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Chapter XLI.—On the Emperor’s Return from the West, the Acacians assemble at Constantinople, and confirm the Creed of Ariminum, after making Some Additions to it.

And now the emperor returned from the West and appointed a prefect over Constantinople, Honoratus by name, having abolished the office of proconsul.427427    On the distinction between the prefect and proconsul and the different functions of each, see Smith, Diction. of Greek and Roman Ant. The statement of Socrates here that Constantius first put Constantinople under a prefect is borne out by Athanasius’ mention of Donatus as proconsul of Europe, with Constantinople as chief city. But the Acacians being beforehand with the bishops, calumniated them to the emperor, persuading him not to admit the creed which they had proposed. This so annoyed the emperor that he resolved to disperse them; he therefore published an edict, commanding that such of them as were subject to fill certain public offices should be no longer exempted from the performance of the duties attached to them. For several of them were liable to be called on to occupy various official departments,428428    The General Synod of Chalcedon, 451 a.d., in its seventh canon forbade, under pain of anathema, the mixing of the clerical office with political and worldly matters. connected both with the city magistracy, and in subordination to the presidents and governors of provinces.429429    The τάξεις here mentioned were classes of officials appointed under a sort of military law, to serve for a given length of time as agents of the presidents and governors of provinces. Cf. Justin. Cod. 12, tit. 52–59. While these were thus harassed the partisans of Acacius remained for a considerable time at Constantinople and held another Synod. Sending for the bishops at Bithynia, about fifty assembled on this occasion, among whom was Maris, bishop of Chalcedon: these confirmed the creed read at Ariminum to which the names of the consuls had been prefixed.430430    Cf. chap. 37. It would have been unnecessary to repeat it here, had there not been some additions made to it; but since that was done, it may be desirable to transcribe it in its new form.431431    Athanas. de Synodd. 30.

‘We believe in one God the Father Almighty, of whom are all things. And in the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of God before all ages, and before every beginning; through whom all things visible and invisible were made: who is the only-begotten born of the Father, the only of the only, God of God, like to the Father who begat him, according to the Scriptures, and whose generation no one knows but the Father only that begat him. We know that this only-begotten Son of God, as sent of the Father, came down from the heavens, as it is written, for the destruction of sin and death: and that he was born of the Holy Spirit, and of the Virgin Mary according to the flesh, as it is written, and conversed with his disciples; and that after every dispensation had been fulfilled according to his Father’s will, he was crucified and died, and was buried and descended into the lower parts of the earth, at whose presence hades itself trembled: who also arose from the dead on the third day, again conversed with his disciples, and after the completion of forty days was taken up into the heavens, and sits at the right hand of the Father, whence he will come in the last day, the day of the resurrection, in his Father’s glory, to requite every one accord-to his works. [We believe] also in the Holy Spirit, whom he himself the only-begotten of God, Christ our Lord and God, promised to send to mankind as the Comforter, according as it is written,432432    John xv. 26. “the Spirit of truth”; whom he sent to them after he was received into the heavens. But since the term ousia [substance or essence], which was used by the fathers in a very simple and intelligible sense, but not being understood by the people, has been a cause of offense, we have thought proper to reject it, as it is not contained even in the sacred writings; and that no mention of it should be made in future, inasmuch as the holy Scriptures have nowhere mentioned the substance of the Father and of the Son. Nor ought the “subsistence” of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit to be even named. But we affirm that the Son is like the Father, in such a manner as the sacred Scriptures declare and teach. Let therefore all heresies which have been already condemned, or may have arisen of late, which are opposed to this exposition of the faith, be anathema.’

These things were recognized at that time at Constantinople. And now as we have at length 72wound our way through the labyrinth of all the various forms of faith, let us reckon the number of them. After that which was promulgated at Nicæa, two others were proposed at Antioch at the dedication of the church there.433433    Chap. 10. A third was presented to the Emperor in Gaul by Narcissus and those who accompanied him.434434    Chap. 18. The fourth was sent by Eudoxius into Italy.435435    Chap. 19. There were three forms of the creed published at Sirmium, one of which having the consuls’ names prefixed was read at Ariminum.436436    Chaps. 30, 37. The Acacian party produced an eighth at Seleucia.437437    Chap. 41. The last was that of Constantinople, containing the prohibitory clause respecting the mention of ‘substance’ or ‘subsistence’ in relation to God. To this creed Ulfilas bishop of the Goths gave his assent, although he had previously adhered to that of Nicæa; for he was a disciple of Theophilus bishop of the Goths, who was present at the Nicene council, and subscribed what was there determined. Let this suffice on these subjects.


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