Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Letters of Athanasius with Two Ancient Chronicles of His Life.: Letter XLVI
p. 554 II. Personal Letters.
Letter XLVI.—Letter 4563 to the Mareotis from Sardica, a.d. 343–4.
Athanasius to the presbyters and deacons and the people of the Catholic Church in the Mareotis, brethren beloved and longed for, greeting in the Lord.
The holy council has praised your piety in Christ. They have all acknowledged your spirit and fortitude in all things, in that ye did not fear threats, and though you had to bear insults and persecutions against your piety you held out. Your letters when read out to all produced tears and enlisted universal sympathy. They loved you though absent, and reckoned your persecutions as their own. Their letter to you is a proof of their affection: and although it would suffice to include you along with the holy Church of Alexandria 4564 , yet the holy synod has written separately to you in order that ye may be encouraged not to give way on account of your sufferings, but to give thanks to God; because your patience shall have good fruit.
Formerly the character of the heretics was not evident. But now it is revealed and laid open to all. For the holy synod has taken cognisance of the calumnies these men have concocted against you, and has had them in abhorrence, and has deposed Theodore, Valens, Ursacius, in Alexandria 4565 and the Mareotis by consent of all. The same notice has been given to other Churches also. And since the cruelty and tyranny practised by them against the Churches can no longer be borne, they have been cast out from the episcopate and expelled from the communion of all. Moreover of Gregory they were unwilling even to make mention, for since the man has lacked the very name of bishop, they thought it superfluous to name him. But on account of those who are deceived by him they have mentioned his name; not because he seemed worthy of mention, but that those deceived by him might thereby recognise his infamy and blush at the kind of man with whom they have communicated. You will learn what has been written about them from the previous document 4566 : and though not all of the bishops came together to sign, yet it was drawn up by all, and they signed for all. Salute one another with a holy kiss. All the brethren salute you.
I, Protogenes 4567 , bishop, desire that you may be preserved in the Lord, beloved and longed for.
I, Athenodorus*, bishop, desire that ye may be preserved in the Lord, most beloved brethren. [Other signatures] Julian, Ammonius, Aprianus, Marcellus, Gerontius*, Porphyrius*, Zosimus, Asclepius, Appian, Eulogius, Eugenius, Liodorus (26), Martyrius, Eucarpus, Lucius*, Caloes. Maximus: by letters from the Gauls I desire that ye may be preserved in the Lord, beloved. We, Arcidamus and Philoxenus, presbyters, and Leo a deacon, from Rome, desire that ye may be preserved. I, Gaudentius, bishop of Naissus, desire that ye may be preserved in the Lord. [Also] Florentius of Meria in Pannonia, Ammianus (9), of Castellum in Pannonia, Januarius of Beneventum, Prætextatus of Narcidonum in Pannonia, Hyperneris (48) of Hypata in Thessaly, Castus of Cæsaraugusta, Severus of Calcisus in Thessaly, Julian of Therae Heptapolis 4568 , Lucius of Verona, Eugenius (35) of Hecleal Cycbinae 4569 , Zosimus (92) of Lychni 4570 Sunosion in Apulia 4571 , Hermogenes of Syceon 4572 , Thryphos of Magara, Paregorius* of Caspi, Caloes (21) of Castromartis, Ireneus of Syconis, Macedonius of Lypianum, Martyrius of Naupacti, Palladius of Dius, Broseus (87) of Lu[g]dunum in Gaul, Ursacius of Brixia, Amantius of Viminacium, by the presbyter Maximus, Alexander of Gypara in Achaia, Eutychius of Mothona, Aprianus of Petavio in Pannonia, Antigonus of Pallene in Macedonia, Dometius* of Acaria Constantias, Olympius of Enorodope 4573 , Zosimus of Oreomarga, Protasius of Milan, Mark of Siscia on the Save, Eucarpus of Opûs in Achaia, Vitalis* of Vertara in Africa, Helianus of Tyrtana, Symphorus of Herapythae in Crete, Mosinius (64) of Heracla, Eucissus of Chisamus 4574 , Cydonius of Cydonia 4575 .
This and the following letters were first printed by Scipio Maffei from a Latin ms. in the Chapter Library of Verona, along with the Historia Acephala. They were included in Galland, Bibl. Patr. vol. 5, and in Justinianis Ed. of Athanasius (Padua, 1777). The letters are printed in Migne, xxvi. 1333, sqq., along with one (from the same source) addressed by the Council to the Mareotic Churches. Hefele doubts their genuineness, but without reason (ii. 166, E. Tra.) The list of signatures (an independent source of information, supr. p. 147) alone proves the contrary. The two letters may be taken as a supplement to the documents given, Apol. c. Ar. 37–50 (see also p. 147), with which they have many points of resemblance. The Latin is very bad and occasionally without sense; it bears clear traces of being a rendering by an unskilful hand from Greek.554:4564
In the letter referred to in note 1.554:4565
i.e. has given notice to those places of their deposition.554:4566
The letter of the Council.554:4567
For the probably correct names and sees, see p. 147, sq. The asterisk denotes signatories of the letter of the Council to the Mareotis, the numbers in brackets denote those of the list on pp. 147, sq.554:4568
Thera was divided into seven districts. Herod. iv. 153.554:4569
These two sees are a puzzle.554:4570
These two sees are a puzzle.554:4571
Probably Canusium, the name of Stercorius being lost, lurks in this corruption.554:4572
Æni in Thrace. D.C.B. iv. 75 (3).554:4574
In Crete, near Cydonia.554:4575
59 signatures, to which add Stercorius (note 8) and Athanasius, making 61.
Next: To the Church of Alexandria on the same occasion.
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