St. Alphonsus Liguori: The History of Heresies and Their Refutation
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THE HISTORY OF HERESIES, AND THEIR REFUTATION; OR, THE TRIUMPH OF THE CHURCH
by ST. ALPHONSUS M. LIGUORI 
Translated by the Rev. John T. Mullock, O.F.M. 1847

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TRANSLATOR’S PREFACE


THE ardent wish manifested by “the Faithful for an acquaintance with the valuable writings of ST. LIGUORI, induced me to undertake the Translation of his History of Heresies, one of his greatest works. The Holy Author was induced to write this Work, to meet the numbers of infidel publications, with which Europe was deluged in the latter half of the last century. Men’s minds were then totally unsettled; dazzled by the glare of a false philosophy, they turned away from the light of the Gospel. The heart of the Saint was filled with sorrow, and he laboured to avert the scourge he saw impending over the unfaithful people. He implored the Ministers of his Sovereign to put the laws in force, preventing the introduction of irreligious publications into the Kingdom of Naples, and he published this Work, among* others, to prove, as he says, that the Holy Catholic Church is the only true one the Mistress of Truth the Church, founded by Jesus Christ himself, which would last to the end of time, notwithstanding the persecutions of the infidel, and the rebellion of her own heretical children. He dedicates the Book to the Marquis Tanucci, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom, whom he praises for his zeal for Religion, and his vigorous execution of the laws against the vendors of infidel publications. He brings down the History from the days of the Apostles to his own time, concluding- with the Refutation of the Heresies of Father Berruyer.

I have added a Supplementary Chapter, giving- a succinct account of the Heretics and Fanatics of the last eighty years. It was, at first, my intention to make it more diffuse; but, then, I considered that it would be out of proportion with the remainder of the Work. This Book may be safely consulted, as a work of reference: the Author constantly quotes his authorities; and the Student of Ecclesiastical History can at once compare his statements with the sources from which he draws. In the latter portion of the Work, and especially in that portion of it, the most interesting- to us, the History of the English Reformation, the Student may perceive some slight variations between the original text and my translation. I have collated the Work with the writings of modern Historians the English portion, especially with Hume and Lingard and wherever I have seen the statements of the Holy Author not borne out by the authority of our own Historians, I have considered it more prudent to state the facts, as they really took place; for our own writers must naturally be supposed to be better acquainted with our History, than the foreign authorities quoted by the Saint. The reader will also find the circumstances, and the names of the actors, when I considered it necessary, frequently given more in detail than in the original.

In the style, I have endeavoured, as closely as the genius of our language would allow, to keep to the original. St. Alphonsus never sought for ornament; a clear, lucid statement of facts is what he aimed at; there is nothing inflated in his writings; he wrote for the people, and that is the principal reason, I imagine, why not only his Devotional Works, but his Historical and Theological Writings, also, have been in such request: but, while he wrote for the people, we are not to imagine that he did not also please the learned. His mind was richly stored with various knowledge; he was one of the first Jurists of his day; his Theological science elicited the express approbation of the greatest Theologian of his age Benedict XIV.; he was not only a perfect master of his own beautiful language, but profoundly read in both Greek and Latin literature also, and a long life constantly employed in studies, chiefly ecclesiastical, qualified him, above any man of his time, to become an Ecclesiastical Historian, which no one should attempt unless he be a general I might almost say a universal, scholar : so much for the Historical portion of the Work.

In the Second Part, the Refutation of Heresies, the Holy Author comprises, in a small space, a vast amount of Theological information; in fact, there is no Heresy which cannot be refuted from it. Not alone are the usual Heresies, which we have daily to combat such as those opposed to the Real Presence, the Authority of the Church, the doctrine of Justification, clearly and diffusely refuted, but those abstruse heretical opinions concerning- Grace, Free Will, the Procession of the Holy Ghost, the Mystery of the Incarnation, and the two Natures of Christ, and so forth, are also clearly and copiously confuted; the intricacies of Pelagianism, Calvinism, and Jansenism, are unravelled, and the true Doctrine of the Church triumphantly vindicated. The reader will find, in general, the quotations from the Fathers in the original, but those unacquainted with Latin will easily learn their sentiments from the text. The Scripture quotations are from the Douay Version.

Every Theologian will be aware of the difficulty of giving- scholastic terms in an English dress. In the language of the Schools, the most abstract ideas, which would require a sentence to explain them in our tongue, are most appropriately expressed by a single word; all the Romance languages, daughters of the Latin, have very nearly the same facility, but our Northern tongue has not, I imagine, flexibility enough for the purpose. I have, however, endeavoured, as far as I could, to preserve the very terms of the original, knowing how easy it is to give a heterodox sense to a passage, by even the most trivial deviation from the very expression of the writer. The Theological Student will thus, I hope, find the Work a compact Manual of Polemic Theology; the Catholic who, while he firmly believes all that the Church teaches, wishes to be able to give an account of the Faith that is in him, will here find it explained and defended; while those not of the ” fold,” but for whom we ardently pray, that they may hear the voice of the ” one Shepherd,” may see, by its attentive perusal, that they inhabit a house ” built upon the sand,” and not the house ” on the rock.”

They will behold the mighty tree of Faith sprung from the grain of mustard-seed planted by our Redeemer, always flourishing always extending*, neither uprooted by the storms of persecution, nor withered by the sun of worldly prosperity. Nay more, the very persecution the Church of God has suffered, and is daily enduring, only extends it more and more; the Faithful, persecuted in ” one city,” fly elsewhere, bearing with them the treasure of Faith, and communicating it to those among- whom they settle, as the seeds of fertility are frequently borne on the wings of the tempest to the remote desert, which would otherwise be cursed with perpetual barrenness. The persecution of the Church in Ireland, for example, “has turned the desert into fruitfulness,” in America, in Australia, in England itself, and the grey mouldering ruins of our fanes on the hill sides are compensated for by the Cathedral Churches across the ocean. The reader will see Heresy in every age, from the days of the Apostles themselves down to our own time, rising up, and vanishing after a while, but the Church of God is always the same, her Chief Pastors speaking with the same authority, and teaching the same doctrine to the trembling Neophytes’ in the Catacombs, and to the Cæsars on the throne of the world. Empires are broken into fragments and perish nations die away, and are only known to the historian languages spoken by millions disappear every thing that is man’s work dies like man; heresies, like the rest, have their rise, their progress, their decay, but Faith alone is eternal and unchangeable, “yesterday, to-day, and the same for ever.”


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AUTHOR’S PREFACE

My object in writing this work is to prove that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true one among so many other Churches, and to show how carefully the Almighty guarded her, and brought her victoriously through all the persecutions of her enemies. Hence, as St. Iræneus says (Lib. 3, cap. 3, n. 2), all should depend on the Roman Church as on their fountain and head. This is the Church founded by Jesus Christ, and propagated by the Apostles; and although in the commencement persecuted and contradicted by all, as the Jews said to St. Paul in Rome : ” For as concerning this sect (thus they called the Church), we know that it is gainsayed every where” (Acts, xxviii, 22); still she always remained firm, not like the other false Churches, which in the beginning numbered many followers, but perished in the end, as we shall see in the course of this history, when we speak of the Arians, Nestorians, Eutychians, and Pelagians; and if any sect still reckons many followers, as the Mahometans, Lutherans, or Calvinists, it is easy to see that they are upheld, not by the love of truth, but either by popular ignorance, or relaxation of morals. St. Augustine says that heresies are only embraced by those who had they persevered in the faith, would be lost by the irregularity of their lives (St. Aug. de Va. Rel. c. 8.)
Our Church, on the contrary, notwithstanding that she teaches her children a law opposed to the corrupt inclinations of human nature, not only never failed in the midst of persecutions, but even gained strength from them; as Tertullian (Apol. cap. ult.) says, the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians, and the more we are mown down the more numerous we become; and in the 20th chapter of the same work he says, the kingdom of Christ and his reign is believed and he is worshipped by all nations. Pliny the Younger confirms this in his celebrated Letter to Trajan, in which he says that in Asia the temples of the gods were deserted, because the Christian Religion had overrun not only the cities but even the villages.
This, certainly, never could have taken place without the power of the Almighty, who intended to establish in the midst of idolatry, a new religion, to destroy all the superstitions of the false religion, and the ancient belief in a multitude of false gods adored by the Gentiles, by their ancestors, by the magistrates, and by the emperors themselves, who made use of all their power to protect it, and still the Christian faith was embraced by many nations who forsook a relaxed law for a hard and difficult one, forbidding them to pamper their sensual appetites. What but the power of God could accomplish this?

Great as the persecutions were which the Church suffered from idolatry, still greater were those she had to endure from the heretics which sprang from her own bosom, by means of wicked men, who, either through pride or ambition, or the desire of sensual license, endeavoured to rend the bowels of their parent. Heresy has been called a canker : ” It spreadeth like a canker” (II. Tim. ii, 17); for as a canker infects the whole body, so heresy infects the whole soul, the mind, the heart, the intellect, and the will. It is also called a plague, for it not only infects the person contaminated with it, but those who associate with him, and the fact is, that the spread of this plague in the world has injured the Church more than idolatry, and this good mother has suffered more from her own children than from her enemies. Still she has never perished in any of the tempests which the heretics raised against her; she appeared about to perish at one time through the heresy of Arius, when the faith of the Council of Nice, through the intrigues of the wicked Bishops, Valens and Ursacius, was condemned, and, as St. Jerome says, the world groaned at finding itself Arian (1); and the Eastern Church appeared in the same danger during the time of the heresies of Nestorius and Eutyches. But it is wonderful, and at the same time consoling, to read the end of all those heresies, and behold the bark of the Church, which appeared completely wrecked and sunk through the force of those persecutions, in a little while floating more gloriously and triumphantly than before.

St. Paul says: ” There must be heresies, that they also who are reproved may be made manifest among you” (I. Cor. ii, 19). St. Augustine, explaining this text, says that as fire is necessary to purify silver, and separate it from the dross, so heresies are necessary to prove the good Christians among the bad, and to separate the true from the false doctrine. The pride of the heretics makes them presume that they know the true faith, and that the Catholic Church is in error, but here is the mistake : our reason is not sufficient to tell us the true faith, since the truths of Divine Faith are above reason; we should, therefore, hold by that faith which God has revealed to his Church, and which the Church teaches, which is, as the Apostle says, ” the pillar and the ground of truth” (I. Tim. iii, 15). (1) St. Hieron. Dial, adversus Lucifer.

Hence, as St. Iræneus says, “It is necessary that all should depend on the Roman Church as their head and fountain; all Churches should agree with this Church on account of her priority of principality, for there the traditions delivered by the Apostles have always been preserved” (St. Iran, lib. 3, c. 3); and by the tradition derived from the Apostles which the Church founded at Rome preserves, and the Faith preserved by the succession of the Bishops, we confound those who through blindness or an evil conscience draw false conclusions (Ibid). ” Do you wish to know,” says St. Augustine, ” which is the true Church of Christ? Count those priests who, in a regular succession have succeeded St. Peter, who is the Rock, against which the gates of hell will not prevail” (St. Aug. in Ps. contra part Donat.) : and the holy Doctor alleges as one of the reasons which detain him in the Catholic Church, the succession of Bishops to the present time in the See of St. Peter” (Epis. fund, c. 4, n. 5); for in truth the uninterrupted succession from the Apostles and disciples is characteristic of the Catholic Church, and of no other.

It was the will of the Almighty that the Church in which the true faith was preserved should be one, that all the faithful might profess the one faith, but the devil, St. Cyprian says (2), invented heresies to destroy faith, and divide unity. The enemy has caused mankind to establish many different churches, so that each, following the faith of his own particular one, in opposition to that of others, the true faith might be confused, and as many false faiths formed as there are different churches, or rather different individuals. This is especially the case in England, where we see as many religions as families, and even families themselves divided in faith, each individual following his own. St. Cyprian, then, justly says that God has disposed that the true faith should be preserved in the Roman Church alone, so that there being but one Church there should be but one faith and one doctrine for all the faithful. St. Optatus Milevitanus, writing to Parmenianus, says, also : ” You cannot be ignorant that the Episcopal Chair of St. Peter was first placed in the city of Rome, in which one chair unity is observed by all” (St. Opt. I 2, cont. Parmen.) (2) St. Cyprian de Unitate Ecclesiæ.

The heretics, too, boast of the unity of their Churches, but St. Augustine says that it is unity against unity. ” What unity,” says the Saint, ” can all those churches have which are divided from the Catholic Church, which is the only true one; they are but as so many useless branches cut off from the Vine, the Catholic Church, which is always firmly rooted. This is the One Holy, True, and Catholic Church, opposing all heresies; it may be opposed, but cannot be conquered. All heresies come forth from it, like useless shoots cut off from the vine, but it still remains firmly rooted in charity, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (St. Aug. lib. 1, de Symbol ad Cath. c. 6). St. Jerome says that the very fact of the heretics forming a church apart from the Roman Church, is a proof, of itself, that they are followers of error, and disciples of the devil, described by the Apostle, as ” giving heed to spirits of error and doctrines of devils” (I. Tim. iv, 1).

The Lutherans and Calvinists say, just as the Donatists did before them, that the Catholic Church preserved the true faith down to a certain period some say to the third, some to the fourth, some to the fifth century but that after that the true doctrine was corrupted, and the spouse of Christ became an adulteress. This supposition, however, refutes itself; for, granting that the Roman Catholic Church was the Church first founded by Christ, it could never fail, for our Saviour himself promised that the gates of hell never should prevail against it : “I say unto you that you are Peter, and on this Rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt, xviii, 18). It being certain, then, that the Roman Catholic Church was the true one, as Gerard, one of the first ministers of Luther, admits (Gerard de Eccles. cap. 11, sec. 6) it to have been for the first five hundred years, and to have preserved the Apostolic doctrine during that period, it follows that it must always have remained so, for the spouse of Christ as St. Cyprian says, could never become an adulteress.

The heretics, however, who, instead of learning from the Church the dogmas they should believe, wish to teach her false and perverse dogmas of their own, say that they have the Scriptures on their side, which are the fountain of truth, not considering, as a learned author (3) justly remarks, that it is not by reading, but by understanding, them, that the truth can be found. Heretics of every sort avail themselves of the Scriptures to prove their errors, but we should not interpret the Scripture according to our own private opinions, which frequently lead us astray, but according to the teaching of the Holy Church which is appointed the Mistress of true doctrine, and to whom God has manifested the true sense of the Divine books. This is the Church, as the Apostle tells us, which has been appointed the pillar and the ground of truth: ” that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and the ground of truth” (I. Tim. iii, 15.) Hence St. Leo says that the Catholic faith despises the errors of heretics barking against the Church, who deceived by the vanity of worldly wisdom, have departed from the truth of the Gospel (St. Leo, Ser. 8, de Nat Dim.)

I think the History of Heresies is a most useful study, for it shows the truth of our Faith more pure and resplendent, by showing how it has never changed; and if, at all times, this is useful, it must be particularly so at present, when the most holy maxims and the principal dogmas of Religion are put in doubt: it shows, besides, the care God always took to sustain the Church in the midst of the tempests which were unceasingly raised against it, and the admirable manner in which all the enemies who attacked it were confounded. The History of Heresies is also useful to preserve in us the spirit of humility and subjection to the Church, and to make us grateful to God for giving us the grace of being born in Christian countries; and it shows how the most learned men have fallen into the most grievous errors, by not subjecting themselves to the Church’s teaching. (3) Danes, Gen. Temp. Nat. in Epil.

I will now state my reasons for writing this Work; some may think this labour of mine superfluous, especially as so many learned authors have written expressly and extensively the history of various heresies, as Tertullian, St. Iræneus, St. Epiphanius, St. Augustine, St. Vincent of Lerins, Socrates, Sozymen, St. Philastrius, Theodoret, Nicephorus, and many others, both in ancient and modern times. This, however, is the very reason which prompted me to write this Work; for as so many authors have written, and so extensively, and as it is impossible for many persons either to procure so many and such expensive works, or to find time to read them, if they had them, I, therefore, judged it better to collect in a small compass the commencement and the progress of all heresies, so that in a little time, and at little expense, any one may have a sufficient knowledge of the heresies and schisms which infected the Church. I have said in a small compass, but still, not with such brevity as some others have done, who barely give an outline of the facts, and leave the reader dissatisfied, and ignorant of many of the most important circumstances. I, therefore, have studied brevity; but I wish, at the same time, that my readers may be fully informed of every notable fact connected with the rise and progress of, at all events, the principal heresies that disturbed the Church.

Another reason I had for publishing this Work was, that as modern authors, who have paid most attention to historical facts, have spoken of heresies only as a component part of Ecclesiastical History, as Baronius, Fleury, Noel Alexander, Tillemont, Orsi, Spondanus, Raynaldus, Graveson, and others, and so have spoken of each heresy chronologically, either in its beginning, progress, or decay, and, therefore, the reader must turn over to different parts of the works to find out the rise, progress, and disappearance of each heresy; I, on the contrary, give all at once the facts connected with each heresy in particular.

Besides, these writers have not given the Refutation of Heresies, and I give this in the second part of the Work; I do not mean the refutation of every heresy, but only of the principal ones, as those of Sabellius, Arius, Pelagius, Macedonius, Nestorius, Eutyches, the Monothelites, the Iconoclasts, the Greeks, and the like. I will merely speak of the authors of other heresies of less note, and their falsity will be apparent, either from their evident weakness, or from the proofs I bring forward against the more celebrated heresies I have mentioned.

We ought, then, dear reader, unceasingly to thank our Lord for giving us the grace of being born and brought up in the bosom of the Catholic Church. St. Francis de Sales exclaims: “O good God! many and great are the benefits thou hast heaped on me, and I thank thee for them; but how shall I be ever able to thank thee for enlightening me with thy holy Faith?” And writing to one of his friends, he says: ” God! the beauty of thy holy Faith appears to me so enchanting, that I am dying with love of it, and I imagine I ought to enshrine this precious gift in a heart all perfumed with devotion.” St. Teresa never ceased to thank God for having made her a daughter of the Holy Church: her consolation at the hour of death was to cry out : ” I die a child of the Holy Church! I die a child of the Holy Church.” We, likewise, should never cease praising Jesus Christ for this grace bestowed on us one of the greatest conferred on us one distinguishing us from so many millions of mankind, who are born and die among infidels and heretics: “He has not done in like manner to every nation” (Psalm cxlvii, 9). With our minds filled with gratitude for so great a favour, we shall now see the triumph the Church has obtained through so many ages, over so many heresies opposed to her. I wish to remark, however, before I begin, that I have written this Work amidst the cares of my Bishoprick, so that I could not give a critical examination, many times, to the facts I state, and, in such case, I give the various opinions of different authors, without deciding myself on one side or the other. I have endeavoured, however, to collect all that could be found in the most correct and notable writers on the subject; but it is not impossible that some learned persons may be better acquainted with some facts than I am.


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"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
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CHAPTER I. HERESIES OF THE FIRST CENTURY

1. Simon Magus. 
2. Menander. 
3. Cerinthus. 
4. Ebion. 
5. Saturninus and Basilides. 
6. The Nicholites.



1. Simon Magus (1), the first heretic who disturbed the Church, was born in a part of Samaria called Githon or Gitthis. He was called Magus, or the Magician, because he made use of spells to deceive the multitude; and hence he acquired among his countrymen the extraordinary name of ” The Great Power of God” (Acts, viii, 1 0). ” This man is the power of God which is called great.” Seeing that those on whom the Apostles Peter and John laid hands received the Holy Ghost, he offered them money to give to him the power of communicating the Holy Ghost in like manner; and on that account the detestable crime of selling holy things is called Simony. He went to Rome, and there was a statue erected to him in that city, a fact which St. Justin, in his first Apology, flings in the face of the Romans : ” In your royal city,” he says, “he (Simon) was esteemed a God, and a statue was erected to him in the Island of the Tyber, between the two bridges, bearing this Latin inscription SIMONI, DEO SANCTO.” (1) Baron. Annal, 35, d. 23; N. Alex. Hist. Ecclesias. t. 5, c. 11, n.-l; Hermant. His. Con. 56, 1, c. 7; Van Ranst, His. Her. n. 1

Samuel Basnage, Petavius, Valesius, and many others, deny this fact; but Tillemont, Grotius, Fleury, and Cardinal Orsi defend it, and adduce in favour of it the authority of Tertullian, St. Irenæus, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Augustine, Eusebius, and Theodoret, who even says the statue was a bronze one. Simon broached many errors, which Noel Alexander enumerates and refutes (2). The principal ones were that the world was created by angels; that when the soul leaves the body it enters into another body, which, if true, says St. Iræneus (3), it would recollect all that happened when it inhabited the former body, for memory, being a spiritual quality, it could not be separated from the soul. Another of his errors was one which has been brought to light by the heretics of our own days, that man had no free will, and, consequently, that good works are not necessary for salvation. Baronius and Fleury relate (4), that, by force of magic spells, he one day caused the devil to elevate him in the air; but St. Peter and St. Paul being present, and invoking the name of Jesus Christ, he fell down and broke both his legs. He was carried away by his friends; but his corporeal and mental sufferings preyed so much on him, that, in despair, he cast himself out of a high window; and thus perished the first heretic who ever disturbed the Church of Christ (5). Basnage, who endeavours to prove that St. Peter never was in Rome, and never filled the pontifical chair of that city, says that this is all a fabrication; but we have the testimony of St. Ambrose, St. Isidore of Pelusium, St. Augustine, St. Maximus, St. Philastrius, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Severus Sulpicius, Theodoret, and many others, in our favour. We have, besides, a passage in Seutonius, which corroborates their testimony, for he says (lib. VI., cap. xii), that, while Nero assisted at the public sports, a man endeavoured to fly, but, after elevating himself for a while, he fell down, and the Emperors pavilion was sprinkled with his blood.


