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NPNF2-02. Socrates and Sozomenus Ecclesiastical Histories
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Chapter XII.—Of Chrysanthus Bishop of the Novatians at Constantinople.

After the death of Sisinnius, Chrysanthus was constrained to take upon him the episcopal office. He was the son of Marcian the predecessor of Sisinnius, and having had a military appointment in the palace at an early age, he was subsequently under Theodosius the Great made governor935935    ὑπατικος = consularis, consul honorarius; the title was, during the period of the republic, given to ex-consuls, but later it became a common custom, especially under the emperors, for the governors of the imperial provinces to be called consuls, and the title consularis became the established designation of those intrusted with the administration of imperial provinces. See Smith, Dict. of Greek and Rom. Antiq. of Italy, and after that lord-lieutenant936936    Βικάριος [οὐικάριος ] transliterated from the Lat. vicarius, of which the Eng. ‘lieutenant’ is an exact equivalent. of the British Isles, in both which capacities he elicited for himself the highest admiration. Returning to Constantinople at an advanced age, earnestly desiring to be constituted prefect of that city, he was made bishop of the Novatians against his will. For as Sisinnius, when at the point of death, had referred to him as a most suitable person to occupy the see, the people regarding this declaration as law, sought to have him ordained forthwith. Now as Chrysanthus attempted to avoid having this dignity forced upon him, Sabbatius imagining that a seasonable opportunity was now afforded him of making himself master of the churches, and making no account of the oath by which he had bound himself,937937    Cf. V. 21. procured his own ordination at the hands of a few insignificant bishops.938938    Cf. Bingham, Christ. Antiq. II. 16. Among these was Hermogenes, who had been excommunicated with curses by [Sabbatius] himself on account of his blasphemous writings. But this perjured procedure of Sabbatius was of no avail to him: for the people disgusted with his obstreperousness, used every effort to discover the retreat of Chrysanthus; and having found him secluded in Bithynia, they brought him back by force, and invested him with the bishopric. He was a man of unsurpassed modesty and prudence; and thus he established and enlarged the churches of the Novatians at Constantinople. Moreover he was the first to distribute gold among the poor out of his own private property. Furthermore he would receive nothing from the churches but two loaves of the consecrated bread939939    The loaves which were offered by the faithful as a sacrifice were called ‘loaves of benediction,’ and were used partly for the Eucharist and partly as food by the bishop and clergy. every Lord’s day. So anxious was he to promote the advantage of his own church, that he drew Ablabius, the most eminent orator of that time from the school of Troïlus, and ordained him a presbyter; whose sermons are in circulation being remarkably elegant and full of point. But Ablabius was afterwards promoted to the bishopric of the church of the Novatians at Nicæa, where he also taught rhetoric at the same time.


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