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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

JOHN likewise incurred the enmity of the empress, through the machinations of Severian bishop of Gabales in Syria. Severian and Antiochus bishop of Ptolemais in Syria, were both learned men, and well qualified to teach the people. Antiochus had so fine a voice and delivery that, by some persons, he was surnamed Chrysostom; Severian, on the other hand, had a harsh and provincial accent; but, in point of general knowledge and acquaintance with Scripture, he was considered superior to Antiochus. It appears that Antiochus was the first to visit Constantinople; he gained great applause by his eloquence, amassed some property, and then returned to his own city. Severian followed his example, and went to Constantinople: he formed an intimacy with John, secured the admiration of the public by his ministrations in the church, and even attracted the notice of the emperor and empress. When John went to Asia, he commended the church to his care; for he was so far deceived by the adulation of Severian, as to imagine him his friend. Severian, however, thought only of gratifying his auditors, and of pleasing the people by his eloquence. When John was apprised that this was the course he was pursuing, he was highly incensed against him; and his resentment was further kindled, it is said, by the representations of Serapion. After the return of John from Asia, Serapion happened to see Severian passing; but, instead of rising to salute him, he kept his seat, in order to show his utter contempt for the man. Severian was offended by this manifestation of disrespect, and exclaimed, “If Serapion die a Christian, then Christ was not incarnate.” Serapion reported these words; and John, in consequence, expelled Severian from the city as a blasphemer; for witnesses were brought forward to attest that the above words had been really uttered by him. Some of the friends of Serapion even went so far as to suppress part of the speech of Severian, and to affirm that he had declared that Christ was not incarnate. John also rebuked Severian, by asking whether, if Serapion should not die among the clergy, it would follow that Christ had not been incarnate. As soon as the wife of the emperor was informed of what had occurred by the friends of Severian, she immediately sent for him from Chalcedonia. John, notwithstanding all her remonstrances, positively refused to hold any intercourse with him, until the empress placed her son Theodosius on his knees in the Church of the Apostles; and then John yielded a reluctant consent to receive Severian into favour. Such are the accounts which I have received of these transactions.








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