It is probable that a severe persecution might have ensued at this juncture, had not Procopius commenced a civil war. 1442 As he began to play the tyrant at Constantinople, he soon collected a large army, and marched against Valens.
He commanded Procopius to be fastened by the legs to two trees which had been bent to the ground, and he allowed these to spring up; when the trees were left to resume their natural position, the victim was torn in twain.
On the termination of this war, Valens retired to Nicæa, and finding himself in possession of profound tranquillity, he again began to molest those who differed from him in opinion concerning the Divine nature.
While under the influence of these resentful feelings, he summoned Eleusius from Syria, and having called together a Synod of bishops who held his own sentiments, he endeavored to compel him to assent to their doctrines. Eleusius at first manfully refused compliance. But afterwards, from the dread of exile and deprivation of his property, as was threatened by the emperor, he yielded to the mandate. He soon repented of his weakness, and on his return to Cyzicus he made a public confession of his fault in the church, and urged the people to choose another bishop, for he said that he could not discharge the duties of a priesthood after having been a traitor to his own doctrine. The citizens respected his conduct and were especially well-disposed to him, so that they did not choose to have another bishop. Eudoxius, president of the Arians in Constantinople, however, ordained Eunomius as bishop of Cyzicus; for he expected that by his great powers of eloquence Eunomius would easily draw the people of Cyzicus over to his own sentiments. On his arrival at that city he expelled Eleusius, for he was furnished with an imperial edict to that effect, and took possession of the churches himself.
The followers of Eleusius built a house of prayer without the walls of the city, and here they held their assemblies. I shall soon again have occasion to revert to Eunomius and the heresy which bears his name.