2.7.1 “The flourishing righteousness of God Almighty has paved many remarkable paths for the benefit of humanity, not least of which the outstanding, brilliant path he prepared for us all in the chief point of his catholic church’s holy law more than any wonder: faith, which is the Lord’s dwelling place.

2.7.2 We see that his dwelling place reaches up to the shining stars, and even though the work is just beginning, we know God’s command has planted its foundations so deeply and securely that all the world perceives it.

2.7.3 Moreover, from the top of this dwelling, which sits above everything else, a smooth and level path, illuminated by bright light, extends to the end of this life. Twelve pillars, brighter than snow and immovable on the foundation of faith, eternally support, by the power of our Savior’s divine nature, the front wall of his dwelling, which is adorned with a star-like seal.

2.7.4 The architect of this mighty building, when we received the righteous faith of the soul, placed his majestic undying law in our minds. Whoever wishes to enter its gates requires nothing except holy and pious desire driven by the singular confidence of a pure mind.

2.7.5 The Savior’s plan added wonderful brilliance to this building as a decoration. What I mean is this: Inside, human faith is honored through all the courts of the Lord’s house with wreaths, gathers the fruit of immortality, reveals pure products of human life, and makes them manifest. Outside, heavenly glory, likewise wreathed, designs prizes for the contest which is constantly beginning, or rather increasing, and the prizes adorn the total completion of this building with due praise.

2.7.6 Two guards watch over this house of the Lord. Fear of God opposes the ambition of some as a warning, and praise of God is always next to it for those who think rightly, a reward for their understanding. When both guards stand before the doors of the most holy place, wide open doors welcome righteousness, and it remains undisturbed dwelling inside. Injustice may not even approach the doors; it is banished and shut out of this house.

2.7.7 Honorable brothers worthy of praise, these clear facts led me to the brightness of the eternal, immortal light, so that, even if I stand far away, my soul’s wavering faith will not make me unfit for the truth.

2.7.8 But what should I assert first—the blissful image enclosed within my breast, or the divine benefits granted to me by God Almighty? Of his many works, it is enough to say that our God himself, the Father of all things, has rightly caused my humble self to submit to him.

2.7.9 Believe me, honorable brothers, and accept my words with unprejudiced faith. Even if my mind, saturated with divine blessings, appears happy and therefore able to render excellent praise, my guarantee of truth nevertheless clearly demonstrates that neither voice nor tongue can adequately do what the mind commands, and for good reason.

2.7.10 Since his great blessings are immeasurable, the mind, lofty as it is, reaches up far above the physical realm. But the tongue, limited in what it can express and thus almost useless, remains altogether silent. Who of us would think so hastily that he utters such a self-confident word and audaciously claims that he can easily and perfectly speak glorious, worthy praise of God, who can do all things, who created all good things?

2.7.11 If anyone should merely consider the magnificence of the one who ordained his birth, he would surely realize that he cannot find anything to say which is worthy of God.

2.7.12 Therefore, what should I speak about, devoted and humble as I am, except what God’s true Word demonstrates? Deep reverence ought to clearly contemplate the greatness of the Word; if it is able to attain to the things said about the Word, then no error will make it slip.

2.7.13 If only I, your fellow servant, had ample ability to speak in praise of those things which deserve to be proclaimed, which our divine Savior, the guardian of all things, demonstrated by his calm divine will when he first came. He deigned for our sake to receive a pure body from a virgin as a dwelling place. In this way he proved his compassion for all humans.

2.7.14 So where shall I begin? With his teaching and dignity? Or with the teachings of God, of which he has proven to be the sole teacher, without anyone having taught him? Or how through his providence such large crowds, which could not be numbered, were refreshed through a small amount of food—very little bread and only two fish?

2.7.15 By his divine providence he also raised Lazarus with a short staff after his death and brought him back into the brilliant light.

2.7.16 How should I speak of his pure divine nature through which he saw that a woman was secretly suffering from an illness, and after he let her merely touch him, he restored her to health, free of sickness?1

2.7.17 Who could speak adequately of his immortal deed by which he suddenly restored strength by divine healing to someone weakened by constant, prolonged illness, who was lying with his limbs spread out wide, and the man placed on his shoulders the very mat on which he had been lying and ran throughout his hometown and the region, offering thankful praises?2

2.7.18 Or of his sure divine step as he bound the stormy sea, walking and treading upon it, and with his divine footsteps he made the liquid of the deep sea solid and went straight through the middle of the sea, not limited in depth, as if it were land?3

2.7.19 Or of his gentle forbearance through which he, victor in all things, overcame the insolence of the foolish masses and, removing their conquered savagery far away, subjected them to the law?

