Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen.: Gratian elects Theodosius of Spain to reign with him, Arianism prevails throughout the Eastern Churches except that of Jerusalem. Council of Antioch. The Settlement of the Presidency of the Churches.Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Chapter II.—Gratian elects Theodosius of Spain to reign with him, Arianism prevails throughout the Eastern Churches except that of Jerusalem. Council of Antioch. The Settlement of the Presidency of the Churches.
On reflecting that, while it was indispensably requisite to check the incursions of the barbarians of the Ister in Illyria and Thrace, his presence was equally necessary in Gaul to repel the inroads of the Alemanni, Gratian associated Theodosius 1518 with himself at Sirmich, in the government of the empire. Theodosius belonged to an illustrious family of the Pyrenees in Iberia, and had acquired so much renown in war, that before he was raised to the imperial power, he was universally considered capable of guiding the reins of the empire.
At this period all the churches of the East, with the exception of that of Jerusalem, were in the hands of the Arians. The Macedonians differed but little in opinion from those who maintained the doctrine of Nicæa, and held intercourse and communion with them in all the cities; and this had been more especially the case with the Macedonians of Constantinople, ever since their reconciliation with Liberius. But after the enactment of Gratians law, some bishops of the Macedonian heresy took courage and repossessed the churches from which they had been ejected by Valens. They assembled together at Antioch in Caria, and protested that the Son is not to be declared “consubstantial” with the Father, but only like unto Him in substance. From that period, many of the Macedonians seceded from the others, and held separate churches; while others, condemning this opposition and contentiousness of those who had made these decisions, united themselves still more firmly with the followers of the Nicene doctrines.
Many of the bishops who had been banished by Valens, and who were recalled about this period in consequence of the law of Gratian, manifested no ambition to be restored to the highest offices of the Church; but they preferred the unity of the people, and therefore begged the Arian bishops to retain the posts they occupied, and not to rend by dissension the Church, which had been transmitted by God and the apostles as one, but which contentiousness and ambition for precedence had divided into many parts. Eulalius, bishop of Amasia in Pontus, was one of those who pursued this course of conduct. It is said that when he returned from exile, he found that his church was presided over by an Arian bishop, and that scarcely fifty inhabitants of the city had submitted to the control of this new bishop. Eulalius, desiring unity above all other considerations, offered to take part with the Arian bishop in the government of the church, and expressly agreed to allow him the precedence. But as the Arian would not comply with this proposition, it was not long before he found himself deserted by the few who had followed him, and who went over to the other party.
Soc. v. 2–4; Philost. ix. 17; Ruf. H. E. ii. 14. Cf. Theodoret, H. E. v. 5–7. Soz. has other material; Zos. iv. 24. Cf. Eunap. Fragm. ii. 42, for an opposite view of Theodosius.
Next: Concerning St. Meletius and Paulinus, Bishop of Antioch. Their Oath respecting the Episcopal See.
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