Chapter XIII.—Innovations of Eudoxius censured in a Letter written by George, Bishop of Laodicea. Deputation from the Council of Ancyra to Constantius.
After Eudoxius had introduced these new doctrines, many members of the church of Antioch, who were opposed to them, were excommunicated. 1318 George, bishop of Laodicea, gave them a letter to take to the bishops who had been invited from the neighboring towns of Ancyra in Galatia by Basil, for the purpose of consecrating a church which he had erected. This letter was as follows:—
“George, to his most honored lords Macedonius, Basil, Cecropius, and Eugenius, sends greeting in the Lord.
“Nearly the whole city has suffered from the shipwreck of Aëtius. The disciples of this wicked man, whom you contemned, have been encouraged by Eudoxius, and promoted by him to clerical appointments, and Aëtius himself has been raised to the highest honor. Go, then, to the assistance of this great city, lest by its shipwreck the whole world should be submerged. Assemble yourselves together, and solicit the signatures of other bishops, that Aëtius may be ejected from the church of Antioch, and that his disciples who have been manipulated beforehand into the lists of the clergy by Eudoxius, may be cut off. If Eudoxius persist in affirming with Aëtius, that the Son is dissimilar from the Father, and in preferring those who uphold this dogma to those who reject it, the city of Antioch is lost to you.” Such was the strain of Georges letter.
The bishops who were assembled at Ancyra clearly perceived by the enactments of Eudoxius at Antioch, that he contemplated the introduction of innovations in doctrine; they apprised the emperor of this fact, and besought him that the doctrine established at Sardica, at Sirmium, and at other councils, might be confirmed, and especially the dogma that the Son is of like substance with the Father. In order to proffer this request to the emperor, they sent to him a deputation composed of the following bishops: Basil, bishop of Ancyra; Eustathius, bishop of Sebaste; Eleusius, bishop of Cyzicus; and Leontius, the presbyter of the imperial bed-chamber. On their arrival at the palace, they found that Asphalius, a presbyter of Antioch, and a zealot of the Aëtian heresy, was on the point of taking his departure, after having terminated the business for which he undertook the journey and having obtained a letter from the emperor. On receiving, however, the intelligence concerning the heresy conveyed by the deputation from Ancyra, Constantius condemned Eudoxius and his followers, withdrew the letter he had confided to Asphalius, and wrote the following one:—
Philost. iv. 4–6, 8; x. 12; and fragment in Suidas s. Eudoxius; Athan. Hist. Arian. 4, 5; Hil. de Synod. 8, 9, 90; Soc. ii. 37, 40; Theodoret, H. E. ii. 25, 26.