History of the Arians

by Athanasius
From: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2815.htm



I. AND not long after they put in execution the designs for the sake of
which they had had recourse to these artifices; for they no sooner had formed
their plans, but they immediately admitted Arius and his fellows to communion.
They set aside the repeated condemnations which had been passed upon them, and
again pretended the imperial authority(1) in their behalf. And they were not
ashamed to say in their letters, 'since Athanasius suffered, all jealousy(2)
has ceased, and let us henceforward receive Arius and his fellows;' adding, in
order to frighten their hearers, 'because the Emperor has commanded it.'
Moreover, they were not ashamed to add, 'for these men profess orthodox
opinions;' not fearing that which is written, 'Woe unto them that

I call bitter sweet, that put darkness for light(3);' for they are ready
to undertake anything in support of their heresy. Now is it not hereby plainly
proved to all men, that we both suffered heretofore, and that you now
persecute us, not under the authority of an Ecclesiastical sentence(4), but on
the ground of the Emperor's threats, and on account of our piety towards
Christ? As also they conspired in like manner against other Bishops,
fabricating charges against them also; some of whom fell asleep in the place
of their exile, having attained the glory of Christian confession; and others
are still banished from their country, and contend still more and more
manfully against their heresy, saying, 'Nothing shall separate us from the
love of Christ(5)?'

2. Arians sacrifice morality and integrity

to party.

And hence also you may discern its character, and be able to
condemn it more confidently. The man who is their friend and their associate
in impiety, although he is open to ten thousand charges for other enormities
which he has committed; although the evidence and proof against him are most
clear; he is approved of by them, and straightway becomes the friend of the
Emperor, obtaining an introduction by his impiety; and making very many
pretences, he acquires confidence before the magistrates to do whatever he
desires. But he who exposes their impiety, and honestly advocates the cause of
Christ, though he is pure in all things, though he is conscious of no
delinquencies, though he meets with no accuser; yet on the false pretences
which they have framed against him, is immediately seized and sent into
banishment under a sentence of the Emperor, as if he were guilty of the crimes
which they wish to charge upon him, or as if, like Naboth, he had insulted the
King; while he who advocates the cause of their heresy is sought for and
immediately sent to take possession of the other's Church; and henceforth
confiscations and insults, and all kinds of cruelty are exercised against
those who do not receive him. And what is the strangest of all, the man whom
the people desire, and know to be blameless[6], the Emperor takes away and
banishes; but him whom they neither desire, nor know, he sends to them from a
distant place with soldiers and letters from himself. And henceforward a
strong necessity is laid upon them, either to hate him whom they love; who has
been their teacher, and their father in godliness; and to love him whom they
do not desire, and to trust their children to one of whose life and
conversation and character they are ignorant; or else certainly to suffer
punishment, if they disobey the Emperor.


3. Recklessness of their proceedings.

In this manner the impious are now proceeding, as heretofore, against the
orthodox; giving proof of their malice and impiety amongst all men everywhere.
For granting that they have accused Athanasius; yet what have the other
Bishops done? On what grounds can they charge them? Has there been found in
their case too the dead body of an Arsenius? Is there a Presbyter Macarius, or
has a cup been broken amongst them? Is there a Meletian to play the hypocrite?
No: but as their proceedings against the other Bishops shew the charges which
they have brought against Athanasius, in all probability, to be false; so
their attacks upon Athanasius make it plain, that their accusations of the
other Bishops are unfounded likewise. This heresy has come forth upon the
earth like some great monster, which not only injures the innocent with its
words, as with teeth(7); but it has also hired external power to assist it in
its designs. And strange it is that, as I said before, no accusation is
brought against any of them; or if any be accused, he is not brought to trial;
or if a shew of enquiry be made, he is acquitted against evidence, while the
convicting party is plotted against, rather than the culprit put to shame.
Thus the whole party of them is full of idleness; and their spies, for
Bishops(8) they are not, are the vilest of them all. And if any one among them
desire to become a Bishop, he is not told, 'a Bishop must be blameless(9);'
but only, 'Take up opinions contrary to Christ, and care not for manners. This
will be sufficient to obtain favour for you, and friendship with the Emperor.'
Such is the character of those who support the tenets of Arius. And they who
are zealous for the truth, however holy and pure they shew themselves, are
yet, as I said before, made culprits, whenever these men choose, and on
whatever pretences it may seem good to them to invent. The truth of, this, as
I before remarked, you may clearly gather from their proceedings.

