Chapter XXVI.—Another plot against Athanasius.
The calumniators of Athanasius, however, did not desist from their attempts. On the contrary, they devised so bold a fiction against him, that it surpassed every invention of the ancient writers of the tragic or comic stage. They again bribed individuals of the same party, and brought them before the emperor, vociferously accusing that champion of virtue of many abominable crimes. The leaders of the party were Eusebius, Theognis, and Theodorus, bishop of Perinthus, a city now called Heraclea 433 . After having accused Athanasius of crimes which they described as too shocking to be tolerated, or even listened to, they persuaded the emperor to convene a council at Cæsarea in Palestine, where Athanasius had many enemies, and to command that his cause should be there tried. The emperor, utterly ignorant of the plot that had been devised, was persuaded by them to give the required order.
But the holy Athanasius, well aware of the malevolence of those who were to try him, refused to appear at the council. This served as a pretext to those who opposed the truth to criminate him still further; and they accused him before the emperor of contumacy and arrogance. Nor were their hopes altogether frustrated; for the emperor, although exceedingly forbearing, became exasperated by their representations, and wrote to him in an angry manner, commanding him to repair to Tyre. Here the council was ordered to assemble, from the suspicion, as I think, that Athanasius had an apprehension of Cæsarea on account of its bishop. The emperor wrote also to the council in a style consistent with his devoted piety. His letter is as follows.
Perinthus, on the Propontis also known as Heraclea, and now Erekli, was once a flourishing town. Theodorus was deposed at Sardica. On his genuine writings, vide Jer. de Vir. Ill. c. 90, and on a Commentary on the Psalter, published in 1643, and attributed to him, vide Dict. Christ. Biog. iv. 934.