Tyre, Council of

Tyre, Council Of.

The Arians, through Eusebius of Nicomedia, obtained the convocation of this council from the emperor Constantine, A.D. 335, under pretext of thereby healing the divisions which existed among the bishops; but their real intention was to oppress Athanasius. The bishops who were summoned to attend were selected by the Eusebian party, and came from Egypt, Libya, Asia; and most of the eastern provinces. The most noted were Marius of Chalcedon, Theognis of Nicea, Ursaces of Singedunum, and Yalens of Mursia; in all about sixty Arian bishops attended. There were also a few bishops present who were not of the Eusebian faction, as Maximus of Jerusalem, Marcellus of Ancyra, Alexander of Thessalonica, etc. Constantine sent the count Dionysius to keep order, who, as the event showed, was completely devoted to the Eusebian cause, and by his violence destroyed all liberty of debate.

Atlhanasius, compelled by the order of the emperor, came to the council, attended by forty-nine Egyptian bishops, among whom were Potamon and Paphnutius. No accusation was brought against Athanasius on account of his faith; but he was arraigned for having killed a Meletian bishop named Arsenius, and for having forcibly broken into a church while Ischyrus, a pretended priest, was celebrating; and for having overturned the altar and broken the sacred chalice. He was made to stand as a criminal while Eusebius and the others sat as his judges, against which treatment Potamon of Heraclea made a vehement protest, heaping reproaches upon Eusebins. Prom the very first the Egyptian bishops protested against the proceedings; but their objections were not heeded. Sozomen says that Athanasius appeared frequently before the council, and defended himself admirably, listening quietly to all the calumnious accusations brought against him, and replying with patience and wonderful sagacity. However, his enemies, not contented with the charges which they had already brought against him, dared to impeach his purity, and introduced into the council a debauched woman, whom they had bribed to assert that she had been ravished-by him. The utter falsehood of the charge was, however, triumphantly proved; for Athanasius having deputed one of his priests, named Thimoteus, to reply for him, the woman, who was ignorant even of the person of the holy bishop, mistaking Thimoteus for him, declared that he was the man who had offered violence to her at such a time and place. Neither were his accusers more successful in their endeavor to fix upon him the murder of Arsenius, who, in the midst of their false statements, appeared before the council alive. Foiled in both these infamous attempts, the Arians were filled with fury, and endeavored to offer violence to him; in which, however, they were prevented by the officers of Constantine. Nothing now remained but the charge of having broken tile chalice, and there being no proof ready, and the clergy of the country where the offence was said to have taken place having solemnly sworn to the falsehood of the charge, a deputation was sent to make inquiry on: the spot (in the Mareotis), composed of the most decided of his enemies. In the meantime, Athanasius, seeing that his condemnation, by fair means or foul, was resolved, withdrew from Tyre. The deputies, upon their return, declared that they had found the charge correct; and upon this statement, sentence of deposition was pronounced, on the plea of his having been convicted of a part of the accusation brought against him. More than fifty bishops protested against the acts of this assembly. See Malmsi, Concil. 2, 435. SEE ATHANASIUS.

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