4. Arians persecute Eustathius and others.

There was one Eustathius(1), Bishop of Antioch, a Confessor, and sound in the
Faith. This man, because he was very zealous for the truth, and hated the
Arian heresy, and would not receive those who adopted its tenets, is falsely
accused before the Emperor Constantine, and a charge invented against him,
that he had insulted his mother(2). And immediately he is driven into
banishment, and a great number of Presbyters and Deacons with him. And
immediately after the banishment of the Bishop, those whom he would not admit
into the clerical order on account of their impiety were not only received
into the Church by them, but were even appointed the greater part of them to
be Bishops, in order that they might have accomplices in their impiety. Among
these was Leontius the eunuch(3), now of Antioch, and his predecessor
Stephanus, George of Laodicea, and Theodosius who was of Tripolis, Eudoxius of
Germanicia, and Eustathius(4), now of Sebastia.

5. Did they then stop here? No. For Eutropius(5), who was Bishop of
Adrianople, a good man, and excellent in all respects, because he had often
convicted Eusebius, and had advised them who came that way, not to comply with
his impious dictates, suffered the same treatment as Eustathius, and was east
out of his city and his Church. Basilina(6) was the most active in the
proceedings against him. And Euphration of Balanea, Kymatius of Paltus,
Carterius of Antaradus(6a), Asclepas of Gaza, Cyrus of Bercoea in Syria,
Diodorus of Asia, Domnion of Sirmium, and Ellanicus of Tripolis, were merely
known to hate the heresy; and some of them on one pretence or another, some
without any, they removed under the authority of royal letters, drove them out
of their cities, and appointed others whom they knew to be impious men, to
occupy the Churches in their stead.

6. Case of Marcellus.

Of Marcellus(7), the Bishop of Galatia, it is perhaps superfluous for me
to speak; for all men have heard how Eusebius and his fellows, who had been
first accused by him of impiety, brought a counter-accusation against him, and
caused the old man to be banished. He went up to Rome, and there made his
defence, and being required by them, he offered a written declaration of his
faith, of which the Council of Sardica approved. But Eusebius and his fellows
made no defence, nor, when they were convicted of impiety out of their
writings, were they put to shame, but rather assumed greater boldness against
all. For


they had an introduction, to the Emperor from the women(8), and were
formidable to all men.

7. Martyrdom of Paul of Constantinople.

And I suppose no one is ignorant of the case of Paul(9), Bishop of
Constantinople; for the more illustrious any city is, so much the more that
which takes place in it is not concealed. A charge was fabricated against him
also. For Macedonius his accuser, who has, now become Bishop in his stead (I
was present myself at the accusation), afterwards held communion with him, and
was a Presbyter under Paul himself. And yet when Eusebius with an evil eye
wished to seize upon the Bishopric of that city (he had been translated in the
same manner from Berytus to Nicomedia), the charge was revived against Paul;
and they did not give up their plot, but persisted in the calumny. And he was
banished first into Pontus by Constantine, and a second time by Constantius he
was sent bound with iron chains to Singara in Mesopotamia, and from thence
transferred to Emesa, and a fourth time he was banished to Cucusus in
Cappadocia, near the deserts of Mount Taurus; where, as those who were with
him have declared, he died by strangulation at their hands. And yet these men
who never speak the truth, though guilty of this, were not ashamed after his
death to invent another story, representing that he had died from illness;
although all who live in that place know the circumstances. And even
Philagrius(1), who was then Deputy-Governor(2) of those parts, and represented
all their proceedings in such manner as they desired, was yet astonished at
this; and being grieved perhaps that another, and not himself, had done the
evil deed, he informed Serapion the Bishop, as well as many other of our
friends, that Paul was shut up by them in a very confined and dark place, and
left to perish of hunger; and when after six days they went in and found him
still alive, they immediately set upon the man, and strangled him. This was
the end of his life; and they said that Philip who was Prefect was their agent
in the perpetration of this murder. Divine Justice, however, did not overlook
this; for not a year passed, when Philip was deprived of his office in great
disgrace, so that being reduced to a private station, he became the mockery of
those whom he least desired to be the witnesses of his fall. For in extreme
distress of mind, groaning and trembling like Cain(3), and expecting every day
that some one would destroy him, far from his country and his friends, he
died, like one astounded at his misfortunes, in a manner that he least
desired. Moreover these men spare not even after death those against whom they
have invented charges whilst living. They are so eager to shew themselves
formidable to all, that they banish the living, and shew no mercy on the dead;
but alone of all the world they manifest their hatred to them that are
departed, and conspire against their friends, truly inhuman as they are, and
haters of that which is good, savage in temper beyond mere enemies, in behalf
of their impiety, who eagerly plot the ruin of me and of all the rest, with no
regard to truth, but by false charges.

