Darkening Age, 6

In chapter three of The Darkening Age: The Christian
Destruction of the Classical World
, Catherine Nixey wrote:

A few decades after Celsus wrote On the True Doctrine, an even more monumental assault was made on the Christian faith by another Greek philosopher. It shocked the Christian community with its depth, breadth and brilliance. Yet today this philosopher’s name, like Celsus’s, has been all but forgotten. He was, we know, called Porphyry. We know that his attack was immense—at least fifteen books; that it was highly erudite and that it was, to the Christians, deeply upsetting. We know that it targeted Old Testament history, and poured scorn on the prophets and on the blind faith of Christians…

This much, then, is known—but not much more. And the reason we don’t know is that Porphyry’s works were deemed so powerful and frightening that they were completely eradicated. Constantine, the first Christian emperor—now famed for his edict of ‘toleration’—started the attack.

In a letter written in the early part of the fourth century; he heaped odium on the long-dead philosopher, describing him as ‘that enemy of piety’; an author of ‘licentious treatises against religion’. Constantine announced that he was henceforth ‘branded with infamy’, overwhelmed ‘with deserved reproach’ and that his ‘impious writings’ had been destroyed.

In the same letter Constantine also consigned the works of the heretic, Arius, to the flames and announced that anyone who was found hiding one of Arius’s books would be put to death.

Constantine burning the above-mentioned books
(illustration from a book of canon law, ca. 825).

A century or so later, in AD 448, Porphyry’s books were burned again, this time on the orders of the Christian emperors Theodosius II and Valentinian III.

Kriminalgeschichte, 59

Editors’ Note: Keep in mind the fact that Ambrose was non-white, and that many of the Goths—pure Aryans—were converts from Germanic paganism to Arian Christianity.

 

Saint Ambrose drives the annihilation of the Goths, 2

The holy bishop constantly incites against the Goths, conjures the world not to let down the guard, and for him ‘practically any means is not only justified but also necessary’ (K.P. Schneider).

Ambrose had sent the holy emperor his pastoral work De fide, written during the conflict with the Goths, to the battlefield of Illyria, knowing that a victory should provide ‘more faith in the emperor of the courage of the soldiers’ (fide magis imperatoris quam virtute militum), with which he again incites against the Arians, who in reality are only human beings in their outward appearance, because in their interior they are ferocious animals. Although he prophesies the triumph, he is sure of victory ‘as a testimony of the true faith’.

The Arians, who ‘arrogated to themselves the name of Christians’ and yet ‘tried to wound with deadly weapons’ the Catholics, seemed, according to Ambrose, like the Jews, although they were worse, and also like the pagans, although in fact they were even worse: more like the antichrist and the devil himself. They had ‘gathered the poison of all heresies’,’ they were human beings only in their external aspect, but inside they were full of the rage of animals’.

Kriminalgeschichte, 58

Editors’ Note: Always keep in mind the fact
that Ambrose was non-white.

Saint Ambrose drives the annihilation of the Goths, 1

The Goths saw in their bishop Ulfilas, born about 311 of Gothic parents of Cappadocian descent, a ‘sacrosanct man’. He would write on his deathbed: ‘I, Ulfilas, bishop and confessor’, an honorary title that is related to the persecution of the Christian Goths, probably in 348. However, like him, only in Arianism did he see the una sancta; in all others, Christians antichrists, in their churches he saw ‘synagogues of the devil’ and especially in Catholicism a ‘lost theory of evil spirits’. Bishop Ambrose, for his part, believed that the fact that they did not accept salvation by the cross but only in imitation of Christ, whatever they understood by it, constituted ‘The most outstanding characteristic of Gothic Arianism’ (Giesecke). [1]

Even when commenting on the Gospel, Ambrose could quote praisefully the words of Paul, an even greater abominator: ‘Love is patient, it is kind, it does not show zeal, it does not boast’. He could let the imagination run: ‘But would not it be wonderful to offer the other cheek to the one who hits you?’ However, in reality Ambrose did not offer one cheek or the other, as he incited with especially Christian (and Pauline) consideration: ‘Is it not achieved with patience to return the blows twice [!] to the one who hits, in the form of the pain of the repentance?’ [2]

About our saint it is significant that he often speaks of the love of his neighbour and that he even approaches the subject as a whole in his monograph, De officiis ministrorum, but apparently only alludes to the love of enemies. For him—the same for Augustine and the whole Church—it was not useful, but only a sign of the greater perfection of the New Testament against the Old. However, this does not imply any binding requirement for Ambrose. What he rather does is ‘curiously not to reject anywhere war, categorically, as illicit’ (K.P. Schneider). On the contrary! The idea of a ‘justified war’ is constantly and ‘indirectly’ sketched by him. [3]

And not only indirectly, because while in the East the philosopher and educator of Princes, Themistius, who stood by several emperors and never adhered to Christianity, tried to mediate between the ecclesiastical parties and also between pagans and Christians (and, at the same time, vigorously supported the policy of a peaceful compromise between the Goths and Valens), St. Ambrose did just the opposite. As soon as he could, he sent his 19-year-old protégé Gratian in the name of Jesus against the Goths, the pagans, the ‘heretics’, the ‘barbarians’. [4]

The bishop did not cease to show passion. ‘There is no certainty from where they will attack the faith’, he exclaimed, angered before the emperor.