2.7.20 Or of the bright and great works of his divine nature by which we live, in which we find pleasure—we who not only hope for future bliss, but in a sense already possess it?

2.7.21 What more dare I say, given my meager preparation for this speech, except the following, which my pure devoted soul ought to understand: how God Almighty, who dwells in heaven, relates to the entire human race, and especially to the noble righteousness above all praise, since even his own Holy Spirit deigned to take a body, live in it, and thus grant salvation to human bodies.

2.7.22 Therefore, since our immeasurably insane enemies, as if shrouded by fog, waste no time in spreading their poisonously perverse interpretations concerning Almighty God’s most holy saving arrangement, I will try to briefly explain how much my faithful devoted soul overflows with words.

2.7.23 The heresies of these pagans make them so shameless that they are not afraid to sacrilegiously say that God Almighty has neither done nor willed to do all the things described in his holy law.

2.7.24 What a sacrilegious statement! It merits every excessive punishment against itself. Truly insane and reckless, it wishes to obscure the glory of this divine blessing, glory which no human being can comprehend.

2.7.25 What quality is more fitting for God than purity? Purity has gone forth from its holy dealings with the source of righteousness, has flooded the whole world, and has shown humanity the effects of its holy virtues. They at first thought these virtues were hostile to them, so they suffered the fate of the Assyrians, who set a bad example. The other peoples were determined to support them.

2.7.26 In this situation, as we scrutinize it with our consideration, we see that the divine compassion of God our Savior cooperates, for day by day and year by year he called many of them, once driven by the fiery sting of madness, to return to the Savior’s patient healing. Such a great blessing is nevertheless unable to benefit the rest, for humans are unaware of God’s power to exalt any people, and, once exalted, make them secure or again tear down and dissolve them.

2.7.27 Yet human history would have turned out even worse if God Almighty had not determined to manage all things with his silent divine will. Human insanity would have been more widespread, limitless human arrogance would have corrupted all souls, and many other things which fulfill their own function in the operation of the universe could not have appeared.

2.7.28 Rather, all things together would have quickly perished due to their ignorance of the divine. The crime of envy and jealousy would not have remained limited to a few people. Rather, no one would have been free from this jealousy, for the various superstitions would have become so big and broad in human souls that, as a result of their shamelessness, this bright light of ours would have been obscured so that they would never benefit from it.

2.7.29 Therefore, no spoken word can snatch my faith from my soul, for when nothing evil hinders faith, perfect power attends it—the living Word of truth, the only Almighty, the guardian of all things, the protector of our salvation. So he seems, in a way, to give the use of his holy Word in order to preserve knowledge of the Liberator and grant us clear light.

2.7.30 Why, then, do all the pagan nations still fail to perceive the heavenly light and thus despise the glorious Holy One, instead pursuing the earthly, which has no true substance, no pure bright splendor, and no divine heavenly authority?

2.7.31 What an outrageous deed! Even now they do not forsake their godlessness, do not look to what is right, and do not notice that they are succumbing to wretched deception. They do not stop tarnishing his splendor with their filthy worldly works, consecrating wood, stone, bronze, silver, gold, and other such earthly materials for worship. They promise hope of life through them and build magnificently decorated temples for them. They thus increase their adoration, for the great buildings they have made are a veritable wonder, in their opinion.

2.7.32 Therefore, when they make such plans, one can clearly see (although they themselves certainly do not perceive or realize, arrogant as they are) that they are seemingly guilty of boasting in their works. Moreover, we do not see the greatness and might of God Almighty, who is Lord and Judge of all. Some, by confidence in their supposed excellence, inadvertently revile him.

2.7.33 By his arrangement even our bodily form received the shape it ought to have. The same God connected all our limbs with strong tendons so that our physical structure might have untiring stamina in every action we undertake. Moreover, when he had accomplished this by his preserving arrangement, he breathed into us so that all our parts could move and be strong. He granted sight to our eyes, placed them in our head to aid our understanding, and enclosed therein the reasoning of all our thinking faculties.

