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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

THERE stood at this time a silver statue of the empress Eudoxia covered with a long robe, upon a column of porphyry supported by a lofty base, which had been erected so near the church named Sophia, that only half the breadth of the street separated them. At this pillar public games were accustomed to be performed; which John regarded from its proximity to the church, as an insult offered to religion. Instead therefore of representing to the emperor the impropriety of these exhibitions in such a place, and petitioning for their discontinuance, he employed his ordinary freedom and keenness of tongue in rebuking publicly those who tolerated them. The empress was exceedingly piqued at this presumption of the bishop, applying his expressions to herself as indicating marked contempt toward her own person: she therefore endeavoured to procure the convocation of another Synod against him. When John was aware of this, he delivered in the church that celebrated oration commencing with these words: “Again Herodias raves; again she is troubled; she dances again; and again desires to receive John’s head in a charger.” This of course exasperated the empress still more. Not long after the following prelates arrived: Leontius bishop of Ancyra in Asia, Ammonius of Laodicea in Pisidia, Briso of Philippi in Thrace, Acacius of Berœa in Syria, and some others. John presented himself fearlessly before them, and demanded an investigation of the charges which were made against him. But the anniversary of the birth of our Saviour having recurred, the emperor would not attend church as usual, but sent Chrysostom an intimation that he should not communicate with him, until he had cleared himself from those misdemeanours with which he stood impeached. When John’s accusers seemed to quail before his bold and ardent bearing, his judges setting aside all other matters, said they would confine their examination to this one question, whether he had on his own responsibility after his deposition, again seated himself in the episcopal chair, without being authorised by an ecclesiastical council. On John’s saying that he was reinstated by the decree of sixty-five bishops who had communicated with him: Leontius objected that he had been condemned in a Synod composed of a much greater number. John then contended that this was a canon of the Arians, and not of the catholic church, and therefore it was inoperative against him: for that it had been framed in the council convened against Athanasius at Antioch, for the subversion of the doctrine of consubstantiality. The bishops however would not listen to this defence, but immediately condemned him, without considering that by using this canon they were sanctioning the deposition of Athanasius himself. This sentence having been pronounced a little before Easter, the emperor sent to tell John that he could not go to the church, because two Synods had condemned him. Chrysostom therefore went there no more; but those who were of his party celebrated that feast in the public baths which are named after Constantius, and thenceforth left the church. Among his adherents were many bishops and presbyters, with others of the clerical order, who from that time holding their assemblies apart in various places, were from him denominated Johannites. For the space of two months, John refrained from appearing in public; after which he was conveyed into exile by the emperor’s command. On the very day of his departure, some of John’s friends set fire to the church, which by means of a strong easterly wind, communicated with the senate-house. This conflagration happened on the 20th of June, under the sixth consulate of Honorius, which he bore in conjunction with Aristænetus. The severities inflicted on John’s friends even to the extent of capital punishment, on account of this act of incendiarism, by Optatus the præfect of Constantinople, who being a Pagan was as such an enemy to the Christians, I ought I believe to pass by in silence.








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