3.12.1 The faithful Emperor Constantine, striving for the peace of the churches, was concerned for them in his soul like an apostle, as we have often said. But those who called themselves priests, who had accepted Arius’s dishonor, could not bear to stay calm after commencing an uncompromising war against the truth, so they devised crafty schemes against the true faith.

3.12.2 It happened that Constantia, the sister of the God-loving Emperor Constantine, who had been wife of ungodly Licinius and whom we mentioned before, encountered a certain priest who agreed with the participants in Arius’s blasphemy, a superb flatterer named Eutocius.

3.12.3 At first he met covertly with some of Constantia’s servants, but then he met Constantia herself. Because he enjoyed her vast trust and concern throughout their frequent meetings, his lecturing about Arius also made progress with her.

3.12.4 Now taking courage, he carried her away through his deceptive arguments, claiming that envy alone had caused the disputes with Arius. He persuaded her with these and similar deceptive arguments of his, claiming that Arius thought and taught the same things as Alexander and the bishops throughout the world.

3.12.5 Constantia believed what he said to her especially because she heard from him that Arius was of the same mind as Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria, and that Father Alexander opposed him without good reason because of jealousy for Arius’s success with the masses. It therefore happened that Constantia, having taken in the deceptions of the Arian priest, was pleased at his words, considered that priest worthy of greater honor, and included him among her closest friends.

3.12.6 Not long afterwards, she fell victim to a severe disease, from which she would die. When the pious emperor Constantine learned of this, he came quickly to see her. For after her ungodly husband’s death and the departure of their mother, God-loving, famous Helen, to a life free of pain, the praiseworthy, faithful emperor saw fit to provide for her rather than allowing her to experience the pains of widowhood and orphanhood. For this reason he also provided for her the necessary care before her death while absent and while present.

3.12.7 After a lengthy conversation between the emperor and Constantia, Constantia boldly said to him as her dear brother, “Do me one favor, praiseworthy emperor, for I am going away to be with God.” He replied, “What favor do you ask?” Constantia said to him, “I ask you, emperor, to have Arius released from exile and to alleviate the misfortune that has befallen him through intrigue, lest you quickly stain your pious reign with innocent blood.”

3.12.8 Emperor Constantine patiently listened to his sister, thinking that she was saying this to him from sisterly concern, not as one persuaded by an Arian priest, and believing that his sister would give him sound advice.

3.12.9 Up to this time he had forbidden Arius to enter Alexandria and Egypt, but now he immediately gave the order to release him from exile at the urging of Constantia his sister. Constantia also commended that Arian priest to him, urging the emperor to listen to him and enjoy his words: “As one who has experienced his uprightness, I recommend him to you, pious emperor.”

3.12.10 So Constantia withdrew from earthly life, and that priest gained entrance to the imperial court (the gentle, God-loving emperor had promised this at Constantia’s request, and now he fulfilled his promise). The emperor often commanded the priest to come see him and granted him great freedom of speech. He was certainly among the Christ-bearing Emperor Constantine’s closest friends.

3.12.11 When Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nicaea, still in exile, heard about this, they took courage and wrote a document claiming they had repented. They sent it to the foremost bishops, asking to be released from exile. As before, they affirmed with word but not with conduct that they accepted and held to the faith of Nicaea.

3.12.12 Since the bishops who received their document of feigned repentance favored them, they were released from exile, as they had urged, at the emperor’s command. They received back the churches from which they had been expelled after they had driven out those bishops who had been ordained to replace them—Amphion in the case of Eusebius, Chrestus in the case of Theognis.

3.12.13 It would be good to include in this account a copy of their document of counterfeit repentance. It reads as follows:1


Next Chapter – 3.13 The message of feigned repentance of Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nicaea

Previous Chapter – 3.11 Emperor Constantine’s Letter to Sapor, King of the Persians, concerning God’s providence for his people

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Created by RR 6-16-22

  1. The following letter (CPG 2048) is also preserved in Socrates 1.14.2-7; Sozomen 2.16.3-7.

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