Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus.: Of Theodosius and Agapetus Bishops of Synada.Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Chapter III.—Of Theodosius and Agapetus Bishops of Synada.
A certain Theodosius was bishop of Synada in Phrygia Pacata; he violently persecuted the heretics in that province—and there was a great number of them—and especially those of the Macedonian sect; he drove them out not only from the city, but also out of the country. This course he pursued not from any precedent in the orthodox church, nor from the desire of propagating the true faith; but being enslaved by the love of filthy lucre, he was impelled by the avaricious motive of amassing money, by extorting it from the heretics. To this end he made all sorts of attempts upon the Macedonians, putting arms into the hands of his clergy; and employing innumerable stratagems against them; nor did he refrain from dep. 155 livering them up to the secular tribunals. 909 But he especially annoyed their bishop whose name was Agapetus: and finding the governors of the province were not invested with sufficient authority to punish heretics according to his wish, he went to Constantinople and petitioned for edicts of a more stringent nature from the Prætorian prefect. While Theodosius was absent on this business, Agapetus who, as I have said, presided over the Macedonian sect, came to a wise and prudent conclusion. Communicating with his clergy, he called all the people under his guidance together, and persuaded them to embrace the homoousian faith. On their acquiescing in this proposition, he proceeded immediately to the church attended not merely by his own adherents, but by the whole body of the people. There having offered prayer, he took possession of the episcopal chair in which Theodosius was accustomed to seat himself; and preaching thenceforth the doctrine of consubstantiality, he reunited the people, and made himself master of the churches in the diocese of Synada. Soon after these transactions, Theodosius returned to Synada, bringing with him extended powers from the prefect, and knowing nothing of what had taken place, he proceeded to the church just as he was. Being forthwith unanimously expelled, he again betook himself to Constantinople; upon his arrival at that place he complained to Atticus, the bishop, of the treatment he had met with, and the manner in which he had been deprived of his bishopric. Atticus perceiving that this movement had resulted advantageously to the church, consoled Theodosius as well as he could; recommending him to embrace with a contented mind a retired life, and thus sacrifice his own private interests to the public good. He then wrote to Agapetus authorizing him to retain the episcopate, and bidding him be under no apprehension of being molested in consequence of Theodosius grievance.
On the limits of the secular power over ecclesiastical dignitaries, and the cases in which the clergy were amenable to the civil law as well as those in which they were not, see Bingham, Christ. Antiq. V. 2.
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