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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

A SHORT time after Nectarius also, bishop of Constantinople died, on the 27th of September, under the consulate of Cæsarius and Atticus. A contest thereupon immediately arose respecting the appointment of a successor, some proposing one person, and some another: at length however it was determined to send for John, a presbyter of the church at Antioch, who was very celebrated for his learning and eloquence. By the general consent therefore of both the clergy and laity, he was summoned to Constantinople by the emperor Arcadius: and to render the ordination more authoritative and imposing, several prelates were requested to be present, among whom also was Theophilus bishop of Alexandria. This person did every thing he could to detract from John’s reputation, being desirous of promoting to that see, Isidore a presbyter of his own church, to whom he was greatly attached, on account of a very delicate and perilous affair which Isidore had undertaken to serve his interests. The nature of this obligation I shall now unfold. While the emperor Theodosius was preparing to attack the tyrant Maximus, Theophilus sent Isidore with gifts and letters, enjoining him to present them to him who should become the victor. In accordance with these injunctions Isidore on his arrival at Rome, awaited there the event of the war. But this business did not long remain a secret: for a reader who accompanied him privately possessed himself of the letters; upon which Isidore in great alarm returned to Alexandria. This was the reason why Theophilus so warmly favoured Isidore. The court however gave the preference to John: and when many had revived the accusations against Theophilus, and prepared for presentation to the bishops then convened memorials of various charges, Eutropius the chief officer of the imperial bed-chamber collected these documents, and showed them to Theophilus, bidding him choose between ordaining John, and undergoing a trial on the charges made against him. Theophilus terrified at this alternative, consented to ordain John; who was invested with the episcopal dignity on the 26th of February, under the following consulate, which the emperor Honorius celebrated with public games at Rome, and Eutychian, then Prætorian præfect, at Constantinople. But since this John is famous, both for the writings he has left, and the many troubles he fell into, it is not proper that I should pass over his affairs in silence: I shall therefore relate as compendiously as possible of what extraction he was, with the particulars of his elevation to the episcopate, and the means by which he was subsequently degraded; and finally why he was more honoured after his death, than he had been during his life.








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