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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Seleucia (in Syria), Council of

Seleucia (In Syria), Council Of

This council was held in the Church of St. Tecla, Sept. 27, 359, by order of the emperor Constantius. One hundred and sixty bishops were present, of whom about one hundred five were Semi-Arians, forty Anomoeans and thirteen Catholics; among these was St. Hilary of Poitiers, who for four years had been banished into Phrygia. Among the Semi-Arians were George of Laodicea, Silvanus of Tarsus, Macedonius of Constantinople, Basil of Ancyra, and Eustachius of Sebaste. The Anomoeans formed the party of Acacius of Caesarea. The thirteen Catholic bishops, who probably came from Egypt, alone maintained the consubstantiality of the Word. Leonas, the imperial quaestor, had orders to attend the deliberations of the assembly. The bishops forming the party of Acacius, anxious to avoid any inquiry, into the several accusations and complaints which they were aware would be brought against them, insisted that, first of all, the questions relating to the faith should be examined, and after some discussion they gained their point. In the very first sitting, however, they openly renounced the Council and the Creed of Nicaea, and maintained that the Son was of a substance different from that of the Father. A discussion ensued between them and the Semi-Arians, which ended in the Acacians leaving the assembly, disgusted with its decision, viz. that the formulary drawn up at Antioch in 341 should be adhered to.

In the second sitting the formulary of Antioch was confirmed by the Semi- Arians, who were alone in the council; while the Acacians drew up a new formulary, condemning both the similarity of substance and the contrary. In the third sitting the dispute was continued, Leonas having been deputed by the Acacians to attend for them, and to deliver their formulary of faith. In the fourth sitting the Acacians declared that they believed the likeness of the Son to the Father to consist in a likeness of will only, and not of essence. The others maintained a likeness of essence also, and no decision was arrived at.

In the fifth sitting the Acacians were summoned to attend to examine the case of St. Cyril, who appealed from the judgment of Acacius, by whom he had been deposed. They refused to attend; and, after having frequently summoned them, the council deposed Acacius, Eudoxius of Antioch, George of Alexandria, and several others. They reduced to the communion of their respective churches, Asterius, Eusebius; and five others, until such time as they should disprove the accusations brought against them. Another bishop was elected to the see of Antioch. The sentence of the council was not, however, carried into effect, as the deposed bishops were able to secure the favor of the emperor.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Seleucia (in Syria), Council of'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/s/seleucia-in-syria-council-of.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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