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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Chapter VIII.--The council assembled at Constantinople.

The Ecclesiastical History Of Theodoret by Theodoret

Chapter VIII.--The council assembled at Constantinople.

At this time the recent feeder of the flock at Nazianzus was living at Constantinople, continually withstanding the blasphemies of the Arians, watering the holy people with the teaching of the Gospel, catching wanderers outside the flock and removing them from poisonous pasture. So that flock once small he made a great one. When the divine Meletius saw him, knowing as he did full well the object which the makers of the canon had before them when, with the view of preventing the possibility of ambitious efforts, they forbade the translation of bishops, he confirmed Gregory in the episcopate of Constantinople. Shortly afterwards the divine Meletius passed away to the life that knows no pain, crowned by the praises of the funeral eloquence of all the great orators.

Timotheus, bishop of Alexandria, who had followed Peter, the successor of Athanasius in the patriarchate, ordained in place of the admirable Gregorius, Maximus -- a cynic who had but recently suffered his cynic's hair to be shorn, and had been carried away by the flimsy rhetoric of Apollinarius. But this absurdity was beyond the endurance of the assembled bishops -- admirable men, and full of divine zeal and wisdom, such as Helladius, successor of the great Basil, Gregorius and Peter, brothers of Basil, and Amphilochius from Lycaonia, Optimus from Pisidia, Diodorus from Cilicia.

The council was also attended by Pelagius of Laodicæa, Eulogius of Edessa, Acacius, our own Isidorus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gelasius of Cæsarea in Palestine, who was renowned alike for lore and life and many other athletes of virtue.

All these then whom I have named separated themselves from the Egyptians and celebrated divine service with the great Gregory. But he himself implored them, assembled as they were to promote harmony, to subordinate all question of wrong to an individual to the promotion of agreement with one another. |For,| said he, |I shall be released from many cares and once more lead the quiet life I hold so dear; while you, after your long and painful warfare, will obtain the longed for peace. What can be more absurd than for men who have just escaped the weapons of their enemies to waste their own strength in wounding one another; by so doing we shall be a laughing stock to our opponents. Find then some worthy man of sense, able to sustain heavy responsibilities and discharge them well, and make him bishop.| The excellent pastors moved by these counsels appointed as bishop of that mighty city a man of noble birth and distinguished for every kind of virtue as well as for the splendour of his ancestry, by name Nectarius. Maximus, as having participated in the insanity of Apollinarius, they stripped of his episcopal rank and rejected. They next enacted canons concerning the good government of the church, and published a confirmation of the faith set forth at Nicæa. Then they returned each to his own country. Next summer the greater number of them assembled again in the same city, summoned once more by the needs of the church, and received a synodical letter from the bishops of the west inviting them to come to Rome, where a great synod was being assembled. They begged however to be excused from travelling thus far abroad; their doing so, they said, would be useless. They wrote however both to point out the storm which had risen against the churches, and to hint at the carelessness with which the western bishops had treated it. They also included in their letter a summary of the apostolic doctrine, but the boldness and wisdom of their expressions will be more clearly shown by the letter itself.

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