Raise up, O Lord, and unfold your standard! This time it is not the military eagles that lead the army and it is not the flight of the birds that directs it; it is your name. Jesus is the one who is cheered and it is your cross that goes before them… You have always defended it against the barbarian enemy; now take revenge!

Although he should not take revenge precisely in the name of Jesus! However, Ambrose took as a reference—as the clergy have done in all wars to date—the Old Testament: where Abraham, with a few men, annihilated numerous enemies; where Joshua triumphed over Jericho.

The Goths are for the saint the Gog people (‘Gog iste Gothus est’), whose annihilation predicts the prophet, de quo promittitur nobis futura victoria: a people that Yahweh, in his lapidary style, wants to ‘give to devour’ to raptors and other animals, and also to their own: ‘And you must eat the fat until you are fed up and drink blood until you get drunk of the victim I sacrifice for you’. According to Ambrose, for whom ‘Germanic’ and ‘Arian’ (or ‘Roman’ and ‘Catholic’) were almost equivalent terms, to defeat the Goths one thing is needed: true faith! This, in spite of the fact that the emperor of the East, Valens, was Arian! But the bishop conveniently ignored these facts. Faith in God could not be separated from fidelity to the Empire. ‘Where fidelity to God is lost, the Roman State is also broken’. Where the ‘heretics’ appeared, they were followed by the ‘barbarians.’ [5]

Of course, the military aspect was accompanied by an aspect of ecclesiastical politics. However, in occupied Illyria, that is, near northern Italy and Milan, in addition to the war with the outside adversary, the internal enemy—the disputes with the Arians—also wreaked havoc. Secundianus resided in Singidunum as bishop, Palladio in Ratiaria, Julian Valens in Poetovium, Auxentius in Durostorum, but Ulfilas also lived there, who displayed his activity mainly in the eastern provinces of the Danube. Ambrose incited the emperor against these influential Christians, especially when the Illyrian Arians made propaganda also in Milan and other cities in northern Italy, and the entry of Goths gave new impulses to the ‘heresy’. Thus, this Catholic did not cease to invoke the religious situation and the performance of the Arians as a danger to the Empire and to military security, which would provide the ‘heretical’ subjects with a protection against the Goths, their fellow believers, much smaller than the Orthodox. [6]

Nevertheless, it is evident that the military aspect was now more important for Ambrose than the religious one that he highlights, insofar as his diocese was not far from the Goths and in Roman Christianity, according to an ancient tradition, the same distinction was done among Romans and ‘barbarians’ as between human beings and animals. The danger arose from the enemies of the country. Thus, the religious zeal of the bishop is now anticipated by the national zeal. Ambrose especially emphasised the propensity to a vice of the ‘barbarians’, their depravity ‘worse than death’.

For him, the unquestioning patriot, the enemy is also any ‘stranger’, an ‘alien’ almost equivalent to infidel. To the Goths and the like (Gothi et diversarum nationum viri) he calls ‘people who once dwelt in wagons’, beings more fearsome than the gentiles (gentes). Thus, he does not fight the infidel Romans; what he does rather is to place the army of the pagans on his side and incite it against the ‘barbarians’, and to win over the emperor with pretexts of religious motives, while seeking the predominance of ‘Roman culture’, which he himself provides protection and a very prestigious life. [7]
 
________________

Note of the translator: The footnotes still lack the general bibliography, which will be ready as I finish the abridgement of this first volume.

[1] Jord. of orig. act Get 25. Soz. e.h. 2.6. Philostorg. e.h. 2.5. Basil ep. 164.2. Lex dtv Antike, Religion 1176. Seeck, Untergang V 90. K.-D. Schmidt, Die Bekehrung 216 f, 231 f, 236 f, 257 (here citation). Giesecke, Die Ostgermanen 6 f, 16 f, 44, 69. Thompson, Christianity 69 f. K. K. Klein, Gotenprimas Wulfila 84 f, especially 98 f. Previté-orton, The shorter 56. Claude, Die Westgoten 11 f, 26 f. Aland, Glaubenswechsel 58. Klein, Constantius II, 253 f.

[2] Ambros. Lukaskommentar 5,73 f.

[3] Schneider, Liebesgebot 27 f, 56.

[4] Pauly V 677 f. Straub, Regeneratio 203 f. Wolfram, Gotische Studien 13.

[5] Ambr. of fide ad Grat. 2,16,130; 2.16, 139 f; 3,16,138 f. Ez. 38 f, especially 38.4; 39.4; 39.19. Ambr. ep. 10.9; 25 f. of off. 1.35175 f. from Tob. 15.51. On the concept of ‘barbarians’, cf. for example Wemer, Barbarus 401 f. Jüthner 103 f. V. Campenhausen, Ambrosius 37 f, 46 f. The same, Lateinische Kirchenväter 88 f. Beumann, Zur Entwickiung 219 f. Stratmann III 72. Christ, Römer 273 f. Homus 169. Pavan, Gothic Politics 70 f, especially 76 f. Schneider, Liebesgebot 49 f. Chadwick, Die Kirche 174. Haendier, Von Tertullian 102.

[6] Ambros. of fide 2.16, 139 f. Sulp. Sev. Vit. Mart. 6.4. V. Campenhausen, Ambrosius 9 f, 18 f, 37 f. Schneider, Liebesgebot 45 f. Gottiieb, Ambrosius 21 f, 83 f.

