Defence against the arians

By Athanasius
From: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2808.htm
 
Chapter III

Letters of the Council of Sardica to the Churches of Egypt and of Alexandria,
and to all Churches.

But when, notwithstanding, Eusebius and! his fellows proceeded without
shame, disturbing the Churches, and plotting the ruin of many, the most
religious Emperors Constantius and Constans being informed of this, commanded
the Bishops from both the West and East to meet together in the city of
Sardica. In the meantime Eusebius[6a] died: but a great number assembled from
all parts, and we challenged the associates of Eusebius and his fellows to
submit to a trial. But they, having before their eyes the things that they had
done, and perceiving that their accusers had come up to the Council, were
afraid to do this; but, while all besides met with honest intentions, they
again brought with them the Counts[7] Musonianus[8] and Hesychius the
Castrensian[9], that, as their custom was, they might effect their own aims by
their authority. But when the Council met without Counts, and no soldiers were
permitted to be present, they were con-rounded, and conscience-stricken,
because they could no longer obtain the judgment they wished, but such only as
reason and truth required. We, however, frequently repeated our challenge, and
the Council of Bishops called upon them to come forward, saying, "You have
come for the purpose of undergoing a trial; why then do you now withdraw
yourselves? Either you ought not to have come, or having come, not to conceal
yourselves. Such conduct will prove your greatest condemnation. Behold,
Athanasius and his fellows are here, whom you accused while absent; if
therefore you think that you have any thing against them, you may convict them
face to face. But if you pretend to be unwilling to do so, while in truth you
are unable, you plainly shew yourselves to be calumniators, and this is the
decision the Council will give you." When they heard this they were
self-condemned (for they were conscious of their machinations and fabrications
against us), and were ashamed to appear, thereby proving themselves to have
been guilty of many base calumnies.

The holy Council therefore denounced their indecent and suspicious
flight[1], and admitted us to make our defence; and when we had related their
conduct towards us, and proved the truth of our statements by witnesses and
other evidence, they were filled with astonishment, and all acknowledged that
our opponents had good reason to be afraid to meet the Council, lest their
guilt should be proved before their faces. They said also, that probably they
had come from the East, supposing that Athanasius and his fellows would not
appear, but that, when they saw them confident in their cause, and challenging
a trial, they fled. They accordingly received us as injured persons who had
been falsely accused, and confirmed yet more towards us their fellowship and
love. But they deposed Eusebius's associates in wickedness, who had become
even more shameless than himself, viz., Theodorus[2] of Heraclea, Narcissus of
Neronias, Acacius[3] of Caesarea, Stephanus[4] of Antioch, Ursacius and Valens
of Pannonia, Menophantus of Ephesus, and George[5] of Laodicaea; and they
wrote to the Bishops in all parts of the world, and to the diocese of each of
the injured persons, in the following terms.

Letter of the Council of Sardica to the Church

of Alexandria.

The Holy Council, by the grace of God assembled at Sardica, from[6] Rome,
Spain, Gaul, Italy, Campania, Calabria, Apulia, Africa, Sardinia, Pannonia,
Moesia, Dacia, Noricum, Siscia, Dardania, the other Dacia, Macedonia,
Thessaly, Achaia, Epirus, Thrace, Rhodope, Palestine, Arabia, Crete, and
Egypt, to their beloved brothers, the Presbyters and Deacons, and to all the
Holy Church of God abiding at Alexandria, sends health in the Lord. 37. We
were not ignorant, but the fact was

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well known to us, even before we received the letters of your piety, that the
supporters of the abominated heresy of the Arians were practising many
dangerous machinations, rather to the destruction of their own souls, than to
the injury of the Church. For this has ever been the object of their
unprincipled craft; this is the deadly design in which they have been
continually engaged; viz. how they may best expel from their places and
persecute all who are to be found anywhere of orthodox sentiments, and
maintaining the doctrine of the Catholic Church, which was delivered to them
from the Fathers. Against some they have laid false accusations; others they
have driven into banishment; others they have destroyed by the punishments
inflicted on them. At any rate they endeavoured by violence and tyranny to
surprise the innocence of our brother and fellow-Bishop Athanasius, and
therefore conducted their enquiry into his case without any care, without any
faith, without any sort of justice. Accordingly having no confidence in the
part they had played on that occasion, nor yet in the reports they had
circulated against him, but perceiving that they were unable to produce any
certain evidence respecting the case, when they came to the city of Sardica,
they were unwilling to meet the Council of all the holy Bishops. From this it
became evident that the decision of our brother and fellow-Bishop Julius was a
just one[7]; for after cautious deliberation and care he had determined, that
we ought not to hesitate at all about communion with our brother Athanasius.
For he had the credible testimony of eighty Bishops, and was also able to
advance this fair argument in his support that by the mere means of our dearly
beloved brethren his own Presbyters, and by correspondence, he had defeated
the design of Eusebius and his fellows, who relied more upon violence than
upon a judicial enquiry.

