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The Victory Of The Anti-nicene P





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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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





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