Not long after the council of Nice, Arius was recalled from exile; but the prohibition to enter Alexandria was unrevoked. It shall be related in the proper place how he strove to obtain permission to return to Egypt. Not long after, Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, and Theognis, bishop of Nicæa, regained possession of their churches after expelling Amphion and Chrestos who had been ordained in their stead. 1164 They owed their restoration to a document which they had presented to the bishops, containing a retractation: “Although we have been condemned without a trial by your piety, we deemed it right to remain silent concerning the judgment passed by your piety. But as it would be absurd to remain longer silent, when silence is regarded as a proof of the truth of the calumniators, we now declare to you that we too agree in this faith, and after a diligent examination of the thought in the word consubstantial, we are wholly intent upon preserving peace, and that we never pursued any heresy. Having proposed for the safety of the churches such argument 1165 as occurred to us, and having been fully convinced, and fully convincing those who ought to have been persuaded by us, we undersigned the creed; but we did not subscribe to the anathema, not because we impugned the creed, but because we did not believe the accused to be what he was represented to us; the letters we had received from him, and the arguments he had delivered in our presence, fully satisfying us that he was not such an one. Would that the holy Synod were convinced that we are not bent on opposing, but are accordant with the points accurately defined by you, and by this document, we do attest our assent thereto: and this is not because we are wearied of exile, but because we wish to avert all suspicion of heresy; for if you will condescend to admit us now into your presence, you will find us in all points of the same sentiments as yourselves, and obedient to your decisions, and then it shall seem good to your piety to be merciful to him who was accused on these points and to have him recalled. If the party amenable to justice has been recalled and has defended himself from the charge made, it would be absurd, were we by our silence to conp. 269 firm the reports that calumny had spread against us. We beseech you then, as befits your piety, dear to Christ, that you memorialize our emperor, most beloved of God, and that you hand over our petition, and that you counsel quickly, what is agreeable to you concerning us.” It was by these means that Eusebius and Theognis, after their change of sentiment, were reinstated in their churches.
The facts (as we learn from the Epistle of Eusebius of Cæsarea, which is given by Soc. i. 8, and Theodoret, H. E. i. 12) are as follows: The bishops, who demurred to the term ὁμοούσιον, as defined in the Nicene symbol, proposed another alleged older Antiochan form to the Synod. But the Nicene Fathers rejected it, and refused to depart from their own definition. Eusebius Pamphilus and his party then signed the Catholic and Orthodox creed, for fear of the emperor and other motives.
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