2.7.34 Therefore, if any sensible person should consider the reason for this arrangement and disregard other things which can be grasped neither by reasoning nor by arithmetic, with quick reflection he would be able to see and understand the eternal saving power of the immortal God, and no one could entangle him in snares of deception, for he would clearly also be able to see that everything which has been made exists by God’s power, just as God has willed everything to exist.

2.7.35 In order that you may see that a lawless, worldly way of life has made people ignorant of God in that the enemy’s deception produced sin rather than reasoning in the wretched souls of wicked people, we will show you clear proof from the holy law.

2.7.36 From the moment those two created in the beginning failed to keep God’s holy command with due reverence, the flower called sin was born. It became constant and grew even more after those two were banished according to God’s will.

2.7.37 Matter itself was prostituted to such a degree with human depravity that sin condemned the eastern and western foundations. This excess of hostile power seized and impaired human minds.

2.7.38 Even in this circumstance, to be sure, God Almighty’s inexhaustible mercy is eternal and undying. Day by day, in the years which have gone by, God keeps releasing countless multitudes of enslaved peoples from the burden of sin through me, his servant, and will lead them to the perfect splendor of the eternal light. Therefore, dearest brothers, I am confident because of our immortal God’s special providence and glorious blessings that in the future I will be even more distinguished by my pure faith in him.

2.7.39 Therefore, may your pure holy council accept me. Let the prudent church, which is the pure mother common to us all, not oppose me at its doors. Although my soul’s reasoning, even now seeking the completely pure catholic faith, denies that this will happen for it easily, it nevertheless impels and reminds me. The modesty of its self-respect has produced a seal of all noble virtues. It begins to touch and knock at the gates of immortality so that you also have forthwith deigned to grant your affectionate brotherhood with a view toward complete peaceful unity in the catholic faith.

2.7.40 This is indeed proper in the sight of God, agreeable to the catholic church’s faith, and beneficial for the common good of the state, with the result that we all publicly give worthy thanks to God for the honorable peace which he has graciously granted to us.

2.7.41 It would indeed be awful, and in fact worse than awful, now that our enemies have been defeated and no one dares to oppose us any longer, to reproach each other and thus provide our opponents an object of malicious pleasure and ridicule, especially by arguing about theological questions even though we have the written teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Gospels, the apostolic epistles, and the prophetic writings of the ancient prophets clearly teach us what we should believe concerning God. Therefore, let us cast out conflict which leads to war and find the solution to these questions in the Scriptures inspired by God.”

2.7.42 The wise emperor offered these and similar words to his fathers the priests like a child who loves his father, trying to understand the apostolic beliefs. Of the bishops gathered in council there, who numbered 318, 300 were persuaded by what he said, and they embraced harmony with each other and sound doctrine.

2.7.43 The rest, however, as we said before, kept fighting against apostolic doctrine. They tried their utmost to support the opinion of Arius. There were seventeen of them: Eusebius of Nicomedia, who was mentioned before, Theognis of Nicaea, Maris of Chalcedon, Theodore of Heraclea in Thrace, Menophantus of Ephesus, Patrophilus of Scythopolis, Narcissus of Neronias (which is now called Irenopolis) in Cilicia Secunda, Theonas of Marmarica, Secundus of Ptolemais in Egypt, and with them eight others who had mixed themselves in with that company of 300 saints, as if they were actually orthodox, yet opposed apostolic doctrine by advocating for Arius.4

2.7.44 Our holy fathers Alexander of Constantinople, who was a priest at the time, and Athanasius, archdeacon of the church of Alexandria, staunchly resisted them. This is why malice took up arms against them, as we will report later. But our holy bishops invited Arius to the council with permission to defend his doctrine, according to the all-victorious emperor’s will, for he also attended the council, as we just said.


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Created by NJ 7-20-17

Updated by RR 6-19-21

  1. Cf. Matthew 9:20-22.
  2. Cf. Mark 2:1-12; John 5:5-15.
  3. Cf. Matthew 14:22-33.
  4. Sections 41-43 are taken from Theodoret with a few additions from the anonymous compiler.

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