HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

ALTHOUGH the doctrine of Arius was zealously supported by many persons in disputations, a party had not as yet been formed to whom the name of Arians could be applied as a distinctive appellation; for all assembled together as a church and held communion with each other, with the exception of the Novatians, those called Phrygians, the Valentinians, and some few others who adhered to ancient heresies. The emperor, however, enacted a law, by which they were forbidden to assemble in their own houses of prayer, in private houses, or in public places, but were compelled to enter into communion with the Catholic church. By means of this law, almost all the heresies, I believe, disappeared. During the reign of preceding emperors, all those who followed Christ, however they might have differed from each other in opinion, received the same treatment from the Greeks (Pagans), and were persecuted with equal cruelty. These common calamities, to which they were all equally liable, prevented them from prosecuting any close inquiries as to the differences of opinion which existed among themselves; the members of each party assembled themselves together, and, however few they might have been in number, did not lose their corporate existence. But after this law was passed they could not assemble in public, because it was forbidden; nor could they hold their assemblies in secret, for they were watched by the bishops and clergy of their city. Hence the greater number of these sectarians were led, by fear of consequences, to join themselves to the Catholic church. Those who adhered to their original sentiments did not, at their death, leave any disciples to propagate their heresy, for, owing to the restrictions to which they were subjected, they were prevented from teaching their doctrines.

On account either of the absurdity of the heretical dogmas, or of the utter ignorance of those who devised and taught them, the respective followers of each heresy were, from the beginning, very few in number. The Novatians alone, who had obtained good leaders, and who entertained the same opinions respecting the Divinity as the Catholic church, formed a large sect from the beginning, and were not decreased in point of numbers by means of this law; the emperor, I believe, relaxed the rigour of the enactment in their favour, for he only desired to strike terror into the minds of his subjects, and had no intention of persecuting them. Acesius, who was then the bishop of the Novatians in Constantinople, was much esteemed by the emperor on account of his virtuous life; and it is probable that it was for his sake that the church which he governed met with protection. The Phrygians suffered the same treatment as the other heretics in all the Roman provinces except Phrygia and the neighbouring regions, for here they had, since the time of Montanus, existed in great numbers, and they are to the present day to be found in that locality.

About this time the partizans of Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, and of Theognis, bishop of Nicæa, began to combat in writing the confession of faith which had been set forth by the Nicæan Council. They did not venture to reject openly the assertion that the Son is consubstantial with the Father, because this assertion was maintained by the emperor; but they drew up another formula of belief, and signified to the Eastern bishops that, with certain modifications, they had received the Nicæan confession of faith. They thus renewed disputes and the agitation of questions which had almost sunk into oblivion.








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com