“After meeting together and making long enquiry concerning the Word of salvation, we have set forth that the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is of one substance. And it seemed fitting to pen a letter to you, not that we write what concerns the worship of the Trinity in vain disputation, but in humility deemed worthy of the duty.
“This letter we have sent by our beloved brother and fellow labourer Elpidius the presbyter. For not in the letters of our hands, but in the books of our Saviour Jesus Christ, is it written I am of Paul and I of Apollos and I of Cephas and I of Christ. Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 695
“It seemed indeed fitting to our humility not to pen any letter to you, on account of the great terror which your preaching causes to all the region under your jurisdiction, separating as you do the Holy Spirit from the Father and Son. We were therefore constrained to send to you our lord and fellow labourer Elpidius to ascertain if your preaching is really of this character and to carry this dispatch from the imperial government of Rome.
“We exhort you therefore brethren to teach no other doctrine, nor even hold any other and vain belief, but that always and everywhere, preaching the Trinity to be of one substance, ye may be able to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
“While writing on this point we have also been reminded to pen this letter to you about the present or future appointment of our fellow ministers as bishops, if there be any sound men among the bishops who have already discharged a public office; 696 and, if not, from the order of presbyters: in like manner of the appointment of presbyters and deacons out of the actual priestly 697 order that they may be in every way blameless, and not from the ranks of the senate and army.
“We have been unwilling to pen you a letter at length, because of the mission of one representative of all, our lord and fellow labourer Elpidius, to make diligent enquiry about your preaching, if it really is such as we have heard from our lord and fellow labourer Eustathius.
“In conclusion, if at any time you have been in error, put off the old man and put on the new. The same brother and fellow labourer Elpidius will instruct you how to preach the true faith that the Holy Trinity, of one substance with God the Father, together with the Son and Holy Ghost, is hallowed, glorified, and made manifest, Father in Son, Son in Father, with the Holy Ghost for ever and ever. For since this has been made manifest, we shall manifestly be able to confess the Holy Trinity to be of one substance according to the faith set forth formerly at Nicæa which the Fathers confirmed. So long as this faith is preached we shall be able to avoid the snares of the deadly devil. When he is destroyed we shall be able to do homage to one another in letters of peace while we live in peace.
“We have therefore written to you in order that ye may know the deposition of the Ariomaniacs, who do not confess that the Son is of the substance of the Father nor the Holy Ghost. We subjoin their names,—Polychronius, Telemachus, Faustus, Asclepiades, Amantius, Cleopater.
“This we thus write to the glory of Father and Son and Holy Ghost for ever and ever, amen. We pray the Father and the Son our Saviour Jesus Christ with the Holy Ghost that you may fare well for many years.”
ἐξ αὐτοῦ τοῦ ἱερατικοῦ τάγματος. It is noticeable that the word ἱερατικόν is used here of the clerical order generally, inclusive of lower ranks, such as the readers, singers, doorkeepers and orphans enumerated in the Apostolic Constitutions from whom deacons and presbyters were to be appointed. For illustrations of the phrases ἱερατικὴ τάξις and ἰερατικὸν τάγμα vide Dict. Christ. Ant. ii. 1470. The exclusively sacrificial sense sometimes given to ἱερεὺς and sacerdos, with their correlatives, is modified by the fact that derivatively both only mean “the man concerned with the sacred.” (ἱερος = vigorous, divine. IS.; sacer = inviolate, holy, SAK, fasten; of the latter the suffix adds the idea of giver.