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Chapter VIII.—Election of Nectarius to the See of Constantinople; his Birthplace and Education.

A certain man of Tarsus in Cilicia, of the illustrious order of senator, was at this period residing at Constantinople.15311531    Soc. v. 8; cf. Theodoret, H. E. v. 8; Marcell. s. a.d. 381. Soz. is entirely independent. Being about to return to his own country, he called upon Diodorus, bishop of Tarsus, to inquire whether he had any letters to send by him. Diodorus was fully intent upon the ordination, which was the subject then engrossing universal attention of the men. He had no sooner seen Nectarius than he considered him worthy of the bishopric, 381and straightway determined this in his own mind as he reflected on the venerable age of the man, his form so befitting a priest, and the suavity of his manners. He conducted him, as if upon some other business, to the bishop of Antioch, and requested him to use his influence to procure this election. The bishop of Antioch derided this request, for the names of the most eminent men had already been proposed for consideration. He, however, called Nectarius to him, and desired him to remain for a short time with him. Some time after, the emperor commanded the priests to draw up a list of the names of those whom they thought worthy of the ordination, reserving to himself the right of choosing any one of those whose names were thus submitted to him. All the bishops complied with this mandate; and, among the others, the bishop of Antioch wrote down the names of those whom he proposed as candidates for the bishopric, and, at the end of his list, from consideration for Diodorus, he inserted the name of Nectarius. The emperor read the list of those inscribed and stopped at the name of Nectarius at the end of the document, on which he placed his finger, and seemed for some time lost in reflection; ran it up to the beginning, and again went through the whole, and chose Nectarius. This nomination excited great astonishment and all the people were anxious to ascertain who Nectarius was, his manner of life, and birthplace. When they heard that he had not been initiated their amazement was increased at the decision of the emperor. I believe that Diodorus himself was not aware that Nectarius had not been baptized; for, had he been acquainted with this fact, he would not have ventured to give his vote for the priesthood to one uninitiated. It appears reasonable to suppose, that on perceiving that Nectarius was of advanced age, he took it for granted that he had been initiated long previously. But these events did not take place without the interposition of God. For when the emperor was informed that Nectarius had not been initiated, he remained of the same opinion, although opposed by many priests. When at last, consent had been given to the imperial mandate, Nectarius was initiated, and while yet clad in his initiatory robes, was proclaimed bishop of Constantinople by the unanimous voice of the Synod. Many have conjectured that the emperor was led to make this election by a Divine revelation. I shall not decide whether this conjecture be true or false; but I feel convinced, when I reflect on the extraordinary circumstances attending this ordination, that the events were not brought about without the Divine strength; and that God led this mild and virtuous and excellent man into the priesthood. Such are the details which I have been able to ascertain concerning the ordination of Nectarius.


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