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Chapter XXXVI.—Of the Synod at Milan.

Now at that time the bishops met in Italy, very few indeed from the East, most of them being hindered from coming either by the firmities of age or by the distance; but of the West there were more than three hundred.389389    So also Sozomen, IV. 9; but the number appears exorbitant. Valesius conjectures that the texts of Socrates and Sozomen are corrupted, and that we must read thirty instead of three hundred. The smaller number agrees exactly with the list given in the epistle of this council to Eusebius of Vercellæ; in this list thirty bishops are named as agreeing to the condemnation of Athanasius, Marcellus, and Photinus. Cf. Baronius, Annal. year 355. It was a command of the emperor that they should be assembled at Milan. On meeting, the Eastern prelates opened the Synod by calling upon those convened to pass a unanimous sentence of condemnation against Athanasius; with this object in view, that he might thenceforward be utterly shut out from Alexandria. But Paulinus, bishop of Treves in Gaul, and Dionysius, of whom the former was bishop of Alba,390390    Sozomen (IV. 9) agrees here also with Socrates; but Athanasius, in Epist. ad Solitar., and after him Baronius and Valesius, make Milan and not Alba, the metropolis of Italy, and Dionysius bishop of Milan, and not of Alba. the metropolis of Italy, and Eusebius of Vercellæ, a city of Liguria in Italy, perceiving that the Eastern bishops, by demanding a ratification of the sentence against Athanasius, were intent on subverting the faith, arose and loudly exclaimed that ‘this proposition indicated a covert plot against the principles of Christian truth. For they insisted that the charges against Athanasius were unfounded, and merely invented by his accusers as a means of corrupting the faith.’ 61Having made this protest with much vehemence of manner, the congress of bishops was then dissolved.


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