2. Menander was a Samaritan likewise, and a disciple of Simon Magus; he made his appearance in the year of our Lord 73. He announced himself a messenger from the ” Unknown Power,” for the salvation of mankind. No one, according to him, could be saved, unless he was baptized in his name, and his baptism, he said, was the true resurrection, so that his disciples would enjoy immortality even in this life (6). Cardinal Orsi adds, that Menander was the first who invented the doctrine of “Eons,” and that he taught that Jesus Christ exercised human functions in appearance alone.


3. Cerinthus was the next after Menander, but he began to broach his doctrine in the same year (7). His errors can be reduced to four heads: he denied that God was the creator of the world; he asserted that the law of Moses was necessary for salvation; he also taught that after the resurrection Jesus Christ would establish a terrestrial kingdom in Jerusalem, where the just would spend a thousand years in the enjoyment of every sensual pleasure; and, finally, he denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. The account Bernini gives of his death is singular (8). 

The Apostle St. John, he says, met him going into a bath, when, turning to those along with him, he said, let us hasten out of this, lest we be buried alive, and they had scarcely gone outside when the whole building fell with a sudden crash, and the unfortunate Cerinthus was overwhelmed in the ruins. One of the impious doctrines of this heretic was, that Jesus was a mere man, born as all other men are, and that, when he was baptized in the river Jordan, Christ descended on him, that is, a virtue or power, in form of a dove, or a spirit sent by God to fill him with knowledge, and communicate it to mankind; but after Jesus had fulfilled his mission, by instructing mankind and working miracles, he was deserted by Christ, who returned to heaven, and left him to darkness and death. Alas ! what impiety men fall into when they desert the light of faith, and follow their own weak imaginations.


4. Ebion prided himself in being a disciple of St. Peter, and could even bear to hear St. Paul's name mentioned. He admitted the sacrament of baptism; but in the consecration of the Eucharist he used nothing but water in the chalice; he, however, consecrated the host in unleavened bread, and Eusebius says he performed this every Sunday. According to St. Jerome, the baptism of the Ebionites was admitted by the Catholics. He endeavoured to unite the Mosaic and Christian law, and admitted no part of the New Testament, unless the Gospel of St. Matthew, and even that mutilated, as he left out two chapters, and altered the others in many places. The ancient writers say that St. John wrote his Gospel to refute the errors of Ebion. The most impious of his blasphemies was, that Jesus Christ was the son of Joseph and Mary, born as the rest of men are; that he was but a mere man, but that, on account of his great virtue, the Almighty adopted him as his Son (9).


5. Saturninus and Basilides were disciples of Menander, whose history we have already seen; and they made some additions to the heresy of their master. Saturninus, a native of Antioch, taught, with Menander, as Fleury tells us (10), that there was one only Father, unknown to all, who created the angels, and that seven angels created the world and man. The God of the Jews, he said, was one of these rebellious angels, and it was to destroy him that Christ appeared in the form of man, though he never had a real body. He condemned matrimony and procreation as an invention of the devil. He attributed the Prophecies partly to the angels, partly to the devil, and partly to the God of the Jews. He also said, according to St. Augustine (Heres. iii), that the Supreme Virtue that is, the Sovereign Father having created the angels, seven of them rebelled against him, created man, and for this reason: Seeing a celestial light, they wished to retain it, but it vanished from them; and they then created man to resemble it, saying, ” Let us make man to the image and likeness.” Man being thus created, was like a mere worm, incapable of doing anything, till the Sovereign Virtue, pitying his image, placed in him a spark of himself, and gave him life. This is the spark which, at the dissolution of the body, flies to heaven. Those of his sect alone, he said, had this spark; all the others were deprived of it, and, consequently, were reprobate. (9) N. Alex. loc. cit, art. 6; Fleury, loc. cit. n, 42. [N.B Fleury puts Ebion first, next Cerinthus, and lastly Menander,] (10) Fleury, n. 19.

Basilides, according to Fleury, was a native of Alexandria, and even exceeded Saturninus in fanaticism. He said that the Father, whom he called Abrasax, produced Nous, that is, Intelligence; who produced Logos, or the Word; the Word produced Phronesis, that is, Prudence; and Prudence, Sophia and Dunamis, that is, Wisdom and Power. These created the angels, who formed the first heaven and other angels; and these, in their turn, produced a second heaven, and so on, till there were three hundred and sixty-five heavens produced, according to the number of days in the year. The God of the Jews, he said, was the head of the second order of angels, and because he wished to rule all nations, the other princes rose up against him, and, on that account, God sent his first-born, Nous, to free mankind from the dominion of the angels who created the world. This Nous, who, according to him, was Jesus Christ, was an incorporeal virtue, who put on whatever form pleased him. Hence, when the Jews wished to crucify him, he took the form of Simon the Cyrenean, and gave his form to Simon, so that it was Simon, and not Jesus, who was crucified. Jesus, at the same time, was laughing at the folly of the Jews, and afterwards ascended invisibly to heaven. On that account, he said, we should not venerate the crucifix, otherwise we would incur the danger of being subject to the angels who created the world. He broached many other errors; but these are sufficient to show his fanaticism and impiety. Both Saturninus and Basilides fled from martyrdom, and always cloaked their faith with this maxim ” Know others, but let no one know you.” Cardinal Orsi says (11) they practised magic, and were addicted to every species of incontinence, but that they were careful in avoiding observation. They promulgated their doctrines before Menander, in the year 125; but, because they were disciples of his, we have mentioned them after him.


6. The Nicholites admitted promiscuous intercourse with married and single, and, also, the use of meats offered to idols. They also said that the Father of Jesus Christ was not the creator of the world. Among the other foolish doctrines they held, was one, that darkness, uniting with the Holy Ghost, produced a matrix or womb, which brought forth four Eons; that from these four Eons sprung the evil Eon, who created the Gods, the angels, men, and seven demoniacal spirits, This heresy was of short duration; but some new Nicholites sprung up afterwards in the Milanese territory, who were condemned by Pope Nicholas II. The Nicholites called themselves disciples of Nicholas the Deacon, who, according to Noel Alexander, was esteemed a heresiarch by St. Eusebius, St. Hilarian, and St. Jerome. However, Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius, Theodoret, Baronius, St. Ignatius the Martyr, Orsi, St. Augustine, Fleury, and Berti, acquit him of this charge (12).

(2) Nat. Alex. t. 5, in fin. Dis. 24.
(3) St. Iræneus, de Heresi. l. 2, c. 58.
(4) Baron. Ann. 35, n. 14, ad. 17; Fleury, His. Eccl. t. 1, l. 2, n. 23; St. Augus.; St. Joan. Chris.
(5) Baron, n. 17; Nat. Alex. t. 5, c. 11; Orsi, Istor. Eccl. l. 1, n. 20, and l. 2, n. 19; Berti. Brev. Histor. t. 1, c. 3.
(6) Fleury, loc. cit. n. 42; N. Alex. loc. cit. art. 2
(7) N. Alex. t. 5, c. 11, or. 5; Fleury, t. 1, L 2, n. 42; Berti, loc. cit. : Orsi, t. 1, l. 2, n. 43.
(8) Bernin. Istor. del Eresia, t. 1, c. 1; St. Iren. 1. 3, c. 4, de S.
(11) Orsi, t. 2, I. 3, n. 23.
(12) Nat. Alex. t. 5, diss. 9; Baron. An. 68, n. 9; Orsi, t. 1, n. 64; Fleury, t. 1, L 2, n. 21; Berti, loc. cit.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
#3
CHAPTER II. HERESIES OF THE SECOND CENTURY

1. Corpocrates. 
2. Valentine. 
3. Epiphanes. 
4. Prodicus. 
5. Tatian. 
6. Sevems. 
7. Cerdonius. 
8. Marcion. 
9. Apelles. 
10. Montanus. 
11. Cataphrigians, Artotirites, Peputians, Ascodrogites, Pattalorinchites. 
12. Bardesanes
13. Theodotus the Currier, Artemon, and Theodotus Argentarius. 
14. Hermogenes.

1. Corpocrates was a native of Alexandria, or, as others say, of Samosata. His followers were called Gnostics that is, learned or enlightened. He said that Jesus Christ was the son of Joseph, born as other men are, and distinguished from them by his virtue alone, and that the world was created by angels. Another blasphemous doctrine of his was, that, to unite ourselves with God, we should practise all the unclean works of concupiscence; our evil propensities should be followed in everything, for this, he said, was the enemy spoken of in the Gospel (1), to which we should yield, and, by this means, we show our contempt for the laws of the wicked angels, and acquire the summit of perfection; and the soul, he said, would pass from one body to another till it had committed all sorts of unclean actions. Another of his doctrines was, that every one had two souls, for without the second, he said, the first would be subject to the rebellious angels. The followers of this hellish monster called themselves Christians, and, as a distinctive mark, they branded the lower part of the ear with a red iron. They paid the same veneration to the images of Pythagoras, Plato, and the other philosophers, as to that of Jesus Christ. Corpocrates lived in the year 160.

2. Valentine, who, it was supposed, was an Egyptian, separated himself from the Church, because he was disappointed in obtaining a bishopric. He came to Rome in 141, and abjured his errors, but soon again embraced them, and persevered in them till his death (2). He invented a fabulous genealogy of Eons or Gods; and another of his errors was, that Jesus Christ did not become incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary, but brought his body from heaven. He admitted in man a continual exercise of spirit, which, uniting with the flesh, rendered lawful every sensual pleasure; and he divided mankind into three classes the carnal, the animal, and the spiritual. His followers, he said, were the spiritualists, and, on that account, were exempt from the necessity of good works, because, having arrived at the apex of perfection, and being certain of eternal felicity, it was useless for them to suffer, or observe the law. The carnal, he said, were excluded from eternal salvation and predestined to hell (3).

Three sects take their origin from Valentine. The first were called Sethites : These paid such honour to Seth, that they said Jesus Christ was born of him, and some went so far as to say that Jesus Christ and Seth were one and the same person. The second sect were called Cainites : These venerated as saints all those who the Scripture tells us were damned as Cain, Core, the inhabitants of Sodom, and especially Judas Iscariot. The third were called Ophites : These said that Wisdom became a serpent, and; on that account, they adored Jesus Christ as a serpent; they trained one of these reptiles to come out of a cave when called, and creep up on the table where the bread for sacrifice was placed; they kissed him while he crept round the bread, and, considering it then sanctified by the reptile, whom they blasphemously called Christ, they broke it to the people, who received it as the Eucharist (4).

Ptolemy and Saturninus were disciples of Valentine; but their master admitted thirty Eons, and they added eight more. He also had other disciples : Heraclion, whose followers invoked over the dead certain names of principalities, and anointed them with oil and water; Marcus and Colarbasus taught that all truth was shut up in the Greek alphabet, and, on that account, they called Christ Alpha and Omega (5); and Van Ranst adds to the list the Arconticites, who rejected the sacraments Florinus, who said that God was the author of sin and Blastus (6), who insisted that Easter should be celebrated after the Jewish fashion. The disciples of Valentine made a new Gospel, and added various books to the Canon of the Scriptures, as ” The Parables of the Lord,” ” The Prophetic Sayings and the Sermons of the Apostles.” It is needless to add that all these were according to their own doctrines.

3. Epiphanes, the son of Carpocrates, besides defending the damnable opinions of his father, openly rejected the law of Moses, and especially the two last precepts of the Decalogue. He also rejected the Gospel, though he pretended to follow it (7).

4. Prodicus taught that it was lawful to deny the faith to avoid death; he rejected the worship of an invisible God, and adored the four elements and the sun and the moon; he condemned all prayers to God as superstitious, but he prayed to the elements and the planets to be propitious to mankind (8). This impious worship he always performed naked. Noel Alexander and Theodoret assign to this heretic the institution of the sect called Adamites; these always performed their religious exercises in their churches, or rather brothels, as St. Epiphanius calls them, naked, pretending by this to imitate the innocence of Adam, but, in reality, practising every abomination (9).

5. Tatian was born in Assyria, and was a disciple of St. Justin Martyr. He was the founder of the sect called Encratics, or Continent; he taught, with Valentine, that matter was uncreated and eternal; he attributed the creation to God, but through the instrumentality of an inferior Eon, who said let there be light, not by way of command, but of supplication, and thus light was created. He denied, with Valentine, the resurrection of the dead, and human flesh, he said was too unworthy to be united with the divinity in the person of Christ. He deprived man of free will, saying he was good and spiritual, or bad and carnal, by necessity, according as the seed of divine grace was infused or not into him; and he rejected the law of Moses, as not instituted by God, but by the Eon who created the world. Finally, he condemned matrimony, prohibited the use of flesh-meat and wine, and, because he used nothing but water in the consecration of the chalice, his disciples were called Hydroparastati, or Aquarii (10).

6. Severus was a disciple of Tatian; but differed from his master in some essential points, especially in admitting the law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Gospels. Julius Capianus, a disciple of Valentine, joined with Severus, and was the founder of the heresy of the Doceti, who said that Jesus had not a real, but an apparent, body. He wrote a book on continence, in which he quoted a passage of the spurious gospel used by the Egyptians, in which Jesus Christ is made to curse matrimony. In his commentaries on Genesis he says marriage was the forbidden fruit (11).

7. Cerdonius followed the doctrines of Simon, Menander, and Saturninus; besides, he taught, with Maims, the existence of two first principles, or Gods, a good and a bad one, and admitted the resurrection of the soul, but not of the body. He rejected all the Gospels, except St. Luke’s, and mutilated that in several places (12).

8. Marcion was a native of the city of Sinope, in the province of Pontus, and the son of a Catholic bishop. In his early days he led a life of continence and retirement; but for an act of immorality he was cut off from the Church by his own father. He then went to Rome, and endeavoured to accomplish his restoration; but not being able to succeed, he, in a fit of rage, said ” I will cause an eternal division in your Church.” He then united himself to Cerdonius, admitting two principles, and founding his doctrine on the sixth chapter of St. Luke, where it is said a good tree cannot bring forth bad fruits. The good principle, he said, was the author of good, and the bad one of evil; and the good principle was the father of Jesus Christ, the giver of grace, and the bad one, the creator of matter and the founder of the law. He denied the incarnation of the Son of God, saying it was repugnant to a good God to unite himself with the filthiness of flesh, and that his soul should have for a companion a body infected and corrupt by nature. He also taught the existence of two Gods one, the good God; the other, an evil one, the God of the Jews, and the creator of the world. Each of these Gods promised to send a Christ. Our Christ appeared in the reign of Tiberius, and was the good Christ; the Jewish Christ did not yet come. The Old Testament he rejected, because it was given by the bad principle, or God of the Jews. Among other errors, he said, that when Jesus descended into hell, he did not save Abel, or Henoc, or Noah, or any other of the just of the old law, because they were friends of the God of the Jews; but that he saved Cain, the Sodomites, and the Egyptians, because they were the enemies of this God (13).

9. Apelles, the most famous disciple of Marcion, was excommunicated by his master for committing a crime against chastity, and felt his disgrace so much that he fled to Alexandria. This heretic, among other errors, said that God created a number of angels and powers, and among the rest a power called the Lord, who created this world to resemble the world above, but not being able to bring it to perfection, he repented him of having created it (14). Van Ranst says that he rejected the Prophecies, and said the Son of God took a body of air which, at his ascension, dissolved into air again.

10. Montanus, as Cardinal Orsi tells us (15), was born in Ardraba, an obscure village of Mysia. He first led such a mortified life that he was esteemed a saint; but, possessed by the demon of ambition, his head was turned. He began to speak in an extraordinary manner, make use of unknown words, and utter prophecies in contradiction to the traditions of the Church. Some thought him possessed by a spirit of error; others looked on him as a saint and prophet. He soon acquired a number of followers, and carried his madness to the utmost excess; among others who joined him were two loose women of the names of Prisca or Priscilla and Maximilla, and, seemingly possessed by the same spirit as himself, they uttered the most extraordinary rhodomontades. Montanus said that he and his prophetesses received the plenitude of the Holy Ghost, which was only partially communicated to others, and he quoted in his favour that text of St. Paul (I. Corinthians, xiii, 9), ” By part we know, and by part we prophesy ;” and they had the madness to esteem themselves greater than the apostles, since they had received the Holy Ghost promised by Jesus Christ in perfection. They also said that God wished, at first, to save the world, by means of Moses and the prophets; when he saw that these were not able to accomplish it, he himself became incarnate; but even this not sufficing, he descended in the Holy Ghost into Montanus and his prophetesses. He established nine fasting-days and three Lents in the year. Among other errors he prohibited his disciples to fly from persecution, and refused to admit sinners to repentance, and prohibited second marriages (16). Eusebius tells us that he died miserably, having hanged himself (17).

11. The heresy of Montanus shot forth different branches, as the Cataphrigians, Artotirites, Peputians, Ascodrogites, and Pattalorinchites. The Cataphrigians were called from the nation to which Montanus belonged. The Eucharistic bread they used was made of flour and blood taken from the body of an infant by puncturing it all over; if the infant died he was considered a martyr, but if he survived he was regarded as high priest. This we learn from Noel Alexander (18). The Artotirites were so called, because in the sacrifice of the Eucharist, they offered up bread and cheese. The Peputians took their name from an obscure village of Phrigia, where they held their solemn meetings; they ordained women priests and bishops, saying there was no difference between them and men. The Ascodrogites were no better than the ancient bacchanalians; they used bottles which they filled with wine near the altars, saying that these were the new bottles Jesus Christ spoke of ” They shall put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.” The Pattalorinchites were so called, because they wore a small stick in the mouth or nose, a sign of strict silence; they were so called, from pattalos, a stick, and rinchos, the nose (19).

12. Bardesanes, a native of Edessa, in Syria, lived in this age also. He was celebrated in the time of Marcus Aurelius for his learning and constancy in defending the faith. He told the Philosopher Apollonius, the favourite of the Emperor, who endeavoured to pervert him, that he was ready to seal his belief with his blood. He opposed the errors of Valentine; but, being educated in his school, he was infected with some of them, especially disbelieving the resurrection of the dead. He wrote many works in refutation of the heresies of his day, especially an excellent treatise on fate, which St. Jerome, in his catalogue of ecclesiastical writers, praises highly. We may truly say, with Noel Alexander, that the fall of so great a man is to be lamented (20).

12. Theodotus the Currier, so called on account of his trade, was a native of Byzantium, and he, along with Artemon, asserted like Ebion and Cerinthus, that Christ was mere man. 

13. Besides this there was another Theodotus, called Argentarius, or the Banker, who taught that Melchisadech was Christ, or even greater than Christ, on account of that verse of the Psalms ” Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisadech ;” and his followers were afterwards called Melchisadechites (21).

14. Hermogenes said that matter was uncreated and eternal. Tertullian, Eusebius, and Lactanctius refuted this error. He also taught that the devils would hereafter be united with matter and that the body of Jesus Christ was in the sun (22).


(1) N. Alex. t. 6, c. 3, ar. 2; Flemy, l. 3, n. 20; Berti, t. 1, c. 3; Bernin. t. 1, c. 2. 
(2) Van Ranst, His. p. 20. 
(3) Fleury, t. 1, l. 3, n. 2627; Bernin. t. 1, c. 5; Graveson, t. 3, . 49; N. Alex. t. 6, c. 3, ar. 6.
(4) Fleury, t. 1, 1. 3, n. 30; Bernin. t. 1, c. 2; Van Ranst, p. 20.
(5) Fleury, l. 3, n. 30, l. 4, n. 9 & 10.
(6) Van Ranst, p. 22. 
(7) Fleury, l. 3, n. 20; Bern. t. 1, c. 2.
(8) Bern. loc. cit. 
(9) N. Alex. t. 6, c. 3, ar. 12; Gotti, Ver. Eel. t. 2, c, 27, s. 1; Bernin. loc. cit.
(10) Orsi, t. 2, l. 4, n. 11; Fleury, t, 1, l. 4, n. 8; Baron. An. 174, n.3, 4; N. Alex. t. 6, c. 3, ar. 7. 
(11) Fleury, loc. cit. n. 8; Orsi, loc, cit. n. 12.
(12) Fleury, l. 3, n. 30; Nat. Alex. t. 6, c. 3, ar. 4; Orsi, t. 2, l. 3, n. 44. 
(13) Orsi, t. 2, L 3, n. 45; N. Alex. t. 6, c. 3, ar. 5; Baron. Ann. 146, n. 9, &c.; Fleury, t. 1, l. 3, n. 34.
(14) Fleury, loc. cit. . 35, 
(15) Orsi, t. 2, l. 4, n. 17.
(16) Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 5, c. 15.
(17) Baron. An. 173, n. 20; N. Alex. t. 6, sec. 2, c. 3, ar. 8; Fleury, t. 1, 1. 4, n. 5; Bernin. t. 1, c. 8; Orsi, t. 2, L 4, n. 18.
(18) Nat. Alex. cit. ar. 8, n. 11; St. Angus. & St. Cyril. [St. Epiphanius says it is the Peputians.]
(19) Van Ranst, His. Heres. p. 24; Vedia anche Nat. Alex. loc. cit.
(20) Nat. Alex. t. 6, c. 3, ar. 9; Van Ranst, p. 24.
(21) N. Alex. loc. cit. ar. 10; Fleury, f. 1, l. 4, n. 33, 34. 
(22) Fleury, loc. cit. n. 21; N. Alex, loc. cit. ar. 15.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
#4
CHAPTER III. – HERESIES OF THE THIRD CENTURY


1. Praxeas. 
2. Sabellius. 
3.  Paul of Samosata. 
4. Manes. 
5. Tertullian. 
6. Origen. 
7. Novatus and Novatian. 
8. Nipos. The Angelicals and the Apostolicals.


