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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

“CONSTANTINE CÆSAR to the members of the Catholic Church of Alexandria.

“I think that you cannot have forgotten how Athanasius, the interpreter of the venerated law, was sent for a time into Gaul, on account of the sanguinary designs of his enemies, lest he should fall a sacrifice to the cruelty of those evil men. To avoid this imminent peril, he was directed to remain in a city under my jurisdiction, where he was abundantly supplied with every necessary, but the greatness of his virtue, supported as it was by the grace of God, led him to despise all the calamities of adverse fortune. Constantine, my lord and my father, of blessed memory, intended to have reinstated him in his former bishopric, and to have restored him to you; but as he was arrested by the hand of death before his desires were accomplished, I, being his heir, must carry them into execution. You will learn from your bishop himself with how much respect I have acted towards him. Nor indeed is it surprising that he should have been thus treated by me; I was incited to this line of conduct by perceiving his great virtue, and the love evinced by you towards him. May Divine Providence watch over you, beloved brethren!

According to the directions contained in this letter, St. Athanasius returned from exile; he was most gladly welcomed both by the rich and by the poor, by the inhabitants of cities, and by those of the provinces. Hence Eusebius, Theognis, and those of their faction resorted to their former machinations, and endeavoured to prejudice the young emperor against him. I shall now proceed to relate in what manner Constantius swerved from the doctrines of the Apostles.








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