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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

HAVING therefore convened a Synod at Antioch, they degrade Eustathius, as a supporter of the Sabellian heresy, rather than of the tenets which had been recognised at the council of Nice. There are some who affirm that his deposition arose from less justifiable motives, though none other have been openly assigned: but this is a matter of common occurrence, for the bishops frequently load with opprobrious epithets, and pronounce impious those whom they depose, without explaining their warrant for so doing. George bishop of Laodicea in Syria, one of the number of those who abominated the term consubstantial, assures us in his Encomium of Eusebius Emisenus, that they deposed Eustathius as a favourer of Sabellianism, on the impeachment of Cyrus bishop of Berœa. Of Eusebius Emisenus we shall speak elsewhere in due order: but there seems to be something contradictory in the report George has given of Eustathius; for after asserting that he was accused by Cyrus of maintaining the heresy of Sabellius, he tells us again that Cyrus himself was convicted of the same error, and degraded for it. Now how could it happen that Cyrus should be the accuser of Eustathius as a Sabellian, when he entertained similar opinions? It appears likely therefore that Eustathius must have been condemned on other grounds. That circumstance however gave rise to a dangerous sedition at Antioch: for when they proceeded to the election of a successor, so fierce a dissension was kindled, as to threaten the whole city with destruction. The populace was divided into two factions, one of which vehemently contended for the translation of Eusebius Pamphilus from Cæsarea in Palestine to Antioch; the other equally insisted on the reinstatement of Eustathius. And as all the citizens were infected with the spirit of partisanship in this quarrel among the Christians, a military force was arrayed on both sides with hostile intent, so that a bloody collision would have taken place, had not God and the dread of the emperor repressed the violence of the multitude. But the emperor’s letters, together with the refusal of Eusebius to accept the bishopric, served to allay the ferment: on which account that prelate was exceedingly admired by the emperor, who wrote to him commending his prudent determination, and congratulating him as one who was considered worthy of being bishop not of one city merely, but of almost the whole world. It is said that the episcopal chair of the church at Antioch was vacant for eight years after this period; but at length by the exertions of those who aimed at the subversion of the Nicene creed, Euphronius was duly installed. This is the amount of my information respecting the Synod held at Antioch on account of Eustathius. Immediately after these events Eusebius, who had long before left Berytus, and was at that time presiding over the church at Nicomedia, strenuously exerted himself in connection with those of his party, to bring back Arius to Alexandria. But how they managed to effect this, and by what means the emperor was prevailed on to admit both Arius and Euzoïus into his presence must now be related.








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