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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

AFTER the death of Sisinnius, Chrysanthus was constrained to take upon him the episcopal office. He was the son of Marcian the predecessor of Sisinnius, and at an early age had a military appointment at the palace; but he was subsequently made governor of Italy, and after that Lord-lieutenant of the British Isles, in both which capacities he acquitted himself with the highest credit. Returning to Constantinople at an advanced age, with the desire of being constituted præfect of that city, he was made bishop of the Novatians against his will. For when Sisinnius was at the point of death, he referred to him as a most desirable person to preside over the episcopate; and the people regarding this declaration as law, sought to have him ordained forthwith. While he remained in privacy to avoid having this dignity forced upon him, Sabbatius, supposing a seasonable opportunity was now afforded him of making himself master of the churches, in thorough recklessness of the oath by which he had bound himself, procured his own ordination at the hands of a few undistinguished prelates. Among these was Hermogenes, who had been excommunicated with curses by Sabbatius himself on account of his blasphemous writings. But this perjured procedure of Sabbatius was of no avail to him: for the people disgusted with his unsanctified ambition, used every effort to discover the retreat of Chrysanthus; and having found him secluded in Bithynia, they brought him back by force, and invested him with the bishopric. He was a man of singular modesty and prudence; and by his means the churches of the Novatians at Constantinople were established and greatly augmented. He was the first prelate who distributed gold among the poor out of his own private property. From the churches he would receive nothing but two loaves of the consecrated bread every Lord’s day. So anxious was he to promote the advantage of his own church, that he drew Ablabius, the most eminent orator of that time, from the school of Troïlus, and ordained him a presbyter. Ablabius whose sermons are remarkably elegant and full of point, was afterwards promoted to the bishopric of the Novatian church at Nice, where he also taught rhetoric at the same time.








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