Chapter XX.—Events which took place in the Eastern Churches: Marathonius, Eleusius of Cyzicus, and Macedonius expel those who maintain the Term “Consubstantial.” Concerning the Churches of the Novatians; how one Church was Transported; the Novatians enter into Communion with the Orthodox.
While the events I have above related were taking place in Italy, the East, even before the council of Seleucia had been constituted, was the theatre of great disturbances. 1333 The adherents of Acacius and Patrophilus, having ejected Maximus, turned over the church of Jerusalem to Cyril. Macedonius harassed Constantinople and the neighboring cities; he was abetted by Eleusius and Marathonius. This latter was originally a deacon in his own church, and was a zealous superintendent of the poor of the monastical dwellings inhabited by men and women, and Macedonius raised him to the bishopric of Nicomedia. Eleusius, who, not without distinction, was formerly attached to the military service of the palace, had been ordained bishop of Cyzicus. It is said that Eleusius and Marathonius were both good men in their conduct, but that they were zealous in persecuting those who maintained that the Son is of the same substance as the Father, although they were not so distinctly cruel as Macedonius, who not only expelled those who refused to hold communion with him, but imprisoned some, and dragged others before the tribunals. In many cases he compelled the unwilling to communion. He seized children and women who had not been initiated and initiated them, and destroyed many churches in different places, under the pretext that the emperor had commanded the demolition of all houses of prayer in which the Son was recognized to be of the same substance as the Father.
Under this pretext the church of the Novatians at Constantinople, situated in that part of the city called Pelargus, was destroyed. It is related that these heretics performed a courageous action with the aid of the members of the p. 316 Catholic Church, with whom they made common cause. When those who were employed to destroy this church were about to commence the work of demolition, the Novatians assembled themselves together; some tore down the materials, and others conveyed them to a suburb of the city called Sycæ. They quickly achieved this task; for men, women, and children participated in it, and by offering their labor to God they were extraordinarily inspirited. By the exercise of this zeal the church was soon renewed, and, from this circumstance, received the name of Anastasia. After the death of Constantius, Julian, his successor, granted to the Novatians the ground which they had previously possessed, and permitted them to rebuild their church. The people spiritedly took advantage of this permission, and transported the identical materials of the former edifice from Sycæ. But this happened at a later period of time than that which we are now reviewing. At this period a union was nearly effected between the Novatian and Catholic churches; for as they held the same opinions concerning the Godhead, and were subjected to a common persecution, the members of both churches assembled and prayed together. The Catholics then possessed no houses of prayer, for the Arians had wrested them from them. It appears, too, that from the frequent intercourse between the members of each church, they reasoned that the differences between them were vain, and they resolved to commune with one another. A reconciliation would certainly have been effected, I think, had not the desire of the multitude been frustrated by the slander of a few individuals, who asserted that there was an ancient law prohibiting the union of the churches.
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