1.11.1 Eusebius Pamphili says, “And the sight of those things happening was unbearable for the envy which hates good and for the demon who loves evil. So it was also for Licinius, for the consequences which came upon the aforementioned tyrants did not prove sufficient to turn him to sound reason. And so while he still enjoyed the sovereignty, having been deemed worthy both by marriage and kinship to be second in honor to the great Emperor Constantine, he not only failed to imitate what was good, but he even strived to emulate the wicked misconduct of those ungodly tyrants. And although he saw their deaths with his own eyes, he preferred to follow their judgment rather than the friendship and disposition of the better emperor.

1.11.2 Therefore, because Licinius was envious of Constantine who was a benefactor to all, he began an impious and most terrible war against him, paying no heed to natural laws, nor keeping in mind solemn oaths, or blood relationship, or treaties.

1.11.3 For Constantine, being a good emperor in every respect, was presenting to him true tokens of goodwill: He did not resist making family ties with him, nor did he refuse to give him his sister as a partner in a magnificent marriage.”

1.11.4 Eusebius later writes, “But the God-hater Licinius was doing the exact opposite, daily inventing all sorts of contrivances against his better co-emperor and thinking of all means of treachery, so that he might repay the one doing good with evil.”

1.11.5 Eusebius adds later, “But God was then a loving protector and guardian to him,” (to Constantine I mean), “and he brought to light and exposed the plans which the tyrant had contrived in secret and darkness. For virtue—the mighty weapon of the fear of God—has such great power both to ward off enemies and to guards one’s salvation. So then, our most God-loving Emperor Constantine, being strengthened by the help from God, escaped from the crafty schemes of the man whose name became evil.

1.11.6 But when the tyrant saw that his secret plot was not at all going according to plan because God was revealing every treachery and villainy to his beloved, and since Licinius was no longer able to conceal his purpose, he entered into open war.

1.11.7 And of course, at the same time as Licinius was determined to make war with Constantine, he was also drawing up his battle-line against the God of all, Constantine’s guardian, whom he knew Constantine worshiped. He then began to persecute those under his rule who feared God.”

1.11.8 Eusebius continues later, “The way in which they were murdered was something new and completely unheard of. That is, he ordered that the cities around Amasia and the remainder of Pontus be oppressed with such evil ferocity, that he outdid every excess of cruelty. There, some of the churches of God were immediately torn down—from their roofs down to the ground. Others he ordered to be closed, so that none of those accustomed to do so might gather together or render their due prayers and worship to God.

1.11.9 For Licinius did not believe that these rites were being carried out for his benefit. (How could one who hates God think in such a way?) But since his reasoning came from a bad conscience, Licinius concluded that we did them and pleaded with God for the benefit of the God-loving Emperor Constantine. For this reason then, being urged on by this, he imposed his wrath against us.”

1.11.10 Soon after, Eusebius continues, “And indeed, many of the bishops who had done nothing wrong were arrested and were punished in the same way as murderers, but for no reason. They experienced a rather newly-invented means of execution: Their bodies were cut with a sword into many pieces. And after this cruel and most awful sight, they were tossed into the depths of the sea to be food for the fish.

1.11.11 Right after these things, all those who feared God—men, women, and children alike— were forced to flee. And once again the fields and deserted places, both wooded valleys and mountains, took in the servants of Christ as the ungodly one stirred up war against them all.”

1.11.12 A bit later Eusebius says, “Yet our God who is good beyond all others most quickly foresaw what was about to happen. As in the depths of darkness and the darkest night, he suddenly shone forth a great light and deliverer for all, his servant Constantine, whom he guided with his mighty arm and most excellent hand.

1.11.13 To Constantine, God then granted from the heavens above a well-deserved fruit of his piety—trophies of victory over his ungodly enemies. But as for that sinful man, the God of Constantine and of us all threw him down headlong under the feet of Constantine, together with all his advisers and loved ones.

1.11.14 For when the situation surrounding Licinius drove him to the utmost extremes of madness, the God-loving Emperor Constantine decided that he had become intolerable. Having used his natural, sound-minded, and pious reasoning to temper the harshness of his justice with kind-heartedness, he decided to come to the aid of those who were distressed by the tyrant. And he set out to rescue a very large portion of the human race by removing a few scoundrels.

1.11.15 For when the most kind-hearted Emperor Constantine had previously employed only kind-heartedness in dealing with that ungodly man and showed mercy to him who was unworthy of sympathy, Licinius did not leave behind his wicked excesses. But rather, his rage against the people under his control increased. And for those who were mistreated and oppressed by the terrible beast, there was no hope of rescue.

1.11.16 Therefore, it was at that point in time that the patron of good, combining his hatred of evil with his kind-heartedness, advanced together with his son, the most kind-hearted Emperor Crispus. They advanced from the western lands of the great Roman Empire toward the east against the tyrant, extending a right hand of deliverance to all who were perishing. With God as their all-ruling emperor and his Son, Christ the Savior, as their guide and ally, both the father, Emperor Constantine, and his son, Emperor Crispus, divided their battle-lines against the God-haters and encircled them. Thus they obtained an easy victory since everything in the battle was arranged for them according to the will of God, the all-ruling emperor,” just as the most truth-loving Eusebius, son of the all-praiseworthy Pamphilus says.

