Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen.: Banishment of Eunomius by Theodosius the Great. Theophronius, his Successor; of Eutychus, and of Dorotheus, and their Heresies; of those called Psathyrians; Division of the Arians into Different Parties; those in Constantinople were more Limited.Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Chapter XVII.—Banishment of Eunomius by Theodosius the Great. Theophronius, his Successor; of Eutychus, and of Dorotheus, and their Heresies; of those called Psathyrians; Division of the Arians into Different Parties; those in Constantinople were more Limited.
Such subjects as the above, however, are best left to the decision of individual judgment.
The emperor, about this period, condemned Eunomius to banishment. 1551 This heretic had fixed his residence in the suburbs of Constantinople, and held frequent churches in private houses, where he read his own writings. He induced many to embrace his sentiments, so that the sectarians, who were named after him, became very numerous. He died not long after his banishment, and was interred at Dacora, his birthplace, a village of Cappadocia, situated near Mount Argeus, in the territory of Cæsarea. Theophronius, who was also a native of Cappadocia, and who had been his disciple, continued to promulgate his doctrines. Having gotten a smattering, through the writings of Aristotle, he composed an introduction to the study of the syllogisms in them, which he entitled “Exercises for the Mind.” But he afterwards engaged, I have understood, in many unprofitable disputations, and soon ceased to confine himself to the doctrines of his master. But being eager for new things, he endeavored to prove, from the terms which are placed in the Sacred Scriptures, that though God foreknows that which is not, and knows that which is, and remembers what has happened, he does not always have that knowledge in the same manner with respect to the future and present, and changes his knowledge of the past. As this hypothesis appeared positively absurd to the Eunomians, they excommunicated him from their church; and he constituted himself the leader of a new sect, called, after his name, Theophronians. Not long after, Eutychus, one of the Eunomians, originated another sect in Constantinople, to which his own name was given. For the question had been proposed, as to whether the Son of God is or is not acquainted with the last hour; and for its solution, the words of the evangelist were quoted, in which it is stated that the day and hour are known only to the Father. 1552 Eutychus, however, contended that this knowledge belongs also to the Son, inasmuch as He has received all things from the Father. The Eunomian presidents, having condemned this opinion, he seceded from communion with them, and went to join Eunomius in his place of banishment. A deacon, and some other individuals, who had been dispatched from Constantinople to accuse Eutychus, and, if necessary, to oppose him in argument, arrived first at the place of destination. When Eunomius was made acquainted with the object of their journey, he expressed himself in favor of the sentiments propounded by Eutychus; and, on his arrival, prayed with him, although it was not lawful to p. 388 pray with any one who travels unprovided with letters written in sacred characters, attesting his being in communion. Eunomius died soon after this contention; and the Eunomian president, at Constantinople, refused to receive Eutychus into communion; for he antagonized him from jealousy because he was not even of clerical rank, and because he could not answer his arguments, and did not find it possible to solve his problems. Eutychus, therefore, separated those who had espoused his sentiments into a personal heresy. Many assert that he and Theophronius were the first who propounded the peculiar views entertained by the Eunomians concerning divine baptism. The above is a brief account of such details as I have been able to give in order to afford a succinct knowledge of the causes which led the Eunomians to be divided among themselves. I should be prolix were I to enter into further particulars; and, indeed, the subject would be by no means an easy one to me, since I have no such dialectic skill.
The following question was, in the meantime, agitated among the Arians of Constantinople: Prior to the existence of the Son (whom they regard as having proceeded out of nothing), is God to be termed the Father? Dorotheus, who had been summoned from Antioch to rule over them in the place of Marinus, was of opinion that God could not have been called the Father prior to the existence of the Son, because the name of Father has a necessary connection with that of Son. Marinus, on the other hand, maintained that the Father was the Father, even when the Son existed not; and he advanced this opinion either from conviction, or else from the desire of contention, and from jealousy at the preference that had been shown to Dorotheus in the Church. The Arians were thus divided into two parties; Dorotheus and his followers retained possession of the houses of prayer, while Marinus, and those who seceded with him, erected new edifices in which to hold their own churches. The name “Psathyrians” and “Goths” were given to the partisans of Marinus; Psathyrians, because Theoctistus, a certain cake-vender (ψαθυροπώλης ) was a zealous advocate of their opinions; and Goths, because their sentiments were approved by Selinus, bishop of that nation. Almost all these barbarians followed the instructions of Selinus, and they gathered in churches with the followers of Marinus. The Goths were drawn to Selinus particularly because he had formerly been the secretary of Ulphilas, and had succeeded him as bishop. He was capable of teaching in their churches, not only in the vernacular, but also in the Greek language.
Soon after a contest for precedency arose between Marinus and Agapius, whom Marinus himself had ordained bishop over the Arians at Ephesus; and in the quarrel which ensued, the Goths took the part of Agapius. It is said that many of the Arian clergy of that city were so much irritated through the ambition displayed by these two bishops, that they communed with the Catholic Church. Such was the origin of the division of the Arians into two factions,—a division which still subsists; so that, in every city, they have separate churches. The Arians at Constantinople, however, after a separation of thirty-five years, were reconciled to each other by Plinthas, formerly a consul, 1553 general of the cavalry and infantry, a man possessed of great influence at court. To prevent the revival of the former dissensions among them, the question which had been the cause of the division was forbidden to be mooted. And these occurrences took place later.
Soc. v. 20, 23, 24; Philost. x. 6. Soz. has some independent points.387:1552
Matt. xxiv. 36.388:1553
He held the consulate with Monaxius, a.d. 419.
Next: Another Heresy, that of the Sabbatians, is originated by the Novatians. Their Synod in Sangarus. Account in Greater Detail of the Easter Festival.
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