Chapter XIX.—When the Council was assembled, the Emperor delivered a Public Address.
The bishops held long consultations; and after summoning Arius before them, they made an accurate test of his propositions; they were intently on their guard, not to come to a vote on either side. When at length the appointed day arrived on which it had been decided to settle the doubtful points, they assembled together 1121 in the palace, because the emperor had signified his intention of taking part in the deliberations. When he was in the same place with the priests, he passed through to the head of the conference, and seated himself on the throne which had been prepared for him, and the synod was then commanded to be seated; for seats had been arranged on either side along the walls of the palatial rooms, for it was the largest, and excelled the other chambers.
After they were seated, Eusebius Pamphilus arose and delivered an oration 1122 in honor of the emperor, returning thanks to God on his account. When he had ceased speaking, and silence was restored, the emperor delivered himself in the following words: “I give thanks to God for all things, but particularly, O friends, for being permitted to see your conference. And the event has exceeded my prayer, in that so many priests of Christ have been conducted into the same place; now, it is my desire that you should be of one mind and be partakers of a consentient judgment, for I deem dissension in the Church of God as more dangerous than any other evil. Therefore when it was announced, and I understood you were in discord, an unwholesome thing to hear, I was deeply pained in soul; and least of all does it profit you, since you are the conductors of divine worship and arbiters of peace. p. 255 On this account it is, that I have called you together in a holy Synod, and being both your emperor and your fellow-physician, I seek for you a favor which is acceptable to our common Lord, and as honorable for me to receive, as for you to grant. The favor which I seek is, that you examine the causes of the strife, and put a consentient and peaceful end thereto so that I may triumph with you over the envious demon, who excited this internal revolt because he was provoked to see our external enemies and tyrants under our feet, and envied our good estate.” The emperor pronounced this discourse in Latin, and the interpretation was supplied by one at his side.
Eus. V. C. iii. 10–12.254:1122
Theodoret, H. E. i. 7, places this oration in the mouth of Eustathius, bishop of Antioch. The variations in the speech as recorded by Sozomen, show his classic view of reporting. Theodorets report of Constantines address is equally divergent.