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NPNF2-02. Socrates and Sozomenus Ecclesiastical Histories
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Chapter XVII.—Conflict between the Constantinopolitans and Alexandrians on Account of Heraclides; Flight of Theophilus and the Bishops of his Party.

In the first place, then, Theophilus attempted to investigate the case of the ordination of Heraclides,879879    See above, chap. 11. that thereby he might if possible find occasion of again deposing John. Heraclides was not present at this scrutiny. He was nevertheless judged in his absence, on the charge of having unjustly beaten some persons, and afterwards dragged them in chains through the midst of the city of Ephesus. As John and his adherents remonstrated against the injustice of passing sentence upon an absent person, the Alexandrians contended that they ought to hear the accusers of Heraclides, although he was not present. A sharp contest therefore ensued between the Alexandrians and the Constantinopolitans, and a riot arose whereby many persons were wounded, and some were killed. Theophilus, seeing what was done, fled to Alexandria without ceremony; and the other bishops, except the few who supported John, followed his example, and returned to their respective sees. After these transactions, Theophilus was degraded, in every one’s estimation: but the odium attached to him was exceedingly increased by the shameless way in which he continued to read Origen’s works. And when he was asked why he thus countenanced what he had publicly condemned, he replied, ‘Origen’s books are like a meadow enameled with flowers of every kind. If, therefore, I chance to find a beautiful one among them, I cull it: but whatever appears to me to be thorny, I step over, as that which would prick.’ But Theophilus gave this answer without reflecting on the saying of the wise Solomon,880880    Eccl. xii. 11. that ‘the words of the wise are as goads’; and those who are pricked by the precepts they contain, ought not to kick against them. For these reasons then Theophilus was held in contempt by all men. Dioscorus bishop of Hermopolis, one of those termed ‘the Tall Monks,’ died a short time after the flight of Theophilus, and was honored with a magnificent funeral, being interred in the church at ‘The Oak,’ where the Synod was convened on John’s account. John meanwhile was sedulously employed in preaching. He ordained Serapion bishop of Heraclea in Thrace, on whose account the odium against himself had been raised. Not long after the following events occurred.


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