MoboReader> Literature > A Source Book for Ancient Church History

   Chapter 9 The Arian Controversy Until The Extinction Of The Dynasty Of Constantine

A Source Book for Ancient Church History By Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr., Ph.D. Characters: 79928

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


The Arian controversy may be divided into four periods or stadia:

1. From the outbreak of the Arian controversy to the Council of Nic?a (318-325). In this stadium the positions of the parties are defined, and the position of the West, in substantial agreement with that of Alexander and Athanasius, forced through by Constantine and Hosius at Nic?a (§ 63).

2. From the Council of Nic?a to the death of Constantine (325-337). In this stadium, without the setting aside of the formula of Nic?a, an attempt is made to reconcile those who in fact dissented. In this period Constantine, now living in the East, inclines toward a position more in harmony with Arianism and more acceptable in the East than was the doctrine of Athanasius. This is the period of the Eusebian reaction (§ 64).

3. From the death of Constantine to the death of Constantius (337-361). In this stadium the anti-Nic?an party is victorious in the East (§ 65), but as it included all those who for any reason were opposed to the definition of Nic?a, it fell apart on attaining the annulment of the decision of Nic?a. There arose, on the one hand, an extreme Arian party and, on the other, a homoiousian party which approximated closely to the Athanasian position but feared the Nicene terminology.

4. From the accession of Julian to the council of Constantinople (361-381). Under the pressure brought against Christianity by Julian (§ 68), parties but little removed from each other came closer together (§ 70). A new generation of theologians took the lead, with an interpretation of the Nicene formula which made it acceptable to those who had previously regarded it as Sabellian. And under the lead of these men, backed by the Emperor Theodosius, the reaffirmation [pg 298] of the Nicene formula at Constantinople, 381, was accepted by the East (§ 71).

In the period in which the Arian controversy is by far the most important series of events in Church history, the attitude of the sons of Constantine toward heathenism and Donatism was of secondary importance, but it should be noticed as throwing light on the ecclesiastical policy which made the Arian controversy so momentous. In their policy toward heathenism and dissent, the policy of Constantine was carried to its logical completion in the establishment of Christianity as the only lawful religion of the Empire (§ 67).

Arianism may be regarded as the last attempt of Dynamistic Monarchianism (v. supra, § 40) to explain the divinity of Jesus Christ without admitting His eternity. It was derived in part from the teaching of Paul of Samosata through Lucian of Antioch. Paul of Samosata had admitted the existence of an eternal but impersonal Logos in God which dwelt in the man Jesus. Arianism distinguished between a Logos uncreated, an eternal impersonal reason in God, and a personal Logos created in time, making the latter, the personal Logos, only in a secondary sense God. This latter Logos, neither eternal nor uncreated, became incarnate in Jesus, taking the place in the human personality of the rational soul or logos. To guard against the worship of a being created and temporal, and to avoid the assertion of two eternal existences, the anti-Arian or Athanasian position, already formulated by Alexander, made the personal Logos of one essence or substance with the Father, eternal as the Father, and thereby distinguishing between begetting, or the imparting of subsistence, and creating, or the calling into being from nothing, a distinction which Arianism failed to make; and thus allowing for the eternity and deity of the Son without detracting from the monotheism which was universally regarded as the fundamental doctrine of Christianity as a body of theology. In this controversy the party of Alexander and Athanasius was animated, at least in the earlier stages of the controversy, [pg 299] not so much by speculative interests as by religious motives, the relation of Jesus to redemption, and they were strongly influenced by Iren?us. The party of Arius, on the other hand, was influenced by metaphysical interests as to the relation of being to creation and the contrast between the finite and the infinite. It may be said, in general, that until the council of Chalcedon, and possibly even after that, the main interest that kept alive theological discussion was intimately connected with vital problems of religious life of the times. After that the scholastic period began to set in and metaphysical discussions were based upon the formul? of the councils.

§ 63. The Outbreak of the Arian Controversy and the Council of Nic?a, A. D. 325

The Arian controversy began in Alexandria about 318, as related by Socrates (a). The positions of the two parties were defined from the beginning both by Alexander, bishop of Alexandria (b), and Arius himself (c), who by appealing to Eusebius of Nicomedia, his fellow-student in the school of Lucian of Antioch, enlisted the support of that able ecclesiastical politician and courtier and at once extended the area of the controversy throughout the East. By means of poems of a somewhat popular character entitled the Thalia, about 322 (d), Arius spread his doctrines still further, involving others than the trained professional theologian. In the meanwhile Arius and some other clergy sympathizing with him in Egypt were deposed about 320 (e). Constantine endeavored to end the dispute by a letter, and, failing in this, sent Hosius of Cordova, his adviser in ecclesiastical matters, to Alexandria in 324. On the advice of Hosius, a synod was called to meet at Nic?a in the next year, after the pattern of the earlier synod for the West at Arles in 314. Here the basis for a definition of faith was a non-committal creed presented by Eusebius of C?sarea, the Church historian (f). This [pg 300] was modified, probably under the influence of Hosius, so as to be in harmony at once with the tenets of the party of Alexander and Athanasius, and with the characteristic theology of the West (g).

Additional source material: J. Chrystal, Authoritative Christianity, Jersey City, 1891, vol. I; The Council of Nic?a: The Genuine Remains; H. R. Percival, The Seven Ecumenical Councils (PNF, ser. II, vol. XIV); Athanasius, On the Incarnation (PNF, ser. II, vol. IV).

(a) Socrates. Hist. Ec., I, 5. (MSG, 67:41.)

The outbreak of the controversy at Alexandria circa 318.

After Peter, who was bishop of Alexandria, had suffered martyrdom under Diocletian, Achillas succeeded to the episcopal office, and after Achillas, Alexander succeeded in the period of peace above referred to. Conducting himself fearlessly, he united the Church. By chance, one day, in the presence of the presbyters and the rest of his clergy, he was discussing too ambitiously the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, teaching that there was a unity in the Trinity. But Arius, one of the presbyters under his jurisdiction, a man of no inconsiderable logical acumen, imagining that the bishop was subtly introducing the doctrine of Sabellius the Libyan, from the love of controversy took the opposite opinion to that of the Libyan, and, as he thought, vigorously responded to the things said by the bishop. "If," said he, "the Father begat the Son, He that was begotten had a beginning of existence; and from this it is evident that there was a time when the Son was not. It follows necessarily that He had His subsistence [hypostasis] from nothing."

(b) Alexander of Alexandria. Ep. ad Alexandrum, in Theodoret, Hist. Ec., I, 3. (MSG, 88:904.)

A statement of the position of Alexander made to Alexander, bishop of Constantinople.

This extract is to be found at the end of the letter; it is evidently based upon the creed which is reproduced with somewhat free glosses. The omissions in the extract are of the less important glosses and proof-texts. [pg 301] For the position of Alexander the letter of Arius to Eusebius of Nicomedia given below (c) should also be examined.

We believe as the Apostolic Church teaches, In one unbegotten Father, who of His being has no cause, immutable and invariable, and who subsists always in one state of being, admitting neither of progression nor diminution; who gave the law and the prophets and the Gospel; of patriarchs and Apostles and all saints, Lord; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten not out of that which is not, but of the Father, who is; yet not after the manner of material bodies, by severance or emanation, as Sabellius and Valentinus taught, but in an inexpressible and inexplicable manner.… We have learned that the Son is immutable and unchangeable, all-sufficient and perfect, like the Father, lacking only His "unbegottenness." He is the exact and precisely similar image of His Father.… And in accordance with this we believe that the Son always existed of the Father.… Therefore His own individual dignity must be reserved to the Father as the Unbegotten One, no one being called the cause of His existence: to the Son, likewise, must be given the honor which befits Him, there being to Him a generation from the Father which has no beginning.… And in addition to this pious belief respecting the Father and the Son, we confess as the sacred Scriptures teach us, one Holy Spirit, who moved the saints of the Old Testament, and the divine teachers of that which is called the New. We believe in one and only Catholic and Apostolic Church, which can never be destroyed even though all the world were to take counsel to fight against it, and which gains the victory over all the impious attacks of the heterodox.… After this we receive the resurrection from the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the first-fruits; who bore a body, in truth, not in semblance, derived from Mary, the mother of God [theotokos] in the fulness of time sojourning among the race, for the remission of sins: who was crucified and died, yet for all this suffered no diminution of His Godhead. He rose from [pg 302] the dead, was taken into heaven, and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

(c) Arius, Ep. ad Eusebium, in Theodoret, Hist. Ec., I, 4. (MSG, 88:909.)

