It is well known that the dissension between the "Eustathian" or Old-Church party at Antioch and those who, while agreeing with them in Nicene faith, communicated with bishops who were in fact crypto-Arian, had seemed likely to be abated when Meletius, having been appointed by Arians to the see of Antioch, made a clear avowal of orthodoxy. [1] The Alexandrian Council of 362 defined the terms of a concordat, whereby the Eustathians, under their presbyter Paulinus, might enter into communion with Meletius and his orthodox adherents. The Council clearly regarded the Eustathians as in their rights, and advised them to treat with the other orthodox section, as now,


in effect, trustworthy. But in this they were not acting, as has been maintained, [2] under orders from Rome. It is fatal to such an assumption that the synodical letter, drawn up by St. Athanasius, says not a word to that effect; and one passage in a version of a letter of Athanasius to Rufinianus, which was read in the second Nicene Council (only 425 years later! [3]), cannot be authority for such a statement as that the rules adopted by the Council for the reconciliation of ex-Arians had been "drawn up in Rome," and brought by Eusebius of Vercellae, as "Papal legate," to Alexandria, where in that capacity he presided with Athanasius in the Council. [4]


This is pure imagination. Eusebius had been Liberius' envoy, eight years before, in conjunction with Lucifer, to Constantius; but there is no real evidence for their having received a second commission from Liberius in the opening of 362, and they both came straight to Alexandria from their places of exile in the Thebaid. And when Lucifer took upon him to consecrate Paulinus as bishop of Antioch, [5] and


thereby defeated the Council's peace-making scheme, it is wholly arbitrary to assume that he must have been acting as Rome's representative, and have "decided to use his Papal faculties," for that otherwise, the Egyptian Church would not have ultimately recognised Paulinus. As to the first point, if Lucifer was clothed with a "legate's" power, it is all the more significant that his act was strongly condemned; and as to the second, it might well appear to strict Churchmen, in Egypt or elsewhere, [6] that Meletius was disqualified by his Arian consecration, and that Paulinus, however unfortunate were the circumstances of his elevation to the episcopate, did at any rate represent those who had never in any respect


compromised their orthodoxy. Thus the breach became aggravated; St. Basil did all he could to induce Athanasius, and through him the West to recognise Meletius: he failed, as he could not but fail [7] and he was also bitterly disappointed that Damasus, who had succeeded Liberius in 366, did not respond as he had hoped to the entreaties of the Easterns, under a new Arian persecution, for effective Western sympathy. [8] And this leads us to consider Basil's attitude towards the Roman see. [9] Reserving for consideration in a note a few minor details, [10] let


us take first the letter in which Basil refers to


Liberius as having in a letter "reinstated" Eustathius, [11] - the shifty intriguer, who had


passed through many phases, and whom Basil had been compelled by a painful experience to denounce. The "reinstatement" consisted simply in a testimony borne by Liberius to the fact that Eustathius, with two other Semiarian deputies, had at Rome, in his presence, signed the Nicene creed (in 366). Fortunately, we have the letter itself, as preserved by Socrates; [12] it makes not the faintest allusion to any act of "Papal" jurisdiction; but there is no wonder that on reading it a Catholic synod held at Tyana in 367 had recognised Eustathius as an orthodox bishop. St Basil was writing ten years later; and he tells the Westerns that "since it was from the West that Eustathius had gained his power to injure the Churches" by his subsequent relapse, "it was necessary that from


the West should also come the setting right of the affair." The context here decisively shows that Basil, instead of bowing before Papal "authority," is telling the Westerns, and Rome in particular, that as their too facile reliance on Eustathius' professions has given occasion to the existing trouble, it is their business to do what can be done for its abatement. [13] The other piece of evidence is his language regarding Damasus. In one short letter he says, bitterly enough, that his brother Gregory might be of some use as an envoy to "a kindly disposed person," but as being wholly unable to flatter, could make no way at all with "one who sits up ever so high, and therefore is out of hearing of those who speak the truth to him from below." [14] This is no doubt very shocking language from a Roman point of view; but in the following year, 376, he not only refers to what he calls "the Western superciliousness," but adds, "I had meant to write to their coryphaeus - not about


