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Chapter III.—Letters of the Council of Sardica to the Churches of Egypt and of Alexandria, and to all Churches.

But when, notwithstanding, Eusebius and his fellows proceeded without shame, disturbing the Churches, and plotting the ruin of many, the most religious Emperors Constantius and Constans being informed of this, commanded the Bishops from both the West and East to meet together in the city of Sardica. In the meantime Eusebius588588    Of Nicodemia. died: but a great number assembled from all parts, and we challenged the associates of Eusebius and his fellows to submit to a trial. But they, having before their eyes the things that they had done, and perceiving that their accusers had come up to the Council, were afraid to do this; but, while all besides met with honest intentions, they again brought with them the Counts589589    Hist. Ar. 15. Musonianus590590    Musonian was originally of Antioch, and his name Strategius; he had been promoted and honoured with a new name by Constantine, for whom he had collected information about the Manichees. Amm. Marc. xv. 13, §1. In 354, he was Prætorian Prefect of the East. (vid. de Syn. 1, note 1.) Libanius praises him. and Hesychius the Castrensian591591    The Castrensians were the officers of the palace; castra, as στρατόπεδον, infr. §86. being at this time used for the Imperial Court. vid. Gothofred in Cod. Theod. vi. 30. p. 218. Du Cange in voc., that, as their custom was, they might effect their own aims by their authority. But when the Council met without Counts, and no soldiers were permitted to be present, they were confounded, and conscience-stricken, because they could no longer obtain the judgment they wished, but such only as reason and truth required. We, however, frequently repeated our challenge, and the Council of Bishops called upon them to come forward, saying, “You have come for the purpose of undergoing a trial; why then do you now withdraw yourselves? Either you ought not to have come, or having come, not to conceal yourselves. Such conduct will prove your greatest condemnation. Behold, Athanasius and his fellows are here, whom you accused while absent; if therefore you think that you have any thing against them, you may convict them face to face. But if you pretend to be unwilling to do so, while in truth you are unable, you plainly shew yourselves to be calumniators, and this is the decision the Council will give you.” When they heard this they were self-condemned (for they were conscious of their machinations and fabrications against us), and were ashamed to appear, thereby proving themselves to have been guilty of many base calumnies.

The holy Council therefore denounced their indecent and suspicious flight592592    To Philippopolis., and admitted us to make our defence; and when we had related their conduct towards us, and proved the truth of our statements by witnesses and other evidence, they were filled with astonishment, and all acknowledged that our opponents had good reason to be afraid to meet the Council, lest their guilt should be proved before their faces. They said also, that probably they had come from the East, supposing that Athanasius and his fellows would not appear, but that, when they saw them confident in their cause, and challenging a trial, they fled. They accordingly received us as injured persons who had been falsely accused, and confirmed yet more towards us their fellowship and love. But they deposed Eusebius’s associates in wickedness, who had become even more shameless than himself, viz., Theodorus593593    p. 111, note 2. of Heraclea, Narcissus of Neronias, Acacius594594    [Prolegg. ch. ii. §8 (2) b.] of Cæsarea, Stephanus595595    Hist. Arian. §20. of Antioch, Ursacius and Valens of Pannonia, Menophantus of Ephesus, and George596596    [Prolegg. ch. ii. §3 (2) c. 1. and §8 (2) c.] of Laodicaea; and they wrote to the Bishops in all parts of the world, and to the diocese of each of the injured persons, in the following terms.

Letter of the Council of Sardica to the Church of Alexandria.

The Holy Council, by the grace of God assembled at Sardica, from597597    Vid. supr. p. 100, where Isauria, Thessaly, Sicily, Britain, &c., added. Also Theod. H. E. ii. 6. vid. p. 120 note 9 a. Rome, Spain, Gaul, Italy, Campania, Calabria, Apulia, Africa, Sardinia, Pannonia, Mœsia, Dacia, Noricum, Siscia, Dardania, the other Dacia, Macedonia, Thessaly, Achaia, Epirus, Thrace, Rhodope, Palestine, Arabia, Crete, and Egypt, to their beloved brothers, the Presbyters and Deacons, and to all the Holy Church of God abiding at Alexandria, sends health in the Lord.

37. We were not ignorant, but the fact was 120well known to us, even before we received the letters of your piety, that the supporters of the abominated heresy of the Arians were practising many dangerous machinations, rather to the destruction of their own souls, than to the injury of the Church. For this has ever been the object of their unprincipled craft; this is the deadly design in which they have been continually engaged; viz. how they may best expel from their places and persecute all who are to be found anywhere of orthodox sentiments, and maintaining the doctrine of the Catholic Church, which was delivered to them from the Fathers. Against some they have laid false accusations; others they have driven into banishment; others they have destroyed by the punishments inflicted on them. At any rate they endeavoured by violence and tyranny to surprise the innocence of our brother and fellow-Bishop Athanasius, and therefore conducted their enquiry into his case without any care, without any faith, without any sort of justice. Accordingly having no confidence in the part they had played on that occasion, nor yet in the reports they had circulated against him, but perceiving that they were unable to produce any certain evidence respecting the case, when they came to the city of Sardica, they were unwilling to meet the Council of all the holy Bishops. From this it became evident that the decision of our brother and fellow-Bishop Julius was a just one598598    Vid. infr. §51, note.; for after cautious deliberation and care he had determined, that we ought not to hesitate at all about communion with our brother Athanasius. For he had the credible testimony of eighty Bishops, and was also able to advance this fair argument in his support that by the mere means of our dearly beloved brethren his own Presbyters, and by correspondence, he had defeated the design of Eusebius and his fellows, who relied more upon violence than upon a judicial enquiry.

