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38Chapter VI.—Alexander, Bishop of Constantinople, when at the Point of Death proposes the Election either of Paul or of Macedonius as his Successor.

About the same time another disturbance in addition to those we have recorded, was raised at Constantinople on the following account. Alexander, who had presided over the churches in that city, and had strenuously opposed Arius, departed this life,265265    Socrates is undoubtedly mistaken in setting the date of Alexander’s death as late as 340 a.d. The council convened to examine and confute the charges against Athanasius met in 339 a.d., and the record at that date has it (see chap. 7) that Eusebius had taken possession of the see of Constantinople. Alexander must therefore have died before 339. having occupied the bishopric for twenty-three years and lived ninety-eight years in all, without having ordained any one to succeed him. But he had enjoined the proper persons to choose one of the two whom he named; that is to say, if they desired one who was competent to teach, and of eminent piety, they should elect Paul, whom he had himself ordained presbyter, a man young indeed in years, but of advanced intelligence and prudence; but if they wished a man of venerable aspect, and external show only of sanctity, they might appoint Macedonius, who had long been a deacon among them and was aged. Hence there arose a great contest respecting the choice of a bishop which troubled the church exceedingly; for ever since the people were divided into two parties, one of which favored the tenets of Arius, while the other held what the Nicene Synod had defined, those who held the doctrine of consubstantiality always had the advantage during the life of Alexander, the Arians disagreeing among themselves and perpetually conflicting in opinion. But after the death of that prelate, the issue of the struggle became doubtful, the defenders of the orthodox faith insisting on the ordination of Paul, and all the Arian party espousing the cause of Macedonius. Paul therefore was ordained bishop in the church called Irene,266266    So called, not because there was a saint or eminent person of that name, but on the same principle as the church called Sophia. For the history of the latter church, see Dehio and Bezold, Die Kirchliche Baukuns des Abendlandes, I. p. 21. which is situated near the great church of Sophia; whose election appeared to be more in accordance with the suffrage of the deceased.


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