Church affairs, save only by way of hinting that they (Westerns) neither know the truth about us, nor take the right way to learn it, and generally that it was not right to mistake haughtiness for dignity." [15] Now, unquestionably members of the Roman communion have at times, rightly or not allowed themselves to complain sharply of some act or some attitude of the "Holy See." But the point is, that according to the present Roman contention Basil knew that Damasus was by Divine right his lord [16] and master, supreme alike in the East and the West Could one who held that belies under any amount of momentary irritation, call a Pope "the coryphaeus of the Westerns"?

But what was the attitude of Damasus, and of the Roman Church under him, towards Basil's


friend Meletius? Just after this last letter of Basil's, Jerome, then living in Syria, wrote the celebrated letter to Damasus which is so constantly paraded as evidence of a received "Papal" doctrine, in which he says he "knows that the Church was built upon the chair of Peter, and that whoso eats the Lamb outside that house is profane." [17] What does this effusive loyalty to Damasus prove as to a general Church belief? Nothing whatever; Jerome, then a lay ascetic of little more than thirty, - by no means as yet a Doctor of the Church, - is not echoing any Eastern language, but simply falling back on what, doubtless, he had been wont to hear


some years before, in religious society at Rome. He requests Damasus to tell him with whom to communicate at Antioch [18] and in the next letter observes that Meletius, like Paulinus, "professes to adhere to" Damasus. This obviously means, to agree with Damasus as to the faith; which, indeed, Meletius did. And when, some three years later, Meletius, at the head of a large Antiochene synod, put his signature as "bishop of Antioch" [19] to a doctrinal formulary of Roman origin (afterwards called "the Tome of the Westerns "), which was accordingly sent back to Rome, Damasus would naturally accept it as a proof of his Catholic orthodoxy, but it would by no means follow that he recognised him as bishop of Antioch. [20] For here lay the


pith of the whole question; while they both lived, was Meletius, or was Paulinus, the rightful occupant of the see? Rome had consistently upheld Paulinus; if he was the true bishop, Meletius was pro tanto in schism; when did Rome change her mind as between these two claimants? There is no evidence of any such change [21] and there is clear evidence to the contrary. For after Meletius died in the summer of 381, St. Gregory of Nazianzus urged the Council of Constantinople to agree in accepting Paulinus, on the terms of a concordat arranged between the two parties, that the survivor should be acknowledged by both. One of his reasons was, that "at present the West was alienated," [22] because the majority of Easterns had upheld


Meletius. Was not Rome part of the West? And soon afterwards, the bishops of the Council of Aquileia expressly informed the emperors that "Paulinus, bishop of the Church of Antioch," had always "maintained inviolate the agreement of communion with them, [23] whereas certain others - i.e. some partisans of Meletius - had been of "unsteady" faith in times past, and the Council could only wish to enter into relations with them if their entire orthodoxy could be ascertained; but it was manifestly right to carry out the concordat by the joint recognition of Paulinus, and for this purpose the Council requested that a "Council


of all Catholic bishops might be held at Alexandria." Would these North-Italian bishops at Aquileia have written thus, if Meletius before his death had been recognised by Rome? They might believe him to be personally orthodox, and might reasonably approve of the concordat, as, indeed, a somewhat later Council at Milan referred to it, in a letter to Theodosius, [24] as an appropriate healing measure, which they had some time before asked the emperors to sanction. But neither of these approvals of the concordat would in the least imply that Rome had pronounced for Meletius as the rightful bishop before it could become operative. And if she did not, then, as she was incapable of recognising two bishops of the same Church, she necessarily continued to regard Meletius as for the time an intruder: and with an intruder, as such, she could hold no communion; even if she were willing to admit that by surviving Paulinus he would be legitimated as successor, she was bound to regard him as, for the present, not the bishop.


