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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

A SYNOD having been convened at Antioch, Eustathius was deprived of the bishopric of that city. It was most generally believed that he was merely deposed on account of his adherence to the faith of the council of Nice, and on account of his having accused Eusebius, Paulinus, bishop of Tyre, and Patrophilus, bishop of Scythopolis (whose sentiments were adopted by the Eastern priests), of favouring the heresy of Arius. The pretext resorted to for his deposition, however, was, that he had defiled the priesthood by unholy deeds. His deposition excited so great a sedition at Antioch, that the people were on the point of taking up arms, and the whole city was in a state of commotion. This greatly injured him in the opinion of the emperor, who regarded him with suspicion as the author of the tumult. The emperor, however, sent an officer of his palace, invested with full authority, to calm the populace, and put an end to the disturbance, without having recourse to violence or severity.

Those who had deposed Eustathius, imagining that their sentiments would be universally received if they could succeed in placing over the church of Antioch one of their own sect, who was known to the emperor, and held in repute for learning and eloquence, fixed their thoughts upon Eusebius Pamphilus. They wrote to the emperor upon this subject, and stated that Eusebius was greatly beloved by the people. He had, in fact, been sought by all the clergy and laity who were inimical to Eustathius. Eusebius, however, wrote to the emperor to refuse the dignity. The emperor approved of his refusal; for there was an ecclesiastical law prohibiting the removal of a bishop from one bishopric to another. He wrote to Eusebius to express his concurrence in his sentiments, and said that he considered him happy in being deemed worthy to hold the bishopric not only of one single city, but of the world. The emperor also wrote to the people of the church of Antioch concerning oneness of faith, and told them that they ought not to desire the bishops of other regions, even as they ought not to covet the possessions of others. He despatched another epistle on the same subjects to the synod, and commended Eusebius for having refused the bishopric; and having been informed that Euphronius, a presbyter of Cappadocia, and George, of Arethusa, were men of orthodox faith, he commanded the bishops to consecrate one or other of them, or whoever they might judge worthy of the honour, and to ordain a bishop over the church of Antioch. On the receipt of these letters from the emperor, Euphronius was ordained. I have heard that Eustathius bore this unjust calumny and condemnation with great calmness. He was a man, who, besides his virtues and excellent qualities, was justly admired on account of his extraordinary cloquence, as is evidenced by his works, which are remarkable for classic purity of expression, weighty sentiments, and elegance and clearness of language.








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