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Source of Attribution to Julius I  Pseudo-Isidorian forgery
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Source of Information Thompson, Correspondence of Julius I, xxxv-xxxvi, xli, 186

The letter of the most holy Julius the Roman archbishop written in reply to Eusebius, Theognis, Theodore, Berinthus, and the rest of the Eastern bishops, blaming them because they dare to condemn Athanasius and Paul and the rest of their followers and drive them from their sees without the decree of the apostolic see and contrary to canonical authority:

11. Julius bishop of the holy Roman and apostolic church to Eusebius, Theognis, Theodore, Berinthus, and the rest of the eastern bishops.
It would have been fitting for you to speak finely and not sarcastically towards the holy Roman and apostolic church. For also our Lord Jesus Christ himself addressed it tastefully and said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it, and I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 16:18). For he has the power granted to him as a unique privilege to open and close the doors of the kingdom of heaven to whom he wants. For if you do not refuse to diminish her who has been hallowed and exalted above others by the mouth of the Lord, it is no wonder that you do not stop inflicting injuries on the brothers. Because of this, the things which were turbulently and tempestuously decreed by your council are not defended by silence. For it is apparent that the truth has been oppressed by a certain tumultuous lack of discipline, since you, of course, are not observing those things which please God, because of the disputes which you have against your neighbors. You consider this to be an unconquerable offering on your part, but you will need divine providence in so far as the truth, although it was publicly seized by the enemy, can escape and whatever you bear there as you gather for hate or for the sake of hostilities without any grace at all can be entirely pushed off. Therefore with all haste I want you all to run together to the reverence of this holy see so that by yourselves you are able to show the integrity of the deeds among you. For I do not believe that you doubt that Athanasius has been approved not only as a teacher of holy law by us but also as a worshipper of the true faith by the Nicene synod. When marvelous old Alexander died, he struck down the blasphemies of the Arians. After five months he received the office of superintendent of the church of Alexandria. Weaving together many lies against him and his followers and piling up very bare slanders as if true, you presented him to us as the cause and head of many troubles. With your writings you indicated that he is a disturber not only in Egypt but also in Palestine and Phoenicia and its neighboring nations. Following the ecclesiastical rule concerning this matter, by a general rule with letters and envoys we summon you and them to court in Rome on a specified day a wide span of time from then so that there would be no excuse for not coming. And after receiving a summons they came on the day supplied. But you put off coming so that you were not caught by your lies and your false accusations were not exposed. And you were not content with just these devices, but also when you saw that the sheep were without shepherds you placed wolves over them as shepherds. Therefore it would have been fitting for you come to the regular assembly and render a true rationale concerning these things and concerning your other presumptions, for if falsehood were displeasing the truth would come to meet it. And no one doubts that the one who is guilty avoids judgment just as whoever is innocent seeks it that he may be absolved. And rather suspicious is the one who with false accusations denounces someone else for saying false things but puts off coming when he himself is summoned to court to prove the things he alleged. For I would rather have you come to an already mentioned canonical summons so that you may render before the universal council the reason why you overturned the synod of the churches and brothers located in Antioch and destroyed the great Nicene council. Or why you gathered bishops for this without consulting us. Maximus of Jerusalem did not come to it and our embassy was not present even though the canons of the Nicene synod, of course, command that in no way are councils to be celebrated or bishops condemned without the verdict of the Roman pontiff. Or why in the place of the aforementioned brothers you placed other counterfeit ones before their case had been canonically examined by us or our envoys and had secured the right conclusion.
