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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

“CONSTANTINE AUGUSTUS to the holy council assembled in Tyre.

“In the general prosperity which distinguishes this period, it seems right that the Catholic Church should likewise be exempt from trouble, and that the servants of Christ should be freed from every annoyance. But as certain individuals, who are instigated by the love of contention, and who lead a life unworthy of their profession, endeavour to excite disorder, which appears to me to be a source of the greatest regret, I beseech you to assemble together, as I know that you yourselves desire, that a council may be convened without delay; so that you may support those who require your assistance, that you may heal the brethren who are afflicted with spiritual maladies, that you may reunite the members of the one body, that you may rectify the disorders of the church while time permits; and that you may restore concord to those provinces which, alas! were thrown into confusion by the arrogance of a few men. I believe every one would admit that you could not perform any thing so pleasing in the sight of God, so conformable to all my desires, as well as to your own; or so conducive to your own honour, as to restore peace. Do not delay, but endeavour with redoubled alacrity to terminate these discussions, with all that sincerity and fidelity which, according to the command of our Saviour, ought to pervade all our actions. Nothing shall be omitted on my part to further the interests of our religion. I have done all that you recommended in your letters. I have written to those bishops whom you specified, directing them to repair to the council for the purpose of deliberating with you upon ecclesiastical matters. I have also sent Dionysius, one of the consuls, to remind those who are to sit in council with you, of their duty to be zealous in the maintenance of good order in every thing that is transacted. If any one should dare to disobey our command, and refuse to come to the council, which, however, I do not think possible, we must send him into immediate banishment, that he may learn not to oppose the decrees enacted by the emperor for the support of truth. All that now devolves upon your holiness is to judge without partiality or prejudice, to obey the ecclesiastical and apostolical canons, and to devise suitable remedies for the evil which has resulted from error; in order that the church may be freed from all reproach, that my anxiety may be diminished, that peace may be restored, and that your renown may be increased. May your God preserve you, beloved brethren.

The bishops accordingly repaired to the council of Tyre. Amongst them were those who were suspected of holding heterodox doctrines; Asclepas, bishop of Gaza, was one of the accused: the admirable Athanasius also attended. I shall first dwell on the accusation alleged against him, and shall then relate the proceedings of this famous court of justice.








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