8. Restoration of the Catholics.

Perceiving this to be the case, the three brothers, Constantine,
Constantius, and Constans, caused all after the death of their father to
return to their own country and Church; and while they wrote letters
concerning the rest to their respective Churches, concerning Athanasius they
wrote the following; which likewise shews the violence of the whole
proceedings, and proves the murderous disposition of Eusebius and his fellows.
A copy of the Letter of Constantine Caesar to the people of the Catholic
Church in the city of the Alexandrians.

I suppose that it has not escaped the knowledge of your pious minds(4),

This is his letter; and what more credible witness of their conspiracy
could there be than he, who knowing these circumstances has thus written of




9. Eusebius and his fellows, however, seeing the declension of their
heresy, wrote to Rome, as well as to the Emperors Constantine and Constans, to
accuse(1) Athanasius: but when the persons who were sent by Athanasius
disproved the statements which they had written, they were put to shame by the
Emperors; and Julius, Bishop of Rome, wrote to say(2) that a Council ought to
be held, wherever we should desire, in order that they might exhibit the
charges which they had to make, and might also freely defend themselves
concerning those things of which they too were accused. The Presbyters also
who were sent by


them, when they saw themselves making an exposure, requested that this might
be done. Whereupon these men, whose conduct is suspicious in all that they do,
when they see that they are not likely to get the better in an Ecclesiastical
trial, betake themselves to Constantius alone, and thenceforth bewail
themselves, as to the patron of their heresy. 'Spare,' they say, 'the heresy;
you see that all men have withdrawn from us; and very few of us are now left.
Begin to persecute, for we are being deserted even of those few, and are left
destitute. Those persons whom we forced over to our side, when these men were
banished, they now by their return have persuaded again to take part against
us. Write letters therefore against them all, and send out Philagrius a second
time a as Prefect of Egypt, for he is able to carry on a persecution
favourably for us, as he has already shewn upon trial, and the more so, as he
is an apostate. Send also Gregory as Bishop to Alexandria, for he too is able
to strengthen our heresy.'

10. Violent Intrusion of Gregory.

Accordingly Constantius at once writes letters, and commences a persecution
against all, and sends Philagrius as Prefect with one Arsacius an eunuch; he
sends also Gregory with a military force. And the saint consequences followed
as before 4. For gathering together a multitude of herdsmen and shepherds, and
other dissolute youths belonging to the town, armed with swords and clubs,
they attacked in a body the Church which is called the Church of Quirinus(5);
and some they slew, some they trampled under foot, others they beat with
stripes and cast into prison or banished. They holed away many women also, and
dragged them openly into the court, and insulted them, dragging them by the
hair. Some they proscribed; from some they took away their bread(6) for no
other reason, but that they might be induced to join the Arians, and receive
Gregory, who had been sent by the Emperor.

11. The Easterns decline the Council at Rome.

Athanasius, however, before these things happened(6a), at the first report
of their proceedings, sailed to Rome, knowing the rage of the heretics, and
for the purpose of having the Council held as had been determined. And Julius
wrote letters to them, and sent the Presbyters Elpidius and Philoxenus,
appointing a day(7), that they might either come, or consider themselves as
altogether suspected persons. But as soon as Eusebius and his fellows heard
that the trial was to be an Ecclesiastical one, at which no Count would be
present, nor soldiers stationed before the doors, and that the proceedings
would not be regulated by royal order(for they have always depended upon these
things to support them against the Bishops, and without them they have no
boldness even to speak); they were so alarmed that they detained the
Presbyters till after the pointed time, and pretended an unseemly excuse, that
they were not able to come now on account of the war which was begun by the
Persians(8). But this was not the true cause of their delay, but the fears of
their own consciences. For what have Bishops to do with war? Or if they were
unable on account of the Persians to come to Rome, although it is at a
distance and beyond sea, why did they like lions(9) go about the parts of the
East and those which are near the Persians, seeking who was opposed to them,
that they might falsely accuse and banish them?