Wherefore all the Bishops from all parts determined upon holding communion with Athanasius on the ground that he was innocent. And let your charity also observe, that when he came to the holy Council assembled at Sardica, the Bishops of the East were informed of the circumstance, as we said before, both by letter, and by injunctions conveyed by word of mouth, and were invited by us to be present. But, being condemned by their own conscience, they had recourse to unbecoming excuses, and set themselves to avoid the enquiry. They demanded that an innocent man should be rejected from our communion, as a culprit, not considering how unbecoming, or rather how impossible, such a proceeding was. And as for the Reports which were framed in the Mareotis by certain most wicked and most abandoned youths599599    Supr. p. 107, note 9., to whose hands one would not commit the very lowest office of the ministry, it is certain that they were ex parte statements. For neither was our brother the Bishop Athanasius present on the occasion, nor the Presbyter Macarius who was accused by them. And besides, their enquiry, or rather their falsification of facts, was attended by the most disgraceful circumstances. Sometimes heathens, sometimes Catechumens, were examined, not that they might declare what they knew, but that they might assert those falsehoods which they had been taught by others. And when you Presbyters, who were in charge in the absence of your Bishop, desired to be present at the enquiry, in order that you might shew the truth, and disprove the falsehoods, no regard was paid to you; they would not permit you to be present, but drove you away with insult.

Now although their calumnies have been most plainly exposed before all men by these circumstances; yet we found also, on reading the Reports, that the most iniquitous Ischyras, who has obtained from them the empty title of Bishop as his reward for the false accusation, had convicted himself of calumny. He declares in the Reports that at the very time when, according to his positive assertions, Macarius entered his cell, he lay there sick; whereas Eusebius and his fellows had the boldness to write that Ischyras was standing up and offering when Macarius came in.

38. The base and slanderous charge which they next alleged against him, has become well-known to all men. They raised a great outcry, affirming that Athanasius had committed murder, and had made away with one Arsenius a Meletian Bishop, whose loss they pretended to deplore with feigned lamentations and fictitious tears, and demanded that the body of a living man, as if a dead one, should be given up to them. But their fraud was not undetected; one and all knew that the person was alive, and was numbered among the living. And when these men, who are ready upon any opportunity, perceived their falsehoods detected (for Arsenius shewed himself alive, and so proved that he had not been made away with, and was not dead), yet they would not rest, but proceeded to add other to their former calumnies600600    Vid. supr. §36. infr. §87., and to slander the man by a fresh expedient. Well; our brother Athanasius, dearly beloved, was not confounded, but again in the 121present case also with great boldness challenged them to the proof, and we too prayed and exhorted them to come to the trial, and if they were able, to establish their charge against him. O great arrogance! O dreadful pride! or rather, if one must say the truth, O evil and accusing conscience! for this is the view which all men take of it.

Wherefore, beloved brethren, we admonish and exhort you, above all things to maintain the right faith of the Catholic Church. You have undergone many severe and grievous trials; many are the insults and injuries which the Catholic Church has suffered, but ‘he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved601601    Matt. x. 22..’ Wherefore even though they still recklessly assail you, let your tribulation be unto you for joy. For such afflictions are a sort of martyrdom, and such confessions and tortures as yours will not be without their reward, but ye shall receive the prize from God. Therefore strive above all things in support of the sound faith, and of the innocence of your Bishop and our fellow-minister Athanasius. We also have not held our peace, nor been negligent of what concerns your comfort, but have deliberated and done whatsoever the claims of charity demand. We sympathize with our suffering brethren, and their affliction we consider as our own.

39. Accordingly we have written to beseech our most religious and godly Emperors, that their kindness would give orders for the release of those who are still suffering from affliction and oppression, and would command that none of the magistrates, whose duty it is to attend only to civil causes, give judgment upon Clergy602602    Vid. Bingham. Antiqu. V. ii. 5. &c. Gieseler Eccl. Hist. vol. I. p. 242. Bassi. Biblioth. Jur. t. l. p. 276. Bellarm. de C eric. 28., nor henceforward in any way, on pretence of providing for the Churches, attempt anything against the brethren; but that every one may live, as he prays and desires to do, free from persecution, from violence and fraud, and in quietness and peace may follow the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. As for Gregory, who has the reputation of being illegally appointed by the heretics, and has been sent by them to your city, we wish your unanimity to understand, that he has been deposed by a judgment of the whole sacred Council, although indeed he has never at any time been considered to be a Bishop at all. Wherefore receive gladly your Bishop Athanasius, for to this end we have dismissed him in peace. And we exhort all those who either through fear, or through the intrigues of certain persons, have held communion with Gregory, that now being admonished, exhorted, and persuaded by us, they withdraw from that his detestable communion, and straightway unite themselves to the Catholic Church.

