Chapter LXII.—Constantines Letter to the Council, depreciating the Removal of Eusebius from Cæsarea.
“Victor Constantinus, Maximus Augustus, to Theodotus, Theodorus, Narcissus, Aëtius, Alpheus, and the rest of the bishops who are at Antioch.
“I have perused the letters written by your Prudences, and highly approve of the wise resolution of your colleague in the ministry, Eusebius. Having, moreover, been informed of the circumstances of the case, partly by your letters, partly by those of our illustrious counts, 3301 Acacius and Strategius, after sufficient investigation I have written to the people of Antioch, suggesting the course which will be at once pleasing to God and advantageous for the Church. A copy of this I have ordered to be subjoined to this present letter, in order that ye yourselves may know what I thought fit, as an advocate of the cause of justice, to write to that people: since I find in your letter this proposal, that, in consonance with the choice of the people, sanctioned by your own desire, Eusebius the holy bishop of Cæsarea should preside over and take the charge of the church at Antioch. Now the letters of Eusebius himself on this subject appeared to be strictly accordant with the order prescribed by the Church. Nevertheless it is expedient that your Prudences should be made acquainted with my opinion also. For I am informed that Euphronius the presbyter, who is a citizen of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, and George of Arethusa, likewise a presbyter, and appointed to that office by Alexander at Alexandria, 3302 are men of tried faith. It was right, therefore, to intimate to your Prudences, that in proposing these men and any others whom you may deem worthy the episcopal dignity, you should decide this question in a manner conformable to the tradition of the apostles. For in that case, your Prudences will be able, according to the rule of the Church and apostolic tradition, to direct this election in the manner which true ecclesiastical discipline shall prescribe. God preserve you, beloved brethren!”
The word has thus generally been rendered by Bag., and does probably refer to their official title, although in this case and occasionally he translates “friends.”538:3302
[George (afterwards bishop of Laodicea) appears to have been degraded from the office of presbyter on the ground of impiety, by the same bishop who had ordained him. Both George and Euphronius were of the Arian party, of which fact it is possible that Constantine was ignorant.—Bag.] Georgius was at one time or another Arian, semi-Arian, and Anomoean, and is said to have been called by Athanasius “the most wicked of all the Arians” (Venables in Smith and Wace, Dict. 2. 637). He was constantly pitted against Eustathius, which accounts for his appearance at this time. Euphronius was the one chosen at this time. Compare Bennett, Euphronius, in Smith and Wace, Dict. 2. 297.