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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

THE death of Arius did not terminate the doctrinal dispute which he had originated. Those who adhered to his sentiments did not cease from plotting against those who maintained opposite opinions. The people of Alexander loudly complained of the exile of Athanasius, and offered up supplications for his return, and Antony, the celebrated monk, wrote frequently to the emperor to entreat him to attach no credit to the insinuations of the Meletians, but to reject their accusations as calumnies; yet the emperor was not convinced by these arguments, and wrote to the Alexandrians, accusing them of folly and of disorderly conduct. He commanded the clergy and the holy virgins to remain quiet, and declared that he would not change his mind nor recall Athanasius, whom, he said, he regarded as an exciter of sedition, justly condemned by the judgment of the church. He replied to Antony by stating that he ought not to overlook the decree of the synod; for even if some few of the bishops, he said, were actuated by ill-will or the desire to oblige others, it scarcely seems credible that so many prudent and excellent bishops could have been impelled by such motives; and, he added, that Athanasius was contumelious and arrogant, and the author of divisions and seditions. The enemies of Athanasius accused him the more especially of these crimes, because they knew that the emperor regarded them with peculiar aversion. When he heard that the church was split into two factions, of which one supported Athanasius, and the other John, he was transported with indignation, and exiled John. This John had succeeded Meletius, and had, with those who held the same sentiments as himself, been restored to communion and re-established in the clerical functions by the Synod of Tyre. His banishment was contrary to the wishes of the enemies of Athanasius, nor could it be revoked by the decrees of the Synod of Tyre, for the emperor was inexorable against those who introduced sedition and dissension among the Christians.








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