Fathers of the Church

Personal Letter XLVI: letter to the Mareotis from Sardica

Description

The letter is addressed "to the presbyters and deacons and the people of the Catholic Church in the Mareotis" and contains a long list of signatures. It informs the Churches of the praise bestowed by the council on their courageous stand against the Arians and of the excommunication of the leaders of the heresy, Theodore, Valens, Ursacius and others. (Quasten)

Provenance

Scipio Maffei published this letter in 1738 from a Latin manuscript in the Chapter Library of Verona. Scholars have long disagreed as to whether Athanasius is actually the author. Assuming the letter is genuine, it was written by Athanasius while he attended the synod of Serdica in 343. (Quasten)

by Athanasius in 343-344 | translated by Payne-Smith

ATHANASIUS to the presbyters and deacons and the people of the Catholic Church in the Mareotis, brethren beloved and longed for, greeting in the Lord.

The holy council has praised your piety in Christ. They have all acknowledged your spirit and fortitude in all things, in that ye did not fear threats, and though you had to bear insults and persecutions against your piety you held out. Your letters when read out to all produced tears and enlisted universal sympathy. They loved you though absent, and reckoned your persecutions as their own. Their letter to you is a proof of their affection: and although it would suffice to include you along with the holy Church of Alexandria, yet the holy synod has written separately to you in order that ye may be encouraged not to give way on account of your sufferings, but to give thanks to God; because your patience shall have good fruit.

Formerly the character of the heretics was not evident. But now it is revealed and laid open to all. For the holy synod has taken cognisance of the calumnies these men have concocted against you, and has had them in abhorrence, and has deposed Theodore, Valens, Ursacius, in Alexandria and the Mareotis by consent of all. The same notice has been given to other Churches also. And since the cruelty and tyranny practised by them against the Churches can no longer be borne, they have been cast out from the episcopate and expelled from the communion of all. Moreover of Gregory they were unwilling even to make mention, for since the man has lacked the very name of bishop, they thought it superfluous to name him. But on account of those who are deceived by him they have mentioned his name; not because he seemed worthy of mention, but that those deceived by him might thereby recognise his infamy and blush at the kind of man with whom they have communicated. You will learn what has been written about them from the previous document: and though not all of the bishops came together to sign, yet it was drawn up by all, and they signed for all. Salute one another with a holy kiss. All the brethren salute you.

I, Protogenes, bishop, desire that you may be preserved in the Lord, beloved and longed for.

I, Athenodorus*, bishop, desire that ye may be preserved in the Lord, most beloved brethren. [Other signatures] Julian, Ammonius, Aprianus, Marcellus, Gerontius*, Porphyrius*, Zosimus, Asclepius, Appian, Eulogius, Eugenius, Liodorus, Martyrius, Eucarpus, Lucius*, Caloes. Maximus: by letters from the Gauls I desire that ye may be preserved in the Lord, beloved. We, Arcidamus and Philoxenus, presbyters, and Leo a deacon, from Rome, desire that ye may be preserved. I, Gaudentius, bishop of Naissus, desire that ye may be preserved in the Lord. [Also] Florentius of Meria in Pannonia, Ammianus, of Castellum in Pannonia, Januarius of Beneventum, Praetextatus of Narcidonum in Pannonia, Hyperneris of Hypata in Thessaly, Castus of C'saraugusta, Severus of Calcisus in Thessaly, Julian of Therae Heptapolis, Lucius of Verona, Eugenius of Hecleal Cycbinae, Zosimus of Lychni Sunosion in Apulia, Hermogenes of Syceon, Thryphos of Magara, Paregorius* of Caspi, Caloes of Castromartis, Ireneus of Syconis, Macedonius of Lypianum, Martyrius of Naupacti, Palladius of Dius, Broseus of Lu[g]dunum in Gaul, Ursacius of Brixia, Amantius of Viminacium, by the presbyter Maximus, Alexander of Gypara in Achaia, Eutychius of Mothona, Aprianus of Petavio in Pannonia, Antigonus of Pallene in Macedonia, Dometius* of Acaria Constantias, Olympius of Enorodope Zosimus of Oreomarga, Protasius of Milan, Mark of Siscia on the Save, Eucarpus of Opus in Achaia, Vitalis* of Vertara in Africa, Helianus of Tyrtana, Symphorus of Herapythae in Crete, Mosmius of Heracla, Eucissus of Chisamus, Cydonius of Cydonia.

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (NPNF II/IV, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.