[7] Ambros. ep. 19.7 f; 20.12; 20.20. of off. 2,136; 3.84. de fide 2,16. Prudent. c. Symm. 2,816 f. V. Campenhausen, Ambrosius 48 f. Schneider, Liebesgebot 49 f. Straub, Regeneratio 251. Haendier, Von Tertullian 102.

Kriminalgeschichte, 54

Below, an abridged translation from the first volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (Criminal History of Christianity). For a comprehensive text that explains the absolute need to destroy Judeo-Christianity, see here. In a nutshell, any white person who worships the god of the Jews is, ultimately, ethnosuicidal.

 

Patriarch George, an Arian ‘wolf’, monopolist and martyr

George of Cappadocia, an ultra Arian, seized power in Alexandria. He was one of the followers of the sovereign who joined his ecclesiastical office with a surprising sense of finances.

Patriarch George raised a funerary monopoly, although apparently also acquired the one of the sodium carbonate and tried to buy the papyrus lagoons, along with the Egyptian salt mines. Among his favourite religious projects were the inheritances, a special field of the saviours of Christian souls throughout all the centuries. Bishop George not only tried to get the heirs to lose what their relatives had left them, but he even told the emperor that all the buildings of Alexandria were public property. In short, the Egyptian primate ‘took advantage of the ruin of many people’, so, as Ammianus writes, ‘everyone, without distinction, hated George’.[1]

Although he was ordained for Alexandria as early as 356, he did not start working until the end of February 357, with savage fury, ‘like a wolf or a bear or a panther’ (Theodoret). In front of a blazing bonfire, he caused Catholic widows and maidens to be beaten on the soles of their feet, apparently completely naked, with palm branches or to burn them on a low fire. He made ‘whipping in a totally new way’ (Athanasius) to forty men; many died. Athanasius reports of raids, assaults, the capture of bishops, who were chained; of imprisonments, the exile of more than thirty bishops ‘with such lack of consideration that some of them committed suicide on the road and others in exile’.

In the autumn of the year 348, Athanasius resorts to violence. Patriarch George is saved from an assassination attempt in the church and must flee. On November 26, 361 he returns, to his disgrace, without knowing the death of his protector Constantius. He is quickly locked up, on December 24, but Catholics and pagans take him out and, together with two very unpopular imperial officials, he is dragged through the streets and beaten until he dies.

However, shortly before Bishop George had called the strategist Artemius, military governor of Egypt, and with his help had also persecuted the pagans; destroyed the temple of Mithras, demolished statues and sacked the pagan shrines, of course for the benefit of the Christian churches that they wanted to build. (Julian had the temple destroyer Artemius decapitated in the year 362, for which he was venerated as an Arian martyr.)

Catholics and ‘idolaters’ walked the streets with Bishop George’s corpse on the back of a camel. For hours they raged with the dead man. Then they burned him and scattered his ashes, mixed with those of animals, by the sea.

And while the wild Arian wolf becomes a martyr, precisely at Christmas, Athanasius returned once more and, finally—after the pagan Julian again banished him in 362; the Catholic Jovian made him return in 363, and the Arian Valens will exile him for the last time in 365-366—, Athanasius slept in the Lord on May 2, 373, old and much appreciated.[2]

 
_______________

Note of the translator: The footnotes still lack the general bibliography, which will be ready as I finish the abridgement of this first volume.

[1] Epiphan. Haer 76,1,4 f. Ammian. 22,11,4 f. Grant, Christen 75 f.

[2] Ammian. 22,11,3 f. Theodor. 2,14; 3,4; 3,9. Socr. e.h. 3,2 f; 3,7; 4,1,14 f; 4,8,4; 4,13; 4,16. Soz. 4,9 f; 4,28,3 f; 5,7,3 f; 5.12; 5,15. Philostorg. 7,2. Athan. ad episc. Aeg. 7. Hist. Arian. ad mon. 48 f; 54 f; 59 f. Apol. de fuga sua 6 f; 24. syn. 37. Historia Acephala 5 f. Theodor. e.h. 2,14; 3,18,1. Rufin e.h. 10,34 f. Epiph. haer. 76,1. Greg. naz. or. 4,86; 21. Pallad, hist. Laus. c. 136. Chron. pasch. 546,4 f. Pauly I 626. RAC I 861. LThK 1st ed. I 706. Lecky II 159. Lippl XV f. Geffcken, Der Ausgang 119 f. Schuitze, Geschichte I 137 f. Bidez, Philostorgios III f. Stein, Vom römischen 236 f, 255 f, 270 f. Seel 175 f. V. Campenhausen, Griechische Kirchenväter 80 f. Dannenbauer, Entstehung I 76. Lacarrière 150 f. Jacob, Aufstände 152. Camelot, Athanasios 977. Poppe 50.

Kriminalgeschichte, 50

Note of the Editor:

The city Antioch, ‘the cradle of Christianity’ was a melting-pot town that played a central role in the emergence of both Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity. Evropa Soberana mentions that Luke the Evangelist was from Antioch, and when writing about St. Ignatius of Antioch, a subversive ideologue thrown to the lions by the Romans, Soberana adds: ‘It is interesting to pay attention to the names of the preachers since they always come from the mongrelised areas: eastern and Judaised’.

Left, one of the maps that appear in Soberana’s PDF (Caption: ‘The extension of Christianity around the year 100. Note that the areas of Christian preaching coincide with the densest Jewish settlement areas’). Also remember that, right after Julian was assassinated, a Christian emperor ordered the burning of the Antioch library that had been founded by Julian: a library that presumably contained documents showing the true origins of Christianity.

