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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

BUT since some parties by alleging a prohibition in the ecclesiastical canon, prevented the election of Proclus, because of his previous nomination to the See of Cyzicum, I shall make a few remarks on this subject. Those who then presumed to interpose such a cause of exclusion, appear to me to have either been influenced by prejudice against Proclus to affirm what they knew to be untrue; or at the least to have been themselves completely ignorant both of the canons, and of the frequent and often advantageous usage of the churches. Eusebius Pamphilus relates in the sixth book of his “Ecclesiastical History,” that Alexander bishop of a certain city in Cappadocia, coming to Jerusalem for devotional purposes, was detained by the people, and constituted bishop of that place, as the successor of Narcissus; and that he continued to preside over the churches there during the remainder of his life. So indifferent a thing was it amongst our ancestors, to transfer a bishop from one city to another as often as it was deemed expedient. But to place beyond a doubt the fallacy of the pretensions of those who opposed the ordination of Proclus, I shall annex to this History the canon which they cited against him. It runs thus:—“If any one after having been ordained a bishop should not proceed to the church unto which he has been appointed, from no fault on his part, but either because the people are unwilling to receive him, or for some other reason which casts no imputation on him; let him be partaker of the honour and functions of the rank with which he has been invested, provided he intermeddles not with the affairs of the church wherein he may minister. It is his duty however to submit to whatever the Synod of the province may see fit to determine, after it shall have taken cognizance of the matter.” Such is the language of the canon. I shall now show that this construction of its meaning is fully borne out by abundant precedents of bishops having been translated from one city to another to meet the exigences of peculiar cases, giving the names of those bishops who have been so translated. Perigenes was ordained bishop of Patræ: but inasmuch as the inhabitants of that city refused to admit him, the bishop of Rome appointed him to the metropolitan See of Corinth, on its becoming vacant by the decease of its former bishop, where he presided during the rest of his days. Gregory was first made bishop of Sasimi, one of the cities of Cappadocia, but was afterwards transferred to Nazianzen. Meletius after having presided over the church at Sebastia, subsequently governed that of Antioch. Alexander bishop of Antioch translated Dositheus bishop of Seleucia, to Tarsus in Cilicia. Reverentius was removed from Arci in Phœnicia, and afterwards translated to Tyre. John was transferred from Gordum a city of Lydia, to Proconnesus, and presided over the church there. Palladius was translated from Helenopolis to Aspuna; and Alexander from the same city to Adriani. Theophilus was removed from Apamea in Asia, to Eudoxiopolis anciently called Salambeia. Polycarp was transferred from Sexantapristi a city of Mysia, to Nicopolis in Thrace, Hierophilus from Trapezopolis in Phrygia to Plotinopolis in Thrace. Optimus from Agdamia in Phrygia to Antioch in Pisidia; and Silvanus from Philippopolis in Thrace to Troas. Let this enumeration of bishops who have passed from one See to another suffice for the present, as I deem it desirable here to give a concise account of him whom I last mentioned.








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