Early Church Fathers
58 Gregory shewed his Arianism by employing Ammon as his secretary, see p. 96. The curious parallelism between Gregory and George (infr. §8),-the names differing (in Latin) by a single letter only, both Arians, both Cappadocians, both intruded bishops of Alexandria, both arriving from court, both arriving in Lent, both exercising violence, both charged by Ath. with the storming of churches, with similar scenes of desecration, maltreatment of virgins, &c., in either case,-is one of the strangest examples of history repeating itself within a few years. What wonder that the fifth-century historians confuse the two still further together, and that they still find followers? The most important point of confusion is the alleged murder of Gregory (due to Theodoret), who really died a natural death. It is none too soon for this time-honoured blunder to do the like. On the inveterate tendency of Georges and Gregories to coalesce, and exchange names in transcription (to say nothing of modern typography), see D.C.B. ii. pp. 640-650, 778 sq., 798 sq., passim.
59 In some church other than `Theonas,' probably `Quirinus,' which latter, however, was stormed on Easter Day, pp. 273, 95, note 3. The statement, Hist. Ar. 10, that he sailed for Rome before Gregory's arrival is in any case verbally inexact, but it may refer to his flight from `Theonas.'
60 Bitter complaint in Hil. Fragm. iii. 27; cf. infr. p. 462, Soz. iii. 10, who wrongly gives `Italy' as the place.
61 This may have been in the autumn, after the close of the campaign, but see infr. ch. v. §3, c, d
62 Hefele i. 91, is singular in placing it in the empire of Constantius. The Ichtiman range between Sophia and Philippopolis was the natural boundary between Thrace and Moesia, or `Dacia. Media.'
63 On the one hand the deputation after the council reached Constantius at Antioch about Easter (April 15), 344. They were, however sent not directly by the Council, but by Constans after its close (Thdt. ii. 8). We may be certain that their arrival at Antioch was at the very least two months after the close of the council; but in all probability the interval was much longer. Again, the course of events described above forbids us to put the council earlier than the early summer of 343. But according to the Festal Index xv. the council at any rate began before the end of August in that year. If the bishops left their churches after Easter (a very natural and usual arrangement, compare Nicaea, the Dedication, &c.), they could easily assemble by the end of June. The Orientals came somewhat later. The beginning of July is accordingly our terminus a quo, the end of January our terminus ad quem. What exact part of the interval the council occupied we cannot decide.
64 The statement in the synodal letter of Philippolis that Asclepas had been deposed `seventeen' years before is clearly corrupt. The true reading may be `seven' (council of CP. in 336) or xiii, which might easily be changed to xvii. (Cf. Hefele, pp. 89, 90).
65 The `ten months' of Hist. Ar. 21, p. 277, are to be reckoned, not from Easter 344, but from the letters of Const. to Alexandria some months after.
66 It must be observed that the Index is loose in its statement here: see Gwatkin, p. 105, Sievers, p. 108. The statement of Thdt., &c., that he was murdered is simply due to the usual confusion of Gregory with George (cf. p. xliii. note 5).
67 This visit cannot have been between May 7 and Aug. 27, when Const. was at CP. Nor can it well have been before May 7. We must, therefore, with Sievers, p. 110, put it in September. Yet see Gwatkin, p. 127, note.
68 See below.
69 In de Sent. Dion. 23, 24, Arius is spoken of in a way consistent with his being still alive. But the phase of the Arian controversy to which the tract relates begins a decade after Arius' death, and we therefore follow the indications which class the de Sent. with the de Decr.
70 All the following dates are affected by Leap-Year, 355-6, see Table C, p. 501, and correct p. 246, note 3, to Jan. 6.
71 Definite information came only after Feb. 8, see p. 248.
72 The envoys of Magnentius had come from Italy through Libya in 350-351. The `desert' (Apol. Const. 27, 32) must be the region between Alxa. and Cyrenaica, not Palestine as Tillem. viii. 186, infers from Ep. Aeg. 5. There is no evidence that Ath. left his province during this exile, and Palestine was a most dangerous territory to venture into. The cautious vagueness of his language, Ep. Aeg. 5, while it baffles even our curiosity, yet favours the hypothesis that the events referred to belong to the Egyptian persecution.
