دراسات أبائية

     
   
 

Patrology
علم الباترولوجي
"كتابات الآباء "

HISTORIA ARIANORUM
(HISTORY OF THE ARIANS), PARTS I TO V

ST. ATHANASIUS


HISTORIA ARIANORUM

THIS History takes up the narrative from the admission of Arius to communion at the 'dedication' synod of Jerusalem (adjourned Council of Tyre) in 335, as described in Apol. c. Ar. 84. It has been commonly assumed from its abrupt beginning (the <greek>tauta</greek>, referring to an antecedent narrative) that the History has lost its earlier chapters, which contained the story of Arianism ab ovo. Montfaucon suggests in fact that the copyists omitted the first chapters on account of their identity in substance with the great Apology. But this seems to require reconsideration. If the alleged missing chapters were different(2) in form from the second part of the Apology, they would not have been omitted: for such repetitions of the same matter in other words are very frequent in the works of Athanasius: but if they were identical in form, they are not lost, and the conclusion is that the History was written with the express intention of continuing the Apology. The customary inference from the abrupt commencement of the History may be dismissed with a non sequitur. Such a commencement was natural under the circumstances: we may compare the case of Xenophon, whose 'Hellenica' begin with the words M<greek>eta</greek> <greek>de</greek> <greek>tauta</greek> <greek>ou</greek> <greek>pollais</greek> <greek>hmerais</greek> <greek>usteron</greek> ..., the reference being to the end of the history of Thucydides. The view here maintained is clinched by the fact that Athanasius at this very time reissued his Apology against the Arians with an appendix ( 89, 90) on the lapse of Hosius and Liberius(2).
The History of the Arians, then, is a complete work, and written to continue the narrative of the second part of the Apology. Bring in fact a manifesto against Constantius, it naturally takes up the tale just before his entry upon the scene as the patron of Arianism. The substantially Athanasian authorship of the History cannot be questioned. The writer occasionally, like many others ancient and modern, speaks of himself in the third person (references 21, note 5, see also Orat. i. 3); but in other places he clearly identifies himself with Athanasius. The only passage which appears to distinguish the writer from Athanasius ( 52, see note), may be due to the bishop's habitual (Apo. Canst. II) employment of an amanuensis, but more probably the text is corrupt; in any case the passage cannot weigh against the clear sense of 21 The immediate Athanasian authorship of the piece has been questioned partly on the ground of its alleged incompleteness, partly on that of several slight discrepancies with other writings. On this twofold ground it is inferred that the Arian History has passed through some obscure process of re-editing (Gwatkin, Studies, p. 99, 14 'dependent on the Vita [Antonii] 86; p. 127, 'not an uncorrupted work') by a later hand. I am quite unconvinced of this. The incompleteness of the work is, as I think I have shewn above, an unnecessary hypothesis, while the mistakes or inconsistencies may well be due to circumstances of composition. It was written in hiding, perhaps while moving from place to place, certainly under more pressure of highly wrought agitation and bitterness of spirit than any other work of Athanasius. The most accurate of men when working at leisure make strange slips at times (e.g. 13, note 4); the mistakes in the History are not more than one might expect in such a work. The principal are, 21 (see note 3), pal are, in the History are 14 (reference in note 8) II, <greek>prin</greek> <greek>genesqai</greek> <greek>tauta</greek> (cf. Encycl. 5), 47 (inverting order of events in History are not mo 39).
The date of the History is at first sight a difficulty. The fall of Liberius is dealt with in Part V., which must therefore have been written not earlier than 358 (the exact chronology of the lapse of Liberius is not certain), while yet in 4 Leontius, who died in the summer or autumn of 357, is still bishop of Antioch. We must therefore suppose that the History was begun at about the time when the Apologia de, Fuga was finished (cf. the bitter conclusion of that tract) and completed when the lapse of Liberius was known in Egypt. A more accurate determination of date is not permitted by our materials.
The tract before us is in effect a fierce anonymous pamphlet against Constantius. Even apart from the references in the letters to the Monks and to Serapion (see below), the work bears clear marks of having been intended for secret circulation (for the practice, see Fialon, pp. 193--199). 'Instead of the "pious" Emperor who was so well versed in Scripture, whose (or "Connikin") whose misdeeds could only be palliated by the imbecility which rendered him the slave of his own servant--inhuman towards his nearest of kin,--false and crafty? a Pharaoh, a Saul, an Ahab, a Belshazzar, more cruel than Pilate or Maximian, ignorant of the Gospels, a patron of heresy, a precursor of Antichrist, an enemy of Christ, as if himself, Antichrist, and--the words must be written--self-abandoned to the future doom of fire' (Bright, Introd. p. lxxviii., and see 9, 30, 32, 34, 40, 45, 46, 51, 53, 67--70, 74, 80). There are certainly many passages which one could wish that Athanasius had not written,--one, not necessary to specify, in which he fully condescends to the coarse brutality of the age, mingling it unpardonably with holy things But Athanasius was human, and exasperated by inhuman vindictiveness and perfidy. If in the passages referred to he falls below himself and speaks in the spirit of his generation, there are not wanting passages equal in nobility to anything he ever wrote. Once more to quote Dr. Bright: 'The beautiful description of the Archbishop's return from his second exile, and of its moral and religious effect upon Alexandrian Church society (25), the repeated protests against the principle of persecution as alien to the mind of the Church of Christ (29, 33, 67), the tender allusion to sympathy for the poor as instinctive in human nature (63), the vivid picture--doubtless somewhat coloured by imagination--of the stand made by Western bishops, and notably for a time by Liberius, against the tyrannous dictation of Constantius in matters ecclesiastical (34 sqq. 76), the generous estimate of Hosius and Liberius in the hour of their infirmity (41, 45), the three golden passages which describe the union maintained by a common faith and a sincere affection between friends who are separated from each other (40), the all-sufficient presence of God with His servants in their extremest solitude (47), and the future joy when heaven would be to sufferers for the truth as a calm haven to sailors after a storm (79). It is in such contexts that we see the true Athanasius, and touch the source of his magnificent insuperable constancy' (p. lxxix.). Nothing could be more just, or more happily put. It ought to be noted before leaving this part of the subject, that the language put into the mouth of Constantius and the Arians (33 fin. 1, 3, 9, 12, 15, 30, 42, 45, 60), is not so much a report of their words as 'a representation ad invidiam of what is assumed to have been in their minds' Other instances of this are to be found in Athanasius (Ep..'g. 18, Orat. iii. 17), and he uses the device advisedly (de Syn. 7, middle).
The letter to Serapion on the death of Arius, and the letter to Monks, which in MSS. and printed editions are prefixed to this treatise, will be found in the collection of letters below (No. 54 and 52). They have been removed from their time-honoured place in accordance with the general arrangement of this volume, though not without hesitation, and apart from any intention to dogmatise on the relation they bear to the present tract.
The 'Arian History' has commonly been called the 'Hist Arianorum ad Monachos, or even the 'Epistola ad Monachos' even at the present day it is sometimes cited simply as 'ad Monachos? The History has derived this title from the fact, that in the Codices and editions, the Letter and History are frequently joined together without any sign of division. At the same time the correctness of this collocation is not entirely free from doubt.
Serapion (Letter 54 1) had written to Athanasius asking for three things,--a history of recent events relating to himself, an expose of the Arian heresy, and an exact account of the death of Arius. The latter Athanasius furnishes in the letter just referred to. For the two former, he refers Serapion to a document he had written for the monks (<greek>aper</greek> <greek>eUraya</greek> <greek>tois</greek> <greek>monakois</greek>), and which he now sends to Serapion. He begs Serapion at the end of his letter not on any account to part with the letters he has received, nor to copy them (he gave, he adds, the same directions to the monks, cf. Letter 52. 3), but to send them back with such corrections and additions as he might think desirable. He refers him to his letter to the monks for an explanation of the circumstances which render this precaution necessary. The monks (ib.(1)) had apparently made the same request as Serapion afterwards made. It has been conjectured that the four 'Orations' against Arianism, or the first three, are the treatise on the heresy addressed to the monks and subsequently sent to Serapion. But the description of that treatise <greek>egraya</greek> <greek>di</greek> <greek>oligwn</greek> (Letter 52. 1) is quite inapplicable to the longest treatise extant among the works of Athanasius. Still less, even if the Arian History were a fragment (see above), could we suppose that the accompanying treatise formed the missing first part. We must therefore acquiesce in the conclusion that the treatise in question has perished. Accordingly we cannot be sure (although it is generally regarded as highly probable(3)) that the historical portion is preserved to us in the 'Arian History.' In any case the Letter to Monks is quite unconnected with it in its subject matter, and ends with the blessing, as the History does with the doxology, in the form of an independent document.
While admitting, therefore, the naturalness of the traditional arrangement we may fairly treat the two as distinct, and permit the Arian History to launch the reader without preamble in medias res.
As the tract is long, and various in its subject-matter, the following scheme of contents may be found useful It will be noted that chronological order is observed in Parts I.--IV. i.e. till 355, when the existing persecution of Constantius, the main theme of the History (Letter 52, 1), is reached. The history of this persecution is dealt with (Parts V.--VII.) with much more fulness, and is grouped round subjects each of which covers more or less the same period. Part VIII deals with the more recent events in Egypt.

