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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

“THE bishops of Illyria to the churches of God, and to the diocesan bishops of Asia, Phrygia, Carophrygia, and Pacatiana. Peace be unto you.

“Having assembled together, and having searched into the words of salvation, we have been convinced that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are con-substantial. It is right that we should communicate with you by letter, not for the purpose of explaining the mystery of the Trinity by sophistical reasoning, but in order to advert to the subject with humility, in the hope of grace being accorded to us. We have sent this letter by Elpidius the presbyter, our beloved brother and fellow-labourer. The following are words not to be found in the volumes written by men, but in the book of our Saviour Jesus Christ: ‘I am of Paul, I am of Cephas, I am of Christ. Was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptised in the name of Paul?’ We might have omitted writing to you on account of the horror which was felt throughout all the provinces, when you proclaimed that the Holy Ghost is separate from the Father and from the Son; but we deemed it requisite to send to you from the metropolis of the Roman empire our fellow-labourer the lord Elpidius, for the purpose of delivering this letter to you, and of ascertaining whether this doctrine is really preached by you. For whoever does not preach that the three Persons of the Trinity are con-substantial, let him be anathema. And whoever holds communion with those of such sentiments, let him also be anathema. But those are the inheritors of the kingdom of heaven who preach at all times, and in every place, that the three Divine Persons are con-substantial. We exhort you then, brethren, not to hold or teach any other doctrine, but always to preach that the three Persons of the Trinity are of the same substance, in order that you may be the inheritors of the kingdom of God.

“Having written these things we proceed to speak about the election of bishops. On the death of a bishop, if any one of his family be capable of the office, the vacant appointment must be given to him; but otherwise one of the presbytery must be elected to fill it. In the same way the offices of presbyter and of deacon must be conferred only on the clergy, in order that they may be irreproachable. Such appointments must not be given to those who belong to the court or to the army. We have not written to you at greater length because we have sent our colleague, the lord Elpidius, who will ascertain what doctrine is preached by you, and whether it be that which was intimated to us by Eustathius our lord and fellow-minister. If you were then deceived, throw off now the old man, and put on the new. Elpidius, our brother and fellow-minister, will teach you how to declare the true faith, which is, that the holy and con-substantial God the Father, with the Son, and the Holy Ghost, is sanctified, glorified, and manifested; the Father in the Son, and the Son in the Father, with the Holy Ghost, unto all ages. When this doctrine has been made evident to you, we shall all agree in confessing; that the three Persons of the Holy Trinity are con-substantial, according to the ancient formulary of the faith drawn up at Nice, and established by the fathers. By preaching this doctrine we shall escape the snares of the evil demon. When we have overcome him, we will keep up a friendly intercourse with you by letter, and we will live in peace. We subjoin for your information the names of those who have been deposed on account of Arianism, for they would not confess the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, to be con-substantial. Their names are as follows: Polychronicus, Telemachus, Faustus, Asclepiades, Amantius, and Cleopater.

“May all things be to the glory of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever, Amen. We pray to the Father, and to the Son our Saviour Christ, with the Holy Ghost, that you may enjoy prosperity and health for many years to come.”








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