SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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LXXIII. THEODORET, Hist.Eccl.i.12.


The Letter of Eusebius


Τὰ περὶ τῆς ἐκκλησιαστικῆς πίστεως πραγματευθέντα κατὰ τὴν μεγάλην σύνοδον τὴν ἐν Νικαίᾳ συγκροτηθεῖσαν εἰκὸς μὲν ὑμᾶς καὶ ἄλλοθεν μεμαθηκέναι, τῆς φήμης προτρέχειν εἰωθυίας τὸν περὶ τῶν πραττομένων ἀκριβῆ λόγον. Ἀλλ' ἵνα μὴ ἐκ τοιαύτης ἀκοῆς τὰ τῆς ἀληθείας ἑτεροίως ὑμῖν ἀπαγγέλληται, ἀναγκαίως διεπεμψάμεθα ὑμῖν πρῶτον μὲν τὴν ὑφ' ἡμῶν προταθεῖσαν περὶ τῆς πίστεως γραφήν, ἔπειτα τὴν δευτέραν, ἣν ταῖς ἡμετέραις φωναῖς προσθήκας ἐπιβα λόντες ἐκδεδώκασι. Τὸ μὲν οὖν παρ' ἡμῶν γράμμα, ἐπὶ παρουσίᾳ τοῦ θεοφιλεστάτου ἡμῶν βασιλέως ἀναγνωσθὲν εὖ τε ἔχειν καὶ δοκίμως ἀποφανθέν,τοῦτον ἔχει τὸντρόπον·

Ἡ ὑφ' ἡμῶν ἐκτεθεῖσα πίστις. Καθὼς παρελάβομεν παρὰ τῶν "πρὸ ἡμῶν ἐπισκόπων, καὶ ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ κατηχήσει καὶ ὅτε τὸ λου "τρὸν ἐλαμβάνομεν, καὶ καθὼς ἀπὸ τῶν θείων γραφῶν μεμαθήκαμεν, "καὶ ὡς ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ πρεσβυτερίῳ καὶ ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ἐπισκοπῇ ἐπιστεύ "ομέν τε καὶ ἐδιδάσκομεν, οὕτω καὶ νῦν πιστεύοντες τὴν ἡμετέραν "πίστιν προσαναφέρομεν. Ἔστι δὲ αὕτη. Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεόν, Πατέρα παντοκράτορα, τὸν τῶν ἁπάν "των ὁρατῶν τε καὶ ἀοράτων ποιητήν, καὶ εἰς ἕνα Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγον, Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ, φῶς ἐκ φωτός, ζωὴν ἐκ ζωῆς, Υἱὸν μονογενῆ, πρωτότοκον πάσης κτίσεως, πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς γεγεννημένον· δι' οὗ καὶ ἐγένετο πάντα, "τὸν διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν σαρκωθέντα καὶ ἐν ἀνθρώποις πολιτευσάμενον, καὶ παθόντα, καὶ ἀναστάντα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ, καὶ ἀνελθόντα πρὸς τὸν Πατέρα, καὶ ἥξοντα πάλιν ἐν δόξῃ κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς. Πιστεύομεν καὶ εἰς ἓν Πνεῦμα ἅγιον.

Τούτων ἕκαστον εἶναι καὶ ὑπάρχειν πιστεύοντες, Πατέρα, ἀληθινῶς Πατέρα, καὶ Υἱόν, ἀληθινῶς Υἱόν, καὶ Πνεῦμα ἅγιον, ἀληθινῶς Πνεῦμα ἅγιον, καθὰ καὶ ὁ Κύριος ἡμῶν ἀποστέλλων εἰς τὸ κήρυγμα τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ μαθητὰς εἶπεν· Ππορευθέντες μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου Πνεύματος· περὶ ὧν καὶ διαβεβαιούμεθα οὕτως ἔχειν, καὶ οὕτως φρονεῖν, καὶ πάλαι οὕτως ἐσχηκέναι καὶ μέχρι θανάτου ὑπὲρ ταύτης συνίστασθαι τῆς πίστεως, ἀναθεματίζοντες πᾶσαν ἄθεον αἵρεσιν. Ταῦτα ἀπὸ καρδίας καὶ ψυχῆς πεφρονηκέναι, ἐξ οὗπερ ἴσμεν ἑαυτούς, καὶ νῦν φρονεῖν τε καὶ λέγειν ἐξ ἀληθείας, ἐπὶ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ παντοκράτορος καὶ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μαρτυρόμεθα· δεικνύναι ἔχοντες καὶ δι' ἀποδείξεως καὶ πείθειν ὑμᾶς ὅτι καὶ τοὺς παρεληλυθότας χρόνους οὕτως ἐπιστεύομέν τε καὶ ἐκηρύσσομεν.

