When Valentinian was journeying from Constantinople to Rome, he had to pass through Thrace; and the bishops of Hellespontus and of Bithynia, with others, who maintained that the Son is consubstantial with the Father, dispatched Hypatian, bishop of Heraclea in Perinthus, to meet him, and to request permission to assemble themselves together for deliberation on questions of doctrine.
When Hypatian had delivered the message with which he was intrusted, Valentinian made the following reply: |I am but one of the laity, and have therefore no right to interfere in these transactions; let the priests, to whom such matters appertain, assemble where they please.| On receiving this answer through Hypatian, their deputy, the bishops assembled at Lampsacus.
After having conferred together for the space of two months, they annulled all that had been decreed at Constantinople, through the machinations of the partisans of Eudoxius and Acacius. They likewise declared null and void the formulary of faith which had been circulated under the false assertion that it was the compilation of the Western bishops, and to which the signatures of many bishops had been obtained, by the promise that the dogma of dissimilarity as to substance should be condemned, -- a promise which had never been performed.
They decreed that the doctrine of the Son being in substance like unto the Father, should have the ascendancy; for they said that it was necessary to resort to the use of the term |like| as indicative of the hypostases of the Godhead. They agreed that the form of belief which had been confessed at Seleucia, and set forth at the dedication of the church of Antioch, should be maintained by all the churches.
They directed that all the bishops who had been deposed by those who hold that the Son is dissimilar from the Father, should forthwith be reinstated in their sees, as having been unjustly ejected from their churches. They declared that if any wished to bring accusations against them, they would be permitted to do so, but under the penalty of incurring the same punishment as that due to the alleged crime, should the accusation prove to be false. The orthodox bishops of the province and of the neighboring countries were to preside as judges, and to assemble in the church, with the witnesses who were to make the depositions.
After making these decisions, the bishops summoned the partisans of Eudoxius, and exhorted them to repentance; but as they would give no heed to these remonstrances, the decrees enacted by the council were sent to all the churches. Judging that Eudoxius would be likely to endeavor to persuade the emperor to side with him, and would calumniate them, they determined to be beforehand with him, and to send an account of their proceedings in Lampsacus to the court.
Their deputies met the Emperor Valens as he was returning from Heraclea to Thrace, where he had been traveling in company with his brother, who had gone on to Old Rome.
Eudoxius, however, had previously gained over the emperor and his courtiers to his own sentiments; so that when the deputies of the council of Lampsacus presented themselves before Valens, he merely exhorted them not to be at variance with Eudoxius. The deputies replied by reminding him of the artifices to which Eudoxius had resorted at Constantinople, and of his machinations to annul the decrees of the council of Seleucia; and these representations kindled the wrath of Valens to such a pitch, that he condemned the deputies to banishment, and made over the churches to the partisans of Eudoxius. He then passed over into Syria, for he feared lest the Persians should break the truce which they had concluded with Jovian for thirty years. On finding, however, that the Persians were not disposed to insurrection, he fixed his residence at Antioch. He sent Meletius, the bishop, into banishment, but spared Paul, because he admired the sanctity of his life. Those who were not in communion with Euzoïus were either ejected from the churches, or maltreated and harassed in some other form.