PART I. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ARIANS FROM THE COUNCIL OF TYRE TILL THE RETURN OF THE EXILES (335--337).

PART II. SECOND EXILE OF ATHANASIUS, TILL THE COUNCIL OF SARDICA (337--343).
9. Renewed intrigues against Athanasius.

PART III FROM SARDICA TILL THE DEATH OF CONSTANS (343--350).
15. The meeting of the Synod. Dismay of the Arianising bishops.
16. Their flight from the Synod.
18, 19. Continued persecution after it.
23, 24. Letters of Constantius at this time.
25.Return of Athnasius (346).
26.Recantation of Valens and Ursacius.
27.Peace and joy of the Church,

PART IV. FROM THE DEATH OF CONSTANS TO THE COUNCIL OF MILAN (351--355).
34.How they diffused the truth whenever they went.

PART V.LIBERIUS (355--358).

PART VI. HOSIUS (355--358).


HISTORY OF THE ARIANS

PART I. ARIAN PERSECUTION UNDER CONSTANTINE.

1. AND not long after they put in execution the designs for the sake of which they had had recourse to these artifices; for they no sooner had formed their plans, but they immediately admitted Arius and his fellows to communion. They set aside the repeated condemnations which had been passed upon them, and again pretended the imperial authority(1) in their behalf. And they were not ashamed to say in their letters, 'since Athanasius suffered, all jealousy(2) has ceased, and let us henceforward receive Arius and his fellows;' adding, in order to frighten their hearers, 'because the Emperor has commanded it.' Moreover, they were not ashamed to add, 'for these men profess orthodox opinions;' not fearing that which is written, 'Woe unto them that I call bitter sweet, that put darkness for light(3);' for they are ready to undertake anything in support of their heresy. Now is it not hereby plainly proved to all men, that we both suffered heretofore, and that you now persecute us, not under the authority of an Ecclesiastical sentence(4), but on the ground of the Emperor's threats, and on account of our piety towards Christ? As also they conspired in like manner against other Bishops, fabricating charges against them also; some of whom fell asleep in the place of their exile, having attained the glory of Christian confession; and others are still banished from their country, and contend still more and more manfully against their heresy, saying, 'Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ(5)?'

2. Arians sacrifice morality and integrity to party.

And hence also you may discern its character, and be able to condemn it more confidently. The man who is their friend and their associate in impiety, although he is open to ten thousand charges for other enormities which he has committed; although the evidence and proof against him are most clear; he is approved of by them, and straightway becomes the friend of the Emperor, obtaining an introduction by his impiety; and making very many pretences, he acquires confidence before the magistrates to do whatever he desires. But he who exposes their impiety, and honestly advocates the cause of Christ, though he is pure in all things, though he is conscious of no delinquencies, though he meets with no accuser; yet on the false pretences which they have framed against him, is immediately seized and sent into banishment under a sentence of the Emperor, as if he were guilty of the crimes which they wish to charge upon him, or as if, like Naboth, he had insulted the King; while he who advocates the cause of their heresy is sought for and immediately sent to take possession of the other's Church; and henceforth confiscations and insults, and all kinds of cruelty are exercised against those who do not receive him. And what is the strangest of all, the man whom the people desire, and know to be blameless[6], the Emperor takes away and banishes; but him whom they neither desire, nor know, he sends to them from a distant place with soldiers and letters from himself. And henceforward a strong necessity is laid upon them, either to hate him whom they love; who has been their teacher, and their father in godliness; and to love him whom they do not desire, and to trust their children to one of whose life and conversation and character they are ignorant; or else certainly to suffer punishment, if they disobey the Emperor.

3. Recklessness of their proceedings.

In this manner the impious are now proceeding, as heretofore, against the orthodox; giving proof of their malice and impiety amongst all men everywhere. For granting that they have accused Athanasius; yet what have the other Bishops done? On what grounds can they charge them? Has there been found in their case too the dead body of an Arsenius? Is there a Presbyter Macarius, or has a cup been broken amongst them? Is there a Meletian to play the hypocrite? No: but as their proceedings against the other Bishops shew the charges which they have brought against Athanasius, in all probability, to be false; so their attacks upon Athanasius make it plain, that their accusations of the other Bishops are unfounded likewise. This heresy has come forth upon the earth like some great monster, which not only injures the innocent with its words, as with teeth(7); but it has also hired external power to assist it in its designs. And strange it is that, as I said before, no accusation is brought against any of them; or if any be accused, he is not brought to trial; or if a shew of enquiry be made, he is acquitted against evidence, while the convicting party is plotted against, rather than the culprit put to shame. Thus the whole party of them is full of idleness; and their spies, for Bishops(8) they are not, are the vilest of them all. And if any one among them desire to become a Bishop, he is not told, 'a Bishop must be blameless(9);' but only, 'Take up opinions contrary to Christ, and care not for manners. This will be sufficient to obtain favour for you, and friendship with the Emperor.' Such is the character of those who support the tenets of Arius. And they who are zealous for the truth, however holy and pure they shew themselves, are yet, as I said before, made culprits, whenever these men choose, and on whatever pretences it may seem good to them to invent. The truth of, this, as I before remarked, you may clearly gather from their proceedings.

4. Arians persecute Eustathius and others.

There was one Eustathius(1), Bishop of Antioch, a Confessor, and sound in the Faith. This man, because he was very zealous for the truth, and hated the Arian heresy, and would not receive those who adopted its tenets, is falsely accused before the Emperor Constantine, and a charge invented against him, that he had insulted his mother(2). And immediately he is driven into banishment, and a great number of Presbyters and Deacons with him. And immediately after the banishment of the Bishop, those whom he would not admit into the clerical order on account of their impiety were not only received into the Church by them, but were even appointed the greater part of them to be Bishops, in order that they might have accomplices in their impiety. Among these was Leontius the eunuch(3), now of Antioch, and his predecessor Stephanus, George of Laodicea, and Theodosius who was of Tripolis, Eudoxius of Germanicia, and Eustathius(4), now of Sebastia.

5. Did they then stop here? No. For Eutropius(5), who was Bishop of Adrianople, a good man, and excellent in all respects, because he had often convicted Eusebius, and had advised them who came that way, not to comply with his impious dictates, suffered the same treatment as Eustathius, and was east out of his city and his Church. Basilina(6) was the most active in the proceedings against him. And Euphration of Balanea, Kymatius of Paltus, Carterius of Antaradus(6a), Asclepas of Gaza, Cyrus of Bercoea in Syria, Diodorus of Asia, Domnion of Sirmium, and Ellanicus of Tripolis, were merely known to hate the heresy; and some of them on one pretence or another, some without any, they removed under the authority of royal letters, drove them out of their cities, and appointed others whom they knew to be impious men, to occupy the Churches in their stead.