Ταύτης ὑφ' ἡμῶν ἐκτεθείσης τῆς πίστεως, οὐδεὶς παρῆν ἀντιλογίας τόπος. Ἀλλ' αὐτός τε πρῶτος ὁ θεοφιλέστατος ἡμῶν βασι λεὺς ὀρθότατα περιέχειν αὐτὴν ἐμαρτύρησεν· οὕτω τε καὶ ἑαυτὸν φρονεῖν συνωμολόγησε, καὶ ταύτῃ τοὺς πάντας συγκατατίθεσθαι ὑπογράφειν τε τοῖς δόγμασι καὶ συμφωνεῖν τούτοις αὐτοῖς παρεκελεύετο, ἑνὸς μόνου προσεγγραφέντος ῥήματος τοῦ ὁμοουσίου, ὃ καὶ αὐτὸ ἡρμήνευσε λέγων ὅτι μὴ κατὰ σωμάτων πάθη λέγοιτο ὁμοούσιος, οὔτε κατὰ διαίρεσιν οὔτε κατά τινα ἀποτομὴν ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑποστῆναι. Μηδὲ γὰρ δύνασθαι τὴν ἄϋλον καὶ νοερὰν καὶ ἀσώματον φύσιν σωματικόν τι πάθος ὑφίστασθαι· θείοις δὲ καὶ ἀπορρήτοις λόγοις προσήκειν τὰ τοιαῦτα νοεῖν. Καὶ ὁ μὲν σοφώτατος ἡμῶν καὶ εὐσεβέστατος βασιλεὺς τὰ τοιαῦτα διεφιλοσόφει· οἱ δὲ προφάσει τῆς τοῦ ὁμοουσίου προσθήκης τήνδε τὴν γραφὴν πεποιήκασιν.

Ἡ ἐν τῇ συνόδῳ ὑπαγορευθεῖσα πίστις.

Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν Πατέρα παντοκράτορα, πάντων ὁρατῶν τε καὶ ἀοράτων ποιητήν· καὶ εἰς ἕνα Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ, γεννηθέντα ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς μονογενῆ, τουτέστιν ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ Πατρός, Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ, καὶ φῶς ἐκ φωτός, Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί· δι' οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο, τά τε ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ καὶ τὰ ἐν τῇ γῇ· τὸν δι' ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα, καὶ σαρκωθέντα, ἐνανθρωπήσαντα· παθόντα καὶ ἀναστάντα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ· ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανούς, ἐρχόμενον κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς. Καὶ εἰς τὸ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα. Τοὺς δὲ λέγον τας ἦν ποτε ὅτε οὐκ ἦν, καὶ πρὶν γεννηθῆναι οὐκ ἦν, καὶ ὅτι "ἐξ "οὐκ ὄντων ἐγένετο, ἢ ἐξ ἑτέρας ὑποστάσεως ἢ οὐσίας φάσκοντας εἶναι, τρεπτὸν ἢ ἀλλοιωτὸν τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἀναθεματίζει ἡ ἁγία καθολικὴ καὶ ἀποστολικὴ ἐκκλησία.

