2.33.1 To this end, they proposed that members of the clergy, be they bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, or other members of the priesthood, should not sleep with their wives, whom they had married when they were laymen.

2.33.2 When they conceived this idea, godly Paphnutius stood up amidst the crowd of bishops and loudly exclaimed, “Do not make the yoke of the clergy burdensome (for Scripture says, ‘Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure’ [Hebrews 13:4]), lest you harm the church with excessive strictness.” He said not everyone could practice abstinence.

2.33.3 “I believe no one will continue in self-control if husbands are deprived of their wives. I maintain that intercourse with one’s lawful wife is noble self-control. So do not separate man from the woman with whom God yoked him, whom he married when he was formerly a reader, a cantor, or a layman.”

2.33.4 Paphnutius said this despite being unacquainted with marriage because he had been raised in a monastery. His counsel therefore persuaded the entire assembly of bishops, and they stopped discussing this issue, letting those who by mutual consent wanted to avoid intimacy with their wives decide for themselves.

2.33.5 This happened at the holy great ecumenical council gathered at Nicaea in Bithynia. But Eusebius, Theognis, and the Arians in their circle could not bear the victorious confirmation of the true faith, nor would they anathematize Arius. Once again caught, they were exiled by decision of the God-loving emperor and by judgement of the holy council of bishops. Others were installed to replace them in their parishes by vote of the council as well as the clergy and laity of their respective parishes.

2.33.6 Amphion took over leadership of the church of Nicomedia; Chrestus of the church of Nicaea itself; others of the churches of those in agreement with them. Once again resorting to their usual tricks, Eusebius and Theognis found in the emperor’s kindness an opportunity for deception, so they kept trying to reverse the decision and regain their former power.

2.33.7 I would like to refer those who want to learn about their wicked machinations, which were numerous and entirely ungodly, to Theodoret and the other authors of church history. My account will now pass on to the contents of the letters the council of bishops sent to the absent bishops and to their own parishes. Moreover, I will describe what the victorious, faithful emperor wrote to confirm the holy faith they had formulated and the holy festival of Easter and to refute the champions of ungodliness.

2.33.8 After this great meeting of the council and their marvelous proclamation of the faith, our holy fathers established complete order in the church and eagerly wrote letters to all the holy churches of God under heaven to disclose all their resolutions, including the events involving Melitius.


Next Chapter – 2.34 Concerning the unholy Melitius

Previous Chapter – 2.32 The ecclesiastical standards of the holy and great synod assembled at Nicaea

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Created by RR 8-20-21

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