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31. Letter of Constantius to the Ethiopians against Frumentius.

The following is the letter which was written to the Princes of Auxumis respecting Frumentius, Bishop of that place.

Constantius Victor Maximus Augustus, to Æzanes and Sazanes.

It is altogether a matter of the greatest care and concern to us, to extend the knowledge of the supreme God13731373    ἡ τοῦ κρείττονος γνῶσις, vid. τὸν κρείττονα, infr. And so in Arius’s Thalia, the Eternal Father, in contrast to the Son, is called ὁ κρείττων, τὸν κρείττονα, de Synod. §15. So again, θεὸν τὸν [ὄντα] συνιέντας, supr. §30, and συνετῶν θεοῦ in the Thalia, Orat. i. 5. Again, σοφίας ἐξηγητὰς, supr. §30 and τῶν σοφίας μεταχόντων, κατὰ πάντα σοφῶν in the Thalia, ibid. And τῶν ἐξηγητῶν τοὺς ἄκρους εἵλεσθε, supr. §30, and τούτων κατ᾽ ἴχνος ἦλθον in the Thalia.; and I think that the whole race of mankind claims from us equal regard in this respect, in order that they may pass their lives in hope, being brought to a proper knowledge of God, and having no 251differences with each other in their enquiries concerning justice and truth. Wherefore considering that you are deserving of the same provident care as the Romans, and desiring to shew equal regard for your welfare, we command that the same doctrine be professed in your Churches as in theirs. Send therefore speedily into Egypt the Bishop Frumentius to the most venerable Bishop George, and the rest who are there, who have especial authority to appoint to these offices, and to decide questions concerning them. For of course you know and remember (unless you alone pretend to be ignorant of that which all men are well aware of) that this Frumentius was advanced to his present rank by Athanasius, a man who is guilty of ten thousand crimes; for he has not been able fairly to clear himself of any of the charges brought against him, but was at once deprived of his see, and now wanders about destitute of any fixed abode, and passes from one country to another, as if by this means he could escape his own wickedness. Now if Frumentius shall readily obey our commands, and shall submit to an enquiry into all the circumstances of his appointment, he will shew plainly to all men, that he is in no respect opposed to the laws of the Church and the established13741374    κρατούσῃ, supr. §23, note 6. faith. And being brought to trial, when he shall have given proof of his general good conduct, and submitted an account of his life to those who are to judge of these things, he shall receive his appointment from them, if it shall indeed appear that he has any right to be a Bishop. But if he shall delay and avoid the trial, it will surely be very evident, that he has been induced by the persuasions of the wicked Athanasius, thus to indulge impiety against God, choosing to follow the course of him whose wickedness has been made manifest. And our fear is lest he should pass over into Auxumis and corrupt your people, by setting before them accursed and impious statements, and not only unsettle and disturb the Churches, and blaspheme the supreme God, but also thereby cause utter overthrow and destruction to the several nations whom he visits. But I am sure that Frumentius will return home, perfectly acquainted with all matters that concern the Church, having derived much instruction, which will be of great and general utility, from the conversation of the most venerable George, and such other of the Bishops, as are excellently qualified to communicate such knowledge. May God continually preserve you, most honoured brethren.


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