Wherefore all the Bishops from all parts determined upon holding communion
with Athanasius on the ground that he was innocent. And let your charity also
observe, that when he came to the holy Council assembled at Sardica, the
Bishops of the East were informed of the circumstance, as we said before, both
by letter, and by injunctions conveyed by word of mouth, and were invited by
us to be present. But, being condemned by their own conscience, they had
recourse to unbecoming excuses, and set themselves to avoid the enquiry. They
demanded that an innocent man should be rejected from our communion, as a
culprit, not considering how unbecoming, or rather how impossible, such a
proceeding was. And as for the Reports which were framed in the Mareotis by
certain most wicked and most abandoned youths s, to whose hands one would not
commit the very lowest office of the ministry, it is certain that they were ex
parte statements. For neither was our, brother the Bishop Athanasius present
on the occasion, nor the Presbyter Macarius who was accused by them. And
besides, their enquiry, or rather their falsification of facts, was attended
by the most disgraceful circumstances. Sometimes heathens, sometimes
Catechumens, were examined, not that they might declare what they knew, but
that they might assert those falsehoods which they had been taught by others.
And when you Presbyters, who were in charge in the absence of your Bishop,
desired to be present at the enquiry, in order that you might shew the truth,
and disprove the falsehoods, no regard was paid to you; they would not permit
you to be present, but drove you away with insult.

Now although their calumnies have been most plainly exposed before all men
by these circumstances; yet we found also, on reading the Reports, that the
most iniquitous Ischyras, who has obtained from them the empty title of Bishop
as his reward for the false accusation, had convicted himself of calumny. He
declares in the Reports that at the very time when, according to his positive
assertions, Macarius entered his cell, he lay there sick; whereas Eusebius and
his fellows had the boldness to write that Ischyras was standing up and
offering when Macarius came in.

38. The base and slanderous charge which they next alleged against him,
has become well-known to all men. They raised a great outcry, affirming that
Athanasius had committed murder, and had made away with one Arsenius a
Meletian Bishop, whose loss they pretended to deplore with feigned
lamentations and fictitious tears, and demanded that the body of a living man,
as if a dead one, should be given up to them. But their fraud was not
undetected; one and all knew that the person was alive, and was numbered among
the living. And when these men, who are ready upon any opportunity, perceived
their falsehoods detected (for Arsenius shewed himself alive, and so proved
that he had not been made away with, and was not dead), yet they would not
rest, but proceeded to add other to their former columnies[9], and to slander
the man by a fresh expedient. Well; our brother Athanasius, dearly beloved,
was not confounded, but again in the

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present case also with great boldness challenged them to the proof, and we too
prayed and exhorted them to come to the trial, and if they were able, to
establish their charge against him. O great arrogance ! O dreadful pride! or
rather, if one must say the truth, O evil and accusing conscience ! for this
is the view which all men take of it.

Wherefore, beloved brethren, we admonish and exhort you, above all things
to maintain the right faith of the Catholic Church. You have undergone many
severe and grievous trials; many are the insults and injuries which the
Catholic Church has suffered, but 'he that endureth to the end, the same shall
be saved[1].' Wherefore even though they still recklessly assail you, let your
tribulation be unto you for joy. For such afflictions are a sort of martyrdom,
and such confessions and tortures as yours will not be without their reward,
but ye shall receive the prize froth God. Therefore strive above all things in
support of the sound faith, and of the innocence of your Bishop and our
fellow-minister Athanasius. We also have not held our peace, nor been
negligent of what concerns your comfort, but have deliberated and done
whatsoever the claims of charity demand. We sympathize with our suffering
brethren, and their affliction! we consider as our own.

