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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

HE moreover renewed his friendship with Epiphanius bishop of Constantia in Cyprus, with whom he had formerly been at variance, having accused that prelate of entertaining low thoughts of God, by supposing him to have a, human form. Now although Theophilus was really unchanged in sentiment, and had thus denounced the Anthropomorphite error, yet on account of his hatred of others, he openly denied his own convictions; for he now professed to agree in opinion with Epiphanius, as if he had altered his mind. He then urged him by letter to convene a Synod of the bishops in Cyprus, in order to condemn the writings of Origen. Epiphanius being a person more eminent for his extraordinary piety than intelligence, was easily influenced by the crafty representations of Theophilus: having therefore assembled a council of the bishops in that island, he caused a prohibition to be therein made of the reading of Origen’s works. He also wrote to John bishop of Constantinople, exhorting him to abstain from the further study of Origen’s books, and to convoke a Synod for decreeing the same thing as he had done. When Theophilus had in this way wrought upon Epiphanius, whose devout character gave great weight to his proceedings, seeing his design prosper according to his wish, he became more confident, and himself also assembled a great number of bishops. In that convention, pursuing the same course as Epiphanius, he caused a like sentence of condemnation to be pronounced on the writings of Origen, who had been dead nearly two hundred years: this indeed not being his primary object, but subsidiary to his purpose of revenge on Discorus and his brethren. John paid but little attention to the communications of Epiphanius or Theophilus, being intent on his own ecclesiastical duties; and while his celebrity as a preacher increased more and more, he wholly disregarded the plots which were laid against him. But as soon as it became apparent to every body that Theophilus was endeavouring to divest John of his bishopric, then all those who had any ill-will against John, combined in calumniating him. Many of the clergy, as well as of the persons of influence about the court, believing that an opportunity was now afforded them of punishing John, exerted themselves to procure the convocation of a Grand Synod at Constantinople, despatching letters and messengers in all directions for that purpose.








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