73 This date, coming from the common source of the Historia Acephala and Festal Index (i.e. from the accredited Alexandrian chronology of the period), must be accepted unless there is cogent proof of its incorrectness. No such proof is offered: we have no positive statement to the contrary, but only (1) the fact that the intrusion of George is related, Apol. Fug. 6, immediately after an attack on the great church, possibly the coup de main of Syrianus, but more probably that of p. 290, note 9, without any hint of a long interval. This is true, and if there were no evidence the other way might justify a guess that George came in Lent, 356; but no one would claim that the passage is conclusive by itself; (2) the `improbability' of George delaying his arrival so long. Improbability is a relative term; we know too little of George's consecration or movements to justify its use in the present connection. All the evidence goes to shew that the court party were far from sanguine as to the nature of his reception, and that their misgivings were well-founded. The above considerations look very small when we compare them with the mass of positive evidence the other way. (1.) The civil Governor had changed: Maximus held the post on Feb. 8, 356 (Hist. Ar. 81, &c.), Cataphronius when the churches were transferred to the party of George, see below, 6. (2.) The military Commander had changed: Syrianus was replaced by Sebastian, who appears just after the transfer of churches, Hist. Ar. 55-60 (Dr. Bright in D.C.B. i. 194, note, seems to admit that Sebastian belongs to a later date than the Lent of 356). (3.) The Wednesday (and Thursday) of Hist. Ar. 55 were not `in Lent.' They suit the data of Hist. Aceph. perfectly well. (4.) Had George arrived before Easter 356, Athan. would have heard of it `in the Desert,' Apol. Const. 27; but he has only heard of his nomination wnomasqh 28, probably from the letters given in §§30, 31). (5.) The Letter to the Egyptian bishops was written from Libya or Cyrenaica, when the coercion of the episcopate had begun: it postulates some time since his expulsion, but George was then (§7) only in contemplation. (6.) There is no evidence that the coup de main of Syrianus was other than unpopular in the city. This was reported to Const., who after the (Easter) outrages on the Virgins (Ap. Const. 27; Hist. Ar. 48), and after the expulsion of the sixteen bishops (Hist. Ar. 54, this was probably about Easter, Ap. Const. 27) sent Heraclius (with the `discreditable' letter), in whose company (Hist. Ar. 55) the new Prefect Cataphronius first appears. This let loose the refuse of the heathen population as described, ib. 55-60. (7.) Hare the precise statement of the Hist. Aceph. fits in exactly. The Presbyters and people of Ath. remained in possession of the Churches until the arrival of the new Prefect, with Count Heraclius, on June 10. (8.) Heraclius is expressly called the precursor of George (p. 288) and is evidently sent to disarm the reported hostility of the (even heathen) public to the appointment. It may be added that if we are to take `probabilities' into account, it is easier to imagine a reason for a court nominee like George having been slow to take up a dangerous post, than for the Alexandrian chronologists of the day having invented a year's interval when none had existed. Montfaucon had already noticed that `a good deal must have happened' between the irruption of Syrianus and the entry of George. The data of Athanasius are for the first time clearly explained by the light thrown on them by the chroniclers. I should also have urged the fact that the commemoration of George's Pentecost Martyrs on May 21 in the Roman Martyrology suits 357 and not 356, had I succeeded in tracing the history of the entry, which has, however, so far eluded my efforts.
74 We are quite in the dark as to when, and by whom, George was consecrated bishop. The statement of Sozomen iv. 8, that he was ordained by a council of thirty bishops at Antioch, including Theodore of Heraclea, who had died before the exile of Liberius in 355 (Thdt. H.E. ii. 16, p. 93. 13), is involved in too hopeless a tangle of anachronisms to be of any value for our enquiry. But that George was ordained in Antioch is in itself likely enough, and if so, his ordination would probably follow close upon the expulsion of Athanasius. But the repeated assurances of Ath. that George came from court would imply that after his ordination George went to Italy. That at once puts his arrival in Alxa. in Lent 356 out of the question.
