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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

THE calumniators of Athanasius felt no remorse; on the contrary, they devised so bold a fiction against him, that it surpassed any fable that had been invented by the ancient writers, whether comic or tragic. They again bribed individuals of the same party; and brought them before the emperor, to criminate the virtuous bishop. Amongst them were Eusebius, Theognis, and Theodore, bishop of Perinthus, a city now called Heraclea. After having accused Athanasius of dreadful crimes, which could not then be specified in detail, they persuaded the emperor to convene a council at Cæsarea in Palestine, where Athanasius had many enemies, and to command that his cause should be there tried. The emperor little suspected that bishops could be capable of such duplicity, and was perfectly ignorant of their intrigues; he was, therefore, persuaded by them to act as they desired. But the holy Athanasius, well aware of the malevolence of his enemies, refused to appear at the council. This served as a pretext to those who opposed the truth to criminate him still further; and they accused him before the emperor of contumacy and arrogance. And thus all his hope was frustrated; for the emperor, although exceedingly forbearing, became exasperated by their representations, and wrote to him in an angry manner, commanding him to repair to Tyre where the council was ordered to assemble, because, as I think, the metropolitan bishop of Cæsarea was distrusted by Athanasius. The emperor wrote also to the council in a style consistent with his devoted piety. His letter is as follows.








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