Reference numbers Urk. 7
Doc. 9
CPG 3501
Incipit Μεθ᾿ ὅσης μὲν ἀγωνίας
Date c. 320
Ancient Ancient source used 2nd Council of Nicaea, Session (Actio) 6
Modern edition used Labbe, vol. 7, col. 496; Mansi vol. 13, col. 316
notes This letter contains a fragment, verbatim, of the creed found in Early Arian Document 6.

(1.) Similarly also in his letter to St. Alexander the instructor of the great Athanasius, which begins: I came upon this letter with such anxiety and concern…  He clearly is speaking blasphemy when he says the following concerning Arius and his party:

(2.) Your letters have misrepresented them [the Arians] as though they were saying that since the Son came into being from nothing (ek tou mē ontos), he must therefore be just like the rest of creation (‘eis tōn pantōn).  But they have brought forth their own document, which they have written for you, in which they explain their faith, confessing it with these very words:  “The God of the Law and of the Prophets and of the New Testament begat an only begotten son before time began (pro chronōn aiōnōn), through whom he also made the ages (aiōnas) [Heb1:2] and all things, begetting him not in appearance but in reality, causing him to exist by his own will.  He is unchanging and unchangeable, God’s perfect creation, but not a creation in the same way like one of God’s other creations.”

And so surely indeed their writings speak the truth, since these opinions are certainly held by you also when they confess that the son of God existed before time began, that God also made the ages through him, that he is unchanging, God’s perfect creation, but not like God’s other creations.  (3.) But your letter surely misrepresents them as saying that the son is the same as the other created things.  They are not saying this!  But they clearly draw a distinction, saying that he is, “not like one of the created things.”

Take care, then, lest immediately again a pretext be found for arresting them and keeping them from moving about as much as they wish.  (4.) Again, you accuse them of saying, “He-who-was begat he-who-was-not”?  I would be astonished if someone were able to speak differently.  For if there is only one who exists [eternally], it is clear that everything which exists has come into being from him, whatever indeed exists after him.  If it were not he alone who exists eternally, but the son also exists eternally, how indeed could one who exists beget another who already exists?  It would have to follow that there would actually be two who exist eternally.

(5.) [So wrote Eusebius to the famous Alexander.  But also other letters of his were taken to that holy man, in which were found other various blasphemies, which those of the Arian party defend]

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Translation by AJW

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