1. Praxeas, a native of Phrigia, was at first a Montanist, but afterwards becoming an enemy of Montanus, he caused him to be condemned by Pope Zepherinus, concealing his own heresy at the same time. Being soon discovered, he retracted his opinions, but soon afterwards openly proclaimed them. He denied the mystery of the Trinity, saying that in God there was but one person and one nature, which he called the Father. This sole person, he said, descended into the womb of the Virgin, and being born of her by means of the incarnation, was called Jesus Christ. According to this impious doctrine, then, it was the Father who suffered death, and on that account his followers were called Patripassionists. The most remarkable among his disciples were Berillus, Noetus, and Sabellius. Berillus was Bishop of Bostris in Arabia; he said that Christ, before his incarnation, had no divinity, and in his incarnation had no divinity of his own, but only that of the Father. Noel Alexander says that Origen refuted him, and brought him back to the Catholic faith (1). Noetus, more obstinate in error, said that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost were but one person and one God; he and his followers were cut off from the Church, and, as he died impenitent, he was refused Christian burial (2). The most celebrated promoter of this error was Sabellius.


2. Sabellius was born in the Ptolemais in Africa, and lived in the year 227. He shed a greater lustre, if we may say so, on the heresy of his master, and on that account this impious sect was called Sabellians. He denied the distinction of the three persons in the Trinity, and said they were but three names to distinguish the different operations of the Divinity. The Trinity, he said, was like the sun, in which we distinguish the light, the heat, and the form, though the sun be but one and the same. The light represents the Son, the heat the Holy Ghost, and the figure or substance of the sun itself the Father, who, in one person alone, contained the Son and the Holy Ghost (3). This error we will refute in the last part of the work.


3. Paul of Samosata was Bishop of Antioch. Before his appointment to the see he was poor, but afterwards, by extortion and sacrilege, by selling justice, and making false promises, he amassed a great deal of wealth. He was so vain and proud that he never appeared in public without a crowd of courtiers; he was always preceded by one hundred servants, and followed by a like number, and his own praises were the only subjects of his sermons; he not only abused those who did not flatter him, but frequently also offered them personal violence; and at length his vanity arrived at such a pitch that he had a choir of courtezans to sing hymns in his praise in the church; he was so dissolute in his morals that he had always a number of ladies of lax morals in his train. In fine, this impious prelate crowned all his crimes with heresy. The first of his blasphemies was, that Jesus Christ never existed until he was born of the Virgin, and hence he said he was a mere man; he also said that in Jesus there were two persons and two sons of God, one by nature and the other by adoption; he also denied the Trinity of the Divine persons, and although he admitted the names of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, not, however, denying, as Orsi thinks, personal existence to the Son and the Holy Ghost, yet he did not recognize either one or the other as persons of the Trinity, attributing to the Father alone the incarnation and passion (4). His disciples inserted those errors in their profession of faith, and in the formula of Baptism, but N. Alexander says that it is uncertain whether Paul was the author of this heresy.

4. Manes was the founder of the Manicheans, and he adopted this name on account of taking to himself the title of the Paraclete, and to conceal the lowliness of his condition, since he was at first only a slave in Persia, but was liberated and adopted by an old lady of that country. She sent him to the public academy to be educated, but he made little progress in learning. Whatever he wanted in learning he made up in impudence, and on that account he endeavoured to institute a new sect; and, to enlist the peasantry under the banner of his heresy, he studied magic with particular attention. To acquire a name for himself he undertook to cure the King of Persia’s son, who was despaired of by the physicians. Unfortunately for him, however, the child died, notwithstanding all his endeavours to save him, and he was thrown into prison, and would have been put to death only he bribed the guards to let him escape. Misfortune, however, pursued him : after travelling through various countries, he fell again into the King’s hands, who ordered him to be flayed alive with a sharp-pointed reed; his body was thrown to the beasts, and his skin hung up in the city gate, and thus the impious Manes closed his career. He left many followers after him, among whom was St. Augustine, in his youth, but, enlightened by the Almighty, he abandoned his errors, and became one of his most strenuous opponents (5).

The errors of Manes can be classed under the following heads : 1st. He admitted the plurality of Gods, alleging that there were two principles, one of good and the other of evil. Another of his errors was, that man had two souls one bad, which the evil principle created, together with the body, and another, good, created by the good principle, which was co-eternal, and of the same nature with God. All the good actions which man performs he attributes to the good soul, and all the evil ones he commits to the bad soul. He deprived man of free-will, saying that he was always carried irresistibly forward by a force which his will could not resist. He denied the necessity of baptism, and entirely abolished that sacrament. Among many other errors, the Manicheans detested the flesh, as being created by the evil principle, and, therefore, denied that Jesus Christ ever took a body like ours, and they were addicted to every sort of impurity (6). They spread almost over the entire world, and though condemned by many Popes, and persecuted by many Emperors, as Dioclesian, Gratian, and Theodosius, but especially by Justin and Justinian, who caused many of them to be burned alive in Armenia, still they were not annihilated till the year 1052, when, as Baronius relates, Henry II., finding some of them lurking in France, caused them to be hanged. The refutation of this heresy we have written in the book called the Truth of the Faith (7).


5. Tertullian was born, as Fleury (8) relates, in Carthage, and his father was a centurion in the Pretorian Bands. He was at first a Pagan, but was converted about the year 197, and was a priest for forty years, and died at a very advanced age. He wrote many works of the highest utility to the Church, on Baptism, Penance, Idolatry, on the Soul, on Proscriptions, and an Apology for the Christians, which has acquired great celebrity. Although in his book on Proscriptions he calls Montanus a heretic, still, according to the general opinion of authors, he fell into Montanism himself. Baronius says that he was cut off from the Church, and excommunicated by Pope Zepherinus (9). Tertullian was a man of the greatest austerity; he
had the greatest veneration for continence; he practised extraordinary watchings, and on account of a dispute he had with the clergy of Rome, he attached himself to the Montanists, who, to the most rigid mortification, joined the belief that Montanus was the Holy Ghost. N. Alexander proves, on the authority of St. Jerome, St. Hilary, St. Pacianus, St. Optatus, and St. Augustine, that he asserted the Church could not absolve adulterers, that those who married a second time were adulterers, and that it was not lawful to fly from persecution. He called the Catholics, Psichici, or Animals. Fleury says (10), that Tertullian taught that the soul was a body, of a palpable form, but transparent, because one of the Prophetesses heard so in a vision. Both Fleury and Noel Alexander say (11), that he forsook the Montanists before his death, but a sect, who called themselves Tertullianists after him, remained in Carthage for two hundred years, until the time of St. Augustine, when they once more returned to the bosom of the Church.


6. Origen was an Egyptian, and his early days were spent in Alexandria. His father was St. Leonidas the Martyr, who had him educated in every branch of sacred and profane literature (12). It is said his own father held him in the highest veneration, and that often while he slept he used to kiss his bosom, as the temple where the Holy Ghost dwelt (13). At the age of eighteen he was made Catechist of the Church of Alexandria, and he discharged his duties so well that the very pagans flocked to hear him. Plutarch, who afterwards became an illustrious martyr of the faith of Christ, was one of his disciples. In the height of the persecution he never ceased to assist the confessors of Christ, despising both torments and death. He had the greatest horror of sensual pleasures, and it is related of him that for fear of offending against chastity, and to avoid temptation, he mutilated himself, interpreting the 12th verse of the 19th chapter of St. Matthew in a wrong sense (14). He refuted the Arabians, who denied the immortality of the soul, and converted Berrillus, as we have already seen, who denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. He also converted Ambrose from the errors of the Valentinians. He was so desirous of martyrdom, that his mother was obliged to take away his clothes, to prevent him from going to his father, who was in prison for the faith. All this, however, was to no purpose; he avoided her vigilance, flew to his father, and when he would not be allowed to speak to him, he exhorted him by letter to persevere in the faith. At the age of eighteen he was Prefect of the studies of Alexandria. When he was composing his Commentaries on the Scriptures, he dictated to seven or eight amanuenses at the same time. He edited different editions of the Scriptures, compiling the Tetrapla, the Hexapla, and the Octapla, The Tetrapla had four columns in each page; in the first was the version of the seventy, or Septuagint, in the second that of Aquila, in the third that of Simmachus, and in the fourth that of Theodotian. The Hexapla had six columns, and, besides the former, contained the Hebrew text and a Greek translation. Finally, the Octapla contained, besides the former, two other versions, compiled by some Hebrews. His name was so famous at that time that all the priests and doctors consulted him in any difficult matter. Presuming too much on his wisdom, he fell into different errors, by wishing to interpret many texts of Scripture in a mystical, rejecting the literal, sense.

Those, he says, who adhere to the letter of the Scripture will never see the kingdom of God (15), hence we should seek the spirit of the word, which is hidden and mysterious. He is defended by some; but the majority condemn him, although he endeavoured to clear himself by saying that he wrote his sentiments merely as opinions, and subjected them to the judgment of his readers (16).

He was obliged to go into Achaia, a country at that time distracted by various heresies. In his journey he persuaded two bishops of Palestine whom he visited, that it would be of great service to the Church if he was ordained priest (17). Yielding to his suggestions they ordained him, and this so displeased Demetrius, Bishop of Alexandria, that in a council he deposed and excommunicated him. Several other bishops, however, received him in his misfortunes, and entertained him honourably. Orsi, on the authority of Eusebius, tells us (18), that, in the persecution of Decius he was imprisoned a long time, loaded with irons, and a great iron ring on his neck; and that he was not only tortured in the legs in a horrible manner, but was likewise put on the rack. Dionisius, Eusebius says (19), wrote him a letter, or rather a small treatise,, to animate and console him; and from that circumstance, Cardinal Orsi (20) proves the fallacy of Du Pin’s conjecture, that the sentence passed against him by Demetrius, was enforced under his successors Aracla and Dionisius. Origen did not long survive the torments he endured in that persecution. He died in Tyre, in the year 253, the sixty-ninth of his age (21).

Bernini tells us, on the authority of St. Epiphanius (22), (thinking, however, that this was foisted into St. Epiphanius’s works by the enemies of Origen) that he denied the faith by offering incense to idols, to avoid the indignities and insults inflicted on him by an Ethiopian, and that he was then freed from prison, and his life spared. After that he went from Alexandria to Jerusalem, and at the request of the clergy and people went into the pulpit to preach. It happened, however, that opening the book of the Psalms, to explain them, the first words he read were those of the 49th Psalm : ” God said to the sinner, why dost thou declare my justices and take my covenant into thy mouth ? ” Struck dumb with sorrow, he began to weep bitterly, and left the pulpit without saying a word. Not only St. Epiphanius, but Eusebius (23) before him, bear witness to Origen’s fall. Although Bernini (24) says this story is quite fabulous, yet Petavius, Daniel Uerius, Pagi, and especially Noel Alexander (25), say it is a fact. Roncaglia (26) is of opinion that Noel Alexander’s arguments are groundless, and that Baronius’s opinion carries more weight with it.

We can decide nothing as to the salvation of Origen, though Baronius says that St. Simeon Salus saw him in hell; still, all is a mystery known to God alone. We know, however, on the authority of Baronius, that his doctrine was condemned by Pope Anastasius and Pope Gelasius, and afterwards by the fifth general council (27).

The substance of the errors of Origen, as well as I could collect from the works of Noel Alexander, Fleury, Hermant, Orsi, Van Ranst (who gives a great deal of information in a small space), and others, was all included in his Periarchon, or Treatise on Principles. This treatise, Fleury says, was translated by Rufinus, who endeavoured to correct it as much as possible. The intent of Origen in this work was to refute Valentine, Marcion, and Ebion, who taught that men are either essentially good or essentially wicked. He said that God alone was good and immutable, but that his creatures were capable of either good or evil, by making use of their free will or a good purpose, or perverting it for a wicked one. Another of his opinions was that the souls of men were of the same nature as the celestial spirits, that is, composed of spirit and matter; that they were all created before the beginning of the world, but that, as a punishment for some crimes committed, they were shut up in the sun, moon, and other planets, and even in human bodies, as it were in a prison, to punish them for a time; after which, being freed from their slavery by death, they went to heaven to receive the reward of their virtues, or to hell to suffer the punishment of their sins, but such rewards and punishments were not eternal. Hence, he said, the blessed in heaven could be banished from that abode of happiness for faults committed there, and that the punishment of the devils and the damned would not last for all eternity, because at the end of the world Jesus Christ would be again crucified, and they would participate in the general redemption. He also said that before the creation of this world there existed many others, and that after this had ceased to exist many more would be created, for, as God was never idle, so he never was without a world.

He taught many other erroneous opinions; in fact his doctrine is entirely infected with the maxims of Plato, Pythagoras, and the Manicheans. Cassiodorus, speaking of Origen, says, I wonder how the same man could contradict himself so much; for since the days of the Apostles he had no equal in that part of his doctrine which was approved of, and no one ever erred more grossly in the part which was condemned. Cabassutius (28) says, that Pope Gelasius, following the example of Anastatius, gave this entence relative to Origen in the Roman council : “We declare that those works of Origen which the blessed Jerome does not reject can be read, but we condemn all others with their author.”

After the death of Origen his followers disturbed the Church very much by maintaining and propagating his errors. Hermant (29) relates that Pope Anastasius had a great deal of difficulty in putting down the troubles occasioned by the Origenists in Rome, who got footing there under the auspices of Melania, by means of the priest Rufinus. The author of the notes on Floury, says, that Anastasius wrote to John of Jerusalem to inform him of how matters were going on, and that he, on that account, cut off Rufinus from the Church. In the reign of the Emperor Justinian, some Origenist monks who lived in a laura founded by St. Saba, under the abbot Nonnus, began to disseminate their errors among this brethren, and in a short time infected the principal laura, but were expelled by the abbot Gelasius. Favoured, however, by Theodore of Cesarea, they got possession of the great laura again, and expelled the greater part of the monks who disagreed with them. In the meantime, Nonnus died, and his successor George being deposed for immorality by his own party, the Catholic monks again got possession of the laura, and elected Conon, one of this party, abbot (30). Finally, in the twelfth canon of the second council of Constantinople, both Origen and all those who would persist in defending his doctrine were condemned (31).


7. Novatus and Novatian. Novatus was a priest of the Church of Carthage. St. Cyprian relates that he was a man of a turbulent disposition, seditious and avaricious, and that his faith was suspected by the bishops. He was accused of robbing the orphans and widows, and appropriating to his own use the money given him for the use of the Church. It is said he allowed his father to die of starvation, and afterwards refused to bury him; and that he caused the death of his wife by giving her a kick, and causing premature labour. He was also one of the principal agents in getting the deacon Felicissimus ordained priest without the leave or knowledge of St. Cyprian, his bishop, and was one of the principal leaders of the schism of Novatian, exciting as many as he could to oppose the lawful Pope, Cornelius (32).

We now come to speak of the character and errors of Novatian. Being possessed by an evil spirit he was baptized in bed during a dangerous fit of sickness, and when he recovered he neglected getting the ceremonies of baptism supplied, and never received confirmation, which, according to the discipline of the Church in those days, he ought to have received after baptism, and his followers, for that reason, afterwards rejected this sacrament. He was afterwards ordained priest, the bishop dispensing in the irregularity he incurred by being baptized in bed. Hence his ordination gave great umbrage both to the clergy and people. While the persecution was raging the deacons begged of him to leave his place of concealment, and assist the faithful, who were dragged to the place of punishment; but he answered, that he did not henceforward intend to discharge the duties of a priest; that he had his mind made up for other objects. This was nothing less than the Popedom, which he had the ambition to pretend to, puffed up by the applause he received for his oratorical powers. At this time, Cornelius was elected Pope, and he, by intrigue, got himself consecrated privately by three ignorant bishops whom he made intoxicated.

Thus he was the first anti-Pope who ever raised a schism in the Church of Rome. But what will not ambition do? While he administered the Eucharist to his partizans, he exacted an oath from each of them, saying, ” Swear to me, by the blood of Jesus Christ, that you will never leave my party and join Cornelius” (33).

The errors of Novatus and Novatian were the following: they denied that the Church could use any indulgence with those who became idolaters through fear of persecution, or that she could grant pardon for any mortal sin committed after baptism, and they denied the sacrament of confirmation. Like the Montanists, they condemned second marriages, and refused communion on the point of death to those who contracted them (34).


8. These were not the only heretics who disturbed the Church during this century. Nipos, an Egyptian bishop, about the year 284, again raked up the errors of the Millenarians, taking the promise of the Apocalypse in a literal sense, that Jesus Christ would reign on earth for the space of a thousand years, and that the saints should enjoy all manner of sensual delights. The Angelicals offered the supreme adoration which should be given to God alone, to the angels; adored them as the creators of the world, and pretended to lead angelic lives themselves.
The Apostolicals said it was not lawful for any one to possess property of any sort, and that the riches of this life were an insurmountable obstacle to salvation. These heretics received no married persons into this sect (35).


(1) Nat. Alex. t. 7, s. 3, c. 3, ar. 1, ex Euseb.; Van Ranst, p. 65.
(2) Nat, Alex, ibid, c. 3, ar. 7; Van Ranst, p. 48.
(3) Nat. Alex. t. 7, c. 3, ar. 7; Orsi, t. 2, l. 5, n. 14; Hermant, 1. 1, c. 60; Fleury, I. 7, n. 35.
(4) Orsi, t. 3, l. 8, n. 15; Gotti de Vera Rel. t. 2, c, 11, s. 2; N. Alex. t. 7, c. 3, ar. 8, sec. 2; Hermant, t. 1, c. 63; Fleury, t. 2, l. 8, n. 1.
(5) Baron. Ann. 277, ex n. 1; Nat. Alex. t. 7, c. 3, ar. 9, sec. 1.
(6) Nat. Alex ibid, vide sec. 2; Hermant, t. 1, c. 65; Fleury, t. 2, L 8, n. 1012; Baron. Ann. 277, . 1, & seq.; Graves, in sec. 3.
(7) Verità della Fede, part 3, c. 2, sec. 2.
(8) Fleury, t. 1, L 4, n. 47.
(9) Baron. Ann. 201, n. 3, & seq. ad. 11; Fleury, t. 1, l. 25 & 26; Orsi,t. 3, l. 8, n. 28.
(10) Fleury, t. I, 1. 5, n. 25
(11) Fleury, t. 1, I. 6, n. 3, cum St. Augus. & Nat. Alex. t. 6, c. 3, ar. 8, n. 9
(12) Nat. Alex. t. 1, ar. 12.
(13) Fleury, I. 5, n. 2; Orsi, l. 5, n. 27.
(14) Nat. Alex. t. 7, nr. 12.
(15) Origen, Stromata, l. 10.
(16) Orsi, l. 6, n. 61.
(17) Nat. Alex, ibid; Orsi, n. 30.
(18) Orsi, t. 3, l. 7, n. 33.
(19) Euseb. His. Eccl. l. 6.
(20) Orsi. t. 3, I. 7, n. 33.
(21) Orsi, loc. cit.; Hermant, t. 1, c. 68; Bar. Ann. 204, n. 8; V. Ranst, p. 42; Graves, s. 3.
(22) Bernin. Istor. t. 1, c. 1, p. 125.
(23) Euseb. l. 6; Hist. Eccl. c. 59.
(24) Baron. Ann. 253, n. 117, & seq. cum Graves, loc. cit.
(25) Petav. in Animadv. in St. Epiph. Heres. 64; Huetius, l. 1; Orig. c. 4; Pagius ad an. 251, n. 19; Nat. Alex. t. 7, diss. 15, q. 2, art, unic.
(26) Rone. not. in Natal, loc. cit.
(27) Baron. Ann. 400, &c.
(28) Cabassut. Notit. Hist. Cone. Constan. II. an. 553, n. 14. in fin..
(29) Hermant, t. 1, c, 132.
(30) Orsi, t. 18, l. 41, n. 1 & 5, ad 7
(31) Orsi, al luogo cit. n. 70
(32) Baron. An. 254, n. 50.; Nat. t. 7, c. 3, or. 3, 4; Fleury, t. 1, 1. 6, n. 51.
(33) Nat, loc. cit.; Baron, n. 61, &c.
(34) Nat. Alex, ibid; Van Ranst, p. 45, 46; Fleury, cit. n. 51; Hermant, t. 1, c. 48, 51. 35) Nat. Alex. t. 7, c. 3, ar. 6, 9; Van Ranst, p. 47 & 64; Berti, t. 1, s. 3, c. 3.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
#5
CHAPTER IV. HERESIES OF THE FOURTH CENTURY


ARTICLE I. – SCHISM AND HERESY OF THE DONATISTS

1, 2. Schism.
3. Heresy.
4, 5. Confutation of St. Augustine. Circumcellionists.
6. Conference commanded by Honorius.
7. Death of St. Marcellinus, and Council of Carthage.




1. In order properly to understand the history of the Donatists, we must separate the schism from the heresy, for they were at first schismatics before they were heretics. Donatus the first was the author of the schism; a second Donatus was the father of the heresy, and he was called by his followers Donatus the Great. In the beginning of the fourth century, Mensurius, Bishop of Carthage, was cited before the tyrant Maxentius on the charge of concealing in his house a deacon of the name of Felix, the author of a libel on the Emperor. Mensurius went to Rome to defend himself, and died on his way home. Cecilianus was elected by the general voice of the people to fill the vacant see, and was consecrated by Felix, Bishop of Aphthongum and other prelates. His opponents immediately began to question the validity of his consecration, because it was performed by those bishops called traitors (traditores), who delivered up the Scriptures to the pagans. Another charge made against him was that he prohibited the faithful from supplying the confessors in the prisons with food. At the head of this conspiracy was a bishop of an African city, called ” the Black Houses,” whose name was Donatus; and it was very much strengthened by the intrigues of Lucilla, a Spanish lady then residing in Carthage. Cecilianus happened to come into collision with her while he was yet a deacon, because he reprimanded her for paying the veneration due to a holy martyr to a certain dead man, whose sanctity was never recognized by the Church. To revenge herself on him for this, she became the soul of the conspiracy, and by the influence of her wealth brought over to her party many of the bishops of Africa, who, uniting together in council, under the presidency of the secondary primate of Numidia, deposed Cecilianus in his absence, and elected a domestic of Lucilla’s in his place, of the name of Majorinus, who was consecrated by Donatus (1).