12. At any rate, when they had dismissed the Presbyters with this
improbable excuse, they said to one another, 'Since we are unable to get the
advantage in an Ecclesiastical trial, let us exhibit our usual audacity.'
Accordingly they write to Philagrius, and cause him after a while to go out
with Gregory into Egypt. Whereupon the Bishops are severely scourged and cast
into chains(1). Sarapammon, for in stance, Bishop and Confessor, they drive
into banishment; Potammon, Bishop and Confessor, who had lost an eye in the
persecution, they beat with stripes on the neck so cruelly, that he appeared
to be dead before they came to an end. In which condition he was cast aside,
and hardly after some hours, being carefully attended and fanned, he revived,
God granting him his life; but a short time after he died of the sufferings
caused by the stripes, and attained in Christ to the glory of a second
martyrdom. And besides these, how many monks were scourged, while Gregory sat
by with Balacius the 'Duke!' how many Bishops were wounded! how many virgins
were beaten!

13. Cruelties of Gregory at Alexandria.

After this the wretched Gregory called upon all men to have communion with
him. But if thou didst demand of them communion, they were not worthy of
stripes: and if thou didst scourge them as if evil persons, why didst thou ask
it of them as if holy? But he had no other end in view, except to fulfil the
designs of them


that sent him, and to establish the heresy. Wherefore he became in his folly a
murderer and an executioner, injurious, crafty, and profane; in one word, an
enemy of Christ. He so cruelly persecuted the Bishop's aunt, that even when
she died he would not suffer her to be buried(2). And this would have been her
lot; she would have been cast away without burial. had not they who attended
on the corpse carried her out as one of their own kindred. Thus even in such
things he shewed his profane temper. And again when the widows and other
mendicants(3) had received alms, he commanded what had been given them to be
seized, and the vessels in which they carried their oil and wine to be broken,
that he might not only shew impiety by robbery, but in his deeds dishonour the
Lord; from whom very shortly, he will hear those words, 'Inasmuch as thou hast
dishonoured these, thou hast dishonoured Me(5).'

14. Profaneness of Gregory and death of


And many other things he did, which exceed the power of language to
describe, and which whoever should hear would think to be incredible. And the
reason why he acted thus was, because he had not received his ordination
according to ecclesiastical rule, nor had been called to be a Bishop by
apostolical tradition(6); but had been sent out from court with military power
and pomp, as one entrusted with a secular government. Wherefore he boasted
rather to be the friend of Governors, than of Bishops and Monks. Whenever,
therefore, our Father Antony wrote to him from the mountains, as godliness is
an abomination to a sinner, so he abhorred the letters of the holy man. But
whenever the Emperor, or a General, or other magistrate, sent him a letter, he
was as much overjoyed as those in the Proverbs, of whom the Word has said
indignantly, 'Woe unto them who leave the path of uprightness who rejoice to
do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked(7).' And so he honoured
with presents the bearers of these letters; but once when Antony wrote to him
he caused Duke Balacius to spit upon the letter, and to east it from him. But
Divine Justice did not overlook this; for no long time after, when the Duke
was on horseback, and on his way to the first halt(8), the horse turned his
head, and biting him on the thigh, threw him off; and within three days he




