Early Church Fathers
1 The Council of Sardica says eighty; which is a usual number in Egyptian Councils. (vid. Tillemont, vol. 8. p. 74.) There were about ninety Bishops in Egypt, the Thebais, and Libya. The present Council was held [at the end of 338 or possibly at the beginning of 339]. Its synodal Epistle is contained below, §3, and is particularly addressed to Pope Julius, §20.
2 This was held in 340. Julius's Letter is found below, §21.
3 Vid. infr. §58. This was a.d. 347.
4 Deut. xvii. 6.
5 wj hqelhsan. vid. infr. §14. de Decr. §3. de Syn. §13. Ep. Aeg. §5.
6 This implies that Valens nd Ursacius were subjected to some kind of persecution, which is natural [most improbable]. They relapsed in 351, when Constantius on the death of Constans came into possession of his brother's dominions; and professed to have been forced to their former recantation by the latter Emperor.
7 Acts xxiii. 9.
8 1 Sam. xxvi. 21.
9 Prov. xix. 5; Wisd. i. 11.
10 Jer. xxii. 10.
11 Hist. Ar. 50.
12 Of Tyre. See below, §71.
13 Cf. de Syn. 17.
14 Cf. Socr. i. 8.
15 Cf. Nicomedia.
16 The Eusebians alleged that, fifty-four Bishops of the two parties of S. Alexander and Meletius being assembled for the election, and having sworn to elect by the common voice, six or seven of these broke their oaths in favour of S. Athanasius, whom no one had thought of, and consecrated him in secret to the great surprise and scandal of both ecclesiastical and lay persons. vid. Socr. ii. 17. Philostorgius (a.d. 425) adds particulars, explanatory or corrective of this statement, of which the Bishops in the text do not seem to have heard; viz., that Athanasius with his party one night seized on the Church of St. Dionysius, and compelled two Bishops whom he found there to consecrate him against their will; that he was in consequence anathematized by all the other Bishops, but that, fortifying himself in his position, he sent in his election to the Emperor, and by this means obtained its confirmation. H. E. ii. 16. It appears, in matter of fact, that S. Athan. was absent at time of his election; as Socrates says, in order to avoid it, or as Epiphanius, on business at the Court; these reasons are compatible. [Cf. Prolegg. ch. ii. §4, and Gwatkin's note, quoted there.]
17 It is contested whether S. Athan. was ever one of S. Antony's monks, the reading of a passage in the commencement of his Vit. Ant., which would decide the question, varying in different mss. The word "ascetic" is used of those who lived a life, as afterwards followed in Monasteries, in the Ante-Nicene times. [See D.C.B. 1. 181a, and Prolegg. ch. ii §1 ad fin, and Introd. to Vit. Ant.]
18 The Canons of Nicaea and Sardica were absolute against translation, but, as Bingham observes, Antiqu. vi. 4. §6. only as a general rule. The so-called Apostolical Canons except "a reasonable cause" and the sanction of a Council; one of the Councils of Carthage prohibits them when subserving ambitious views, and except for the advantage of the Church. Vid. list of translations in Socr. Hist. vii. 36. Cassiodor. Hist. xii. 8. Niceph. Hist. xiv. 39. Coteler. adds others ad Can. Apost. 14. [cf Hist Ari. 7.]
19 i.e. Constantinople on the expulsion of Paul.
20 1 Tim. vi. 5; Matt. xviii. 20; 2 Cor. x. 15; 1 Cor. vii. 27.
21 Or Theognis; he was, as well as Eusebius, a pupil of Lucian's, and was deposed together with him after the Nicene Council for communicating with Arians. [They were not ecclesiastically deposed, but exiled by the Emperor, see Prolegg. ch ii. §§3 (1) and (2) c, 6 (1).] Constantine banished them to Gaul; they were recalled in the course of two or three years. He was dead by the date of the Council of Sardica.
22 Eusebian Council of Tyre, a.d. 335.
23 On his return from Gaul, Nov. 23, a.d. 337. [Prolegg. ch. ii. §6 (1).]
24 Cf. §77.
25 At the Council of Tyre, Potarno, an Egyptian Bishop and Confessor asked Eusebius what had happened to him in prison during the persecution, Epiph. Haer. 68, 7, as if hinting at his cowardice. It appears that Eusebius was prisoner at Caesarea with S. Pamphilus; yet he never mentions the fact himself, which is unlike him, if it was producible. [The insinuation of Potammon was groundless: see Dic. C. Biog. ii. 311.]
26 George, Bishop of Laodicea, had been degraded when a priest by S. Alexander, for his profligate habits as well as his Arianism. Athan. speaks of him elsewhere as reprobated even by his party. de Fug. 26. [Cf. §49, de Syn. 17. Prolegg. ch. ii. §3 (2) c, 2.]
28 Hist. Ari. 11, and below §§36, 71.
30 By Constantine into Gaul, a.d. 336.
31 The circumstances of this appeal, which are related by Athan. below, §86, are thus summed up by Gibbon; "Before the final sentence could be pronounced at Tyre, the intrepid primate threw himself into a bark which was ready to hoist sail for the imperial city. The request of a formal audience might have been opposed or eluded; but Athanasius concealed his arrival, watched the moment of Constantine's return from an adjacent villa, and boldly encountered his angry sovereign as he passed on horseback through the principal street of Constantinople. So strange an apparition excited his surprise and indignation; and the guards were ordered to remove the importunate suitor; but his resentment was subdued by involuntary respect; and the haughty spirit of the Emperor was awed by the courage and eloquence of a Bishop, who implored his justice and awakened his conscience." Decl. and Fail, xxi. Athan. was a small man in person.
32 i.e. to Constantinople.
34 This period, when Christianity was acknowledged by the state but not embraced by the population, is just the time when we hear most of this Reserve as a principle. While Christians were but a sect, persecution enforced a discipline, and when they were commensurate with the nation, faith made it unnecessary. We are now returned to the state of the fourth century.
35 Tob. xii. 7.
36 Matt. vii. 6.