Below, an abridged translation from the first volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (Criminal History of Christianity):

______ 卐 ______

Antioch

For a long time the divisions had split the great patriarchal seat of Antioch. The current Turkish Antakya (28,000 inhabitants, including 4,000 Christians) does not reveal what it once was: the capital of Syria, with perhaps 800,000 inhabitants, the third largest city in the Roman Empire—after Rome and Alexandria—, the ‘metropolis and eye’ of the Christian East.

Located not far from the mouth of the Orontes in the Mediterranean, built majestically by the ostentatious Syrian kings, famous for its luxurious temples, churches, arcaded streets, the imperial palace, theatres, baths and the stadium, an important centre of military power, Antioch played a great role in the history of the new religion from the beginning.

It was the city in which the Christians received their name from the pagans; the city in which Paul preached and already entered into conflict with Peter; where Ignatius stirred the spirits, and where the theological school founded by Lucian, the martyr, taught his teachings, representing the ‘left wing’ in the Christological conflict, and marked the history of the Church of that century, although most of the members of the school (even John Chrysostom) were accused of heresy throughout their life or part of it, especially Arius.

Antioch was a place of celebration of numerous synods, especially Arian synods, and more than thirty councils of the old Church. It was here where Julian was residing in the years 362-363 writing his Against the Galileans; where John Chrysostom ‘saw the light of the world’. Antioch became one of the main bastions of the expansion of Christianity, ‘the head of the Church of the East’ (Basil) and seat of a patriarch who in the 4th century ruled the political dioceses of the East: fifteen ecclesiastical provinces with more than two hundred bishoprics.

Antioch was full of intrigue and turmoil, especially since the Arians had deposed the patriarch Eustochius, one of the most passionate apostles of the Nicene doctrine, for ‘heresy’ because of his immorality and his rebellion against Emperor Constantine, who banished him until his death.

However, at the time of the Meletian schism, which lasted fifty-five years, from 360 to 415, there were three suitors who fought among themselves and who tore at their disputes both the Eastern and the Western Church: Paulinians (fundamentalists) followers of the doctrine of Nicaea, semi-Arians and Arians.

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Kriminalgeschichte, 49

Below, an abridged translation from the first volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (Criminal History of Christianity). For a single online book that explains the importance of the subject of the destruction of the Greco-Roman world by Judeo-Christians, see here. In a nutshell, any white person who worships the god of the Jews is, ultimately, ethno-suicidal.


The ‘battlefield’ of Alexandria

The departure of Athanasius in June from Trier, the city of the West that had received him triumphantly and had treated him in an extraordinary way, was the first act of the government of Constantine II.

During the long trip back, the repatriated Athanasius took the opportunity to establish peace in his own way in Asia Minor and Syria, that is, helping Catholics to regain power. For that reason, after his campaign, ‘anti-bishops’, discord and new splits appeared everywhere. ‘Where there were anti-bishops there were regular riots and street fights, after which the pavement was covered with hundreds of corpses’ (Seeck).

When the remaining exiles returned to their homeland, orthodoxy flourished everywhere.

In the first place, the churches stained by the ‘heretics’ were thoroughly cleaned, although not always with sea water, as the Donatists did. These Catholic bishops practiced more drastic customs. In Gaza, the supreme pastor Asclepius had the ‘desecrated’ altar destroyed. In Akira, Bishop Marcellus tore from his adversaries their priestly garments, hung the ‘debased’ hosts around their necks and threw them out of the church. In Hadrianopolis, Bishop Lucius fed the dogs with the Eucharistic bread and, later, when they returned, he denied communion to the eastern participants of the Synod of Serdica, provoking even the population of the city against him.

The first official act, so to speak, of the repatriated Athanasius at the end of November of the year 337 was to interrupt the supply of grain (destined by the emperor to feed the poor, all the supporters of his opponent) to appease with the surplus the new members of his Praetorian guard.

In mid-March of 339 Athanasius fled to Rome with a criminal complaint on his back, addressed to the three emperors and accusing him of new ‘murders’. (However, now he could not use the imperial courier as he used to do in his exile and travels; he travelled by sea.) His people burned the church of Dionysus, the second ‘divine temple’ in terms of Alexandria’s size, so that he could escape at least from the profanation.

While with the help of the State, Bishop Gregory exercised a strict command, Athanasius, with other deposed Church princes, settled in Rome at the side of Bishop Julius I who, with almost the entire West, favoured the Nicene Council. For the first time in the history of the Church, prelates excommunicated by oriental synods obtain their rehabilitation in a Western episcopal tribunal. The only ones we know with certainty are Athanasius and Marcellus of Akira, the profaner of clerics and hosts mentioned above.

After demonstrating his ‘orthodoxy’ Julius I admitted them, along with the remaining fugitives, into the fellowship of his church. And it is here, in Rome and in the West, that Athanasius acquires a decisive importance for his politics of power; where he works towards ‘a schism of the two halves of the Empire’ (Gentz), which is embodied in the year 343 in the Synod of Serdica.

The Arians, furious at the intrusion of Rome, ‘surprised to a great degree’, as stated in the manifesto they presented in Serdica, excommunicate Bishop Julius I: ‘the author and ringleader of evil’. And while Athanasius incites the spirits and serves for his ’cause’ in one of the halves of the Empire against the other, so that the struggle for the power of this Alexandrian bishop becomes the struggle for power in Rome, religiosity reaches culminating peaks in the East.

