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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

WITH these and similar arguments, the bishops assailed the weak-minded emperor, and persuaded him to expel Athanasius from his church. But obtaining timely intimation of their design, Athanasius departed towards the west. The partisans of Eusebius had sent false accusations against him to Julius, bishop of Rome. In obedience to the laws of the church, Julius summoned the accusers and the accused to Rome, that the cause might be tried. Athanasius, accordingly, set out for Rome, but the calumniators refused to go because they saw that their falsehood would inevitably be detected. But perceiving that the flock of Athanasius was left without a pastor, they appointed over it a wolf instead of a pastor. Gregory, for this was his name, surpassed the wild beasts in deeds of cruelty and ferocity, and during six years he grievously oppressed the flock: but at the expiration of that period, he was destroyed by the flock. Athanasius went to Constantius (Constantine, the eldest brother, having fallen in battle), and complained of the plots laid by the Arians against him, and of their opposition to the apostolical faith. He did not fail to remind him of his father’s having attended the general council in person, and of his having confirmed by an express law all the decrees which were there issued. The emperor was excited to emulation by hearing these commendations of his father’s zeal. He wrote to his brother exhorting him to preserve inviolate the religion of their father, which ought by right of inheritance to be theirs also; for it was by his piety that Constantine had strengthened his empire, expelled the tyrants of Rome, and subjugated the barbarians. Constans was induced by this letter to summon the bishops from the east and from the west to Sardica, which was a city of Illyria, and the metropolis of Dacia, that they might deliberate on the means of removing the numerous troubles of the church.








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