40. But forasmuch as we have learnt that Aphthonius, Athanasius the son of Capito, Paul, and Plutio, our fellow Presbyters603603    Supr. p. 109., have also suffered from the machinations of Eusebius and his fellows, so that some of them have had trial of exile, and others have fled on peril of their lives, we have in consequence thought it necessary to make this known unto you, that you may understand that we have received and acquitted them also, being aware that whatever has been done by Eusebius and his fellows against the orthodox has tended to the glory and commendation of those who have been attacked by them. It were fitting that your Bishop and our brother Athanasius should make this known to you respecting them, to his own respecting his own; but as for more abundant testimony he wished the holy Council also to write to you, we deferred not to do so, but hastened to signify this unto you, that you may receive them as we have done, for they also are deserving of praise, because through their piety towards Christ they have been thought worthy to endure violence at the hands of the heretics.

What decrees have been passed by the holy Council against those who are at the head of the Arian heresy, and have offended against you, and the rest of the Churches, you will learn from the subjoined documents604604    Vid. Encycl. Letter, infr. §46.. We have sent them to you, that you may understand from them that the Catholic Church will not overlook those who offend against her.

Letter of the Council of Sardica to the Bishops of Egypt and Libya.

The holy Council, by the grace of God assembled at Sardica, to the Bishops of Egypt and Libya, their fellow-ministers and dearly beloved brethren, sends health in the Lord.

41. We were not ignorant605605    It will be observed that this Letter is nearly a transcript of the foregoing. It was first printed in the Benedictine Edition., but the fact was well known to us, even before we received the letters of your piety, that the supporters of the abominated heresy of the Arians were practising many dangerous machinations, rather to the destruction of their own souls, than to the injury of the Church. For this has ever been the object of their craft and villainy: this is the deadly design in which they have been continually engaged, viz. how they may best expel from their places and persecute all who are to be found anywhere of orthodox sentiments, and maintaining the doctrine of the 122Catholic Church, which was delivered to them from the Fathers. Against some they have laid false accusations; others they have driven into banishment; others they have destroyed by the punishments inflicted on them. At any rate they endeavoured by violence and tyranny to surprise the innocence of our brother and fellow-Bishop Athanasius, and therefore conducted their enquiry into his case without any faith, without any sort of justice. Accordingly having no confidence in the part they had played on that occasion, nor yet in the reports they had circulated against him, but perceiving that they were unable to produce any certain evidence respecting the case, when they came to the city of Sardica, they were unwilling to meet the Council of all the holy Bishops. From this it became evident that the decision of our brother and fellow-Bishop Julius was a just one; for after cautious deliberation and care he had decided, that we ought not to hesitate at all about communion with our brother Athanasius. For he had the credible testimony of eighty Bishops, and was also able to advance this fair argument in his support, that by the mere means of our dearly beloved brethren his own Presbyters, and by correspondence, he had defeated the designs of Eusebius and his fellows, who relied more upon violence than upon a judicial inquiry.

Wherefore all the Bishops from all parts determined upon holding communion with Athanasius on the ground that he was innocent. And let your charity also observe, that when he came to the holy Council assembled at Sardica, the Bishops of the East were informed of the circumstance, as we said before, both by letter, and by injunctions conveyed by word of mouth, and were invited by us to be present. But, being condemned by their own conscience, they had recourse to unbecoming excuses, and began to avoid the enquiry. They demanded that an innocent man should be rejected from our communion, as a culprit, not considering how unbecoming, or rather how impossible, such a proceeding was. And as for the reports which were framed in the Mareotis by certain most wicked and abandoned youths, to whose hands one would not commit the very lowest office of the ministry, it is certain that they were ex parte statements. For neither was our brother the Bishop Athanasius present on the occasion, nor the Presbyter Macarius, who was accused by them. And besides, their enquiry, or rather their falsification of facts, was attended by the most disgraceful circumstances. Sometimes Heathens, sometimes Catechumens, were examined, not that they might declare what they knew, but that they might assert those falsehoods which they had been taught by others. And when you Presbyters, who were in charge in the absence of your Bishop, desired to be present at the enquiry, in order that you might shew the truth, and disprove falsehood, no regard was paid to you; they would not permit you to be present, but drove you away with insult.

Now although their calumnies have been most plainly exposed before all men by these circumstances; yet we found also, on reading the Reports, that the most iniquitous Ischyras, who has obtained from them the empty title of Bishop as his reward for the false accusation, had convicted himself of calumny. He declares in the Reports, that at the very time when, according to his positive assertions, Macarius entered his cell, he lay there sick; whereas Eusebius and his fellows had the boldness to write that Ischyras was standing offering when Macarius came in.

