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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

ANOTHER accusation was now framed against Athanasius by the Arians, who invented this pretext for it. The father of the Augusti had long before granted an allowance of corn to the church of the Alexandrians for the relief of the indigent. This they asserted had usually been sold by Athanasius, and the proceeds converted to his own advantage. The emperor giving credence to this slanderous report, threatened to put Athanasius to death; who becoming alarmed at the intimation of this threat, consulted his safety by flight, and kept himself concealed. When Julius bishop of Rome was apprised of these fresh machinations of the Arians against Athanasius, and had also received the letter of the then deceased Eusebius, he invited the persecuted prelate to come to him, having ascertained where he was secreted. The epistle of the bishops who had been some time before assembled at Antioch, just then reached him, together with others from several, bishops in Egypt, assuring him that the entire charge against Athanasius was a fabrication. On the receipt of these contradictory communications, Julius first replied to the bishops who had written to him from Antioch, complaining of the acrimonious feeling they had evinced in their letter, and charging them with a violation of the canons, in neglecting to request his attendance at the council, seeing that by ecclesiastical law, no decisions of the churches are valid unless sanctioned by the bishop of Rome: he then censured them with great severity for clandestinely attempting to pervert the faith. In allusion to their former proceedings at Tyre, he characterized their acts as fraudulent, from the attestation of what had taken place at Mareotes being on one side of the question only; nor did he fail to remind them of the palpable evidence which had been afforded of their malevolence, in the imputed murder of Arsenius. Such was the nature of his answer to the bishops convened at Antioch, which we should have inserted here at length, as well as those letters which were addressed to Julius, did not their prolixity interfere with our purpose. But Sabinus, the favourer of the Macedonian heresy, of whom we have before spoken, has not taken the least notice of the letters of Julius in his Collection of Synodical Transactions; although he has not omitted that which the bishops at Antioch sent to Julius. This however is the unfair course generally pursued by Sabinus, who carefully introduces such letters as make no reference to, or wholly repudiate the term consubstantial; while he invariably passes over in silence those of a contrary tendency. Not long after this, Paul pretending to make a journey from Thessalonica to Corinth, arrived in Italy: upon which both the bishops made an appeal to the emperor of those parts, laying their respective cases before him.








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