Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus.: The Body of Paul, Bishop of Constantinople, is honorably transferred from his Place of Exile. Death of Meletius.Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Chapter IX.—The Body of Paul, Bishop of Constantinople, is honorably transferred from his Place of Exile. Death of Meletius.
The emperor at that time caused to be removed from the city of Ancyra, the body of the bishop Paul, whom Philip the prefect of the Prætorium 712 had banished at the instigation of Macedonius, and ordered to be strangled at Cucusus a town of Armenia, as I have already mentioned. 713 He therefore received the remains with great reverence and honor, and deposited in the church which now takes its name from him; which the Macedonian party were formerly in possession of while they remained separate from the Arians, but were expelled at that time by the emperor, because they refused to adopt his sentiments. About this period Melitius, bishop of Antioch, fell sick and died: in whose praise Gregory, the brother of Basil, pronounced a funeral oration. The body of the deceased bishop was by his friends conveyed to Antioch; where those who had identified themselves with his interests again refused subjection to Paulinus, but caused Flavian to be substituted in the place of Melitius, and the people began to quarrel anew. Thus again the Antiochian church was divided into rival factions, not grounded on any difference of faith, but simply on a preference of bishops.
Constantine made an advance on his predecessors by dividing the management of the empire among four prefects of the prætorium, which they had committed to two officers of that name. These four were apportioned as follows: one to the East, a second to Illyricum, a third to Italy, and a fourth to Gaul. Each of these prefects had a number of dioceses under him, and each diocese was a combination of several provinces into one territory. In conformity with this model of civil government the church abandoned gradually and naturally its metropolitan administration of the provinces and adopted the diocesan. The exact time of the change is, of course, uncertain, it having come about gradually. It is safe, however, to put it between the Nicene and Constantinopolitan councils. The Fathers in the latter of those councils seem to find it in practical operation and confirm it (Cf. Canon 2 of the councils), decreeing explicitly that it should be unlawful for clerics to perform any office or transact any business in their official character outside of the bounds of the diocese wherein they were placed, just as it was unlawful for the civil officer to intermeddle in any affair outside the limits of his civil diocese.122:713
Next: The Emperor orders a Convention composed of All the Various Sects. Arcadius is proclaimed Augustus. The Novatians permitted to hold their Assemblies in the City of Constantinople: Other Heretics driven out.
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