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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

UPON receiving this intelligence Constantius wrote to the citizens of Antioch, to acquaint them that he had not conferred the bishopric of their city upon Eudoxius, although a report had been spread to that effect. He ordered him to be expelled from the city, and desired sentence to be passed on him at Nice in Bithynia, where a council had been summoned. Eusebius had artfully arranged, through the intervention of those who held the chief appointments in the palace, that the council should be held at Nice. But the Ruler of the universe, to whom the future is as present as the past, prevented the meeting of the council by a most unexpected earthquake, which overthrew the greater part of the city, and destroyed a great number of the inhabitants. The bishops who had already arrived at the spot, were seized with terror, and returned to their respective churches. I believe that this was expressly ordained by the wisdom of God. For in this very city, where the doctrines of the apostolical faith had been signed by the fathers, these latter bishops were about to publish other and contrary doctrines; and as the Arians would have taken advantage of the name of the council, and would have confounded the decrees there enacted with those passed at the ancient council of Nice in order to deceive the simple, He who watches over the interests of the church prevented the council from being held. A short time subsequently, Constantius, at the solicitation of the accusers of Eudoxius, appointed the council to be held at Seleucia, a city which lies near the sea, and which is the capital of Isauria. Thither were summoned the bishops of the East, those of Pontus, and those of Asia. During this period the church of Cæsarea in Palestine was governed by Acacius who had succeeded Eusebius. Acacius had been deposed at the council of Sardica; but he, despising the great concourse of bishops assembled at that council, refused to submit to their sentence. Maximus succeeded Macarius, whom we have lately mentioned, in the government of the church of Jerusalem. He had distinguished himself by defending religion during the times of persecution, and had in this cause suffered the loss of his right eye and of his right arm. When he was called to enter upon a higher state of existence, his bishopric was conferred upon Cyril, a zealous defender of the apostolical doctrines. These bishops contended for priority; and their contests occasioned the greatest evils throughout the whole church. Acacius had, under a very slight pretext, deposed Cyril, and expelled him from Jerusalem. Cyril, finding that there was no pastor at Antioch, repaired thither; thence he proceeded to Tarsus, and took up his abode with the admirable Silvanus, bishop of the city. Acacius, on being apprised of this circumstance, wrote to Silvanus, to inform him that Cyril had been deposed. But Silvanus revered the character of Cyril, and feared the people who were much pleased with his teaching: he therefore did not prohibit him from exercising the functions of the ministry. When the council had assembled at Seleucia, Cyril took his place with Basil, Eustathius, and the other bishops. Acacius was also present at this council, which consisted of one hundred and fifty bishops. He stated that he would not assist in any deliberations until Cyril had quitted the council, because he had been deposed from the episcopal office. Some of the bishops who were desirous of peace besought Cyril to retire, promising that as soon as questions respecting doctrine had been determined, they would investigate his case. But Cyril would not accede to this request, and Acacius quitted the council. He went to Eudoxius, quieted his apprehensions, and emboldened him by promising to protect and to assist him. He prohibited him from going to the council, and took him to Constantinople.








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