A statement in the words of Arius of his own position and that of Alexander addressed to Eusebius of Nicomedia.

To his very dear lord, the man of God, the faithful and orthodox Eusebius, Arius unjustly persecuted by Alexander the Pope, on account of that all-conquering truth of which you are also the champion, sendeth greeting in the Lord.

… Alexander has driven us out of the city as atheists, because we do not concur in what he publicly preaches; namely, "God is always, the Son is always; as the Father so the Son; the Son coexists unbegotten with God; He is everlastingly begotten; He is the unbegotten begotten; neither by thought nor by any interval does God precede the Son; always God, always the Son; the Son is of God himself."… To these impieties we cannot listen even though heretics threaten us with a thousand deaths. But we say and believe and have taught and do teach, that the Son is not unbegotten, nor in any way part of the Unbegotten; nor from any substance [hypokeimenon],99 but that of His own will and counsel He has subsisted before time and before ages, as perfect God only begotten and unchangeable, and that before He was begotten or created or purposed or established He was not. For He was not unbegotten. We are persecuted because we say that the Son has a beginning, but that God is without beginning. This is the cause of our persecution, and likewise because we say that He is of that which is not.100 And this we say because He is neither part of God, nor of any substance [hypokeimenon]. For this we are persecuted; the rest you know. I bid thee farewell in the Lord, remembering [pg 303] our afflictions, my fellow-Lucianist and true Eusebius [i.e., pious].

(d) Arius, Thalia, in Athanasius, Orat. contra Arianos, I, 2. (MSG, 26:21.)

The following extracts from the Thalia, although given by Athanasius, the opponent of Arius, are so in harmony with what Arius and his followers asserted repeatedly that they may be regarded as correctly representing the work from which they profess to be taken.

God was not always Father; but there was when God was alone and was not yet Father; afterward He became a Father. The Son was not always; for since all things have come into existence from nothing, and all things are creatures and have been made, so also the Logos of God himself came into existence from nothing and there was a time when He was not; and that before He came into existence He was not; but He also had a beginning of His being created. For God, he says, was alone and not yet was there the Logos and Wisdom. Afterward He willed to create us, then He made a certain one and named Him Logos and Wisdom and Son, in order that by Him He might create us. He says, therefore, that there are two wisdoms, one proper to, and existing together with, God; but the Son came into existence by that wisdom, and was made a partaker of it and was only named Wisdom and Logos. For Wisdom existed by wisdom and the will of God's wisdom. So, he says, that there is another Logos besides the Son in God, and the Son partaking of that Logos is again named Logos and Son by grace.… There are many powers; and there is one which is by nature proper to God and eternal; but Christ, again, is not the true power of God, but is one of those which are called powers, of whom also the locust and the caterpillar are called not only a power but a great power [Joel 2:2], and there are many other things like to the Son, concerning whom David says in the Psalms: "The Lord of Powers";101 likewise the Logos is mutable, as are all [pg 304] things, and by His own free choice, so far as He wills, remains good; because when He wills He is able to change, as also we are, since His nature is subject to change. Then, says he, God foreseeing that He would be good, gave by anticipation to Him that glory, which as a man He afterward had from His virtue; so that on account of His works, which God foresaw, God made Him to become such as He is now.

(e) Council of Alexandria, A. D. 320, Epistula encyclica, in Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 6. (MSG, 67:45.) Cf. Kirch, nn. 353 ff.

The encyclical of the Council of Alexandria under Alexander, in which Arius and his sympathizers were deposed, was possibly composed by Athanasius. It is commonly found in his works, entitled Depositio Arii. It is also found in the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates. For council, see Hefele, § 20.

Those who became apostates were Arius, Achillas, ?ithales, Carpones, another Arius, and Sarmates, who were then presbyters; Euzoius, Lucius, Julianus, Menas, Helladius, and Gaius, who were then deacons; and with them Secundus and Theonas, then called bishops. And the novelties which they have invented and put forth contrary to the Scriptures are the following: God was not always a Father, but there was a time when He was not a Father. The Logos of God was not always, but came into existence from things that were not; wherefore there was a time when He was not; for the Son is a creature and a work. Neither is He like in essence to the Father. Neither is He truly by nature the Logos of the Father; neither is He His true Wisdom; but He is one of the things made and created, and is called the Logos and Wisdom by an abuse of terms, since He himself originated by God's own logos and by the wisdom that is in God, by which God has made not only all things but Him also. Wherefore He is in His nature subject to change and variation as are all rational creatures. And the Logos is foreign, is alien and separated from the being [ousia] of God. And the Father cannot be102 [pg 305] described by the Son, for the Logos does not know the Father perfectly and accurately, neither can He see Him perfectly. Moreover, the Son knows not His own essence as it really is; for He was made on account of us, that God might create us by Him as by an instrument; and He would not have existed had not God willed to create us. Accordingly some one asked them whether the Logos of God is able to change as the devil changed, and they were not afraid to say that He can change; for being something made and created, His nature is subject to change.

(f) Eusebius of C?sarea, Creed, in Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 8. (MSG, 67:69.) Cf. Hahn, § 188.

This creed was presented at the Council of Nic?a by the historian Eusebius, who took the lead of the middle party at the council. He stated that it had long been in use in his church.

We believe in one God, Father Almighty, the maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Logos of God, God of God, Light of Light, Life of Life, only begotten Son, the first-born of all creation, begotten of His Father before all ages, by whom, also, all things were made, who for our salvation became flesh, who lived among men, and suffered and rose again on the third day, and ascended to the Father, and will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. We believe also in one Holy Spirit. We believe that each of these [i.e., three] is and subsists;103 the Father truly Father, the Son truly Son; the Holy Spirit truly Holy Spirit; as our Lord also said, when He sent His disciples to preach: "Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" [Matt. 28:19].

(g) Council of Nic?a A. D. 325, Creed, in Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 8. (MSG, 67:68.) Cf. Hahn, § 142.

The creed of Nic?a is to be carefully distinguished from what is commonly called the Nicene creed. The actual creed put forth at the [pg 306] council is as follows. The discussion by Loofs, Dogmengeschichte, § 32, is brief but especially important, as he shows that the creed was drawn up under the influence of the Western formul?.

We believe in one God, Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of His Father, only begotten, that is of the ousia of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, of one substance104 with the Father, by whom all things were made, both things in heaven and things in earth, who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven and was made [became] flesh and was made [became] man, suffered and rose again on the third day, ascended into the heavens and comes to judge living and dead. And in the Holy Ghost.

But those who say there was when He was not, and before being begotten He was not, and He was made out of things that were not105 or those who say that the Son of God was from a different substance [hypostasis] or being [ousia] or a creature, or capable of change or alteration, these the Catholic Church anathematizes.

§ 64. The Beginnings of the Eusebian Reaction under Constantine

Shortly after the Council of Nic?a, Constantine seems to have become aware of the fact that the decision at that council was not acceptable in the East as a whole, representing, as it did, what was generally felt to be an extreme position. In coming to this opinion he was much influenced by Eusebius of Nicomedia who, by powerful court interest, was soon recalled from exile and even became the leading ecclesiastical adviser of Constantine. The policy of this bishop was to prepare the way for the revocation of the decree of Nic?a by a preliminary rehabilitation of Arius (a), and by attacking the leaders of the opposite party (b). Constantine, however, never consented to the abrogation of the creed of Nic?a.