For those ones who did come to the mentioned regular assembly, upon seeing that you had retracted from your false accusations, are relating many tearful and grievous things against you, accusing you and saying that they have suffered many unbearable things from you. Therefore as you are running away they are persevering in true reasoning and protesting against what they were falsely accused of. Over above these things also the bishops of the Egyptians testify with letters sent to us that the things which have been devised against Athanasius and his followers and everything else devised by the blasphemies of the Arians are false. For by such figments it is evident that they are innocent and you are guilty. For if you were confident of your true innocence, in no way would you have removed yourselves from the already mentioned canonical summons, which was announced not suddenly but well in advance. Rather, you would have hurried to come without any delay, bringing your defense with you, and to give your cases. Since these things have happened in this way I have written to you and to everyone who had gathered in Antioch without consulting us contrary to the apostolic and canonical rule, blaming you first concerning the injuries of the letters and then concerning why you gathered Athanasius and his followers to your council even though the cannons order that nothing be decided apart from the Roman pontiff, to whom, as has already been said, these major businesses of the churches have been wholly given as a special privilege both by the Lord himself and by all the fathers of the universal councils.
But since you flee and after being summoned to the council so many times are still unwilling to come, and since they are persistent in their complaint and their just reason as since we recognize your crimes and examine their just reason and verify them all by the Nicene council and comply with our apostolic commands, it seemed good to us and to the universal council that if ever anyone is found to be needing of rebuke, we who are informed by the divine precepts and apostolic teachings and who ought to watch over in an active way the state of all the churches, should with swift concern call him back from ignorance or presumptuous usurpation. Since these things have been considered and decreed in this way, we, as if bearing the care of all because of the dignity of our seat, have received them into fellowship and by the authority of this holy seat we return to the individuals their own churches along with their affairs. For this has always been permitted to this holy see because of the plots of depraved men by the institution of the Lord himself and the confirmation of the holy Apostles through individual councils, and it will be permitted to it, with the Lord’s help, forever. Because of this, let anyone who knows that he has been placed above others not be bothered that someone else has been placed over him, but let him freely pay the obedience which he requires from others. For this reason I write to you indignantly, for you did not act rightly when you drove from their churches deprived of fellowship men who were innocent and had not at all been examined by us. And you were not afraid to act with such lack of discipline by imposing the injury of church discipline on them and not at all guarding what had been established at the Council of Nicea. On that account, because for a long time you refused to come when summoned, only on a certain day, that is, November 15, did we summon you again with letters and messengers according to rule to display in front of you that we had brought forward a just verdict on them and that in the future they would not suffer such things. And indeed it was decreed in the ancient statutes of the church that anyone who takes possession of something belonging to someone else will not escape unpunished but will pay back many times as much. For this reason it has also been written in the Gospel, “If I have cheated anyone of anything, I pay back four times as much” (Lk 19:8). Also in the Law it is stipulated, “‘Cursed is everyone who changes the boundaries of his neighbor.’ And all the people said, ‘Amen’” (Dt 27:17). Therefore I am amazed that you would be so audacious and have acted so impudently and have taken possession of the borders and rights of blessed Peter, chief of the Apostles. For, as has already been touched on a little earlier, he has the right such that apart from the authority of his holy see no one should either celebrate councils or summon bishops to a synod or condemn them or drive them from their seats or ordain others in their place. You were not afraid to violate any of these things. For why else would there be such presumption, I ask, unless you are not afraid to transgress the decrees of the Apostles and their successors and accept the curse cited above, namely, the one stipulated in the Law, which all the people confirmed with one mouth and the unanimous response “Amen,” that is, “Let it be so.” For, as I think, you, constricted by these ropes of your transgressions against us, declined the test and refused to come to the aforementioned calling so that your disgraces would not be uncovered. Certainly it is clear that those who when summoned so many times refused to come without an unavoidable reason and who had no desire to excuse themselves are confessing their crime. For if you were confident about what you have said, you also would not refuse to prove them in person. For the holy fathers gathered in Nicaea foresaw by the Spirit such plotters and established laws, which we call the canons, so that proper men would not be easily condemned by improper men. Some of these opinions we have decided to insert here so that our letter may be strengthened by the authority of such great fathers and all the bishops of the East or of the remaining regions may hear these and not fall into so great a pit, so that they may not feel the condemnation decreed by the fathers. These capitularies from the aforementioned Nicene council follow here: 18, 19, 21, 23,26, 27, 28, 33, 41, 45, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 66.
