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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

IT is not surprising that the Emperor Constantius was induced to adopt the use of the term “homœousian,” for it was admitted by many priests who conformed to the doctrines established by the Nicæan Council. Many use the two words indifferently, to convey the same meaning. Hence it appears to me, that the Arians departed greatly from truth when they affirmed that, after the Council of Nicæa, many of the priests, among whom were Eusebius and Theognis, refused to admit that the Son is consubstantial with the Father, and that Constantine was in consequence so indignant, that he condemned them to banishment. They say that it was afterwards revealed to his sister by a vision, during sleep or otherwise, that these bishops held orthodox doctrines, and had been unjustly condemned; and that the emperor thereupon recalled them, and demanded of them, wherefore they had departed from the Nicene doctrines to which they had formerly subscribed; and that they urged in reply that they had not assented to those doctrines from conviction, but from the fear that, if the disputes then existing were prolonged, the emperor, who was then just beginning to embrace Christianity, and who was yet unbaptised, might be impelled to return to Paganism, and to persecute the Church. They assert that Constantine was pleased with this reply, and determined upon convening another council; but that, being prevented by death from carrying his scheme into execution, the task devolved upon his eldest son, Constantius, to whom he represented that it would avail him nothing to be possessed of imperial power, unless he could establish uniformity of worship throughout his empire; and Constantius, they say, at the instigation of his father, convened a council at Ariminum. This story is easily seen to be a gross fabrication, for the council was convened during the consulate of Hypatius and Eusebius, and twenty-two years after Constantius had, on the death of his father, succeeded to the empire. Now, during this interval of twenty-two years, many councils were held, in which debates were carried on concerning the terms “homousian” and “homœousian.” No one, it appears, ventured to deny that the Son is of like substance with the Father, until Aetius, by starting a contrary opinion, so offended the emperor that, in order to arrest the course of the heresy, he commanded the priests to assemble themselves together at Ariminum and at Seleucia. Thus the true cause of this council being convened, was not the command of Constantine, but the question agitated by Aetius. And this will become still more apparent by what we shall hereafter relate.








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