1.11.17 As for Rufinus, even if he made no mention of the fate that befell Licinius, nevertheless, since I have read through the words of that aforementioned one, I will also insert what he said into my history: “Licinius, then, who was ruling together with him (that is to say, the God-loving Constantine), held Greek beliefs and hated Christians. But he refrained from setting into motion any open persecution against them from fear of Emperor Constantine. Secretly, however, he was contriving many schemes.

1.11.18 But as time went on, he openly incited persecutions against everyone in the eastern regions, so that many martyrs of Christ became well-known in various places. And indeed, by such actions, he stirred Emperor Constantine to a great hatred against him. And thus they went to war against each other.”

1.11.19 These are the things Rufinus says. But Philip, who is in agreement with the truth of Eusebius Pamphili, says the following: “Dividing their army, father and son—Emperor Constantine and Emperor Crispus—rushed out against the ungodly tyrant. The son Crispus made the journey through parts of Asia together with his part of the army, while his father Constantine completed his path through Europe with his bodyguards beside him.

1.11.20 Meanwhile, the God-hater, full of all ungodliness and bloodthirstiness, came from the east with a very great army, preparing his battle-line against them and boasting. When he arrived at Nicomedia, he came to realize and understand the God-loving Constantine’s soul, which revered the priests of God, and that Constantine would treat them with every honor. So Licinius bribed Eusebius, the bishop of Nicomedia, who long before had fled to him for refuge since he was against the godly Emperor Constantine. Through Eusebius and Eusebius’s associates, Licinius intended to do away with Constantine, who was fortified with God’s invincible weapons.

1.11.21 Therefore, after he was entreated with promises by Licinius—his equal in ungodliness— the “marvelous” Eusebius reached an agreement with him.” And we are assured that this really was the case by the very letter of the Christ-loving Emperor Constantine, which he sent to the people of Nicomedia. And here is some of what is stated at the end of the letter:

1.11.22 “Who is it who taught these things in such a way to innocent people? Eusebius, of course—the one initiated into the cruelty of tyrants! For one is able to see from many considerations that he has come under the protection of the tyrant everywhere. The slaughtering of bishops (that is, of those who were truly bishops) bears witness to this. The most severe persecution of Christians explicitly shouts this.

1.11.23 For I will say nothing at present about the things which he did against me, through which, especially when the assaults of the opposing factions were at work against us, he even sent spies to watch me and supplied the tyrant with every helpful favor except armed men.

1.11.24 And let no one think I am unprepared to prove these things. There is specific evidence, for it is well-known that the presbyters and deacons attending to Eusebius were publicly arrested by me. But we are not citing these things now out of irritation, but in order to shame them. Yet the one thing that I fear and that keeps troubling my mind is this: I must regard you as accomplices in this crime. For through the course of instruction and perversion you received from Eusebius, your consciences have become separated from the truth.

1.11.25 But there is a rather quick cure, if now you just fix your eyes on God and take for yourselves a faithful and pure bishop. And indeed, you now have an opportunity to do this—a judgment you also could have made in the past. But those who gathered together at that time made a terrible decision and chose the aforementioned Eusebius, who came there and shamefully compromised the correct procedures.

1.11.26 But listen patiently, my beloved, for it is proper for me to tell you a few things about this Eusebius. In your tolerance, remember that there was a synod of bishops at the city of Nicaea, at which also I myself was present, in keeping with the service of my conscience. I desired only to bring about complete unanimity, and above all, to refute and renounce this matter which had begun through the madness of Arius of Alexandria. But instead, it immediately became stronger everywhere because of the deadly zeal of Eusebius.

1.11.27 What’s more, my most beloved and honorable subjects, consider how fervently (indeed, as if he was overcome by his conscience) and how shamefully this same Eusebius supported Arius’s false teaching, which had been completely refuted. He not only secretly sent several men to argue with me on his behalf, but he also sought some kind of alliance with me, lest being convicted for such a great sin, he might be deprived of the dignity of his present office.

1.11.28 God himself is my witness to these things, and may he continue to look with favor on me and you, because this Eusebius himself underhandedly deceived even me and led me astray. But divine providence led me back again to its most true path, something that you have already come to realize and will understand even more fully. For at that time he seemed to accomplish everything just as he wanted (I am speaking about the unholy Eusebius), while every kind of evil remained hidden in his mind.

1.11.29 But, so that I can skip the rest of his perverse actions, I ask you to especially listen to what he recently accomplished with Theognius, who participated in his unholy plan. I had ordered some of the Alexandrians who had left our faith to be sent away from there, since their ministries were igniting a firestorm of disagreement.

1.11.30 But these “good” and “noble” bishops, whom at one time the truth of the synod had protected and led to repent, not only received these other men and kept them safe among themselves, but they also joined them in their evil ways. Therefore, this was my judgment concerning those ungrateful men: I ordered them to be seized and banished as far away as possible.

1.11.31 It is now your duty to look to God in that faith, which, as is fitting, you always were and are doing, and to put it into practice in such a way that we can rejoice in having pure and orthodox and caring bishops. If anyone thoughtlessly dares to identify themselves with the memory of those corrupters or to praise them, as a consequence of his own boldness, he will immediately be removed from his duties through God’s servant, that is, me. May God watch over you, beloved brothers.”

1.11.32 This letter of the God-loving Emperor Constantine brought to light most clearly these and other similar things about the impious Eusebius of Nicomedia. He had not only taken refuge with the God-hater Licinius, but was also initiated into and served his tyranny and ungodliness. I will now proceed to the stated purpose of this church history.


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

Previous Chapter – 1.10 The restoration of the churches

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Created by NJ 4-18-17

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