6. Case of Marcellus.

Of Marcellus(7), the Bishop of Galatia, it is perhaps superfluous for me to speak; for all men have heard how Eusebius and his fellows, who had been first accused by him of impiety, brought a counter-accusation against him, and caused the old man to be banished. He went up to Rome, and there made his defence, and being required by them, he offered a written declaration of his faith, of which the Council of Sardica approved. But Eusebius and his fellows made no defence, nor, when they were convicted of impiety out of their writings, were they put to shame, but rather assumed greater boldness against all. For they had an introduction, to the Emperor from the women(8), and were formidable to all men.

7. Martyrdom of Paul of Constantinople.

And I suppose no one is ignorant of the case of Paul(9), Bishop of Constantinople; for the more illustrious any city is, so much the more that which takes place in it is not concealed. A charge was fabricated against him also. For Macedonius his accuser, who has, now become Bishop in his stead (I was present myself at the accusation), afterwards held communion with him, and was a Presbyter under Paul himself. And yet when Eusebius with an evil eye wished to seize upon the Bishopric of that city (he had been translated in the same manner from Berytus to Nicomedia), the charge was revived against Paul; and they did not give up their plot, but persisted in the calumny. And he was banished first into Pontus by Constantine, and a second time by Constantius he was sent bound with iron chains to Singara in Mesopotamia, and from thence transferred to Emesa, and a fourth time he was banished to Cucusus in Cappadocia, near the deserts of Mount Taurus; where, as those who were with him have declared, he died by strangulation at their hands. And yet these men who never speak the truth, though guilty of this, were not ashamed after his death to invent another story, representing that he had died from illness; although all who live in that place know the circumstances. And even Philagrius(1), who was then Deputy-Governor(2) of those parts, and represented all their proceedings in such manner as they desired, was yet astonished at this; and being grieved perhaps that another, and not himself, had done the evil deed, he informed Serapion the Bishop, as well as many other of our friends, that Paul was shut up by them in a very confined and dark place, and left to perish of hunger; and when after six days they went in and found him still alive, they immediately set upon the man, and strangled him. This was the end of his life; and they said that Philip who was Prefect was their agent in the perpetration of this murder. Divine Justice, however, did not overlook this; for not a year passed, when Philip was deprived of his office in great disgrace, so that being reduced to a private station, he became the mockery of those whom he least desired to be the witnesses of his fall. For in extreme distress of mind, groaning and trembling like Cain(3), and expecting every day that some one would destroy him, far from his country and his friends, he died, like one astounded at his misfortunes, in a manner that he least desired. Moreover these men spare not even after death those against whom they have invented charges whilst living. They are so eager to shew themselves formidable to all, that they banish the living, and shew no mercy on the dead; but alone of all the world they manifest their hatred to them that are departed, and conspire against their friends, truly inhuman as they are, and haters of that which is good, savage in temper beyond mere enemies, in behalf of their impiety, who eagerly plot the ruin of me and of all the rest, with no regard to truth, but by false charges.

8. Restoration of the Catholics.

Perceiving this to be the case, the three brothers, Constantine, Constantius, and Constans, caused all after the death of their father to return to their own country and Church; and while they wrote letters concerning the rest to their respective Churches, concerning Athanasius they wrote the following; which likewise shews the violence of the whole proceedings, and proves the murderous disposition of Eusebius and his fellows.

A copy of the Letter of Constantine Caesar to the people of the Catholic Church in the city of the Alexandrians.

I suppose that it has not escaped the knowledge of your pious minds(4), &c.
This is his letter; and what more credible witness of their conspiracy could there be than he, who knowing these circumstances has thus written of them?

PART II. FIRST ARIAN PERSECUTION UNDER CONSTANTIUS.

9. Eusebius and his fellows, however, seeing the declension of their heresy, wrote to Rome, as well as to the Emperors Constantine and Constans, to accuse(1) Athanasius: but when the persons who were sent by Athanasius disproved the statements which they had written, they were put to shame by the Emperors; and Julius, Bishop of Rome, wrote to say(2) that a Council ought to be held, wherever we should desire, in order that they might exhibit the charges which they had to make, and might also freely defend themselves concerning those things of which they too were accused. The Presbyters also who were sent by them, when they saw themselves making an exposure, requested that this might be done. Whereupon these men, whose conduct is suspicious in all that they do, when they see that they are not likely to get the better in an Ecclesiastical trial, betake themselves to Constantius alone, and thenceforth bewail themselves, as to the patron of their heresy. 'Spare,' they say, 'the heresy; you see that all men have withdrawn from us; and very few of us are now left. Begin to persecute, for we are being deserted even of those few, and are left destitute. Those persons whom we forced over to our side, when these men were banished, they now by their return have persuaded again to take part against us. Write letters therefore against them all, and send out Philagrius a second time a as Prefect of Egypt, for he is able to carry on a persecution favourably for us, as he has already shewn upon trial, and the more so, as he is an apostate. Send also Gregory as Bishop to Alexandria, for he too is able to strengthen our heresy.'

10. Violent Intrusion of Gregory.

Accordingly Constantius at once writes letters, and commences a persecution against all, and sends Philagrius as Prefect with one Arsacius an eunuch; he sends also Gregory with a military force. And the saint consequences followed as before 4. For gathering together a multitude of herdsmen and shepherds, and other dissolute youths belonging to the town, armed with swords and clubs, they attacked in a body the Church which is called the Church of Quirinus(5); and some they slew, some they trampled under foot, others they beat with stripes and cast into prison or banished. They holed away many women also, and dragged them openly into the court, and insulted them, dragging them by the hair. Some they proscribed; from some they took away their bread(6) for no other reason, but that they might be induced to join the Arians, and receive Gregory, who had been sent by the Emperor.

11. The Easterns decline the Council at Rome.

Athanasius, however, before these things happened(6a), at the first report of their proceedings, sailed to Rome, knowing the rage of the heretics, and for the purpose of having the Council held as had been determined. And Julius wrote letters to them, and sent the Presbyters Elpidius and Philoxenus, appointing a day(7), that they might either come, or consider themselves as altogether suspected persons. But as soon as Eusebius and his fellows heard that the trial was to be an Ecclesiastical one, at which no Count would be present, nor soldiers stationed before the doors, and that the proceedings would not be regulated by royal order(for they have always depended upon these things to support them against the Bishops, and without them they have no boldness even to speak); they were so alarmed that they detained the Presbyters till after the pointed time, and pretended an unseemly excuse, that they were not able to come now on account of the war which was begun by the Persians(8). But this was not the true cause of their delay, but the fears of their own consciences. For what have Bishops to do with war? Or if they were unable on account of the Persians to come to Rome, although it is at a distance and beyond sea, why did they like lions(9) go about the parts of the East and those which are near the Persians, seeking who was opposed to them, that they might falsely accuse and banish them?

12. At any rate, when they had dismissed the Presbyters with this improbable excuse, they said to one another, 'Since we are unable to get the advantage in an Ecclesiastical trial, let us exhibit our usual audacity.' Accordingly they write to Philagrius, and cause him after a while to go out with Gregory into Egypt. Whereupon the Bishops are severely scourged and cast into chains(1). Sarapammon, for in stance, Bishop and Confessor, they drive into banishment; Potammon, Bishop and Confessor, who had lost an eye in the persecution, they beat with stripes on the neck so cruelly, that he appeared to be dead before they came to an end. In which condition he was cast aside, and hardly after some hours, being carefully attended and fanned, he revived, God granting him his life; but a short time after he died of the sufferings caused by the stripes, and attained in Christ to the glory of a second martyrdom. And besides these, how many monks were scourged, while Gregory sat by with Balacius the 'Duke!' how many Bishops were wounded! how many virgins were beaten!

