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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

A CERTAIN man of Tarsus in Cilicia, of the order of senator, was at this period residing at Constantinople. Being about to return to his own country, he called upon Diodorus, bishop of Tarsus to enquire whether he had any letters to send by him. Diodorus was fully intent upon the election of a bishop, which was the subject then engrossing universal attention. He had no sooner seen Nectarius, than struck by the dignity of his appearance and the suavity of his manners, he judged him to be worthy of the bishopric, and secretly desired that he might be elected to it. He conducted him, as if upon some other business, to the bishop of Antioch, and requested him to use his influence to procure his election. The bishop of Antioch derided this request, for the names of the most eminent men had already been proposed for consideration. He, however, called Nectarius to him, and desired him to remain for a short time with him. Some time after, the emperor commanded the bishops to draw up a list of the names of those whom they desired to ordain to the bishopric, reserving to himself the right of nominating any one of those whose names were thus submitted to him. All the bishops complied with this mandate; and among the others, the bishop of Antioch wrote down the names of those whom he proposed as candidates for the bishopric, and, at the end of his list, from consideration for Diodorus, he inserted the name of Nectarius. The emperor read the list, stopped at the name of Nectarius, on which he placed his finger, and seemed for some time lost in reflection; then he again read the list, and finally nominated Nectarius. This nomination excited great astonishment, and all the people were anxious to ascertain whence Nectarius came, and who and what he was. “When they heard that he had not been baptised, their amazement was increased at the decision of the emperor. I believe that Diodorus himself was not aware that Nectarius had not been baptised; for had he been acquainted with this fact, it is probable that he would not have ventured to seek his election to the bishopric. It appears reasonable to suppose, that on perceiving that Nectarius was of advanced age, he took it for granted that he had been baptised long previously. But these events did not take place without the interposition of God. For when the emperor was informed that Nectarius had not been baptised, he did not alter his decision, although strongly opposed by the bishops. When at last consent had been given to the imperial mandate, Nectarius was baptised, and while yet clad in his white robes was proclaimed bishop of Constantinople by the unanimous voice of the synod. Many have conjectured that the emperor was led to make this election by a Divine revelation. I shall not pause to enquire whether this conjecture be true or false; but I feel convinced when I reflect on the extraordinary circumstances attending this ordination, that all the events were brought about by the interposition of Divine Providence, and that it was by the will of God that so mild and virtuous and exemplary a man was elevated to the priesthood. Such are the details which I have been able to ascertain concerning the ordination of Nectarius.








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