[pg 307] Additional source material: Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 8 (letter of Eusebius to his diocese), 14, 28 ff. Eusebius, Vita Constantini, III, 23; Athanasius, Historia Arianorum, §§ 4-7.

(a) Arius, Confession of Faith, in Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 26. (MSG, 67:149.)

As a part of the process whereby Arius should be rehabilitated by being received back into the Church he was invited by Constantine to appear at the court. He was there presented to the Emperor and produced a confession of faith purposely vague and general in statement, but intended to give the impression that he held the essentials of the received orthodoxy. The text is that given by Hahn, § 187.

Arius and Euzoius to our most religious and pious Lord, the Emperor Constantine.

In accordance with the command of your devout piety, sovereign lord, we declare our faith, and before God we profess in writing that we and our adherents believe as follows:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty; and in the Lord Jesus Christ His Son, who was made by Him before all ages, God the Word, through whom all things were made, both those which are in heaven and those upon earth; who descended, and became incarnate, and suffered, and rose again, ascended into the heavens, and will again come to judge the living and the dead. Also in the Holy Spirit, and in the resurrection of the flesh, and in the life of the coming age, and in the kingdom of the heavens, and in one Catholic Church of God, extending from one end of the earth to the other.

This faith we have received from the holy gospels, the Lord therein saying to His disciples: "Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." If we do not so believe and truly receive the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as the whole Catholic Church and the Holy Scriptures teach (in which we believe in every respect) God is our judge both now and in the coming judgment. Wherefore we beseech your piety, most devout Emperor, that we who are persons consecrated to the ministry, [pg 308] and holding the faith and sentiments of the Church and of the Holy Scriptures, may by your pacific and devoted piety be reunited to our mother, the Church, all superfluous questions and disputings being avoided; that so both we and the whole Church may be at peace and in common offer our accustomed prayers for your tranquil reign and on behalf of your whole family.

(b) Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 23. (MSG, 67:140.)

The attack of the Arians upon Athanasius and his party.

The partisans of Eusebius and Theognis having returned from their exile, they received again their churches, having expelled, as we observed, those who had been ordained in their stead. Moreover they came into great consideration with the Emperor, who honored them exceedingly, as those who had returned from error to the orthodox faith. They, however, abused the license granted them by exciting commotions in the world greater than before; being instigated to this by two causes-on the one hand, the Arian heresy with which they had been previously infected, and on the other hand, by animosity against Athanasius because in the synod he had so vigorously withstood them in the discussion of the articles of the faith. And in the first place they objected to the ordination of Athanasius, not only as of one unworthy of the episcopate, but also as of one not elected by qualified persons. But when he had shown himself superior to this calumny (for having assumed direction of the Church of the Alexandrians, he ardently contended for the Nicene creed), then the adherents of Eusebius exerted themselves to cause the removal of Athanasius and to bring Arius back to Alexandria; for thus only did they think they should be able to cast out the doctrine of consubstantiality and introduce Arianism. Eusebius therefore wrote to Athanasius to receive Arius and his adherents; and when he wrote he not only entreated him, but he openly threatened him. When Athanasius would by no means accede to this he endeavored to persuade [pg 309] the Emperor to receive Arius in audience and then permit him to return to Alexandria; and how he accomplished these things I shall tell in its proper place.

Meanwhile, before this, another commotion was raised in the Church. In fact those of the household of the Church again disturbed her peace. Eusebius Pamphilius says that immediately after the synod Egypt became agitated by intestine divisions; but he does not give the reason for this. From this he has gained the reputation of being disingenuous and of avoiding the specification of the causes of these dissensions from a determination on his part not to give his sanction to the proceedings at Nic?a. Yet as we ourselves have discovered from various letters which the bishops wrote to one another after the synod, the term homoousios troubled some of them. So that while they occupied themselves about it, investigating it very minutely, they roused the strife against each other. It seemed not unlike a contest in the dark; for neither party appeared to understand distinctly the grounds on which they calumniated one another. Those who objected to the word homoousios conceived that those who approved it favored the opinion of Sabellius and Montanus; they therefore called them blasphemers, as subverting the existence of the Son of God. And again those who defended the term, charging their opponents with polytheism, inveighed against them as introducers of heathen superstitions. Eustathius, bishop of Antioch, accuses Eusebius Pamphilius of perverting the Nicene creed; Eusebius again denies that he violates that exposition of the faith, and accuses Eustathius of introducing the opinion of Sabellius. Therefore each of them wrote as if contending against adversaries; but both sides admitted that the Son of God has a distinct person and existence, confessing that there is one God in three persons (hypostases) yet they were unable to agree, for what cause I do not know, and could in no way be at peace.

[pg 310]

§ 65. The Victory of the Anti-Nicene Party in the East

When Constantine died in 337 the party of Eusebius of Nicomedia was completely in the ascendant in the East. A council at Antioch, 339, deposed Athanasius, and he was expelled from Alexandria, and Gregory of Cappadocia was consecrated in his place. Athanasius, with Marcellus of Ancyra and other supporters of the Nicene faith, repaired to Rome where they were supported by Julius, bishop of Rome, at a well-attended local council in 340 (a, b). In the East numerous attempts were made to formulate a confession of faith which might take the place of the Nicene creed and prove acceptable to all parties. The most important of these were produced at the Council of Antioch, 341, at which no less than four creeds were formulated (c, d).

Additional source material: Percival, The Seven Ecumenical Councils (PNF, ser. II, vol. XIV); Socrates, Hist. Ec. (PNF, ser. II, vol. II), II, 19 (Formula Macrostichos); Athanasius, De Synodis (PNF, ser. II, vol. IV).

(a) Athanasius, Apologia contra Arianos, 20. (MSG, 25:280.)

Athanasius and his allies in exile in the West are exonerated at Rome.

The Eusebians wrote also to Julius, thinking to frighten me, requesting him to call a council, and Julius himself to be the judge if he pleased. When, therefore, I went up to Rome, Julius wrote to the Eusebians, as was suitable, and sent moreover two of his presbyters, Elpidius and Philoxenus. But when they heard of me they became confused, because they did not expect that we would come up; and they declined, alleging absurd reasons for so doing, but in truth fearing lest the things should be proved against them which Valens and Ursacius afterward confessed. However, more than fifty bishops assembled in the place where the presbyter Vito held [pg 311] his congregation, and they acknowledged my defence and gave me the confirmation both of their communion and their love. On the other hand, they expressed great indignation against the Eusebians and requested that Julius write to the following effect to them who had written to him. And he wrote and sent it by Count Gabienus.

(b) Julius of Rome, Epistula, in Athanasius. Apologia contra Arianos, §§ 26 ff. (MSG, 25:292.)

Julius to his dearly beloved brethren, Danius, Flacillus, Narcissus, Eusebius, and Matis, Macedonius, Theodorus, and their friends, who have written him from Antioch, sends health in the Lord.