39. Accordingly we have written to beseech our most religious and godly
Emperors, that their kindness would give orders for the release of those who
are still suffering from affliction and oppression, and would command that
none of the magistrates, whose duty it is to attend only to civil causes, give
judgment upon Clergy[2], nor henceforward in any way, on pretence of providing
for the Churches, attempt anything against the brethren; but that every one
may live, as he prays and desires to do, free from persecution, from violence
and fraud, and in quietness and peace may follow the Catholic and Apostolic
Faith. As for Gregory, who has the reputation of being illegally appointed by
the heretics, and has been sent by them to your city, we wish your unanimity
to understand, that he has been deposed by a judgment of the whole sacred
Council, although indeed he has never at any time been considered to be a
Bishop at all. Wherefore receive gladly your Bishop Athanasius, for to this
end we have dismissed him in peace. And we exhort all those who either through
fear, or through the intrigues of certain persons, have held communion with
Gregory, that now being admonished, exhorted, and persuaded by us, they
withdraw from that his detestable communion, and straightway unite themselves
to the Catholic Church.

40. But forasmuch as we have learnt that Aphthonius, Athanasius the son of
Capito, Paul, and Plutio, our fellow Presbyters[3], have also suffered from
the machinations of Eusebius and his fellows, so that some of them have had
trial of exile, and others have fled on peril of their lives, we have in
consequence thought it necessary to make this known unto you, that you may
understand that we have received and acquitted them also, being aware that
whatever has been done by Eusebius and his fellows against the orthodox has
tended to the glory and commendation of those who have been attacked by them.
It were fitting that your Bishop and our brother Athanasius should make this
known to you respecting them, to his own respecting his own; but as for more
abundant testimony he wished the holy Council also to write to you, we
deferred not to do so, but hastened to signify this unto you, that you may
receive them as we have done, for they also are deserving of praise, because
through their piety towards Christ they have been thought worthy to endure
violence at the hands of the heretics.

What decrees have been passed by the holy Council against those who are at
the head of the Arian heresy, and have offended against you, and the rest of
the Churches, you will learn from the subjoined documents[4]. We have sent
them to you, that you may understand from them that the Catholic Church will
not overlook those who offend against her.

Letter of the Council of Sardica to the Bishops

of Egypt and Libya.

The holy Council, by the grace of God assembled at Sardica, to the Bishops
of Egypt and Libya, their fellow-ministers and dearly beloved brethren, sends
health in the Lord.

41. We were not ignorant[5], but the fact was well known to us, even
before we received the letters of your piety, that the supporters of the
abominated heresy of the Arians were practising many dangerous machinations,
rather to the destruction of their own souls, than to the injury of the
Church. For this has ever been the object of their craft and villainy: this is
the deadly design in which they have been continually engaged, viz. how they
may best expel from their places and persecute all who are to be found
anywhere of orthodox sentiments, and maintaining the doctrine of the

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Catholic Church, which was delivered to them from the Fathers. Against some
they have laid false accusations; others they have driven into banishment;
others they have destroyed by the punishments inflicted on them. At any rate
they endeavoured by violence and tyranny to surprise the innocence of our
brother and fellow-Bishop Athanasius, and therefore conducted their enquiry
into his case without any faith, without any sort of justice. Accordingly
having no confidence in the part they had played on that occasion, nor yet in
the reports they had circulated against him, but perceiving that they were
unable to produce any certain evidence respecting the case, when they came to
the city of Sardica, they were unwilling to meet the Council of all the holy
Bishops. From this it became evident that the decision of our brother and
fellow-Bishop Julius was a just one; for after cautious deliberation and care
he had decided, that we ought not to hesitate at all about communion with our
brother Athanasius. For he had the credible testimony of eighty Bishops, and
was also able to advance this fair argument in his support, that by the mere
means of our dearly' beloved brethren his own Presbyters, and by
correspondence, he had defeated the designs of Eusebius and his fellows, who
relied more upon violence than upon a judicial inquiry.

