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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus.: Chapter I

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 1






Book I.

Chapter I.—Introduction to the Work.

Eusebius, surnamed Pamphilus, 109 writing the History of the Church 110 in ten books, closed it with that period of the emperor Constantine, when the persecution which Diocletian had begun against the Christians came to an end. Also in writing the life of Constantine, this same author has but slightly treated of matters regarding Arius, being more intent on the rhetorical finish of his composition and the praises of the emperor, than on an accurate statement of facts. Now, as we propose to write the details of what has taken place in the churches since his time to our own day, we begin with the narration of the particulars which he has left out, and we shall not be solicitous to display a parade of words, but to lay before the reader what we have been able to collect from documents, and what we have heard from those who were familiar with the facts as they told them. And since it has an important bearing on the matter in hand, it will be proper to enter into a brief account of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, making a beginning with this event.



Eusebius seems to have adopted this name as a token of friendship and respect for Pamphilus, bishop of Cæsarea. See McGiffert, Prolegomena in Vol. I., Second Series of Post-Nicene Fathers.


Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History ends with the death of Licinius in 323. His Life of Constantine is in a sense a continuation of the History, and yet as it is very well characterized by Socrates, it is a eulogy and therefore its style and selection of facts are affected by its purpose, rendering it too inadequate as a continuation of the Ecclesiastical History; hence Socrates’ constraint to review some of the events which naturally fall in Eusebius’ period.

Next: By what Means the Emperor Constantine became a Christian.

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