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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus.: The Heresy of Macedonius.

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Chapter XLV.—The Heresy of Macedonius.

Macedonius on being ejected from Constantinople, bore his condemnation ill and became restless; he therefore associated himself with the other faction that had deposed Acacius and his party at Seleucia, and sent a deputation to Sophronius and Eleusius, to encourage them to adhere to that creed which was first promulgated at Antioch, and afterwards confirmed at Seleucia, proposing to give it the counterfeit 446 name of the ‘homoiousian’ creed. 447 By this means he drew around him a great number of adherents, who from him are still denominated ‘Macedonians.’ And although such as dissented from the Acacians at the Seleucian Synod had not previously used the term homoiousios, yet from that period they distinctly asserted it. There was, however, a popular report that this p. 74 term did not originate with Macedonius, but was the invention rather of Marathonius, who a little before had been set over the church at Nicomedia; on which account the maintainers of this doctrine were also called ‘Marathonians.’ To this party Eustathius joined himself, who for the reasons before stated had been ejected from the church at Sebastia. But when Macedonius began to deny the Divinity of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, Eustathius said: ‘I can neither admit that the Holy Spirit is God, nor can I dare affirm him to be a creature.’ For this reason those who hold the homoousion of the Son call these heretics ‘Pneumatomachi.’ 448 By what means these Macedonians became so numerous in the Hellespont, I shall state in its proper place. 449 The Acacians meanwhile became extremely anxious that another Synod should be convened at Antioch, in consequence of having changed their mind respecting their former assertion of the likeness ‘in all things’ of the Son to the Father. A small number of them therefore assembled in the following consulate 450 which was that of Taurus and Florentius, at Antioch in Syria, where the emperor was at that time residing, Euzoïus being bishop. A discussion was then renewed on some of those points which they had previously determined, in the course of which they declared that the term ‘homoios’ ought to be erased from the form of faith which had been published both at Ariminum and Constantinople; and they no longer concealed but openly declared that the Son was altogether unlike the Father, not merely in relation to his essence, but even as it respected his will; asserting boldly also, as Arius had already done, that he was made of nothing. Those in that city who favored the heresy of Aëtius, gave their assent to this opinion; from which circumstance in addition to the general appellation of Arians, they were also termed ‘Anomœans,’ 451 and ‘Exucontians,’ 452 by those at Antioch who embraced the homoousian, who nevertheless were at that time divided among themselves on account of Meletius, as I have before observed. Being therefore questioned by them, how they dared to affirm that the Son is unlike the Father, and has his existence from nothing, after having acknowledged him ‘God of God’ in their former creed? they endeavored to elude this objection by such fallacious subterfuges as these. ‘The expression, “God of God,”’ said they, ‘is to be understood in the same sense as the words of the apostle, 453but all things of God.” Wherefore the Son is of God, as being one of these all things: and it is for this reason the words “according to the Scriptures” are added in the draught of the creed.’ The author of this sophism was George bishop of Laodicea, who being unskilled in such phrases, was ignorant of the manner in which Origen had formerly explained these peculiar expressions of the apostle, having thoroughly investigated the matter. But notwithstanding these evasive cavilings, they were unable to bear the reproach and contumely they had drawn upon themselves, and fell back upon the creed which they had before put forth at Constantinople; and so each one retired to his own district. George returning to Alexandria, resumed his authority over the churches there, Athanasius still not having made his appearance. Those in that city who were opposed to his sentiments he persecuted; and conducting himself with great severity and cruelty, he rendered himself extremely odious to the people. At Jerusalem Arrenius 454 was placed over the church instead of Cyril: we may also remark that Heraclius was ordained bishop there after him, and after him Hilary. At length, however, Cyril returned to Jerusalem, and was again invested with the presidency over the church there. About the same time another heresy sprang up, which arose from the following circumstance.



παράσημος ; just as a counterfeit coin has the appearance of the genuine, and is meant to deceive those who do not investigate its genuineness, so the term ‘homoioousios’ (μοιοούσιος ), the author implies, was meant to deceive the popular ear by its likeness to the genuine ‘homoousios.


See Theodoret, H. E. II. 6.


Πνευματομάχοι , lit. ‘active enemies of the Spirit.’


I. 4.


361 a.d.


Ανόμοιοι, because they held that the essence of the Son was ‘dissimilar,’ νόμοιος, to that of the Father.


Εξουκόντιοι , from the phrase ξ οὐκ ὄντων = ‘from [things] not existing,’ because they asserted that the Son was made ex nihilo. The term might be put roughly in some such form as ‘Fromnothingians.’


1 Cor. xi. 12.


Written ‘Errenius’ in the Allat. ms.

Next: Of the Apollinarians, and their Heresy.

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