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Alexander, Valesius, de Marca, Tillemont, S. Basnage, Montfaucon, Coustant, Larroquanus agree with Petavius in placing the Council, at which Photinus was deposed and the Confession published, in A.D. 351. Mansi dates it at 358.
Gothofred considers that there were two or three successive Councils at Sirmium, between A.D. 357 and 359 (in Philostorg. Index, pp. 74, 75; Dissert. pp. 200. 211—214). Petavius, and Tillemont, speak of three Councils or Conferences held in A.D. 351. 357, and 359. Mansi, of three in 358, 359 ; Zaccaria (Dissert. 8) makes in all five, 349 (in which Photinus was condemned), 351; 357 (in which Hosius lapsed); 357 (following Valesius and Pagi); and 359. Mamachi makes three, 351. 357. 359; Basnage four, 351. 357, 358, 359.
This was the Confession which Pope Liberius signed, according to Baronius, Natalis Alexander, and Coustant in Hil. Note n. pp. 1335—1337, and as Tillemont thinks probable. Zaccaria says it is the general opinion, in which he is willing to concur (p. 18).
It would appear (Ath. Tr. p. 114, b.) that Photinus was condemned at Antioch in the Macrostich, A.D. 345 ; at Sardica, 347; at Milan, 348 ; and at his own See, Sirmium, 351, if not there, in 349 also ;-however, as this is an intricate point on which there is considerable difference of opinion among critics, it may be advisable to state here the dates of his condemnation as they are determined by various writers.
Petavius (de Photino Hæretico, 1) enumerates in all five condemnations:-1. at Constantinople, A.D. 336, when Marcellus was deposed. 2. At Sardica, A.D. 347. 3. At Milan, A.D. 347. 4. At Sirmium, A.D. 349. 5. At Sirmium, when he was deposed, A.D. 351. Of these the 4th and 5th were first brought to light by Petavius, who omits mention of the Macrostich in 345.
Petavius is followed by Natalis Alexander, Montfaucon (vit. Athan.), and Tillemont; and by De Marca (Diss. de
temp. Syn. Sirm.) and S. Basnage (Annales), and Valesius (in Theod. Hist. ii. 16. p. 23; Socr. ii. 20), as regards the Council of Milan, except that Valesius places it with Sirmond in 346; but for the Council of Sirmium in 349, they substitute a Council of Rome of the same date, while De Marca considers Photinus condemned again in the Eusebian Council of Milan in 355. De la Roque, on the other hand (Larroquan. Dissert. de Photino Hær.), considers that Photinus was condemned, 1. in the Macrostich, 344 . 2. At Sardica, 347. 3. At Milan, 348. 4. At Sirmium, 350. 5. At Sirmium, 351. Zaccaria, besides 345 and 347; at Milan, 347 ; at Sirmium, 349 ; at Sirmium again, 351, when he was deposed.
Petavius seems to stand alone in assigning to the Council of Constantinople, 336, his first condemnation.
2. A.D. 357. The Blasphemy of Potamius and Hosius
(Second Sirmian). Hilary calls it by the above title, de Syn. 11 ; vide also Soz. iv. 12, p. 554. He seems also to mean it by the blasphemia Ursacii et Valentis, contr. Const. 26.
This Confession was the first overt act of disunion between Arians and Semi-Arians.
Sirmond, De Marca, and Valesius (in Socr. ii. 30), after Phæbadius, think it put forth by a Council; rather, at a Conference of a few leading Arians about Constantius, who seems to have been present; e. g. Ursacius, Valens, and Germinius. Soz. iv. 12. Vide also Hil. Fragm. vi. 7.
It was written in Latin, Socr. ii. 30. Potamius wrote very barbarous Latin, judging from the Tract ascribed to him in Dacher. Spicileg. t. 3. p. 299, unless it be a translation from the Greek, vide also Galland. Bibl. t. v. p. 96. Petavius thinks the Creed not written, but merely subscribed by Potamius (de Trin. i. 9. § 8); and Coustant (in Hil. p. 1155, Note f) that it was written by Ursacius, Valens, and
Potamius. It is remarkable that the Greek in Athanasius is clearer than the original.