13. Cruelties of Gregory at Alexandria.

After this the wretched Gregory called upon all men to have communion with him. But if thou didst demand of them communion, they were not worthy of stripes: and if thou didst scourge them as if evil persons, why didst thou ask it of them as if holy? But he had no other end in view, except to fulfil the designs of them that sent him, and to establish the heresy. Wherefore he became in his folly a murderer and an executioner, injurious, crafty, and profane; in one word, an enemy of Christ. He so cruelly persecuted the Bishop's aunt, that even when she died he would not suffer her to be buried(2). And this would have been her lot; she would have been cast away without burial. had not they who attended on the corpse carried her out as one of their own kindred. Thus even in such things he shewed his profane temper. And again when the widows and other mendicants(3) had received alms, he commanded what had been given them to be seized, and the vessels in which they carried their oil and wine to be broken, that he might not only shew impiety by robbery, but in his deeds dishonour the Lord; from whom very shortly, he will hear those words, 'Inasmuch as thou hast dishonoured these, thou hast dishonoured Me(5).'

14. Profaneness of Gregory and death of Balacius.

And many other things he did, which exceed the power of language to describe, and which whoever should hear would think to be incredible. And the reason why he acted thus was, because he had not received his ordination according to ecclesiastical rule, nor had been called to be a Bishop by apostolical tradition(6); but had been sent out from court with military power and pomp, as one entrusted with a secular government. Wherefore he boasted rather to be the friend of Governors, than of Bishops and Monks. Whenever, therefore, our Father Antony wrote to him from the mountains, as godliness is an abomination to a sinner, so he abhorred the letters of the holy man. But whenever the Emperor, or a General, or other magistrate, sent him a letter, he was as much overjoyed as those in the Proverbs, of whom the Word has said indignantly, 'Woe unto them who leave the path of uprightness who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked(7).' And so he honoured with presents the bearers of these letters; but once when Antony wrote to him he caused Duke Balacius to spit upon the letter, and to east it from him. But Divine Justice did not overlook this; for no long time after, when the Duke was on horseback, and on his way to the first halt(8), the horse turned his head, and biting him on the thigh, threw him off; and within three days he died.

PART III. RESTORATION OF THE CATHOLICS ON THE COUNCIL OF SARDICA.

15. While they were proceeding in like measures towards all, at Rome about fifty Bishops assembled(1), and denounced Eusebius and his fellows as persons suspected, afraid to come, and also condemned as unworthy of credit the written statement they had sent; but us they received, and gladly embraced our communion. While these things were taking place, a report of the Council held at Rome, and of the proceedings against the Churches at Alexandria, and through all the East, came to the hearing of the Emperor Constans(2). He writes to his brother Constantius, and immediately they both determine(3) that a Council shall be called, and matters be brought to a settlement, so that those who had been injured may be released from further suffering, and the injurious be no longer able to perpetrate such outrages. Accordingly there assemble at the city of Sardica both from the East and West to the number of one hundred and seventy Bishops(4), more or less; those who came from the West were Bishops only, having Hosius for their father, but those from the East brought with them instructors of youth and advocates, Count Musonianus, and Hesychius(5) the Castrensian; on whose account they came with great alacrity, thinking that everything would be again managed by their authority. For thus by means of these persons they have always shewn themselves formidable to any whom they wished to intimidate, and have prosecuted their designs against whomsoever they chose. But when they arrived and saw that the cause was to be conducted as simply an ecclesiastical one, without the interference of the Count or of soldiers; when they saw the accusers who came from every church and city, and the evidence which was brought against them, when they saw the venerable Bishops Arius and Asterius(6), who came up in their company, withdrawing from them and siding with us(6a), and giving an account of their cunning, and how suspicious their conduct was, and that they were fearing the consequences of a trial, lest they should be convicted by us of being false informers, and it should be discovered by those whom they produced in the character of accusers, that they had themselves suggested all they were to say, and were the contrivers of the plot. Perceiving this to be the case, although they had come with great zeal, as thinking that we should be afraid to meet them, yet now when they saw our alacrity, they shut themselves up in the Palace[7] (for they had their abode there), and proceeded to confer with one another in the following manner: 'We came hither for one result; and we see another; we arrived in company with Counts, and the trial is proceeding without them. We are certainly condemned. You all know the orders that have been given. Athanasius and his fellows have the reports of the proceedings in the Mareotis[8], by which he is cleared, and we are covered with disgrace. Why then do we delay? why are we so slow? Let us invent some excuse and be gone, or we shall be condemned if we remain. It is better to suffer the shame of fleeing, than the disgrace of being convicted as false accusers. If we flee, we shall find some means of defending our heresy; and even if they condemn us for our flight, still we have the Emperor as our patron, who will not suffer the people to expel us from the Churches.'

16. Secession of the Easterns at Sardica.

Thus then they reasoned with themselves and Hosius and all the other Bishops repeatedly signified to them the alacrity of Athanasius and his fellows, saying, 'They are ready with their defence, and pledge themselves to prove you false accusers.' They said also, 'If you fear the trial, why did you come to meet us? either you ought not to have come, or now that you have come, not to flee.' When they heard this, being still more alarmed, they had recourse to an excuse even more unseemly than that they pretended at Antioch, viz. that they betook themselves to flight because the Emperor had written to them the news of his victory over the Persians. And this excuse they were not ashamed to send by Eustathius a Presbyter of the Sardican Church. But even thus their flight did not succeed according to their wishes; for immediately the holy Council, of which the great Hosius was president, wrote to them plainly, saying, 'Either come forward and answer the charges which are brought against you, for the false accusations which you have made against others, or know that the Council will condemn you as guilty, and declare Athanasius and his fellows free and clear from all blame.' Whereupon they were rather impelled to flight by the alarms of conscience, than to compliance with the proposals of the letter; for when they saw those who had been injured by them, they did not even turn their faces to listen to their words, but fled with greater speed.

17. Proceedings of the Council of Sardica.

Under these disgraceful and unseemly circumstances their flight took place. And the holy Council, which had been assembled out of more than five and thirty provinces, perceiving the malice of the Arians, admitted Athanasius and his fellows to answer to the charges which the others had brought against them, and to declare the sufferings which they had undergone. And when they had thus made their defence, as we said before, they approved and so highly admired their conduct that they gladly embraced their communion, and wrote letters to all quarters, to the diocese of each, and especially to Alexandria and Egypt, and the Libyas, declaring Athanasius and his friends to be innocent, and free from all blame, and their opponents to be calumniators, evil-doers, and everything rather than Christians. Accordingly they dismissed them in peace; but depostal Stephanus and Menophantus, Acacius and George of Laodicea, Ursacius and Valens, Theodorus and Narcissus. For against Gregory, who had been sent to Alexandria by the Emperor, they put forth a proclamation to the effect that he had never been made a Bishop, and that he ought not to be called a Christian. They therefore declared the ordinations which he professed to have conferred to be void, and commanded that they should not be even named in the Church, on account of their novel and illegal nature. Thus Athanasius and his friends were dismissed in peace (the letters concerning them are inserted at the end on account of their length 9), and the Council was dissolved.

18. Arian Persecution after Sardica.

But the deposed persons, who ought now to have remained quiet, with those who had separated after so disgraceful a flight, were guilty of such conduct, that their former proceedings appear trifling in comparison of these. For when the people of Adrianople would not have communion with them, as men who had fled from the Council, and had proved culprits, they carried their complaints to the Emperor Constantius, and succeeded in causing ten of the laity to be beheaded, belonging to the Manufactory of arms[1] there, Philagrius, who was there again as Count, assisting their designs in this matter also. The tombs of these persons, which we have seen in passing[1a] by, are in front of the city. Then as if they had been quite successful, because they had fled lest they should be convicted of false accusation, they prevailed with the Emperor to command whatsoever they wished to be done. Thus they caused two Presbyters and three Deacons to be banished from Alexandria into Armenia As to Arius and Asteruis, the one Bishop of Petr'[2] in Palestine, the other Bishop in Arabia, who had withdrawn from their party, they not only banished into upper Libya, but also caused them to be treated with insult.