75 The statements of Ath. as to George are made at secondhand, and must be taken cum grano. He is `notoriously wealthy,' yet `hired' by the Arians. (Cf. p. 249; but apparently he combined wealth and avarice.) That he was `a heathen' is certainly untrue. His `ignorance' is equally so: we know that he was a well-read man and possessed a remarkably good library (D.C.B. ii. 638). That he had `the temper of a hangman' (p. 227) is in keeping with all that we know of him, and as to his general character, the statements of Athanasius and other churchmen are not stronger than Amm. Marcell. XXII. xi. 4 (cf. Gibbon, iii. 171 sqq., ed. Smith, but correct his jeu d'esprit on `S. George and the Dragon' by Bright, in D.C.B. ubi supra; yet see Stanley, Eastern Church, Lect. vii. III..).
76 p. 497. George was at Sirmium in the Spring of 359 (Soz. (v. 16). Paul Catena came to Alxa. from a similar commission at Scythopolis. He was apparently aided in both places by Modestus the Comes Orientis. From Liban. Ep. 205, we gather, to the credit of George, that he was the intermediary of requests for mitigation or some of the sentences. He was at this time at Antioch, from whence also `Ex Comitatu Principis,' Amm. XXII. xi., he returned to Alxa. in 361, evidently before he had heard of the Emperor's death. (Sievers, pp. 138 sq.)
77 We Cannot fix the date when this word was first adopted as a shibboleth. It occurs, but not conspicuously, in the `Macrostich' of 344, but not in any other creed till the `dated' symbol of 359. But if (as Krüger, Lucif, p. 42, note, assumes) the omoiousion was adopted as a protest against the bald omoion, the latter must have been current long before 357, when the former was proscribed. I incline to regard the omoion (as a test word) as a later rival to the omoiousion.
78 Apparently it began with the quarrel over the election to the bishopric of Antioch, which Eudoxius managed to seize after the death of Leontius. George was aggrieved at his rights as an elector being ignored, and may have had hopes of the see for himself. See Soz. iv. 13; but Philost. iv. 5 with much less likelihood puts this down to Basil.
79 The discussions, reported with every appearance of substantial accuracy by Thdt. ii. 27, may have taken place at this time, or at the council of the succeeding month (Thdt. fails to distinguish the two meetings). Gwatkin, p. 180, appears to be right in adopting the former alternative, viz. that the party of Basil prudently abstained from attending a council in which they would be overpowered: cf. Soz. iv. 24, who however contradicts himself in the next chapter, sub fin. But the case is not quite clear.
80 He always used amanuenses, but we have no evidence that he entrusted them with actual composition, p. 242.
81 He states (1) That a rigorist party in the council were at first opposed to all conciliatory measures; this is highly probable, see Hieron. adv. Lucif. 20; (2) that former active Arians were to be admitted to lay communion only; this is not unlikely; (3) by implication, that Eusebius and Lucifer went first to Antioch, and agreed to take no step till after the Council which Eus. was to attend in person, and Luc. by deputy, at Alxa., but that Luc. broke his promise. This may contain a grain of truth, i.e. that Lucifer promised to do nothing before he heard from Alxa., but Eusebius can scarcely have gone to Antioch. I owe these notices to the excellent analysis of our sources of information in Krüger, Lucif. p. 46 sq.; but he makes an odd slip, p. 48, in saying that Soz. `schweigt von der Synode zu Alex. uberhaupt.'
82 This is placed later in 363 by Dr. Bright, D.C.B. i. 199, on the ground of a statement of Epiphanius, Haer. 77. 20, which, however, is not quite decisive on the point.
83 Krüger, in Theol. Litzg. 1890, p. 620 sqq., fixes the death of Theodore for Easter 363, on the ground, as I venture to think, of a date (345) for the death of Pachomius too early by one year. The question is too intricate to discuss here, but with all deference to so competent a critic, I am confident that Theodore lived till at any rate the following Easter. See infr. p. 569, note 3.
84 This is certainly true of men like Athanasius of Ancyra, Eusebius of Samosata, Pelagius of Laodicea, Titus of Bostra, &c.
85 The tract de Hypocrisi Meletii et Eusebii printed among the `dubious' works of Athanasius may well express the sentiments of some of his friends of the party of Paulinus on this occasion. Tillem. viii. 708.
86 So Hist. Aceph., Fest. Ind. Socrates iv. 13 says he hid four months `in his Father's tomb.' Soz. vi. 12, mentions the story, but finding it contradicted by the Hist. Aceph., adopts the vague compromise eij ti xwrion ekrupteto. The `New River' divided Alexandria from its Western suburbs.