Wherefore all the Bishops from all parts determined upon holding communion
with Athanasius on the ground that he was innocent. And let your charity also
observe, that when he came to the holy Council assembled at Sardica, the
Bishops of the East were informed of the circumstance, as we said before, both
by letter, and by injunctions conveyed by word of mouth, and were invited by
us to be present. But, being condemned by their own conscience, they had
recourse to unbecoming excuses, and began to avoid the enquiry. They demanded
that an innocent man should be rejected from our communion, as a culprit, not
considering how unbecoming, or rather how impossible, such a proceeding was.
And as for the reports which were framed in the Mareotis by certain most
wicked and abandoned youths, to whose hands one would not commit the very
lowest office of the ministry, it is certain that they were ex parte
statements. For neither was our brother the Bishop Athanasius present on the
occasion, nor the Presbyter Macarius, who was accused by them. And besides,
their enquiry, or rather their falsification of facts, was attended by the
most disgraceful circumstances. Sometimes Heathens, sometimes Catechumens,
were examined, not that they might declare what they knew, but that they might
assert those falsehoods which they had been taught by others. And when you
Presbyters, who were in charge in the absence of your Bishop, desired to be
present at the enquiry, in order that you might shew the truth, and disprove
falsehood, no regard was paid to you; they would not permit you to be present,
but drove you away with insult.

Now although their calumnies have been most plainly exposed before all men
by these circumstances; yet we found also, on reading the Reports, that the
most iniquitous Ischyras, who has obtained from them the empty title of Bishop
as his reward for the false accusation, had convicted himself of calumny. He
declares in the Reports, that at the very time when, according to his positive
assertions, Macarius entered his cell, he lay there sick; whereas Eusebius and
his fellows had the boldness to write that Ischyras was standing offering when
Macarius came in.

42. The base and slanderous charge which they next alleged against him has
become well known unto all men. They raised a great outcry, affirming that
Athanasius had committed murder, and made away with one Arsenius a Meletian
Bishop, whose loss they pretended to deplore with feigned lamentations, and
fictitious tears, and demanded that the body of a living man, as if a dead
one, should be given up to them. But their fraud was not undetected; one and
all knew that the person was alive, and was numbered among the living. And
when these men, who are ready upon any opportunity, perceived their falsehood
detected (for Arsenius shewed himself alive, and so proved that he had not
been made away with, and was not dead), yet they would not rest, but proceeded
to add other to their former calumnies, and to slander the man by a fresh
expedient. Well: our brother Athanasius, dearly beloved, was not confounded,
but again in the present case also with great boldness challenged them to the
proof, and we too prayed and exhorted them to come to the trial, and if they
were able, to establish their charge against him. O great arrogance ! O
dreadful pride ! or rather, if one must say the truth, O evil and accusing
conscience ! for this is the view which all men take of it.

Wherefore, beloved brethren, we admonish and exhort you, above all things,
to maintain the right faith of the Catholic Church. You have undergone many
severe and grievous trials; many are the insults and injuries which the
Catholic Church has suffered, but 'he that endureth to the end, the same shall
be saved[6].' Wherefore, even though they

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shall still recklessly assail you, let your tribulation be unto you for joy.
For such afflictions are a sort of martyrdom, and such confessions and
tortures as yours will not be without their reward, but ye shall receive the
prize from God. Therefore strive above all things in support of the sound
Faith, and of the innocence of your Bishop and our brother Athanasius. We also
have not held our peace, nor been negligent of what concerns your comfort, but
have deliberated and done whatsoever the claims of charity demand. We
sympathize with our suffering brethren, and their afflictions we consider as
our own, and have mingled our tears with yours. And you, brethren, are not the
only persons who have suffered: many others also of our brethren in ministry
have come hither, bitterly lamenting these things.

43. Accordingly, we have written to beseech our most religious and godly
Emperors, that their kindness would give orders for the release of those who
are still suffering from affliction and oppression, and would command that
none of the magistrates, whose duty it is to attend only to civil causes, give
judgment upon Clergy, nor henceforward in any way, on pretence of providing
for the Churches, attempt anything against the brethren, but that every one
may live, as he prays and desires to do, free front persecution, from violence
and fraud, and in quietness and peace may follow the Catholic and Apostolic
Faith. As for Gregory, who has the reputation of being illegally appointed by
the heretics, and who has been sent by them to your city, we wish your
unanimity to understand, that he has been deposed by the judgment of the whole
sacred Council, although indeed he has never at any time been considered to be
a Bishop at all. Wherefore receive gladly your Bishop Athanasius; for to this
end we have dismissed him in peace. And we exhort all those, who either
through fear, or through intrigues of certain persons, have held communion
with Gregory, that being now admonished, exhorted, and persuaded by us, they
withdraw from his detestable communion, and straightway unite themselves to
the Catholic Church.

