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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter XXIX

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Chapter XXIX.—Paul, having been refuted by Malchion, a Presbyter from the Sophists, was excommunicated.

1. During his reign a final synod 2393 composed of a great many bishops was held, and the leader of heresy 2394 in Antioch was detected, and his false doctrine clearly shown before all, and he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church under heaven. 2395  2396

2. Malchion especially drew him out of his hiding-place and refuted him. He was a man learned in other respects, and principal of the sophist school of Grecian learning in Antioch; yet on account of the superior nobility of his faith in Christ he had been made a presbyter of that parish. This man, having conducted a discussion with him, which was taken down by stenographers and which we know is still extant, was alone able to detect the man who dissembled and deceived the others.



Eusebius puts this council in the reign of Aurelian (270–275), and in chap. 32 makes it subsequent to the siege of the Brucheium which, according to his Chron., took place in 272. The epistle written at this council (and given in the next chapter) is addressed to Maximus, bishop of Alexandria, and Dionysius, bishop of Rome, so that the latter must have been alive in 272, if the council was held as late as that. The council is ordinarily, however, assigned to the year 269, and Dionysius’ death to December of the same year; but Lipsius has shown (ibid. p. 226 ff.) that the synod which Eusebius mentions here was held in all probability as early as 265 (but not earlier than 264, because Dionysius of Alexandria was not succeeded by Maximus until that year), certainly not later than 268, and hence it is not necessary to extend the episcopate of Dionysius of Rome beyond 268, the date which he has shown to be most probable (see chap. 27, note 2). Eusebius then is entirely mistaken in putting the council into the reign of Aurelian.


i.e. Paul of Samosata.


Malchion gained such fame from his controversy with Paul that an account of him is given by Jerome in his de vir. ill. 71. He tells us, however, nothing new about him, except that he was the author of an epistle to the bishops of Alexandria and Rome, referring probably to the encyclical letter given in the next chapter. We do not know upon what authority he bases this statement; in fact knowing the character of his work, we shall probably be safe in assuming that the statement is no more than a guess on his part. There is nothing improbable in the report, but we must remember that Jerome is our only authority for it, and he is in such a case very poor authority (nevertheless, in Fremantle’s articles, Malchion, in the Dict. of Christ. Biog., the report is repeated as a fact). Both Eusebius and Jerome tell us that the report of his discussion with Paul was extant in their day, and a few fragments of it have been preserved, and are given by Leontius (de Sectis, III. p. 504, according to Fremantle).


τῆς ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανὸν καθολικῆς ἐκκλησίας, i.e., “from the entire Catholic Church.” The phrase is usually strengthened by a πᾶς, as in the next chapter, § 2. On the use of the phrase, “Catholic Church,” see Bk. IV. chap. 15, note 6.

Next: Chapter XXX