Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe: Documents in Translation

By Edward Peters | Go to book overview

4 Theodoret: Arius's Letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia

The bishop greatly wastes and persecutes us, and leaves no stone unturned against us. He has driven us out of the city as atheists, because we do not concur in what he publicly preaches, namely, God always, the Son always; as the Father so the Son; the Son coexists unbegotten with God; he is everlasting; neither by thought nor by any interval does God precede the Son; always God, always Son; he is begotten of the unbegotten; the Son is of God himself. Eusebius, your brother bishop of Caesarea, Theodotus, Paulinus, Athanasius, Gregorius, Aetius, and all the bishops of the East have been condemned because they say that God had an existence prior to that of his Son, except Philogonius, Hellanicus and Macarius, who are unlearned men, and who have embraced heretical opinions. Some of them say that the Son is an eructation, others that he is a production, others that he is also unbegotten. These are impieties to which we cannot listen, even though the heretics threaten us with a thousand deaths. But we say and believe and have taught, and do teach, that the Son is not unbegotten, nor in any way part of the unbegotten; and that he does not derive his subsistence from any matter; but that by his own will and counsel he has subsisted before time and before ages as perfect God, only begotten and unchangeable, and that before he was begotten, or created, or purposed, or established, he was not. For he was not unbegotten. We are persecuted, because we say that the Son has a beginning, but that God is without beginning.


5 The Creed of Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381)

We believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and
earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God,

-41-

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