What decrees have been passed by the holy Council against Theodorus,
Narcissus, Stephanus, Acacius, Menophantus, Ursacius, Valens, and George[7],
who are the heads of the Arian heresy, and have offended against you and the
rest of the Churches, you will learn from the subjoined documents. We have
sent them to you, that your piety may assent to our decisions, and that you
may understand from them, that the Catholic Church will not overlook those who
offend against her.

Encyclical Letter of the Council of Sardica.

The holy Council[8], by the grace of God, assembled at Sardica, to their
dearly beloved brethren, the Bishops and fellow-Ministers of the Catholic
Church every where, sends health in the Lord.

44. The Arian madmen have dared repeatedly to attack the servants of God,
who maintain the right faith; they attempted to substitute a spurious
doctrine, and to drive out the orthodox; and at last they made so violent an
assault against the Faith, that it became known even to the piety of our most
religious Emperors. Accordingly, the grace of God assisting them, our most
religious Emperors have themselves assembled us together out of different
provinces and cities, and have permitted this holy Council to be held in the
city of Sardica; to the end that all dissension may be done away, and all
false doctrine being driven from us, Christian godliness may alone be
maintained by all men. The Bishops of the East also attended, being exhorted
to do so by the most religious Emperors, chiefly on account of the reports
they have so often circulated concerning our dearly beloved brethren and
fellow-ministers Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, and Marcellus, Bishop of
Ancyro-Galatia. Their calumnies have probably already reached you, and perhaps
they have attempted to disturb your ears, that you may be induced to believe
their charges against the innocent, and that they may obliterate from your
minds any suspicions respecting their own wicked heresy. But they have not
been permitted to effect this to any great extent; for the Lord is the
Defender of His Churches, Who endured death for their sakes and for us all,
and provided access to heaven for us all through Himself. When therefore
Eusebius and his fellows wrote long ago to Julius our brother and Bishop of
the Church of the Romans, against our fore-mentioned brethren, that is to say,
Athanasius, Marcellus, and Asclepas[9], the Bishops from the other parts wrote
also, testifying to the innocence of our fellow-minister Athana-

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sius, and declaring that the representations of Eusebius and his fellows were
nothing else but mere falsehood and calumny.

And indeed their calumnies were clearly proved by the fact that, when they
were invited to a Council by our dearly beloved fellow-minister Julius, they
would not come, and also by what was written to them by Julius himself. For
had they had confidence in the measures and the acts in which they were
engaged against our brethren, they would have come. And besides, they gave a
still more evident proof of their conspiracy by their conduct in this great
and holy Council. For when they arrived at the city of Sardica, and saw our
brethren Athanasius, Marcellus, Asclepas, and the rest, they were afraid to
come to a trial and though they were repeatedly invited to attend, they would
not obey the summons. Although all we Bishops met together, and above all that
man of most happy old age, Hosius, one who on account of his age, his
confession, and the many labours he has undergone, is worthy of all reverence;
and although we waited and urged them to come to the trial, that in the
presence of our fellow-ministers they might establish the truth of those
charges which they had circulated and written against them in their absence;
yet they would not come, when they were thus invited, as we said before, thus
giving proof of their calumnies, and almost proclaiming to the world by this
their refusal, the plot and conspiracy in which they have been engaged. They
who are confident of the truth of their assertions are able to make them good
against their opponents face to face. But as they would not meet us, we think
that no one can now doubt, however they may again have recourse to their bad
practices, that they possess no proof against our fellow-ministers, but
calumniate them in their absence, while they avoid their presence.

45. They fled, beloved brethren, not only on account of the calumnies they
had uttered, but because they saw that those had come who had various charges
to advance against them. For chains and irons were brought forward which they
had used; persons appeared who had returned from banishment; there came also
our brethren, kinsmen of those who were still detained in exile, and friends
of such as had perished through their means. And what was the most weighty
ground of accusation, Bishops were present, one[1] of whom brought forward the
irons and chains which they had caused him to wear, and others appealed to the
death which had been brought about by their calumnies. For they had proceeded
to such a pitch of madness, as even to attempt to destroy Bishops; and would
have destroyed them, had they not escaped their hands. Our fellow-ministers,
Theodulus of blessed memory[2], died during his flight from their false
accusations, orders having been given in consequence of these to put him to
death. Others also exhibited sword-wounds; and others complained that they had
been exposed to the pains of hunger through their means. Nor were they
ordinary persons who testified to these things, but whole Churches, in whose
behalf legates appeared[3], and told us of soldiers sword in hand, of
multitudes armed with clubs, of the threats of judges, of the forgery of false
letters. For there were read certain false letters of Theognius and his
fellows against our fellow-ministers Athanasius, Marcellus, and Asclepas,
written with the design of exasperating the Emperors against them; and those
who had then been Deacons of Theognius proved the fact. From these men, we
heard of virgins stripped naked, churches burnt, ministers in custody, and all
for no other end, but only for the sake of the accursed heresy of the Arian
madmen, whose communion whoso refused was forced to suffer these things.

