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A History Of The Church In Six Books by Evagrius

“THE emperor Cæsar Zeno, pious, victorious, triumphant, supreme, ever worshipful Augustus, to the most reverent bishops and clergy, and to the monks and laity throughout Alexandria, Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis. Being assured that the origin and constitution, the might and invincible defence of our sovereignty is the only right and true faith, which, through divine inspiration, the three hundred holy fathers assembled at Nicæa set forth, and the hundred and fifty holy fathers, who in like manner met at Constantinople, confirmed; we night and day employ every means of prayer, of zealous pains and of laws, that the holy Catholic and apostolic church in every place may be multiplied, the uncorruptible and immortal mother of our sceptre; and that the pious laity, continuing in peace and unanimity with respect to God, may, together with the bishops, highly beloved of God, the most pious clergy, the archimandrites and monks, offer up acceptably their supplications in behalf of our sovereignty. So long as our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who was incarnate and born of Mary, the Holy Virgin, and Mother of God, approves and readily accepts our concordant glorification and service, the power of our enemies will be crushed and swept away, and peace with its blessings, kindly temperature, abundant produce, and whatever is beneficial to man, will be liberally bestowed. Since, then, the irreprehensible faith is the preserver both of ourselves and the Roman weal, petitions have been offered to us from pious archimandrites and hermits, and other venerable persons, imploring us with tears that unity should be procured for the churches, and the limbs should be knit together, which the enemy of all good has of old time been eagerly bent upon severing, under a consciousness that defeat will befall him whenever he assails the body while in an entire condition. For since it happens, that of the unnumbered generations which during the lapse of so many years time has withdrawn from life, some have departed, deprived of the laver of regeneration, and others have been borne away on the inevitable journey of man, without having partaken in the divine communion; and innumerable murders have also been perpetrated; and not only the earth, but the very air has been defiled by a multitude of blood-sheddings; that this state of things might be transformed into good, who would not pray? For this reason, we were anxious that you should be informed, that we and the churches in every quarter neither have held, nor do we or shall we hold, nor are we aware of persons who hold, any other symbol or lesson or definition of faith or creed than the before-mentioned holy symbol of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers, which the aforesaid hundred and fifty holy fathers confirmed; and if any person does hold such, we deem him an alien: for we are confident that this symbol alone is, as we said, the preserver of our sovereignty, and on their reception of this alone are all the people baptised when desirous of the saving illumination: which symbol all the holy fathers assembled at Ephesus also followed; who further passed sentence of deposition on the impious Nestorius and those who subsequently held his sentiments: which Nestorius we also anathematise, together with Eutyches and all who entertain opinions contrary to those above-mentioned, receiving at the same time the twelve chapters of Cyril, of holy memory, formerly archbishop of the holy Catholic church of the Alexandrians. We moreover confess, that the only begotten Son of God, himself God, who truly assumed manhood, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is con-substantial with the Father in respect of the Godhead, and con-substantial with ourselves as respects the manhood; that He, having descended, and become incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Mary, the Virgin and Mother of God, is one and not two; for we affirm that both his miracles, and the sufferings which he voluntarily endured in the flesh, are those of a single person: for we do in no degree admit those who either make a division or a confusion, or introduce a phantom; inasmuch as his truly sinless incarnation from the Mother of God did not produce an addition of a son, because the Trinity continued a Trinity even when one member of the Trinity, the God Word, became incarnate. Knowing, then, that neither the holy orthodox churches of God in all parts, nor the priests, highly beloved of God, who are at their head, nor our own sovereignty, have allowed or do allow any other symbol or definition of faith than the before-mentioned holy lesson, we have united ourselves thereto without hesitation. And these things we write not as setting forth a new form of faith, but for your assurance: and every one who has held or holds any other opinion, either at the present or another time, whether at Chalcedon or in any synod whatever, we anathematise; and specially the before-mentioned Nestorius and Eutyches, and those who maintain their doctrines. Link yourselves, therefore, to the spiritual mother, the church, and in her enjoy the same communion with us, according to the aforesaid one and only definition of the faith, namely, that of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers. For your all holy mother, the church, waits to embrace you as true children, and longs to hear your loved voice, so long withheld. Speed yourselves, therefore, for by so doing you will both draw towards yourselves the favor of our Master and Saviour and God, Jesus Christ, and be commended by our sovereignty.”

When this had been read, all the Alexandrians united themselves to the holy catholic and apostolic church.








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