ReferenceDok. 4; Urk. 8; CPG 2045
IncipitΟὔτε ἡ τοῦ δεσπότου
Datec. 320-321
Ancient sourceTheodoret, H.E. 1.6.1-8
Modern editionGCS  50:27-28  [Parmentier, 1954]AW 3.1:12-13

Already by the early days of his occupying the bishopric of Nicomedia (318-341), Eusebius was taking Arius’s side in the latter’s conflict with Alexander (see Dok. 2.2, §4). This letter indicates that Eusebius of Caesarea had already expressed some support as well (§1), and that the recipient of the letter, Paulinus of Tyre (c. 315-327), was being expected to do so as well—but had so far remained silent. The letter then includes an analysis of how the “begetting” of the Son should be understood. This is one of the most complete statements we have from Eusebius of Nicomedia.  

The Greek text as preserved in Theodore’ts Historia ecclesiastica, is given below from the GCS edition of Parmentier (1954). The translation is Glen Thompson’s slight revision of B. Jackson’s in NPNF2 3:42.

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1. Τῷ δεσπότῃ μου Παυλίνῳ Εὐσέβιος ἐν κυρίῳχαίρειν

To my lord Paulinus, Eusebius sends his greetings in the Lord.

Οὔτε ἡ τοῦ δεσπότου μου Εὐσεβίου σπουδή, ἡὑπὲρ τοῦ ἀληθοῦς λόγου, παρεσιωπήθη ἀλλ’ ἔφθασεν ἕως καὶ ἡμῶν, οὔτε ἡ σοῦ ἐπὶ τούτῳσιωπή, δέσποτα. καὶ ὡς ἦν ἀκόλουθον, ἐπὶ μὲντῷ δεσπότῃ μου Εὐσεβίῳ ηὐφράνθημεν, ἐπὶ δὲσοὶ λυπούμεθα, στοχαζόμενοι καὶ τὴν σιωπὴνἀνδρὸς τοιούτου ἧτταν ἡμῶν εἶναι. 1. The zeal of my lord Eusebius [of Caesarea] in the cause of the truth, and likewise your silence concerning it, has not failed to reach our ears. Accordingly, if, on the one hand, we rejoiced on account of the zeal of my lord Eusebius; on the other we are grieved at you, because the mere silence of man like you appears like a defeat of our cause.
2. διὸ παρακαλῶ εἰδότα σε ὡς ἀπρεπὲς ἀνδρὶφρονίμῳ ἀλλοῖα φρονεῖν καὶ σιωπᾶν τἀληθῆ, ἀνασκαλεύσαντι τῷ πνεύματι τὸν λογισμὸν περὶτὸ γράφειν περὶ τούτου ἄρχου, λυσιτελοῦντοςκαὶ σοὶ καὶ τοῖς ἀκούουσί σου, μάλισθ’ ὅτανκατὰ ἀκολουθίαν τῆς γραφῆς καὶ τοῖς ἴχνεσι τῶνλόγων αὐτῆς καὶ τῶν βουλημάτων ἐθέλοιςγράφειν. 2. Hence, as it is not proper for a wise man to be of a different opinion from others, and to be silent concerning the truth, stir up, I exhort you, within yourself the spirit of wisdom to write, and at length begin what may be profitable to yourself and to others, especially if you consent to write in accordance with Scripture, and tread in the tracks of its words and will.
3. ὅτι γὰρ οὔτε δύο ἀγέννητα ἀκηκόαμεν οὔτεἓν εἰς δύο διῃρημένον οὐδὲ σωματικόν τιπεπονθὸς μεμαθήκαμεν ἢ πεπιστεύκαμεν, δέσποτα, ἀλλ’ ἓν μὲν τὸ ἀγέννητον, ἓν δὲ τὸ ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ ἀληθῶς καὶ οὐκ ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας αὐτοῦγεγονός, καθόλου τῆς φύσεως τῆς ἀγεννήτου μὴμετέχον ἢ ὂν ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας αὐτοῦ, ἀλλὰ γεγονὸςὁλοσχερῶς ἕτερον τῇ φύσει καὶ τῇ δυνάμει, πρὸς τελείαν ὁμοιότητα διαθέσεώς τε καὶδυνάμεως τοῦ πεποιηκότος γενόμενον· οὗ τὴνἀρχὴν οὐ λόγῳ μόνον ἀδιήγητον, ἀλλὰ καὶἐννοίᾳ οὐκ ἀνθρώπων μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν ὑπὲρἀνθρώπους πάντων εἶναι ἀκατάληπτονπεπιστεύκαμεν. 3. We have never heard that there are two unbegotten beings, nor that one has been divided into two, nor have we learned or believed that the unbegotten has ever undergone any change of a corporeal nature.  On the contrary, we affirm that the unbegotten is one.  One also is that which exists in truth by him, yet was not made out of his substance, and does not at all participate in the nature or substance of the unbegotten, entirely distinct in nature and in power, and made after perfect likeness both of character and power to the maker. We believe that the mode of His beginning not only cannot be expressed by words but even in thought, and is incomprehensible not only to man, but also to all beings superior to man.