§ 26. … It is necessary for me to inform you that although I alone wrote, yet it was not my opinion only, but of all the bishops throughout Italy and in these parts. I, indeed, was unwilling to cause them all to write, lest they might have weight by mere numbers. The bishops, however, assembled on the appointed day, and agreed in these opinions, which I again write to signify to you; so that, dearly beloved, although I alone address you, yet you may know it is the opinion of all.…

§ 27. That we have not admitted to our communion our fellow-bishops Athanasius and Marcellus either hastily or unjustly, although sufficiently shown above, it is but fair to set briefly before you. The Eusebians first wrote against Athanasius and his fellows, and you have also written now; but many bishops out of Egypt and other provinces wrote in his favor. Now in the first place, your letters against him contradict each other, and the second have no sort of agreement with the first, but in many instances the former are refuted by the latter, and the latter are impeached by the former.…

§ 29. Now when these things were thus represented, and so many witnesses appeared in his behalf, and so much advanced by him in his own justification, what did it become [pg 312] us to do? Or what did the rule of the Church require except that we should not condemn the man, but rather receive him and hold him as a bishop as we have done.…

§ 32. With respect to Marcellus, forasmuch as you have written concerning him also as impious in respect to Christ, I am anxious to inform you that, when he was here, he positively declared that what you had written concerning him was not true; but, being nevertheless requested by us to give an account of his faith, he answered in his own person with the utmost boldness, so that we recognize that he maintains nothing outside of the truth. He confessed that he piously held the same doctrine concerning our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as the Catholic Church holds; and he affirmed that he had held these opinions not merely now but for a very long time since; as indeed our presbyters, who were at a former time at the Council of Nic?a, testified to his orthodoxy, for he maintained both then and now his opposition to the heresy of Arius; on which point it is right to admonish you, that none of you admit such heresy, but instead abominate it as alien from the wholesome doctrine. Since he professed orthodox opinions and offered testimony to his orthodoxy, what again ought we in his case to have done except to treat him as a bishop, as we did, and not reject him from our communion?…

§ 33. For not only the bishops Athanasius and Marcellus and their fellows came here and complained of the injustice that had been done them, but many other bishops, also, from Thrace, from C?le-Syria, from Ph?nicia, and Palestine; and presbyters, not a few, and others from Alexandria and from other parts were present at the council here and, in addition to their own statements, lamented bitterly before all the assembled bishops the violence and injustice which the churches had suffered; and they affirmed that outrages similar to those which had been committed in Alexandria had occurred not in word only but in deed in their own churches and in others also.

[pg 313]

(c) Second Creed of Antioch, A. D. 341, in Athanasius, De Synodis Arimini et Seleuci?, ch. 23. (MSG, 26:721.) Also in Socrates, Hist. Ec., II, 10. (MSG, 67:201.) Cf. Hahn, § 154.

The Council of Antioch in 341 was gathered ostensibly to dedicate the great church of that city, in reality to act against the Nicene party. It was attended by ninety or more bishops of whom thirty-six were Arians. The others seem to have been chiefly members of the middle party. The dogmatic definitions of this council have never been accepted by the Church; on the other hand, the canons on discipline have always enjoyed a very high place in the esteem of later generations. The following creed, the second of the Antiochian creeds, is traditionally regarded as having been composed originally by Lucian of Antioch, the master of Arius. Hence it is known as the creed of Lucian.

We believe in accordance with evangelic and apostolic tradition in one God the Father Almighty, the creator, the maker and provider of all things. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, God, through whom are all things, who was begotten of His Father before all ages, God of God, whole of whole, only one of only one, perfect of perfect, king of king, lord of lord, the living word, living wisdom, true light, way, truth, resurrection, shepherd, door, unchangeable, unalterable, and immutable, the unchangeable likeness of the Godhead, both of the substance, and will and power and glory of the Father, the first-born of all creation, who was in the beginning with God, God Logos, according to what is said in the Gospel: "and the word was God," through whom all things were made, and "in whom all things consist," who in the last days came down from above, and was born of a virgin, according to the Scriptures, and became man, the mediator between God and man, and the apostle of our faith, and the prince of life; as He says, "I have come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me"; who suffered for us, and rose the third day and ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and comes again with glory and power to judge the [pg 314] living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit given for consolation and sanctification and perfection to those who believe; as also our Lord Jesus Christ commanded his disciples, saying, "Go ye, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," clearly of the Father who is really a Father, and of the Son who is really a Son, and of the Holy Spirit who is really a Holy Spirit; these names being assigned not vaguely nor idly, but indicating accurately the special subsistence [hypostasis], order, glory of those named, so that in subsistence they are three, but in harmony one.

Having then this faith from the beginning and holding it to the end, before God and Christ we anathematize all heretical false doctrines. And if any one contrary to the right faith of the Holy Scriptures, teaches and says that there has been a time, a season, or age, or being or becoming, before the Son of God was begotten, let him be accursed. And if any one says that the Son is a creature as one of the creatures, or generated as one of the things generated, or made as one of the things made, and not as the divine Scriptures have handed down each of the forenamed statements; or if a man teaches or preaches anything else contrary to what we have received, let him be accursed. For we truly and clearly both believe and follow all things from the Holy Scriptures that have been transmitted to us by the prophets and Apostles.

(d) Fourth Creed of Antioch, Socrates, Hist. Ec., II, 18. (MSG, 67:221.) Cf. Hahn, § 156.

This creed is an approximation to the Nicene creed but without the use of the word of especial importance, homoousios. Valuable critical notes on the text of this and the preceding creed are to be found in Hahn; as these creeds are to be found both in the work of Athanasius on the councils of synods of Ariminum and Seleucia, in the ecclesiastical history of Socrates and elsewhere, there is a variety of readings, but of minor significance so far as the essential features are concerned.

We believe in one God, Father Almighty, the creator and maker of all things, of whom the whole family in heaven and [pg 315] upon earth is named; and in his only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was begotten of the Father before all ages; God of God, light of light, through whom all things in the heavens and upon earth, both visible and invisible were made: who is the word, and wisdom, and power, and life, and true light: who in the last days for our sake was made [became] man, and was born of the holy Virgin; was crucified, and died; was buried, arose again from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and is coming at the consummation of the age to judge the living and the dead, and to render to each according to his works: whose kingdom, being perpetual, shall continue to infinite ages (for He shall sit at the right hand of the Father, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come). And in the Holy Spirit; that is, in the comforter, whom the Lord, according to His promise, sent to His Apostles after His ascension into the heavens, to teach and bring all things to their remembrance: by whom, also, the souls of those who have sincerely believed in Him shall be sanctified; and those who assert that the Son was made of things which are not, or of another subsistence [hypostasis], and not of God, or that there was a time or age when He did not exist the holy Catholic Church accounts as aliens.

§ 66. Collapse of the Anti-Nicene Middle Party; the Renewal of Arianism; the Rise of the Homoousian Party

When Constantius became sole Emperor, on the death of his brother Constans in 350, there was no further need of considering the interests of the Nicene party. Only the necessity of establishing his authority in the West against usurpers engaged his attention until 356, when a series of councils began, designed to put an end to the Nicene faith. Of the numerous confessions of faith put forth, the second creed of Sirmium of 357 is important as attempting to abolish [pg 316] in connection with the discussion the use of the term ousia and likewise homoousios and homoiousios (a). At Nice in Thrace a still greater departure from Nic?a was attempted in 359, and a creed was put forth (b), which is of special significance as containing the first reference in a creed to the descensus ad inferos and to the fact that it was subscribed by the deputies of the West including Bishop Liberius of Rome. For the discussion of this act of Liberius, see J. Barmby, art. "Liberius" in DCB; see also Catholic Encyclop?dia, art. "Liberius." It was also received in the synod of Seleucia in the East. On these councils see Athanasius, De Synodis (PNF). It was in reference to this acceptance of the creed of Nice that Jerome wrote "The whole world groaned and was astonished that it was Arian." See Jerome, Contra Luciferianos, §§ 18 ff. (PNF. ser. II, vol. VI).

Inasmuch as the anti-Nicene opposition party was a coalition of all parties opposed to the wording of the Nicene creed, as soon as that creed was abolished the bond that held them together was broken. At once there arose an extreme Arianism which had remained in the background. On the other hand, those who were opposed to Arianism sought to draw nearer the Nicene party. These were the Homoiousians, who objected to the term homoousios as savoring of Sabellianism, and yet admitted the essential point implied by it. That this was so was pointed out by Hilary of Poitiers (c) who contended that what the West meant by homoousios the East meant by homoiousios. The Homoiousian party of the East split on the question of the deity of the Holy Spirit. Those of them who denied the deity of the Spirit remained Semi-Arians.