19. Tyrannical measures against the Alexandrians.

And as to Lucius 3, Bishop of Adrianople, when they saw that he used great boldness of speech against them, and exposed their impiety, they again, as they had done before, caused him to be bound with iron chains on the neck and hands, and so drove him into banishment, where he died, as they know. And Diodorus a Bishop[4] they remove; but against Olympius of 'ni, and Theodulus of Trajanople[5], both Bishops of Thrace, good and orthodox men, when they perceived their hatred of the heresy, they brought false charges. This Eusebius and his fellows had done first of all, and the Emperor Constantius wrote letters on the subject; and next these men[6] revived the accusation. The purport of the letter was, that they should not only be expelled from their cities and churches but should also suffer capital punishment wherever they were discovered. However surprising this conduct may be, it is only in accordance with their principles; for as being instructed by Eusebius and his fellows in such proceedings, and as heirs of their impiety and evil principles, they wished to shew themselves formidable at Alexandria, as their fathers had done in Thrace. They caused an order to be written, that the ports and gates of the cities should be watched, lest availing themselves of, the permission granted by the Council, the banished persons should return to their churches. They also cause orders to be sent to the magistrates at Alexandria, respecting Athanasius and certain Presbyters, named therein, that if either the Bishop r, or any of the others, should be found coming to the city or its borders, the magistrate should have power to behead those who were so discovered. Thus this new Jewish heresy does not only deny the Lord, but has also learnt to commit murder.

20. Plot against the Catholic Legates at Antioch.

Yet even after this they did not rest; but as the father of their heresy goeth about like a lion, seeking whom he may devour, so these obtaining the use of the public posts[8] went about, and whenever they found any that reproached them with their flight, and that hated the Arian heresy, they scourged them, cast them into chains, and caused them to be banished from their country; and they rendered themselves so formidable, as to induce many to dissemble, many to fly into the deserts, rather than willingly even to have any dealings with them. Such were the enormities which their madness prompted them to commit after their flight. Moreover they perpetrate another outrageous act, which is indeed in accordance with the character of their heresy, but is such as we never heard of before, nor is likely soon to take place again, even among the more dissolute of the Gentiles, much less among Christians. The holy Council had sent as Legates the Bishops Vincentius[9] of Capua (this is the Metropolis of Campania), and Euphrates of Agrippina[10] (this is the Metropolis of Upper Gaul), that they might obtain the Emperor's consent to the decision of the Council, that the Bishops should return to their Churches, inasmuch as he was the author of their expulsion. The most religious Constans had also written to his brother[1], and supported the cause of the Bishops. But these admirable men, who are equal to any act of audacity, when they saw the two Legates at Antioch, consulted together and formed a plot, which Stephanus[2] undertook by himself to execute, as being a suitable instrument for such purposes. Accordingly they hire a common harlot, even at the season of the most holy Easter, and stripping her introduce her by night into the apartment of the Bishop Euphrates. The harlot who thought that it was a young man who had sent to invite her, at first willingly accompanied them l but when they thrust her in, and she saw the man asleep and unconscious of what was going on, and when presently she distinguished his features, and beheld the face of an old man, and the array of a Bishop, she immediately cried aloud, and declared that violence was used towards her. They desired her to be silent and to lay a false charge against the Bishop; and so when it was day, the matter was noised abroad, and all the city ran together; and those who came from the Palace were in great commotion, wondering at the report which had been spread abroad, and demanding that it should not be passed by in silence. An enquiry, therefore, was made, and her master gave information concerning those who came to fetch the harlot and these informed against Stephanus; for they were his Clergy. Stephanus, therefore, is deposed[2a], and Leontius the eunuch appointed in his place, only that the Arian heresy may not want a supporter.

21. Constantius' change of mind.

And now the Emperor Constantius, feeling some compunctions, returned to himself; and concluding from their conduct towards Euphrates, that their attacks upon the others were of the same kind, he gives orders that the Presbyters and Deacons who had been banished from Alexandria into Armenia should immediately be released. He also writes publicly to Alexandria[3], commanding that the clergy and laity who were friends of Athanasius should suffer no further persecution. And when Gregory died about ten months[3a] after, he sends for Athanasius with every mark of honour, writing to him no less than three times a very friendly letter[4] in which he exhorted him to take courage and come. He sends also a Presbyter and a Deacon, that he may be still further encouraged to return; for he thought that, through alarm at what had taken place before, I[5] did not care to return. Moreover he writes to his brother Constans, that he also would exhort me to return. And he affirmed that he had been expecting Athanasius a whole year, and that he would not permit any change to be made, or any ordination to take place, as he was preserving the Churches for Athanasius their Bishop.

22. Athanasius visits Constantius.

When therefore he wrote in this strain, and encouraged him by means of many (for he caused Polemius, Dotianus, Bardion, Thalassus[6], Taurus[7], and Florentius, his Counts, in whom Athanasius could best confide, to write also): Athanasius committing the whole matter to God, who had stirred the conscience of Constantius to do this, came with his friends to him; and he gave him a favourable audience[7a], and sent him away to go to his country and his Churches, writing at the same time to the magistrates in the several places, that whereas he had before commanded the ways to be guarded, they should now grant him a free passage. Then when the Bishop complained of the sufferings he had undergone, and of the letters which the Emperor had written against him, and besought him that the false accusations against him might not be revived by his enemies after his departure, saying[8], 'If you please, summon these persons; for as far as we are concerned they are at liberty to stand forth, and we will expose their conduct;' he would not do this, but commanded that whatever had been before slanderously written against him should all be destroyed and obliterated, affirming that he would never again listen to any such accusations, and that his purpose was fixed and unalterable. This he did not simply say, but sealed his words with oaths, calling upon God to be witness of them. And so encouraging him with many other words, and desiring him to be of good courage, he sends the following letters to the Bishops and Magistrates.

23. Constantius Augustus, the Great, the Conqueror, to the Bishops and Clergy of the Catholic Church.

The most Reverend Athanasius has not been deserted by the grace of God 9, &c.

Another Letter.

From Constantius to the people of Alexandria.
Desiring as we do your welfare in all respects[10], &c.

Another Letter.

Constantius Augustus, the Conqueror, to Nestorius, Prefect of Egypt.
It is well known that an order was heretofore given by us, and that certain documents are to be found prejudicial to the estimation of the most reverend Bishop Athanasius; and that these exist among the Orders[1] of your worship. Now we desire your Sobriety, of which we have good proof, to transmit to our Court, in compliance with this our order, all the letters respecting the fore-mentioned person, which are found in your Order-book.

24. The following is the letter which he wrote after the death of the blessed Constans. It was written in Latin, and is here translated into Greek[2].

Constantius Augustus, the Conqueror, to Athanasius.
It is not unknown to your Prudence, that it was my constant prayer, that prosperity might attend my late brother Constans in all his undertakings; and your wisdom may therefore imagine how greatly I was afflicted when I learnt that he had been taken off by most unhallowed hands. Now whereas there are certain persons who at the present truly mournful time are endeavouring to alarm you, I have therefore thought it fight to address this letter to your Constancy, to exhort you that, as becomes a Bishop, you would teach the people those things which pertain to the divine religion, and that, as you are accustomed to do, you would employ your time in prayers together with them, and not give credit to vain rumours, whatever they may be. For our fixed determination is, that you should continue, agreeably to our desire, to perform the office of a Bishop in your own place. May Divine Providence preserve you, most beloved parent, many years.