Kriminalgeschichte, 48

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

 
Other defamations of Athanasius, forgeries and the death of Arius

As he did to the emperor, Athanasius, of course, also attacked and defamed Arius. He constantly talks about Arius’ ‘delirium’, his ‘aberration’, his ‘deplorable and atheist speeches’, his ‘sour attitudes overflowing with atheism’. Arius is ‘the liar’, ‘the impious’, the precursor of the ‘Antichrist’. And likewise he rages against all the other ‘philandering of the Arian nonsense’, the ‘malicious’, the ‘quarrelsome’, the ‘enemies of Christ’, ‘the ungodly who have fallen into thoughtlessness’, ‘in the trap of the devil’.

However, Athanasius also reviled mercilessly, labelling them as ‘Arians’, all his personal adversaries and even, what is historically false, all the Antiochene theology. The one who opposes him he ‘declares without mercy, in a tone of utmost indignation, as a notorious heretic’ (Domes). The holy father of the Church, who boasted saying ‘we are Christians and we know how to appreciate the message of joy of the Redeemer’, says about Christians of different faith: ‘They are the vomit and the stool of the heretics’; he harasses by saying ‘his doctrine induces vomiting’, that they ‘carry it in their pocket like filth and they spit it like a serpent his poison’. The Arians even overcome ‘the betrayal of the Jews with their defamation of Christ’.

Nothing worse can be said. We already know this zeal and this Christian rage against any other faith, which have remained throughout the ages. The fact that Athanasius not only lacks scruples but possibly even believes much of what he preaches, only makes things worse: more dangerous as he encourages bigotry, intolerance, obstinacy and vanity of those who do not doubt never of themselves, perhaps not even of their cause, of their ‘right’.

The scandalous election of the saint led to the establishment of an anti-bishop and in many places to such street riots that the Emperor Constantine, in the year 332, complained in writing to the Catholics of Alexandria, impressed by the painful spectacle of the children of God, saying that they were not one iota better than the pagans.

Athanasius continued with ‘his own policy of pacification’ (Voelkl), beatings, imprisonments and expulsions of the Meletians (recently discovered papyrus epistles show that these accusations are justified). John Arcaph, the successor of Meletius, even claimed that, by order of Athanasius, he had bound Bishop Arsenius to a pillar and had him been burned alive. The saint had to answer for it before the court and in two synods. With the emperor he was acquitted but he did not appear before a synod summoned in the spring of the year 334 in Caesarea, Palestine.

In Constantinople, in the year 336, immediately after being readmitted into the Church, Arius died suddenly and mysteriously on the street, apparently when he was going to take communion, or perhaps on the way back. For the Catholics it was a divine punishment, for the Arians a murder. In a story full of details, Athanasius explains twenty years later that Arius had expired in response to the prayers of the local bishop: that he burst in public toilets and that he disappeared in the dung: an ‘odious legend’ (Kühner), a ‘fallacious story’ (Kraft) ‘which since then remains rooted in popular controversy, but which is revealed to the critical reader as the report of a death by poisoning’ (Lietzmann).[1]

Whoever in this way literally throws an enemy into the mud is capable of everything, not only as a politician of the Church but also as a religious writer. Athanasius did not just adorn his Vita Antonii (Saint Anthony or Antony was a monk who played an important role in the conversion of Augustine; was the archetype of the lives of Greek and Latin saints, and for centuries inspired the monastic life of the East and the West) with increasingly crazy miracles, but he also falsified documents in the worst of styles, so to speak.

In a letter written by Athanasius, after the death of Constantine and written in Constantine’s name, Athanasius wanted to see all those who kept even a writ of Arius, without appeal or clemency, condemned to death.

 
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[1] Note of the Ed.: In his Historia Ecclesiastica, chapter XXXVIII, ‘The Death of Arius’, Socrates of Constantinople writes: ‘Soon after a faintness came over him, and together with the evacuations his bowels protruded, followed by a copious haemorrhage, and the descent of the smaller intestines: moreover portions of his spleen and liver were brought off in the effusion of blood, so that he almost immediately died. The scene of this catastrophe still is shown at Constantinople, as I have said, behind the shambles in the colonnade: and by persons going by pointing the finger at the place, there is a perpetual remembrance preserved of this extraordinary kind of death’.

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Kriminalgeschichte, 46

The Council of Nicaea, with Arius depicted
as defeated by the council, lying under
the feet of Emperor Constantine.

______ 卐 ______

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

 
The Council of Nicaea and the profession of ‘Constantinian’ faith

Constantine had recommended the place, Nicaea, for the bonanza of its climate and had promised a pleasant stay. He was the one who convened the council, not the ‘Pope’. He also opened it on May 20 and held the presidency. The emperor paid the expenses of the participants, on whose number the data oscillate between 220 and 318 (for the 318 children of Abraham!). Silvestre, the supreme pastor of Rome, missed the meeting.

The emperor presented himself before the bishops ‘like an angel of God descending from heaven, resplendent in his bright garments, dazzling with light, with the fiery glow of purple and adorned with the clear gleam of gold and costly precious stones’ (Eusebius). The lords of the clergy themselves were guarded by guards and halberdiers ‘with sharp drawn swords’.