(a) Second Creed of Sirmium, in Hilary of Poitiers, De Synodis, ch. 11. (MSL, 10:487.) Cf. Hahn, § 161.

The Council of Sirmium in 357 was the second in that city. It was attended entirely by bishops from the West. But among them were Ursacius, Valens, and Germinius, leaders of the opposition to the Nicene creed. Hosius under compulsion signed the following; see Hilary, loc cit. The Latin original is given by Hilary.

[pg 317] It is evident that there is one God, the Father Almighty, accor

ding as it is believed throughout the whole world; and His only Son Jesus Christ our Saviour, begotten of Him before the ages. But we cannot and ought not to say there are two Gods.…

But since some or many persons were disturbed by questions as to substance, called in Greek ousia, that is, to make it understood more exactly, as to homoousios or what is called homoiousios, there ought to be no mention of these at all, nor ought any one to state them; for the reason and consideration that they are not contained in the divine Scriptures, and that they are above man's understanding, nor can any man declare the birth of the Son, of whom it is written: "Who shall declare His generation?" For it is plain that only the Father knows how He begat the Son, and the Son how He was begotten of the Father. There is no question that the Father is greater. No one can doubt that the Father is greater than the Son, in honor, dignity, splendor, majesty and in the very name Father, the Son himself testifying, He that sent Me is greater than I. And no one is ignorant that it is Catholic doctrine that there are two persons of Father and Son; and that the Father is greater, and that the Son is subordinated to the Father, together with all things which the Father hath subordinated to Him; and that the Father has no beginning and is invisible, immortal, and impassible, but that the Son has been begotten of the Father, God of God, light of light, and of this Son the generation, as is aforesaid, no one knows but His Father. And that the Son of God himself, our Lord and God, as we read, took flesh or a body, that is, man of the womb of the Virgin Mary, as the angel announced. And as all the Scriptures teach, and especially the doctor of the Gentiles himself. He took of Mary the Virgin, man, through whom He suffered. And the whole faith is summed up and secured in this, that the Trinity must always be preserved, as we read in the Gospel: "Go ye and baptize all nations in the name of the [pg 318] Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Complete and perfect is the number of the Trinity. Now the Paraclete, or the Spirit, is through the Son: who was sent and came according to His promise in order to instruct, teach, and sanctify the Apostles and all believers.

(b) Creed of Nice A. D. 359, Theodoret, Hist. Ec., II, 16. (MSG, 82:1049.) Cf. Hahn, § 164.

The deputies from the Council of Ariminum were sent to Nice, a small town in Thrace, where they met the heads of the Arian party. A creed, strongly Arian in tendency, was given them and they were sent back to Ariminum to have it accepted. See Theodoret, loc. cit., and Athanasius, De Synodis.

We believe in one and only true God, Father Almighty, of whom are all things. And in the only begotten Son of God, who before all ages and before every beginning was begotten of God, through whom all things were made, both visible and invisible; begotten, only begotten, alone of the Father alone, God of God, like the Father that begat Him, according to the Scriptures, whose generation no one knoweth except only the Father that begat Him. This only begotten Son of God, sent by His Father, we know to have come down from heaven, as it is written, for the destruction of sin and death; begotten of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, as it is written, according to the flesh. Who companied with His disciples, and when the whole dispensation was fulfilled, according to the Father's will, was crucified, dead and buried, and descended to the world below, at whom hell itself trembled; on the third day He rose from the dead and companied with His disciples, and when forty days were completed He was taken up into the heavens, and sitteth on the right hand of His Father, and is coming at the last day of the resurrection, in His Father's glory, to render to every one according to his works. And in the Holy Ghost, which the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, both God and Lord, promised to send to the race of men, the comforter, as it is written, the spirit of truth, and this Spirit He himself sent after He had ascended [pg 319] into the heavens and sat at the right hand of the Father, from thence He is coming to judge both the quick and the dead.

But the word "substance," which was simply inserted by the Fathers and not being understood was a cause of scandal to the people because it was not found in the Scriptures, it hath seemed good to us to remove, and that for the future no mention whatever be permitted of "substance," because the sacred Scriptures nowhere make any mention of the "substance" of the Father and the Son. Nor must one "subsistence" [hypostasis] be named in relation to the person [prosopon] of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And we call the Son like the Father, as the Holy Scriptures call Him and teach. But all heresies, both those already condemned, and any, if such there be, which have arisen against the document thus put forth, let them be anathema.

(c) Hilary of Poitiers. De Synodis, §§ 88, 89, 91. (MSL, 10:540.)

That the Homoiousian party meant substantially the same by their term homoiousios as did the Homoousians or the Nicene party, by their term homoousios.

Hilary was of great importance in the Arian controversy in bringing the Homoiousian party of the East and the Nicene party of the West to an agreement. The Eastern theologians, who hesitated to accept the Nicene term, were eventually induced to accept, understanding by the term homoousios the same as homoiousios. See below, § 70.

§ 88. Holy brethren, I understand by homoousios God of God, not of an unlike essence, not divided, but born; and that the Son has a birth that is unique, of the substance of the unknown God, that He is begotten yet co-eternal and wholly like the Father. The word homoousios greatly helped me already believing this. Why do you condemn my faith in the homoousios, which you cannot disapprove by the confession of the homoiousios? For you condemn my faith, or rather your own, when you condemn its verbal equivalent. Does somebody else misunderstand it? Let us together condemn [pg 320] the misunderstanding, but not take away the security of your faith. Do you think that one must subscribe to the Samosetene Council, so that no one may make use of homoousios in the sense of Paul of Samosata? Then let us subscribe to the Council of Nic?a, so that the Arians may not impugn the word homoousios. Have we to fear that homoiousios does not imply the same belief as homoousios? Let us decree that there is no difference between being of one and being of a similar substance. But may not the word homoousios be understood in a wrong sense? Let it be proved that it can be understood in a good sense. We hold one and the same sacred truth. I beseech you that the one and the same truth which we hold, we should regard as sacred among us. Forgive me, brethren, as I have so often asked you to do. You are not Arians; why, then, by denying the homoousios, should you be thought to be Arians?

§ 89. … True likeness belongs to a true natural connection. But when the true natural connection exists, the homoousios is implied. It is likeness according to essence when one piece of metal is like another and not plated.… Nothing can be like gold but gold, or like milk that does not belong to that species.

§ 91. I do not know the word homoousios or understand it unless it confesses a similarity of essence. I call God of heaven and earth to witness, that when I heard neither word, my belief was always such that I should have interpreted homoiousios by homoousios. That is I believed that nothing could be similar according to nature unless it was of the same nature.

§ 67. The Policy of the Sons of Constantine Toward Heathenism and Donatism

Under the sons of Constantine a harsher policy toward heathenism was adopted. Laws were passed forbidding heathen sacrifices (a, b), and although these were not carried [pg 321] out vigorously in the West, where there were many heathen members of the leading families, they were more generally enforced in the East, and heathenism was thereby much reduced, at least in outward manifestations. As to heresy, the action of the emperors and especially Constantius in his constant endeavor to set aside the Nicene faith involved harsh measures against all who differed from the approved theology of the court. Donatism called for special treatment. A policy of conciliation was attempted, but on account of the failure to win over the Donatists and their alliance with fierce revolutionary fanatics, the Circumcellions, violent measures were taken against them which nearly extirpated the sect.

(a) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 10, 2; A. D. 341.

This edict of Constantius is of importance here as it seems to imply that Constantine did more toward repressing heathen sacrifices than to forbid those celebrated in private. It is, however, the only evidence of his prohibiting sacrifice, and it might have been due to misunderstanding that his example is here cited.

Let superstition cease; let the madness of sacrifices be abolished. For whoever, against the law of the divine prince, our parent [Constantine] and this command of our clemency, shall celebrate sacrifices, let a punishment appropriate to him and this present decision be issued.

(b) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 10, 3; A. D. 342.