Καὶ δὴ ταύτης τῆς γραφῆς ὑπ' αὐτῶν ὑπαγορευθείσης, ὅπως εἴρηται αὐτοῖς τὸ ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ τὸ τῷ Πατρὶ ὁμοούσιον, οὐκ ἀνεξέταστον αὐτοῖς καταλιμπάνομεν. Ἐρωτήσεις τοιγαροῦν καὶ ἀποκρίσεις ἐντεῦθεν ἀνεκινοῦντο· ἐβασάνιζέτο ὁ λόγος τὴς διανοίας τῶν εἰρημένων. Καὶ δὴ τὸ ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας ὡμολογεῖτο πρὸς αὐτῶν δηλωτικὸν εἶναι τοῦ ἐκ μὲν τοῦ Πατρὸς εἶναι, οὐ μὴν ὡς μέρος ὑπάρχειν τοῦ Πατρός. Ταύτῃ καὶ ἡμῖν ἐδόκει καλῶς ἔχειν συγκατατίθεσθαι τῇ διανοίᾳ, τῆς εὐσεβοῦς διδασκαλίας ὑπαγορευούσης ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς εἶναι τὸν Υἱόν, οὐ μὴν μέρος τῆς οὐσίας αὐτοῦ τυγχάνειν. Διόπερ τῇ διανοίᾳ καὶ αὐτοὶ συνετιθέμεθα, οὐδὲ τὴν φωνὴν παραιτούμενοι, τοῦ τῆς εἰρήνης σκοποῦ πρὸ ὀφθαλμῶν ἡμῶν κειμένου καὶ τοῦ μὴ τῆς ὀρθῆς ἐκπεσεῖν διανοίας. Κατὰ ταῦτα δὲ καὶ τὸ γεννηθέντα καὶ οὐ ποιηθέντα κατεδεξάμεθα· ἐπειδὴ τὸ ποιηθὲν κοινὸν ἔφασκον εἶναι πρόσρημα τῶν λοιπῶν κτισμάτων τῶν διὰ τοῦ Υἱοῦ γενομένων, ὧν οὐδὲν ὅμοιον ἔχειν τὸν Υἱόν. Δι' δὴ μὴ εἶναι αὐτὸν ποίημα τοῖς δι' αὐτοῦ γενομένοις ἐμφερές, κρείττονος δὲ ἢ κατὰ πᾶν ποίημα τυγχάνειν οὐσίας, ἣν ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς γεγεννῆσθαι διδάσκει τὰ θεῖα λόγια, τοῦ τρόπου τῆς γεννήσεως καὶ ἀνεκφράστου καὶ ἀνεπιλογίστου πάσῃ γενητῇ φύσει τυγχάνοντος. Οὕτως δὲ καὶ τὸ ὁμοούσιον εἶναι τοῦ Πατρὸς τὸν Υἱὸν ἐξεταζόμενος ὁ λόγος συνίστη, οὐ κατὰ τὸν τῶν σωμάτων τρόπον, οὐδὲ τοῖς θνητοῖς ζῴοις παραπλησίως. Οὔτε γὰρ κατὰ διαίρεσιν τῆς οὐσίας οὔτε κατὰ ἀποτομήν, ἀλλ' οὐδὲ κατά τι πάθος ἢ τροπὴν ἢ "ἀλλοίωσιν τῆς τοῦ Πατρὸς δυνάμεως· τούτων γὰρ ἁπάντων ἀλλότριον εἶναι τὴν ἀγέννητον τοῦ Πατρὸς φύσιν. Παραστατικὸν δ' εἶναι τὸ ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρὶ τοῦ μηδεμίαν ἐμφέρειαν πρὸς τὰ γενητὰ κτίσματα τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ φέρειν, μόνῳ δὲ τῷ Πατρὶ τῷ γεγεννηκότι κατὰ πάντα τρόπον ὅμοιον· καὶ μὴ εἶναι ἐξ ἑτέρας τινὸς ὑποστάσεώς τε καὶ οὐσίας ἀλλ' ἐκ τοῦ Πατρός. Ὧι καὶ αὐτῷ, τοῦτον ἑρμηνευθέντι τὸν τρόπον καλῶς ἔχειν ἐφάνη συγκατατίθεσθαι· ἐπεὶ καὶ τῶν παλαιῶν λογίους τινὰς καὶ ἐπιφανεῖς ἐπισκόπους καὶ συγγραφέας ἔγνωμεν ἐπὶ τῆς τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ Υἱοῦ θεολογίας τῷ τοῦ ὁμοουσίου συγχρησαμένους ὀνόματι.

