2.34.1 A certain Melitius, who was ordained bishop shortly before the Arian delusion, was convicted and deposed by godly Peter, bishop of Alexandria, who later donned the wreath of martyrdom. But Melitius did not comply with his sentence of deposition, instead spreading tumult and distress throughout Thebes and the neighboring part of Egypt by revolting against the primacy of Bishop Alexander. The council jointly wrote to the church of Alexandria, describing what they had decided about his revolutionary actions.1

2.34.2 The letter of the council to the holy churches of God in Alexandria, Egypt, the Pentapolis, Libya, and everywhere under heaven, and the clergy and laymen of the orthodox faith, from the holy council at Nicaea:2

“To the church of Alexandria, holy and great by the grace of God, the dear brothers in Egypt, the Pentapolis, Libya, and everywhere under heaven, and the orthodox clergy and laymen, from the bishops who gathered at Nicaea, forming the holy great council: Greetings in the Lord.

2.34.3 Seeing as the great holy council which gathered at Nicaea handled questions about the church’s faith after God’s grace and our God-loving Emperor Constantine summoned us from various provinces and cities, we thought it necessary to send you letters so that you would know what questions we raised and reviewed and what we decided and confirmed. First, we reviewed the ungodliness and lawlessness of Arius and his followers before our God-loving Emperor Constantine.

2.34.4 We unanimously decided to anathematize Arius, his ungodly opinion, and his blasphemous words and thoughts with which he blasphemed the Son of God by saying that he is from things which did not exist, that he did not exist before he was begotten, that ‘he did not always exist,’ and that the Son of God is capable of evil or good by his own free will, and by calling him a creature and a product.

2.34.5 All this the holy council anathematized, not even bothering to listen to his ungodly opinion, his insane talk, and his blasphemous words. You have certainly heard or will hear about the outcome of his cause, lest we seem to trample a man who has already received the punishment he deserves for his sin.

2.34.6 His ungodliness was so strong that it even destroyed Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais, for these two had the same outcome as the others. Moreover, when God’s grace freed Egypt from those blasphemous heretics who dared to sow disagreement and division among a people who had always lived in peace, the rash actions of Melitius and of those he ordained were still unresolved. We are reporting to you what the council decided on this matter, dear brothers.

2.34.7 Although Melitius, strictly speaking, did not deserve pardon, the council graciously decided that he may remain in his city but may not ordain, appoint, or lay hands on anyone nor appear in the country or another city for this purpose but may merely possess the honorable title.

2.34.8 Those whom he appointed, however, are to be accepted after they have been confirmed by a more legitimate ordination, with the following conditions. They shall keep their honorable position and shall perform liturgical duties but shall in any case be second to the members of the clergy in every parish and church who were appointed as subordinate to our honorable fellow minister Alexander. Thus they may not appoint those whom they please, make nominations, or do anything at all without the consent of a bishop of the catholic apostolic church subordinate to our pious fellow minister Alexander.

2.34.9 However, those who by the grace of God and by your prayers prove not to be involved in schism but are blameless within the catholic apostolic church may make appointments, nominate those who are worthy to be clergy, and generally do everything according to church law and custom.

2.34.10 If such a member of the clergy within the church happens to fall asleep, then those who have recently been admitted shall ascend to the honorable position of the deceased, provided that they are worthy and the people choose them, with the bishop of Alexandria approving and ratifying the election.

2.34.11 We made this concession for all the others but did not find the same concession appropriate for Melitius in particular because of his earlier lack of discipline and his hasty and presumptuous attitude. We do not want him to receive any power or authority, for he could cause the same disorderly behavior again.

2.34.12 These are the specific resolutions pertaining to Egypt and the holy church of Alexandria. If any other church law or doctrine was defined in the presence of our honorable fellow minister and brother, lord Alexander, he will report it to you more precisely when he returns, for he was an influential participant in our actions.

2.34.13 We also bring you good news of the agreement on holy Easter. Your prayers have succeeded in this matter. So all the brothers in the East, who previously celebrated it when the Jews celebrate Passover, will from now on celebrate the holy festival of Easter in harmony with the Romans, with you, and with all of us who have been observing Easter with you since ancient times.

2.34.14 In joy at these victories, at the shared peace and harmony, and at the eradication of all heresy, therefore, welcome our fellow minister, your Bishop Alexander, with great honor and much love. He has gladdened us with his presence and has exerted great effort in his old age in order that you and everyone might have peace. Pray for all of us so that these decisions which we found appropriate might remain firm, for they have come about, we are confident, through the goodwill of God Almighty, his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and the Holy Spirit, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”3


Next Chapter – 2.35 A general letter written by Eusebius, the Bishop of Caesarea Palestine

Previous Chapter – 2.33 Concerning the need to not depose those who are priests and have their own wife

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Created by RR 9-29-21

  1. This same paragraph is found in Theodoret 1.9.1.
  2. The following letter (CPG 8515) is also preserved in Athanasius, De decretis 36; Socrates 1.9.1-14; Theodoret 1.9.2-13.
  3. The surviving manuscripts of our work seem to be defective; they omit the transition and superscription to the following letter (CPG 3502) from Eusebius to his church in Caesarea. The letter is also preserved in Athanasius, De decretis 33; Socrates 1.8.35-54; Theodoret 1.12, in which sources the superscription is preserved.

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