42. The base and slanderous charge which they next alleged against him has become well known unto all men. They raised a great outcry, affirming that Athanasius had committed murder, and made away with one Arsenius a Meletian Bishop, whose loss they pretended to deplore with feigned lamentations, and fictitious tears, and demanded that the body of a living man, as if a dead one, should be given up to them. But their fraud was not undetected; one and all knew that the person was alive, and was numbered among the living. And when these men, who are ready upon any opportunity, perceived their falsehood detected (for Arsenius shewed himself alive, and so proved that he had not been made away with, and was not dead), yet they would not rest, but proceeded to add other to their former calumnies, and to slander the man by a fresh expedient. Well: our brother Athanasius, dearly beloved, was not confounded, but again in the present case also with great boldness challenged them to the proof, and we too prayed and exhorted them to come to the trial, and if they were able, to establish their charge against him. O great arrogance! O dreadful pride! or rather, if one must say the truth, O evil and accusing conscience! for this is the view which all men take of it.

Wherefore, beloved brethren, we admonish and exhort you, above all things, to maintain the right faith of the Catholic Church. You have undergone many severe and grievous trials; many are the insults and injuries which the Catholic Church has suffered, but ‘he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved606606    Matt. x. 22..’ Wherefore, even though they 123shall still recklessly assail you, let your tribulation be unto you for joy. For such afflictions are a sort of martyrdom, and such confessions and tortures as yours will not be without their reward, but ye shall receive the prize from God. Therefore strive above all things in support of the sound Faith, and of the innocence of your Bishop and our brother Athanasius. We also have not held our peace, nor been negligent of what concerns your comfort, but have deliberated and done whatsoever the claims of charity demand. We sympathize with our suffering brethren, and their afflictions we consider as our own, and have mingled our tears with yours. And you, brethren, are not the only persons who have suffered: many others also of our brethren in ministry have come hither, bitterly lamenting these things.

43. Accordingly, we have written to beseech our most religious and godly Emperors, that their kindness would give orders for the release of those who are still suffering from affliction and oppression, and would command that none of the magistrates, whose duty it is to attend only to civil causes, give judgment upon Clergy, nor henceforward in any way, on pretence of providing for the Churches, attempt anything against the brethren, but that every one may live, as he prays and desires to do, free from persecution, from violence and fraud, and in quietness and peace may follow the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. As for Gregory, who has the reputation of being illegally appointed by the heretics, and who has been sent by them to your city, we wish your unanimity to understand, that he has been deposed by the judgment of the whole sacred Council, although indeed he has never at any time been considered to be a Bishop at all. Wherefore receive gladly your Bishop Athanasius; for to this end we have dismissed him in peace. And we exhort all those, who either through fear, or through intrigues of certain persons, have held communion with Gregory, that being now admonished, exhorted, and persuaded by us, they withdraw from his detestable communion, and straightway unite themselves to the Catholic Church.

What decrees have been passed by the holy Council against Theodorus, Narcissus, Stephanus, Acacius, Menophantus, Ursacius, Valens, and George607607    §36., who are the heads of the Arian heresy, and have offended against you and the rest of the Churches, you will learn from the subjoined documents. We have sent them to you, that your piety may assent to our decisions, and that you may understand from them, that the Catholic Church will not overlook those who offend against her.

Encyclical Letter of the Council of Sardica.

The holy Council608608    Vid. Theod. Hist. ii. 6. Hil. Fragm. ii., by the grace of God, assembled at Sardica, to their dearly beloved brethren, the Bishops and fellow-Ministers of the Catholic Church every where, sends health in the Lord.

44. The Arian madmen have dared repeatedly to attack the servants of God, who maintain the right faith; they attempted to substitute a spurious doctrine, and to drive out the orthodox; and at last they made so violent an assault against the Faith, that it became known even to the piety of our most religious Emperors. Accordingly, the grace of God assisting them, our most religious Emperors have themselves assembled us together out of different provinces and cities, and have permitted this holy Council to be held in the city of Sardica; to the end that all dissension may be done away, and all false doctrine being driven from us, Christian godliness may alone be maintained by all men. The Bishops of the East also attended, being exhorted to do so by the most religious Emperors, chiefly on account of the reports they have so often circulated concerning our dearly beloved brethren and fellow-ministers Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, and Marcellus, Bishop of Ancyro-Galatia. Their calumnies have probably already reached you, and perhaps they have attempted to disturb your ears, that you may be induced to believe their charges against the innocent, and that they may obliterate from your minds any suspicions respecting their own wicked heresy. But they have not been permitted to effect this to any great extent; for the Lord is the Defender of His Churches, Who endured death for their sakes and for us all, and provided access to heaven for us all through Himself. When therefore Eusebius and his fellows wrote long ago to Julius our brother and Bishop of the Church of the Romans, against our forementioned brethren, that is to say, Athanasius, Marcellus, and Asclepas609609    Asclepas, or Asclepius of Gaza, Epiph. Hær. 69. 4. was one of the Nicene Fathers, and according to Theod. Hist. i. 27. was at the Council of Tyre, which Athan. also attended, but only by compulsion. According to the Eusebians at Philippopolis, they had deposed him [17 years previously, but the number must be corrupt, or the statement incorrect]. They state, however, at the same time, that he had been condemned by Athanasius and Marcellus, vid. Hilar. Fragm. iii. 13. Sozomen, Hist. iii. 8. says that they deposed him on the charge of having overturned an altar; and, after Athan. infr. §47, that he was acquitted at Sardica on the ground that Eusebius of Cæsarea and others had reinstated him in his see (before 339). There is mention of a Church built by him in Gaza ap. Bolland. Febr. 26. Vit. L. Porphyr. n. 20. p. 648., the Bishops from the other parts wrote also, testifying to the innocence of our fellow-minister Athana124sius, and declaring that the representations of Eusebius and his fellows were nothing else but mere falsehood and calumny.

