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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:
Apology to the Emperor. (Apologia Ad Constantium.): He never saw Constans alone.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

3. He never saw Constans alone.

But in truth I am ashamed even to have to defend myself against charges such as these, which I do not suppose that even the accuser himself would venture to make mention of in my presence. For he knows full well that he speaks untruly, and that I was never so mad, so reft of my senses, as even to be open to the suspicion of having conceived any such thing. So that had I been questioned by any other on this subject, I would not even have answered, lest, while I was making my defence, my hearers should for a time have suspended their judgment concerning me. But to your Piety I answer with a loud and clear voice, and p. 239 stretching forth my hand, as I have learned from the Apostle, ‘I call God for a record upon my soul 1290 ,’ and as it is written in the histories of the Kings (let me be allowed to say the same), ‘The Lord is witness, and His Anointed is witness 1291 ,’ I have never spoken evil of your Piety before your brother Constans, the most religious Augustus of blessed memory. I did not exasperate him against you, as these have falsely accused me. But whenever in my interviews with him he has mentioned your Grace (and he did mention you at the time that Thalassus 1292 came to Pitybion, and I was staying at Aquileia), the Lord is witness, how I spoke of your Piety in terms which I would that God would reveal unto your soul, that you might condemn the falsehood of these my calumniators. Bear with me, most gracious Augustus, and freely grant me your indulgence while I speak of this matter. Your most Christian brother was not a man of so light a temper, nor was I a person of such a character, that we should communicate together on a subject like this, or that I should slander a brother to a brother, or speak evil of an emperor before an emperor. I am not so mad, Sire, nor have I forgotten that divine utterance which says, ‘Curse not the king, no, not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter 1293 .’ If then those things, which are spoken in secret against you that are kings, are not hidden, it is not incredible that I should have spoken against you in the presence of a king, and of so many bystanders? For I never saw your brother by myself, nor did he ever converse with me in private, but I was always introduced in company with the Bishop of the city where I happened to be, and with others that chanced to be there. We entered the presence together, and together we retired. Fortunatian 1294 , Bishop of Aquileia, can testify this, the father Hosius is able to say the same, as also are Crispinus, Bishop of Padua, Lucillus of a Verona, Dionysius of Lëis, and Vincentius of Campania. And although Maximinus of Treveri, and Protasius of Milan, are dead, yet Eugenius, who was Master of the Palace 1295 , can bear witness for me; for he stood before the veil 1296 , and heard what we requested of the Emperor, and what he vouchsafed to reply to us.



2 Cor. i. 23.


1 Sam. xii. 5.


Hist. Arian. 22. vid. Apol. Ar. 51. [‘Pitybion’ is Patavia, now Padua.]


Eccles. x. 20.


All these names of Bishops occur among the subscriptions at Sardica. supr. Ap. Ar. 50. [See also D.C.B. s. vv.] Leis is Lauda, or Laus Pompeia, hodie Lodi Vecchio; Ughelli, Ital. Sacr. t. 4. p. 656.


Or, master of the offices; one of the seven Ministers of the Court under the Empire; ‘He inspected the discipline of the civil and military schools, and received appeals from all parts of the Empire.’ Gibbon, ch. 17. [cf. Gwatkin, p. 285.]


πρὸ τοῦ βήλου. The Veil, which in the first instance was an appendage to the images of pagan deities, formed at this time part of the ceremonial of the imperial Court. It hung over the entrance of the Emperor’s bedchamber, where he gave his audiences. It also hung before the secretarium of the Judges. vid. Hofman in voc. Gothofred in Cod. Theod. i. tit. vii. 1.

Next: The movements of Athanasius refute this charge.

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