When they perceived then how matters lay, they were in a strait what
course to choose. They were ashamed to confess what they had done, but were
unable to conceal it any longer. They therefore came to the city of Sardica,
that by their arrival they might seem to remove suspicion from themselves of
such offences. But when they saw those whom they had calumniated, and those
who had suffered at their hands; when they had before their eyes their
accusers and the proofs of their guilt, they were unwilling to come forward,
though invited by our fellow-ministers Athanasius, Marcellus, and Asclepas,
who with great freedom complained of their conduct, and urged and challenged
them to the trial, promising not only to refute their calumnies, but also to
bring proof of the offences which they had committed against

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their Churches. But they were seized with such terrors of conscience, that
they fled; and in doing so they exposed their own calumnies and confessed by
running away the offences of which they had been guilty.

46. But although their malice and their calumnies have been plainly
manifested on this as well as on former occasions, yet that they may not
devise means of practising a further mischief in consequence of their flight,
we have considered it advisable to examine the part they have played according
to the principles of truth; this has been our purpose, and we have found them
calumniators by their acts, and authors of nothing else than a plot against
our brethren in ministry. For Arsenius, who they said had been murdered by
Athanasius, is still alive, and is numbered among the living; from which we
may infer that the reports they have spread abroad on other subjects are
fabrications also. And whereas they spread abroad a rumour concerning a cup,
which they said had been broken by Macarius the Presbyter of Athanasius, those
who came from Alexandria, the Mareotis, and the other parts, testified that
nothing of the kind had taken place. And the Egyptian Bishops[2] who wrote to
Julius our fellow-minister, positively affirmed that there had not arisen
among them even any suspicion whatever of such a thing.

Moreover, the Reports, which they say they have to produce against him,
are, as is notorious, ex parte statements; and even in the formation of these
very Reports, Heathens and Catechumens were examined; one of whom, a
Catechumen, said[3] in his examination that he was present in the room when
Macarius broke in upon them; and another declared, that Ischyras of whom they
speak so much, lay sick in his cell at the time; from which it appears that
the Mysteries were never celebrated at all, because Catechumens were present,
and also that Ischyras was not present, but was lying sick on his bed.
Besides, this most worthless Ischyras, who has falsely asserted, as he was
convicted of doing, that Athanasius bad burnt some of the sacred books, has
himself confessed that he was sick, and was lying in his bed when Macarius
came; from which it is plain that he is a slanderer. Nevertheless, as a
reward for these his calumnies, they have given to this very Ischyras the
title of Bishop, although he is not even a Presbyter. For two Presbyters, who
were once associated with Meletius, but were afterwards received by the
blessed Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, and are now with Athanasius, appeared
before the Council, and testified that he was not even a Presbyter of
Meletius, and that Meletius never had either Church or Minister in the
Mareotis. And yet this man, who has never been even a Presbyter, they have now
brought forward as a Bishop, that by this name they may have the means of
overpowering those who are within hearing of his calumnies.

47. The book of our fellow-minister Marcellus was also read, by which the
fraud of Eusebius and his fellows was plainly discovered. For what Marcellus
had advanced by way of enquiry[4], they falsely represented as his professed
opinion; but when the subsequent parts of the book were read, and the parts
preceding the queries themselves, his faith was found to be correct. He had
never pretended, as they positively affirmed[5], that the Word of God had His
beginning from holy Mary, nor that His kingdom had an end; on the contrary he
had written that His kingdom was both without beginning and without end. Our
fellow-minister Asclepas also produced Reports which had been drawn up at
Antioch in the presence of his accusers and Eusebius of Caesarea, and proved
that he was innocent by the declarations of the Bishops who judged his
cause[6]. They had good reason therefore, dearly beloved brethren, for not
hearkening to our frequent summons, and for deserting the Council. They were
driven to this by their own consciences; but their flight only confirmed the
proof of their own calumnies, and caused those things to be believed against
them, which their accusers, who were present, were asserting and arguing. But
besides all these things, they had not only received those who were formerly
degraded and ejected on account of the heresy of Arius, but had even promoted
them to a higher station, advancing Deacons to the Presbytery, and of
Presbyters making Bishops, for no other end, but that they might disseminate
and spread abroad impiety, and corrupt the orthodox faith.