4. Καὶ ταῦτα οὐχὶ λογισμοὺς ἑαυτῶνὑποθέμενοι, ἀλλ’ ἀπὸ τῆς ἁγίας γραφῆςμεμαθηκότες λέγομεν· κτιστὸν εἶναι καὶθεμελιωτὸν καὶ γεννητὸν τῇ οὐσίᾳ καὶ τῇἀναλλοιώτῳ καὶ ἀρρήτῳ φύσει καὶ τῇ ὁμοιότητιτῇ πρὸς τὸν πεποιηκότα μεμαθήκαμεν, ὡς αὐτὸςὁ κύριός φησιν· “Ὁ θεὸς ἔκτισέ με ἀρχὴν ὁδῶναὐτοῦ,” καὶ “Πρὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος ἐθεμελίωσέ με· πρὸ δὲ πάντων βουνῶν γεννᾷ με.” 4. These opinions we advance not as having derived them from our own imagination, but as having deduced them from Scripture, whence we learn that the Son was created, established, and begotten with respect to his essence and his unchanging, inexpressible nature, in the likeness of the one for whom he has been made.  The Lord himself tells us this: ‘God created me the beginning of his ways; Before the ages he established me; he begat me before all the hills” [Prov. 8.22-23,25, LXX].
5. εἰ δὲ ἐξ αὐτοῦ, τουτέστιν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἦν, ὡς ἂνμέρος αὐτοῦ ἢ ἐξ ἀπορροίας τῆς οὐσίας, οὐκ ἂνἔτι κτιστὸν οὐδὲ θεμελιωτὸν εἶναι ἐλέγετο· οὐδὲαὐτὸς ἀγνοεῖς, κύριε, ἀληθῶς. τὸ γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ  ἀγεννήτου ὑπάρχον κτιστὸν ἔτι ὑφ’ ἑτέρου ἢ ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ ἢ θεμελιωτὸν οὐκ ἂν εἴη, ἐξ ἀρχῆςἀγέννητον ὑπάρχον. 5. If the Son had been from him or of him, as a portion of him, or by an emanation of his substance, it could not be said that the Son was created or established; and of this you, my lord, are certainly not ignorant.  For that which is from the unbegotten could not be said to have been created or founded, either by him or by another, since it is unbegotten from the beginning. 
6. εἰ δὲ τὸ γεννητὸν αὐτὸν λέγεσθαι ὑπόφασίντινα παρέχει, ὡς ἂν ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τῆς πατρικῆςαὐτὸν γεγονότα καὶ ἔχειν ἐκ τούτου τὴνταυτότητα τῆς φύσεως, γιγνώσκομεν ὡς οὐ περὶαὐτοῦ μόνου τὸ γεννητὸν εἶναί φησιν ἡ γραφή, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀνομοίων αὐτῷ κατὰ πάντα τῇφύσει. 6. But if the fact of his being called “the begotten” gives any ground for the belief that, having come into being of the Father’s substance, he also has from the Father likeness of nature, we reply that it is not of the Son alone that the Scriptures have spoken as begotten, but that they also thus speak of those who are entirely dissimilar to God by nature. 
7. καὶ γὰρ καὶ ἐπ’ ἀνθρώπων φησίν· “Υἱοὺςἐγέννησα καὶ ὕψωσα, αὐτοὶ δέ με ἠθέτησαν,” καὶ “Θεὸν τὸν γεννήσαντά σε ἐγκατέλιπες,” καὶ ἐν ἑτέροις· “Τίς,” φησί, “τετοκὼςβώλους δρόσου;” οὐ τὴν φύσιν ἐκ τῆς φύσεωςδιηγούμενος, ἀλλὰ τὴν ἐφ’ ἑκάστῳ τῶνγενομένων ἐκ τοῦ βουλήματος αὐτοῦ γένεσιν.  οὐδὲν γάρ ἐστιν ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας αὐτοῦ, πάντα δὲβουλήματι αὐτοῦ γενόμενα ἕκαστον, ὡς καὶἐγένετο, ἐστίν. 7. For of men it is said, ‘I have begotten and brought up sons, and they have rebelled against me;’ [Is. 1:2]; and in another place, ‘You have forsaken God who begat you” [Deut. 32:18]; and again it is said, ‘Who begat the drops of dew” [Job 38:28]?  This expression does not imply that the dew partakes of the nature of God, but simply that all things were formed according to his will. There is, indeed, nothing which shares his substance, yet everything which exists has been called into being by his will.
8. ὁ μὲν γὰρ θεός, τὰ δὲ πρὸς ὁμοιότητα αὐτοῦλόγῳ ὅμοια ἐσόμενα, τὰ δὲ καθ’ ἑκουσιασμὸνγενόμενα· τὰ δὲ πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦγενόμενα, πάντα δὲ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ. ἅπερ λαβὼνκαὶ ἐξεργασάμενος κατὰ τὴν προσοῦσάν σοιθεόθεν χάριν, γράψαι τῷ δεσπότῃ μουἈλεξάνδρῳ σπούδασον·  πεπίστευκα γὰρ ὡς εἰγράψειας αὐτῷ, ἐντρέψειας αὐτόν. 8. For there is God on the one hand, and then there are the things in line with his likeness which will be similar to the Word, and these things which have come into being by [his] free will.  All things were made by God by means of the Word. All things are from God.  When you have received my letter, and have revised it according to the knowledge and grace given you by God, I beg you will write as soon as possible to my lord Alexander. I feel confident that if you would write to him, you would succeed in bringing him over to your opinion. 
πρόσειπε πάντας τοὺς ἐν κυρίῳ. ἐρρωμένον σε καὶ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν εὐχόμενον ἡ θεία χάρις διαφυλάττοι, δέσποτα. Salute all the brethren in the Lord. May you, my lord, be preserved by the grace of God, and be led to pray for us.

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