Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen.: Council held by Theophilus and the Accusers of John in Rufinianæ. John is summoned to attend, and not being present, was deposed by Them.Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Chapter XVII.—Council held by Theophilus and the Accusers of John in Rufinianæ. John is summoned to attend, and not being present, was deposed by Them.
When Theophilus entered Constantinople, none of the clergy went out to meet him; for his enmity against the bishop had become publicly known. 1607 Some sailors from Alexandria, however, who chanced to be on the shore, both from the corn vessels as well as other ships, having collected together, received him with great acclamations of joy. Passing by the church, he proceeded directly to the palace, where a lodging had been prepared for his accommodation. He soon perceived that many people p. 410 of the city were strongly prejudiced against John, and ready to bring accusations against him; and taking his measures accordingly, he repaired to a place called “The Oak,” in the suburbs of Chalcedon. This place now bears the name of Rufinus; for he was a consul, and erected here a magnificent palace, and a great church in honor of the apostles, Peter and Paul, and therefore named it the Apostolium; and appointed a congregation of monks to perform the clerical duties in the church. When Theophilus and the other bishops met for deliberation in this place, he judged it expedient to make no further allusion to the works of Origen, and called the monks of Scetis to repentance, promising that there would be no recollection of wrongs nor infliction of evil. His partisans zealously seconded his efforts, and told them that they must ask Theophilus to pardon their conduct; and as all the members of the assembly concurred in this request, the monks were troubled, and believing that it was necessary to do what they were desired by so many bishops, they used the words which it was their custom to use even when injured, and said “spare us.” Theophilus willingly received them into favor, and restored them to communion; and the question concerning the injuries done to the monks of Scetis was ended. I feel convinced that this matter would not have been so quickly settled, had Dioscorus and Ammonius been present with the other monks. But Dioscorus had died some time previously, and had been interred in the church dedicated to St. Mocius the martyr. Ammonius, also, had been taken ill at the very time that preparations were being made for the convocation of the council; and although he insisted upon repairing to “The Oak,” yet his malady was thereby greatly increased: he died soon after his journey, and had a splendid entombment among the monks of that vicinity, and there he lies. Theophilus, it is said, shed tears on hearing of his death, and declared that although he had been the cause of much perplexity, there was not a monk to be found of more exalted character than Ammonius. It must, however, be admitted, that the death of this monk tended much to promote the success of the designs of Theophilus.
The members of the council summoned all the clergy of Constantinople to appear before them, and threatened to depose those who did not obey the summons. They cited John to appear and answer; as likewise Serapion, Tigrius a presbyter, and Paul a reader. John acquainted them, through the medium of Demetrius, bishop of Pisinus, and of some of the other clergy, who were his friends, that he would not avoid investigation, but that he was ready, if the names of his accusers and the subject of his accusations were made known to him, to justify his proceedings before a larger council; for he did not choose to be considered insane, and to recognize his manifest enemies as judges. The bishops testified so much indignation at the non-compliance of John, that some of the clergy whom he had sent to the council were intimidated and did not return to him. Demetrius, and those who preferred his interests to all other considerations, quitted the council, and returned to him. The same day, a courier and a shorthand writer were dispatched from the palace to command John to repair to the bishops, and to urge the bishops to decide his cause without further delay. After John had been cited four times, and had appealed to a general council, no other accusation could be substantiated against him, except his refusal to obey the summons of the council; and upon this ground they deposed him.
References in preceding chapter. Soz. has independent material.
Next: Sedition of the People against Theophilus; and they traduced their Rulers. John was recalled, and again came to the See.
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