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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

NOT long after these occurrences, the silver statue of the empress, which is still to be seen to the south of the church, opposite the Grand Council Chamber, was placed upon a column of porphyry; and the event was celebrated by loud acclamations, dancing, games, and other manifestations of public rejoicing usually observed on the erection of the statues of the emperors. In a public discourse to the people, John declared that these proceedings reflected dishonour on the church. This remark recalled former grievances to the recollection of the empress, and irritated her so exceedingly, that she determined to procure the convocation of another council. Instead of striving to conciliate her, John added fuel to her indignation, by openly declaiming against her in the church; and it was at this period that he pronounced the memorable discourse commencing with the words, “Herodias is again enraged; again she dances; again she demands the head of John in a basin.”

Several bishops arrived soon after at Constantinople; and amongst them were Leontius, bishop of Ancyra and Acacius, bishop of Berea. The festival of our Lord’s Nativity was then at hand; and the emperor, instead of repairing to the church as usual, sent to acquaint John that he could not hold communion with him until he had cleared himself of the crimes whereof he was accused. John replied that he was ready to prove his innocence; and this so intimidated his accusers, that they did not dare to appear against him, or proffer the accusations. The judges decided that, having been once deposed, he ought not to be admitted to a second trial. Without taking cognizance of any other ground of accusation, they therefore called him to account for having taken possession of the bishopric of Constantinople after having been deposed by one council, and before he had been reinstated by another. In his defence, he appealed to the decision of the bishops who had, subsequently to the Council of the Oak, held communion with him. The judges waved this argument, under the plea that those who had held communion with John were inferior, in point of number, to those who had deposed him, and that a canon was in force by which he stood condemned. Under this pretext, they therefore deposed him, although the law in question had been enacted by heretics: for the Arians, after having taken advantage of various calumnies to expel Athanasius from the church of Alexandria, enacted this law from the apprehension that their machinations against him, and the cause and manner of his deposition, might at some future time be subjected to investigation.








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