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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

THE emperor after his return from the West, appointed Honoratus the first prefect of Constantinople, having abolished the office of pro-consul. But the Acacians being beforehand with the bishops, calumniated them to the emperor, informing him that the creed which they had proposed was not admitted. This so annoyed the emperor that he resolved to disperse them; he therefore published an edict, commanding that such of them as were subject to fill certain public offices should be no longer exempted from the performance of the duties attached to them. For several of them were liable to be called on to occupy various official departments, connected both with the city magistracy, and in subordination to the presidents and governors of provinces. The partisans of Acacius having effected this dispersion, remained for a considerable time at Constantinople; and at length sending for the bishops of Bithynia, they held another Synod. About fifty were assembled on this occasion, among whom was Maris bishop of Chalcedon: these confirmed the creed which was read at Rimini, and to which the names of the consuls had been prefixed. It would have been unnecessary to repeat it here, had there not been some additions made to it; but since that was done, it may be desirable to transcribe it in its new form.

“We believe in one God the Father Almighty, of whom are all things. And in the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of God before all ages, and before every beginning; by whom all things visible and invisible were made: who is the only-begotten born of the Father, the only of the only, God of God, like to the Father who begat him, according to the Scriptures, and whose generation no one knows but the Father only that begat him. We know that this only-begotten Son of God, as sent of the Father, came down from the heavens, as it is written, for the destruction of sin and death: that he was born of the Holy Spirit, and of the Virgin Mary according to the flesh, as it is written, and conversed with his disciples; and that after having fulfilled every dispensation according to his Father’s will, he was crucified and died, was buried and descended into the lower parts of the earth, at whose presence hell itself trembled: that he arose from the dead on the third day, again conversed with his disciples, and after the completion of forty days was taken up into the heavens, and sits at the right hand of the Father, whence he will come in the last day, i. e. the day of the resurrection, in his Father’s glory, to requite every one according to his works. We believe also in the Holy Spirit, whom he himself the only-begotten of God, Christ our Lord and God, promised to send to mankind as the Comforter, according as it is written, the Spirit of truth; whom he sent to them after he was received into the heavens. But since the term σὐσία, substance or essence, which was used by the fathers in a very simple and intelligible sense, but not being understood by the people, has been a cause of offence, we have thought proper to reject it, as it is not contained in the sacred writings; and we deprecate the least mention of it in future, inasmuch as the holy Scriptures have nowhere mentioned the substance of the Father and of the Son. Nor ought the subsistence of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit to be even named. But we affirm that the Son is like the Father, in such a manner as the sacred Scriptures declare and teach. Let therefore, all heresies which have been already condemned, or may have arisen of late, which are opposed to this exposition of the faith, be anathema.”

Such was the creed set forth at that time at Constantinople. And having at length wound our way through the labyrinth of all the various forms of faith, we will now reckon the number of them. After that which was promulgated at Nice, two others were proposed at Antioch at the dedication of the church there. A third was presented to the emperor Constans in the Gallias by Narcissus and those who accompanied him. The fourth was sent by Eudoxius into Italy. There were three forms of the creed published at Sirmium, one of which having the consuls’ names prefixed was read at Rimini. The Acacian party produced an eighth at Seleucia. The last was that of Constantinople, containing the prohibitory clause respecting the mention of substance or subsistence in relation to God. To this creed Ulfilas bishop of the Goths gave his assent, although he had previously adhered to that of Nice; for he was a disciple of Theophilus bishop of the Goths, who was present at the Niccne council, and subscribed what was there determined.








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