Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: The artful Machinations of Eusebius and his followers against the Holy Eustathius, Bishop of Antioch.
Chapter XX.—The artful Machinations of Eusebius and his followers against the Holy Eustathius, Bishop of Antioch.
Eusebius, as I have already stated, seized the diocese of Constantinople by force. And thus having acquired great power in that city, frequently visiting and holding familiar intercourse with the emperor, he gained confidence and formed plots against those who were foremost in the support of the truth. He at first feigned a desire of going to Jerusalem, to see the celebrated edifices there erected: and the emperor, who was deceived by his flattery, allowed him to set out with the utmost honour, providing him with carriages, and the rest of his equipage and retinue. Theognis, bishop of Nicæa, who, as we have before said, was his accomplice in his evil designs, travelled with him. When they arrived at Antioch, they put on the mask of friendship, and were received with the utmost deference. Eustathius, the great champion of the faith, treated them with fraternal kindness. When they arrived at the holy places, they had an interview with those who were of the same opinions as themselves, namely, Eusebius, bishop of Cæsarea, Patrophilus, bishop of Scythopolis, Aetius, bishop of Lydda, Theodotus, bishop of Laodicea, and others who had imbibed the Arian sentiments; they made known the plot they had hatched to them, and went with them to Antioch. The pretext for their journey was, that due honour might be rendered to Eusebius; but their real motive was their war against religion. They bribed a low woman, who made a traffic of her beauty, to sell them her tongue, and then repaired to the council, and when all the spectators had been ordered to retire, they introduced the wretched woman. She held a babe in her arms, of which she loudly and impudently affirmed that Eustathius was the father. Eustathius, conscious of his innocence, asked her whether she could bring forward any witness to prove what she had advanced. She replied that she could not: yet these equitable judges admitted her to oath, although it is said in the law, that “at the mouth of two or three witnesses shall the matter be established 408 ;” and the apostle says, “against an elder receive not any accusation but before two or three witnesses 409 .” But they despised these divine laws, and admitted the accusation against this great man without any witnesses. When the woman had again declared upon oath that Eustathius was the father of the babe, these truth-loving judges condemned him as an adulterer. When the other bishops, who upheld the apostolical doctrines, being ignorant of all these intrigues, openly opposed the sentence, and advised Eustathius not to submit to it, the originators of the plot promptly repaired to the emperor, and endeavoured to persuade him that the accusation was true, and the sentence of deposition just; and they succeeded in obtaining the banishment of this champion of piety and chastity, as an adulterer and a tyrant. He was conducted across Thrace to a city of Illyricum 410 .
Deut. xix. 1557:409
1 Tim. v. 1957:410
Jerome says Trajanopolis, but Eustathius died at Philippi, circa 337. Athanasius, who calls Eustathius “a confessor and sound in the faith” (Hist. Ar. §4), says the false charge which had most weight with Constantine was that the bishop of Antioch had slandered the Empress Helena. Sozomen (II. 19) records the patience with which Eustathius suffered, and sums up his character as that of “a good and true man, specially remarkable for eloquence, to which his extant writings testify, admirable as they are alike for the dignity of their style of ancient cast, the sound wisdom of their sentiments, the beauty of their language, and grace of expression.” The sole survivor of his works is an attack on Origens interpretation of Scripture.
Next: Bishops of Heretical opinions ordained in Antioch after the Banishment of St. Eustathius.
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