Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: Second Exile of St. Athanasius.--Ordination and Death of Gregorius.
Chapter III.—Second Exile of St. Athanasius.—Ordination and Death of Gregorius.
With these and similar arguments, the bishops assailed the weak-minded emperor, and persuaded him to expel Athanasius from his church. But Athanasius obtained timely intimation of their design, and departed to the west. 456 The friends of Eusebius had sent false accusations against him to Julius, who was then bishop of Rome 457 . In obedience to the laws of the church, Julius summoned the accusers and the accused to Rome, that the cause might be tried 458 . Athanasius, accordingly, set out for Rome, but the calumniators refused to go because they saw that their falsehood would easily be detected 459 . But perceiving that the flock of Athanasius was left without a pastor, they appointed over it a wolf instead of a shepherd. Gregorius, for this was his name, surpassed the wild beasts in his deeds of cruelty towards the flock: but at the expiration of six years he was destroyed by the sheep themselves. Athanasius went to Constans (Constantine, the eldest brother, having fallen in battle), and complained of the plots laid against him by the Arians, and of their opposition to the apostolical faith 460 . He reminded him of his father, and how he attended in person the great and famous council which he had summoned; how he was present at its debates, took part in framing its decrees, and confirmed them by law. The emperor was moved to emulation by his fathers zeal, and promptly wrote to his brother, exhorting him to preserve inviolate the religion of their father, which they had inherited; “for,” he urged, “by piety he made his empire great, destroyed the tyrants of Rome, and subjugated the foreign nations on every side.” Constantius was led by this letter to summon the bishops from the east and from the west to Sardica 461 , a city of Illyricum, and the metropolis of Dacia, that they might deliberate on the means of removing p. 67 the other troubles of the church, which were many and pressing.
Easter, a.d. 340. The condemnation was confirmed at the Council of Antioch, a.d. 341.66:457
They were met by a deputation of Athanasians, bringing the encyclical of the Egyptian Bishops in favour of the accused. Apol. Cont. Ar. §3.66:458
On the bearing of these communications with Rome on the question of Papal jurisdiction, vide Salmon, Infallibility of the Church, p. 405. Cf. Wladimir Guettée, Histoire de lEglise, III. p. 112.66:459
The innocence of Athanasius was vindicated at the Council held at Rome in Nov. a.d. 341.66:460
For the violent resentment of the Alexandrian Church at the obtrusion of Gregorius, an Ultra-Arian, and apparently an illustration of the old proverb of the three bad Kappas, “Καππάδοκες, Κρῆτες, Κίλικες, τρία κάππα κάκιστα,” for he was a Cappadocian—vide Ath. Encyc. 3, 4, Hist. Ar. 10. The sequence of events is not without difficulty, and our author gives here little help. Athanasius was in Alexandria in the spring of 340, when Gregorius made his entry, and started for Rome at or about Easter. Constantine II. was defeated and slain by the troops of his brother Constans, in the neighbourhood of Aquileia, and his corpse found in the river Alsa, in April, 340. Athanasius remained at Rome till the summer of 343, when he was summoned to Milan by Constans (Ap. ad Const. 3, 4).
Results of his visit to Rome were the adherence of Latin Christianity to the orthodox opinion (Cf. Milman, Hist. of Lat. Christianity, vol. i. p. 78), and the introduction of Monachism into the West. Vide Robertsons Ch. Hist. ii. 6.66:461
Now Sophia, in Bulgaria. The centre of Mœsia was called Dacia Cis-Danubiana, when the tract conquered by Trajan was abandoned.
Next: Paulus, Bishop of Constantinople.
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