2. Notwithstanding all this persecution, Cecilianus remained stedfast in the faith which obliged the Donatists to have recourse to the Emperor Constantine. He referred the entire matter to St. Melchiades, the reigning Pope, who, in the year 315, or according to others, in 316, assembled a council of nineteen bishops, and declared both the innocence of Cecilianus and the validity of his consecration. The Donatists were discontented with this decision, and again appealed to the Emperor; he used every means to pacify them, but seeing them determined to keep up the schism, he ordered Elianus, pro-consul of Africa, to investigate the matter, and find out whether the crime laid to the charge of Felix who consecrated Cecilianus (that of delivering up the Scriptures to the idolators), was true. The conspirators, aware that this investigation was to take place, bribed a notary of the name of Ingentius, to prove a falsehood; but in his examination before the Pro-consul, he acquitted both Felix and Cecilianus. The Emperor being informed of this was satisfied as to their innocence; but in order to appease the Donatists, and give them no cause of complaint, he caused another council to be convoked at Aries, to which St. Silvester, who succeeded St. Melchiades in the year 314, sent his legate to preside in his name; and in that and the following year, Felix and Cecilianus were again acquitted by the council (2).

3. Nothing, however, could satisfy the Donatists; they even, according to Fleury (3), extended themselves as far as Rome. Heresy now was added to schism. The second Donatus, called by them Donatus the Great, put himself at their head; and although tinctured with the Arian heresy, as St. Augustine says (4), intruded himself into the See of Carthage, as successor to Majorinus.

4. He was the first who began to disseminate the errors of the Donatists in Africa (5). Those consisted in the adoption of one false principle, which was the source of many others. This was that the Church was composed of the just alone, and that all the wicked were excluded from it; founding this belief on that text of St. Paul, where he says that the Church of Christ is free from all stain: “Christ loved his Church, and delivered himself up for it, that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle ” (Ephesians, v. 27). They also professed to find this doctrine in the twenty-seventh verse of the twenty -first chapter of the Apocalypse: ” There shalt not enter into it anything defiled.” The adoption of this erroneous principle led them into many heretical consequences: First, believing that the Church was composed of the good alone, they inferred that the Church of Rome was lost, because the Pope and bishops having admitted to their communion traitors, or those who delivered up the holy books into the hands of the Pagans, as they alleged Felix and Cecilianus to have done, and as the sour leaven corrupteth the entire mass, then the Church, being corrupted and stained by the admission of those, was lost, it only remained pure in that part of Africa where the Donatists dwelt; and to such a pitch did their infatuation arrive, that they quoted Scripture for this also, interpreting that expression of the Canticles, ” Shew me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou liest in the mid-day,” (the south,) as relating to Africa, which lies in the southern part of the world. Another heretical inference of theirs was, that the sacrament of baptism was null and void if administered out of their Church, because a Church that was lost had not the power of administering the sacrament, and on that account they re-baptized all proselytes.

These two heretical opinions fall to the ground at once, by proving the falsity of the first proposition, that the Church consists of the good alone. St. Augustine proves clearly that these texts of St. Paul and St. John, refer to the triumphant and not to the militant Church, for our Redeemer, speaking of the militant Church, says, in many places, it contains both good and bad; in one place he likens it to a threshing floor, which contains both straw and grain: ” He will thoroughly cleanse his floor, and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Matt, iii, 12). In another place he compares it to a field sown with good seed, and cockle growing amongst it: ” Let both grow” he says, ” till the time of the harvest, and then I will say to the reapers, Gather up first the cockle and bind it into bundles to burn, but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matt, xiii, 3) (6).

5. The Donatists were not content with the crime of heresy, but committed a thousand others, if possible of a deeper dye. They destroyed the altars of the Catholics, broke the chalices, spilled the holy Chrism on the ground, and threw the holy Eucharist to the dogs. But St. Optatus Milevitanus (7) informs us that God did not suffer the indignity to his sacred body and blood to go unpunished, for the dogs getting mad turned on their own masters, and tore them, as if in revenge for the insult offered to the body of Jesus Christ. Not satisfied with tormenting the living, they outraged the dead, whom they dragged out of their graves, and exposed to the most unheard-of indignities. About this time, also, the Circumcellionists sprung from the Donatists. Their chiefs were Faber and Maxidus, and they were called Circumcellionists from running about from town to town and house to house. They were called by Donatus the chiefs of the saints; they boasted that they were the redressors of all wrong and injustice through the world, though nothing could be more unjust than their own proceedings. They gave liberty to slaves, and commanded debtors not to pay their debts, telling them they were freed from all obligation. Their cruelty equalled their fanaticism, for they went about in armed bands, and put to death those who did not become proselytes to their doctrine; but what was more astonishing than all was to see this fury turned against themselves, for many of them committed suicide by throwing themselves over precipices, some cast themselves into the fire, others drowned themselves, or cut their throats, and endeavoured to induce others to follow their example, telling them that all who died so were martyrs; even women followed the example of their husbands in this madness, and St. Augustine tells us that even some, in a state of pregnancy, threw themselves down precipices.

It is true that even the Donatist bishops endeavoured by every means to put a stop to such frightful fanaticism, and even called in the authority of the secular power to aid them, but they could not deny that they were their own disciples, and that they became the victims of such perverse doctrines from following their own example (8).

6. The Emperors Constantine and Constans, sons of Constantine the Great and Valentinian, issued several edicts against the Donatists, but all was of little avail. In the reign of Honorious an edict was published, giving liberty to all sects to profess publicly their doctrines, but about the year 410 the Donatists, taking advantage of this, broke out into several acts of violence, which so exasperated Honorious that, at the suggestion of the Catholic bishops of Africa, he revoked the edict. He then published that law (L. 51, Codex Theodosianus), which punishes with confiscation of property the practice of any religion except the Catholic, and even with pain of death if the professors of any heretical doctrines should publicly assemble in their conventicles. In order, however, entirely to extinguish the heresy of Donatus, he sent the Imperial Tribune, Marcellinus, a man of the greatest learning and prudence, into Africa, with orders to assemble all the African bishops, both Catholics and Donatists, in Carthage, to proceed to a conference to see who was right and who was wrong, that peace should be established between them. The Donatists at first refused to come, but the edicts of Honorius were too strict to be avoided, and they consented, and the conference was held in the Baths of Gazilian. Two hundred and eighty-six Catholics and two hundred and seventy-nine Donatists assembled, but Marcellinus, to avoid confusion, would allow only thirty-six, eighteen on each side, to hold the conference, these eighteen to be chosen from among all the rest. The schismatics refused to obey the regulations of Marcellinus, and used every stratagem to avoid coming to the point; especially they endeavoured to cushion the question concerning the true Church, but, with all their art, they were, one day, drawn into it, and, seeing themselves caught, they could not help lamenting, saying, see how insensibly we have got into the bottom of the case.

Then it was that St. Augustine, as we have already shown, proved clearer than the noon-day sun that the Church is not composed of the good alone, as the Donatists would have it, but of the good and the bad, as the threshing-floor contains both corn and chaff. Finally, after many disputations, Marcellinus gave his decision in favor of the Catholics (9).

7. Many were united to the Church, but many more persisted in their errors, and appealed to Honorius, who would not even admit them to an audience, but condemned to a heavy fine all those who would not join the Catholic Church, and threatened to banish all the Donatist bishops and priests who would persist in their opposition to his decree. Nothing could exceed their malice against the Catholics after that; they murdered the defender of the Church, Restitutus (10), and plotted with the Count Marinus the destruction of Marcellinus. The means by which Marinus accomplished this were horrible. He caused St. Marcellinus to be imprisoned on a charge of high treason, alleging that he was one of the chief promoters of the rebellion of Heraclian, which he was most innocent of, and although he swore to his friend Cecilianus that he would liberate both St. Marcellinus and his brother Aprinius from prison, he ordered him the next day to be taken out to a lonesome place, and beheaded. Cardinal Orsi proves this on the authority of Orosius, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine. Thus Marcellinus died a martyr, but Marinus was punished for his injustice, being shortly after recalled by Honorius, and stripped of all his honours. In the Council of Carthage, in 348, or, as Hermant (11) has it, in 349, the Catholic bishops of Africa assembled in great numbers to thank the Almighty for putting an end to this sect, and the schismatical bishops then joined them. In this council it was prohibited to re-baptize those who were baptized in the faith of the Trinity, in opposition to the erroneous opinion of the Donatists, who declared the baptism administered out of their communion invalid. It was also forbidden to honour as martyrs those who killed themselves, and they were allowed the rites of burial through compassion alone.

Cardinal Baronius says that this sect lasted till the time of Gregory the Great, who endeavoured to put an end to it altogether, and he also says that those heretics were the cause of the ruin of the Church of Africa (12).



(1) Baron. Ann. 303, n. 29, & Ann. 306, n. 74 & 75; vide Fleury, Nat. Alex. Orsi, Van Ranst, & Hermant.
(2) Hermant, c. 78, &c.
(3) Fleury, t. 2, l. 10, n. 26.
(4) St. Augus. 1. de Heres. c. 69.
(5) 0rsi, t. 4, 1. 11, n. 61 & 52.
(6) Nat. Alex. t. 9, diss. 31. 
(7) St. Opt. I. 2, de Donatis.
(8) Baron. An. .157, w. 15; V. Ranst; Floury, t. 2, l 11, n. 46,; Hermant, c. 81.
(9) Orsi, t. 11, I. 25, n. 1, 24; Baron. Ann. 411, n. 24.
(10) Baron. An. 412, n. 1, &c.; Orsi, n. 28, 29.
(11) Hermant, c. 99.
(12) Baron. An. 591, &c.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
#6
CHAPTER IV. HERESIES OF THE FOURTH CENTURY - continued

ARTICLE II. THE ARIAN HERESY

I. PROGRESS OF ARIUS, AND HIS CONDEMATION BY THE COUNCIL OF NICE


8. Origin of Arius.
9. His Errors and Supporters.
10. Synod of Bythynia.
11. Synod of Osius in Alexandria.
12. General Council of Nice.
13. Condemnation of Arius.
14-16. Profession of Faith.
17. Exile of Eusebius of Nicomedia, and insidious Letter of Eusebius of Cesarea.
18. Banishment of Arius.
19. Decree for the Meletians.
20. Decree for the Quartodecimans.
21. Canons.
22. End of the Council


8. Arius was an African, born in that part of it called Lybia Cirenaica, and he went to Alexandria in the expectation of obtaining some ecclesiastical dignity. He was, as Baronius tells us, a man of great learning and science of polished manners, but of a forbidding appearance ambitious of glory, and fond of novelty (1). At first he was a follower of Meletius, Bishop of Lycopolis, in Upper Egypt. This bishop, in the beginning of the fourth century, though he taught nothing contrary to faith, still was deposed by St. Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, on account of many grievous crimes, one of which even was idolatry (2); and he then raised a great schism in Egypt against St. Peter, and went so far as to administer the ordination belonging by right to the Saint. Arius judged that he would have no great chance of advancing himself according to his wishes, by continuing a partizan of Meletius, so he made his submission to St. Peter, and was ordained deacon by him; but he, finding that he still continued to correspond with Meletius, turned him out of Alexandria.

St. Peter was soon after put in prison for the faith, and about to be martyred. Arius endeavoured again to be received by him; and it was then, as Baronius(3) tells us, on the authority of the Acts of the martyrdom of St. Peter, that Christ appeared to the Saint with a torn garment, and said to him: “Arius has torn this; take heed lest you receive him into your communion.” Alexander has strong doubts of the truth of this vision (4); but his arguments are not convincing, and it has been admitted into the Roman Breviary on the 26th of November, the feast of St. Peter. Arius, for all that, was promoted to the priesthood by Achilla, who succeeded St. Peter, martyred in 311, and got the charge of a parochial church called Baucal (5), in Alexandria. On the death of Achilla, Arius, who was now, as Fleury tells us, advanced in years, expected to succeed him; but St. Alexander was chosen, a man of great knowledge and most exemplary life. Arius began immediately to censure his conduct and condemn his doctrine, saying that he falsely taught that the Word, the Son of God, was equal to the Father, begotten by him from all eternity, and of the same nature and substance as the Father, which, he said, was the heresy of Sabellius. He then began to promulgate the following blasphemies: 1. That the Word was not from all eternity, but was brought forth out of nothing by the Father, and created, the same as one of ourselves; and, 2ndly, that Christ, according to his free will, was of a mutable nature, and that he might have followed vice, but that, as he embraced goodness, God, as a reward for his good works, made him a participator in the divine nature, and honoured him with the title of the Word, the Son, and of Wisdom (6). Noel Alexander says that these errors are taken from an impious work he wrote, called Thalia, and from an Epistle of his to St. Alexander, referred to by St. Athanasius, and from the Synodical Epistle of the Council of Nice, quoted by Socrates, St. Epiphanius, and Theodoret. Noel Alexander also says, on the authority of St. Athanasius and Theodoret, that he taught that the Word in the Incarnation took a body without a soul, and that the soul was part of the divinity.


9. Arius began at first privately to teach his errors; but he soon became so bold that he publicly preached them in his parish. St. Alexander at first tried to bring him back by admonition, but, finding that of no avail, he had recourse to more rigorous measures; and as some bishops were even then tainted with his heresy especially Secundus of Ptolemais, and Theonas of Marmorica he convoked a synod in Alexandria, in 320, at which nearly one hundred bishops from Lybia and Egypt assembled, besides a great number of priests. Arius was called before them, and publicly professed his errors; so the assembled Fathers excommunicated him and his adherents, and St. Alexander wrote from the synod an encyclical letter, giving an account of it to all the bishops of the Church (7). Notwithstanding this, Arius only became more obstinate, and made many proselytes, both men and women; and Theodoret says (8) he seduced several of his female followers. He then put himself under the protection of Eusebius of Nicomedia, a powerful and learned, but wicked, man, who left his own bishopric of Beyrout, and intruded himself into the see of Nicomedia, through the influence of Constantia, the sister of Constantine. He wrote to St. Alexander, requesting him to receive Arius again into his communion; but the Holy Patriarch not only refused his request, but obliged Arius and all his followers to quit Alexandria (9).


10. Arius then went to Palestine, and succeeded in seducing several bishops of that and the neighbouring provinces, especially Eusebius of Cesarea, Aezius of Lidda or Hospolis, Paulinus of Tyre, Gregory of Beiroot, Athanasius of Anazarbus, and Theodotus of Laodicea. When St. Alexander heard of this, he complained very much of it, and wrote to several of the bishops of Palestine, who yielded to his advice, and forsook Arius. He then took refuge with his friend Eusebius of Nicomedia, and there he wrote his book called Thalia, interlarding it with low jests, to take the common people, and with all his blasphemies against the faith, to instil into the minds of every class the poison of his heresy (10). Eusebius called together a synod in Bythinia of bishops favourable to Arius, who wrote to several other bishops to interfere with St. Alexander to receive him again to his communion, but the saint was inflexible (11).


11. About this time Constantine gained the victory over Licinius, which gave him peaceable possession of the empire; but when he came to Nicomedia he was afflicted to hear of the dissensions between St. Alexander and Arius and the bishops of the East. Eusebius of Nicomedia, who had the first story for the Emperor, told him it was a matter of no great importance altogether, and did not touch on the integrity of the faith, and that all that was requisite was that both sides should be silent. So, to believe that Jesus Christ was either God or a simple creature was a matter of trifling importance; but this has always been the aim of heretics, to make it appear that the dogmas they impugned were of no great consequence. The Emperor being thus deceived, wrote to St. Alexander (12), telling him it was unwise to disturb the Church after this manner, and that the wisest way would be to hold his tongue, and leave every one to follow his own opinions. The disturbance in the East, however, only increased; so that, at length, Osius, Bishop of Cordova, in Spain for thirty years, a man of the greatest merit and earning, and who suffered a great deal in the persecution of Maximilian, was sent to put an end to it. Baronius and Van Ranst say he was sent by St. Sylvester; but the general opinion, which Fleury and Noel Alexander, on the authority of Socrates, Eusebius, Sozymen, and Theodoret adopt, is that he was sent by the Emperor (13). When Osius arrived in Alexandria, and saw that the evil was greater than he imagined, he summoned a synod of bishops in concert with St. Alexander, and Arius and his followers were again excommunicated, and his errors condemned (14).


12. After this new condemnation, Arius wrote to the Emperor in his defence; but Constantine, now informed of his errors, answered him in a long letter, in which, after refuting his errors, he proved him to be a malicious fool, and he also ordered that this letter should be made public. The Arians were so annoyed at this that they pelted the Emperor’s statue, and disfigured the face of it; but he showed his good sense, and proved himself a man of great moderation, on the occasion, for when his ministers urged him to punish them, he, laughing, put his hand to his face, and said, ” I don’t perceive they have hurted me,” and took no more notice of the matter (15). The fire of discord was not, however, extinguished, but rather burned more violently every day. The Emperor then judged it best to call together a general council, to put an end to it; and appointed Nice, in Bythinia, not Nice, in Thrace, as the place of meeting, and invited all bishops both those of the empire, and those beyond its borders to assemble there, and provided for all their expenses (16). The bishops of Asia, Africa, and Europe were rejoiced at this, and came to the council; so that, in the year 325, three hundred and eighteen bishops were assembled in Nice, as Noel Alexander asserts, on the authority of St. Ambrose, in contradiction to Eusebius, who reduces the number to two hundred and fifty (17). Oh, how glorious it was for the Church to see so many pastors assembled in this council! Among them were many prelates bearing on their persons the marks of persecution suffered for the faith, especially St. Paphnutius, bishop in the Thebaid, whose right eye was plucked out, and his left hand burned, in the persecution of Maximilian; St. Paul, Bishop of Neoceserea, who, by order of Licinius, lost the use of both his hands, the sinews being burned with a red iron; St. Potamon, Bishop of Thrace, whose right eye also was torn out for the faith; and many other ecclesiastics, who were tortured by the idolaters (18).


13. St. Sylvester seconded the pious intention of the Emperor, and assented to the council; and as his advanced age did not permit him to attend in person, he sent, as his legates, Vito and Vincentius, Roman priests, and Osius, Bishop of Cordova, to preside in his place, and regulate the sessions (19). Tillemont, in his history, at the year 325, doubts if Osius presided at this council; but not alone all the authors cited speak of him as president, but Maclaine, the English annotator of Mosheim, allows the fact. St. Athanasius calls Osius the chief and leader of the synod (20); and Gelasius Cizicenus, the historian of the fifth century, speaking of the Nicene Council, says Osius held the place of Sylvester, and, along with Vito and Vincentius, was present at that meeting. On the 19th of June, 325, the synod was opened in the great church of Nice, as Cardinal Orsi (21), following the general opinion, relates. The session, he says, held in the palace, in presence of Constantino, was not, as Fleury believes, the first but the last one (22). The first examination that was made was of the errors of Arius, who, by Constantino’s orders, was present in Nice; and being called on to give an account of his faith, he vomited forth, with the greatest audacity, those blasphemies he before preached, saying, that the Son of God did not exist from all eternity, but was created from nothing, just like any other man, and was mutable, and capable of virtue or vice. The holy bishops hearing such blasphemies for all were against him with the exception of twenty-two, friends of his, which number was afterwards reduced to five, and finally to two stopped their ears with horror, and, full of holy zeal, exclaimed against him (23). Notwithstanding this, the council wished that his propositions should be separately examined; and it was then that St. Athanasius brought from Alexandria, by his bishop, St. Alexander showed forth his prowess against the enemies of the faith, who marked him from that out, and persecuted him for the rest of his life. A letter of Eusebius of Nicomedia was read in the council, from which it appeared that he coincided in his opinions with Arius. The letter was publicly torn in his presence, and he was covered with confusion. The Eusebian party, notwithstanding, ceased not to defend the doctrine of Arius; but they contradicted one another, and, by their very answers, showed the inconsistency of their opinions (24).


14. The Arians were asked by the Catholics: If they admitted that the Son was in everything like the Father if he was his image if he always existed if he was unchangeable if he was subsistent in the Father if he was the power of God if he was true God. At first the Arian party were undecided, whether they should admit all or only part of these terms; but the Eusebians, having whispered a while among themselves, agreed to admit them all. They could grant he was like the Father, they argued, and his image, since it is written in St. Paul (I. Cor. ii, 7), ” that man is the image and glory of God;” they might say he was subsistent in the Father, since, in the Acts, xvii, 28, it is written, ” in him we live, and move, and be;” that he always existed, since it is written of us (II. Cor. iv, 11), “For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’s sake.” so that even we have always existed in the power and mind of God; that he was immutable, since it is written that nothing could separate us from the charity of God, “Nor life nor death shall be able to separate us from the love of God” the power of God, for even soothsayers are called the power of God the true God, for the Son of God, by his merits, he was made God, a name sometimes given unto men: ” I said you are Gods” (John, x, 34) (25).


