Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Encyclical Letter. (Epistola Encyclica.): Appeal to the bishops of the whole Church to unite against Gregory.
§7. Appeal to the bishops of the whole Church to unite against Gregory.
You are acquainted with the history of the Arian madmen, beloved, for you have often, both individually and in a body, condemned their impiety; and you know also that Eusebius and his fellows, as I said before, are engaged in the same heresy; for the sake of which they have long been carrying on a conspiracy against me. And I have represented to you, what has now been done, both for them and by them, with greater cruelty than is usual even in time of war, in order that after the example set before you in the history which I related at the beginning, you may entertain a zealous hatred of their wickedness, and reject those who have committed such enormities against the Church. If the brethren at Rome 471 [last year], before these things had happened, and on account of their former misdeeds, wrote letters to call a Council, that these evils might be set right (fearing which, Eusebius and his fellows took care previously to throw the Church into confusion, and desired to destroy me, in order that they might thenceforth be able to act as they pleased without fear, and might have no one to call them to account), how much more ought you now to be indignant at these outrages, and to condemn them, seeing they have added this to their former misconduct.
I beseech you, overlook not such proceedings, nor suffer the famous Church of the Alexandrians to be trodden down by heretics. In consequence of these things the people and their ministers are separated from one another, as one might expect, silenced by the violence of the Prefect, yet abhorring the impiety of the Arian madmen. If therefore Gregory shall write unto you, or any other in his behalf, receive not his letters, brethren, but tear them in pieces and put the bearers of them to shame, as the ministers of impiety and wickedness. And even if he presume to write to you after a friendly fashion, nevertheless receive them not. Those who bring his letters convey them only from fear of the Governor, and on account of his frequent acts of violence. And since it is probable that Eusebius and his fellows will write to you concerning him, I was anxious to admonish you beforehand, so that you may herein imitate God, Who is no respecter of persons, and may drive out from before you those that come from them; because for the sake of the Arian madmen they caused persecutions, rape of virgins, murders, plunder of the Churchs property, burnings, and blasphemies in the Churches, to be committed by the heathens and Jews at such a season. The impious and mad Gregory cannot deny that he is an Arian, being proved to be so by the person who writes his letters. This is his secretary Ammon, who was cast out of the Church long ago by my predecessor the blessed Alexander for many misdeeds and for impiety.
For all these reasons, therefore, vouchsafe to send me a reply, and condemn these impious men; so that even now the ministers and people of this place, seeing your orthodoxy and hatred of wickedness, may rejoice in your concord in the Christian faith, and that those who have been guilty of these lawless deeds against the Church may be reformed by your letters, and brought at last, though late, to repentance. Salute the brotherhood that is among you. All the brethren that are with me salute you. Fare ye well, and remember me, and the Lord preserve you continually, most truly beloved lords.
Apol. Ar. 22, 30, Hist. Ar. 9. [The word πέρυσιν, last year, is absent from the best ms. used by Montfaucon.]
Next: Defence Against the Arians. (Apologia Contra Arianos.)
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