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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

AS Gaul was about this period infested by the incursions of the Alemanni, Gratian returned to his Western dominions, which he had reserved for himself and his brother, when he bestowed the government of Illyria and of the Eastern provinces upon Theodosius. He succeeded in repelling these barbarians; and Theodosius was equally successful against the tribes from the banks of the Danube; he defeated them, compelled them to sue for peace, and, after accepting hostages from them, proceeded to Thessalonica. He fell ill while in this city, and after receiving instructions in the rudiments of religion from Ascholius the bishop, he was baptised, and was soon after restored to health. The parents of Theodosius were Christians, and were attached to the Nicene doctrines; hence he took pleasure in the ministrations of Ascholius, who maintained the same doctrines, and was endowed with every priestly virtue and qualification. He also rejoiced at finding that the Arian heresy had not been received in Illyria. He enquired concerning the religious sentiments which were prevalent in the other provinces, and ascertained that, as far as Macedonia, one form of belief was universally predominant, which was, that the same homage ought to be rendered to God the Word, and to the Holy Ghost, as to God the Father; but that towards the East, and particularly at Constantinople, the people were divided into many different sects. Reflecting that it would be better to propound his own religious views to his subjects, than to enforce the reception of any creed by mere compulsion, Theodosius enacted a law at Thessalonica, which he caused to be published at Constantinople, that it might be thence transmitted to the remotest cities of his dominions. He made known by this law his intention of leading all his subjects to the reception of that faith which Peter, the chief of the Apostles, had from the beginning preached to the Romans, and which was professed by Damasus bishop of Rome, and by Peter bishop of Alexandria. He enacted that the title of “Catholic Church” should be exclusively confined to those who rendered equal homage to the Three Persons of the Trinity, and that those individuals who entertained opposite opinions should be treated as heretics, regarded with contempt, and delivered over to punishment.








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