And indeed their calumnies were clearly proved by the fact that, when they were invited to a Council by our dearly beloved fellow-minister Julius, they would not come, and also by what was written to them by Julius himself. For had they had confidence in the measures and the acts in which they were engaged against our brethren, they would have come. And besides, they gave a still more evident proof of their conspiracy by their conduct in this great and holy Council. For when they arrived at the city of Sardica, and saw our brethren Athanasius, Marcellus, Asclepas, and the rest, they were afraid to come to a trial and though they were repeatedly invited to attend, they would not obey the summons. Although all we Bishops met together, and above all that man of most happy old age, Hosius, one who on account of his age, his confession, and the many labours he has undergone, is worthy of all reverence; and although we waited and urged them to come to the trial, that in the presence of our fellow-ministers they might establish the truth of those charges which they had circulated and written against them in their absence; yet they would not come, when they were thus invited, as we said before, thus giving proof of their calumnies, and almost proclaiming to the world by this their refusal, the plot and conspiracy in which they have been engaged. They who are confident of the truth of their assertions are able to make them good against their opponents face to face. But as they would not meet us, we think that no one can now doubt, however they may again have recourse to their bad practices, that they possess no proof against our fellow-ministers, but calumniate them in their absence, while they avoid their presence.

45. They fled, beloved brethren, not only on account of the calumnies they had uttered, but because they saw that those had come who had various charges to advance against them. For chains and irons were brought forward which they had used; persons appeared who had returned from banishment; there came also our brethren, kinsmen of those who were still detained in exile, and friends of such as had perished through their means. And what was the most weighty ground of accusation, Bishops were present, one610610    Perhaps Lucius of Hadrianople, says Montfaucon, referring to Apol. de Fug. §3. vid. also Hist. Arian. 19. of whom brought forward the irons and chains which they had caused him to wear, and others appealed to the death which had been brought about by their calumnies. For they had proceeded to such a pitch of madness, as even to attempt to destroy Bishops; and would have destroyed them, had they not escaped their hands. Our fellow-ministers, Theodulus of blessed memory611611    Theodulus, Bishop of Trajanopolis in Thrace, who is here spoken of as deceased, seems to have suffered this persecution from the Eusebians upon their retreat from Sardica, vid. Athan. Hist. Arian. §19. We must suppose then with Montfaucon, that the Council, from whom this letter proceeds, sat some considerable time after that retreat, and that the proceedings spoken of took place in the interval. Socrates, however, makes Theodulus survive Constans, who died 350. H. E. ii. 26., died during his flight from their false accusations, orders having been given in consequence of these to put him to death. Others also exhibited sword-wounds; and others complained that they had been exposed to the pains of hunger through their means. Nor were they ordinary persons who testified to these things, but whole Churches, in whose behalf legates appeared612612    The usual proceeding of the Arians was to retort upon the Catholics the charges which they brought against them, supr. §33, note 4. Accordingly, in their Encyclical from Philippopolis, they say that “a vast multitude had congregated at Sardica, of wicked and abandoned persons, from Constantinople and Alexandria; who lay under charges of murder, blood, slaughter, robbery, plunder, spoiling, and all nameless sacrileges and crimes; who had broken altars, burnt Churches, ransacked private houses,” &c. &c. Hil. Fragm. iii. 19., and told us of soldiers sword in hand, of multitudes armed with clubs, of the threats of judges, of the forgery of false letters. For there were read certain false letters of Theognius and his fellows against our fellow-ministers Athanasius, Marcellus, and Asclepas, written with the design of exasperating the Emperors against them; and those who had then been Deacons of Theognius proved the fact. From these men, we heard of virgins stripped naked, churches burnt, ministers in custody, and all for no other end, but only for the sake of the accursed heresy of the Arian madmen, whose communion whoso refused was forced to suffer these things.

