Valentinian ordered a council to be held in Illyricum and sent to the disputants the decrees ratified by the bishops there assembled. They had decided to hold fast the creed put forth at Nic√¶a and the emperor himself wrote to them, associating his brother with him in the dispatch, urging that the decrees be kept.
The edict clearly proclaims the piety of the emperor and similarly exhibits the soundness of Valens in divine doctrines at that time. I shall therefore give it in full. The mighty emperors, ever august, augustly victorious, Valentinianus, Valens, and Gratianus, to the bishops of Asia, Phrygia, Carophrygia Pacatiana, greeting in the Lord.
A great council having met in Illyricum, after much discussion concerning the word of salvation, the thrice blessed bishops have declared that the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is of one substance. This Trinity they worship, in no wise remitting the service which has duly fallen to their lot, the worship of the great King. It is our imperial will that this Trinity be preached, so that none may say |We accept the religion of the sovereign who rules this world without regard to Him who has given us the message of salvation,| for, as says the gospel of our God which contains this judgment, |we should render to C√¶sar the things that are C√¶sar's and to God the things that are God's.|
What say you, ye bishops, ye champions of the Word of salvation? If these be your professions, thus then continue to love one another, and cease to abuse the imperial dignity. No longer persecute those who diligently serve God, by whose prayers both wars cease upon the earth, and the assaults of apostate angels are repelled. These striving through supplication to repel all harmful demons both know how to pay tribute as the law enjoins, and do not gainsay the power of their sovereign, but with pure minds both keep the commandment of the heavenly King, and are subject to our laws. But ye have been shewn to be disobedient. We have tried every expedient but you have given yourselves up. We however wish to be pure from you, as Pilate at the trial of Christ when He lived among us, was unwilling to kill Him, and when they begged for His death, turned to the East, asked water for his hands and washed his hands, saying I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man.
Thus our majesty has invariably charged that those who are working in the field of Christ are not to be persecuted, oppressed, or ill treated; nor the stewards of the great King driven into exile; lest to-day under our Sovereign you may seem to flourish and abound, and then together with your evil counsellor trample on his covenant, as in the case of the blood of Zacharias, but he and his were destroyed by our Heavenly King Jesus Christ after (at) His coming, being delivered to death's judgment, they and the deadly fiend who abetted them. We have given these orders to Amegetius, to Ceronius to Damasus, to Lampon and to Brentisius by word of mouth, and we have sent the actual decrees to you also in order that you may know what was enacted in the honourable synod.
To this letter we subjoin the decrees of the synod, which are briefly as follows.
In accordance with the great and orthodox synod we confess that the Son is of one substance with the Father. And we do not so understand the term of one substance' as some formerly interpreted it who signed their names with feigned adhesion; nor as some who now-a-days call the drafters of the old creed Fathers, but make the meaning of the word of no effect, following the authors of the statement that |of one substance| means |like,| with the understanding that since the Son is comparable to no one of the creatures made by Him, He is like to the Father alone. For those who thus think irreverently define the Son |as a special creation of the Father,| but we, with the present synods, both at Rome and in Gaul, hold that there is one and the same substance of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in three persons, that is in three perfect essences. And we confess, according to the exposition of Nic√¶a, that the Son of God being of one substance, was made flesh of the Holy Virgin Mary, and hath tabernacled among men, and fulfilled all the economy for our sakes in birth, in passion, in resurrection, and in ascension into Heaven; and that He shall come again to render to us according to each man's manner of life, in the day of judgment, being seen in the flesh, and showing forth His divine power, being God bearing flesh, and not man bearing Godhead.
Them that think otherwise we damn, as we do also them that do not honestly damn him that said that before the Son was begotten He was not, but wrote that even before He was actually begotten He was potentially in the Father. For this is true in the case of all creatures, who are not for ever with God in the sense in which the Son is ever with the Father, being begotten by eternal generation.
Such was the short summary of the emperor. I will now subjoin the actual dispatch of the synod.