By decree of the sovereign they were ‘offered every day an opulent maintenance’. According to Eusebius, at a banquet ‘some sat at the table on the same cushions as the emperor, while others did on both sides. It could easily have been thought or imagined that it was an image of the kingdom of Christ, which was only a dream and not a reality’. As far as the dogmatic aspects are concerned—no recordings were made—, the great majority of these servants of God showed little or no interest, something that the host did not care about.

Although Constantine may not have led the sessions—a problem that has been much discussed—he did determine its course and make the decisions. For this he made sure to have the majority, and even imposed the decision formula. The formula was the somewhat changeable concept (which means the same, identical, but also similar, of the Greek homos) of the homousios of the homousia: the equality of the natures of the ‘Father’ and of the ‘Son’: ‘a sign of antagonism in front of science, which thought about the paths of Origen’ (Gentz).

In the Bible, not a single mention is made about it. That slogan—which, notoriously the emperor himself had formulated—had been opposed to the beliefs of the majority of the Eastern episcopate, even though it stemmed from Gnostic theology. The Monarchians had also used it, other ‘heretics’ (anti-Trinitarians). However, the young Athanasius, who accompanied Bishop Alexander as a deacon, ‘had not used it in his first writings as a motto of his theology’ (Schneemelcher) and ‘it took him 25 years to take a liking’ (Kraft). Although already in the council ‘he pronounced against Arianism’ and did not put it in writing until a quarter of century later.

No reasons were given nor was explained in more detail that decision of faith. The emperor, who was undeniably interested in unity and who considered the dispute of the clergy only as an intransigence, forbade any theological discussion and simply demanded compliance with the formula.

The ‘Holy Fathers’ (Athanasius), whose presence presumably gave the dictator a happiness ‘that exceeded any other’ and whom for a quarter of a year he honoured and covered them with honours, obeyed. And today, millions of Christians continue to believe in the fides Nicaena, the faith confession of Nicaea—which should be better called, according to Johannes Haller, the faith of Constantine: the work of a layman who was not even baptized. ‘We believe in one God, the almighty Father… and in one Lord, Jesus Christ… true God of the true God, begotten, not created, of the same nature (homousios) as the Father…’

In the West, the Nicaea confession of faith was still barely known a few decades later and in orthodox circles it was the subject of discussion. Even the father of the Church, Hilarius, initially opposed that baptismal faith; although he later returned to it. However, the holy bishop Zeno of Verona, a passionate enemy of the infidels and the Arians, mocked a creed that worked with formulas. At the end of the 4th century, in the sermons of Gaudentius of Brescia or Maximus of Turin, it is still mentioned ‘Nicaea at no time’ (Sieben, Jesuit).

Even Luther, in 1521, admits to hating ‘the word homousios’ although in 1539, in his work On the Councils and the Church he accepts it. Goethe is right when he affirms that ‘the dogma of the divinity of Christ decreed by the Council of Nicaea was very useful, even a necessity, for despotism’.

The behavior of Constantine was not in any way an isolated event. Since then, the emperors, and not the popes, were the ones who made the decisions about the Church. Throughout the 4th century the bishops of Rome did not play any decisive role in the synods nor were they determining authorities. From Constantine, the ‘imperial synodal power’ prevailed.

The confession of faith of the Arians, which contrasted the homoiusios (of a similar nature) to the homousios, was snatched from the speaker’s hands, in Nicaea, shattering the document before he had finished reading it. ‘At once it was rejected by all and branded as erroneous and false; there was a great tumult’ (Theodoret). In the sacred meetings, speaking through the mouth of Eusebius, a participant in them, there reigned ‘everywhere bitter disputes’, as was often the case in councils.

The emperor threw directly into the fire, without even reading them, the writings of complaints and quarrels of the bishops. All those who shared ‘of good will the best opinion’ received ‘his highest praises; on the contrary, he rejected the undisciplined with horror’.

Arius was again condemned.

Published in: on December 9, 2017 at 5:28 pm  Comments Off on Kriminalgeschichte, 46  
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Kriminalgeschichte, 45

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

 
It was not fought for faith, but for power and for Alexandria

The exacerbated interest in faith was not really more than the obverse of the question. From the beginning, this secular dispute was less about dogmatic differences than about the core of a typical clerical policy. ‘The pretext was the salvation of souls’—admitted even Gregory of Nazianzus, son of a bishop and holy bishop in turn, who avoided meddling in worldly matters and who often eluded his ecclesiastical offices by fleeing—, ‘and the motive was anxiety of domain, not to mention tributes and taxes’.

The hierarchical ambitions for power and the disputes over the Episcopal sees, in whose course the theological rivalries were often forgotten, gave duration and vehemence to those enmities. It not only excited the Church but, at least in the East, also the state. Not only did the council fathers sometimes engage in quarrels until the Holy Spirit spoke, but also lay people beat themselves bloody in public.

Any dispute produced there between the clergy, Arian and Monophysite, iconoclasm exceeds the limits of a mere quarrel between friars and shocks all political and social life for centuries. This makes Helvetius affirm, in a lapidary way: ‘What is the consequence of religious intolerance? The ruin of the nations’.

And Voltaire assures that ‘If you count the murders perpetrated by fanaticism from the brawls between Athanasius and Arius up to the present day, you will see that these disputes have contributed to the depopulation of the Earth rather than the warlike confrontations’, which undoubtedly it has been very often a consequence of the complicity between the throne and the altar.