15. The Fathers of the Council, seeing how they thus distorted the Scriptures, and gave their own meaning to the texts, judged it necessary to avail themselves of a word which would remove all doubts, and could not be explained away by their adversaries, and this word was ” consubstantial,” which they considered as necessary to be introduced into the profession of faith, using the Greek word ” omousion,” the meaning of which is that the Son is not only like but is the very thing, the very substance, with the Father, as our Saviour himself says ” I and the Father are one” (John, x, 30). The Arians stoutly refused to admit this expression, for that one word did away with all subterfuges, and knocked away the last prop on which this heresy rested; they made, therefore, many objections, but all were overruled. We shall treat more fully of this in the third part of the work, The Theological Refutation of Errors.


16. The Emperor, Cardinal Orsi says, was anxious to be present at the last session of this synod, and wished it to be held in his palace, and came from Nicomedia to Nice for that purpose. When he entered the assembly, some discontented bishops handed him memorials, accusing their colleagues, and appealing to his judgment; but he ordered them to be burnt, making use of those remarkable expressions quoted by Noel Alexander (26), “God has made you priests, and has given you power even to judge ourselves, and we are properly judged by you, for you are given to us by God as Gods on this earth, and it is not meet that man should judge Gods.” He refused to sit down on the low seat he had prepared for himself in the council until the bishops desired him; he then sat down, and all the bishops with his permission also took their seats (27). One of the fathers of the council it is generally supposed Eustachius, Bishop of Antioch (28) then arose and delivered an oration, in which he praised the Emperor’s zeal, and gave God thanks for his victories. Constantine then spoke (29) : It afforded him, he said, the greatest consolation to see so many fathers thus united in the same sentiments; he recommended peace to them, and gave every one liberty to speak his mind; he praised the defenders of the faith, and reproved the temerity of the Arians. The fathers then framed the decree in the following form, as Cabassutius gives it (30): ” We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of all things visible and invisible; and in One Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten Son of the Father; God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, born, not made, consubstantial to the Father by whom all things were made in heaven and in earth; who for us died, for our salvation descended, became incarnate and was made man; he suffered and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, and again shall come to judge the quick and the dead; and in the Holy Ghost.” This symbol, St. Athanasius says (31), was composed by Osius, and was recited in the synod.

The council then fulminated an anathema against any one who should say there was a time when the Son of God did not exist, or that he did not exist before he was born, or that he was made of those things that exist not; or should assert that he was of any other substance or essence, or created, or mutable, or convertible. All who speak thus of the Son of God, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes. Baronius says (32), that the council then added to the hymn, ” Glory be to the Father, &c,” the words,” As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, for ever, and ever, Amen.


17. The bishops of the opposite side were, as we have already seen, twenty-two at first, but they were reduced, as Sozymen (33) says, to seventeen; and even these, terrified by the threats of Constantine, and fearing to lose their sees, and be banished, all gave in with the exception of five (34); these were Eusebius of Nicomedia; Thegonis of Nice; Maris of Chalcedon; Theonas of Marmorica; and Secundus of Ptolemais; and of these, three finally yielded, and the two first alone remained obstinate, and were deposed and banished (35). But while we condemn the temerity of those, we must acknowledge that they were more sincere than their colleagues, who subscribed the decrees, but were afterwards persecutors of the council and the Catholics. Eusebius of Cesarea especially merits reprobation on this score, for writing to his diocesans, as Socrates tells us (36), and publishing the formula of faith promulgated by the council, he says that he subscribed it merely for peace sake, and states, among other falsehoods, that the council approved the formula handed in by Eusebius of Nicomedia, when the fact was that it was not only rejected, but torn in pieces; that the word ” consubstantial” was inserted to please the Emperor, when it was inserted by the fathers after the most mature deliberation, as a touchstone to distinguish the Catholics from the Arians. The fathers, he adds, in adopting this word intended merely to signify that the Son was of the Father, and not as a substantial part of him; and that the words, born and not made, merely meant that he was not made like other creatures, who were afterwards created by him, but of a more excellent nature.

He concludes by saying that the council anathematized any one who would assert that the Son was made from nothing, and that he did not exist before he was born, in as far as such expressions are not found to be used in the Scriptures, and likewise because the Son, before he was generated, though he did not exist, was nevertheless existing potentialiter, as theologians say, in the Father, who was potentialiter from all eternity the creator of all things. Besides the proof afforded by this letter of his opinion, St. Jerome (37) says, that every one knows that Eusebius was an Arian. The fathers of the seventh synod, in the sixth Actio, declare ” no one is ignorant that Eusebius Pamphilius, given over to a reprobate cause, holds the same opinions as those who follow the impiety of Arius.” Valois remarks that this may have been said incidentally by the fathers, but Juenin (38) on the contrary proves that the synod came to this decision, after a strict examination of the arguments taken from his works.


18. Though Arius was abandoned by all except the two obstinate bishops, he still continued to defend his errors, so he was excommunicated by the council, and banished to Illiria, together with his partisans, by Constantino. All his writings, and especially the infamous Thalia, were likewise condemned by the Emperor and the council, and the Emperor published a circular or decree through the entire empire, ordering the writings of Arius to be everywhere burned, and denouncing the punishment of death against any one who would controvert this order (39).


19. The council having disposed of Arius, next suspended Meletius, Bishop of Lycopolis, from all his episcopal functions, and especially from ordaining any one; but ordered, at the same time, that all his followers should be admitted to the communion of the Church on condition of renouncing his schism and doctrine (40).


20. The council likewise arranged the question of the celebration of Easter, which then made a great noise in Asia, by ordering that in future it should be celebrated not in the Jewish style, on the fourteenth day of the moon but according to the Roman style, on the Sunday after the fourteenth day of the moon, which falls after the vernal equinox.

This the council declared was not a matter of faith, but discipline (41); for whenever it speaks of articles of faith as opposed to the errors of Arius, the words, ” This the church believes,” are used, but in making this order, the words are, ” We have decreed, &c.” This decree met with no opposition, but as we learn from the circular of Constantine, was embraced by all the Churches (42), and it is thought that the council then adopted the cycle of nineteen years invented by Meto, an Athenian astronomer, for fixing the lunations of each year, as every nineteenth year the new moon falls on the same day of the solar year as it did nineteen years before (43).


21. The council next decreed twenty canons of discipline; we shall mention some of the principal ones. 1st. The council excludes from the clergy, and deposes, all those who have voluntarily made themselves eunuchs, in opposition to the heresy of the Valerians, who were all eunuchs; but more especially to condemn those who justified and followed the example of Origen, through love of chastity (44). By the third canon, the clergy are prohibited from keeping in their houses any woman unless a mother, a sister, an aunt, or some person from whom no suspicion can arise. It was the wish of the council to establish the celibacy of bishops, priests, and deacons, and sub-deacons even, according to Sozymen, but they were turned from this by St. Paphnutius, who forcibly contended that it was quite enough to decree that those already in holy orders should not be allowed to marry, but that it would be laying too heavy an obligation on those who were married before they were admitted to ordination, to oblige them to separate themselves from their wives. Cardinal Orsi, however, says (45), that the authority of Socrates is not sufficient to establish this fact, since both St. Epiphanius, who lived in the time of the council, and St. Jerome (46), who was born a few years after, attest that no one was admitted to orders unless unmarried, or if married, who separated himself from his wife. It was ordained in the fourth canon that bishops should be ordained by all the co-provincial bishops, or at least by three with consent of the rest, and that the right of confirmation appertaining to the Metropolitan, should be strictly preserved.

The sixth canon says that the rights of the Patriarchal Sees shall be preserved, especially those of the See of Alexandria, over the Churches of Egypt, of Lybia, and of Pantopolis, after the example of the Bishop of Rome, who enjoys a similar authority over the Churches subject to his Patriarchate. Noel Alexander (47) has written a special dissertation to prove that the primacy of the Roman See is not weakened by this canon, and among other proofs adduces the sixth canon of the great council of Chalcedon; ” the Roman Church always had the primacy,” and it is proved, he says, that after this canon was passed, the Bishop of Rome judged the persons of the other patriarchs, and took cognizance of the sentences passed by them, and no one ever complained that he usurped an authority which did not belong to him, or violated the sixth canon of the council of Nice.


22. Finally, the fathers wrote a circular letter addressed to all churches, giving them notice of the condemnation of Arius, and the regulation concerning the celebration of Easter. The council was then dissolved, but before the bishops separated, Constantino had them all to dine with him, and had those who suffered for the faith placed near himself, and frequently kissed the scars of their wounds; he then made presents to each of them, and again recommending them to live in peace, he affectionately took leave of them (48). The sentence of exile against Eusebius and Theognis, was then carried into execution; they were banished to Gaul, and Amphion succeeded Eusebius in the Bishopric of Nicomedia, and Chrestus, Theogius, in the See of Nice. It was not long, however, till the bishops of their party shewed that they accepted the decrees of the council through fear alone (49).

(1) Baron. An. 319; Van Ranst, p. 70; Nat. Alex. t. 8, c. 3, ar. 3; Fleury, I. 10; Hermant, t. 1, c.85; Orsi, l. 12, n. 2.
(2) Nat. ibid, ar. 2; St. Athan. cum. Socrat. & Theodoret; Orsi, l. 12, n. 41; Fleury, l. 11, n. 15.
(3) Baron. An. 310, n. 4 & 5.
(4) N. Alex. t. 8, diss. 9.
(5) St. Epip. Her. 69, Theod. &c.
(6) Nat. Alex. ar. 3, sec. 2; Fleury, cit. n. 28; Baron. An. 315, n. 19 &20; Hermant c. 84.
(7) N. Alex. ar. 4, s. 1; Fleury. ibid; Hermant, c. 86; Orsi.
(8) Theodoret, l. 1, c. 4.
(9) Socrat, l. 1, c. 6; Orsi, n. 9 Fleury, loc. cit.
(10) St. Athan. Apol. 15.
(11) Orsi, l. 12, n. 16; Fleury, l 10, n. 37.
(12) Eussb. in Vit. Costant. c. 63.
(13) Baron. An. 518, n. 88; Fleury, n. 42; Van Ranst, p. 71.
(14) N. Alex. ar. 4, sec. 1; Fleury, l 10, n. 43; Orsi, /. 12, n. 21; Hermant, l. 1, c. 86.
(15) Orsi, l. 12, n. 24.
(16) Fleury, l. 11, n. 1; Orsi, l. 12, n25
(17) Baron. Ann. 325; Nat. Alex., Fleury, Ruf. Soc. St. Athanasius, & Soz.
(18) Theodoret, 7. 1, c. 7; Fleury, & Orsi.
(19) Socrat. l. 1, c. 3; N. Alex. Orsi, Fleury.
(20) St. Athan. Apol. de Fuga.
(21) Orsi, n. 22, infra,
(22) Fleury, l. 11, n. 10
(23) Ibid.
(24) Socrat. l. 2, c. 8.
(25) Fleury, al loc. cit. con St. Athan.
(26) N. Alex. ar. 4, sec. 2; Rufin.; Theodoret, His. Eccles.
(27) Fleury, 1. 11, n. 10.
(28) Theod. 1. 1, c. 7.
(29) Euseb. in vita Const, c. 12.
(30) Cabass. Not. Concil. p. 88, ex St. Athan. Socrat., Rufin. & Theod.
(31) St. Athan. His. Arian. n, 42.
(32) Baron. Ann. 325, n. 173.
(33) Sozyraan, l. 1, c. 28. /. 12, n. 54.
(34) Socrat. l. 1, c. 8.
(35) Flemy, L 11, n. 24; Orsi, t. 5,
(36) Orsi, ibid.
(37) St. Hieron. Epist. ad Ctesiphont.
(38) Juenin, Theol. t. 3, ar, 4, sec. 1.
(39) Fleury, t. 2, l. 11, n. 24; Orsi, t. 5, l. 12, n. 42.
(40) N. Alex. ar. 4, sec. 2,
(41) St. Athan. de Synod, n. 5; Nat, Alex. ar 4 sec; 2
(42) Euseb. His. l. 3, c. 18, & Socrat.
(44) Ibid.; N. Alex. ibid.
(45 ) Orsi ibid; Soc. l. 1.
(46) Epiphan. Her. 59, & St. Hier. adv. Vigilan.
(47) N. Alex. t. 8; Diss. 20.
(48) Orsi, t, 5, I 12.
(49) Ibid.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
#7
CHAPTER IV. HERESIES OF THE FOURTH CENTURY - continued

ARTICLE II. THE ARIAN HERESY
- continued


II. OCCURRENCES UP TO THE DEATH OF CONSTANTINE

23. St. Athanasius is made Bishop of Alexandria; Eusebius is recalled; St. Eustasius exiled, and Arius again taken into favour.
24. Council of Tyre.
25. St. Athanasius accused and exiled.
26. Arius banished from Alexandria.
27. His Perjury and horrible Death.
28. -Constantine’s Baptism and Death; Division of the Empire.

23. In the following year, 326, St. Alexander, Patriarch of Alexandria, died, and St. Athanasius was elected his successor, with the unanimous consent of the bishops of Egypt and the people; but when he heard of it he fled out of the way, but was discovered and obliged to yield to the wishes of the people and clergy. He was, therefore, placed on the episcopal throne of Alexandria (1), to the great joy of his fellow-citizens; but the Arians were highly discontented, and disseminated many calumnious reports regarding his elevation (2). About the same time Eusebius and Theognis pretended to be sorry for their errors, and having sent in writing a feigned retraction of their opinions to the principal bishops of the East, they were recalled by Constantino, and re-established in their sees. This conversion was only feigned, and they left no stone unturned to promote the interests of Arius. Among the rest, Eusebius succeeded, in a caballing council, at Antioch (3), in getting St. Eustatius, Arius’s greatest opponent, deposed from that see, on a charge of adultery, got up against him by an infamous woman, the only witness in the case; but the calumny was soon after discovered, for the woman, falling sick, contradicted all she had previously charged him with (4).

He, however, was banished and deposed, and Paulinus of Tyre, first, and, next, Eularius were intruded into his see. Eularius dying soon after his intrusion, Eusebius of Ceserea, who previously had intruded himself into that church, was elected to succeed him; but he, having ulterior objects now in view, refused to go to Antioch, so Euphronius, a native of Ceserea, was first appointed, and after him Flacillus, both Arians; but many of the Catholics of Antioch would never hold communion with those intruded bishops (5). Eusebius of Nicomedia next intrigued successfully to establish Arius in the good graces of Constantine, and obtain permission for him to return to Alexandria. This he accomplished by means of an Arian priest, who was a great friend of Constantia, the Emperor’s sister; and he induced her, when she was on the point of death, to request this favour from the Emperor. She did so, and Constantine said that, if Arius subscribed the decrees of the Council of Nice, he would pardon him. In fact, Arius was recalled, and came to Constantinople, and presented to the Emperor a profession of faith, in which he professed to believe, according to the Scriptures, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, produced before all ages that he was the Word by which all things were made (6). Constantine, believing that Arius had in reality now embraced the decisions of the Council, was satisfied with this profession; but he never adverted to the fact, that in this document the word ” consubstantial” was omitted, and that the introduction of these words, “according to the Scriptures,” was only a pretext of Arius to distort to his own meaning the clearest expression of the Scriptures, proving the divinity of the Son of God. He would not receive him, nevertheless, to his communion on his own authority, but sent him to Tyre, where a council was sitting, of which we shall treat presently, to undergo the scrutiny of the bishops; he wrote to the assembled prelates to examine Arius’s profession of faith, and to see whether his retraction was sincere. The partisans of Eusebius were in great force in the Council of Tyre, so Arius, on his arrival, was immediately again received into communion (7).


24. We have now to speak of the cabal of Tyre, in which the Eusebians contrived to banish St. Athanasius from the see of Alexandria. Before, however, giving the history of this unjust expulsion, we should remark that previously the Arians had plotted the destruction of the holy bishop, and charged him before the Emperor with many crimes (8). They accused him of having violated a virgin of having killed Arsenius, the Bishop of Ipsele, in the Thebaid of casting down an altar, and breaking a consecrated chalice; and they now renewed the same charges in the Council of Tyre (9), Constantino, at the request of his mother, St. Helen, had built the great Church of the Resurrection, in Jerusalem, and had invited a great number of bishops to consecrate it with all solemnity; it was on this occasion that Eusebius of Nicomedia suggested to him that it would be well to collect all the bishops, before the consecration, into a council, to establish a general peace. The Emperor was most anxious for peace above all things; so he at once agreed, and selected Tyre as the most convenient place for the bishop to meet on their way to Jerusalem. Eusebius, who had planned the scheme, now got together all the bishops of his party, so that there were sixty bishops in all; but many of these were Catholics, and this number was increased soon after by the arrival of St. Athanasius, accompanied by Paphuntius, Potamon, and several other Egyptian bishops. St. Athanasius, seeing the storm he had to encounter, refused to come at first, but was constrained by Constantino, who threatened him with banishment in case of refusal (10). Eusebius next contrived that the Count Flavius should be present, to preserve order, as he said, and keep down any disturbance; but, in reality, to crush St. Athanasius and his friends. Flavius, accordingly, came, accompanied by a large body of troops, ready to seize on any one who opposed Eusebius’s party (11).


25. The impious synod was now opened, and St. Athanasius, who, in right of his dignity, should preside, was obliged to stand as a criminal to be tried for crimes he never was guilty of. When St. Potamon saw him in this position he was highly indignant with Eusebius of Cesarea, who was seated among the judges (12). ” Tell me, Eusebius,” said he, ” how did it happen that, when we were both prisoners, in the days of persecution for the faith, my right eye was plucked out, but you left the prison safe and sound, without any mark of constancy; how could that have happened, unless you yielded to the will of the tyrant?”

Eusebius, enraged at the charge, instead of making any defence, got up, and left the council, and the synod was dissolved for that day (13). St. Athanasius protested that he did not wish to submit himself to the judgment of his enemies, but in vain. He was first accused by two bishops of Meletius’s party; and the principal charges they brought against him were the violation of the virgin, the murder of the bishop, and the desecration of the altar and chalice. This last charge they could not bring any proof of, so they confined themselves to the two former; and, to prove the crime of violation (14), they introduced into the synod a prostitute, who declared that St. Athanasius had robbed her of her honour. The Saint, however, knowing the plot beforehand, made one of his priests, of the name of Timothy, stand forward; and he said to the woman: ” Do you mean to charge me with having violated you?” ” Yes,” said the unfortunate wretch, thinking he was St. Athanasius, ” you have violated me you have robbed me of my virginity, which I dedicated to God.” Thus, this first calumny was most triumphantly refuted, and the other charge was equally proved to be unfounded. Among the other proofs they adduced of the murder of Arsenius, they exhibited a hand which was cut off from his dead body, they said, by St. Athanasius. But the fact was thus (15): When the Saint was first accused of the crime, Arsenius lent himself to the Arian party, and concealed himself, that his death might be proved. But he soon repented of such wickedness, and, to clear St. Athanasius, he came to Tyre, and confronted the Saint’s accusers in the council; for while the accusers were making the charge, and showing the dead hand as a proof, Athanasius asked them, did they know Arsenius? They answered, that they did. He then called forth the man they said was dead, and told him to hold up his head, that all might recognize him. But even this would not stop their mouths, for they then said, that he did not kill him, but cut off his hand only; but Athanasius opened Arsenius’s mantle, and showed that both his hands were perfect.

Beaten out of this last accusation, they then said that it was all accomplished by magic, and that the Saint was a magician. Finally, they said, that St. Athanasius (16) forced persons to hold communion with him, by imprisoning some, flogging and tormenting others, and that he even deposed and flogged some bishops; and the winding up of the matter was, that he was condemned and deposed. When St. Athanasius saw that he was so unjustly deposed, he appealed to the Emperor in Constantinople, and acquainted him with all he suffered in the Council of Tyre; and Constantino wrote to the bishops who were yet remaining in Jerusalem, reproving them for tumultuously smothering the truth, and ordering them to come immediately to Constantinople, and account for their conduct (17). The Eusebians obeyed the imperial order, and, saying nothing more about the murder of Arsenius, or the broken chalice, they invented a new charge against Athanasius that he threatened to prevent the usual supply of grain from being sent from Alexandria to Constantinople. This was just the charge calculated to ruin him with the Emperor, who was so enraged, that he even threatened to put him to death; and, though the Saint refuted the accusation, he was condemned to banishment (18).


26. In the year 336 there was another council held in Constantinople, and the bishop of that city, St. Alexander, seeing that the Eusebians would have it all their own way, did everything in his power to prevent it, but could not succeed. The Eusebians then tried Marcellus of Ancira, the defender of St. Athanasius in the Council of Tyre, for some heresies alleged to have been written by him in a book published in opposition to Asterius the Sophist, who composed a treatise filled with Arian errors. They, therefore, excommunicated and deposed Marcellus, as he was not one of their party, and elected, in his place, Basil, a partisan of Arius. This was only a secondary consideration, however. The principal reason the Arians had in assembling this council was to re-establish Arius in his place again, and confirm his doctrine. After Arius was received in Jerusalem to the communion of the bishops, he returned to Alexandria, hoping, in the absence of St. Athanasius, banished by Constantine, to be there received by the Catholics. In this he was disappointed they would have nothing to do with him; but, as he had many partisans in the city, his residence there excited some commotion. When the Emperor was informed of this he ordered him to come to Constantinople. It is said that the Eusebians induced the Emperor to give this order, hoping to have Arius received into the communion of the Church, in the imperial city; but in this they were most strenuously opposed by St. Alexander, and they, in consequence, threatened him, that, unless he received Arius into his communion on a certain day, that they would have himself deposed.

St. James, Bishop of Nisibis, then in Constantinople, said that prayers and penance alone could remedy these evils, and St. Alexander, taking his advice, gave up both preaching and disputing, and shut himself up alone in the Church of Peace, and remained there many nights, weeping and praying (19).