When they perceived then how matters lay, they were in a strait what course to choose. They were ashamed to confess what they had done, but were unable to conceal it any longer. They therefore came to the city of Sardica, that by their arrival they might seem to remove suspicion from themselves of such offences. But when they saw those whom they had calumniated, and those who had suffered at their hands; when they had before their eyes their accusers and the proofs of their guilt, they were unwilling to come forward, though invited by our fellow-ministers Athanasius, Marcellus, and Asclepas, who with great freedom complained of their conduct, and urged and challenged them to the trial, promising not only to refute their calumnies, but also to bring proof of the offences which they had committed against 125their Churches. But they were seized with such terrors of conscience, that they fled; and in doing so they exposed their own calumnies and confessed by running away the offences of which they had been guilty.

46. But although their malice and their calumnies have been plainly manifested on this as well as on former occasions, yet that they may not devise means of practising a further mischief in consequence of their flight, we have considered it advisable to examine the part they have played according to the principles of truth; this has been our purpose, and we have found them calumniators by their acts, and authors of nothing else than a plot against our brethren in ministry. For Arsenius, who they said had been murdered by Athanasius, is still alive, and is numbered among the living; from which we may infer that the reports they have spread abroad on other subjects are fabrications also. And whereas they spread abroad a rumour concerning a cup, which they said had been broken by Macarius the Presbyter of Athanasius, those who came from Alexandria, the Mareotis, and the other parts, testified that nothing of the kind had taken place. And the Egyptian Bishops613613    p. 101. who wrote to Julius our fellow-minister, positively affirmed that there had not arisen among them even any suspicion whatever of such a thing.

Moreover, the Reports, which they say they have to produce against him, are, as is notorious, ex parte statements; and even in the formation of these very Reports, Heathens and Catechumens were examined; one of whom, a Catechumen, said614614    Cf. §28. in his examination that he was present in the room when Macarius broke in upon them; and another declared, that Ischyras of whom they speak so much, lay sick in his cell at the time; from which it appears that the Mysteries were never celebrated at all, because Catechumens were present, and also that Ischyras was not present, but was lying sick on his bed. Besides, this most worthless Ischyras, who has falsely asserted, as he was convicted of doing, that Athanasius had burnt some of the sacred books, has himself confessed that he was sick, and was lying in his bed when Macarius came; from which it is plain that he is a slanderer. Nevertheless, as a reward for these his calumnies, they have given to this very Ischyras the title of Bishop, although he is not even a Presbyter. For two Presbyters, who were once associated with Meletius, but were afterwards received by the blessed Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, and are now with Athanasius, appeared before the Council, and testified that he was not even a Presbyter of Meletius, and that Meletius never had either Church or Minister in the Mareotis. And yet this man, who has never been even a Presbyter, they have now brought forward as a Bishop, that by this name they may have the means of overpowering those who are within hearing of his calumnies.

47. The book of our fellow-minister Marcellus was also read, by which the fraud of Eusebius and his fellows was plainly discovered. For what Marcellus had advanced by way of enquiry615615    Cf. de Decr. §25, note, they falsely represented as his professed opinion; but when the subsequent parts of the book were read, and the parts preceding the queries themselves, his faith was found to be correct. He had never pretended, as they positively affirmed616616    De Syn. §25, note., that the Word of God had His beginning from holy Mary, nor that His kingdom had an end; on the contrary he had written that His kingdom was both without beginning and without end. Our fellow-minister Asclepas also produced Reports which had been drawn up at Antioch in the presence of his accusers and Eusebius of Cæsarea, and proved that he was innocent by the declarations of the Bishops who judged his cause617617    §44, note 9.. They had good reason therefore, dearly beloved brethren, for not hearkening to our frequent summons, and for deserting the Council. They were driven to this by their own consciences; but their flight only confirmed the proof of their own calumnies, and caused those things to be believed against them, which their accusers, who were present, were asserting and arguing. But besides all these things, they had not only received those who were formerly degraded and ejected on account of the heresy of Arius, but had even promoted them to a higher station, advancing Deacons to the Presbytery, and of Presbyters making Bishops, for no other end, but that they might disseminate and spread abroad impiety, and corrupt the orthodox faith.

48. Their leaders are now, after Eusebius and his fellows, Theodorus of Heraclea, Narcissus of Neronias in Cilicia, Stephanus of Antioch, George of Laodicea, Acacius of Cæsarea in Palestine, Menophantus of Ephesus in Asia, Ursacius of Singidunum in Mœsia, and Valens of Mursa in Pannonia618618    Vid. supr. §§13, note, and 36. About Stephanus, vid. infr. Hist. Arian. §20.. These men would not permit those who came with them from the East to meet the holy Council, nor even to approach the Church of God; but as they were coming to Sardica, they held Councils in 126various places by themselves, and made an engagement under threats, that when they came to Sardica, they would not so much as appear at the trial, nor attend the assembling of the holy Council, but simply coming and making known their arrival as a matter of form, would speedily take to flight. This we have been able to ascertain from our fellow-ministers, Macarius of Palestine and Asterius of Arabia619619    [For Macarius, read Arius.] These two Bishops were soon after the Council banished by Eusebian influence into upper Libya, where they suffered extreme ill usage. vid. Hist. Arian. §18., who after coming in their company, separated themselves from their unbelief. These came to the holy Council, and complained of the violence they had suffered, and said that no right act was being done by them; adding that there were many among them who adhered to orthodoxy, but were prevented by those men from coming hither, by means of the threats and promises which they held out to those who wished to separate from them. On this account it was that they were so anxious that all should abide in one dwelling, and would not suffer them to be by themselves even for the shortest space of time.