25. Return of Athanasius from second exile.

Under these circumstances, when they had at length taken their leave, and begun their journey, those who were friendly rejoiced to see a friend; but of the other party, some were confounded at the sight of him; others not having the confidence to appear, hid themselves; and others repented of what they had written against the Bishop. Thus all the Bishops of Palestine[3], except some two or three, and those men of suspected character, so willingly received Athanasius, and embraced communion with him, that they wrote to excuse themselves, on the ground that in what they had formerly written, they had acted, not according to their own wishes, but by compulsion. Of the Bishops of Egypt and the Libyah provinces, of the laity both of those countries and of Alexandria, it is superfluous for me to speak. They all ran 4 together, and were possessed with unspeakable delight, that they had not only received their friends alive contrary to their hopes; but that they were also delivered from the heretics who were as tyrants and as raging dogs towards them. Accordingly great was their joy[5], the people in the congregations encouraging one another in virtue. How many unmarried women, who were before ready to enter upon marriage, now remained virgins to Christ! How many young men, seeing the examples of others, embraced the monastic life! How many fathers persuaded their children, and how many were urged by their children, not to be hindered from Christian asceticism! How many wives persuaded their husbands, and how many were persuaded by their husbands, to give themselves to prayer[6], as the Apostle has spoken How many widows and how many orphans, who were before hungry and naked, now through the great zeal of the people, were no longer hungry, and went forth clothed! In a word, so great was their emulation in virtue, that you would have thought every family and every house a Church, by reason of the goodness of its inmates, and the prayers which were offered to God. And in the Churches there was a profound and wonderful peace, while the Bishops wrote from all quarters, and received from Athanasius the customary letters of peace.

26. Recantation of Ursacius and Valens.

Moreover Ursacius and Valens, as if suffering the scourge of conscience, came to another mind, and wrote to the Bishop himself a friendly and peaceable letter[7], although they had received no communication from him. And going up to Rome they repented, and confessed that all their proceedings and assertions against him were rounded in falsehood and mere calumny. And they not only voluntarily did this, but also anathematized the Arian heresy, and presented a written declaration of their repentance, addressing to the Bishop Julius the following letter in Latin, which has been translated into Greek. The copy was sent to us in Latin by Paul[8], Bishop of Treveri.

Translation from the Latin.

Ursacius and Valens to my Lord the most blessed Pope Julius.
Whereas it is well known that we[9] &c.

Translation from the Latin.

The Bishops Ursacius and Valens to my Lord and Brother, the Bishop Athanasius.
Having an opportunity of sending[10], &c.
After writing these, they also subscribed the letters of peace which were presented to them by Peter and Iren'us, Presbyters of Athanasius, and by Ammonius a layman, who were passing that way, although Athanasius had sent no communication to them even by these persons.

27. Triumph of Athanasius.

Now who was not filled with admiration at witnessing these things, and the great peace that prevailed in the Churches? who did not rejoice to see the concord of so many Bishops? who did not glorify the Lord, beholding the delight of the people in their assemblies? How many enemies repented! How many excused themselves who had formerly accused him falsely! How many who formerly hated him, now shewed affection for him! How many of those who had written against him, recanted their assertions? Many also who had sided with the Arians, not through choice but by necessity, came by night and excused themselves. They anathematized the heresy, and besought him to pardon them, because, although through the plots and calumnies of these men they appeared bodily on their side, yet in their hearts they held communion with Athanasius, and were always with him.Believe me, this is true.

PART IV.

SECOND ARIAN PERSECUTION UNDER CONSTANTIUS.

28. But the inheritors of the opinions and impiety of Eusebius and his fellows, the eunuch Leontius[1], who ought not to remain in communion even as a layman[2], because he mutilated himself that he might henceforward be at liberty to sleep with one Eustolium, who is a wife as far as he is concerned, but is called a virgin; and George and Acacius, and Theodorus, and Narcissus, who are deposed by the Council; when they heard and saw these things, were greatly ashamed. And when they perceived the unanimity and peace that existed between Athanasius and the Bishops (they were more than four hundred 3, from great Rome, and all Italy, from Calabria, Apulia, Campania, Bruttia, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and the whole of Africa; and those from Gaul, Britain, and Spain, with the great Confessor Hosius; and also those from Pannonia, Noricum, Siscia, Dalmatia, Dardania, Dacia, Moesia, Macedonia, Thessaly, and all Achaia, and from Crete, Cyprus, and Lycia, with most of those from Palestine, Isauria, Egypt, the Thebais, the whole of Libya, and Pentapolis); when I say they perceived these things, they were possessed with envy and fear; with envy, on account of the communion of so many together; and with fear, lest those who had been entrapped by them should be brought over by the unanimity of so great a number, and henceforth their heresy should be triumphantly exposed, and everywhere proscribed.

29. Relapse of Ursacius and Valens.

First of all they persuade Ursacius, Valens and their fellows to change sides again, and like dogs[4] to return to their own vomit, and like swine to wallow again in the former mire of their impiety; and they make this excuse for their retractation, that they did it through fear of the most religious Constans. And yet even had there been cause for fear, yet if they had confidence in what they had done, they ought not to have become traitors to their friends. But when there was no cause for fear, and yet they were guilty of a lie, are they not deserving of utter condemnation? For no soldier was present, no Palatine or Notary[5] had been sent, as they now send them, nor yet was the Emperor there, nor had they been invited by any one, when they wrote their recantation. But they voluntarily went up to Rome, and of their own accord recanted and wrote it down in the Church, where there was no fear from without, where the only fear is the fear of God, and where every one has liberty of conscience. And yet although they have a second time become Arians, and then have devised this unseemly excuse for their conduct, they are still without shame.

30. Constantius changes sides again.

In the next place they went in a body to the Emperor Constantius, and besought him, saying, 'When we first made our request to you, we were not believed; for we told you, when you sent for Athanasius, that by inviting him to come forward, you are expelling our heresy. For he has been opposed to it from the very first, and never ceases to anathematize it. He has already written letters against us into all parts of the world, and the majority of men have embraced communion with him; and even of those who seemed to be on our side, some have been gained over by him, and others are likely to be. And we are left alone, so that the fear is, lest the character of our heresy become known, and henceforth both we and you gain the name of heretics. And if this come to pass, you must take care that we be not classed with the Manich'ans. Therefore begin again to persecute, and support the heresy, for it accounts you its king.' Such was the language of their iniquity. And the Emperors when in his passage through the country on his hasty march against Magnentius[6], he saw the communion of the Bishops with Athanasius, like one set on fire, suddenly changed his mind, and no longer remembered his oaths but was alike forgetful of what he had written and regardless of the duty he owed his brother. For in his letters to him, as well as in his interview with Athanasius, he took oaths that he would not act otherwise than as the people should wish, and as should be agreeable to the Bishops. But his zeal for impiety caused him at once to forget all these things. And yet one ought not to wonder that after so many letters and so many oaths Constantius had altered his mind, when we remember that Pharaoh of old the tyrant of Egypt, after frequently promising and by that means obtaining a remission of his punishments, likewise changed, until he at last perished together with his associates.

31. Constantius begins to persecute.

He compelled then the people in every city to change their party; and on arriving at Aries and Milan[7], he proceeded to act entirely in accordance with the designs and suggestions of the heretics; or rather they acted themselves, and receiving authority from him, furiously attacked every one. Letters and orders were immediately sent hither to the Prefect, that for the future the corn should be taken from Athanasius and given to those who favoured the Arian doctrines, and that whoever pleased might freely insult them that held communion with him; and the magistrates were threatened if they did not hold communion with the Arians. These things were but the prelude to what afterwards took place under the direction of the Duke Syrianus. Orders were sent also to the more distant parts, and Notaries despatched to every city, and Palatines, with threats to the Bishops and Magistrates, directing the Magistrates to urge on the Bishops, and informing the Bishops that either they must subscribe against Athanasius, and hold communion with the Arians, or themselves undergo the punishment of exile, while the people who took part with them were to understand that chains, and insults, and scourgings, and the loss of their possessions, would be their portion. These orders were not neglected, for the commissioners had in their company the Clergy of Ursacius and Valens, to inspire them with zeal, and to inform the Emperor if the Magistrates neglected their duty. The other heresies, as younger sisters of their own[8], they permitted to blaspheme the Lord, and only conspired against the Christians, not enduring to hear orthodox language concerning Christ. How many Bishops in consequence, according to the words of Scripture, were brought before rulers and kings[9], and received this sentence from magistrates, 'Subscribe, or withdraw from your churches, for the Emperor has commanded you to be deposed! 'How many in every city were roughly handled, lest they should accuse them as friends of the Bishops! Moreover letters were sent to the city authorities, and a threat of a fine was held out to them, if they did not compel the Bishops of their respective cities to subscribe. In short, every place and every city was full of fear and confusion, while the Bishops were dragged along to trial, and the magistrates witnessed the lamentations and groans of the people.

