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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

“CONSTANTINE Cæsar to the members of the Catholic Church of the Alexandrians.

“It cannot, I conceive, have escaped the knowledge of your devout minds, that Athanasius the expositor of the venerated law, was sent for a while into the Gallias, lest he should sustain some irreparable injury from the perverseness of his blood-thirsty adversaries, whose ferocity continually endangered his sacred life. To rescue him therefore from the hands of those who sought to destroy him, he was sent into a city under my jurisdiction, where, as long as it was his appointed residence, he has been abundantly supplied with every necessary: although his distinguished virtue sustained by divine aid, would have made light of the pressure of a more rigorous fortune. And since our Sovereign, my father, Constantine Augustus of blessed memory, was prevented by death from accomplishing his purpose of restoring this bishop to his see, and to your most sanctified piety, it devolves on me, his heir, to carry his wishes into effect. With how great veneration he has been regarded by us, ye will learn on his arrival among you: nor need any one be surprised at the honour I have put upon him, since I have been alike influenced by a sense of what was due to so excellent a personage, and the knowledge of your affectionate solicitude respecting him. May divine providence preserve you, beloved brethren.”

Relying on this letter, Athanasius came to Alexandria, and was most joyfully received by the people. Nevertheless as many as had embraced Arianism, combining together, entered into a conspiracy against him: by which means frequent seditions were excited, affording a pretext to the Eusebians for accusing him to the emperor of having taken possession of the Alexandrian Church on his own responsibility, without the permission of a general council of Bishops. So far indeed did they succeed in pressing their charges, that the emperor became exasperated against him, and banished him from Alexandria. How his enemies managed to effect this I shall hereafter explain.








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