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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

THE bishop of Egypt having sent a declaration in writing that these allegations were false, and Julius having been apprised that Athanasius was far from being in safety in Egypt, sent for him to his own city. He replied at the same time to the letter of the bishops who were convened at Antioch, and accused them of having clandestinely introduced innovations contrary to the edicts of the Nicæan council, and of having violated the laws of the church, by neglecting to invite him to join their synod: for there is a sacerdotal canon which declares, that whatever is enacted without the sanction of the bishop of Rome is null and void. He also reproached them for having deviated from justice in all their proceedings against Athanasius, both at Tyre and Mareota, and stated that the decrees enacted at the former city had been annulled on account of the calumny concerning the hand of Arsenius, and, at the latter city, on account of the absence of Athanasius. Last of all he reprehended the arrogant style of their epistle.

Julius was induced by all these reasons to undertake the defence of Athanasius and of Paul; the latter had arrived in Italy not long previously, and had complained bitterly of the calamities to which he had been exposed. When Julius perceived that what he had written to those who held the sacerdotal dignity in the East was of no avail, he made the matter known to Constans the emperor. Accordingly, Constans wrote to his brother Constantius, requesting him to send some of the bishops of the East, that they might assign a reason for the edicts of deposition which they had passed. Three bishops were selected for this purpose, namely, Narcissus, bishop of Irenopolis, in Cilicia; Theodore, bishop of Heraclea, in Thrace; and Mark, bishop of Arethusa, in Syria. On their arrival in Italy, they strove to justify their enactments, and to persuade the emperor that the sentence passed by the Eastern synod was just. Being required to produce a statement of their belief, they withheld the formulary they had drawn up at Antioch, and presented another which was equally at variance with the doctrines established at the council of Nicæa. Constans perceived that they had unjustly entrapped the two bishops, and had ejected them from communion, not, as was stated in the sentence of deposition, on account of immorality of life, but simply on account of differences in doctrine; and he accordingly dismissed the deputation without giving any credit to their representations.








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