If, as appears to have been the case, the great synod held at Rome in 383 received Paulinus in person as bishop of Antioch, [25] we cannot imagine that it did so on the ground that he had succeeded to the rights of the deceased Meletius. It would be matter of satisfaction to Damasus that he had never compromised the claims of a visitor who had been consistently true to the Nicene faith.


[1] Not by "openly avowing his belief in the Homoousion," (Rivington, p. 292), but still with sufficient clearness to show his adhesion to its meaning; see Newman, Arians, p. 373.

[2] Rivington, p. 19o: "Liberius... influenced and authorised the great bishop of Alexandria to convene a council. ... The council at Alexandria adopted the rules laid down by the Sovereign Pontiff ... Liberius had sent his legates, Eusebius of Vercellae and Lucifer of Cagliari." Here, as in other passages, bold assertion stands for evidence. Mr. Rivington is somewhat less cautious than Stilting, who admits that he nowhere finds any express assertion of this second legation of Eusebius and Lucifer, but argues that it is "most probable," for how could they have acted with such authority if they had not been papal legates? As to the Alexandrian rules having been drawn up at Rome, which Mr. Rivington asserts in his text, though in a footnote he speaks less confidently, Stilting says that "fortasse simul innuitur," in the words quoted as from Athanasius.

[3] Tauta kai en Rwmh egrafh, kai apedecato h Rwmaiwn ekklhsia. Mr. Riviugton refers for this to "Mansi, tom. vii. col. 75, 6," - obviously a second-hand reference. It should be "Mansi, xii. 1030."

[4] Rivington, pp. 192-195. He infers from a letter of Liberius to Eusebius, written A.D. 354, that one who had then acted in union with Liberius would not now act save as his legate. And in a footnote we are told that, "from St. Athanasius' letter to ... Jovian, it is evident that Liberius had dealt with the matter of the lapsed bishops before the council of Alexandria met, - letters had come from Gaul and Britain." Here it suffices to look at the letter and the dates. The Council met in the spring of 362; the letter to Jovian was written in the autumn of 363, and it does not say one word about action on the part of Liberius; what it does say about the "Spanish and British churches, with those of the Gauls, all Italy, Dalmatia," is that they assent to the Nicene creed. As for the statement in a Vercellian Life of Eusebius, that he and Lucifer were acting as again "legates" of Liberius, and so carried the Alexandrian decrees to Rome for his confirmation, it betrays itself. The Life is described by Mr. Rivington as "published under the authority of Eusebius's successor, St. Honoratus" (p. 195), and in Act. SS. 20 May, to which he refers, we find that it is said to give the statement as on the authority of Honoratus, that St. Eusebius had four "legations" from Liberius, this to the Alexandrian synod being the second, and that he and Lucifer, his fellow legate, carried the "acta concilii," in a Latin translation to Rome, where Liberius confirmed them, etc. This shows a much later hand.

[5] Gregory of Nyssa says obscurely that "some one attempted to corrupt Meletius' spouse," the Antiochene church (Orat. de Melet.). Mr. Rivington explains it of Euzoius, the new Arian bishop, and says that epexeireto (? the word is katepexeirei) "would not apply to Paulinus," and that the context "implies a long interval before Meletius' second exile." But Gregory would not take account of so mere an alien as Euzoius, while he would be likely to feel bitterly against Paulinus. The period 362-365 might be called rhetorically a "long interval."

[6] At the same time we must recollect that Athanasius did at one time prepare to recognise Meletius, but was repelled by the latter's cold reception of his overtures - the result, no doubt, of a misunderstanding; whereupon he fell back on his old relations with the Eustathians, and so with Paulinus as now their bishop. See Basil, Ep. 89. When Basil tells the Westerns that he leaves them to "judge whether there was anything culpable in Paulinus' ordination" (Ep. 263.5), he is refraining from touching a sore.