48. Their leaders are now, after Eusebius and his fellows, Theodorus of
Heraclea, Narcissus of Neronias in Cilicia, Stephanus of Antioch, George of
Laodicea, Acacius of CAEsarea in Palestine, Menophantus of Ephesus in Asia,
Ursacius of Singidunum in Moesia, and Valens of Mursa in Pannonia[7]. These
men would not permit those who came with them from the East to meet the holy
Council, nor even to approach the Church of God; but as they were coming to
Sardica, they held Councils in

126

various places by themselves, and made an engagement under threats, that when
they came to Sardica, they would not so much as appear at the trial, nor
attend the assembling of the holy Council, but simply coming and making known
their arrival as a matter of form, would speedily take to flight. This we have
been able to ascertain from our fellow-ministers, Macarius of Palestine and
Asterius of Arabia[8], who after coming in their company, separated themselves
from their unbelief. These came to the holy Council, and complained of the
violence they had suffered, and said that no right act was being done by them;
adding that there were many among them who adhered to orthodoxy, but were
prevented by those men from coming hither, by means of the threats and
promises which they held out to those who wished to separate from them. On
this account it was that they were so anxious that all should abide in one
dwelling, and would not suffer them to be by themselves even for the shortest
space of time.

49. Since then it became us not to hold our peace, nor to pass over
unnoticed their calumnies, imprisonments, murders, wounds, conspiracies by
means of false letters, outrages, stripping of the virgins, banishments,
destruction of the Churches, burnings, translations from small cities to
larger dioceses, and above all, the rising of the ill-named Arian heresy by
their means against the orthodox faith; we have therefore pronounced our
dearly beloved, brethren and fellow-ministers Athanasius, Marcellus, and
Asclepas, and those who minister to the Lord with them, to be innocent and
clear of offence, and have written to the diocese of each, that the people of
each Church may know the innocence of their own Bishop, and may esteem him as
their Bishop and expect his coining.

And as for those who like wolves[9] have invaded their Churches, Gregory
at Alexandria Basil at Ancyra, and Quintianus at Gaza, let them neither give
them the title of Bishop, nor hold any communion at all with them, nor receive
letters[10] from them, nor write to them. And for Theodorus, Narcissus,
Acacius, Stephanus, Ursacius, Valens, Menophantus, and George, although the
last from fear did not come from the East, yet because he was deposed by the
blessed Alexander, and because both he and the others were connected with the
Arian madness, as well as on account of the charges which lie against them,
the holy Council has unanimously deposed them from the Episcopate, and we have
decided that they not only are not Bishops, but that they are unworthy of
holding communion with the faithful.

For they who separate the Son and alienate the Word from the Father, ought
themselves to be separated from the Catholic Church and to be alien from the
Christian name. Let them therefore be anathema to you, because they have
'corrupted the word of truth[1].' It is an Apostolic injunction[2], ' If any
man preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him he
accursed.' Charge your people that no one hold communion with them, for there
is no communion of light with darkness; put away from you all these, for there
is no concord of Christ in Belial[3]. And take heed, dearly beloved, that ye
neither write to them, nor receive letters from them; but desire rather,
brethren and fellow-ministers, as being present in spirit[3a] with our
Council, to assent to our judgments by your subscriptions[4], to the end that
concord may be preserved by all our fellow-ministers everywhere. May Divine
Providence protect and keep you, dearly beloved brethren, in sanctification
and joy.

I, Hosius, Bishop, have subscribed this, and all the rest likewise.

This is the letter which the Council of Sardica sent to those who were
unable to attend, and they on the other hand gave their judgment in
accordance; and the following are the names both of those Bishops who
subscribed in the Council, and of the others also.

