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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

AFTER this the emperor without delay summoned a Synod of the prelates of his own faith, in order that the Nicene Creed might be established, and a bishop of Constantinople ordained: and inasmuch as he was not without hope that the Macedonians might be won over to his own views, he invited those who presided over that sect to be present also. There met therefore on this occasion, of the Homoousian party, Timothy from Alexandria, Cyril from Jerusalem, who at that time recognised the doctrine of consubstantiality, having retracted his former opinion; Meletius from Antioch, he having arrived there previously to assist at the installation of Gregory; Ascholius also from Thessalonica, and many others, amounting in all to one hundred and fifty. Of the Macedonians, the principal persons were Eleusius of Cyzicum, and Marcian of Lampsacus; these with the rest, most of whom came from the cities of the Hellespont, were thirty-six in number. All being assembled in the month of May, under the consulate of Eucharius and Evagrius, the emperor used his utmost exertions, in conjunction with the bishops who entertained similar sentiments to his own, to bring over Eleusius and his adherents to his own side. They were reminded of the deputation they had sent by Eustathius to Liberius then bishop of Rome; that they had of their own accord not long since entered into promiscuous communion with the orthodox; and the inconsistency and fickleness of their conduct was represented to them, in now attempting to subvert the faith which they once acknowledged, and professed agreement with the catholics in. But the Macedonians regardless alike of admonitions and reproofs, chose rather to maintain the Arian dogma, than to assent to the Homoousian doctrine. Having made this declaration, they departed from Constantinople; and writing to their partisans in every city, they charged them by all means to repudiate the creed of the Nicene Synod. The bishops of the other party remaining at Constantinople, entered into a consultation about the ordination of a bishop; for Gregory, as we have before said, had renounced that see, and was preparing to return to Nazianzen. Now there was a person named Nectarius, of a senatorial family, mild and gentle in his manners, and admirable in his whole course of life, although he at that time bore the office of prætor. This man the people seized upon, and elected to the episcopate, and he was ordained accordingly by the hundred and fifty bishops then present. The same prelates moreover published a decree, assigning the next prerogative of honour after the bishop of Rome, to the bishop of Constantinople, because that city was New Rome. They also again confirmed the Nicene Creed. Then too patriarchs were constituted, and the provinces distributed, so that no bishop might exercise any jurisdiction over other churches out of his own diocese: for this had been often indiscriminately done before, in consequence of the persecutions. To Nectarius therefore was allotted the great city and Thrace. Helladius, the successor of Basil in the bishopric of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, obtained the patriarchate of the Pontic diocese, in conjunction with Gregory Basil’s brother, bishop of Nyssa in Cappadocia, and Otreïus bishop of Meletina in Armenia. To Amphilochius of Iconium and Optimus of Antioch in Pisidia, was the Asian diocese assigned. The superintendence of the churches throughout Egypt was committed to Timothy of Alexandria. On Pelagius of Laodicea, and Diodorus of Tarsus, devolved the administration of the churches of the East; without infringement however on the prerogatives of honour reserved to the Antiochian church, and conferred on Meletius then present. They further decreed that if necessity required it, a Provincial Synod should determine the ecclesiastic affairs of each province. These arrangements were confirmed by the emperor’s approbation. Such was the result of this Synod.








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