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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen.: Eusebius surnamed Emesenus; Gregory accepted Alexandria; Athanasius seeks Refuge in Rome.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 286 Chapter VI.—Eusebius surnamed Emesenus; Gregory accepted Alexandria; Athanasius seeks Refuge in Rome.

Eusebius, surnamed Emesenus, likewise attended the council. 1230 He sprang from a noble family of Edessa, a city of Osroënæ. According to the custom of his country, he had from his youth upwards, learned the Holy Word, and was afterwards made acquainted with the learning of the Greeks, by the teachers who then frequented his native city. He subsequently acquired a more intimate knowledge of sacred literature under the guidance of Eusebius Pamphilus and Patrophilus, the president of Scythopolis. He went to Antioch at the time that Eustathius was deposed on the accusation of Cyrus, and lived with Euphronius, his successor, on terms of intimacy. He fled to escape being invested with the priestly dignity, went to Alexandria and frequented the schools of the philosophers. After acquainting himself with their mode of discipline, he returned to Antioch and dwelt with Placetus, the successor of Euphronius. During the time that the council was held in that city, Eusebius, bishop of Constantinople, entreated him to accept the see of Alexandria for it was thought that, by his great reputation for sanctity and consummate eloquence, he would easily supplant Athanasius in the esteem of the Egyptians. He, however, refused the ordination, on the plea that he could otherwise only incur the ready hatred of the Alexandrians, who would have no other bishop but Athanasius. Gregory was, therefore, appointed to the church of Alexandria, and Eusebius to that of Emesa.

There he suffered from a sedition; for the people accused him of practicing that variety of astronomy which is called astrological, and being obliged to seek safety by flight, he repaired to Laodicea, and dwelt with George, bishop of that city, who was his particular friend. He afterwards accompanied this bishop to Antioch, and obtained permission from the bishops Placetus and Narcissus to return to Emesa. He was much esteemed by the emperor Constantius, and attended him in his military expedition against the Persians. It is said that God wrought miracles through his instrumentality, as is testified by George of Laodicea, 1231 who has related these and other incidents about him.

But although he was endowed with so many exalted qualities, he could not escape the jealousy of those who are irritated by witnessing the virtues of others. He endured the censure of having embraced the doctrines of Sabellius. At the present time, however, he voted with the bishops who had been convened at Antioch. It is said that Maximus, bishop of Jerusalem, purposely, kept aloof from this council, because he repented having unawares consented to the deposition of Athanasius. 1232 The manager of the Roman see, nor any representative from the east of Italy, nor from the parts beyond Rome were present at Antioch. 1233 At the same period of time, the Franks devastated Western Gaul; and the provinces of the East, and more particularly Antioch after the Synod, were visited by tremendous earthquakes. 1234 After the Synod, Gregory repaired to Alexandria with a large body of soldiers, who were enjoined to provide an undisturbed and safe entrance into the city; the Arians also, who were anxious for the expulsion of Athanasius, sided with him. Athanasius, fearful lest the people should be exposed to sufferings on his account, 1235 assembled them by night in the church, and when the soldiers came to take possession of the church, prayers having been concluded, he first ordered a psalm to be sung. During the chanting of this psalm the soldiers remained without and quietly awaited its conclusion, and in the meantime Athanasius passed under the singers and secretly made his escape, and fled to Rome. In this manner Gregory possessed himself of the see of Alexandria. The indignation of the people was aroused, and they burnt the church which bore the name of Dionysius, one of their former bishops.


Footnotes

286:1230

From his life by George, bishop of Laodicea. Cf. Soc. ii. 9.

286:1231

Soc. also quotes him (ii. 9), and says he wrote an Encomium of Eusebius Emesenus, ii. 24.

286:1232

Soc. ii. 8.

286:1233

Soc. ii. 8.

286:1234

Soc. ii. 10.

286:1235

Athan. Ep. Encyc. 2–7; Apol. cont. Arian. 30; Hist. Arian. 10–14, 57, 74: Soc. ii. 11.


Next: High Priests of Rome and of Constantinople; Restoration of Paul after Eusebius; the Slaughter of Hermogenes, a General of the Army; Constantius came from Antioch and removed Paul, and was wrathfully disposed toward the City; he allowed Macedonius to be in Doubt, and returned to Antioch.

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