50. Hosius of Spain[5], Julius of Rome by his Presbyters Archidamus and
Philoxenus, Protogenes of Sardica, Gaudentius, Macedonius, Severus,
PrAEtextatus, Ursicius, Lucillus, Eugenius, Vitalius, Calepodius, Florentius,
Bassus, Vincentius, Stercorius, Palladius, Domitianus, Chalbis, Gerontius,
Protasius, Eulogus, Porphyrius, Dioscorus, Zosimus, Januarius, Zosimus,
Alexander, Eutychius, Socrates, Diodorus, Martyrius, Eutherius, Eucarpus,
Athenodorus, Irenaeus,

127

Julianus, Alypius, Jonas, Aetius, Restitutus, Marcellinus, Aprianus, Vitalius,
Valens, Hermogenes, Castus, Domitianus, Fortunatius, Marcus, Anuianus,
Heliodorus, Musaeus, Asterius, Paregorius, Plutarchus, Hymenaeus, Athanasius,
Lucius, Amantius, Arius, Asclepius, Dionysius, Maximus, Tryphon, Alexander,
Antigonus, AElianus, Petrus, Symphorus, Musonius, Eutychus, Philologius,
Spudasius, Zosimus, Patricius, Adolius, Sapricius[6]..

From Gaul the following; Maximianus[6a], Verissimus[6b], Victurus,
Valentinus[1], Desiderius, Eulogius, Sarbatius, Dyscolius[2], Superior,
Mercurius, Declopetus, Eusebius, Severinus[3], Satyrus, Martinus, Paulus,
Optatianus, Nicasius, Victor[4], Sempronius, Valerinus, Pacatus, Jes-ses,
Ariston, Simplicius, Metianus, Amantus[5], Amillianus, Justinianus,
Victorinus[6], Satornilus, Abundantius, Donatuanus, Maximus.

From Africa; Nessus, Gratus[7], Megasius, Coldaeus, Rogatianus,
Consortius, Rufinus, Manninus, Cessilianus, Herennianus, Marianus, Valerius,
Dynamius, Mizonius, Justus, Celestinus, Cyprianus, Victor, Honoratus, Marinus,
Pantagathus, Felix, Baudius, Liber, Capito, Minervalis, Cosmus, Victor,
Hesperio, Felix, Severianus, Optantius, Hesperus, Fidentius, Salustius,
Paschasius.

From Egypt; Liburnius, Amantius, Felix, Ischyrammon, Romulus, Tiberinus,
Consortius, Heraclides, Fortunatius, Dioscorus, Fortuna-tianus, Bastamon,
Datyllus, Andreas, Serenus, Arius, Theodorus, Evagoras, Helias, Timotheus,
Orion, Andronicus, Paphnutius, Hermias, Arabion, Psenosiris, Apollonius, Muis,
Sarapampon[8], Philo, Philippus, Apollonius, Paphnutius, Paulus, Dioscorus,
Nilammon, Serenus, Aquila, Aotas, Harpocration, Isac, Theodorus, Apollos,
Ammonianus, Nilus, Her-aclius, Arion, Athas, Arsenius, Agathammon, Theon,
Apollonius, Helias, Paninuthius, Andragathius, Nemesion, Sarapion, Ammonius,
Ammonius, Xenon, Gerontius, Quintus, Leonides, Sempronianus, Philo,
Heraclides, Hieracys, Rufus, Pasophius, Macedonius, Apollodorus, Flavianus,
Psaes, Syrus, Apphus, Sarapion, Esaias, Paphnutius, Timotheus, Elurion, Gaius,
MusAEus, Pistus, Heraclammon, Heron, Helias, Anagamphus, Apollonius, Gaius,
Philotas, Paulus, Tithoes, Eudaemon, Julius. Those on the road[9] of Italy are
Probatius, Viator, Facundinus, Joseph, Numedius, Sperantius, Severus,
Heraclianus, Faustinus, Antoninus, Heraclius, Vitalins, Felix, Crispinus,
Paulianus.

From Cyprus; Auxibius, Photius, Gerasius, Aphrodisius, Irenicus,
Nunechius, Athanasius, Macedonius, Triphyllius, Spyridon, Norbanus,
Sosicrates.

From Palestine; Maximus, Aetius, Arius, Theodosius, Germanus, Silvanus,
Paulus, Claudius, Patricius, Elpidius, Germanus, Eusebius, Zenobius, Paulus,
Petrus.

These are the names of those who subscribed to the acts of the Council;
but there are very many beside, out of Asia, Phrygia, and Isauria[9a], who
wrote in my behalf before this Council was held, and whose names, nearly
sixty-three in member, may be found in their own letters. They amount
altogether to three hundred and forty-four[10].