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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus.: Of Hilary Bishop of Poictiers.

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Chapter X.—Of Hilary Bishop of Poictiers.

There, however, Hilary bishop of Poictiers (a city of Aquitania Secunda) had anticipated him, having previously confirmed the bishops of Italy and Gaul in the doctrines of the orthodox faith; for he first had returned from exile to these countries. Both therefore nobly combined their energies in defense of the faith: and Hilary being a very eloquent man, maintained with great power the doctrine of the homoousion in books which he wrote in Latin. In these he gave sufficient support [to the doctrine] and unanswerably confuted the Arian tenets. These things took place shortly after the recall of those who had been banished. But it must be observed, that at the same time Macedonius, Eleusius, Eustathius, and Sophronius, with all their partisans, who had but the one common designation Macedonians, held frequent Synods in various places. 513 Having called together those of Seleucia who embraced their views, they anathematized the bishops of the other party, that is the Acacian: and rejecting the creed of Ariminum, they confirmed that which had been read at Seleucia. This, as I have stated in the preceding book, 514 was the same as had been before promulgated at Antioch. When they were asked by some one, ‘Why have ye, who are called Macedonians hitherto, retained communion with the Acacians, as though ye agreed in opinion, if ye really hold different sentiments?’ they replied thus, through Sophronius, bishop of Pompeiopolis, a city of Paphlagonia: ‘Those in the West,’ said he, ‘were infected with the homoousian error as with a disease: Aëtius in the East adulterated the purity of the faith by introducing the assertion of a dissimilitude of substance. Now both of these dogmas are illegitimate; for the former rashly blended into one the distinct persons of the Father and the Son, binding them together by that cord of iniquity the term homoousion; while Aëtius wholly separated that affinity of nature of the Son to the Father, by the expression anomoion, unlike as to substance or essence. Since then both these opinions run into the very opposite extremes, the middle course between them appeared to us to be more consistent with truth and piety: we accordingly assert that the Son is “like the Father as to subsistence.”’

Such was the answer the Macedonians made by Sophronius to that question, as Sabinus assures us in his Collection of the Synodical Acts. But in decrying Aëtius as the author of the Anomoion doctrine, and not Acacius, they flagrantly disguise the truth, in order to seem as far removed from the Arians on the one side, as from the Homoousians on the other: for their own words convict them of having separated from them both, merely from the love of innovation. With these remarks we close our notice of these persons.



Sozom. V. 14; Theodoret, Hæret. Fabul. IV.


II. 10. 39.

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