However, just as the policies of the State and the Church were intimately intertwined, so were the latter and theology. Of course, there was no official doctrine about the Trinity, but only different traditions. Binding decisions ‘were only made in the course of the conflict’ (Brox).

In spite of this, each of the parties, especially Saint Athanasius, liked to call his desire for prestige and power a matter of faith; thus could accusations be constantly presented and justified. Athanasius immediately theologises any political impetus and treats his rivals as heretics. Politics becomes theology and theology, politics. ‘His terminology is never clear enough, the question is always the same’ (Loofs). ‘With Athanasius it is never about formulas’ (Gentz).

What most characterizes the ‘father of orthodoxy’ is that he leaves his extremely confused dogmatic position, using it until the 350s, to designate the ‘true faith’, those topics that would later be used to stigmatize the Arian or semi-Arian ‘heresy’: that he, the defender of Nicaea and the homousios, rejected for a long time the theory of hypostasis, thereby delaying the union; and that he, the bulwark of orthodoxy, even cleared the way for an ‘heretical doctrine’, Monophysitism.

For that reason, the Catholics of the 5th and 6th centuries had to ‘touch up’ the dogmatic treatises of their doctor of the Church. However, for a long time the Arians proposed a formula of profession that coincided literally with that often used by Athanasius, but then appeared as ‘Arian heresy’ since whatever the opponent said, it was always bad in advance, malignant and diabolical; and any personal enemy was an ‘Arian’.

All this state of affairs was facilitated by the fact that for a time there had been total confusion in theological concepts, and the Arians had split again. Even Constantine II, who had gradually favoured them more and more radically— ‘to all the corrupt bishops of the Empire’ (Stratmann, catholic), ‘to the caricatures of the Christian bishop’ (Ehrhard, catholic)—, got so fed up of the dispute over the ‘nature’ of Christ that ended up forbidding it.

The theologians of the post-Constantinian era compared this war of religion, increasingly unintelligible, with a naval battle in the midst of the fog, a nocturnal combat in which it is impossible to distinguish the friend from the foe, but in which one hits with viciousness, often changing sides, preferably, of course, towards the side of the strongest in which all means are allowed; one hates intensely, intrigues are plotted and jealousies provoked.

Even Jerome, the father of the Church, affirmed in his moment that he did not manage to find peace and tranquillity neither in a small corner of the desert, because every day the monks asked him accounts of his faith. ‘I declare what they want, but it is not enough for them. I subscribe to what they propose to me and they do not believe it. It is easier to live among wild beasts than among such Christians!’

Numerous aspects of the chronology of the dispute are still controversial, even doubting the authenticity of many documents. However, the direct starting point was the revolt provoked by a debate about the Trinity around the year 318 in Alexandria, a city in which they fought for more than faith.

Alexandria, founded in 332-331 by Alexander the Great, the city of the poet Callimachus, the geographer Eratosthenes, the grammarian Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace. The city of Plotinus and later of Hypatia, was the main metropolis of the East, a cosmopolitan city of almost a million inhabitants, whose luxury only rivalled that of Rome.

Alexandria was mapped out with broad views, it was rich and an important commercial plaza, with a fishing fleet that obtained not insignificant catches and stood out for its monopoly in the papyrus industry, which supplied to the whole world.

Alexandria, the place where the Old Testament was translated into Greek (the Septuagint), was also the seat of a patriarchy—it is not true that St. Mark founded it; the first bishop of whom there is historical record is Demetrius I—, and it was, within the whole of the Church including that of the West, the largest and most powerful of all Episcopal sees. The two Egypts, Thebes, Pentapolis and Libya were under its jurisdiction.

This position had to be maintained, consolidated and expanded. The Alexandrian hierarchs, called ‘popes’ and who soon became immensely wealthy, intended during the 4th and 5th centuries to get at all costs the domination of the totality of the Eastern dioceses. Their theology was also opposed to that of Antioch, which also joined the struggle for rank between the two patriarchs, always winning he who supported the emperor and the ecclesiastical and imperial seat of Constantinople.

In constant struggle against ecclesiastical competitors and the State, a political apparatus of the Church arose here for the first time, similar to what would later be in Rome. According to this, the bishops of the secondary seats acted, who paid for any change of course with the loss of their Episcopal armchairs, or either they won them. Not one of the innumerable paleo-Christian churches of Alexandria was preserved.

Around the year 318, Patriarch Alexander would have preferred to silence the burning question about the ousia, the nature of the ‘Son’. There was a time when he was personally linked to the orator Arius (around 260-336), denounced by the Meletians and since 313 he was the presbyter of the church of Baucalis, the most prestigious in the city and the centre of a large group of followers formed by young women and workers of the dams.

But Arius, who was a kind and conciliatory scholar and probably composed the first popular songs of the Christian era (now totally forgotten), had renounced the Episcopal seat in favour of Alexander, and in the contest he participated less in a personal capacity than as an exponent from the school of theologians of Antioch, which he had neither founded nor directed. On the other hand, Bishop Alexander had previously defended, which was also reproached by Arians, ideas and doctrines similar to those he was now pursuing; he affirmed that Arius spent ‘day and night in insults against Christ and against us’.

After two public debates, at a synod that brought together 100 bishops, St. Alexander excommunicated and exiled Arius and all his followers—a decision that undoubtedly contributed to the struggle of the high office against the privileges of his priests—, and warned everywhere against the intrigues of the ‘heresiarch’. He also informed the Roman bishop Silvestre (314-335). And by means of two encyclicals, in 319 and probably in 324, he appealed to ‘all other beloved and venerable servants of God’, ‘to all the bishops beloved by God of all places’.

