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Alexander of Alexandria - Epistles on Arianism

Alexander of Alexandria - Epistles on Arianism

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Published by Miguel Vas
A treatise on the Arian Heresy and how it is opposed to the Roman Catholic Faith.
A treatise on the Arian Heresy and how it is opposed to the Roman Catholic Faith.

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Published by: Miguel Vas on Jul 28, 2013
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02/15/2014

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Alexander of AlexandriaEpistles on Arianism1. To Alexander, Bishop of the City of Constantinople
To the most reverend and like-minded brother, Alexander, Alexander sendsgreeting in the Lord:1. The ambitious and avaricious will of wickedmen is always wontto lay snares against thosechurcheswhich seem greater, by variouspretexts attacking theecclesiasticalpietyof such. For incited by thedevilwho works in them, to thelustof that which is set before them, and throwing away all religious scruples, they trample under foot thefearof the judgment of God.Concerning which things, I who suffer, have thoughtit necessary to show to yourpiety,in order that you may be aware of such men, lest any of them presume to set foot in yourdioceses,whether bythemselves or by others; for these sorcerersknowhow to use hypocrisy tocarry out their fraud; and to employ letters composed and dressed outwith lies, which are able to deceive a man who is intent upon a simple andsincerefaith.Arius,therefore, and Achilles, having lately entered into a conspiracy, emulating the ambition of Colluthus, have turned out far worsethan he. For Colluthus, indeed, who reprehends these very men, found somepretext for hisevilpurpose; but these, beholding his battering ofChrist,  endured no longer to be subject to theChurch; but building for themselvesdens of thieves, they hold their assemblies in them unceasingly, night andday directing theircalumniesagainst Christ and against us. For since theycall in question allpiousanddoctrine, after the manner of the Jews,they have constructed a workshop for contending againstChrist,denyingthe Godhead of our Saviour,and preaching that He is only the equal of allothers. And having collected all the passages which speak of His planof salvationand His humiliation for our sakes, they endeavour from theseto collect the preaching of their impiety, ignoring altogether the passages inwhich HiseternalGodhead and unutterableglorywith the Father is set forth. Since, therefore, they back up the impious opinion concerningChrist, whichis held by theJewsand Greeks, in every possible way they strive to gaintheir approval; busying themselves about all those things which they arewont to deride in us, and daily stirring up against us seditionsandpersecutions.And now, indeed, they drag us before the tribunals of the judges, by intercourse with silly and disorderlywomen,whom they haveled intoerror; at another time they cast opprobrium andinfamyupon theChristian religion,their young maidens disgracefully wandering about
 
every village and street. Nay, even Christ's indivisible tunic, which Hisexecutioners were unwilling to divide, these wretches have dared to rend.2. And we, indeed, though we discovered rather late, on account of theirconcealment, their manner of life, and theirunholyattempts, by thecommon suffrage of all have cast them forth from the congregation of theChurchwhich adores the Godhead of Christ.But they, running here and there against us, have begun to betake themselves to our colleagues whoare of the same mind with us; in appearance, indeed, pretending to seek forpeace and concord, but in reality seeking to draw over some of them by fairwords to their own diseases, asking long wordy letters from them, in orderthat reading these to the men whom they have deceived, they may makethem impenitent in theerrorsinto which they have fallen, and obdurate inimpiety, as if they hadbishopsthinking the same thing and siding withthem. Moreover, the things which among us they have wrongly taught anddone, and on account of which they have been expelled by us, they do notat all confess to them, but they either pass them over in silence, or throwinga veil over them, by feigned words and writings they deceivethem. Concealing, therefore, their pestilent doctrine by their specious andflattering discourse, they circumvent the more simple-minded and such asare open to fraud, nor do they spare in the meanwhile to traduceourpietyto all. Hence it comes to pass that some,subscribing their letters,receive them into theChurch,although in my opinion the greatestguilt lies upon those ministers who venture to do this; because not only doesthe apostolic rule not allow of it, bat the working of thedevilinthese men against Christ is by this means more strongly kindled. Whereforewithout delay, brethren beloved, I have stirred myself up to show you thefaithlessness of these menwho say that there was a time when theSon of Godwas not; and that He who was not before, cameintoexistenceafterwards, becoming such, when at length He was made,even as every man is wont to be born. For, they say, God made all thingsfrom things which are not, comprehending even theSon of Godinthe creation of all things rational and irrational. To which things they add asa consequence, that He is of mutable nature, and capable bothof virtueandvice.And this hypothesis being once assumed, that He isfrom things which are not, they overturn the sacred writings concerningHiseternity,which signify the immutability and the Godhead of Wisdom andthe Word, which are Christ.3. We, therefore, say thesewickedmen, can also be the sons of God evenas He. For it is written, I have nourished and brought up children. 
 Butwhen what follows was objected to them, and they have rebelled againstme, which indeed is not applicable to thenatureof theSaviour,who is of an immutable nature; they, throwing off all religious reverence, say thatGod, 
 
since He foreknew and had foreseen that His Son would not rebel againstHim, chose Him from all. For He did not choose Him as havingby nature anything specially beyond His other sons, for no one isby nature ason of God,as they say; neither as having anypeculiar property of His own; but God chose Him who was of amutable nature, on account of the carefulness of His manners and Hispractice, which in no way turned to that which isevil;so that,if Pauland Peter had striven for this, there would have been no differencebetween their sonship and His. And to confirm this insane doctrine, playingwithHoly Scripture,they bring forward what is said inthe Psalms respecting Christ: You loverighteousness, and hatewickedness:thereforeGod,YourGod,bath anointed You with the oil of gladnessabove Your fellows,4. But that theSon of Godwas not made from things which are not, andthat there was no time when He was not, theevangelistJohn sufficientlyshows, when he thus writes concerning Him: The only-begotten Son, who isin the bosom of the Father. 
 For since that divine teacher intended toshow that the Father and theSonare two things inseparable the one fromthe other, he spoke of Him as being in the bosom of the Father. Now thatalso theWord of Godis not comprehended in the number of things thatwere createdfrom things which are not, the same John says, All things weremade by Him. For he set forth His proper personality, saying, In thebeginning was the Word, and the Word was withGod,andthe Word was God. All things were made by Him; and with out Him was notanything made that was made. 
 For if all things were made by Him,how comes it that He who gave to the things which are madetheirexistence,at one time Himself was not. For the Word which makes isnot to be defined as being of the same nature with the things which aremade; since He indeed was in the beginning, and all things were made byHim, and fashioned from things which are not.Moreover, that which is seemsto be contrary to and far removed from those things which are made fromthings which are not. For that indeed shows that there is no interval betweenthe Father and theSon,since not even in thought can the mindimagineany distance between them.But that the world was created from things which arenot, indicates a more recent a and later origin ofsubstance, sincetheuniversereceives anessenceof this sort from the Father by the Son. When, therefore, the mostpiousJohncontemplated theessenceof the divine Word at a very great distance, and as placed beyond all conception of those things that are begotten, he thought it not meet to speak of Hisgeneration and creation; not daring to designate the Creator in the sameterms as the things that are made. Not that the Word is unbegotten, for theFather alone is unbegotten, but because the inexplicable subsistence of the

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