15. While they were proceeding in like measures towards all, at Rome about
fifty Bishops assembled(1), and denounced Eusebius and his fellows as persons
suspected, afraid to come, and also condemned as unworthy of credit the
written statement they had sent; but us they received, and gladly embraced our
communion. While these things were taking place, a report of the Council held
at Rome, and of the proceedings against the Churches at Alexandria, and
through all the East, came to the hearing of the Emperor Constans(2). He
writes to his brother Constantius, and immediately they both determine(3)
that a Council shall be called, and matters be brought to a settlement, so
that those who had been injured may be released from further suffering, and
the injurious be no longer able to perpetrate such outrages. Accordingly there
assemble at the city of Sardica both from the East and West to the number of
one hundred and seventy Bishops(4), more or less; those who came from the West
were Bishops only, having Hosius for their father, but those from the East
brought with them instructors of youth and advocates, Count Musonianus, and
Hesychius(5) the Castrensian; on whose account they came with great alacrity,
thinking that everything would be again managed by their authority. For thus
by means of these persons they have always shewn themselves formidable to any
whom they wished to intimidate, and have prosecuted their designs against
whomsoever they chose. But when they arrived and saw that the cause was to be
conducted as simply an ecclesiastical one, without the interference of the
Count or of soldiers; when they saw the accusers who came from every church
and city, and the evidence which was brought against them, when they saw the
venerable Bishops Arius and Asterius(6), who came up in their company,
withdrawing from them and siding with us(6a), and giving an account of their
cunning, and how suspicious their conduct was, and that they were fearing the
consequences of a trial, lest they should be con-


victed by us of being false informers, and it should be discovered by those
whom they produced in the character of accusers, that they had themselves
suggested all they were to say, and were the contrivers of the plot.
Perceiving this to be the case, although they had come with great zeal, as
thinking that we should be afraid to meet them, yet now when they saw our
alacrity, they shut themselves up in the Palace[7] (for they had their abode
there), and proceeded to confer with one another in the following manner: 'We
came hither for one result; and we see another; we arrived in company with
Counts, and the trial is proceeding without them. We are certainly condemned.
You all know the orders that have been given. Athanasius and his fellows have
the reports of the proceedings in the Mareotis[8], by which he is cleared, and
we are covered with disgrace. Why then do we delay? why are we so slow? Let us
invent some excuse and be gone, or we shall be condemned if we remain. It is
better to suffer the shame of fleeing, than the disgrace of being convicted as
false accusers. If we flee, we shall find some means of defending our heresy;
and even if they condemn us for our flight, still we have the Emperor as our
patron, who will not suffer the people to expel us from the Churches.'

16. Secession of the Easterns at Sardica.

Thus then they reasoned with themselves and Hosius and all the other
Bishops repeatedly signified to them the alacrity of Athanasius and his
fellows, saying, 'They are ready with their defence, and pledge themselves to
prove you false accusers.' They said also, 'If you fear the trial, why did you
come to meet us? either you ought not to have come, or now that you have come,
not to flee.' When they heard this, being still more alarmed, they had
recourse to an excuse even more unseemly than that they pretended at Antioch,
viz. that they betook themselves to flight because the Emperor had written to
them the news of his victory over the Persians. And this excuse they were not
ashamed to send by Eustathius a Presbyter of the Sardican Church. But even
thus their flight did not succeed according to their wishes; for immediately
the holy Council, of which the great Hosius was president, wrote to them
plainly, saying, 'Either come forward and answer the charges which are brought
against you, for the false accusations which you have made against others, or
know that the Council will condemn you as guilty, and declare Athanasius and
his fellows free and clear from all blame.' Whereupon they were rather
impelled to flight by the alarms of conscience, than to compliance with the
proposals of the letter; for when they saw those who had been injured by them,
they did not even turn their faces to listen to their words, but fled with
greater speed.

17. Proceedings of the Council of Sardica.

Under these disgraceful and unseemly circumstances their flight took place.
And the holy Council, which had been assembled out of more than five and
thirty provinces, perceiving the malice of the Arians, admitted Athanasius and
his fellows to answer to the charges which the others had brought against
them, and to declare the sufferings which they had undergone. And when they
had thus made their defence, as we said before, they approved and so highly
admired their conduct that they gladly embraced their communion, and wrote
letters to all quarters, to the diocese of each, and especially to Alexandria
and Egypt, and the Libyas, declaring Athanasius and his friends to be
innocent, and free from all blame, and their opponents to be calumniators,
evil-doers, and everything rather than Christians. Accordingly they dismissed
them in peace; but depostal Stephanus and Menophantus, Acacius and George of
Laodicea, Ursacius and Valens, Theodorus and Narcissus. For against Gregory,
who had been sent to Alexandria by the Emperor, they put forth a proclamation
to the effect that he had never been made a Bishop, and that he ought not to
be called a Christian. They therefore declared the ordinations which he
professed to have conferred to be void, and commanded that they should not be
even named in the Church, on account of their novel and illegal nature. Thus
Athanasius and his friends were dismissed in peace (the letters concerning
them are inserted at the end on account of their length 9), and the Council
was dissolved.