Ταῦτα μὲν περὶ τῆς ἐκτεθείσης εἰρήσθω πίστεως· ᾗ συνεφωνήσαμεν οἱ πάντες, οὐκ ἀνεξετάστως, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὰς ἀποδοθείσας διανοίας ἐπ' αὐτοῦ τοῦ θεοφιλεστάτου βασιλέως ἐξετασθείσας, καὶ τοῖς εἰρημένοις λογισμοῖς συνομολογηθείσας. Καὶ τὸν ἀναθεματισμὸν δὲ τὸν μετὰ τὴν πίστιν πρὸς αὐτῶν τεθέντα δεκτὸν εἶναι ἡγησάμεθα, διὰ τὸ ἀπείργειν ἀγράφοις χρῆσθαι φωναῖς, δι' ἃς σχεδὸν ἡ πᾶσα γέγονε σύγχυσις καὶ ἀκαταστασία τῆς ἐκκλησίας. Μηδεμιᾶς γοῦν θεοπνεύστου γραφῆς τῷ ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων, καὶ τῷ ἦν ποτε ὅτε οὖκ ἦν, καὶ τοῖς ἑξῆς ἐπιλεγομένοις κεχρημένης, οὐκ εὔλογον ἐφάνη ταῦτα λέγειν καὶ διδάσκειν. Ὧι καὶ αὐτῷ καλῶς δόξαντι συνεθέμεθα, ἐπεὶ μηδὲ ἐν τῷ πρὸ τούτου χρόνῳ τούτοις εἰώθειμεν συγχρῆσθαι τοῖς ῥήμασιν. [Ἔτι μὴν τὸ ἀναθεματίζεσθαι τὸ πρὸ τοῦ γεννηθῆναι οὐκ ἦν οὐκ ἄτοπον ἐνομίσθη, τῷ παρὰ πᾶσιν ὁμολογεῖσθαι εἶναι αὐτὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πρὸ τῆς κατὰ σάρκα γεννήσεως. Ἤδη δὲ ὁ θεοφιλέστατος ἡμῶν βασιλεὺς τῷ λόγῳ κατεσκεύαζε καὶ κατὰ τὴν ἔνθεον αὐτοῦ γέννησιν τὸ πρὸ πάντων αἰώνων εἶναι αὐτόν· ἐπεὶ καὶ πρὶν ἐνεργείᾳ γεννηθῆναι, δυνάμει ἦν ἐν τῷ Πατρὶ ἀγεννήτως, ὄντος τοῦ Πατρὸς ἀεὶ Πατρός, ὡς καὶ βασιλέως ἀεὶ καὶ σωτῆρος καὶ δυνάμει πάντα ὄντος, ἀεί τε καὶ κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ ὡσαύτως ἔχοντος.] Ταῦτα ὑμῖν ἀναγκαίως διεπεμψάμεθα, ἀγαπητοί, τὰ κεκριμένα τῆς ἡμετέρας ἐξετάσεώς τε καὶ συγκαταθέσεως φανερὰ καθιστῶντες· ὡς εὐλόγως τότε μὲν καὶ μέχρις ὑστάτης ὥρας ἱστάμεθα, ὅθ' ἡμῖν τὰ ἑτεροίως γραφέντα προσέκοπτε, τότε δὲ ἀφιλονείκως τὰ μὴ λυποῦντα κατεδεξάμεθα, ὅθ' ἡμῖν εὐγνωμόνως τῶν λόγων ἐξετάζουσι τὴν διάνοιαν ἐμφανῆ σύμπραξιν ἔχειν ἔδοξε τοῖς ὑφ' ἡμῶν αὐτῶν ἐν τῇ προεκτεθείσῃ πίστει ὡμολογημένοις.

'You will have probably learnt from other sources what was decided respecting the faith of the Church at the General Council of Nicaea, for the fame of great transactions generally outruns the accurate account of them: but lest rumours not in strict accordance with the truth should reach you, we think it necessary to send to you, first, the formulary of faith originally proposed by us, and next, the second, published with additions made to our terms. The following is our formulary, which was read in the presence of our most pious emperor, and declared to be couched in right and proper language.

The Faith put forth by us.

'"As in our first catechetical instruction, and at the time of our baptism, we received from the bishops who were before us and as we have learnt from the Holy Scriptures, and, alike as presbyters, and as bishops, were wont to believe and teach; so we now believe and thus declare our faith. It is as follows:—

'"I believe in one God, Father Almighty, the Maker of all things, visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, God of God, Light of Light, Life of Life, Only-begotten Son, First-born of every creature, begotten of the Father before all worlds; by Whom all things were made; Who for our salvation was incarnate, and lived among men. He suffered and rose again the third day, and ascended to the Father; and He will come again in glory to judge the quick and the dead. We also believe in one Holy Spirit.

'"I believe in the being and continual existence of each of these; that the Father is in truth the Father; the Son in truth the Son; the Holy Ghost in truth the Holy Spirit; as our Lord, when sending out His disciples to preach the Gospel, said, Go forth and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We positively affirm that we hold this faith, that we have always held it, and that we adhere to it even unto death, condemning all ungodly heresy. We testify, as before God, the Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we have thought thus from the heart, and from the soul, ever since we can remember: and we have the means of showing, and, indeed, of convincing you, that we have always during the past thus believed and preached."

