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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

AT this period, Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, and some of his friends, deemed it requisite, as the emperor was a Christian, to repair to his court. Accordingly Athanasius went to Antioch, and laid such matters before the emperor as he considered expedient. Others, however, say that the emperor sent for him, in order to consult him concerning the affairs relative to religion and the true faith. When the business of the church had been transacted, Athanasius began to think of returning. Euzoius, bishop of the Arian heresy in Antioch, endeavoured to instal Probatius, a eunuch who held the same sentiments as himself, in the bishopric of Alexandria. The whole party of Euzoius conspired with him to effect this design; and Lucius, a citizen of Alexandria, who had been ordained priest by George, endeavoured to prejudice the emperor against Athanasius, by representing that he had been accused of divers crimes, and had been condemned to perpetual banishment by preceding emperors, as the author of the dissensions and troubles of the church. Lucius likewise besought Jovian to appoint another bishop over the church of Alexandria. The emperor saw through the artifice, attached no credit to the calumny, and dismissed Lucius with suitable admonitions: he also commanded Probatius, and the other eunuchs belonging to his palace, whom he regarded as the originators of this contention, to act more advisedly for the future. From that period, Jovian manifested the greatest friendship towards Athanasius, and sent him back to Egypt, with directions to govern the churches and people of that country as he might think fit. It is also said that he passed commendations on the virtue of the bishop, on the purity of his life, his intellectual endowments, and his great eloquence. Thus, after having been exposed to great opposition, was the Nicene faith fully re-established; but further opposition awaited it within a very short period. For the whole of the prediction of Antony the Monk was not fulfilled by the occurrences which befell the church during the reign of Constantius: part thereof was not accomplished till the reign of Valens. It is said that, before the Arians took possession of the churches during the reign of Constantius, Antony had a dream, in which he saw mules encompassing the altar, and trampling it beneath their feet. On awakening, he predicted that the church would be troubled by the introduction of false and impure doctrines, and by the rebellion of the heterodox. The truth of this prediction was evidenced by the events which occurred before and after the period now under review.








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