[7] See Newman, Church of the Fathers, p. 73.

[8] Mr. Rivington lays some stress (p. 209) on Athanasius' words in his Ep. ad Afros (A.D. 369): "We have written to our beloved Damasus ... concerning Auxentius, who invaded the church of Milan, and have narrated his proceedings and expressed surprise that, up to this time, he has not been deposed and cast out of the Church." Now for the comment: "It appears from St. Athanasius that nothing less than a Roman synod could authoritatively alley the disquiet abroad: but the value of a Roman synod could obviously only be rated thus by reason of its being an expression of the mind of the bishop of Rome" (i.e. solely). But Athanasius might very well urge the orthodox chief bishop of central Italy to declare himself explicitly against the heterodox chief bishop of northern Italy. And whereas Mr. Rivington dwells on the letter of a Roman synod as implying that the Ariminian council's authority was "nullified" by the dissent of "the Roman bishop" (p. 210), Athanasius treats that council as invalidated simply by its opposition to the Nicene (Ad Afros 3) and as rejected by many bishops.

[9] Mr. Rivington imagines (p. 190) that Basil was a bishop in 359-60!

[10] In Ep. 69. 1, Basil writes to Athanasius: "It has appeared to us appropriate (akolouqon) to write to the bishop of Rome, (and ask him) to take cognisance of (episkeyasqai) our affairs and give his opinion (gnwmhn), in order that, since it is difficult to get any persons sent from thence by a general end synodical resolution, he himself should act authoritatively (auqenthsai) in the matter, by choosing men capable of enduring a toilsome journey," etc.
Here (a) episkeyasqai has nothing to do with "a quasi-episcopel visitation," a visitatorial intervention in the technical sense, on the part of a "superior authority" (Rivington, p. 253 ff.); it is the verb used in the very next letter as to the Roman bishop Dionysins' active sympathy with the sufferings of Cappadocians: and so we find adelfwn episkeyis in connection with "a letter of comfort" (Ep. 242.2), and h twn asqenountwn episkeyis (Ep. 263.1).
(b) By gnwmhn is meant note supreme judgment, but an opinion (the Latin version has "consilium");
and (c) the authority to be assumed by Damasus is clearly that of a representative of the Western church in general. Next, in Ep. 224.2, Basil says he "hears that adherents of Paulinus are carrying about letters of the Westerns assigning (epitreponta) to themselves the episcopate of the church of Antioch." This could only mean letters in which "Westerns" acknowledged Paulinus as the bishop of Antioch. (The Latin version has "attribuunt.") It is absurd to infer that, "according to St. Basil, Rome had the right to decide," by her inherent "jurisdiction," between two competitors for that see (Rivington, p. 259).
Again, in Ep. 243.1, while entreating sympathy from Italian and Gallic bishops, Basil quotes, "The head cannot say to the feet, I have no need of you;" but this is no acknowledgment of a papal monarchy; and when he says, further on, that, "were it possible, it would be right pollous hmas sundramein to your reverences" - words which Mr. Rivington glosses as implying "some right of hearing appeals," (p. 227), i.e. as pertaining to Rome, one may remember that his words in Ep. 69, "it would be a good beginning if "wsper epi korufhn twn olwn thn shn anadramoimen teleiothta," are addressed to St. Athanasius. Again, when in Ep. 263 the Westerns are asked to warn the Easterns (which Basil himself, being "suspected by many," could not so well do) against unwarily communicating with certain subtle heretics, what has this to do with papal "jurisdiction"? Or when, in the same letter, he urges the Westerns to "give attention" (epimeleian, which Mr. Rivington twists into "careful oversight"), and to say that if the persons in question persist in their (doctrinal) innovations, the Westerns will "withdraw from them," how does this imply that "communion with Rome" is sine qua non for "communion with the Church"? (p. 226).
Again, as to Apollinaris, one of the persons referred to in Ep. 263, did Basil treat him "somewhat tenderly" (p. 225), and refrain from denouncing him until he had heard of that condemnation which he hoped would come from the West? Not so. It is true that in 376 he had written, "I never counted Apollinaris an enemy and on some accounts I even respect the man" (Ep. 244, 3): but in this later Ep. 263 he ranks him among wolves in sheep's clothing (not a specially "tender" phrase), and mentions gross errors in his books; and when in Ep. 265 he treats him as an outsider, he never refers to any Roman censures, but rests purely on the schismatic attitude and the heterodox speculations of the man who "at first seemed to be on our side." In this same letter he deals with the case of Marcellus. Mr. Rivington refers to Hefele's Councils, ii.29 ff., E.T., for "a most careful summary of the case for and against Marcellus" (p. 222, note); but he does not tell his readers that Hefele describes Zahn's uufavourable judgment as "very noteworthy," and, in effect, adopts it in p. 105. However, let that question stand as open: Mr. Rivington proceeds to argue that, although St. Basil complains of the Westerns as having confirmed the Marcellian "heresy" (Ep. 239.2), he might not only consider that they had done so in ignorance, but might still "believe in the pope as the divinely appointed monarch of the Church," who (on Roman principles) could in certain cases "err" (p. 223). But the question which Mr. Rivington tries to ignore is, Where does Basil, either directly or implicitly, intimate any such "belief"?