'When this formulary had been set forth by us, there was no room to gainsay it; but our beloved emperor himself was the first to testify that it was most orthodox, and that he coincided in opinion with it; and he exhorted the others to sign it, and to receive all the doctrine it contained, with the single addition of one word – "consubstantial." He explained that this term implied no bodily condition or change, for that the Son did not derive His existence from the Father either by means of division or of abscission, since an immaterial, intellectual, and incorporeal nature could not be subject to any bodily condition or change. These things must be understood as bearing a divine and mysterious signification. Thus reasoned our wisest and most religious emperor. The addition of the word consubstantial has given occasion for the composition of the following formulary:—

The Creed published by the Council.

'"We believe in one God, Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father; only-begotten, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father: by Whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth: Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down, and was incarnate, and was made man; He suffered, and rose again the third day; He ascended into heaven, and is coming to judge both quick and dead. And (we believe) in the Holy Ghost. The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes ail who say there was a time when the Son of God was not; that before He was begotten He was not; that He was made out of the non-existent; or that He is of a different essence and of a different substance from the Father; and is susceptible of variation or change.'

'When they had set forth this formulary, we did not leave without examination that passage in which it is said that the Son is of the substance of the Father and consubstantial with the Father. Questions and arguments thence arose, and the meaning of the terms was exactly tested. Accordingly they were led to confess that the word con-substantial signifies that the Son is of the Father, but not as being a part of the Father. We deemed it right to receive this opinion: for that is sound doctrine which teaches that the Son is of the Father, but not part of His substance. From the love of peace, and lest we should fall from the true belief, we also accept this view, neither do we reject the term "consubstantial." For the same reason we admitted the expression, "begotten, but not made"; for they alleged that the word "made" applies generally to ail things which were created by the Son, to which the Son is in no respect similar; and that consequently He is not a created thing, like the things made by Him, but is of a substance superior to all created objects, which the Holy Scriptures teach to be begotten of the Father, by a mode of generation which is incomprehensible and inexplicable to all created beings. So also the term "of one substance with the Father," when investigated. was accepted not in accordance with bodily relations or similarity to mortal beings. For it was also shown that it does not either imply division of substance, nor abscission, nor any modification or change or alteration in the power of the Father, all of which are alien from the nature of the unbegotten Father. It was concluded that the expression being of one substance with the Father, implies that the Son of God does not resemble, in any one respect, the creatures which He has made; but that to the Father alone, who begat Him, He is in all points perfectly like: for He is of the essence and of the substance of none save of the Father. This interpretation having been given of the doctrine, it appeared right to us to assent to it, especially as we were aware that of the ancients some learned and celebrated bishops and writers have used the term "consubstantial" with respect to the divinity of the Father and of the Son.

'These are the circumstances which I had to communicate respecting the published formulary of the faith. To it we all agreed, not without investigation, but, in the above sense, after having subjected it to thorough examination in the presence of our most beloved emperor, and agreed to it in accordance with the above reasons. We also allowed that the anathema appended by them to their formulary of faith should be accepted, because it prohibits the use of words which are not scriptural; through which almost all the disorder and troubles of the Church have arisen. And since no passage of the inspired Scripture uses the terms "out of the non-existent," or that "there was a time when He was not," nor indeed any of the other phrases of the same class, it did not appear reasonable to assert or to teach such things. In this opinion, therefore, we judged it right to agree; since, indeed, we had never, at any former period, been accustomed to use such terms. [Moreover, the condemnation of the assertion that before He was begotten He was not, did not appear to involve any incongruity, because all assent to the faet that He was the Son of God before He was begotten according to the flesh. And here our emperor, most beloved by God, began to reason concerning His divine origin, and His existence before all ages. He was virtually in the Father without generation, even before He was actually begotten, the Father having always been the Father, just as He has always been a King and a Saviour, and, virtually, all things, and has never known any change of being or action.]

'We have thought it requisite, beloved brethren, to transmit you an account of these circumstances, in order to show you what examination and investigation we bestowed on all the questions which we had to decide; and also to prove how at one time we reasonably resisted, even to the last hour, when doctrines improperly expressed offended us, and, at another time, we, without contention, accepted the articles which contained nothing objectionable, when after a thorough and candid investigation of their signification, they appeared perfectly conformable with what had been confessed by us in the formulary of faith which we had published.'

N.L.


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