In the West Constans did not enforce the law against sacrifices with great severity, but tolerated the existence and even use of certain temples without the walls.

Although all superstition is to be entirely destroyed, yet we will that the temple buildings, which are situated without the walls, remain intact and uninjured. For since from some have arisen various sports, races, and contests, it is not proper that they should be destroyed, from which the solemnity of ancient enjoyments are furnished to the Roman people.

(c) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 10, 4; A. D. 346.

[pg 322] It is our pleasure that in all places and in all cities the temples be henceforth closed, and access having been forbidden to all, freedom to sin be denied the wicked. We will that all abstain from sacrifices; that if any one should commit any such act, let him fall before the vengeance of the sword. Their goods, we decree, shall be taken away entirely and recovered to the fisc, and likewise rectors of provinces are to be punished if they neglect to punish for these crimes.

(d) Optatus, De schismate Donatistarum, III, §§ 3, 4. (MSL, 11:999.)

The principal historical writer treating the schism of the Donatists is Optatus, Bishop of Mileve. His work on this sect was written about 370 and revised and enlarged in 385. It is of primary importance not merely for the history but for the dogmatic discussions on the doctrine of the Church, Bk. II, the doctrine of the sacraments, the idea of opus operatum as applied to them, Bk. V; in all of which he laid the foundation upon which Augustine built. In addition to the passage from Optatus given here, Epistles 88 and 185 by Augustine are accessible in translations and will be found of assistance in filling in the account of the Circumcellions. The latter is known as De correctione Donatistarum and is published in the anti-Donatist writings of Augustine in PNF, ser. I, vol. IV; the most important passages are §§ 15 and 25. It is probable that the party of the Circumcellions was originally due to a revolt against intolerable agrarian conditions and that their association with the Donatists was at first slight.

§ 3. … The Emperor Constans did not send Paulus and Macarius primarily to bring about unity, but with alms, that, assisted by them, the poor of the various churches might be relieved, clothed, and fed. When they came to Donatus, your father, and showed him why they had come, he was seized with his accustomed furious anger and broke forth with these words: "What has the Emperor to do with the Church."…

§ 4. If anything, therefore, has been done harshly in bringing about unity,106 you see, brother Parmenianus, to whom it ought to be attributed. Do you say that the military was sought by us Catholics; if so, then why did no one [pg 323] see the military in arms in the proconsular province? Paulus and Macarius came, everywhere to consider the poor and to exhort individuals to unity; and when they approached Bagaja, then another Donatus, bishop of that city, desiring to place an obstacle in the way of unity and hinder the work of those coming, whom we have mentioned, sent messengers throughout the neighboring places and all markets, and summoned the Circumcellions, calling them Agonistici, to come to the said place. And at that time the gathering of these was desired, whose madness a little before had been seen by the bishops themselves to have been impiously inspired. For when men of this sort before the unity107 wandered through various places, when Axido and Fasir were called by the same mad ones the leaders of the saints, no one could be secure in his possessions; written evidences of indebtedness lost their force; no creditor was at liberty at that time to demand anything. All were terrified by the letters of those who boasted that they were the leaders of the saints, and if there was any delay in fulfilling their commands, suddenly a furious multitude hurried up and, terror going on before, creditors were surrounded with a wall of dangers, so that those who ought to have been asked for their protection were by fear of death compelled to use humble prayers. Each one hastened to abandon his most important duties; and profit was thought to have come from these outrages. Even the roads were no longer at all safe, because masters, turned out of their carriages, ran humbly before their slaves sitting in the places of their masters. By the judgment and rule of these the order of rank between masters and servants was changed. Therefore when there arose complaint against the bishops of your party, they are said to have written to Count Taurinus, that such men could not be corrected in the Church, and they demanded that they should receive discipline from the said count. Then Taurinus, in response to their letters, commanded [pg 324] an armed body of soldiers to go through the markets where the Circumcellions were accustomed to wander. In Octavum very many were killed, many were beheaded and their bodies, even to the present day, can be counted by the white altars or tables.108 When first some of their number were buried in the basilicas, Clarus, a presbyter in Subbulum, was compelled by his bishop to disinter those buried. Whence it is reported that what was done had been commanded to be done, when it is admitted that sepulture in the house of God is not granted. Afterward the multitude of these people increased. In this way Donatus of Bagaja found whence he might lead against Macarius a raging mob. Of that sort were those who were to their own ruin murderers of themselves in their desire for a false martyrdom. Of these, also, were those who rushed headlong and threw themselves down from the summits of lofty mountains. Behold from what numbers the second Bishop Donatus formed his cohorts! Those who were bearing treasure which they had obtained for the poor were held back by fear. They decided in so great a predicament to demand from Count Sylvester armed soldiery, not that by these they should do violence to any one, but that they might stop the force drawn up by the aforesaid Bishop Donatus. Thus it happened that an armed soldiery was seen. Now, as to what followed, see to whom it ought or can be ascribed. They had there an infinite number of those summoned, and it is certain that a supply of provisions for a year had been provided. Of the basilicas they made a sort of public granary, and awaited the coming of those against whom they might expend their fury, if the presence of armed soldiery had not prevented them. For when, before the soldiers came, the metatores,109 as was the custom, were sent, they were not properly received, contrary to the apostolic precept, "honor to whom honor, custom to whom custom, tribute to whom tribute, owe no man anything." For those who [pg 325] had been sent with their horses were smitten by those whose names you have made public with malicious intent. They were the authors of their own wrong; and what they could suffer they themselves taught by these outrages. The soldiers who had been maltreated returned to their fellows, and for what two or three suffered, all grieved. All were roused, and their officers could not restrain the angered soldiers.

§ 68. Julian the Apostate

The reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363) is important in the history of the Christian Church, in the first place, as indicating the slight hold which heathenism had retained as a system upon the bulk of the people and the impossibility of reviving it in any form in which it might compete with the Church. Julian attempted to inject into a purified heathenism those elements in the Christian Church which he was forced to admire. The result was a fantastic mixture of rites and measures with which the heathen would have nothing to do. In the second place, in the development of the Church's doctrinal system, and especially in the Arian controversy, the reign of Julian gave the contestants, who were obliged to stand together against a common enemy, reason for examining in a new way the points they had in common, and enabled them to see that some at least differed more over the expression than over the content of their faith. The character of Julian has long been a favorite subject of study and especially the motives that induced him to abandon Christianity for the Neo-Platonic revival of heathenism.

Additional source material: Socrates, Hist. Ec., III: Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman History, XVI-XXV, translated by C. D. Yonge (Bohn's Classical Library); Select Works of Julian, translated by C. W. King (Bohn).

(a) Socrates. Hist Ec. III. 1. (MSG, 67:368.)

The Emperor Julian.

The account of the Emperor Julian as given by Socrates is probably the best we have. It is, on the whole, a model of a fair statement, [pg 326] such as is characteristic of the history of Socrates in nearly all its parts. In spite of its length it is worthy of a place in its entirety, as it explains the antecedents of a character which the world has had difficulty in understanding.

