Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen.: Synod of Antioch; Unjust Deposition of Eustathius; Euphronius receives the Throne; Constantine the Great writes to the Synod and to Eusebius Pamphilus, who refuses the Bishopric of Antioch.Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Chapter XIX.—Synod of Antioch; Unjust Deposition of Eustathius; Euphronius receives the Throne; Constantine the Great writes to the Synod and to Eusebius Pamphilus, who refuses the Bishopric of Antioch.
A synod having been convened at Antioch, Eustathius was deprived of the church of that city. 1174 It was most generally believed that he was deposed merely on account of his adherence to the faith of the council of Nicæa, and on account of his having accused Eusebius, Paulinus, bishop of Tyre, and Patrophilus, bishop of Scythopolis (whose sentiments were adopted by the Eastern priests), of favoring the heresy of Arius. The pretext resorted to for his deposition, however, was, that he had defiled the priesthood by unholy deeds. His deposition excited so great a sedition at Antioch, that the people were on the point of taking up arms, and the whole city was in a state of commotion. This greatly injured him in the opinion of the emperor; for when he understood what had happened, and that the people of that church were divided into two parties, he was much enraged, and regarded him with suspicion as the author of the tumult. The emperor, however, sent an illustrious officer of his palace, invested with full authority, to calm the populace, and put an end to the disturbance, without having recourse to violence or injury.
Those who had deposed Eustathius, and who on this account were assembled in Antioch, imagining that their sentiments would be universally received, if they could succeed in placing over the Church of Antioch one of their own opinion, who was known to the emperor, and held in repute for learning and eloquence, and that they could obtain the obedience of the rest, fixed their thoughts upon Eusebius Pamphilus for that see. They wrote to the emperor upon this subject, and stated that this course would be highly acceptable to the people. He had, p. 271 in fact, been sought by all the clergy and laity who were inimical to Eustathius. Eusebius, however, wrote to the emperor refusing the dignity. The emperor approved of his refusal with praise; for there was an ecclesiastical law prohibiting the removal of a bishop from one bishopric to another. He wrote to the people and to Eusebius, adopting his judgment and calling him happy, because he was worthy to hold the bishopric not only of one single city, but of the world. The emperor also wrote to the people of the Church of Antioch concerning like-mindedness, and told them that they ought not to desire the bishops of other regions, even as they ought not to covet the possessions of others. In addition to these, he despatched another epistle to the Synod, in private session, and similarly commended Eusebius as in the letter to him for having refused the bishopric; and being convinced that Euphronius, a presbyter of Cappadocia, and George of Arethusa were men approved in creed, he commanded the bishops to decide for one or other of them, or for whomsoever might appear worthy of the honor, and to ordain a president for the Church of Antioch. On the receipt of these letters from the emperor, Euphronius was ordained; and I have heard that Eustathius bore this unjust calumny calmly, judging it to be better, as he was a man who, besides his virtues and excellent qualities, was justly admired on account of his fine eloquence, as is evidenced by his transmitted works, which are highly approved for their choice of words, flavor of expression, temperateness of sentiments, elegance and grace of narration.
Eus. V. C. iii. 59–62; Soc. i. 24; Philost. ii. 7. Soz. has additional details, especially of names. Very likely, therefore, Soc. and Soz. have drawn from the same source.
Next: Concerning Maximus, who succeeded Macarius in the See of Jerusalem.
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