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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

JULIAN being acquainted with all these facts, did not openly manifest the impiety of his principles. In order to conciliate the good-will of all parties he recalled to their own churches those bishops who had been banished by Constantius to the furthest extremities of the earth. As soon as this decree was issued, the holy Melitius returned to Antioch, and the celebrated Athanasius to Alexandria. Eusebius and Hilarius, bishops of Italy, and Lucifer, bishop of the isle of Sardinia, were then in Thebes, a province of Egypt, where they had been banished by Constantius. They assembled for deliberation with some other bishops of the same sentiments as themselves; for it was necessary, they said, that the churches should be reunited by one standard of doctrine, hostility being not only manifested by the adversaries, but the very members of the church being divided against each other. For, in Antioch, the orthodox part of the church was divided into two sections. The first consisted of those who had seceded on account of the renowned Eustathius: the other party comprised those who had withdrawn with the excellent Melitius, and who celebrated the divine service in the old city. Both parties held the same confession of faith, and maintained the doctrines which had been confirmed at Nice. They only kept aloof from each other from a spirit of contention, and on account of the preference which they felt for their respective bishops. The death of one of these bishops did not allay the discord, for Eustathius having died before Melitius was ordained, and those who adhered to religion having seceded subsequently to the exile of Melitius and the ordination of Euzoius, those separatists who bore the name of Eustathius could not be induced to join them. Endeavours were made, as above related, by Eusebius and Lucifer, to effect a re-union. Eusebius begged Lucifer to go to Alexandria, and to consult the great Athanasius on the subject; and he himself undertook the task of re-establishing concord.








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