Chapter VI.—How he ordered a Council to be held at Nicæa.
Then as if to bring a divine array against this enemy, he convoked a general council, and invited the speedy attendance of bishops from all quarters, in letters expressive of the honorable estimation in which he held them. Nor was this merely the issuing of a bare command but the emperors good will contributed much to its being carried into effect: for he allowed some the use of the public means of conveyance, while he afforded to others an ample supply of horses 3236 for their transport. The place, too, selected for the synod, the city Nicæa in Bithynia (named from “Victory”), was appropriate to the occasion. 3237 As soon then as the imperial injunction was generally made known, all with the utmost willingness hastened thither, as though they would outstrip one another in a race; for they were impelled by the anticipation of a happy result to the conference, by the hope of enjoying present peace, and the desire of beholding something new and strange in the person of so admirable an emperor. Now when they were all assembled, it appeared evident that the proceeding was the work of God, inasmuch as men who had been most widely separated, not merely in sentiment but also personally, and by difference of country, place, and nation, were here brought together, and comprised within the walls of a single city, forming as it were a vast garland of priests, composed of a variety of the choicest flowers.
“Beasts of burden.”521:3237
The probably apocryphal version of the summoning letter given by Cowper (Syr. Misc.) from the Syriac gives the reason of the choice of Nicæa, “the excellent temperature of the air” there.