32. Persecution by Constantius.

Such were the proceedings of the Palatine commissioners; on the other hand, those admirable persons, confident in the patronage which they had obtained, display great zeal, and cause some of the Bishops to be summoned before the Emperor, while they persecute others by letters, inventing charges against them; to the intent that the one might be overawed by the presence of Constantius, and the other, through fear of the commissioners and the threats held out to them in these pretended accusations, might be brought to renounce their orthodox and pious opinions. In this manner it was that the Emperor forced so great a multitude of Bishops, partly by threats, and partly by promises, to declare, 'We will no longer hold communion with Athanasius.' For those who came for an interview, were not admitted to his presence, nor allowed any relaxation, not so much as to go out of their dwellings, until they had either subscribed, or refused and incurred banishment thereupon. And this he did because he saw that the heresy was hateful to all men. For this reason especially he compelled so many to add their names to the small number[1] of the Arians, his earnest desire being to collect together a crowd of names, both from envy of the Bishop, and for the sake of making a shew in favour of the Arian impiety, of which he is the patron; supposing that he will be able to alter the truth, as easily as he can influence the minds of men. He knows not, nor has ever read, how that the Sadducees and the Herodians, taking unto them the Pharisees, were not able to obscure the truth; rather it shines out thereby more brightly every day, while they crying out, 'We have no king but C'sar[2],' and obtaining the judgment of Pilate in their favour, are nevertheless left destitute, and wait in utter shame, expecting shortly[3] to become bereft, like the partridge[4], when they shall see their patron near his death.

33. Persecution is from the Devil

Now if it was altogether unseemly in any of the Bishops to change their opinions merely from fear of these things, yet it was much more so, and not the part of men who have confidence in what they believe, to force and compel the unwilling. In this manner it is that the Devil, when he has no truth on his sides, attacks and breaks down the doors of them that admit him with axes and hammers[6]. But our Saviour is so gentle that He teaches thus, 'If any man wills to come after Me,' and, 'Whoever wills to be My disciple[7];' and coming to each He does not force them, but knocks at the door and says, 'Open unto Me, My sister, My spouse[8];' and if they open to Him, He enters in, but if they delay and will not, He departs from them. For the truth is not preached with swords or with darts, nor by means of soldiers; but by persuasion and counsel. But what persuasion is there where fear of the Emperor prevails? or what counsel is there, when he who withstands them receives at last banishment and death? Even David, although he was a king, and had his enemy in his power, prevented not the soldiers by an exercise of authority when they wished to kill his enemy, but, as the Scripture says, David persuaded his men by arguments, and suffered them not to rise up and put Saul to death[1]. But he, being without arguments of reason, forces all men by his power, that it may be shewn to all, that their wisdom is not according to God, but merely human, and that they who favour the Arian doctrines have indeed no king but Caesar; for by his means it is that these enemies of Christ accomplish whatsoever they wish to do. But while they thought that they were carrying on their designs against many by his means, they knew not that they were making many to be confessors, of whom are those who have lately[2] made so glorious a confession, religious men, and excellent Bishops, Paulinus[3] Bishop of Treveri, the metropolis of the Gauls, Lucifer, Bishop of the metropolis of Sardinia, Eusebius of Vercelli in Italy, and Dionysius of Milan, which is the metropolis of Italy. These the Emperor summoned before him, and commanded them to subscribe against Athanasius, and to hold communion with the heretics; and when they were astonished at this novel procedure, and said that there was no Ecclesiastical Canon to this effect, he immediately said, 'Whatever I will, be that esteemed a Canon; the "Bishops" of Syria let me thus speak. Either then obey, or go into banishment.'

34. Banishment of the Western Bishops spread the knowledge of the truth.

When the Bishops heard this they were utterly amazed, and stretching forth their hands to God, they used great boldness of speech against him teaching him that the kingdom was not his, but God's, who had given it to him, Whom also they bid him fear, lest He should suddenly take it away from him. And they threatened him with the day of judgment, and warned him against infringing Ecclesiastical order, and mingling Roman sovereignty with the constitution[4] of the Church, and against introducing the Arian heresy into the Church of God. But he would not listen to them, nor permit them to speak further, but threatened them so much the more, and drew his sword against them, and gave orders for some of them to be led to execution; although afterwards, like Pharaoh, he repented. The holy men therefore shaking off the dust, and looking up to God, neither feared the threats of the Emperor, nor betrayed their cause before his drawn sword; but received their banishment, as a service pertaining to their ministry. And as they passed along, they preached the Gospel in every place and city[5], although they were in bonds, proclaiming the orthodox faith, anathematizing the Arian heresy, and stigmatizing the recantation of Ursacius and Valens. But this was contrary to the intention of their enemies; for the greater was the distance of their place of banishment, so much the more was the hatred against them increased, while the wanderings of these men were but the heralding of their impiety. For who that saw them as they passed along, did not greatly admire them as Confessors, and renounce and abominate the others, calling them not only impious men, but executioners and murderers, and everything rather than Christians ?

PART V. PERSECUTION AND LAPSE OF LIBERIUS.

35. Now it had been better if from the first Constantius had never become connected with this heresy at all; or being connected with it if he had not yielded so much to those impious men; or having yielded to them, if he had stood by them only thus far, so that judgment might come upon them all for these atrocities alone. But as it would seem, like madmen, having fixed themselves in the bonds of impiety, they are drawing down upon their own heads a more severe judgment. Thus from the first[1] they spared not even Liberius, Bishop of Rome, but extended[2] their fury even to those parts; they respected not his bishopric, because it was an Apostolical throne; they felt no reverence for Rome, because she is the Metropolis of Romania[3]; they remembered not that formerly in their letters they had spoken of her Bishops as Apostolical men. But confounding all things together, they at once forgot everything, and cared only to shew their zeal in behalf of impiety. When they perceived that he was an orthodox man and hated the Arian heresy, and earnestly endeavoured to persuade all persons to renounce and withdraw from it these impious men reasoned thus with themselves: 'If we can persuade Liberius, we shall soon prevail over all.' Accordingly they accused him falsely before the Emperor; and he, expecting easily to draw over all men to his side by means of Liberius, writes to him, and sends a certain eunuch called Eusebius with letters and offerings, to cajole him with the presents, and to threaten him with the letters. The eunuch accordingly went to Rome, and first proposed to Liberius to subscribe against Athanasius, and to hold communion with the Arians, saying, 'The Emperor wishes it, and commands you to do so.' And then shewing him the offerings, he took him by the hand, and again besought him saying, 'Obey the Emperor, and receive these.'

36. The Eunuch Eusebius attempts Liberius in vain.

But the Bishop endeavoured to convince him, reasoning with him thus: 'How is it possible for me to do this against Athanasius? how can we condemn a man, whom not one [4] Council only, but a seconds assembled from all parts of the world, has fairly acquitted, and whom the Church of the Romans dismissed in peace? who will approve of our conduct, if we reject in his absence one, whose presence[6] amongst us we gladly welcomed, and admitted him to our communion? This is no Ecclesiastical Canon; nor have we had transmitted to us any such tradition[7] from the Fathers, who in their turn received from the great and blessed Apostle Peter s. But if the Emperor is really concerned for the peace of the Church, if he requires our letters respecting Athanasius to be reversed, let their proceedings both against him and against all the others be reversed also; and then let an Ecclesiastical Council be called at a distance from the Court, at which the Emperor shall not be present, nor any Count be admitted, nor magistrate to threaten us, but where only the fear of God and the Apostolical rule 9 shall prevail; that so in the first place, the faith of the Church may be secure, as the Fathers defined it in the Council of Nicaea, and the supporters of the Arian doctrines may be cast out, and their heresy anathematized. And then after that, an enquiry being made into the charges brought against Athanasius, and any other besides, as well as into those things of which the other party is accused, let the culprits be cast out, and the innocent receive encouragement and support. For it is impossible that they who maintain an impious creed can be admitted as members of a Council: nor is it fit that an enquiry into matters of conduct should precede the enquiry concerning the faith[1]; but all diversity of opinions on points of faith ought first to be eradicated, and then the enquiry made into matters of conduct. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not heal them that were afflicted, until they shewed and declared what faith they had in Him. These things we have received from the Fathers; these report to the Emperor; for they are both profitable for him and edifying to the Church. But let not Ursacius and Valens be listened to, for they have retracted their former assertions, and in what they now say they are not to be trusted.'