27. The Eusebians persuaded the Emperor that Arius held the doctrine of the Church, and it was, therefore, regulated that he should, the next Sunday, be received to the communion. The Saturday previous, however, Constantine, that he might be quite certain of the faith of Arius, ordered him to be called into his presence, asked him did he profess the faith of Nice, and insisted that he should give him a written profession of faith, and swear to it. Arius gave him the written profession, but a fraudulent one, and swore that he neither then or at any other time believed differently; some say that he had another profession of faith under his arm, and that it was to that one he intended to swear. However, the affair was arranged; it is certain that the Emperor, trusting to his oath, told St. Alexander that it was a matter of duty to assist a man who wished for nothing but his salvation. St. Alexander endeavoured to undeceive him, but finding he only irritated him more and more, held his tongue, and retired; he soon after met Eusebius of Nicomedia, who said to him, if you don t wish to receive Arius to-morrow I will myself bring him along with me to the church. St. Alexander, grieved to the heart, went to the church accompanied by only two persons, and prostrating himself on the floor, with tears in his eyes, prayed to the Lord: O my God, either take me out of the world, or take Arius, that he may not ruin your Church.

Thus St. Alexander prayed, and on the same day, Saturday, at three o clock, the Eusebians were triumphantly conducting Arius through the city, and he went along, boasting of his re-establishment, but when he came to the great square the vengeance of God overtook him; he got a terrible spasm in the bowels, and was obliged to seek a place of retirement; a private place near the square was pointed out to him; he went in and left a servant at the door; he immediately burst open like Judas, his intestines, his spleen, and his liver all fell out, and thus his guilty soul took her flight to her Creator, deprived of the communion of the Church. When he delayed too long, his friends came to the door, and on opening it, they found him stretched on the floor in a pool of blood in that horrible state. This event took place in the year 336 (20).


28. In the following year, 337, Constantine died. He was then 64 years of age. He fell sick, and took baths in Constantinople at first, but receiving no benefit from them, he tried the baths of Helenopolis. He daily got worse, so went to Nicomedia, and finding himself near death, he was baptized in the Church of St Lucian. Authors vary regarding the time and place of Constantino’s baptism. Eusebius says that he was baptized in Nicomedia, a few hours before his death, but other writers assert that he was baptized in Rome by St. Sylvester, thirteen years before, in the year 324. Cardinal Baronius holds this opinion, and quotes many authorities in favour of it, and Schelestratus brings forward many Greek and Latin authorities to prove the same. The generality of authors, however, follow Eusebius, Socrates, Sozymen, Theodoret, and St. Jerome, Fleury, and Orsi, and especially Noel Alexander, who answers the arguments of Baronius, and cites for his own opinion St. Ambrose, St. Isidore, Papebrock and the fathers of St. Maur. These last say that Constantino, being near his end, in Nicomedia, wished to receive from the bishops, in the church of St. Lucian, the imposition of hands a ceremony then in use previous to baptism, and practised with every catechumen.

He was then carried to a castle, called Aquirion, a little distant from Nicomedia, and, having summoned the bishops, he received baptism with the greatest devotion. ” Now,” said he, ” I feel myself truly happy.” His officers then came to him, and, with tears in their eyes, expressed the wish they had for his restoration to health and long life; but he said, ” I have now received the true life, and I have no other wish but to go and enjoy God.” St. Jerome, in his Chronicle, says that he lapsed into Arian errors, but his festival is commemorated in the Greek Menalogy, according to Noel Alexander, on the 21st of May, and the same author wrote a dissertation to prove that he died a good Catholic, and all the ancients, he says, agree in that opinion with St. Athanasius, St. Hilary, St. Epiphanius, and St. Ambrose; and we have, likewise, the authority of the Council of Rimini, in the synodal epistle written to the Emperor Constantius, and quoted by Socrates, Theodoret, Sozymen, and St. Athanasius. Cardinal Orsi remarks that the baptism of Constantine, by Eusebius, ought not to render his faith suspected, and that this is no proof of a leaning to Arianism, as St. Jerome suspects, since we see how strenuously he defended the Council and doctrine of Nice, and especially since he recalled St. Athanasius from exile immediately after his baptism, notwithstanding the opposition of Eusebius of Nicomedia. Sozymen says that the Emperor left this order in his will, and that Constantine the Younger, when he sent back St. Athanasius to his see, declared that, in doing so, he was fulfilling the will of his father; and St. Athanasius attests that, at the same time, all the other Catholic bishops were reinstated in their sees (21).


29. Constantine died on the feast of Pentecost, the 23rd of May, 337, and divided the empire among his children and nephews. To Constantius the Elder he left all that was possessed by his father, Constans, and Gaul, Spain, and Britain besides; to Constantius the Second, Asia, Assyria, and Egypt; and to Constantius the Youngest, Africa, Italy, and Illyria; and to his nephews, Dalmatius and Hannibalianus, some provinces of less note.

It was the will of the Almighty, however, that Constantino the Younger and Constans died, so the whole empire fell into the sway of Constantius, a great misfortune for the Church, for he was a violent persecutor, and Constantius and Constans were its friends (22).


(1) Fleury, l. 11, n. 29.
(2) Orsi, n. 80.
(3) Orsi, n. 84; Nat. Alex. a. 4, t. 4; Fleury, ibid, n. 11.
(4) Theodoret, I. 1, t. 22.
(5) Orsi, t. 5, 1. 12, n. 87, & 90.
(6) Ibid.
(7) Socrat. l. 1, c. 33; Sozom. Rufin, Nat. Alex. & Fleury.
(8) Orsi, l. 12, n. 92.
(9) Ibid
(10) Socrat l.1.n.28
(11) Orsi, I. 12, n. 96.
(12) Epiph. Her. 69
(13) Orsi, l. 12, n. 97.
(14) Ibid, n. 93.
(15) Orsi, l. 12, n. 94, ex St. Athan. Apol. contra Ar. n. 65.
(16) Nat. Alex. t. 8, c. 3; Hermant, t. 1, c. 92, &Fleury.
(17) Orsi, cit.
(18) Ibid.
(19) Fleury, Orsi, Socr. Sozyman, St. Epiphan. loc. cit.
(20) Baroniu, Soc. Sozymen, Libellus, Marcel. & Fausti, p. 19; St. Epiplian. Loc. Cit.
(21) Socrates; Baron, An. 336; Auctores, cit.; Euseb. Vita Constant.; Schelestr. in Antiquit. &c.
(22) Auctores, cit. ibid.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
#8
CHAPTER IV. HERESIES OF THE FOURTH CENTURY - continued

ARTICLE II. THE ARIAN HERESY - continued



III.THE EMPEROR CONSTANTIUS PERSECUTES THE CATHOLICS


30. Eusebius of Nicomedia is translated to the See of Constantinople; Synods in Alexandria and Antioch.
31. Council of Sardis.
32. Council of Aries.
33. Council of Milan, and Exile of Liberius.
34. Exile of Osius.
35. Fall of Osius.
36. Fall of Liberius.
37. First Formula of Sirmium.
38. Second Formula of Sirmium.
39. Third Formula of Sirmium.
40. Liberius signs the Formula, &c.
41, 42.He signs the first Formula.
43. Return of Liberius to Rome, and Death of Felix.
44. Division among the Arians.
45-48. Council of Rimini.
49. Death of Constantius.
50. The Empire descends to Julian. The Schism of Lucifer.



30. St. Alexander, Patriarch of Constantinople, died about the year 340, at the age of ninety-eight, and Paul of Thessalonica was chosen his successor; but Constantius, who now publicly professed himself an Arian, being absent during the election, was highly indignant on his return to Constantinople, and, pretending that Paul was unworthy of the bishopric, joined with the Arian party, and had a council convoked, in which he procured the deposition of Paul and the appointment of Eusebius of Nicomedia, now, for the second time, translated to a new see, in opposition to the laws of the Church. About the same time another council was assembled in Alexandria, consisting of about a hundred bishops from Egypt. the Thebaid, Libia, and Pentapolis, in favour of St. Athanasius, in which he was declared innocent of the calumnies laid to his charge by the Eusebians; but again, the following year, 241, a council was assembled in Antioch on the occasion of the dedication of the church of that city commenced by Constantine and finished by Constantius, consisting of ninety bishops; this was planned by Eusebius of Nicomedia and his partizans, and St. Athanasius was again deposed, and Gregory of Cappadocia, infected with the Arian heresy, was intruded into his place (1).


31. In the year 357, another council, consisting of many bishops, was assembled in Sardis, the metropolitan city of Dacia in Illiria, in which the Nicene Creed was confirmed, and St. Athanasius was again declared innocent, and restored to his see. There is no doubt but that this was a general council, as (in opposition to Peter of Marca) Baronius, Noel Alexander, Peter Annatus, Battaglini, and many others prove. St. Athanasius says that one hundred and seventy bishops were assembled, but among them were more than fifty orientals, and as these left Sardis to avoid the condemnation which they knew awaited them for their excesses, only about one hundred remained. It had, besides, all the requisites for a general councillor the convocation was general, as appears from the circular letters, and Archimides and Philosenus, priests, together with Osius, who was before president of the Council of Nice, presided as legates of Pope Julius. The Arians being aware that many well founded charges would be brought against them in the council, demanded that the bishops condemned in their synod should be expelled from the assembly of the prelates, otherwise they said they would go away themselves. This audacious proposal was universally rejected, so they fled to Philipopolis, and drew up a formula of faith, adapted to their errors, and this was afterwards promulgated as the formula of the Council of Sardis. Eight bishops of the Eusebian party were convicted of the crimes they were charged with, by the true Council of Sardis, and were deposed and condemned, for it is but just, said the fathers, that those should be separated from the Church who wish to separate the Son from the Father (2).


32. Constantius showed himself more favourable to the Catholic bishops after this council, and permitted them to return to their churches; he received St. Athanasius most graciously in Antioch, and gave an order in his favour, and allowed him to return to Alexandria, where he was received by the bishops of Egypt and by the people and clergy with the greatest demonstrations of joy. The Arians soon again, however, obtained the favour of Constantius, and St. Hilarion relates that Pope Liberius, who succeeded St. Julius in 342, wrote to him that the Eusebians wished to cheat him out of a condemnation of St. Athanasius, but that, he having received letters signed by eighty bishops, defending the saint, and, as he would not conscientiously act in opposition to the Council of Sardis, he had declared him innocent. In the meantime, he sent to Constantius, who held his court at Aries, two legates, Vincentius of Capua and Marcellus, bishop in the Campagna, to implore of him to summon a synod in Aquileia to settle finally the cause of St. Athanasius, finally determine the articles of faith, and establish the peace of the Church. Constantius, we know not why, was highly offended at this request, and convoked a synod in Aries, and when the legates arrived there, they found that St. Athanasius had been already condemned by the synod, and that Constantius had published a decree of banishment against the bishops who refused to sign the condemnation. He then insisted that the legates should sign it likewise. Vincentius of Capua refused at first to do so, but he was beaten and threatened, so he yielded, and his colleague followed his example, and both promised to hold no more communication with St. Athanasius (3).


33. The Emperor now intended to crush the Catholic party for ever, and with this intention, assembled a council in Milan. Pope Liberius was anxious for the celebration of this council, as he thought it would unite the Church in the profession of the faith of Nice, but the Arians worked hard also to have it assembled, as they expected to obtain a general sentence of condemnation on St. Athanasius, and to establish their heresy; so in the year 355, there were assembled over three hundred bishops in Milan. St. Eusebius of Vercelli, was also summoned, but endeavoured to absent himself, knowing the plans of the Eusebians; he was, however, constrained to attend, and the Pope’s legates themselves, Lucifer, Pancratius, and the Deacon Hilary, solicited him to come to Milan. On his arrival, the Arians endeavoured to induce him to sign the condemnation of St. Athanasius, having again renewed the fable of the broken chalice, &c.

But St. Eusebius said, the first thing to be done was, that all should subscribe the formula of the Council of Nice, and then that other matters could be taken into consideration. St. Dionisius, Bishop of Milan, immediately prepared to subscribe to it, but Valens of Murcia snatched the pen and paper out of his hands, and said, that nothing ever would be concluded if that course was followed. When this came to the knowledge of the people, they murmured loudly, and complained that the bishops themselves were betraying the faith; so the Emperor, dreading a popular tumult, transferred the council to the church of his own palace, and told the assembled bishops that they should obey his edict in the affair, and sign a profession filled with all the errors of Arianism. He called especially on the Legate Lucifer, St. Eusebius, and St. Dionisius, and ordered them to subscribe the condemnation of St. Athanasius, and when they determinedly refused to do so, as being against the laws of the Church, he answered: “Whatever is my will is law, obey me or you shall be banished.” The bishops then told him that he would have to answer to the Almighty if he used any violence towards them; but he became so indignant at being remonstrated with in this manner, that he actually drew his sword on them, and gave orders that they should be put to death, but when his passion cooled a little, he was satisfied with sending them into banishment, and they were sent off from the council, loaded with chains, under a guard of soldiers, to the place of their exile, where they had to endure a great deal of harsh treatment from the heretics. At the same time, Hilary, one of the legates, was stripped naked and cruelly flogged on the back, the Arians all the while crying out to him: ” Why did not you oppose Liberius?” Constantius then appointed Ausentius in the place of St. Dionisius, and obliged Liberius to come to Milan. The Emperor, on Liberius’s arrival, ordered him to condemn St. Athanasius, and, on his refusal to do so, gave him three days for consideration, and told him that if he refused he would also be sent into exile. Liberius persevered in his refusal, and was accordingly banished to Berea, in Thrace, of which Demophilus, a perfidious Arian, was bishop (4).


34. The great Osius was, next to Liberius, the great prop of the Faith in the West, both on account of the holiness of his life, and his learning; he was at this time sixty years Bishop of Cordova, in Spain, and he showed his constancy in the persecution of Maximilian, by publicly confessing the faith. Constantius had him brought before him, and advised him to communicate with the Arians, and condemn St. Athanasius, but he resolutely refused to do either one or the other. Constantius allowed him to go away for that time; but soon after wrote to him, and threatened to punish him if he refused any longer to obey his will. Osius answered him with even greater firmness: If you are resolved to persecute me, said he, I am prepared to shed my blood sooner than betray the truth; you may then save yourself the trouble of writing to me on the subject again. Tremble at the last judgment, and do not intermeddle with the affairs of the Church; God has given you the Empire, the government of the Church he has committed to us. Constantius sent for him once more, to induce him to yield, but, finding him inflexible, he banished him to Sirmium; he was then nearly in the hundredth year of his age.


35. We now have to treat of, first, the fall of Osius, and next of Liberius. The principal author of Osius’s fall was Potamius, Bishop of Lisbon; he was at first a defender of the Faith, but Constantius gained him over by giving him possession of an estate of the Chancery; he, therefore, joined the Eusebians, and Osius, burning with zeal, denounced his impiety through all Spain. Potamius, thirsting for revenge, first got him banished to Sirmium, and then finding the Emperor there, he induced him to use such violent measures with him, that he broke down his resolution, and caused him to fall. The poor old man was weakened with torments; he was beaten so violently that his flesh was all torn, and he endured a long and violent torture; his strength failed him, he could suffer no more, and he unfortunately signed the second formula of Sirmium, condemning St. Athanasius, and holding communion with the Arians. Sozymen particularly mentions that Eudosius saw the letter of Osius, in which he disproves of both the word consubstantial, and the words like in substance. He now was permitted to return again to Spain, but Gregory, Bishop of Alvira, refused to communicate with him on account of his prevarication. Two authors, followers of Lucifer, Faustus and Marcellinus, write that Osius died an unhappy death; but St. Athanasius, who, as Cardinal Orsi justly remarks, deserves more credit, says that at his death he declared he was subdued by violence, and thus fell into error, and that he anathematized the heresy of the Arians, and besought all who heard him to hold it in horror (5).


36. We now come to speak of the fall of Liberius. It is said by some that Osius subscribed the second formula of Sirmium; now, to understand the fall of Liberius, it is necessary to have a knowledge of the three formulas of faith composed in Sirmium. Noel Alexander says that there was but one formula of Sirmium, and that the others were published elsewhere; but Baronius, and the generality of writers hold that the whole three formulas were promulgated in the councils, or rather cabals, of Sirmium. There is no probability of the truth of what Socrates says, that the whole three formulas were promulgated in one and the same council. The Arians, when they got Liberius to sign one of the formulas, boasted, as Orsi says, that there was a union of faith between them, and that Liberius professed their faith. On the other hand, Orsi persuades himself that Liberius was innocent altogether, and supposes that he was liberated and allowed to return to Rome, on account of a promise made by Constantius to the Roman ladies, or to put an end to the disturbances which at that time distracted the city. The most generally received opinion, however, is that Liberius committed a great error, but that he did not fall into heresy. To make the matter clear we must investigate the Sirmium formula which he subscribed (6).


37. The first formula of Sirmium was adopted in the year 351, and in this, Photinus, Bishop of Sirmium, was again condemned, for he denied to Jesus Christ not only consubstantiality with the Father, but his Divinity, likewise; asserting, with Cerinthus, Ebion, and Paul of Samosata, that the Son of God had no existence before Mary. Photinus was previously condemned in the Council of Sardis; but he obtained from the Emperor the right of appeal to this Council of Sirmium, at which Constantius himself was present.

Here his doctrine was condemned a second time, even by the Arians themselves, and the first formula, relating to the Arian heresy, was drawn up in Greek, and two anathemas were attached to it, as Noel Alexander tells us, on the authority of St. Athanasius and St. Hilary. The first was to this effect: ” The Holy and Catholic Church does not recognize as belonging to her, those who say that the Son existed from any creation or substance, and not from God, or that there was a time when he did not exist.” The second was that ” if any one denied that Christ-God the Son of God was before all ages, and by whom all things were made, and that it was only from the time he was born of Mary that he was called Christ and the Son, and that it was only then his Deity commenced, let him be anathema.” Noel Alexander thus Latinises the original Greek. “Eos qui diciint: ex non ente, aut ex alio subsistente, et non ex Deo Filium extitisse, aut quod tempus, aut ætas fuit, quando ille non erat, alienos a se censet sancta, et Catholica Ecclesia. Si quis Christum Deum, Filium Dei ante secula, administrumque ad universitatis opificium fuisse neget; sed ex quo tempore e Maria genitus est, Christum, et Filium appellatum fuisse, et principium suæ Deitatis turn accepisse dicat, anathema esto.” Thus in this formula, it is laid down that the Son is God to all eternity, and that his Divinity is from eternity. St. Athanasius looked on this formula as impious. St. Hilary considered it Catholic; the truth is that, if it be considered absolutely in itself, it is Catholic, but, taken in the sense of the Arians, it is Arian (7).


38. The second formula was published also in Sirmium, but in the year 357, and it was written in Latin, and was subscribed by Potamius and Osius. This was totally Arian, for the words consubstantial, and like in substance, were rejected, as there was nothing about them in the Scriptures, and they were unintelligible to the human intellect. This was not the only blasphemous error introduced into this profession; for it was, besides, asserted, that the Father was, without any doubt, greater than the Son in honour, dignity, and Godship, and that the Son was subject to the Father, together with all things which the Father subjected to the Son. This formula St. Hilary calls blasphemous, and, in his Book of Synods, he thus describes it: ” Exemplum blasphemiæ apud Sirmium, par Osium et Potamium, conscriptæ (8).”


39. The third formula was likewise composed in Sirmium, but not for eight years after, that is in 359, and this was also in Latin, and St. Athanasius informs us, in his Book on Synods, that it was this one which was presented to the Council of Rimini, by Valens and Ursacius. In this the word substance is rejected, but the Son is recognised as equal to the Father in all things: “Vocabulum porro substantiæ, quia simplicius a Patribus positum est, et a populis ignoratur, et scandalum affert, eo quod in Scripturis non contineatur, placuit ut de niedio tolleretur. Filium autem Patri per omnia similem dicimus, quemadmodum sacræ Litteræ dicunt, et decent.” In the first formula, then, the word consubstantial is omitted, but the word substantial is retained. In the second, no mention is made of either word, nor even of the words like unto; and, in the third, the words like unto is retained and explained.


40. We now come to the case of Liberius. Constantius had promised the ladies of Rome that he would restore him again to his see; but had also promised the Eusebians that he would not liberate him till he communicated with them. He, therefore, laid his commands on Demophilus, Bishop of Berea, where Liberius was exiled, and on Fortunatus, Bishop of Aquilea, another apostate, to leave no means untried to make Liberius sign the formula of Sirmium, and the condemnation of St. Athanasius. Liberius was now three years in exile, broken down by solitude and flogging, and, above all, deeply afflicted at seeing the see of Rome occupied by an anti-Pope, the Deacon Felix, and thus he had the weakness to yield, and subscribed the formula, condemning, at the same time, St. Athanasius, and communicating with the Arian bishops.


41. It is a question among authors, which of the three formulas was subscribed by Liberius. Valesius says it was the third; but this has no foundation, for the third was not drawn up till 359, and St. Athanasius tells us that Liberius was then after returning to Rome. Blondel and Petavius say it was the second he signed, and this is the general opinion followed by- heretics, who strive thus to prove that the Catholic Church may fail. The Protestant Danæus numbers Liberius among the bishops who joined the Arians, and says that all historians are agreed that he signed this formula, and after that, he says, no one can deny that the Roman Church can err. But the general opinion held by Catholics, and which is, also, the most probable, and in which Baronius, N. Alexander, Graveson, Fleury, Juenin, Tournelly, Berninus, Orsi, Hermant, and Selvaggi, the learned annotator of Mosheim, join with Gotti, who gives it as the general opinion of Catholic authors, is, that it was the first formula he signed.