49. Since then it became us not to hold our peace, nor to pass over unnoticed their calumnies, imprisonments, murders, wounds, conspiracies by means of false letters, outrages, stripping of the virgins, banishments, destruction of the Churches, burnings, translations from small cities to larger dioceses, and above all, the rising of the ill-named Arian heresy by their means against the orthodox faith; we have therefore pronounced our dearly beloved brethren and fellow-ministers Athanasius, Marcellus, and Asclepas, and those who minister to the Lord with them, to be innocent and clear of offence, and have written to the diocese of each, that the people of each Church may know the innocence of their own Bishop, and may esteem him as their Bishop and expect his coming.

And as for those who like wolves620620    Vid. Acts xx. 29 have invaded their Churches, Gregory at Alexandria, Basil at Ancyra, and Quintianus at Gaza, let them neither give them the title of Bishop, nor hold any communion at all with them, nor receive letters621621    p. 95, note 4. from them, nor write to them. And for Theodorus, Narcissus, Acacius, Stephanus, Ursacius, Valens, Menophantus, and George, although the last from fear did not come from the East, yet because he was deposed by the blessed Alexander, and because both he and the others were connected with the Arian madness, as well as on account of the charges which lie against them, the holy Council has unanimously deposed them from the Episcopate, and we have decided that they not only are not Bishops, but that they are unworthy of holding communion with the faithful.

For they who separate the Son and alienate the Word from the Father, ought themselves to be separated from the Catholic Church and to be alien from the Christian name. Let them therefore be anathema to you, because they have ‘corrupted the word of truth622622    2 Cor. ii. 17..’ It is an Apostolic injunction623623    Gal. i. 9., ‘If any man preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.’ Charge your people that no one hold communion with them, for there is no communion of light with darkness; put away from you all these, for there is no concord of Christ in Belial624624    2 Cor. vi. 14, 15.. And take heed, dearly beloved, that ye neither write to them, nor receive letters from them; but desire rather, brethren and fellow-ministers, as being present in spirit625625    1 Cor. v. 3. with our Council, to assent to our judgments by your subscriptions626626    In like manner the Council of Chalcedon was confirmed by as many as 470 subscriptions, according to Ephrem (Phot. Bibl. p. 801) by 1600 according to Eulogius (ibid. p. 877), i.e. of Bishops, Archimandrites. &c., to the end that concord may be preserved by all our fellow-ministers everywhere. May Divine Providence protect and keep you, dearly beloved brethren, in sanctification and joy.

I, Hosius, Bishop, have subscribed this, and all the rest likewise.

This is the letter which the Council of Sardica sent to those who were unable to attend, and they on the other hand gave their judgment in accordance; and the following are the names both of those Bishops who subscribed in the Council, and of the others also.

50. Hosius of Spain627627    Hosius is called by Athan, the father and the president of the Council. Hist. Arian. 15, 16. Roman controversialists here explain why Hosius does not sign himself as the Pope’s legate, De Marc. Concord. v. 4. Alber. Dissert. ix. and Protestants why his legates rank before all the other Bishops, even before Protogenes, Bishop of the place. Basnage, Ann. 347. 5. Febronius considers that Hosius signed here and at Nicæa, as a sort of representative of the civil, and the Legates of ecclesiastical supremacy. de Stat. Eccl. vi. 4. And so Thomassin, “Imperator velut exterior Episcopus: præfuit autem summus Pontifex, ut Episcopus interior.” Dissert. in Conc. x. 14. The popes never attended in person the Eastern Councils. St. Leo excuses himself on the plea of its being against usage. Epp. 37. and 93. [Silvester’s absence from Nicæa was due solely to extreme old age. But Sardica was a Western council.], Julius of Rome by his Presbyters Archidamus and Philoxenus, Protogenes of Sardica, Gaudentius, Macedonius, Severus, Prætextatus, Ursicius, Lucillus, Eugenius, Vitalius, Calepodius, Florentius, Bassus, Vincentius, Stercorius, Palladius, Domitianus, Chalbis, Gerontius, Protasius, Eulogus, Porphyrius, Dioscorus, Zosimus, Januarius, Zosimus, Alexander, Eutychius, Socrates, Diodorus, Martyrius, Eutherius, Eucarpus, Athenodorus, Irenæus, 127Julianus, Alypius, Jonas, Aetius, Restitutus, Marcellinus, Aprianus, Vitalius, Valens, Hermogenes, Castus, Domitianus, Fortunatius, Marcus, Annianus, Heliodorus, Musæus, Asterius, Paregorius, Plutarchus, Hymenæus, Athanasius, Lucius, Amantius, Arius, Asclepius, Dionysius, Maximus, Tryphon, Alexander, Antigonus, Ælianus, Petrus, Symphorus, Musonius, Eutychus, Philologius, Spudasius, Zosimus, Patricius, Adolius, Sapricius628628    [The above names, with a few exceptions, comprise those present at the Council. See additional Note at the end of this Apology, where a list is given in alphabetical order of all bishops present, with their Sees.].

