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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

AFTER this council, the Eastern and the Western Churches ceased to maintain the intercourse which usually exists among people of the same faith, and refrained from holding communion with each other. The Christians of the West held no further communion with the regions beyond Thrace; nor those of the East, with the nations beyond Illyria. This divided state of the churches gave rise, as might be supposed, to dissension and calumny. Although they had previously differed on doctrinal subjects, yet the evil had attained no great height, for they had still held communion together. The church throughout the West adhered to the doctrines of the Fathers, and kept aloof from all contentions and disputations. Although Auxentius, bishop of Milan, and Valens and Ursacius, bishops of Pannonia, had endeavoured to introduce the Arian doctrines in the West, their efforts had been frustrated by the zeal of the bishop of Rome and of other priests, who crushed the heresy in its commencement. As to the Eastern Church, although it had been racked by dissension since the time of the Council of Antioch, and although it greatly departed from the Nicæan form of belief, yet I still believe that the majority of those who composed it confessed the Son to be of the substance of the Father. There were some, however, who obstinately rejected the term “consubstantial,” because they had refused to admit it at the beginning, and were ashamed to defer to the opinion of others, or to avow themselves in fault. Others were finally convinced, after long disputation, of the truth of the doctrines concerning God, and ever afterwards continued firmly attached to them. Others again, being aware that contentions ought not to arise, adopted the sentiments of their friends or of the more powerful party, or were swayed by the various causes which often induce men to embrace what they ought to reject, and to dissimulate what they ought boldly to avow. Many others, accounting it absurd to consume their time in altercations about words, quietly adopted the sentiments inculcated by the Council of Nicæa. Paul, bishop of Constantinople, Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, a multitude of monks, Anthony the Great, his disciples, and a great number of Egyptians and of other nations within the Roman territories, firmly and openly maintained the doctrines of the Nicæan Council throughout the other regions of the East. As I have been led to allude to the monks, I shall briefly mention those who flourished during the reign of Constantius.








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