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and teach. We pronounce anathema against all those heresies, whether previously condemned or recently arisen, which oppose this formulary of faith.”
The signature of some of the bishops was obtained by compulsion, that of others by deceit. Those who refused to sign were banished to the extremities of the earth.
CHAP. XXII.-SYNODICAL LETTER FROM DAMASUS, BISHOP OF
ROME, AND THE BISHOPS OF THE WEST, TO THE BISHOPS OF ILLYRIA, CONCERNING THE COUNCIL OF RIMINI.
This formulary was condemned by all the adherents of truth, and particularly by the bishops of the West, as is testified by their letter to the bishops of Illyria. This letter was signed by Damasus, the virtuous successor of Liberius in the government of the church of Rome, and likewise by ninety bishops from Italy and from the country of the Galatae, which is now called Gaul, who were then assembled in Rome. I should have inserted their names, had it not appeared superAuous to do so. The following is the letter written by them :
“Damasus, Valens, and the other bishops assembled at the holy council held at Rome, to the beloved brethren the bishops of Illyria. Peace be unto you in the Lord.
“We believe that you adhere to that holy faith which is founded on the doctrines of the apostles, and is conformable to the opinions of the fathers, and that you preach it to the people ; for the priests of God, whose vocation is to instruct others, ought not to depart from the truth. But we have heard from our brethren in Gaul and at Venice, that there are some who are zealous to introduce heresy; an evil which all the bishops are bound to guard against, as well as against whatever is contrary to true interpretation of doctrines, lest any should, from ignorance or from simplicity, be deluded, and be led to listen to those who devise new doctrines, instead of adhering to the faith of our fathers. Auxentius, bishop of Milan, was justly condemned on this very account. It is then right that all the teachers of the law throughout the Roman empire should be of one mind, and not destroy by disputes the unity of the faith. As soon as the evil of heresy began to reach that pitch which the Arian blasphemy has now
attained, three hundred and eighteen of our fathers were selected by the most holy bishop of Romel to deliberate on the subject at. Nice; and they then erected wall against the weapons of the devil, and prepared an antidote against the deadly poison of heresy. This antidote is the declaration that the Father and the Son have one substance, one divinity, one virtue, (åper),) one power, one character, (kapaktno,) and that the Holy Ghost is likewise of the same hypostasis and substance. We have decided that those who advocate other opinions are to be excluded from communion with us. Certain individuals have endeavoured to pervert and to violate this salutary and excellent decision. But those who thus acted at the council of Rimini have since retracted, and have confessed that they were deceived ; they stated that heretical doctrines were propounded in so specious a manner at that council, that they did not appear to be at variance with the decrees of our fathers at Nice. The number of those assembled at Rimini ought not to occasion any prejudice against the truth, because they assembled without the sanction either of the bishop of Rome, whose opinion ought to have been consulted before that of any other bishop, or of Vincent, who had during so many years exercised the episcopal functions ; and also without the consent of many others who held similar sentiments. And besides, those bishops who had been deluded, and who hence appeared to vacillate, testified, as soon as they became undeceived, that their own dereliction from better principles had really grieved them. You must now perceive, that the articles of faith settled at Nice, upon the authority of the apostles, ought to be firmly established, and that the bishops both of the East and of the West, who profess to be catholics, ought to take pride in preserving unity with us.
We believe that, before long, those who hold sentiments at variance with ours will be excluded from communion with us, and be deprived of the very name of bishop, so that the people, being freed from their errors, may have liberty to breathe. The multitude cannot be liberated from error by those who cling to it themselves. Accord in opinion
1 This paragraph is wanting in the codex of Sir H. Saville, and is not to be found in Sozomen or Epiphanius. But Valesius argues for its genuineness. We have admitted his emendation of niektoi for ¿TÍOKOTT 01, as obviously correct.
with the priests of God; we believe that you are in this respect firm and stedfast, but in order that we may not doubt it, gladden us by communicating this fact to us by letter. Farewell, much honoured brethren.”
CHAP. XXIII.-LETTER FROM ATHANASIUS, BISHOP OF ALEX
ANDRIA, RESPECTING THE SAME COUNCIL. THE great Athanasius, in a letter addressed to the Africans, expressed similar opinions respecting the council of Rimini.
