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Chapter XXIV.—Athanasius, passing through Jerusalem on his Return to Alexandria, is received into Communion by Maximus: and a Synod of Bishops, convened in that City, confirms the Nicene Creed.

Athanasius the bishop being fortified with such letters as these, passed through Syria, and came into Palestine. On arriving at Jerusalem he acquainted Maximus the bishop both with what had been done in the Council of Sardica, and also that the Emperor Constantius had confirmed its decision: he then proposed that a Synod of the bishops there should be held. Maximus,336336    The bishop of Jerusalem was under the jurisdiction of the metropolitan bishop of Cæsarea, and according to later usage and canon, had no right to call a synod without the permission of the metropolitan. Evidently usage had not yet become fixed into uniformity in this respect. therefore, without delay sent for certain of the bishops of Syria and Palestine, and having assembled a council, he restored Athanasius to communion, and to his former dignity. After which the Synod communicated by letter337337    Cf. Athan, Apol. c. Arian. 57. 53to the Alexandrians, and to all the bishops of Egypt and Libya, what had been determined respecting Athanasius. Whereupon the adversaries of Athanasius exceedingly derided Maximus, because having before assisted in his deposition, he had suddenly changed his mind, and as if nothing had previously taken place, had voted for his restoration to communion and rank. When Ursacius and Valens, who had been fiery partisans of Arianism, ascertained these things, condemning their former zeal, they proceeded to Rome, where they presented their recantation to Julius the bishop, and gave their assent to the doctrine of consubstantiality: they also wrote to Athanasius, and expressed their readiness to hold communion with him in future. Thus Ursacius and Valens were at that time subdued by the good fortune of Athanasius and induced to recognize the orthodox faith. Athanasius passed through Pelusium on his way to Alexandria, and admonished the inhabitants of every city to beware of the Arians, and to receive those only that professed the Homoousian faith. In some of the churches also he performed ordination; which afforded another ground of accusation against him, because of his undertaking to ordain in the dioceses of others.338338    Cf. Apost. Cann. XXXV. ‘Let not a bishop dare to ordain beyond his limits, in cities and places not subject to him.’ It follows, therefore, that the whole of Egypt was not under the bishop of Alexandria; otherwise no such charge as is here mentioned could have been made against Athanasius. That these ordinations were made in Egypt is evident from the mention of Pelusium, which Athanasius had already passed through. Such was the progress of affairs at that period in reference to Athanasius.


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