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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

NOT long after these events, the emperor returned to Sirmium from Rome, received a deputation from the Western bishops, and recalled Liberius from Berœa. Constantius urged him, in the presence of the deputies of the Eastern bishops, and of the other priests who were at the court, to confess that the Son is not of the same substance as the Father. He was instigated to this measure by Basil, Eustathius, and Eusebius, who possessed great influence over him. They had formed a compilation, in one document, of the decrees enacted at the Council of Sirmium against Paul of Samosata, and Photinus; to which they subjoined a formulary of faith drawn up at Antioch at the consecration of the church, as if certain persons had, under the pretext of the term “con-substantial,” attempted to establish a heresy of their own. Liberius, Athanasius, Alexander, Severianus, and Crescentus, bishops of Africa, were induced to assent to this document, as were likewise Ursacius, Germanius, bishop of Sirmium, Valens, bishop of Mursa, and all the other Eastern bishops who were present. They likewise approved of a confession of faith drawn up by Liberius, in which he declared that those who affirm that the Son is not like unto the Father in substance and in all other respects, are excommunicated. For when Eudoxius and his partizans at Antioch, who favoured the heresy of Aetius, received the letter of Hosius, they circulated a report that Liberius had renounced the term “con-substantial,” and had admitted that the Son is dissimilar from the Father. After these enactments had been made by the Western bishops, the emperor permitted Liberius to return to Rome. The bishops who were then convened at Sirmium wrote to Felix who governed the Roman church, and to the other bishops, desiring them to receive Liberius; they directed that Felix and Liberius should share the apostolical throne and be associated together, without dissension, in the discharge of the ministerial functions, and that whatever illegalities might have occurred in the ordination of the one, or the banishment of the other, might be buried in oblivion. The people of Rome regarded Liberius as a good man, and esteemed him highly on account of the courage he had evinced in opposing the emperor, so that they had even excited seditions on his account, and had gone so far as to shed blood. Felix survived but a short time; and Liberius found himself in sole possession of the church. This event was, no doubt, ordained by God, that the seat of Peter might not be dishonoured by the occupancy of two bishops; for such an arrangement, being contrary to ecclesiastical law, would certainly have been a source of discord.








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