* After what has been so fully demonstrated,” says he, can any one name the council of Rimini, or any other council, in opposition to that of Nice? or is there any one who does not feel aversion towards those who set aside the decrees of the fathers, and substitute the new enactments extorted from the council of Rimini by contention and violence? Who would wish to associate with those who disapprove of their own transactions ? For they have attended more than ten councils, and at each council they have compiled a different formulary, thus clearly confessing by each successive compilation their disapprobation of the preceding. They have fallen into the same evil as the Jews who betrayed our Lord. For, as those who abandoned the only spring of living water made unto themselves cisterns which could hold no water, even as it was written by the prophet Jeremiah, (Jer. ii. 13,) so these individuals had no sooner opposed the general council, than they made unto themselves many councils, which are all vain and useless, and which, like theatrical representations of similar assemblies, are utterly powerless. We must not, therefore, listen to those who speak of the council of Rimini, or of any other council, as superior to that of Nice. For those who make so much mention of the council of Rimini, cannot surely be acquainted with what took place at it, else they would be silent on the subject. You know, beloved brethren, for you have heard it from those of your province who attended the council of Rimini, that Ursacius, Valens, Eudoxius, and Auxentius, with whom Demophilus was associated, were deposed because they wished to introduce doctrines differing from those established at Nice. When they were asked to condemn the Arian heresy, they refused to do so, and declared themselves its defenders. Nearly two hun
dred bishops, who were faithful servants of the Lord, and who adhered to the true faith, declared in writing, that they considered the Nicean formulary alone to be quite sufficient, and that they did not seek or believe either more or less than that which it contained. They declared the same things to Constantius, by whom the council had been convened. But those who had been deposed at Rimini repaired to Constantius, and caused the bishops who had condemned them to be treated with insult, and to be threatened with being prevented from returning to their own dioceses, and of being compelled to remain in Thrace throughout the winter, unless they would consent to the proposed innovations. Therefore, if any persons should dwell upon the superior authority of the council of Rimini, they ought first to be informed, that the bishops above-mentioned had been deposed ; and, secondly, that the other bishops declared in writing that they sought nothing beyond what was included in the confession of faith drawn up by the fathers at Nice, and that they acknowledge the authority of no other council. But these circumstances are studiously concealed by such persons, and those decrees which were enacted in Thrace by force, are prominently brought forward. Hence it is clearly seen that they have imbibed the Arian heresy, and are estranged from the true faith. If the general council were to be placed in comparison with the councils preferred by the heretics, the piety of the one and the absurdity of the others would be very evident. The bishops convened at Nice had never been deposed; but they confessed that the Son is of the substance of the Father. Those who assembled at Rimini had been deposed, some twice, and others even three times, and yet they had the presumption to write that it ought not to be said of God that he had either a substance or a hypothesis.”.
Such were the frauds and artifices resorted to by the partisans of Arius in the West, against the doctrines of the truth.
CHAP. XXIV.-EVIL MACHINATIONS OP LEONTIUS, BISHOP OF
ANTIOCH: THE BOLDNESS OF FLAVIANUS AND OF DIODORUS.
AFTER Flaccillus, the successor of Stephen, had been ejected from the church, Leontius succeeded to the chief au
thority in Antioch, contrary to the decrees of the Nicean council; for he was an eunuch, and had rendered himself such. St. Athanasius relates the cause of this act. Leontius had given rise to evil reports by frequenting the society of a young woman named Eustolia ; he was therefore forbidden to hold further intercourse with her. He rendered himself an eunuch in order that he might enjoy her society without creating surmises. But he did not thus escape suspicion; and, as he was a priest, he was deposed. Athanasius thus described the other events of the life of Leontius. “I shall give a brief account of his deceitfulness and of his artifices. He participated in the errors of Arius, but carefully concealed his impiety. Perceiving that the clergy and laity were divided in opinion, and that when praise was offered to the Son, some introduced the conjunctive particle 'and,' while others made use of the preposition by' (dià) with reference to the Son, and of 'in' (év) with reference to the Holy Ghost, he repeated the doxologies in an under tone of voice, so that those who were placed nearest him could only hear these words, 'for ever and ever. If so many proofs of his wickedness had not existed, it might have been said, that he did this simply with the design of restoring concord among the people. But his numerous and cruel machinations against the defenders of the truth, and the care and favour which he bestowed on those who had adopted impious principles, show plainly that he concealed his infatuated views from the fear of exciting the indignation of the multitude, and of incurring the severe penalties threatened by Constantius against all who should dare to affirm that the Son is dissimilar from the Father. He, however, manifested his sentiments by his actions. He never ordained or raised to any office of trust those who adhered to the apostolical doctrines, while those who clung to the Arian infatuation were allowed complete freedom of action, and were promoted to ecclesiastical dignities. About this time Aëtius, who had added new errors to the Arian doctrines, was ordained deacon. But Flavianus and Diodorus, who had em
Compare Socrates, Eccl. Hist. ï. 21, and the notes of Valesius in loco.--Socrates defends the Arian usage by quoting the words of St. Paul in his Epistles, as for example, 1 Cor. j. 4,“ Grace given you by Jesus Christ,” and Eph. iii. 21, “ Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus.”