[11] The words of Basil, Ep. 263.3, are: "But what were the things proposed to him by the most blessed bishop Liberius, and what he himself agreed to, we know no more than this, that he brought a letter reinstating him, on showing which to the council at Tyana, he was restored to his post." For Eustathius' knaveries, as Tillemont calls them, see Dict. Chr. Biogr. ii. 386. He was now trying to curry favour with the dominant Arians (Basil, Ep. 226). What Basil "did not knouw" in 377 was whether, besides the Nicene creed which he knew Eustathius to have signed at Rome (Ep. 244.5), any other terms had been proposed to, and accepted by him. Tillemont thinks that Basil (and the Easterns with him) may have supposed that he had also professed belief in the divinity of the Holy Spirit, which he was now, as the context says, prominent in denying (ix. 270).

[12] Socr. iv.12. Cf. Tillemont, vi. 543.

[13] See the context, Ep. 263.3. Mr. Rivington has built up a fabric of misinterpretation on the assumption that the letter in question was a papal mandate which the obedient Easterns had simply to register and obey (p. 225). He omitted the critical words italicised in the text, and thus gave a turn to the "passage" which is at once disposed of by the context. In his Reply, p. 28, he pretends that the omission had made no "difference."

[14] Ep. 215.

[15] Ep. 239. It is hopeless to attempt to exempt the "coryphaeus" from the charge of "not caring to know the truth" brought against Westerns in general, still less from that of haughtiness, etc. But, in fairness, it should be remembered that Basil did ant see the best aide of Damasus. His questions to Jerome as to points of Biblical interpretation give a new and pleasing interest to his personality: see Jerome, Epp. 19. 35. See also his metrical (if not very poetical) epitaphs on the saints, on his sister, and others, Galland. Biblioth. Patr. vi. 346 ff. For an account of his work in opening and adorning the catacombs, see Rome Sotterranea, E.T. p. 97.

[16] Mr. Rivington expressly adopts the phrase, "lordship over the universal Church" (p. 222).