12. So that all the bishops who are struck or accused in some more serious cases, as often as it was necessary, may freely appeal to the apostolic see and flee to it as to a mother, so that from it, they may be piously supported, defended, and liberated, as has always been the case, to her arrangement the ancient authority of the apostles, their successors, and the canons has reserved all the major church cases and the judgment of bishops. For bishops who acted towards brothers in a manner other than what was pleasing to the same papal see of the pope are reproved.
It was pleasing that a bishop impudently accused or judged in some case by people from his province might appeal to Rome and approach the pontiff of the apostolic see who would attend to reconsidering the business by himself or through his substitutes. And until the pontiff gives his case a second judgment, let no other bishop be placed or ordained in his position. For although the bishops from the same province are allowed to investigate the case of the accused bishop, they do not have permission to settle it without consulting the Roman pontiff, since it was said to blessed Peter by none other than the Lord himself, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Mt 16:19).
If anyone thinks that he is being oppressed by his own metropolitan, let him be judged before the primate of the diocese or before the pope of the universal apostolic church.
As for accusers and accusations which secular laws do not claim and which we ourselves unanimously bar, let there not be the impiety of distracted evidence, for a right verdict comes from the court’s choice.
Let no bishop presume to retain the parishioner of another or ordain or judge him without his bishop’s will, yet with the apostolic authority being preserved in everything. For just as his ordination will be void, so also his judgment, for we consider no one to be retained by the verdict of any bishop except his own. For the one who was not able to ordain him will also not be able to judge him in any way.
If anyone believes that he has business against a bishop or agents of the church, let him not approach judges before with loving eagerness he runs to them so that warned by familiar discussion they should heal those things which were brought into complaint. But if he does otherwise, let him be deprived of fellowship.
From now on let no one presume to either excommunicate or judge any bishop robbed of his things or driven from his seat, for there is no special law by which one already stripped bare can be robbed.
We decide that on no even course is an accuser to be trusted who suggests a case with his adversary absent before each party pleads its case. Also, unsuitable accusers and witnesses are not to be accepted. It was pleasing that, if an accused or condemned bishop appealed to the Roman pontiff, whatever he himself justly determined must be established. We consider everyone who is armed against the fathers to be of disreputable. And those who are delayed by enemies must be accepted to give either an accusation or testimony.
It was pleasing that in the accusation of clergymen the person, faith, life, and conversation of the one slandered would be investigated first. For faith should precede all the acts of a man, since the unbeliever is doubtful in faith. They who do not know the true faith or do not lead a life or upright conversation must not at all be believed, for such people slander easily and indifferently and those who live rightly and piously are accused. For this reason, suspicion of them must first be shattered and corrected, and accusers who are suspicious or are advancing concerning the houses of their enemies must not be believed.
There are no other metropolitan churches or primates except those who first were primates and after Christ’s coming deserved to have primacy by apostolic and synodal authority. But the rest are called not “primates” but “metropolises,” and their bishops enjoy not the name “primates” but either “metropolitans” or “archbishops.”
We consider everyone who violates his own or a Christian law or disregards canonical authority to be disreputable.
With the privilege of the church of Rome preserved in all things, without all the bishops of the province present no metropolitan may hear cases of any of them, for then the cases would be invalid. Indeed and in fact, he will give the case in the synod.
We cannot receive someone allied with such errors or withdrawn from the course of his overseer or disobedient to the sacred canons, or permit them to attack those who believe rightly or submit to the sanctions of the holy fathers.
With a general sanction we prohibit foreign judgment, for it is unworthy that those who should have provincial judges elected by them be judged by those outside.
With the authority of the apostolic church preserved, let no bishop be summoned to court beyond his province, but let him be heard in a canonically called synod in that place at a time fitting for everyone by all the bishops of that province who should bring forward a harmonious and canonical verdict. For if this is granted to the lesser clergymen and laity, how much more is it fitting to preserve this concerning the bishops. For if he himself considers a metropolitan or judge suspect or senses they were unsafe, let it be judged before the primate of the diocese and the pontiff of the Roman see.
