The Ecclesiastical History Of Sozomenus by Sozomen
Chapter XV.--The Son of the Empress and St. Epiphanius. Conference between the |Long Brothers| and Epiphanius, and his Re-Embarkation for Cyprus. Epiphanius and John.
About this time, the son of the empress was attacked by a dangerous illness, and the mother, apprehensive of consequences, sent to implore Epiphanius to pray for him. Epiphanius returned for answer, that the sick one would live, provided that she would avoid all intercourse with the heretic Dioscorus and his companions. To this message the empress replied as follows: |If it be the will of God to take my son, His will be done. The Lord who gave me my child, can take him back again. You have not power to raise the dead, otherwise your archdeacon would not have died.| She alluded to Chrispion, the archdeacon, who had died a short time previously. He was brother to Fuscon and Salamanus, monks whom I had occasion to mention when detailing the history of events under the reign of Valens; he had been companion of Epiphanius, and had been appointed his archdeacon. Ammonius and his companions went to Epiphanius, at the permission of the empress. Epiphanius inquired who they were, and Ammonius replied, |We are, O father, the Long Brothers; we come respectfully to know whether you have read any of our works or those of our disciples?| On Epiphanius replying that he had not seen them, he continued, |How is it, then, that you consider us to be heretics, when you have no proof as to what sentiments we may hold?| Epiphanius said that he had formed his judgment by the reports he had heard on the subject; and Ammonius replied, |We have pursued a very different line of conduct from yours. We have conversed with your disciples, and read your works frequently, and among others, that entitled The Anchored.' When we have met with persons who have ridiculed your opinions, and asserted that your writings are replete with heresy, we have contended for you, and defended you as our father. Ought you then to condemn the absent upon mere report, and of whom you know nothing with assured certitude, or return such an exchange to those who have spoken well of you?| Epiphanius was measurably convinced, and dismissed them. Soon after he embarked for Cyprus, either because he recognized the futility of his journey to Constantinople, or because, as there is reason to believe, God had revealed to him his approaching death; for he died while on his voyage back to Cyprus. It is reported that he said to the bishops who had accompanied him to the place of embarkation, |I leave you the city, the palace, and the stage, for I shall shortly depart.| I have been informed by several persons that John predicted that Epiphanius would die at sea, and that this latter predicted the deposition of John. For it appears that when the dispute between them was at its height, Epiphanius said to John, |I hope you will not die a bishop,| and that John replied, |I hope you will never return to your bishopric.|