[17] Ep. 15. (A.D. 376.) In Adv. Jovin. i.26 (seventeen years later), he denies that St. Peter was the exclusive foundation of the Church, or the sole holder of "the keys," although adding that he was made "head of the Twelve" (A.D. 393). In the famous letter to Evangelus (the date of which is uncertain), Jerome says that wherever a bishop is, at Rome or at Eugubium, at Constantinople or at Rhegium, etc., he is "ejusdem sacerdotii," and all are "apostolorum successores." Roman arguers say that this simply refers to the pope "as bishop of Rome," and has no hearing on his papal claims. But the very point of the passage is to deny that a particular Roman custom has any claim to universal observance: "Si auctoritas queritur, orbis major est urbe" (i.e. than the city, Rome). "Quid mihi profers unius urbis consuetudinem?" On the papal theory, Jerome ought certainly to have put in a salvo here for the universal jurisdiction attaching to one bishop over all others, and for Rome's authority as the magistra of all other churches.

[18] He says, "I abhor Meletius, I ignore Paulinus." It is not without significance that some three years after he had addressed this inquiry to Damasus, he attached himself definitively to the side of Paulinus, and was by him ordained presbyter.

[19] Mansi, Conc. iii. 461, 511. Hefele ascribes this formulary to a Roman council of 369 (Councils, ii. 361, E.T.); Mansi, with greater probability, to a more recent council of 377 (iii. 466). Meletius' council was held in October, 379 (cp. Greg. Nyss. tom. ii. p. 187). St. Basil had died on January 1.

[20] Damasus does not seem to have interposed when, in his hearing, Peter of Alexandria told Dorotheus (whom Mr. Rivington calls "Meletius' agent ") that Meletius and Eusebius of Samosata "had been numbered among Arians" (not, as Mr. Rivington too gently puts it in his own words, "as though they were tinged with Anianism," p. 226); see Basil, Ep. 266.2. And as to his "calling Dorotheus 'brother,' but not entering into close intercourse with Meletius," the Roman synod which spoke of "our brother Dorotheus the presbyter" (Mansi, iii. 460) was referring to him, as the context shows, not as a special representative of the claims of Meletius, but as the accredited organ through whom the Westerns were to be informed of the sufferings ("injurias") of the persecuted Easterns as a body. Even supposing Damasus to have been then persuaded of Meletius' anti-Arianism, that would not prove that he did not regard him as a pretender to the Antiochene see.

[21] It is significant that when Constantius had tried to persuade the Roman people to recognise both Liberius and Felix as joint bishops, the circus rang with the cry, "One God, one Christ, one bishop!" Theod. ii.17. Cf. Soz. iv.15; Cypr. Ep. 49.2.

[22] Greg. Naz. Carm. de Vita sua, 1637, cenon ... h dusis.

[23] S. Ambros. Ep. 12.4. This council certainly calls the Roman church the head of the Roman world, whence "in omnes venerandae communionis jura dimanant." But the first phrase is natural in the mouths of Westerns, and the second implies no more than a centre within a united episcopate. Mr. Rivington has remarked that St. Ambrose's words about St. Peter as agens primatum confessionis, non honoris (which he translates, "not of honour," whereas it means, "not of office "), fide, non ordinis, refer to what he was before our Lord had promised him the keys. How, then, does Ambrose go onto interpret "this rock"? "Non de carne Petri, sed de fide," a faith common to all the apostles, though confessed by Peter "pro caeteris." ... immo prae caeteris" (De Incarn. 32). The dictum of Ambrose, "Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia," is constantly quoted for papalism without reference to its context. It occurs in a highly "mystical" passage, which has no reference to any supremacy as belonging either to Peter or to Rome (in Ps. 40, s.30). "Quod Petro dicitur, apostolis dicitur" (in Ps. 38, s.37).

[24] Ambr. Ep. 13.2. The expression, "ut quoniam Antiochena civitas duos haberet episcopus, Paulinum atque Meletium, quos fidei concinere putabamus," does not mean that the council of Milan had ever regarded them as actually joint diocesans (an idea foreign to Church order, and abhorrent to the Latin mind), but simply that as a matter of fact they were two bishops residing at Antioch. Cp. Gore on the Ministry, p. 164.

[25] Combine Jerome, Ep. 127.7, with Soz. vii. 11.