From Gaul the following; Maximianus629629    Of Treveri., Verissimus630630    Of Lyons., Victurus, Valentinus631631    Of Arles., Desiderius, Eulogius, Sarbatius, Dyscolius632632    Of Rheims., Superior, Mercurius, Declopetus, Eusebius, Severinus633633    Of Sens., Satyrus, Martinus, Paulus, Optatianus, Nicasius, Victor634634    Of Worms., Sempronius, Valerinus, Pacatus, Jesses, Ariston, Simplicius, Metianus, Amantus635635    Of Strassburg., Amillianus, Justinianus, Victorinus636636    Of Paris., Satornilus, Abundantius, Donatianus, Maximus.

From Africa; Nessus, Gratus637637    Of Carthage., Megasius, Coldæus, Rogatianus, Consortius, Rufinus, Manninus, Cessilianus, Herennianus, Marianus, Valerius, Dynamius, Mizonius, Justus, Celestinus, Cyprianus, Victor, Honoratus, Marinus, Pantagathus, Felix, Baudius, Liber, Capito, Minervalis, Cosmus, Victor, Hesperio, Felix, Severianus, Optantius, Hesperus, Fidentius, Salustius, Paschasius.

From Egypt; Liburnius, Amantius, Felix, Ischyrammon, Romulus, Tiberinus, Consortius, Heraclides, Fortunatius, Dioscorus, Fortunatianus, Bastamon, Datyllus, Andreas, Serenus, Arius, Theodorus, Evagoras, Helias, Timotheus, Orion, Andronicus, Paphnutius, Hermias, Arabion, Psenosiris, Apollonius, Muis, Sarapampon638638    §§33, note 3a, and 78., Philo, Philippus, Apollonius, Paphnutius, Paulus, Dioscorus, Nilammon, Serenus, Aquila, Aotas, Harpocration, Isac, Theodorus, Apollos, Ammonianus, Nilus, Heraclius, Arion, Athas, Arsenius, Agathammon, Theon, Apollonius, Helias, Paninuthius, Andragathius, Nemesion, Sarapion, Ammonius, Ammonius, Xenon, Gerontius, Quintus, Leonides, Sempronianus, Philo, Heraclides, Hieracys, Rufus, Pasophius, Macedonius, Apollodorus, Flavianus, Psaes, Syrus, Apphus, Sarapion, Esaias, Paphnutius, Timotheus, Elurion, Gaius, Musæus, Pistus, Heraclammon, Heron, Helias, Anagamphus, Apollonius, Gaius, Philotas, Paulus, Tithoes, Eudæmon, Julius.

Those on the road639639    οἱ ἐν τῷ καναλί& 251· τῆς ᾽Ιταλίας. “Canalis est, non via regia aut militaris, verum via tranversa, quæ in regiam seu basilicam influit, quasi aquæ canalis in alveum.” Gothofred. in Cod. Theod. vi. de Curiosis, p. 196. who illustrates the word at length. Du Cange on the contrary, in voc. explains it of “the high road.” Tillemont professes himself unable to give a satisfactory sense to it. vol. viii. p. 685. [The word occurs in the XIth. Sardican canon, where the Greek version (Can. XX. in Bruns) glosses it καναλί& 251· ἤτοι παρόδῳ.] of Italy are Probatius, Viator, Facundinus, Joseph, Numedius, Sperantius, Severus, Heraclianus, Faustinus, Antoninus, Heraclius, Vitalius, Felix, Crispinus, Paulianus.

From Cyprus; Auxibius, Photius, Gerasius, Aphrodisius, Irenicus, Nunechius, Athanasius, Macedonius, Triphyllius, Spyridon, Norbanus, Sosicrates.

From Palestine; Maximus, Aetius, Arius, Theodosius, Germanus, Silvanus, Paulus, Claudius, Patricius, Elpidius, Germanus, Eusebius, Zenobius, Paulus, Petrus.

These are the names of those who subscribed to the acts of the Council; but there are very many beside, out of Asia, Phrygia, and Isauria640640    Cf. §36., who wrote in my behalf before this Council was held, and whose names, nearly sixty-three in number, may be found in their own letters. They amount altogether to three hundred and forty-four641641    Athan. says, supr. §1. that the Letter of the Council was signed in all by more than 300. It will be observed, that Athan.’s numbers in the text do not accurately agree with each other. The subscriptions enumerated are 284, to which 63 being added, made a total of 347, not 344. [The enumeration of Ath. includes many who signed long afterwards. Those ‘from Palestine’ are simply the signatories of the synodal letter of 346, below §57. The number, 170 mentioned by Ath. Hist. Ar. 15 gives an orthodox majority of 20. See additional Note at end of this Apology, and Gwatkin, Studies, p. 121, note.].


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