37. Liberius refuses the Emperors offering.

These were the words of the Bishop Liberius. And the eunuch, who was vexed, not so much because he would not subscribe as because he found him an enemy to the heresy, forgetting that he was in the presence of a Bishop, after threatening him severely, went away with the offerings; and next commits an offence, which is foreign to a Christian, and too audacious for a eunuch. In imitation of the transgression of Saul, he went to the Martyry[2] of the Apostle Peter, and then presented the offerings. But Liberius having notice of it, was very angry with the person who kept the place, that he had not prevented him, and cast out the offerings as an unlawful sacrifice, which increased the anger of the mutilated creature against him. Consequently he exasperates the Emperor against him, saying, 'The matter that concerns us is no longer the obtaining the subscription of Liberius, but the fact that he is so resolutely opposed to the heresy, that he anathematizes the Arians by name.' He also stirs up the other eunuchs to say the same; for many of those who were about Constantius, or rather the whole number of them, are eunuchs 3, who engross all the influence with him, and it is impossible to do anything there without them. The Emperor accordingly writes to Rome, and again Palatines, and Notaries, and Counts are sent off with letters to the Prefect, in order that either they may inveigle Liberius by stratagem away from Rome and send him to the Court to him, or else persecute him by violence.

38. The evil influence of Eunuchs at Court.

Such being the tenor of the letters, there also fear and treachery forthwith became rife throughout the whole city. How many were the families against which threats were held out! How many received great promises on condition of their acting against Liberius! How many Bishops hid themselves when they saw these things! How many noble women retired to country places in consequence of the, calumnies of the enemies of Christ! How many ascetics were made the objects of their plots I How many who were sojourning there, and had made that place their home, did they cause to be persecuted! How often and how strictly did they guard the harbour[4] and the approaches to the gates, lest any orthodox person should enter and visit Liberius! Rome also had trial of the enemies of Christ, and now experienced what be(ore she would not believe, when she heard how the other Churches in every city were ravaged by them. It was the eunuchs who instigated these proceedings against all. And the most remarkable circumstance in the matter is this; that the Arian heresy which denies the Son of God, receives its support from eunuchs, who, as both their bodies are fruitless, and their souls barren of virtue, cannot bear even to hear the name of son. The Eunuch of Ethiopia indeed, though he understood not what he reads, believed the words of Philip, when he taught him concerning the Saviour; but the eunuchs of Constantius cannot endure the confession of Peter[6], nay, they turn away when the Father manifests the Son, and madly rage against those who say, that the Son of God is His genuine Son, thus claiming as a heresy of eunuchs, that there is no genuine and true offspring of the Father. On these grounds it is that the law forbids such persons to be admitted into any ecclesiastical Council[7]; notwithstanding which they have now regarded these as competent judges of ecclesiastical causes, and whatever seems good to them, that Constantius decrees, while men with the name of Bishops dissemble with them. Oh! who shall be their historian? who shall transmit the record of these things to another generation? who indeed would believe it, were he to hear it, that eunuchs who are scarcely entrusted with household services (for theirs is a pleasure-loving race, that has no serious concern but that of hindering in others what nature has taken from them); that these, I say, now exercise authority in ecclesiastical matters, and that Constantius in submission to their will treacherously conspired against all, and banished Liberius!

39. Liberius's speech to Constantius.

For after the Emperor had frequently written to Rome, had threatened, sent commissioners, devised schemes, on the persecution[7a] subsequently breaking out at Alexandria, Liberius is dragged before him, and uses great boldness of speech towards him. 'Cease,' he said, 'to persecute the Christians; attempt not by my means to introduce impiety into the Church. We are ready to suffer anything rather than to be called Arian madmen. We are Christians; compel us not to become enemies of Christ. We also give you this counsel: fight not against Him who gave you this empire, nor show impiety towards Him instead of thankfulness[8]; persecute not them that believe in Him, lest you also hear the words, 'It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks[9].' Nay, I would that you might hear them, that you might obey, as the holy Paul did. Behold, here we are; we are come, before they fabricate charges. For this cause we hastened hither, knowing that banishment awaits us at your hands, that we might suffer before a charge encounters us, add that all may clearly see that all the others too have suffered as we shall suffer, and that the charges brought against them were fabrications of their enemies, and all their proceedings were mere calumny and falsehood.'

40. Banishment of Liberius anal others.

These were the words of Liberius at that time, and he was admired by all men for them. But the Emperor instead of answering[9a], only gave orders for their banishment, separating each of them from the rest, as he had done in the former cases. For he had himself devised this plan in the banishments which he inflicted, that so the severity of his punishments might be greater than that of former tyrants and persecutors[1]. In the former persecution Maximian, who was then Emperor, commanded a number of Confessors to be banished together[2], and thus lightened their punishment by the consolation which he gave them in each other's society. But this man was more savage than he; he separated those who had spoken boldly and confessed together, he put asunder those who were united by the bond of faith, that when they came to die they might not see one another; thinking that bodily separation can disunite also the affections of the mind, and that being severed from each other, they would forget the concord and unanimity which existed among them. He knew not that however each one may remain a apart from the rest, he has nevertheless with him that Lord, whom they confessed in one body together, who will also provide (as he did in the case of the Prophet Elisha[4]) that more shall be with each of them, than there are soldiers with Constantius. Of a truth iniquity is blind I for in that they thought to afflict the Confessors, by separating them from one another, they rather brought thereby a great injury upon themselves. For had they continued in each other's company, and abode together, the pollutions of those impious men would have been proclaimed from one place only; but now by putting them asunder, they have made their impious heresy and wickedness to spread abroad and become known in every place.

41. Lapse of Liberius.

Who that shall hear what they did in the course of these proceedings will not think them to be anything rather than Christians? When Liberius sent Eutropius, a Presbyter, and Hilarius, a Deacon, with letters to the Emperor, at the time that LuciFer and his fellows made their confession, they banished the Presbyter on the spot, and after stripping Hilarius[6] the Deacon and scourging him on the back, they banished him too, clamouring at him, 'Why didst thou not resist Liberius instead of being the bearer of letters from him.' Ursacius and Valens, with the eunuchs who sided with them, were the authors of this outrage. The Deacon, while he was being scourged, praised the Lord, remembering His words, 'I gave My back to the smiters[7];' but they while they scourged him laughed and mocked him, feeling no shame that they were insulting a Levitt. Indeed they acted but consistently in laughing while he continued to praise God; for it is the part of Christians to endure stripes, but to scourge Christians is the outrage of a Pilate or a Caiaphas. Thus they endeavoured at the first to corrupt the Church of the Romans, wishing to introduce impiety into it as well i as others. But Liberius after he had been gin banishment two years gave way, and from fear of threatened death subscribed. Yet even this only shews their violent conduct, and the hatred of Liberius against the heresy, and his support of Athanasius, so long as he was suffered to exercise a free choice. For that which men are forced by torture to do contrary to their first judgment, ought not to be considered the willing deed of those who are in fear, but rather of their tormentors. They however attempted everything in support of their heresy, while the people in every Church, preserving the faith which they had learnt, waited for the return of their teachers, and condemned the Antichristian heresy, and all avoid it, as they would a serpent.
 

 

 
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