2.8.1 Moreover, I ought not omit the amazing deed which the all-victorious emperor performed during the synod. When all the bishops gathered, as is the custom, some of the bishops introduced investigations and controversies over quarrels they had with each other. When they filed indictments and brought their charges before the pious emperor, he accepted the indictments, sealed them with his signet ring, and ordered that they be kept safe.

2.8.2 On observing the mutual strife between these bishops, he said that they should all meet on a specific day to sort out these issues. When the appointed day came, the emperor took a seat in the middle, and when everyone had fallen silent, as was fitting for the occasion, he had everyone’s indictments brought in. Then he took them and put them on his lap. Because he desired not to examine them, he said:

2.8.3 “God appointed you as priests and rulers, and he has determined that you will judge and evaluate the multitudes and be gods, for you stand above all people, according to the Scripture, “I said, ‘You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High’” [Psalm 82:6, LXX 81:6], and “God stands in the assembly of gods” [Psalm 82:1, LXX 81:1]. Therefore, you need not worry about political affairs. Instead, direct all your attention to theology.”

2.8.4 He had them start a fire and burn the indictments, for he was trying to ensure that no one outside would learn of the inappropriate efforts of these bishops. Such was the emperor’s reverence for the priests of God. All who think clearly should admire this reverence.

2.8.5 Nor should I omit a similar deed of his. Quarrelsome and slanderous laymen had indicted some of the bishops and delivered the indictments to the emperor. This happened before harmony had been established.

2.8.6 After receiving the indictments, he tied them together, sealed them with his signet ring, and ordered that they be kept safe. Then, after he had orchestrated harmonious agreement, he had the indictments brought in. With all the bishops present, he burned them with an oath that he had read nothing written in them.

2.8.7 He said that the priests’ wrongdoings should not be revealed to the people lest they use the scandal as an excuse to sin without restraint. It is said that he added that if he had seen a bishop undermining someone else’s marriage with his own eyes, he would have concealed the lawless act with his purple cloak so that no one would be harmed by seeing the act. Such was the emperor’s admirable, godly discernment.

2.8.8 While he met with the bishops for many days and even years,1 the emperor discussed matters of faith with them and gathered their various opinions. There were some among them, as we have said several times, who agreed with the heinous doctrine of Arius and opposed the majority of holy bishops, champions of the truth. Our excellent, holy fathers, however, guarding themselves with the weapon of truth, boldly preached the clear, blameless faith. There were also many confessors among them who resisted the willing adopters of the wretched doctrine of Arius.


Next Chapter – 2.9 The holy Paphnutius

Previous Chapter – 2.7 The public address of the Emperor Augustus to the holy council

Click here to read Book 1 in its entirety.


Created by RR 6-21-21

  1. The council started on May 20; Constantine arrived on June 14; the Nicene Creed was ratified on June 19; minor matters were discussed until August 25.

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