This at first sight is the Creed which Liberius signed, because S. Hilary speaks of the latter as “perfidia Ariana,” Fragm. 6. Blondel (Prim. dans l'Eglise, p. 484), Larroquanus, &c., are of this opinion. And the Roman Breviary, Ed. Ven. 1482, and Ed. Par. 1543, in the Service for S. Eusebius of Rome, August. 14, says that “Pope Liberius consented to the Arian misbelief,” Launnoi, Ep. v. 9. c. 13. Auxilius says the same, Ibid. vi. 14. Animadv. 5. n. 18. Petavius grants that it must be this, if any of the three Sirmian (Animadv. in Epiph. p. 316), but we shall see his own opinion presently. Zaccaria says that Hosius signed it, but not Liberius (Diss. 8. p. 20, Diss. 7). Zaccaria seems also to consider that there was another Council or Conference at Sirmium this same year, and it was at this Conference that Liberius subscribed “ formulæ, quæ contra Photinum Sirmii edita fuerat, primæ scilicet Sirmiensi, in unum cum Antiochensi (against Paul of Samosata, also the creed of the Dedication) libellum conjectæ.” Vide infra. He says he subscribed it "iterum,” the first time being in Berrhæa.
3. D.A. 357. The foregoing interpolated. A creed was sent into the East in Hosius's name, Epiph. Hær. 73. 14. Soz. iv. 15, p. 558, of an Anomæan character, which the “ blasphemia” was not. And St. Hilary may allude to this when he speaks of the “deliramenta Osii, et incrementa Ursacii et Valentis,” contr. Const. 23. An Anomean Council of Antioch under Eudoxius of this date, makes acknowledgments to Ursacius, Valens, and Germinius, Soz. iv. 12 fin. as being agents in the Arianizing of the West.
Petavius and Tillemont consider this Confession to be the “ blasphemia" interpolated. Petavius throws out a further conjecture, which seems gratuitous, that the whole
of the latter part of the Creed is a later addition, and that Liberius only signed the former part. Animadv. in Epiph. p. 316.
4. A.D. 358. The Ancyrene Anathemas. The Semi-Arian party had met in Council at Ancyra in the early spring of 358 to protest against the “ blasphemia," and that with some kind of correspondence with the Gallic Bishops who had just condemned it, Phæbadius of Agen writing a Tract against it, which is still extant. They had drawn up and signed, besides a Synodal Letter, eighteen anathemas, the last against the “ Consubstantial.” These, except the last, or the last six, they submitted at the end of May to the Emperor who was again at Sirmium. Basil, Eustathius, Eleusius, and another formed the deputation ; and their influence persuaded Constantius to accept the Anathemas, and even to oblige the party of Valens, at whose “ blasphemia” they were levelled, to recant and subscribe them.
5. A.D. 358. Semi-Arian Digest of Three Confessions.
The Semi-Arian Bishops, pursuing their advantage, composed a Creed out of three, that of the Dedication, the first Sirmian, and the Creed of Antioch against Paul, 264—270, in which the “ Consubstantial ” is said to have been omitted or forbidden, Soz. iv. 15. This Confession was imposed by Imperial authority on the Arian party, who signed it. So did Liberius, Soz. ibid. Hil. Fragm. vi. 6, 7; and Petavius considers that this is the subscription by which he lapsed, de Trin. i. 9. § 5, Animadv. in Epiph. p. 316, and so Zaccaria, as above, and S. Basnage, in Ann. 358. 13.
It is a point of controversy whether or not the Arians at this time suppressed the “blasphemia.” Socrates and Sozomen say that they made an attempt to recall the copies they had issued, and even obtained an edict from the Emperor for this purpose, but without avail. Socr. ii. 30 fin. Soz. iv. 6, p. 543.
Athanasius, on the other hand, de Syn. 29, relates this in substance of the third Confession of Sirmium, not of the “blasphemia” or second.
Tillemont follows Socrates and Sozomen, considering that Basil's influence with the Emperor enabled him now to insist on a retraction of the “blasphemia.” And he argues that Germinius in 366, being suspected of orthodoxy, and obliged to make profession of heresy, was referred by his party to the formulary of Ariminum, no notice being taken of the “blasphemia," which looks as if it were suppressed; whereas Germinius himself appeals to the third Sirmian, which is a proof that it was not suppressed. Hil. Fragm. 15. Coustant, in Hil. contr. Const. 26, though he does not adopt the opinion himself, observes, that the charge brought against Basil, Soz. iv. 132, Hil. l. c., by the Acacians, of persuading the Africans against the second Sirmian is an evidence of a great effort on his part, at a time when he had the Court with him, to suppress it. We have just seen Basil uniting with the Gallic Bishops against it.
6. A.D. 359. The Confession with a date
(Third Sirmian). The Semi-Arians, with the hope of striking a further blow at their opponents by a judgment against the Anomeans, Soz. iv. 16 init., seem to have suggested a general Council, which ultimately became the Councils of Seleucia and Ariminum. If this was their measure, they were singularly out-manæuvred by the party of Acacius and Valens, as may be seen in Athanasius's de Synodis. A preparatory Conference was held at Sirmium at the end of May in this year, in which the Creed was determined which should be laid before the great Councils then assembling. Basil and Mark were the chief Semi-Arians present, and in the event became