2.1.1 “Now, when Constantine was proclaimed as sole emperor and came to power over all by the assistance God had given him, he promoted the interests of Christians ever more eagerly. And he did this in several ways because he possessed a burning faith and a deeply-rooted and most faithful devotion to the God of all. And the whole church under heaven enjoyed profound peace.”

2.1.2 In fact, let us now listen to what the most excellent ploughman of ecclesiastical farming says—the most truth-loving Eusebius, son of the renowned Pamphilus.

2.1.3 He says, “So, Licinius followed a path of impiety similar to that of the godless tyrants and deservedly staggered off the same cliff as they had.

2.1.4 And so he lay dead in the place where he had fallen. But Maximus Victor Augustus Constantine, who excelled in every pious virtue, together with his son Crispus, a most God-loving emperor who was just like his father in everything, regained control of his eastern lands and made the Roman Empire one united empire as it had been long before. And thus he brought the whole globe under the same peace—from the rising to the setting sun, over both the north and south poles, and over the equator as well.

2.1.5 As a result, mankind had no reason to fear that anyone would oppress them, and they celebrated joyous and jovial festival days. Everything was full of light, and those who had previously been downcast greeted each other with smiling faces and beaming eyes. They even sang songs of praise throughout both city and countryside. They first of all worshiped God their Emperor and Christ his true Son, because they had indeed been taught to do so, and then they honored their pious emperor together with his God-loving sons.

2.1.6 They forgot all about the evils of the past and all the ungodliness, and they enjoyed good times and expected even better times to come. Thus in every place, decrees and laws were unveiled, full of the victorious emperor’s kindness and containing tokens of generosity and true piety.

2.1.7 So indeed, after all tyranny was cleaned out, Constantine and his sons’ absolute rule over the empire was firmly secure and unrivaled.”

2.1.8 Those, then, are the exact words of ecclesiastical history which the most reliable of the ancient ecclesiastical writers, Eusebius Pamphili, left behind for us in ten complete books, after he had taken on such very great struggles and searched and sorted through the undiscerning sources.

2.1.9 He began at the Lord’s coming and ended at those times—and not without much labor. (For how else could he have taken on such a great task and preserved the unity of such a vast collection?) But, as I just said, he did put in a lot of effort and an indescribably large amount of labor.

2.1.10 However, no one should view the man based on the things alleged about him, such as that at one time he somewhat favored Arius’s depraved blasphemy. Rather, be confident that even if he said or wrote some things which are considered a little bit Arian, it was not because he was in agreement with Arius’s ungodly notion, but because of his straightforward simplicity, just as he himself also testified in his statement of defense which he sent to the gathering of orthodox bishops, thus giving full assurance about his beliefs.

2.1.11 And everyone who rightly takes into consideration when the man lived and is persuaded by this that the teachings of Arius had never yet been heard in any place will believe that he was telling the truth. And this was also demonstrated at the Synod at Nicaea when he contended against Arius’s ungodliness and on behalf of the apostolic and orthodox faith.

2.1.12 But, let us return to the sequence of events of our church history. So, Christ our Savior’s church of throughout the whole world enjoyed profound peace, which God, the Absolute Emperor, obtained for it through his servant Constantine and his sons.

2.1.13 After the martyrdom of the blessed Peter, bishop of the church of Alexandria, who by his martyrdom became perfect and received the imperishable crown for his struggle, the church there was without a bishop for one year.

2.1.14 But after that one year Achillas was elected to the bishop’s throne of the holy martyr Peter. Achillas was a strong, good-natured and holy-minded man who stood out because of his godly reverence and exceedingly great wisdom, as the old and accurate writings relate to us. After much encouragement to do so, he received Arius into the diaconate.

2.1.15 When Achillas died only five months after becoming bishop, Alexander immediately took up the authority of high priest over the church of Alexandria. Alexander was a man held in honor in all things by all the clergy and laity of the church. He was small in stature, generous, eloquent, and gentle. He loved God, he loved people, and he loved the poor. He was helpful and kind to all, as much as or more than anyone else. He himself also appointed Arius as the priest closest to him.

2.1.16 In his time, the churches enjoyed peace, which kept shining more and more radiantly every day and brought them all into one harmony with each other. And this peace was extolled everywhere on earth through the rewards of the holy martyrs. But the devil could not stand the fact that the number of the most faithful people of the church was growing so much because of the heavenly worship to God within it. So once again he instigated tumult through a certain love of strife among those in it.

 

Next Chapter – 2.2 The heresy invented by Arius, the fighter-against-God

Previous Chapter – 1.12 The victory of the God-loving Emperor Constantine over the ungodly Licinius

Click here to read Book 1 in its entirety.

 

Created by NJ 6-26-17

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