Constantine, who gave Byzantium his own name, had two brothers born of the same father but by a different mother, of these one was named Dalmatius, the other Constantius. Dalmatius had a son of the same name as his own; Constantius had two sons, Gallus and Julian. Now, as on the death of Constantine, the founder of Constantinople, the soldiery had put the younger brother Constantius to death, the lives of his two orphaned children were also endangered; but a disease, apparently fatal, preserved Gallus from the violence of his father's murderers; and as to Julian, his age-for he was only eight years old at the time-protected him. The Emperor's jealousy toward them having been subdued, Gallus attended schools at Ephesus in Ionia, in which country considerable possessions had been left them by their parents. Julian, however, when he was grown up pursued his studies at Constantinople, going constantly to the palace, where the schools then were, in simple attire and under the care of the eunuch Mardonius. In grammar, Nicocles, the Laced?monian, was his instructor; and Ecbolius, the sophist, who was at that time a Christian, taught him rhetoric; for the Emperor Constantius had made provision that he should have no pagan masters, lest he should be seduced to pagan superstitions; for Julian was a Christian at the beginning. Since he made great progress in literature, the report began to spread that he was capable of ruling the Roman Empire; and this popular rumor becoming generally spread abroad, greatly disquieted the Emperor. Therefore he removed him from the great city to Nicomedia, forbidding him at the same time to frequent the school of Libanius the Syrian sophist. For Libanius, having been driven away by the teachers of Constantinople, had opened a school at Nicomedia. Here he gave vent to his indignation against the [pg 327] teachers in his treatise composed against them. Julian, however, was interdicted from being his auditor, because Libanius was a pagan in religion; nevertheless because he admired his orations, he procured them and read them secretly and diligently. As he was becoming very expert in the rhetorical art, Maximus the philosopher arrived in Nicomedia, not the Byzantine, Euclid's father, but the Ephesian whom the Emperor Valentinian afterward caused to be executed as a practicer of magic. This took place later; at that time the only thing that attracted him to Nicomedia was the fame of Julian. Having obtained from him a taste for the principles of philosophy, Julian began to imitate the religion of his teacher, who had instilled into his mind a desire for the Empire. When these things reached the ears of the Emperor, wavering between hope and fear, Julian became very anxious to lull the suspicion that had been awakened, and he who was at first truly a Christian then became one in pretence. Shaved to the very skin, he pretended to live the monastic life; and while in private he pursued philosophical studies, in public he read the sacred writings of the Christian Church. Moreover, he was appointed reader of the church in Nicomedia. Thus by these pretexts he escaped the Emperor's displeasure. Now he did all this from fear, but he by no means abandoned his hope; telling many of his friends that times would be happier when he should possess all. While his affairs were in this condition his brother Gallus, who had been created C?sar, when he was on his way to the East came to Nicomedia to see him. But when Gallus was slain shortly after, Julian was immediately suspected by the Emperor; therefore the latter directed that he should be kept under guard; he soon found means, however, of escaping from his guards, and fleeing from place to place he managed to be in safety. At last Eusebia, the wife of the Emperor, having discovered him in his retreat, persuaded the Emperor to do him no harm, and to permit him to go to Athens to study philosophy. From thence-to be brief-the Emperor recalled him and afterward [pg 328] created him C?sar, and having given him his own sister Helen in marriage, he sent him to Gaul against the barbarians. For the barbarians whom the Emperor Constantius had hired as auxiliary forces against Magnentius, being of no use against that usurper, were pillaging the Roman cities. Inasmuch as he was young he ordered him to undertake nothing without consulting the other military chiefs.… Julian's complaint to the Emperor of the inertness of his military officers procured for him a coadjutor in the command more in sympathy with his ardor; and by their combined efforts an assault was made upon the barbarians. But they sent him an embassy, assuring him that they had been ordered by letters of the Emperor to march into Roman territories, and they showed him the letters. But he cast the ambassadors into prison, vigorously attacked the forces of the enemy and totally defeated them; and having taken their king prisoner, he sent him to Constantius. After these successes he was proclaimed Emperor by the soldiers; and inasmuch as there was no imperial crown at hand, one of the guards took the chain which he wore around his own neck and placed it upon Julian's head. Thus Julian became Emperor; but whether he subsequently conducted himself as a philosopher, let my readers determine. For he neither sent an embassy to Constantius, nor paid him the least homage in acknowledgment of past favors; but conducted everything just as it pleased him. He changed the rulers of the provinces, and he sought to bring Constantius into contempt by reciting publicly in every city the letters which Constantius had written to the barbarians. For this reason the cities revolted from Constantius and attached themselves to him. Then he openly put off the pretence of being a Christian; going about to the various cities, he opened the pagan temples, offering sacrifices to the idols, and designating himself "Pontifex Maximus"; and the heathen celebrated their pagan festivals with pagan rites. By doing these things he excited a civil war against Constantius; and thus as far as he was [pg 329] concerned all the evils involved in war happened. For this philosopher's desire could not have been fulfilled without much bloodshed. But God, who is the judge of His own counsels, checked the fury of these antagonists without detriment to the State by the removal of one of them. For when Julian arrived among the Thracians, it was announced that Constantius was dead. And thus did the Roman Empire at that time escape the intestine strife. Julian entered Constantinople and at once considered how he might conciliate the masses and secure popular favor. Accordingly, he had recourse to the following measures: he knew that Constantius was hated by all the people who held the homoousian faith and had driven them from the churches and had proscribed and exiled their bishops. He was aware, also, that the pagans were extremely discontented because they had been forbidden to sacrifice to their gods, and were anxious to get their temples opened and to be at liberty to offer sacrifices to their idols. Thus he knew that both classes secretly entertained hostile feelings toward his predecessor, and at the same time the people in general were exceedingly exasperated by the violence of the eunuchs, and especially by the rapacity of Eusebius, the chief officer of the imperial bed-chamber. Therefore he treated all with craftiness. With some he dissembled; others he attached to himself by conferring obligations upon them, led by a desire for vainglory; but to all he manifested how he stood toward the heathen religion. And first, in order to slander Constantius and condemn him as cruel toward his subjects among the people generally, he recalled the exiled bishops and restored to them their confiscated estates. He next commanded suitable agents to open the pagan temples without delay. Then he directed that those who had been treated unjustly by the eunuchs should receive back the property of which they had been plundered. Eusebius, the chief officer of the imperial bed-chamber, he punished with death, not only on account of the injuries he had inflicted on others, but because he was assured that it was [pg 330] through his machinations his brother Gallus had been killed. The body of Constantius he honored with an imperial funeral, but he expelled the eunuchs, the barbers, and cooks from the palace.… At night, remaining awake, he wrote orations which he afterward delivered in the Senate, going thither from the palace, though in fact he was the first and only Emperor since the time of Julius C?sar who made speeches in that assembly. He honored those who were eminent for literary attainments, and especially those who taught philosophy; in consequence of which an abundance of pretenders to learning of this sort resorted to the palace from all quarters, men who wore their palliums and were more conspicuous for their costume than for their erudition. These impostors, who invariably adopted the religious sentiments of their prince, were inimical to the welfare of the Christians; but since Julian himself was overcome by excessive vanity he derided all his predecessors in a book which he wrote, entitled "The C?sars." Led by the same haughty disposition, he composed treatises against the Christians as well.

(b) Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., V, 3. (MSG, 67:1217.)

Julian's restoration of heathenism.

When Julian was placed in sole possession of the Empire he commanded all the temples throughout the East to be reopened; and he also commanded that those which had been neglected to be repaired, those which had fallen into ruins to be rebuilt, and the altars to be restored. He assigned considerable money for this purpose. He restored the customs of antiquity and the ancestral ceremonies in the cities and the sacrifices. He himself offered libations openly and sacrificed publicly; and held in honor those who were zealous in these things. He restored to their ancient privileges the initiators and the priests, the hierophants and the servants of the temples, and confirmed the legislation of former emperors in their favor. He granted them exemption from duties and other burdens as they had previously had had such exemption. [pg 331] He restored to the temple guardians the provisions which had been abolished. He commanded them to be pure from meats, and to abstain from whatever, according to pagan opinion, was not befitting him who had announced his purpose of leading a pure life.

(c) Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., V, 5. (MSG, 67:1225.)

Julian's measures against the Christians.

Among those who benefited by the recall of those who had been banished for their religious beliefs were not only the orthodox Christians who suffered under Constantius, but also the Donatists and others who had been expelled from their homes by the previous emperors.

