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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

AFTER the return of Athanasius from banishment, Lucifer, bishop of Cagliari in Sardinia, and Eusebius, bishop of Vercelli, a city of Liguria in Italy, returned from Thebais. They had been condemned by Constantius to perpetual exile in that country. They conferred together concerning the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs; and it was unanimously agreed that Eusebius should repair to Alexandria, and there, in concert with Athanasius, hold a council for the purpose of confirming the Nicene doctrines. Lucifer sent a deacon with Eusebius to take his place in the council, and went himself to Antioch, where the church was torn by factions. A schism had been excited by the Arians, then under the guidance of Euzoius, and by the followers of Meletius, who, as I have above stated, were at variance even with those who held the same opinions as themselves. As Meletius had not then returned from exile, Lucifer ordained Paulinus bishop.

In the meantime, the bishops of many cities had assembled in Alexandria with Athanasius and Eusebius, and had confirmed the Nicene doctrines. They confessed that the Holy Ghost is of the same substance as the Father and the Son, and they made use of the term “Trinity.” They declared that the human nature assumed by God the Word, is to be regarded as consisting of a perfect soul as well as of a perfect body, even as was taught by the ancient Christian philosophers. As the church had been agitated by questions concerning the terms “substance,” and “hypostasis,” they decreed, and, as I think, wisely, that these terms should not henceforth be lightly used in reference to God, except in refutation of the Sabellian heresy; in discourses of this nature the use of such words was to be permitted, lest from the apparent paucity of terms, there might seem any difficulty in conveying distinctness of idea. These were the decrees passed by the bishops convened at Alexandria. Athanasius read in the council the document he had written in his own justification, detailing the reasons of his flight.








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