18. Arian Persecution after Sardica.

But the deposed persons, who ought now to have remained quiet, with those
who had separated after so disgraceful a flight, were guilty of such conduct,
that their former proceedings appear trifling in comparison of these. For when
the people of Adrianople would not have communion with them, as men who had


from the Council, and had proved culprits, they carried their complaints to
the Emperor Constantius, and succeeded in causing ten of the laity to be
beheaded, belonging to the Manufactory of arms[1] there, Philagrius, who was
there again as Count, assisting their designs in this matter also. The tombs
of these persons, which we have seen in passing[1a] by, are in front of the
city. Then as if they had been quite successful, because they had fled lest
they should be convicted of false accusation, they prevailed with the Emperor
to command whatsoever they wished to be done. Thus they caused two Presbyters
and three Deacons to be banished from Alexandria into Armenia As to Arius and
Asteruis, the one Bishop of Petr'[2] in Palestine, the other Bishop in Arabia,
who had withdrawn from their party, they not only banished into upper Libya,
but also caused them to be treated with insult.

19. Tyrannical measures against the


And as to Lucius 3, Bishop of Adrianople, when they saw that he used great
boldness of speech against them, and exposed their impiety, they again, as
they had done before, caused him to be bound with iron chains on the neck and
hands, and so drove him into banishment, where he died, as they know. And
Diodorus a Bishop[4] they remove; but against Olympius of 'ni, and Theodulus
of Trajanople[5], both Bishops of Thrace, good and orthodox men, when they
perceived their hatred of the heresy, they brought false charges. This
Eusebius and his fellows had done first of all, and the Emperor Constantius
wrote letters on the subject; and next these men[6] revived the accusation.
The purport of the letter was, that they should not only be expelled from
their cities and churches but should also suffer capital punishment wherever
they were discovered. However surprising this conduct may be, it is only in
accordance with their principles; for as being instructed by Eusebius and his
fellows in such proceedings, and as heirs of their impiety and evil
principles, they wished to shew themselves formidable at Alexandria, as their
fathers had done in Thrace. They caused an order to be written, that the ports
and gates of the cities should be watched, lest availing themselves of, the
permission granted by the Council, the banished persons should return to their
churches. They also cause orders to be sent to the magistrates at Alexandria,
respecting Athanasius and certain Presbyters, named therein, that if either
the Bishop r, or any of the others, should be found coming to the city or its
borders, the magistrate should have power to behead those who were so
discovered. Thus this new Jewish heresy does not only deny the Lord, but has
also learnt to commit murder.

20. Plot against the Catholic Legates at


Yet even after this they did not rest; but as the father of their heresy
goeth about like a lion, seeking whom he may devour, so these obtaining the
use of the public posts[8] went about, and whenever they found any that
reproached them with their flight, and that hated the Arian heresy, they
scourged them, cast them into chains, and caused them to be banished from
their country; and they rendered themselves so formidable, as to induce many
to dissemble, many to fly into the deserts, rather than willingly even to have
any dealings with them. Such were the enormities which their madness prompted
them to commit after their flight. Moreover they perpetrate another outrageous
act, which is indeed in accordance with the character of their heresy, but is
such as we never heard of before, nor is likely soon to take place again, even
among the more dissolute of the Gentiles, much less among Christians. The holy
Council had sent as Legates the Bishops Vincentius[9] of Capua (this is the
Metropolis of Campania), and Euphrates of Agrippina[10] (this is the
Metropolis of Upper Gaul), that they might obtain the Emperor's consent to the
decision of the Council, that the Bishops should return to their Churches,
inasmuch as he was the author of their expulsion. The most religious Constans
had also written to his brother[1], and supported the cause of the Bishops.
But these admirable men, who are equal to any act of audacity, when they saw
the two Legates at Antioch, consulted together and formed a plot, which
Stephanus[2] undertook by himself to execute, as being a suitable instrument
for such purposes. Accordingly they hire a common harlot, even at the season
of the most holy Easter, and stripping her introduce her by night into the
apartment of the Bishop Euphrates. The harlot who thought that it was a young
man who had sent to invite her, at first willingly accompanied them l but when


