Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen.: Letter of the Emperor Constantius against Eudoxius and his Partisans.Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
p. 309 Chapter XIV.—Letter of the Emperor Constantius against Eudoxius and his Partisans.
“Constantius Augustus the Conqueror, to the holy church in Antioch. 1319
“Eudoxius came without our authority; let no one suppose that he had it, for we are far from regarding such persons with favor. If they have recourse to deceit with others in transactions like this, they give evidence that they will refine away the truth in still higher things. For from what will they voluntarily refrain, who, for the sake of power, follow the round of the cities, leaping from one to another, as a kind of wanderer, prying into every nook, led by the desire for more? It is reported that there are among these people certain quacks and sophists, whose very names are scarcely to be tolerated, and whose deeds are evil and most impious. You all know to what set of people I allude; for you are all thoroughly acquainted with the doctrines of Aëtius and the heresy which he has cultivated. He and his followers have devoted themselves exclusively to the task of corrupting the people; and these clever fellows have had the audacity to publish that we approved of their ordination. Such is the report they circulate, after the manner of those who talk overmuch; but it is not true, and, indeed, far removed from the truth. Recall to your recollection the words of which we made use, when we first made a declaration of our belief; for we confessed that our Saviour is the Son of God, and of like substance with the Father. But these people, who have the audacity to set forth whatever enters their imagination, concerning the Godhead, are not far removed from atheism; and they strive, moreover, to propagate their opinions among others. We are convinced that their iniquitous proceedings will fall back upon their own heads. In the meantime, it is sufficient to eject them from synods and from ordinary conference; for I will not now allude to the chastisements which must hereafter overtake them, unless they will desist from their madness. How great is the evil they perpetrate, when they collect together the most wicked persons, as if by an edict, and they select the leaders of heresy for the clergy, thus debasing the reverend order as though they were allowed to do what they please! Who can bear with people who fill the cities with impiety, who secrete impurity in the most distant regions, and who delight in nothing but in injuring the righteous? What an evil-working unity it is, which limps forward to enthrone itself in the diviner seats! Now is the time for those who have imbibed the truth to come forward into the light, and whoever were previously restrained through fear, and now would escape from conventionalism, let them step into the middle; for the artifices of these evil men have been thoroughly confuted, and no sort of device can be invented which will deliver them from acting impiously. It is the duty of good men to retain the faith of the Fathers, and, so to speak, to augment it, without busying themselves with other matters. I earnestly exhort those who have escaped, though but recently, from the precipice of this heresy, to assent to the decrees which the bishops who are wise in divine learning, have rightly determined for the better.”
Thus we see that the heresy usually denominated Anomian was within a little of becoming predominant at this period.
Independent document. Cf. Theodoret, ii. 26, who alludes to the first part of this letter, then apparently mixes another one by Constantius with it.
Next: The Emperor Constantius repairs to Sirmium, recalls Liberius, and restores him to the Church of Rome; he also commands Felix to assist Liberius in the Sacerdotal Office.
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