No one who has confessed concerning himself can be believed about another’s crime, for also every profession of his on the matter is dangerous and he should not be admitted against anyone.
Let no one ever presume to judge uncertain things of the high priests, for even if they are true they still must not be believed unless they are proven with clear evidence, unless they are convicted by clear judgment, unless they are published by judicial order.
Accusations of older people must not be made through others unless they hold out the crimes through them, even if they appear worthy and irreproachable and show with public acts to everyone that they are entirely without suspicion and hostility and lead a life of irreproachable faith and conversation.
For a provincial synod to be undertaken again, it must be done through substitutes of the bishop of the city of Rome, if he himself decreed it.
It was pleasing that, if anyone has been summoned from some church judges to other church judges where there is greater authority, an audience is not denied.
If any metropolitan bishop, except for what applies only to his own parish, tries to do something without the counsel and will of all the bishops of that province, he places his position in danger, and what he did will be considered invalid and void. But let whatever must be done or disposed concerning the other bishops of the province and church and clergy and secular needs be done with the consent of all the pontiffs of the province, not by some arrogance of domination but by most humble and harmonious administration. As the Lord says, “I have not come to be served, but to serve” (Mk 10:45). And elsewhere, “Whoever of you is greater will be your servant. . .” (Mt 23:11). Similarly, also the bishops of the provinces themselves act with their counsel, except for what applies to their own parishes, according to what was appointed by the holy fathers, that with one mind and one mouth the holy Trinity may be harmoniously glorified forever.
Let the judges of the church be careful not to bring forth a verdict while he whose case is exposed is absent. For it will be invalid, and, to be sure, they will also not give a reason for their action in a synod, and like the false accusations of a traitor their voices will not be heard.
For no one can know a sinner better than he who sustained injury and wickedness from him.
If anyone believes that a cleric must be driven out over any crimes let him expose his actions in the province in which he who is driven out is stationed and not think that he should accuse him elsewhere or drag him far away into judgment. But he who is driven out is allowed to appeal if he has suspect judges.
Let primates deciding the case of an accused bishop not offer a verdict of condemnation before being supported by apostolic authority. Either he will confess himself to be responsible or he will be convicted through the innocent witnesses examined according to the canons and rules.
An unjust damnation of bishops is invalid, and therefore it must be retracted by the synod such that assistance comes to those who have been oppressed by everyone in every case.
Let us keep detractors, who must be eradicated by divine authority, and supporters of enemies from accusing a bishop. Similarly, let none of the highest men be attacked or destroyed by the accusations of lesser ones. Let no certain verdict be made in a doubtful matter and let no judgment be given unless it is obtained in an orderly manner.
13. We have not inserted more of these here so that we do not seem to empty or cheapen said synod or make the letter uncomfortably long for readers and hearers. But if anyone wants to know more about these, he could find those which we mentioned in the sacred box of our church see. God is my witness that I speak the truth.
But concerning the reception of the see and the priesthood and the honor which you said Athanasius received without the decree of a council, we have not found it to be as you have falsely accused. Rather, he received his priesthood, which he unjustly lost, and he resided in the see by a council and decree of some bishops. When you wrote that he could not be restored by a smaller number of bishops than he had been deposed, this is not the case. And this is not the rule of the orthodox bishops of the holy church but it is an invention composed by your Arian allies to destroy orthodox bishops. For as it was relayed to us by truthful witnesses, when you were gathered in Antioch to condemn the faith brought forth concerning consubstantiality, out of hate for said Athanasius you brought forth this rule which has no strength and could not have strength since this council was not made by orthodox bishops and the embassy of the Roman church was not present when the canons were drawn up. Without his authority councils should not be made and nothing should be ratified. Otherwise there would never be a council propped up by his authority.
