St Gregory the Theologian: Oration 20 (part 1)

Eclectic Orthodoxy


On 9 August 378 the Eastern Roman Emperor and earnest supporter of Arianism, Valens, was killed by the Goths at the Battle of Adrianople. Emperor Gratian subsequently appointed one of his ablest generals as co-emperor and Augustus of the East—Theodosius of Hispania. Recognizing the ecclesiastical chaos that then existed in the East, Gratian and Theodosius jointly decided that they would promote the Nicene orthodoxy of the Western Church throughout the Empire.

With the enthronement of Theodosius new possibilities opened up for the embattled Eastern supporters of Nicaea. In 379 Saint Meletius, bishop of Antioch, convened a synod of 150 bishops. The primary task of the synod was to settle the episcopal dispute between Meletius and Paulinus and thus reunite the Church of Antioch; but its “wider goal,” as John McGuckin notes, “was to bring to an end the greater Arian ‘schism’ in the East” (Saint Gregory of Nazianzus

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