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Date 335
Ancient Source(s) Athanasius, Ap. 74/5

To the holy Council of blessed bishops of the catholic Church, all the presbyters and deacons of the Mareotis send health in the Lord.

Knowing that which is written, ‘Speak that your eyes have seen,’ and, ‘A false witness shall not be unpunished,’ we testify what we have seen, especially since the conspiracy which has been formed against our Bishop Athanasius has made our testimony necessary. We wonder how Ischyras ever came to be reckoned among the number of the ministers of the Church, which is the first point we think it necessary to mention. Ischyras never was a minister of the Church; but when formerly represented himself to be a presbyter of Colluthus, he found no one to believe him, except only his own relations. For he never had a church, nor was ever considered a clergyman by those who lived but a short distance from his village, except only, as we said before, by his own relations. But, notwithstanding he assumed this designation, he was deposed in the presence of our Father Hosius at the Council which assembled at Alexandria, and was admitted to communion as a layman, and so he continued subsequently, having fallen from his falsely reputed rank of presbyter. Of his character we think it unnecessary to speak, as all men have it in their power to become acquainted therewith. But since he has falsely accused our Bishop Athanasius of breaking a cup and overturning a table, we are necessarily obliged to address you on this point. We have said already that he never had a church in the Mareotis; and we declare before God as our witness, that no cup was broken, nor table overturned by our Bishop, nor by any one of those who accompanied him; but all that is alleged respecting this affair is mere calumny. And this we say, not as having been absent from the bishop, for we are all with him when he makes his visitation of the Mareotis, and he never goes about alone, but is accompanied by all of us presbyters and deacons, and by a considerable number of the people. Therefore we make these assertions as having been present with him in every visitation which he has made amongst us, and testify that neither was a cup ever broken nor table overturned, but the whole story is false, as the accuser himself also witnesses under this own hand. For when, after he had gone off with Melitians and had reported these things against our Bishop Athanasius, he wished to be admitted to communion. He was not received, although he wrote and confessed under his own hand that none of these things were true, but that he had been suborned by certain persons to say so.

Therefore also Theognius, Theodorus, Maris, Macedonius, Ursacius, Valens, and their fellows came into the Mareotis, and when they found that none of these things were true, but it was likely to be discovered that they had framed a false accusation against our Bishop Athanasius, Theognius and his fellows being themselves his enemies, caused the relations of Ischyras and certain Arian madmen to say whatever they wished. For none of the people spoke against the Bishop; but these persons through fear of Philagrius the Prefect of Egypt, and by threats and with the support of the Arian madmen, accomplished whatever they desired. For when we came to disprove the calumny, they would not permit us, but cast us out, while they admitted whom they pleased to a participation in the schemes, and concerted matters with them influencing them by fear of the prefect Philagrius. Through his means they prevented us from being present that we might discover whether those who were suborned by them were members of the church or Arian madmen. And you also, dearly beloved fathers, know, as you teach us, that the testimony of enemies avails nothing. That what we say is the truth the handwriting of Ischryas testifies, as do also the facts themselves, because when we were conscious that no such thing as was pretended had taken place, they took with them Philagrius, that through fear of the sword and by threats they might frame whatever plots they wished. These things we testify as in the presence of God; we make these assertions as knowing that there will be a judgment held by God; desiring indeed all of us to come to you, but being content with certain of our number, so that the letters may be instead of the presence of those who have not come.

I, Ingenius Presbyter, pray you health in the Lord, beloved fathers. Theon Presbyter, Ammonas Presbyter, Heraclius Presbyter, Boccon Presbyter, Tryphon Presbyter, Peter Presbyter, Hierax Presbyter, Sarapion Presbyter, Marcus Presbyter, Ptollarion Presbyter, Gaius Presbyter, Dioscorus Presbyter, Demetrius Presbyter, Thyrsus Presbyter.

Deacons: Pistus Deacon, Apollos Deacon, Serras Deacon, Pistus Deacon, Polynicus Deacon, Ammonius Deacon, Maurus Deacon, Hephaestus Deacon, Apollos Deacon, Metopas Deacons, Apollos deacon, Serapas Deacon, Meliphthongus Deacon, Lucius deacon, Gregoras Deacon.

Translation from NPNF2 vol. 4, pp. 139-40

Adapted by SMT

Last updated: 3-12-2011

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