Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: Of the dissension caused by Paulinus; of the innovation by Apollinarius of Laodicea, and of the philosophy of Meletius.
Chapter III.—Of the dissension caused by Paulinus; of the innovation by Apollinarius of Laodicea, and of the philosophy of Meletius.
It has been already related how the defenders of the apostolic doctrines were divided into two parties; how immediately after the conspiracy formed against the great Eustathius, one section, in abhorrence of the Arian abomination, assembled together by themselves with Paulinus for their bishop, while, after the ordination of Euzoius, the other party separated themselves from the impious with the excellent Meletius, underwent the perils previously described, and were guided by the wise instructions which Meletius gave them. Besides these Apollinarius of Laodicea constituted himself leader of a third party, and though he assumed a mask of piety, and appeared to defend apostolic doctrines, he was soon seen to be an open foe. About the divine nature he used unsound arguments, and originated the idea of certain degrees of dignities. He also had the hardihood to render the mystery of the incarnation 811 imperfect and affirmed that the reasonable soul, which is entrusted with the guidance of the body, was deprived of the salvation effected. For according to his argument God the Word did not assume this soul, and so neither granted it His healing gift, nor gave it a portion of His dignity. Thus the earthly body is represented as worshipped by invisible powers, while the soul which is made in the image of God has remained below invested with the dishonour of sin. 812 Many more errors did he utter in his stumbling and blinded intelligence. At one time even he was ready to confess that of the Holy Virgin the flesh had been taken, at another time he represented it to have come down from heaven with God the Word, and yet again that He had been made flesh and took nothing from us. Other vain tales and trifles which I have thought it superfluous to repeat he mixed up with Gods gospel promises. By arguments of this nature he not only filled his own friends with dangerous p. 133 doctrine but even imparted it to some among ourselves. As time went on, when they saw their own insignificance, and beheld the splendour of the Church, all except a few were gathered into the Churchs communion. But they did not quite put away their former unsoundness, and with it infected many of the sound. This was the origin of the growth in the Church of the doctrine of the one nature of the Flesh and of the Godhead, of the ascription to the Godhead of the Passion of the only begotten, and of other points which have bred differences among the laity and their priests. But these belong to a later date. At the time of which I am speaking, when Sapor the General had arrived and had exhibited the imperial edict, Paulinus affirmed that he sided with Damasus, and Apollinarius, concealing his unsoundness, did the same. The divine Meletius, on the other hand, made no sign, and put up with their dispute. Flavianus, of high fame for his wisdom, who was at that time still in the ranks of the presbyterate, at first said to Paulinus in the hearing of the officer “If, my dear friend, you accept communion with Damasus, point out to us clearly how the doctrines agree, for he though he owns one substance of the Trinity openly preaches three essences. 813 You on the contrary deny the Trinity of the essences. Shew us then how these doctrines are in harmony, and receive the charge of the churches, as the edict enjoins.” After so silencing Paulinus by his arguments he turned to Apollinarius and said, “I am astonished, my friend, to find you waging such violent war against the truth, when all the while you know quite clearly how the admirable Damasus maintains our nature to have been taken in its perfection by God the Word; but you persist in saying the contrary, for you deprive our intelligence of its salvation. If these our charges against you be false, deny now the novelty that you have originated; embrace the teaching of Damasus, and receive the charge of the holy shrines.”
Thus Flavianus in his great wisdom stopped their bold speech with his true reasoning.
Meletius, who of all men was most meek, thus kindly and gently addressed Paulinus. “The Lord of the sheep has put the care of these sheep in my hands: you have received the charge of the rest: our little ones are in communion with one another in the true religion. Therefore, my dear friend, let us join our flocks; let us have done with our dispute about the leading of them, and, feeding the sheep together, let us tend them in common. If the chief seat is the cause of strife, that strife I will endeavour to put away. On the chief seat I will put the Holy Gospel; let us take our seats on each side of it; should I be the first to pass away, you, my friend, will hold the leadership of the flock alone. Should this be your lot before it is mine, I in my turn, so far as I am able, will take care of the sheep.” So gently and kindly spoke the divine Meletius. Paulinus did not consent. The officer passed judgment on what had been said and gave the churches to the great Meletius. Paulinus still continued at the head of the sheep who had originally seceded.
τὸ τῆς οἰκονομίας μυστήριον. Vide note on page 72.132:812
Adopting Platonic and Pauline psychology giving body, soul and spirit (cf. 1 Thess. 5:23, Gal. 5:171 Thess. v. 23, and Gal. v. 17) Apollinarius attributed to Christ a human body and a human soul or anima animans shared by man with brutes, but not the reasonable soul, spirit or anima rationalis. In place of this he put the Divine Logos. The Word, he said, was made Flesh not Spirit, God was manifest in the Flesh not Spirit.133:813
Next: Of Eusebius Bishop of Samosata.
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