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A History Of The Church In Six Books by Evagrius

THE monastic body in Palestine, writing to Alcison concerning Macedonius and Flavian, express themselves thus: “On the death of Peter, they were again separated, but Alexandria, Egypt, and Africa remained at unity among themselves; as, on the other hand, did the rest of the East; while the churches of the West refused to communicate with them on any other terms than the anathematising of Nestorius, Eutyches, and Dioscorus, including also Peter, surnamed Mongus, and Acacius. Such, then, being the situation of the churches throughout the world, the genuine followers of Dioscorus and Eutyches were reduced to a very small number; and when they were upon the point of disappearing altogether from the earth, Xenaias, who was truly a stranger to God, with what object we know not, or pursuing what enmity towards Flavian, but under colour of defending the faith, as is generally said, begins to raise a stir against him, and to calumniate him as being a Nestorian. When, however, he had anathematised Nestorius and his notion, Xenaias transferred his attacks from him to Dioscorus and Theodore, Theodoret, Ibas, Cyrus, Eleutherius, and John; and we know not whom besides and whence he mustered them: some of whom really maintained the opinions of Nestorius, but others, having been suspected, anathematised him, and departed in the communion of the church. ‘Unless,’ said he, ‘thou shalt anathematise all these, as holding the opinions of Nestorius, thou art thyself a Nestorian, though thou shouldest ten thousand times anathematise him and his notion.’ He also endeavoured by letters to induce the advocates of Dioscorus and Eutyches to take arms with him against Flavian, not however with a view of exacting from him an anathema upon the synod, but merely on the before-mentioned persons. But when the bishop Flavian had maintained a prolonged resistance to them, and other persons had united with Xenaias against him, namely, Eleusinus, a bishop of Cappadocia Secunda, Nicias, of Laodicea in Syria, and others from other quarters, the motive of whose spite against Flavian it is the province of others, not of ourselves, to detail; at last, in hope of peace, he yielded to their contentious spirit, and having in writing anathematised the before-mentioned persons, he despatched the instrument to the emperor, for they had stirred up him also against Flavian as a maintainer of the opinions of Nestorius. Xenaias, not contented with this, again demands of Flavian that he should anathematise the synod itself, and those who maintained two natures in the person of the Lord, namely, the flesh and the Godhead; and on his refusal, again accused him of being a Nestorian. After much stir upon this subject, and after the patriarch had put forth an exposition of faith, in which he confessed that he admitted the synod as far as regards the deposition of Nestorius and Eutyches, not however as defining and teaching the faith; they again impugn him as secretly holding the opinions of Nestorius, unless he would further anathematise the synod itself, and those who maintained two natures in the person of the Lord, the flesh and the Godhead. They also win over to their side the Isaurians, by various deceitful expressions, and having drawn up a formulary of faith, in which they anathematise the synod together with those who maintained the two natures or persons, they separate themselves from Flavian and Macedonius, but unite with others on their subscribing the formulary. At the same time they also demanded of the bishop of Jerusalem a written statement of faith; which he put forth, and sent to the emperor by the hands of the party of Dioscorus. This they present, containing an anathema upon those who maintained the two natures. But the bishop of Jerusalem himself, affirming that it had been forged by them, puts forth another without such anathema. And no wonder. For they have often forged discourses of the fathers, and to many writings of Apollinaris they have attached titles assigning them to Athanasius, Gregory Thaumaturgus, and Julius; their principal object in so doing being to draw over the multitude to their own impieties. They also demanded of Macedonius a written statement of faith; who put one forth, affirming that he recognised only the creed of the three hundred and eighteen, and of the one hundred and fifty fathers, anathematising at the same time Nestorius, Eutyches, and those who held the doctrine of two sons or two Christs, or divided the natures; making, however, no mention of the synod of Ephesus, which deposed Nestorius, nor that of Chalcedon, which deposed Eutyches. Indignant at this, the monastic bodies about Constantinople separate from their bishop Macedonius. In the mean time Xenaias and Dioscorus, associating with them many of the bishops, became insufferable, from the stir which they raised against those who refused to anathematise; and, by various devices, they endeavoured to procure the banishment of those who persisted in their refusal. In this way, accordingly, they banish both Macedonius, and John, bishop of Paltus, and Flavian.”

Such are the contents of the letter.








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