they thrust her in, and she saw the man asleep and unconscious of what was
going on, and when presently she distinguished his features, and beheld the
face of an old man, and the array of a Bishop, she immediately cried aloud,
and declared that violence was used towards her. They desired her to be silent
and to lay a false charge against the Bishop; and so when it was day, the
matter was noised abroad, and all the city ran together; and those who came
from the Palace were in great commotion, wondering at the report which had
been spread abroad, and demanding that it should not be passed by in silence.
An enquiry, therefore, was made, and her master gave information concerning
those who came to fetch the harlot and these informed against Stephanus; for
they were his Clergy. Stephanus, therefore, is deposed[2a], and Leontius the
eunuch appointed in his place, only that the Arian heresy may not want a

21. Constantius' change of mind.

And now the Emperor Constantius, feeling some compunctions, returned to
himself; and concluding from their conduct towards Euphrates, that their
attacks upon the others were of the same kind, he gives orders that the
Presbyters and Deacons who had been banished from Alexandria into Armenia
should immediately be released. He also writes publicly to Alexandria[3],
commanding that the clergy and laity who were friends of Athanasius should
suffer no further persecution. And when Gregory died about ten months[3a]
after, he sends for Athanasius with every mark of honour, writing to him no
less than three times a very friendly letter[4] in which he exhorted him to
take courage and come. He sends also a Presbyter and a Deacon, that he may be
still further encouraged to return; for he thought that, through alarm at what
had taken place before, I[5] did not care to return. Moreover he writes to his
brother Constans, that he also would exhort me to return. And he affirmed that
he had been expecting Athanasius a whole year, and that he would not permit
any change to be made, or any ordination to take place, as he was preserving
the Churches for Athanasius their Bishop.

22. Athanasius visits Constantius.

When therefore he wrote in this strain, and encouraged him by means of
many (for he caused Polemius, Dotianus, Bardion, Thalassus[6], Taurus[7], and
Florentius, his Counts, in whom Athanasius could best confide, to write also):
Athanasius committing the whole matter to God, who had stirred the conscience
of Constantius to do this, came with his friends to him; and he gave him a
favourable audience[7a], and sent him away to go to his country and his
Churches, writing at the same time to the magistrates in the several places,
that whereas he had before commanded the ways to be guarded, they should now
grant him a free passage. Then when the Bishop complained of the sufferings
he had undergone, and of the letters which the Emperor had written against
him, and besought him that the false accusations against him might not be
revived by his enemies after his departure, saying[8], 'If you please, summon
these persons; for as far as we are concerned they are at liberty to stand
forth, and we will expose their conduct;' he would not do this, but commanded
that whatever had been before slanderously written against him should all be
destroyed and obliterated, affirming that he would never again listen to any
such accusations, and that his purpose was fixed and unalterable. This he did
not simply say, but sealed his words with oaths, calling upon God to be
witness of them. And so encouraging him with many other words, and desiring
him to be of good courage, he sends the following letters to the Bishops and

23. Constantius Augustus, the Great, the Conqueror, to the Bishops and
Clergy of the Catholic Church.

The most Reverend Athanasius has not been deserted by the grace of God 9,

Another Letter.

From Constantius to the people of Alexandria.

Desiring as we do your welfare in all respects[10], &c.

Another Letter.

Constantius Augustus, the Conqueror, to Nestorius, Prefect of Egypt.

It is well known that an order was heretofore given by us, and that
certain documents are to be found prejudicial to the estimation of


the most reverend Bishop Athanasius; and that these exist among the Orders[1]
of your worship. Now we desire your Sobriety, of which we have good proof, to
transmit to our Court, in compliance with this our order, all the letters
respecting the fore-mentioned person, which are found in your Order-book.

24. The following is the letter which he wrote after the death of the
blessed Constans. It was written in Latin, and is here translated into

Constantius Augustus, the Conqueror, to Athanasius.

