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Chapter XXV.—Causes of the Deposition of Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem. Mutual Dissensions among the Bishops. Melitius is ordained by the Arians, and supplants Eustathius in the Bishopric of Sebaste.

Besides the prelates above mentioned, Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, was deposed13471347    See references to previous chapter. because he had admitted Eustathius and Elpidius into communion, after they had opposed the decrees enacted by those convened at Melitina, among whom was Cyril himself; and because he had also received Basil and George, bishop of Laodicea, into communion after their deposition in Palestine. When Cyril was first installed in the bishopric of Jerusalem, he had a dispute with Acacius, bishop of Cæsarea, concerning his rights as a Metropolitan, which he claimed on the ground of his bishopric being an apostolic see. This dispute excited feelings of enmity between the two bishops, and they mutually accused each other of unsoundness of doctrine concerning the Godhead. In fact, they had both been suspected previously; the one, that is, Acacius, of favoring the heresy of Arius; and the other, of siding with those who maintain that the Son is in substance like unto the Father. Acacius being thus inimically disposed towards Cyril, and finding himself supported by the bishops of the province, who were of the same sentiments as himself, contrived to depose Cyril under the following pretext. Jerusalem and the neighboring country was at one time visited with a famine, and the poor appealed in great multitudes to Cyril, as their bishop, for necessary food. As he had no money to purchase the requisite provisions, he sold for this purpose the veil and sacred ornaments of the church. It is said that a man, having recognized an offering which he had presented at the altar as forming part of the costume of an actress, made it his business to inquire whence it was procured; and ascertained that a merchant had sold it to the actress, and that the bishop had sold it to the merchant. It was under this pretext that Acacius deposed Cyril.

And on inquiry I find these to be the facts. It is said that the Acacians then expelled from Constantinople all the bishops above mentioned who had been deposed. Ten bishops of their own party who had refused to subscribe to these edicts of deposition, were separated from the others, and were interdicted from performing the functions of the ministry or ruling their churches until they consented to give their signatures. It was enacted that unless they complied within six months,13481348    See the abrogation of the time-limit through a Synod convened by Eudoxius. Philost. vii. 6. and yielded their assent to all the decrees of the council, they should be deposed, and that the bishops of every province should be summoned to elect other bishops in their stead. After these determinations and deeds, letters were then sent to all the bishops and clergy, to observe and fulfill its decrees.

As a consequence, not long after, some of the Eudoxian party were substituted here and there. Eudoxius himself took possession of the bishopric of Macedonius; Athanasius was placed over the church of Basil; and Eunomius, who was 322subsequently the leader of a heresy bearing his name, took the see of Eleusius; and Meletius was appointed to the church of Sebaste, instead of Eustathius.


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