There are very weighty reasons to prove that this opinion is founded on fact: First The formula subscribed by Liberius was the one drawn up at the time Photinus was condemned, and this was, indubitably, the first and not the second. Secondly the formula he signed, and which was laid before him by Demophilus, was not drawn up by the Anomeans, or pure Arians, but by the Semi- Arians, to which sect Demophilus, Basil of Ancira, Valens, and Ursacius belonged. These did not admit that the Son was consubstantial with the Father, because they would not approve of the Nicene Creed, but said he was of the substance of the Father; and this was expressed in the first formula alone, but not in the second, in which both the words substance and like unto were omitted. These very bishops even who subscribed the first rejected the second in a synod purposely convoked in Ancira. Nor does it militate against this opinion, that the formula subscribed by Liberius was also subscribed by the Anomeans, for Constantino, who, as Socrates informs us, favoured the Semi-Arian party, obliged them to subscribe to it. Another proof is from Sozymen, who quotes a letter of Liberius, written to the Semi-Arians, in which he declares, that those who assert that the Son is not like unto the Father in all things, and of the same substance, do not belong to the Church. From all this it is proved that Liberius signed the formula, from which the word consubstantiality was omitted, but which approved of the words substantiality and like unto (9).


42. Because St. Hilary calls the formula signed by Liberius a perfidy, the argument is not weakened, for Noel Alexander supposes, that these words, and the anathema hurled against Liberius, in St. Hilary’s fragments, were foisted in by some other hand, for these fragments were written after the return of Liberius to Rome, when he most strenuously refused to approve of the formula of the Council of Rimini; others again, as Juenin, imagined, that St. Hilary called the formula perfidious, taking it in the perverse sense as understood by the Arians, since speaking of it before (considered absolutely in itself), he called it a Catholic formula. Another argument is deduced from the Chronicle of St. Jerome, for he writes, that Liberius, conquered by a weary exile, subscribed to heretical pravity, and entered Rome almost like a conqueror. Noel Alexander says, that St. Jerome means by this, not that he signed a formula in itself heretical, but that he communicated with heretics, and although the communion with heretics was an error, it was not heresy itself. Another answer is, that St. Jerome might have written this under the belief that it was true, since, as Sozymen informs us, the heretics spread every where abroad, that Liberius, in subscribing the formula, not only denied the consubstantiality, but even the likeness of the Son to the Father; but, withal, we do not justify Liberius for condemning St. Athanasius and communicating with heretics. He afterwards refused to sign the formula of Rimini, and was, in consequence, obliged to conceal himself in the catacombs, till the death of Constantius (10).


43. When Liberius returned to Rome, in the year 358, or the following year, according to Baronius, he was received, Orsi says, with the liveliest demonstrations of joy by the clergy and people; but Baronius says, that there was a large section of the people opposed to him on account of his fall, and that they adhered to Felix II., who, in the commencement, was a schismatic, and unlawfully ordained by three Arian bishops, to whose sect he belonged at the time. Nevertheless, when he learned the lapse of Liberius, he joined the Catholics, and excommunicated the Emperor; and he was thenceforth looked on as the lawful Pope, and Liberius as fallen from his office. However, as Baronius tells us, it appears from the Book of the Pontiffs, that he was taken and conveyed by the Imperial Ministers to Ceri, seventeen miles from Rome, and beheaded.

The schismatic Marcellinus, quoted by Fleury, says, that Felix lived eight years after the return of Liberius; but Sozymen, on the contrary, tells us he died almost immediately after that event. Benedict XIV. says, that there is no doubt about the sanctity and martyrdom of Felix, but the learned are divided as to whether he died by the sword or by the sufferings he endured for Christ. Baronius says, that there was a doubt in the time of Gregory XIII. as to whether the name of Felix II. should be expunged or not from the Martyrology, in which he was enumerated among the saints, and he was himself, he confesses, of the opinion that it should be done, on account of his illegal intrusion into the Popedom; but soon after he says, a marble sarcophagus was casually discovered buried in the earth, with some relics of saints on one side, and the body of St. Felix on the other, with this inscription, “The body of St. Felix, Pope and Martyr, who condemned Constantius ;” and this discovery was made on the 19th of July, 1582, the day preceding the festival of St. Felix, and, on that account, his name was left undisturbed in the Martyrology. Baronius is opposed by N. Alexander, who denies that Felix II. ever was a true Pope; but Roncaglia, in his notes, and both the Pagi, contend for the contrary, and the Pagi prove, in opposition to Noel Alexander, that the Pope Felix commemorated in the Martyrology, must necessarily be Felix II., not Felix I. (11).


44. We now come back once more to the Arians. When Osius and Liberius fell, they were already split up into a great many sects : some who followed the party of Acasius, Eudoxius, Eunomius, and Æsius, were called Anomeans those were pure Arians, and they not alone rejected consubstantiality, but even the likeness of the Son to the Father; but the followers of Ursacius and Valens, though called Arians, did not follow the opinion of Arius in every thing. Finally, those who followed the opinions of Basil, of Ancyra, and Eustatius of Sebaste, were called Semi- Arians; these condemned the blasphemies of Arius, but did not admit the consubstantiality of the divine persons (12).


45. We have now to relate the events of the Council of Rimini, of sorrowful celebrity, in which, as St. Jerome says, the Nicene faith was condemned, and the whole world groaned, finding itself Arian. When the whole Church was in confusion about the articles of the faith, it was considered that the best way of arranging every thing quietly, would be to hold two councils, one in Rimini in Italy, the other at Selucia in the East. The Council of Rimini was held in 359, and was attended by more than four hundred bishops from Illiria, Italy, Africa, Spain, Gaul, and Britain, and among those there were eighty Arians, but the rest were Catholic. When they came to treat of matters of faith, Ursacius, Valens, and other heads of the Arian party produced a writing, and proposed that all should be satisfied with signing that, in which was laid down the last formula of Sirmium of the same year, in which, it is true, the word substance was rejected, but it was allowed that the Son was like unto the Father in all things. But the Catholic Bishops unanimously answered that there was no necessity for any other formula, but that of the Council of Nice, and decreed that there should be no addition to or subtraction from that formula; that the word substance should be retained, and they again condemned the doctrine of Arius, and published ten anathemas against the errors of Arius, Sabellius, and Photinus. All the Catholics subscribed to this, but Ursacius. Valens and the Arians refused, so they themselves were judged heretics, and Ursacius, Valens, Caius, and Germinius, were condemned and deposed by a formal act (13).


46. Ten bishops were now sent as legates from the council to the Emperor, bearers of the letters of the council, giving him notice that the fathers had decided that there should be nothing added to or taken from the council of Nice, and that they regretted to find that Ursacius and Valens wished to establish another formula of faith, according to the document they presented to the council. The ten legates accordingly went, but the Arians sent ten likewise, along with Ursacius and Valens, and these arrived first and prejudiced the Emperor against the council, and presented him with the formula of Sirmium, which was rejected by the Council of Rimini. When the legates sent by the council arrived, they could not obtain an audience from the Emperor, and it was only after a long delay, that he sent an answer to the council, that he was about to proceed against the barbarians, and that he had given orders to the legates to wait for him in Adrianople, where he would see them on his return, and give them his final answer. The fathers of the council wrote again to Constantius, telling him that nothing would ever change them, and begging therefore that he would give an audience to the legates and let them depart. When the Emperor came to Adrianople, the legates followed him, and were taken to the small town of Nice, in the neighbourhood; and there they began to treat with the Arians, against the express orders of the council, which particularly restricted them on this point. Partly by deception, and partly by threats, they were induced to sign a formula, worse even than the third formula of Sirmium; for not only was the word substance omitted, but the Son was said to be like unto the Father, but leaving out in all things, which was admitted in the Sirmium formula. They were, likewise, induced to revoke the deposition of Ursacius, and his companions, condemned by the council; and they signed the formula with their own hands (14).


47. The legates having put things in this state returned to Rimini, and Constantius then gave orders to his Prefect Taurus, not to permit the council to be dissolved, till the bishops had signed the last formula of Nice, and to send into banishment any bishops refusing their signature, if their number did not exceed fifteen. He likewise wrote a letter to the fathers of the council, prohibiting them from using any more the words substantial and consubstantial. Ursacius and Valens now returned to Rimini, and as their party was now in the ascendant, they seized on the church, and wrote to the Emperor that he was obeyed, and that the expressions he objected to were not allowed to be used any more. The Catholics, at first, made a show of constancy, and refused to communicate with the legates, who excused their error by alleging all they suffered at the Court of the Emperor; but by degrees they were tired out, their constancy failed, and they subscribed the same formula as the legates (15).


48. We cannot deny but that the bishops of Rimini committed a great error, but they are not so much to be blamed for bad faith, as for not being more guarded against the wiles of the Arians. This was the snare that was laid for them: They were wavering as to whether they should sign the formula or not, and when they were all assembled in the church, and the errors attributed to Valens, who drew up the formula, were read out, he protested that he was not an Arian. ” Let him be excommunicated,” he exclaimed, “who asserts that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. Let him be excommunicated who says that he is not like unto the Father, according to the Scriptures; or, he who says he is a creature, like all other creatures (how he conceals the poison, for he taught that Christ was a creature, but more perfect than all the others); or that he is from nothing, and not from the Father; or that there was a time when he was not; or that any thing was before him; he who teaches any of those things let him be excommunicated.” And all answered: ” Let him be excommunicated.” These denunciations of anathema, so fraudulently put forward, threw the Catholics off their guard. They persuaded themselves that Valens was not an Arian, and were induced to sign the formula; and thus the Council of Rimini, which opened so gloriously, was ignominiously terminated, and the bishops got leave to return to their homes. They were not long, St. Jerome tell us, till they discovered their error; for the Arians, immediately on the dissolution of the council, began to boast of their victory. The word substantial, said they, is now abolished, and along with it the Nicene faith; and when it was said, that the Son was not a creature, the meaning was, that he was not like the other created beings, but of a higher order, and then it was that the world, St. Jerome says, groaning, found itself Arian. Noel Alexander proves, from St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, and others, and with very convincing arguments, too, that the bishops of Rimini, in subscribing that formula, did not violate the faith; for, taken in its obvious sense, it contained nothing heretical.

While the Council of Rimini was in progress, there was another council held in Seleucia, at which many Arian bishops were present; but it was soon dismissed, for the bishops were so divided, that they could not agree to any formula (16).


49. After the Council of Rimini was dissolved, the Arians of Antioch, in the year 361, not satisfied with the formula adopted at the Council, drew up another in which they said, that the Son was in every thing unlike the Father, not alone in substance, but also in will, and that he was formed out of nothing, as Arius had already taught. Fleury counts sixteen formulas published by the Arians. Liberius, however, after his first error in subscribing the formula of Sirmium, as we have already related (No. 41), constantly refused, after his liberation in 360, to sign the formula of Rimini, and, as Baronius relates in his Acts of Pope Liberius, he was obliged to leave Rome and hide himself in the catacombs, where Damasus and the rest of his clergy went to see him, and he remained there until the death of Constantius in 361. St. Gregory of Nazianzen says that Constantius, just before his death, repented, but in vain, of three things: Of the murder of his relatives; of having made Julian, Cæsar; and of causing such confusion in the Church. He died, however, in the arms of the Arians, whom he protected with such zeal, and Euzoius, whom he had made Bishop of Antioch, administered him baptism just before his death. His death put an end to the synods, and for a time restored peace to the Church; as St. Jerome says, ” The beast dies and the calm returns” (17).


50. On the death of Constantius, the impious Julian the Apostate took the reins of empire, and, professing idolatry, commenced a most fierce persecution against the Church, not out of any liking for the Arians, but through hatred of Christianity itself. Before we speak of the other persecutions the Catholics had to endure from the Arians, we will relate the schism caused by the wretched Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari, who after all his labours and fortitude in defence of the Catholic Church, vexed because St. Eusebius would not approve of his having consecrated Paulinus Bishop of Antioch, separated himself from the communion, not only of St. Eusebius, but also of St. Athanasius and Pope Liberius; he was thus the founder of a new schism, and, in despite, retired to his see in Sardinia, where he died in 370, without giving any proof of returning once more to ecclesiastical unity.

He was followed in his secession by some people in Sardinia and other kingdoms, and these added error to schism, by re-baptizing those who had been baptized by the Arians. It is worthy of remark that Calmet in his Sacred and Profane History (Book 65, No. 110), tells us that the Church of Cagliari celebrated the feast of Lucifer as a saint or holy personage, on the 20th of May. Benedict XIV., in his work de Sanctor Canon, tome 1, lib. 1, cap. 40, says, that two Archbishops of Sardinia having written for and against the sanctity of Lucifer, the Sacred Congregation of the Roman Inquisition, in the year 1641, imposed silence on both parties, under severe penalties, and decreed that the veneration of Lucifer should stand as it was. The Bollandists (die. 20 Maii, p. 207) strenuously defend this decree of the Sacred Congregation. Noel Alexander (sec. 4, cap. 3, art. 13) and D. Baillet (in vita Luciferi, 20 Maii) maintain, that the Lucifer whose feast is celebrated in the Church of Cagliari, is not the personage we speak of, but another of the same name, who suffered martyrdom in the persecution of the Vandals.


(1) Fleury, N. Alex. & Bar. loc. con.
(2) Orsi,Fleury, St. Ath. Apol loc. cit.
(3) Orsi, cit. St. Hilar. Fragm. 5. Severus, Sulpici. His.l. 2 & seq
(4) Sozyræn, I. 4; Soc. I 2; Fleury, Orsi, Ser. Sulp. l. 2.
(5)- Senates, Sozymen, St. Hilary, Fragm. 2; St. Athanasius, His. Arian; St. Augus. 1. con.; Parmen. Nat. Alex. Fleury, loc. cit.
(6) Socrates, Orsi, Sozymen; Nat. Alex. St. Athan. His. Arian.
(7) Auctores, citati; Nat. Alex. I. cit.
(8) Nat. Alex.; Fleury, I. 13
(9) Tournelly, Theol. t. 2; Blondell. de Primatu, p. 48; Petav. in observ. St. Epiphan.; Danæus, Opus, de Her.; Baron. An. 357; Nat. Alex., Fleury, Graveson; Juenin, Theol. 40, 3 ques.; Bern in.; Hermant, t. 1; Orsi,I. 14; Gotti, de Vcr. Rel.; Selvaggi, not. 52, ad Mosh.
(10) Nat. Alex. & cit.
(11) Nat Alex disc. 32; Sozymen, loc. cit,; Theolog. l. 2, c. 2; Baron. An. 359; Orsi, t. 6. l. 14; Baron. An. 357, & seq; Sozymen, Bened. XIV., de Canon. S.S. t. 4.
(12) N. Alex. t. 9; Hermant. t. 1, c. 102.
(13) S. Hieron., Dialog., ad. Lucifer. Fleury t. 2. Orsi cit. S. Athan. De Synode. Sozymen, l. 2.
(14) Thood. l. 2. c. 19; Soz. l. 4; Soc. l. 2,
(15) St. Hilar. Fragmen. p. 453. Sulp. Ser. l. 2.
(16) S. Hieron ad. Lucif. n. 17; Nat., Meury & Orsi, loc. con; N.
(17) Baron. An. 359; St. Athan. de Synod; Fleury, l. 14, n. 33; St. Greg. Naz. Oral. 21; Soc. l. 2, c 47.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
#9
CHAPTER IV. HERESIES OF THE FOURTH CENTURY - continued

ARTICLE II. THE ARIAN HERESY - continued


IV. PERSECUTION OF VALENS, OF GENNERIC, OF HUNNERIC, AND OTHER ARIAN KINGS


51. Julian is made Emperor, and dies.
52. Jovian Emperor; his Death.
53. Valentinian and Valens Emperors.
54. Death of Liberius.
55, 56. Valens puts eighty Ecclesiastics to Death – his other Cruelties.
57. Lucius persecutes the Solitaries.
58. Dreadful Death of Valens.
59-61. Persecution of Genseric.
62-64. Persecution of Hunneric.
65. Persecution of Theodoric.
67, 68. Persecution of Leovigild.



51. On the death of Constantius, the impious Julian the Apostate succeeded to the Empire. At first he restored the Catholic bishops to their sees, but he soon began to persecute not only the bishops but the faithful in general, not because they were Catholics, but because they were Christians, for he declared himself an idolater and an enemy of Christ. He perished in the Persian war in the year 363. He was engaged in the heat of battle, when, beholding the Persians flying before his troops, he raised his arm to cheer on his own soldiers to the pursuit, when just at the moment, as Fleury relates, a Persian horseman let fly an arrow, which went through his arm, his ribs, and deep into the liver; he tried to pull it out, and even wounded his fingers in the attempt, but could not succeed, and fell over his horse. He was borne off the field and some remedies applied, and he felt himself so much better that he called for his horse and arms again to renew the fight, but his strength failed him, and he died on the same night, the 26th of June, being only thirty-one years and six months old, and having reigned but one year and eight months after the death of Constantius. Thodoret and Sozymen relate that when he felt himself wounded he filled his hand with blood and threw it up towards heaven, exclaiming, “Galilean, thou hast conquered!”

Theodoret likewise relates that St. Julian Saba the Solitary, while lamenting the threats uttered by Julian against the Church, suddenly turned to his disciples, with a serene and smiling countenance, and said to them, The wild boar which wasted the vineyard of the Lord is dead! and when the news of Julian’s death afterwards reached them they found that he died at the very hour the holy sage announced the fact to them. Cardinal Orsi quotes the authority of the Chronicle of Alexandria, which says that the horseman who executed the Divine vengeance on Julian was the martyr St. Mercurius, who, a hundred years previously suffered in the persecution of Decius, and that this was revealed in a heavenly vision to St. Basil (1).


52. On the very day of Julian’s death the soldiers assembled and elected Jovian, the first among the Imperial guards, though he was not general of the army; he was much beloved for his fine appearance and for his great valour, of which he gave frequent proofs during the war. When Jovian was elected Emperor, he said, As I am a Christian I cannot command idolaters, for the army cannot conquer without the assistance of God. Then all the soldiers cried out, Fear not, Emperor, you command Christians.

Jovian was delighted with this answer. He accepted the truce for thirty years offered by the Persians, and was most zealous in favouring the Catholics, opposing both the Arians and Semi-Arians. He restored peace to the Church, but it was of but short duration, for he died eight months after his elevation to the Empire, in the 33rd year of his age. The generality of authors, following St. Jerome attribute his death to want of caution in sleeping in a room in which a large quantity of charcoal was burned, to dry the walls which were newly plastered, and thus died one of the greatest champions of the Church (2).


53. On the death of Jovian, Valentinian was elected by the army in 364. He was the son of Gratian, Prefect of the Pretorium, and he was banished by Julian, because, being a Christian, he had struck the minister of the idols, who sprinkled him with lustral water. He was solicited by the army to elect a colleague, as the empire was attacked in various points by the barbarians, so he chose his brother Valens, declared him emperor, and divided the empire with him. Valentinian governed the West, when the Church enjoyed a profound peace, and Valens governed the East, where he kept up and even increased the dissensions already too rife there, and treated the Catholics with the greatest cruelty, as we shall shortly see.


54. Pope Liberius died in the year 366, and before his death had the consolation of receiving a deputation in Rome of several Oriental bishops, who were anxious to return to the unity of the Church. Liberius sat for fourteen years, and notwithstanding the error he fell into by signing the formula of Sirmium, he is called a pontiff whose memory is in benediction by St. Basil, St. Epiphanius, and St. Ambrose. Orsi says that his name is found in some Greek Martyrologies, and that he was venerated by that Church as a saint, and Sandinus says that his name is still in the Martyrologies of Bede and of Wandelbert. St. Damasus, a man of great learning and sanctity, was elected Pope, at his death, but he was troubled for many years by the schism of Ursinus, commonly called Ursicinus, who sacrilegiously got himself elected Pope at the same time (3).


55. We now come to the reign of Valens, who was even a greater persecutor of the Church than Constantius. Eudosius, an Arian bishop, had a great influence over him, and, from his extraordinary anxiety to protect this bishop, he became a persecutor of the Catholics. Before he set out to undertake the war against the Goths, he was baptized by Eudosius, and, just as he was receiving the Sacrament, the bishop made him swear that he would persecute and banish from the country all the defenders of the Catholic faith; and Valens fulfilled this impious oath with dreadful exactness. The Arians, now strong in the Emperor’s favour, began to maltreat the Catholics, and these, not being able to endure any longer the persecutions they were subjected to, deputed eighty ecclesiastics of great piety to go to Nicomedia, and implore Valens to put a stop to the violent measures of their enemies. Valens was outrageous at this proceeding, and commanded Modestes, Prefect of the Pretorium, to put them all privately to death. This impious order was barbarously obeyed by Modestes. He gave out that he was only sending them into banishment, lest the people should be incited to break out; and he had them all put on board a ship, and the sailors were ordered, when they were a good distance from the land, so that no one could observe them, to set fire to the vessel, and leave them to perish. The order, cruel as it was, was obeyed the vessel was fired; but the Almighty deranged all their plans, for a strong wind immediately sprung up, and blew the vessel on shore while it was still burning, and it was then finally consumed (4).


56.
Valens next sent many ecclesiastics of the Church of Edessa into exile. It is well known how he strove to banish St. Basil; but the hand of the Lord miraculously prevented it, for when he was about to sign the sentence, the pen was broken in his hand, and his arm was paralyzed. He, likewise, persecuted the Catholic followers of St. Meletius, and banished them from the churches; but these faithful Christians used to assemble at the foot of a mountain, and there, exposed to the winter’s snow and rain, and the summer’s sun, they praised God; but even then he dispersed them, and few cities in the empire but had to deplore the tyranny of Valens, and the loss of their pastors.