14. Therefore concerning the flight over which you arrested Athanasius, you did not act rightly. For the Lord himself gave us this command, “When you are persecuted in one city, flee to another” (Mt 10:23). And the Lord himself demonstrated this to us by his own example when the Pharisees plotted against him to kill him. “But Jesus, knowing this, went away from there” (Mt 12:15). And elsewhere, “The Jews brought stones to throw upon him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple, and crossing through their midst he went away and so he left” (Jn 8:59). For also the disciples hid themselves and left because of fear of the Jews, and Paul when sought by the chief of the nation in Damascus was set down from the window in a basket and fled the hand of the one who sought him, and how many other innumerable saints in both the Old and New Testaments are read to have fled. Therefore if you blame the flight on those who flee, you should rather be ashamed to persecute them and rest from plotting and they will immediately rest from fleeing. For if you kill them, their death will always cry out against you, and if you again impose exiles, recognize that the memory of the evil will be fixed on you everywhere and by their suffering they will be better off than you. For this reason the Lord also says, “Do not fear the ones who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, but rather fear the one who can destroy soul and body in hell” (Mt 10:28).
15. For we know that many have been unjustly deposed by the worst devices. For that reason I, who have been especially entrusted the care of the universal church by the succession of the chief of the apostles, must see to it, with that greatest apostle’s aid, that such things do not happen from now on. For to this purpose said privilege has been uniquely granted to this holy see both concerning assembling councils and judging and restoring bishops and concerning the highest businesses of the churches, so that all who are oppressed may receive help from it and those unjustly condemned may receive restitution and such things are not dared by wicked men without retribution or carried out without their condemnation. Therefore you were not right to make false accusations against said brothers, as the Lord says, “You shall not make false accusations your neighbor,” and you were not right to oppress them, as he says, “And do not oppress him by force” (Lev 19:13). You were not right to celebrate a council without consulting us or to call them to a council and dare to condemn them, for the canons, as has already been said, command that none of these things should be done without the authority of this holy see. You were not right to refuse to come when we called you to a council according to rule. You were not right to not come to give a reason so that your verdict against them may be proven true or false and deliver a reasonable case so that you can refute any of these things.
Therefore, after carefully weighing all these things, it is clear that you are guilty and they are innocent, and that you are rightly excommunicated and they are rightly liberated. Therefore the Lord did not want his ministers be treated as lightly as you have done or be condemned by you, but, as it has been recounted, they are reserved either by this holy see to whom they are entrusted or by his own judgment. For he says, “Whoever saddens you saddens me. Whoever injures you will receive what he unjustly afflicted” (2 Cor 2:5Col 3:25) And the Gospel, where it speaks about those who cause disciples to stumble, sets forth sufficiently how great a penalty awaits those who cause the Lord’s disciples to stumble.
16. For he gives a clear example that they were not to be condemned by you but are reserved either by this holy see, as has been related, or by himself when he drove out of the temple the sinful priests, whose place bishops now hold in the holy church, not through someone else but by himself as they were buying and selling and he turned the tables of the money-changers with his own whip and he drove them from the temple. And he himself said elsewhere, “God stood in the assembly of the gods, but he distinguishes gods in the middle” (Ps 82:1), and other such things similar to these. And elsewhere he himself says the same thing, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged, and do not condemn so that you will not be condemned. For in the judgment you have judged you will be judged” (Mt 7:1,2).
Therefore let no one dare to so rashly vomit out his iniquity, as you have done. Rather, it is right that the one who judges probe all things and examine the order of things with a full inquisition and not presume judgment in any way concerning those things which have not been granted to him by either interrogating, proposing, or suggesting, instead supplying patience so that the party’s action is not fully limited there. And let him not want to meet the litigators with his verdict before they have finished everything and nothing which they propose is still in question.
17. And it is not right to judge or condemn someone before he has his accusers present and receives a sizeable amount of time to defend himself and dispel his crimes. Similarly, in the already mentioned Nicene synod it was established that the right to accuse does not advance beyond the borders of the province unless he had been summoned to this apostolic see, to which everyone who wants should flow together freely and without any impediment being made by some people.