Julian recalled all who, during the reign of Constantius, had been banished on account of their religious beliefs, and restored to them their property which had been confiscated by law. He charged the people not to commit any act of injustice against any of the Christians, not to insult them and not to constrain them to sacrifice unwillingly.… He deprived the clergy, however, of their immunities, honors, and provisions which Constantine had conferred, repealed the laws which had been enacted in their favor, and reinforced their statutory liabilities. He even compelled the virgins and widows, who on account of their poverty were reckoned among the clergy, to refund the provision which had been assigned them from the public treasury.… In the intensity of his hatred of the faith, he seized every opportunity to ruin the Church. He deprived it of its property, votive offerings, and sacred vessels, and condemned those who had demolished temples during the reign of Constantine and Constantius to rebuild them or to defray the expense of re-erection. On this ground, since they were unable to repay the sum and also on account of the search after sacred money, many of the priests, clergy, and other Christians were cruelly tortured and cast into prison.… He recalled the priests who had been banished by the Emperor Constantius; but it is said that he issued this order in their behalf, not out of mercy, but that through contention [pg 332] among themselves the churches might be involved in fraternal strife and might fall away from their law, or because he wished to asperse the memory of Constantius.

(d) Julian, Ep. 49, ad Arsacium; Julian, Imp., Epistul?, ed. Hertlein. Leipsic, 1875 f.; also in Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., V, 16. (MSG, 67:1260.)

To Arsacius, High Priest of Galatia. Hellenism110 does not flourish as we would have it, because of its votaries. The worship of the gods, however, is grand and magnificent beyond all our prayers and hopes. Let our Adrastea be propitious to these words. No one a little while ago could have dared to look for such and so great a change in a short time. But do we think that these things are enough, and not rather consider that humanity shown strangers, the reverent diligence shown in burying the dead, and the false holiness as to their lives have principally advanced atheism?111 Each of these things is needful, I think, to be faithfully practised among us. It is not sufficient that you alone should be such, but in general all the priests, as many as there are throughout Galatia, whom you must either shame or persuade to be zealous, or else deprive them of their priestly office, if they do not come with their wives, children, and servants to the temples of the gods, or if they support servants, sons, or wives who are impious toward the gods and prefer atheism to piety. Then exhort the priests not to frequent the theatres, not to drink in taverns, nor to practise any art or business which is shameful or menial. Honor those who comply, expel those who disobey. Establish hostelries in every city, so that strangers, or whoever has need of money, may enjoy our philanthropy, not merely those of our own, but also those of other religions. I have meanwhile made plans by which you will be able to meet the expense. I have commanded that throughout the whole of Galatia annually thirty thousand bushels of corn and sixty thousand measures of wine be given, [pg 333] of which the fifth part I order to be devoted to the support of the poor who attend upon the priests; and the rest is to be distributed by us among strangers and beggars. For if there is not one among the Jews who begs, and even the impious Galileans, in addition to their own, support also ours, it is shameful that our poor should be wanting our aid.

(e) Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., V, 16. (MSG, 67:1260.)

Measures taken by Julian for the restoration of heathenism.

The Emperor, who had long since been eager that Hellenism should prevail through the Empire, was bitterly grieved seeing it excelled by Christianity. The temples, however, were kept open; the sacrifices and the ancient festivals appeared to him in all the cities to come from his will. He grieved that when he considered that if they should be deprived of his care they would experience a speedy change. He was particularly chagrined on discovering that the wives, children, and servants of many pagan priests professed Christianity. On reflecting that the Christian religion had a support in the life and behavior of those professing it, he determined to introduce into the pagan temples everywhere the order and discipline of the Christian religion: by orders and degrees of the ministry, by teachers and readers to give instruction in pagan doctrines and exhortations, by appointed prayers on certain days and at stated hours, by monasteries both for men and for women who desired to live in philosophical retirement, likewise hospitals for the relief of strangers and of the poor, and by other philanthropy toward the poor to glorify the Hellenic doctrine. He commanded that a suitable correction be appointed by way of penance after the Christian tradition for voluntary and involuntary transgressions. He is said to have admired especially the letters of recommendation of the bishops by which they commended travellers to other bishops, so that coming from anywhere they might go to any one and be hospitably received as known and as friends, and be cared for kindly on the evidence of these testimonials. [pg 334] Considering also these things, he endeavored to accustom the pagans to Christian practices.

(f) Sozomenus. Hist. Ec., V, 18. (MSG, 67:1269.)

Cf. Socrates, Hist. Ec., III, 16.

Julian forbade the children of Christians to be instructed in the writings of the Greek poets and authors, and to frequent the public schools.… He did not permit Christians to be educated in the learning of the Greeks, since he considered that only from them the power of persuasion was gained. Apollinaris,112 therefore, at that time employed his great learning and ingenuity in the production of a heroic epic on the antiquities of the Hebrews to the reign of Saul as a substitute for the poem of Homer.… He also wrote comedies in imitation of Menander, and imitated the tragedies of Euripides and the odes of Pindar.… Were it not that men were accustomed to venerate antiquity and to love that to which they are accustomed, the works of Apollinaris would be equally praised and taught.

(g) Julian, Epistula 42.

Edict against Christian teachers of the classics.

This is the famous decree prohibiting Christians from teaching the Greek classics, and was quite generally understood by Christians as preventing them from studying the same.

I think true culture consists not in proficiency in words and speech, but in a condition of mind which has sound intentions and right opinions concerning good and evil, the honorable and the base. Whoever, therefore, thinks one thing and teaches those about him another appears to be as wanting in culture as in honor. If in trifles there is a difference between thought and speech, it is nevertheless an evil in some way to be endured; but if in important matters any one thinks one thing and teaches in opposition to what he thinks, this is the trick of charlatans, the act not of good men, but of [pg 335] those who are thoroughly depraved, especially in the case of those who teach what they regard as most worthless, deceiving and enticing by flattery into evil those whom they wish to use for their own purposes. All those who undertake to teach anything should be upright in life and not cherish in their minds ideas which are in opposition to those commonly received; most of all I think that such they ought to be who converse with the young on learning, or who explain the writings of the ancients, whether they are teachers of eloquence or of rhetoric, and still more if they are sophists. For they aim to be not merely teachers of words but of morals as well, and claim instruction in political science as belonging to their field. Whether this be true, I will leave undetermined. But praising them as those who thus strive for fine professions, I would praise them still more if they neither lied nor contradicted themselves, thinking one thing and teaching their pupils another. Homer, Hesiod, Demosthenes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Isocrates, and Lysias were indebted to the gods for all their science. Did they not think that they were under the protection of Hermes and of the Muses? It seems to me, therefore, absurd that those who explain their writings should despise the gods they honored. But when I think it is absurd, I do not say that, on account of their pupils, they should alter their opinions; but I give them the choice, either not to teach what they do not hold as good, or, if they prefer to teach, first to convince their pupils that Homer, Hesiod, or any of those whom they explain and condemn, is not so godless and foolish in respect to the gods as they represent him to be. For since they draw their support and make gain from what these have written, they confess themselves most sordidly greedy of gain, willing to do anything for a few drachmas. Hitherto there were many causes for the lack of attendance upon the temples, and overhanging fear gave an excuse for keeping secret the right teaching concerning the gods. Now, however, since the gods have granted us freedom, it seems to me absurd that men should teach what they [pg 336] do not regard as good. If they believe that all those men are wise whose writings they expound and as whose prophets they sit, let them first imitate their piety toward the gods; but if they think that these writers erred concerning the most honored gods, let them go into the churches of the Galileans and expound Matthew and Luke, believing whom you forbid attendance upon the sacrifices. I would that your ears and tongues were born again, as you would say, of those things in which I always take part, and whoever loves me thinks and does. This law is to apply to teachers and instructors generally. Whoever among the youth wishes to make use of their instruction is not forbidden. For it would not be fair in the case of those who are yet youths and do not know which way to turn, to forbid the best way, and through fear to compel them to remain unwillingly by their ancestral institutions. Although it would be right to cure such people against their wills as being insane, yet it is permitted all to suffer under this disease. For it is my opinion that the ignorant should be instructed, not punished.

Free to Download MoboReader
(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top

shares