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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

“THE great and victorious emperors Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian, to the diocesan bishops of Asia, Phrygia, Carophrygia, and Pacatiana. Peace be unto you in the Lord.

“The council assembled in Illyria have declared, after a prolonged and accurate examination of the subject, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are of the same substance. The members of the council do not swerve either from this doctrine, or from the public duties of their office; and they duly obey the Lord of all. We have ordered this doctrine to be preached. We would not that any person should be able to say that he followed the religion of the Monarch of the earth, without regard to the doctrines revealed for our salvation. For in the gospel of God we find the following precept, ‘Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ What do you, O bishops, who are entrusted with the words of salvation, say to this? If your faith be in accordance with that which we have propounded, then you will love one another, and will desist from abusing the authority of the emperor. Do not persecute those who serve God faithfully, who arrest by their prayers the course of war, and who repel the attacks of apostate angels. For they drive away all evil demons by their perseverance in supplications; they bring to the public treasuries whatever sums are enjoined by law, and they do not resist the power of the government; they sincerely observe the commands of God the Supreme Ruler, while at the same time they submit to our laws. But you have shown yourselves to be opposed to our authority. We legislated for you from the first to the last, but you abandoned yourselves to evil. We desire to be innocent of your guilt; even as Pilate when he had questioned Christ, not desiring to slay him nor to give up to those who called out for him, turned towards the East, and taking water washed his hands, saying, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this Just One.’ So in the same way have we commanded that those who labour in the field of Christ are not to be persecuted nor oppressed, and that the stewards of the Great Ruler are not to be driven away; for we would not that your wickedness should reach a greater height during our reign, lest you should be led to trample upon the covenant of God, as was the case when the blood of Zacharias was shed. But the evil demon, and those with whom he had co-operated, were destroyed by Jesus Christ our King at the time of his coming down from above, and were given over to the punishment of death.

“The above decision was made in the presence of Megetius, Cicero, Damasus, Dailampus and Vetrasius. We send you the decrees of the council that you may know what was there enacted. We subjoin the following brief summary of the doctrines of the council.

“ ‘We confess, according to the enactment of the great orthodox council, that the Son is of the same substance as the Father. We do not attach the same meaning to the term con-substantial as did those who formerly signed the formulary, nor as those persons still do who call the others their fathers; they set aside the true force of the word, and follow those who wrote that similarity only is signified by the term con-substantial, inasmuch as the Son is not similar to any of the other creatures which were made by Him, but bears resemblance to the Father alone. For those who thus explain the term, teach that the Son of God is a creature, which is great impiety, although they admit his superiority over other creatures. We believe, like the councils recently held at Rome and in Gaul, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, have but one and the same substance in three persons, that is to say, in three perfect natures. We confess likewise, according to the Nicean formulary, that the Son of God is of the same substance as his Father, that he took the form of man, was born of the Virgin Mary, and that he sojourned with men. That for our salvation he was born, suffered, died, rose again, and ascended into heaven. We believe that He will come again in a visible manner at the day of judgment, to give to every one according to his deeds, and that His divine power will then be manifested; for it was not man who was invested with divinity, but it was God who assumed the form of humanity. We condemn those who hold other opinions. We also condemn those who do not sincerely anathematize him who said that, previous to being begotten, the Son existed not, but that before he was begotten he was power in the Father. For this is true of all the creatures which have not always been with God; but the Son is ever with God, having been begotten from all eternity.’ ”

This was the summary of the faith drawn up by the emperor. I shall now insert that of the council.








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