18. Similarly, in the aforementioned synod it was decreed that the suspicious, the disreputable, the criminal, the flatterers, the slanderers, the relatives, the wicked, or the sue-happy are not to be accepted as accusers, but such people who are without any suspicion, for the Lord wanted his pillars to stand firmly and not be shaken by anyone.
Similarly, said synod established that no one is bound by a verdict not said by his own judge. But there should be no judges other than those whom he who is accused chooses or those whom this holy see or his primates by the authority of this holy see have appointed with his consent.
19. Out of all these things and others which have been established both in this holy see and by the Apostles and their successors, you granted none of them to said bishops but imposing violence on them and unjustly condemning them, as has been recounted above, you expelled some people who were not even there. This is hostile to every Christian law. In these things it is apparent that you neither serve the Lord by his law nor this holy mother and apostolic church. As has already been written, he wanted them to be reserved for his own judgment and this seat so that they are not condemned and cast out by men as perverse as you. In all these things it is no secret to anyone who is reasonably wise that you are fools and transgressors of the gospels and the canons. And in your transgressing you were not content with these but you also summoned and condemned, as it were, those who had already been expelled and robbed of their things even though no one can be summoned or judged according to rule before he has restored and all his things have been wholly restored to him by the laws according to rule. For in the frequently mentioned holy synod it was unanimously decreed by everyone and confirmed by apostolic authority that if any of the bishops was robbed of his things and beaten in accusation, it was right and fitting by the order of the pontiff that he immediately yield the holy proposition so that everything which he lost through the suggestions of his enemies may be legally renewed to its first strength by the honorable council and the first prelate may be returned to his former status according to rule and then after his things have been designated and appointed he may come for a time for the case and, if it seems appropriate, respond to the propositions of the accusers.
Why therefore did you transgress the boundaries of the fathers by judging and condemning those whom you should not have? Why did you judge those whom you did not approve by rule? And you have not observed what is written in the book of the kings: “God does not see things the way man sees them. For man looks at the face but God looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). And in Chronicles, “God searches all hearts and he knows every thought” (1 Chr 28:9). And elsewhere it is written, “He cannot be condemned by human examination whom God has reserved for his own judgment.”
All these things really must be guarded against and an accusation against bishops must not be easily accepted, as the Lord says, “Do not accept the word of a liar” (Ex 23:1). And the Apostle says, “An indictment against an elder must not be received without two or three suitable witnesses” (1 Tim 5:19). If these things must be guarded against concerning elders and other believers, how much more concerning bishops. These things being recognized, it is clear that you want to be masters more than to look out for the brothers or endure those whom the honor inflates to arrogance and that what has been provided for peace tends for harm.
For it was proper that you according to said rules, if they did anything against its order, entrust them to us and wait for what we would write to you after consulting with you, to the extent that even if they committed something grave and intolerable, our censure is advised first and you would decide nothing before it or other than what you knew would please us, so that you not would withdraw from the already established rules by any negligence or presumption. Let this kind of pressed presumption cease by our authority. Let these kinds of harms be avoided. For we are not at all able to patiently bear such devices, since it is fitting that we be diligent custodians of the sanctions of the fathers. For we are not considering the case deservedly if we support error with silence. In addition, it has been established in said holy Nicene synod that no one is to receive an anathema by our accusation, not even those who do not want to receive us in their dispute and accusation even though we know that the Lord has set us up over them, not them over us. And just as a greater person cannot be judged by a lesser person, so also he cannot be so bound by one, for rare is everything which is great. Let us carry the burdens of everyone who is weighed down, yes indeed, the blessed Apostle Peter carries these among us as in his place we discharge the mission and by whose rule we are informed insofar as supported by his help we now protect from all adversaries now and forever.
November 1 in the year of the consulships of the most illustrious men, Felicianus and Maximianus.

Translated by AMJ

Last updated: 8-31-2012

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