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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus.: Further Dissensions among the Arians at Constantinople. The Psathyrians.

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Chapter XXIII.—Further Dissensions among the Arians at Constantinople. The Psathyrians.

But dissensions arose among the Arians 802 also on this account. The contentious questions which were daily agitated among them, led them to start the most absurd propositions. For whereas it has been always believed in the church that God is the Father of the Son, the Word, it was asked whether God could be called ‘Father’ before the Son had subsistence? Thus in asserting that the Word of God was not begotten of the Father, but was created out ‘of nothing,’ and thus falling into error on the chief and main point, they deservedly fell into absurd cavilings about a mere name. Dorotheus therefore being sent for by them from Antioch maintained that God neither was nor could be called Father before the Son existed. But Marinus whom they had summoned out of Thrace before Dorotheus, piqued at the superior deference which was paid to his rival, undertook to defend the contrary opinion. In consequence of these things there arose a schism among them, and being thus divided respecting this term, each party held separate meetings. Those under Dorotheus retained their original places of assembly: but the followers of Marinus built distinct oratories for themselves, and asserted that the Father had always been Father, even when the Son was not. This section of the Arians was denominated Psathyrians803 because one of the most zealous defenders of this opinion was Theoctistus, a Syrian by birth, and a cake-seller [Psathyropola804 by trade. Selenas 805 bishop of the Goths adopted the views of this party, a man of mixed descent; he was a Goth by his father’s side, but by his mother’s a Phrygian, by which means he taught in the church with great readiness in both these languages. This faction however soon quarreled among themselves, Marinus disagreeing with Agapius, whom he himself had preferred to the bishopric of Ephesus. They disputed, however, not about any point of religion, but in narrow-mindedness about precedence, in which the Goths sided with Agapius. Wherefore many of the ecclesiastics under their jurisdiction, abominating the vain-glorious contest between these two, abandoned them both, and became adherents to the ‘homoousian’ faith. The Arians having continued thus divided among themselves during the space of thirty-five years, were reunited in the reign of Theodosius the Younger, under the consulate 806 of Plintha the commander-in-chief of the army, he being a member of the sect of Psathyrians; these were prevailed on to desist from contention. They afterwards passed a resolution, giving it all the cogency of law, that the question which had led to their separation, should never be mooted again. But this reconciliation extended no farther than Constantinople; for in other cities where any of these two parties were found, they persisted in their former separation. So much respecting the division among the Arians.



See above, chap. 20.


Cf. Theodoret, Hæret. Fabal. IV. 4; also Sozomen (probably dependent on Socrates), VII. 17.


ψαθύριον, a species of cake; hence ψαθυροπώλης , ‘cake-seller.’


Sozomen (VII. 17) adds that Selenas was a secretary of Ulfilas and had been promoted to be his successor.


419 a.d.

Next: The Eunomians divide into Several Factions.

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