Reference numbers Urk. 25
Doc. 29
CPG 8517
Incipit Τελείαν παρὰ τῆς θείας
Date 25th June 325
Ancient source used Socrates, Church History 1.9.17
Modern edition used W. Bright, Socrates’ ecclesiastical history, 2nd edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1893)
Other ancient sources Athanasius, Defense of the Nicene Definition 38
Anonymous Church History 2.37

A PDF of the letter which includes the Greek text side-by-side with the English can be accessed here


Constantine Augustus, to the catholic church of the Alexandrians.

(1.) Greetings, my beloved brothers! We have received a complete blessing from Divine Providence, namely, we have been relieved from all error and been united in a common confession of one and the same faith. (2.) The devil will no longer have any power against us, since all the schemes he in his hatred had devised for our destruction, have been entirely overthrown from their foundations. At the command of God, the splendor of truth has dissolved all the poisons so deadly to unity: dissensions, schisms, commotions, and the like. We all now worship the One by name, and continue to believe that he is the One God. (3.) In order to accomplish all of this, at God’s summoning I assembled a large number of bishops at the city of Nicaea, and I joined them in investigating the truth, though I am only one of you, who rejoices exceedingly in being your fellow-servant. (4.) All points which seemed ambiguous or could possibly lead to dissension have been discussed and accurately examined. May the Divine Majesty forgive the unfortunately huge number of the blasphemies which some were shamelessly uttering against the mighty Savior, our life and hope, as they declared and confessed things contrary to the divinely inspired Scriptures.

(5.) More than three hundred bishops, remarkable for their moderation and intellectual keenness, were unanimous in their confirmation of one and the same faith, a faith which has arisen in agreement with the truths of the Law of God. Arius alone had been misled by the devil, and was found to be the only one set on promoting this unholy mischief, first among you, and afterwards among others as well. (6.) Let us therefore embrace that teaching which the Almighty has presented to us. Let us return to our beloved brothers from whom we have been separated by an irreverent servant of the devil. Let us eagerly come together as one common body with those who are our fellow members. (7.) This is fitting for such discernment, faith and holiness as yours, that you return to divine favor, since it has been proved that this error comes from a man who is an enemy of the truth.

(8.) This ruling, made by the collective judgment of three hundred bishops, cannot be other than the doctrine of God, especially where the Holy Spirit has illuminated the divine will by placing it upon the minds of so many dignified persons. (9.) Therefore let no one sit on the fence or delay, but let everyone quickly return to the unquestionable path of duty, so that when I arrive among you (which will be as soon as possible), I may together with you return due thanks to God, who closely watches all things, for having revealed the pure faith, and for restoring to you that love for which you have prayed.

May God protect you, beloved brothers.

Translation from Socrates (NPNF2 vol. 2, pp. 13-4), adapted by AJW

Other translation in A New Eusebius, no. 293

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