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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Eusebius of Vercelli

was born in Sardinia;, was baptized in Rome by pope Eusebius; and became lector, or ecclesiastical reader at Rome. He was ordained bishop of Vercelli, in Piedmont, A.D. 340, with the unanimous consent of clergy and people. He was the first in the West who united the monastic life with the clerical (Ambrose, cited by Ceillier, 5:500). Pope Liberius requested him to go with Lucifer of Cagliari, and other legate's,: on an embassy to Constantius, by whom the persecution of Athanasius had been sanctioned. They visited the emperor (at Arles or Valende), and prevailed on him to summon the Council De Milan, which met A.D. 355. The Eusebians (Arians) at this council urged the condemnation of Athanasius, and the emperor sided with them. Eusebius of Vercelli having received the emperor's order to sign the condemnation of Athanasius, refused, but expressed his willingness to subscribe the Nicene Creed. Lucifer of Cagliari and Dionysius of Milan refused also. The third session was held in the palace, the Arian party fearing the violence of the people. The emperor himself then sent for the three above-mentioned bishops, and commanded them either to sign the document or to prepare for banishment; they, on their part, earnestly entreated him to remember the account he would be called upon to give in the day of judgment, and besought him not to introduce the heresy of Arius into the Church; but all was of no avail, and Eusebius, Dionysius, and Lucifer were sentenced to banishment. At Scythopolis, in Palestine, his place of exile, he was warmly welcomed, and also encouraged by an embassy from his people at Vercelli. But at last he was brutally outraged, dragged naked through the streets, and imprisoned in a dungeon. He was then transferred to Cappadocia, and thence to the Thebald (Theodoret, Hist. Ecclesiastes 3:4; Sozomen, Hist. Ecclesiastes 5:12). After the death of Constantius, his successor, Julian, issued an edict recalling the exiled bishops. Eusebius went first to Alexandria, where he stood by Athanasius in the council of A.D. 362 in taking measures to heal the Antiochian schism. (See EUSTATHIANS). The council sent him to Antioch to end the strife there, but the ordination of Paulinus (q.v.) by Lucifer of Cagliari had made matters worse than ever. After travelling through the East he returned to Italy, where he was welcomed with enthusiasm, particularly in his own diocese. He showed himself, in the latter years of his life, a great admirer of monasticism, and introduced among the clergy of his diocese the common life. Having learned that the bishop Auxentius, of Milan, with the support of the emperor Valentinian, was very actively laboring for the triumph of Arianism, Eusebius, in 364, suddenly appeared in Milan to attack Arianism in its stronghold, but the emperor soon ordered him back to his diocese. He died in 371. An inscription on his tomb calls him a martyr, and, according to a later legend, he was killed by the Arians; but the writers that are best informed about him (Ambrose, Gregory of Tours, etc.) know nothing of his martyrdom. The Church of Rome formerly commemorated him as a martyr on the 1st of August, and now on the 16th of December. We possess three Epistolae of Eusebius: 1. Ad Constantium Augustum:

2. Ad presbyteros et plebes Italiae, written on the occasion of his banishment, to which is attached Libellus facti, a sort of protest against the violent conduct of the Arian bishop Patrophilus, who was in some sort his jailor during his residence at Scythopolis:

3. Ad Gregorium Episc. Hisp., found among the fragments of Hilary (11, § 5). He executed, also, a translation of the Commentary of his namesake, Eusebius of Caesarea, on the Psalms; and an edition of the Evangelists, from a copy said to be transcribed by his own hand, preserved at Vercelli, was published at Milan (1748, 4to) by J.A. Irico; and again by Blanchini, at Rome, 1748. This edition is given also in Migne, Patrol. Lat. volume 12. The Epistole will be found in Bibl. Patr. Galland. volume 5; part of them in Bib. Max. Pair. volume 5; and all in Migne, Patrol. Lat. volume 12. Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, 4:245 Mohler, Athanasius der Grosse; Ceillier, Auteurs Sacres (Paris, 1865), 4:271 sq.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Eusebius of Vercelli'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/e/eusebius-of-vercelli.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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