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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

EUSEBIUS, surnamed Emesius, likewise attended the council. He sprang from a noble family of Edessa, a city of Osdroëna. According to the custom of his country, he had, from his youth upwards, been instructed in the knowledge of sacred scripture, and was afterwards made acquainted with the learning of the Greeks by the doctors who then frequented his native city. He subsequently acquired a more intimate knowledge of sacred literature, under the guidance of Eusebius Pamphilus and Patrophilus, bishop of Scythopolis. He went to Antioch at the time that Eustathius was deposed on the accusation of Cyrus, and lived with Euphronius, his successor, on terms of intimacy. He fled to escape being invested with the priestly dignity, went to Alexandria, and frequented the schools of the philosophers. After acquainting himself with their mode of discipline, he returned to Antioch, and dwelt with Flacillus, the successor of Euphronius. During the time that the council was held in that city, Eusebius, bishop of Constantinople, entreated him to accept the bishopric of Alexandria; for it was thought that, by his great reputation for sanctity and consummate eloquence, he would easily supplant Athanasius in the esteem of the Egyptians. He, however, refused the bishopric, on the plea that he could otherwise only incur the hatred of the Alexandrians, who would have no other bishop but Athanasius. Gregory was, therefore, appointed bishop of Alexandria, and Eusebius was ordained over the church of Emessa.

A sedition was excited on the inauguration of Eusebius; the people accused him of being addicted to the practice of judicial astronomy, and, being obliged to seek safety by flight, he repaired to Laodicea, and dwelt with George, bishop of that city, who was his particular friend. He afterwards accompanied this bishop to Antioch, and obtained permission from the bishops Flacillus and Narcissus to return to Emessa. He was much esteemed by the Emperor Constantine, and attended him in his military expeditions against the Persians. It is said that God wrought miracles through his instrumentality, as is testified by George of Laodicea, who has related many instances of this nature besides those which I have recorded.

But although he was endowed with so many exalted qualities, he could not escape the jealousy of those who are irritated by witnessing the virtues of others. It was insinuated that he had embraced the doctrines of Sabellius. At the same time, however, he voted with the bishops who had been convened at Antioch. It is said that Maximus, bishop of Jerusalem, kept aloof from this council, because he repented having unawares consented to the deposition of Athanasius. The bishop of Rome, and the bishops of other parts of Italy, and of the remoter provinces of the empire, also absented themselves from this council. At the same period of time, the Franks devastated Western Gaul; and the provinces of the East, and more particularly Antioch, were visited by a tremendous earthquake. Gregory repaired to Alexandria with a large body of soldiers, in order to obtain a safe and undisputed entrance into the city; the Arians, also, who were anxious for the expulsion of Athanasius, sided with him. Athanasius, fearful lest the people should be exposed to sufferings on his account, assembled them by night in the church, and when the soldiers came to take possession of the church, prayers having been concluded, he caused a psalm to be sung. During the chaunting of this psalm, the soldiers remained without, and quietly awaited its conclusion, and in the meantime Athanasius secretly made his escape, and fled to Rome. In this manner Gregory possessed himself of the bishopric of Alexandria. The indignation of the people was aroused, and they burnt the church which bore the name of Dionysius, one of the former bishops of their city.








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