It is not unknown to your Prudence, that it was my constant prayer, that
prosperity might attend my late brother Constans in all his undertakings; and
your wisdom may therefore imagine how greatly I was afflicted when I learnt
that he had been taken off by most unhallowed hands. Now whereas there are
certain persons who at the present truly mournful time are endeavouring to
alarm you, I have therefore thought it fight to address this letter to your
Constancy, to exhort you that, as becomes a Bishop, you would teach the people
those things which pertain to the divine religion, and that, as you are
accustomed to do, you would employ your time in prayers together with them,
and not give credit to vain rumours, whatever they may be. For our fixed
determination is, that you should continue, agreeably to our desire, to
perform the office of a Bishop in your own place. May Divine Providence
preserve you, most beloved parent, many years.

25. Return of Athanasius from second exile.

Under these circumstances, when they had at length taken their leave, and
begun their journey, those who were friendly rejoiced to see a friend; but of
the other party, some were confounded at the sight of him; others not having
the confidence to appear, hid themselves; and others repented of what they had
written against the Bishop. Thus all the Bishops of Palestine[3], except some
two or three, and those men of suspected character, so willingly received
Athanasius, and embraced communion with him, that they wrote to excuse
themselves, on the ground that in what they had formerly written, they had
acted, not according to their own wishes, but by compulsion. Of the Bishops of
Egypt and the Libyah provinces, of the laity both of those countries and of
Alexandria, it is superfluous for me to speak. They all ran 4 together, and
were possessed with unspeakable delight, that they had not only received their
friends alive contrary to their hopes; but that they were also delivered from
the heretics who were as tyrants and as raging dogs towards them. Accordingly
great was their joy[5], the people in the congregations encouraging one
another in virtue. How many unmarried women, who were before ready to enter
upon marriage, now remained virgins to Christ! How many young men, seeing the
examples of others, embraced the monastic life! How many fathers persuaded
their children, and how many were urged by their children, not to be hindered
from Christian asceticism! How many wives persuaded their husbands, and how
many were persuaded by their husbands, to give themselves to prayer[6], as the
Apostle has spoken How many widows and how many orphans, who were before
hungry and naked, now through the great zeal of the people, were no longer
hungry, and went forth clothed! In a word, so great was their emulation in
virtue, that you would have thought every family and every house a Church, by
reason of the goodness of its inmates, and the prayers which were offered to
God. And in the Churches there was a profound and wonderful peace, while the
Bishops wrote from all quarters, and received from Athanasius the customary
letters of peace.

26. Recantation of Ursacius and Valens.

Moreover Ursacius and Valens, as if suffering the scourge of conscience,
came to another mind, and wrote to the Bishop himself a friendly and peaceable
letter[7], although they had received no communication from him. And going up
to Rome they repented, and confessed that all their proceedings and assertions
against him were rounded in falsehood and mere calumny. And they not only
voluntarily did this, but also anathematized the Arian heresy, and presented a
written declaration of their repentance, addressing to the Bishop Julius the
following letter in Latin, which has been translated into Greek. The copy was
sent to us in Latin by Paul[8], Bishop of Treveri.

Translation from the Latin.

Ursacius and Valens to my Lord the most blessed Pope Julius.

Whereas it is well known that we[9] &c.

Translation from the Latin.

The Bishops Ursacius and Valens to my Lord and Brother, the Bishop

Having an opportunity of sending[10], &c.


After writing these, they also subscribed the letters of peace which were
presented to them by Peter and Iren'us, Presbyters of Athanasius, and by
Ammonius a layman, who were passing that way, although Athanasius had sent no
communication to them even by these persons.

27. Triumph of Athanasius.

Now who was not filled with admiration at witnessing these things, and the
great peace that prevailed in the Churches? who did not rejoice to see the
concord of so many Bishops? who did not glorify the Lord, beholding the
delight of the people in their assemblies? How many enemies repented! How many
excused themselves who had formerly accused him falsely! How many who formerly
hated him, now shewed affection for him! How many of those who had written
against him, recanted their assertions? Many also who had sided with the
Arians, not through choice but by necessity, came by night and excused
themselves. They anathematized the heresy, and besought him to pardon them,
because, although through the plots and calumnies of these men they appeared
bodily on their side, yet in their hearts they held communion with Athanasius,
and were always with him.Believe me, this is true.