it. But as regards the East as well, the decision lay with the court.179179Hilary was present in Seleucia and made common cause with the Homoiousians against the others. Acacius in face of the superior numbers of the Homoiousians sought to save his party by drawing up a creed in which he expressly repudiated the Anomœans and proclaimed the likeness in will, (see the creed in Athanas. de synod. 29, Epiph. H. 73, c. 25, Socr. II. 40). But this did not protect him and his party. The Emperor, importuned on all sides, had resolved to abandon the strict Arians, and accordingly Aëtius was banished and his Homœan friends had to leave him, but he was also determined to dictate the formula of Nice to the Easterns too.180180It was on the night of the last day of the year 359 that the Emperor achieved the triumph of the ὅμοιος in his empire. Their representatives finally condescended to recognise the formula, and this event was announced at the Council of Constantinople in 360, and the Homœan Confession was once more formulated.181181The Confession is in Athanas. de synod. 30 and Socr. II. 41. Although the new Imperial Confession involved the exclusion of the extreme Left, this did not constitute its peculiar significance. Had it actually been what it appeared to be, a formula of union for all who rejected the 80unlikeness, it would not have been something to be condemned, from the standpoint of the State at all events. But in the following year it was recklessly used as a weapon against the Homoiousians.182182People like Eudoxius and Acacius were real victors; they got a perfectly free hand for themselves against the Homoiousians at the cost of the condemnation of Aëtius, and made common cause with Valens and Ursinus. The Creed of Nice was sent all over the Empire for signature under threat of penalty. They had to vacate all positions of influence, and by way of making up for what had been done to the one Aëtius, who had been sacrificed, his numerous friends were installed as bishops.183183Eunomius became bishop of Cyzikus; Eudoxius of Antioch received the chair of Constantinople. Under cover of the “likeness in nature” a mild form of Arianism was actually established in the Church, modified chiefly only by the absence of principle. In Gaul alone did the orthodox bishops once more bestir themselves after Julian had in January 360 been proclaimed Augustus at Paris.184184See the epistle of the Synod of Paris (360 or 361) in Hilar. Fragm. XI. It did not at that time require any courage to declare against Constantius. Constantius died in November 361, during the campaign against the rebels.
|« Prev||2. To the Death of Constantius.||Next »|