St. Gregory of Nyssa gives a sad description of the desolation caused by the tyrant in many provinces. When he came to Antioch he put a great many to the torture, and ordered a great many to be drowned, and sent off a very great multitude into exile, into Palestine, Arabia, Lybia, and many other provinces (5).


57. The holy solitaries of Syria and Egypt, by their lives and miracles, were the great upholders of the faith of the people, and were, on that account, particularly odious to Valens. He, therefore, issued a decree, directed against those champions of the faith, obliging them to enrol themselves among his troops, intending to punish them severely in case of disobedience, and knowing well that they would not do as he ordained. Full scope was given by this to the Arians, to gratify their malignity, at the expense of these innocent men, and especially against the monks of St. Basil. Phontonius, who usurped the see of Nicomedia, exercised horrible cruelties against the Catholics; but even he was surpassed by Lucius, the pretended Bishop of Alexandria, who obtained possession of that see by cruelty, and retained it by the same means. When the law of Valens that the monks should bear arms was promulgated, Lucius left Alexandria, and, accompanied by the commander of the troops in Egypt, placed himself at the head of three thousand soldiers, and went to the deserts of Nitria, where he found the monks, not, indeed, prepared to fight, but to die for the love of Jesus Christ, and he put whole companies of them to death, but five thousand of them escaped his fury, and fled to a place of safety, and concealed themselves. Wearied out with killing and torturing these holy men, Lucius now seized on their chiefs, Isidore, Heraclides, Macarius of Alexandria, and Macarius of Egypt, and banished them to a marshy island in Egypt, where all the inhabitants were idolaters; but when they arrived at the shore, a child possessed by the devil was thrown at their feet, and the devil cried out ” O, servants of the true God, why do you come to drive us from this place, which we have possessed so long.” They prayed over the child, cast forth the devil, and restored the infant to his parents, and were received with the greatest joy by the people, who threw down the old temple of the idols they previously adored, and began to build a church in honour of the true God.

When the news of this transaction was told in Alexandria, the people all cried out against their impious bishop, Lucius, who, they said, was warring, not against man, but against God, and he was so terrified with the popular excitement, that he gave the solitaries permission to return again to their deserts (6).

58. Valens was overtaken by the Divine vengeance in 378. The Goths extended their ravages to the very gates of Constantinople, and he was so lost to shame, that he thought of nothing all the while but enjoying himself in his capital. The people began to murmur loudly at this state of inaction, and he, at last, roused himself, and marched against the enemy. Theodoret relates, that, as he was leaving the city, a holy monk, called Isaac, who lived in the neighbourhood, thus addressed him: “Where are you going to, Emperor, after having made war against God? Cease to war with the Almighty, and he will put an end to the war raging against you; but should you not do so, mark my words, you will go to battle, but the vengeance of God will pursue you, you will lose your army, and never return here again.” “I will return,” said Valens, in a rage, ” and your life shall pay for your audacity;” and he immediately ordered that he should be sent to prison. The hermit’s prophecy turned out too true. When Valens arrived in presence of the Goths, their king, Fritigern, sent him an embassy, asking for peace, and leave to establish himself and his people in Thrace. The Emperor rejected his offer; and, on the 9th of August, 378, both armies were drawn up in front of each other, and Fritigern again made proposals of peace. But while the Romans were deliberating on their answer, the division of Bacurius, Prince of the Iberians, was attacked, and the battle became general; and never, since the slaughter at Canne, did the Romans suffer such losses as on that day. When the night closed, Valens mixed himself up with some of his soldiers and fled, thinking thus to conceal himself; but he was wounded with an arrow, and fell from his horse, and was brought by his soldiers into the hut of a peasant by the way-side.

He was scarcely there when a troop of Goths, looking for plunder, arrived, and, without knowing who was inside, endeavoured to break open the door; but when they could not succeed at once in doing so, they set fire to the hut, and went away, and the unhappy Valens was burned alive in the fifteenth year of his reign and the fiftieth of his age. This was, as Orosius writes, a just judgment of God: the Goths asked Valens for some bishops, to instruct them in the Christian religion, and he sent them Arians, to infect the poor people with their impious heresy; and so they were justly appointed afterwards, as ministers of the Divine justice, to punish him. On the death of Valens, Gratian became master of the whole empire, and this good prince gave liberty to the Catholics of the East, and peace to the Church (7).

59. We now have to treat of the persecution of the Catholics of Africa by Genseric, the Arian King of the Vandals. He commenced persecuting the Catholics in the year 437, with the intention of making Arianism the religion of all Africa, as St. Prosper writes. Immediately after conquering Carthage, he commenced a most cruel war against the Catholics, plundered the churches, and gave them as habitations to his vassals, after banishing the priests, and taking away the sacred vessels; and, intending to have no religion but Arianism, he drove the bishops, not alone out of their churches, but out of the cities, and put many to death. He would not permit the Catholics, on the death of St. Deogratias, to elect another Bishop of Carthage, and he prohibited all ordinations in the province of Zeugitania, and in the Pro-consulate, where there were sixty -four bishoprics; the effect of this order was, that, at the end of thirty years, there were only three bishops in the province, and two of these were banished, and the third fled to Edessa. Cardinal Orsi, following the historian of the Vandalic persecution, says that the number of martyrs was very great.

The history of four brothers, in particular, slaves of one of Genseric’s officers, is very interesting: These martyrs, finding it impossible to serve God according to their wishes in the house of their Vandal master, fled, and took refuge in a monastery near the city of Trabacca; but their master never ceased till he found them out, and brought them back to his house, where he loaded them with chains, put them in prison, and never ceased to torture them. When Genseric heard of it, instead of blaming the master for his cruelty, he only encouraged him to continue it, and the tyrant beat them with branches of the palm tree to that pitch, that their bones and entrails were laid bare; but, though this was done many days in succession, the following days they were always found miraculously healed. He next shut them up in a narrow prison, with their feet in stocks made of heavy timber; but the beams of the instrument were broken in pieces, like twigs, the next day. When this was told to Genseric, he banished them to the territories of a Pagan king, in the deserts of Africa. The inhabitants of their place of exile were all Pagans, but these holy brothers became apostles among them, and converted a great number; but, as they had no priest, some of them made their way to Rome, and the Pope yielded to their wishes, and sent a priest among them, who baptized a great number. When Genseric heard this, he ordered that each of the brothers should be tied to a car by the feet, and dragged through the woods till dead, and the barbarous sentence was executed. The very barbarians wept when they saw these innocent men thus torn to pieces, but they expired praying and praising God in the midst of their torments. They are commemorated in the Roman Martyrology, on the 14th of October (8).

60. Genseric was daily becoming more inimical to the Church, and he sent a person called Proculus into the province of Zeugitania, to force the bishops to deliver up the holy Books and all the sacred vessels, with the intention of more easily undermining their faith, when deprived, as it were, of their arms. The bishops refused to give them up, and so the Vandals took everything by force, and even stripped the cloths off the altars, and made shirts of them, but the Divine vengeance soon overtook Proculus, for he died raving mad, after eating away his own tongue

The Arians even frequently trampled the Holy Sacrament under their feet in the Catholic Church. When the Catholics were deprived of their church they secretly opened another in a retired place, but the Arians soon heard of it, and collecting a body of armed men under the leadership of one of their priests, they attacked the faithful in their church; some rushed in at the door, sword in hand, others mounted up to the roof with arrows, and killed a great many before the altar; a great many took to flight, but they were afterwards put to death in various ways by order of Genseric.


61. Genseric next issued a decree, that no one should be admitted into his palace, or that of his son, unless he was an Arian, and then, as Victor Vitensis informs us, a person called Armogastes, who was in the court of Theodoric, one of the sons of Genseric, signalized himself for his constancy in the faith. Theodoric tried every means to make him apostatize, but in vain; he first made him promises of preferment; he next threatened him, and he then subjected him to the most cruel torments. He had his head and legs bound with cords twisted with the greatest possible force; he then was hung up in the air by one leg, with his head down, and when all this could not shake his constancy, he ordered him to be beheaded. He knew, however, that Armogastes would be venerated as a martyr by the Catholics, if this sentence were carried into execution, so he changed the sentence, and compelled him to dig the earth, and tend a herd of cows. While Armogastes was one day engaged in this humble employment under a tree, he begged a friend, a Christian of the name of Felix, to bury him after his death at the foot of that tree; he died in a few days after; and when his friend, in compliance with his request, set about digging his grave, he found in the spot a marble tomb, beautifully finished, and there he buried him. The name of St. Armogastes is marked in the Roman Martyrology on the 29th of March, and Archiminus and Saturus, who suffered likewise, are commemorated with him. Genseric used every artifice with Archiminus to cause him to apostatize, but when he could not shake his faith, he gave orders that he should be beheaded; but there was a private condition annexed; that was, that if he showed any symptoms of fear, the sentence should be executed; but if no terror could be remarked on him at the moment, that his life should be spared, lest he should be venerated as a martyr by the Catholics. He awaited death with the greatest intrepidity, and he was, consequently, spared. Saturus was in the service of Hunneric, the king’s eldest son, and he was threatened with confiscation of his entire property, if he did not become an Arian; he yielded neither to the threats of the tyrant, or to the tears of his wife, who came to see him one day with his four children, and threw herself weeping at his feet, and embracing his knees, besought him to have pity on her and her poor children; but Saturus, unmoved, said; my dear wife, if you loved me you would not tempt me to send myself to hell; they may do with me as they please, but I will never forget the words of my Divine Master, that no one can be his disciple, unless he leaves all things to follow him. He thus remained firm, and he was despoiled of every thing. Genseric died at length, in the year 477, the fiftieth of his reign over the Vandals, 1; and forty-nine years after his landing in Africa. He made Hunneric heir to his kingdom, and settled the succession so that the oldest decendant of his, in the male line, should always be king.


62. Hunneric, in the beginning of his reign, reigned with clemency, but he soon showed the innate cruelty of his disposition, and he commenced with his own relatives. He put to death his brother Theodoric, and his young child, and he would likewise have put his other brother, Genton, out of the way, only he had the good fortune to be forewarned, and saved himself. He now began to persecute the Catholics; he commanded the holy bishop Eugenius, that he should not preach any more, and that he should allow no one, either man or woman, into the church. The saint answered that the church was open for all, and that he had no power to prohibit any one from entering. Hunneric then placed executioners at the door of the church, with clubs stuck over with spikes, and these tore off not only the hair but even the scalp of the persons who went in, and such violence was used that some lost their sight, and even some lost their lives. He sent away noblemen into the fields to reap the corn; one of these had a withered hand, so that he could not work, but he was still obliged to go, and by the prayers of his companions, the Almighty restored him the use of it. He published a decree that no one should be allowed to serve in the palace, or hold any public employment, if he were not an Arian; and those who refused obedience to this iniquitous order, were despoiled of their properties, and banished into Italy and Sardinia; he likewise ordered that all the property of the Catholic bishops should go to the Crown after their death, and that no successor could be consecrated to any deceased bishop, until he paid five hundred golden crowns. He had all the nuns collected together, and caused them to be tormented with burning plates of iron, and to be hung up with great weights to their feet, to force them to accuse the bishops and priests of having had criminal intercourse with them; many of them died in these torments, and those who survived, having their skin burned up, were crooked all their lives after.


63. He banished to the desert, between bishops, priests, deacons, and lay people, altogether four thousand nine hundred and seventy-six Catholics, and many among them were afflicted with gout, and many blind with age; Felix, of Abbitirus, a bishop, was for forty-four years paralyzed, and deprived of all power of moving, and even speechless. The Catholic bishops, not knowing how to bring him along with them, begged of the King to allow him to wear out the few days he had to live, in Carthage; but the barbarian answered: if he cannot go on horseback let him be tied with a rope, and dragged on by oxen; and they were obliged to carry him, thrown across a mule, like a log of wood. In the commencement of their journey they had some little liberty, but in a little while they were treated with the greatest cruelty; they were shut up together in a very narrow prison, no one allowed to visit them, crowded together one almost over the other, and no egress allowed for a moment, so that the state of the prison soon became horribly infectious; and, as Victor the historian relates, no torment could equal what they suffered up to their knees in the most horrible filth, and there alone could they sit down, sleep, and eat the little quantity of barley given to them for food, without any preparation, as if they were horses. At length they were taken out of that prison, or rather sink, and conveyed to their destination; the aged, and those who were too weak to walk, were driven on with blows of stones, and prodded with lances, and when nature failed them, and they could not move on any longer, the Moors tied them by the feet, and dragged them on through stones and briars, as if they were carcases of beasts, and thus an immense number of them died, leaving the road covered with their blood.


64. In the year 483, according to Fleury and N. Alexander, Hunneric, wishing to destroy Catholicity altogether in Africa, commanded that there should be a conference held in Carthage between the Catholics and the Arians. The bishops, not alone of Africa, but of the Islands subject to the Vandals, assembled there, but as Cyril, the Arian Patriarch, dreaded that his sect would be ruined by the conference, it did not take place. The King was now highly incensed against the Catholics, and he privately sent an edict to all the provinces, while he had the bishops in Carthage, and on one and the same day all the churches of Africa were closed, and all the property belonging both to the churches and the Catholic bishops was given over to the Arians, following in that the decree, laid down for the punishment of heretics in the laws of the Emperors. This barbarous decree was put into execution, and the bishops, despoiled of all they possessed, were driven out of Carthage, and all persons were ordered to give them neither food nor shelter, under pain of being burned themselves, and their houses along with them. Hunneric, at last, in the year 484, after committing so many acts of tyranny, and killing so many Catholics, closed his reign and his life by a most horrible death he died rotten, and eaten up alive by a swarm of worms; all his entrails fell out, and he tore his own flesh in a rage with his teeth, so that he was even buried in pieces. He was not altogether eight years on the throne when he died, and he had not even the satisfaction to leave the throne to his son Hilderic, for whom he had committed such slaughter in his family, because, according to the will of his father, Genseric, the crown descended to Guntamond, the son of his brother Genton; and he was succeeded, in 496, by Trasamond, who endeavoured to extirpate Catholicity totally in Africa, about the year 504. Among his other acts, he banished two hundred and twenty-four bishops, and among them was the glorious St. Fulgentius. On the death of Trasamond, in 523, he was succeeded by Hilderic, a prince, as Procopius writes, affable to his subjects, and of a mild disposition. This good King, Graveson tells us, was favourable to the Catholic Religion, and he recalled St. Fulgentius and the other exiled bishops, and granted the free exercise of their religion to all the Catholics of his kingdom; but in the year 530, he was driven out of his kingdom by Glimere, an Arian, and then it was that the Emperor Justinian, to revenge his intimate friend, Hilderic, declared war against Glimere; and his general, Belisarius, having conquered Carthage and the principal cities, and subjected all Africa once more to the Roman Emperor, the Arians were banished, and the churches restored to the Catholics (10).


65. There were other persecutions by the Arians, after the death of Hunneric. Theodoric, King of Italy, and son of Theodomire, King of the Ostrogoths, was also an Arian, and persecuted the Catholics till his death, in the year 526. He ought, however, to be lauded for always keeping in his employment honest and learned ministers. One of them was the great Boetius, a man of profound learning, and a true Christian; but through the envy of his calumniators, he was cast into prison by his sovereign, and after being kept there a long time, was, at last, without being given an opportunity of defending himself, put to death in horrible torments, his head being tied round with a cord, and that twisted till his eyes leaped out of their sockets. Thus died Boetius, the great prop of the faith in that age, in the year 524, and the fiftyfifth of his age. Theodoric likewise put to death Symmachus, a man of the highest character, in a most barbarous manner; and his crime was, that he was son-in-law to Boetius, and the tyrant dreaded that he would conspire against his kingdom. He also caused the death of the holy Pope John, in prison, by privations and starvation, and this holy man is venerated since in the Church as a martyr. Some inculpate this pontiff, for having induced the pious Emperor, Justin, to restore the churches to the Arians, but others deny his having done so. Cardinal Orsi says, that a great deal of obscurity hangs over the transactions of this age; but, taking the anonymous commentator on Valesius as a guide, he does not think that the Pope obtained the restitution to the Arians of all their churches, but only of such as they were already in possession of, or such as were deserted, and not consecrated; and that he did this only that Theodoric might rest satisfied with this arrangement, and leave the Catholics in possession of their churches, and not turn them out, and give them up to the Arians, as it was feared he would. But Noel Alexander, Baronius, and Orsi himself and with these Berti agrees say, with more likelihood, that St. John refused to solicit the Emperor, at all, for the restitution of the churches to the Arians, and that this is proved from his second epistle to the Italian Bishops, in which he tells them, that he consecrated, and caused to be restored to the Catholics in the East, all the churches in possession of the Arians; and, it was on that account that he was put into prison by Theodoric, on his return to Italy, and died there on the 27th of May, 526, worn out with sufferings.


66. Theodoric, not satisfied with those acts of tyranny, as the above-mentioned anonymous writer informs us, published an edict on the 26th of August, giving to the Arians all the Catholic churches; but God, at length, had pity on the faithful, and he removed him by a sudden death. A dreadful flux brought him to death’s door in three days; and on the very Sunday in which his decree was to be put into execution, he lost his power and his life. A cotemporaneous historian gives a curious account of the beginning of his sickness. He was going to supper, and the head of a big fish was placed before him; he immediately imagined that he saw the head of Symmachus, whom he had a little before put to death, and that it threatened him with eyes of fury. He was dreadfully alarmed; and, seized with sudden terror, he took to his bed, and told his physician, Elpidius, what he imagined; he then regretted sincerely his cruelty to Boetius and Symmachus, and between agitation of mind, and the racking of his bowels, he was soon dead. St. Gregory writes, that a certain hermit, in the island of Lipari, saw him in a vision after his death, bare footed, and stripped of all his ornaments, between St. John and Symmachus, and that they brought him to the neighbouring Volcano, and cast him into the burning crater.


67. Leovigild, king of the Visigoths, in Spain, was likewise an Arian; he had two sons by his first wife, Hermengild and Reccarede, and he married a second time, Goswind, the widow of another King of the Visigoths. He married his son Hermengild to Ingonda, who was a Catholic, and refused to allow herself to be baptized by the Arians, as her mother-in-law Goswind, herself an Arian, wished. Not being able to induce her, by fair means, to consent, Goswind seized her one day by the hair, threw her on the ground, kicked her, and covered her over with blood, and then stripped her violently, and threw her into a fountain of water, to re-baptize her by force; but nothing could induce her to change her faith, and she even converted her husband Hermengild. When Leovigild heard this, he commenced a persecution against the Catholics; many were exiled, and their properties confiscated; others were beaten, imprisoned, and stoned to death, or put out of the way by other cruelties. Seven bishops were also banished, and the churches were deprived of their possessions. Hermengild was cast into prison by his father, and, at the festival of Easter, an Arian bishop came to give him communion, but he refused to receive it from his hand, and sent him off as a heretic; his father then sent the executioners to put him to death, and one of them split open his head with a hatchet. This took place in the year 586, and this holy prince has been since venerated as a martyr.


68. The impious Leovigild did not long survive his son; he deeply regretted having put him to death; and, as St. Gregory tells us, was convinced of the truth of the Catholic religion, but had not the grace to embrace it, as he dreaded the vengeance of his people. Fleury, nevertheless, quotes many authorities to prove that Leovigild spent a week before his death, deploring the crimes he committed, and that he died a Catholic in the year 587, the eighteenth of his reign. He left the kingdom to his son Reccarede, who became a Catholic, and received the sacrament of Confirmation in the Catholic church; and such was his zeal for the faith, that he induced the Arian bishops, and the whole nation of the Visigoths, to embrace it, and deposed from his employment, and cashiered from his army, all heretics. The beginning of his reign was thus the end of the Arian heresy in Spain, where it reigned from the conquest of that country by the barbarians, an hundred and eighty years before, in the beginning of the fifth century; and when the Emperor Justinian, by the victories of Belisarius, became master of Africa, about the year 535 (chap. 4, No. 64), the Catholic faith was also re-established. The Burgundians, in Gaul, forsook the Arian heresy under the reign of Sigismund, the son and successor of King Gontaband, who died in 516. Sigismund was Converted to the faith in 515, by St. Avitus, Bishop of Vienne. The Lombards in Italy abandoned Arianism, and embraced the Catholic faith under their King, Bimbert, in 660, and have since remained faithful to the Church. Danæus thus concludes his essay on the heresy of the Arians: ” This dreadful hydra, the fruitful parent of so many evils, was then extinguished, but after the lapse of about nine hundred years, in about the year 1530, was again revived in Poland and Transylvania, by modern Arians and Antitrinitarians, who, falling from bad to worse, have become far worse than the ancient Arians, and are confounded with Deists and Socinians “(11).

(1) Fleury, t. 2, l. 14 & 15; Theod. l. 3; Philost. c. 2.
(2) Orsi cit. Theod. Fleury, loc. cit,; St. Hieron,Ep. 60.
(3) Sulpicius, 1. 5; Fleury & Orsi, cit.; Sandinus; Vit, Pon. t. 1.
(4) Fleury, ibid; Theod. l. 4, c. 24; Soz. L 6, c. 14; Soc. l. 4, c. 15.
(5) Anctor. cit.
(6) St. Hieron. Chron.; St. Taulin. Ep. 29; Auetor. antea. cit.
(7) Orsi, cit.; St. Pros, in Chron.
(8) Fleury, l. 4; Baron. An. 437 & 456; Orsi, cit.
(9) Orsi. t. 15. Fluery. t. 5. l. 30. N. Alex. t. 10.
(10) Fleury, Orsi, Nal. l. con; Graveson, His. Eccles. t. 3, Procopius, l. 1, de Bellow. Vand.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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