This resulted in measures and countermeasures being taken. Some princes of the Church anathematized Arius while others expressed their appreciation. Among the latter was the important intercessor before the court, the influential Bishop Eusebius, supreme pastor of Nicomedia, the city of residence of the emperor, who welcomed his banished friend; and Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, already famous as biblical exegete and historian.

Two synods that resolved in favour of Arius made possible his rehabilitation and return. The Arian party of Alexandria was acquiring more and more force, coming to name a counter-bishop. Alexander defended himself in vain, lamented the ‘den of thieves’ of the Arians and came to fear for his own life. Riots followed, which spread throughout Egypt, and finally the Eastern Church split.

New Episcopal conferences, such as the Synod of Antioch in 324, again condemned Arius, writing to the ‘bishops of Italy, who depend on the great Rome’, although without considering the Roman power as sovereign or that it had come to play some role of relevance. And in the year 325 a council was held in the Emperor’s summer residence.

Kriminalgeschichte, 44

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

Athanasius at the Council of Nicea

 

Chapter 18: Athanasius, Doctor of
the Church (towards 295-373)

‘Saint Athanasius was the greatest man of his time and perhaps, pondering everything in a scrupulous way, the greatest that the Church could ever have presented’.

— Abbé de Bletterinni

‘The grateful posterity gave the efficient Alexandrian bishop the deserved nickname of “the Great”; both the Eastern and Western churches venerate him as a saint’.

— Joseph Lippl

‘Every political question is taken to the field of theology; his adversaries are heretics while he is the defender of pure faith. The adversaries learn from him the association between theology and politics. As a kind of anti-emperor, he anticipated the prototype of the great Roman popes, being the first of the great Egyptian patriarchs who ended up separating their country from imperial unity’.

— G. Gentz

‘The actors in the history of the Church were largely the same as those in the history of Byzantium in general’.

— Friedhelm Winkelmann

‘From the 4th century to the 7th, by the Father, by the Son and by the Holy Spirit, the schools of theology, the popes and the patriarchs fought with every means at their disposal. They judged, degraded and proscribed each other; there began to operate secret services and propaganda machinery; the controversies degenerated into wild ecstasies; there were riots and street skirmishes. There was murder; the military crushed the revolts; the anchorites of the desert, with the support of the court of Byzantium, instigated the multitudes; intrigues were hatched for the favour of emperors and empresses. State terror was unleashed; the patriarchs fought among themselves, they were elevated to the throne and dethroned again as soon as a new trinitarian conception succeeded’.

— Hans Kühner

 

Kühner goes on to say: ‘The first great doctors of the Church appeared, and the saints, against all human passions, performed a series of mental exercises worthy of all praise that have become part of both the history of the faith and of the history of thought’. However, it should be pointed out that this did not occur against all human passions but largely because of them, because he who takes the spirit seriously cannot believe that one is two or three or that three is equal to one.

Christian theology calls this supra-rational and not counter-rational or irrational. It calls it mystery, not absurd. And having so many things between heaven and earth that our scholastic philosophy cannot imagine, it is unnecessary to take for granted everything that has been imagined, nor do we have to take the greatest absurdity and consider it a great mystery. ‘If God’, says Diderot, ‘for whom we have reason, demands us to sacrifice reason, he is a conjurer who makes what he has just given disappear’.

 
The complicated nature of God and the dominion of darkness

Any science worth its salt is based on experience, but what comes to be known about God, if it exists? In the early days of Christianity, ‘a whole mass of the most diverse ideas’ about the celestial spirits was considered (Weinel, theologian). In the 2nd and early 3rd centuries, ‘hardly anyone’ cared about the ‘Holy Spirit’ (Harnack, theologian), and in the 4th century, according to Hilarius, doctor of the Church, no one knows what will be the creed of the following year.

However, the theologians went deeper and deeper into the subject in the course of time. They came to discover that God was something like a single being (ousia, substance) in three people (hypostaseis personae). That this triple personality was a consequence of two ‘processes’ (processiones): of the generation (generatio) of the Son from the Father and of the ‘exhalation’ (spiratio) of the Spirit between the Father and the Son. That these two ‘processes’ were equivalent to four ‘interactions’ (relationes): the quality of father and son, the exhalation and the exhaled being, and these four ‘interactions’ in turn give five ‘particularities’ (proprietates, notiones). That in the end, all this, in mutual ‘permeation’ (perichoresis, circuminsessio) would give only one God: actus purissimus!

As much as they have given themselves the headaches over the centuries, the theologians know ‘that any intellectual work on the Trinity dogma will remain “an unfinished symphony”’ (Anwander) or, no matter how deep they delve into it, ‘a mystery of impenetrable faith’, as the Benedictine Von Rudioff humbly writes, asserting with all seriousness that none of it ‘speaks against reason; we do not say that three is equal to one but that three people are a being’. However, in 1977, it seems to Karl Rahner ‘that the history of dogmas, in the broadest sense of the word, continues and must continue—and therefore the history of dogmas continues’.

No matter how much theologians may say—an endless process of often nebulous concepts, especially because in the history of dogmas they have imposed their beliefs by all means, including violence—, those disputes have never possessed any basis of experience. Because of this, and speaking through Helvetius, ‘the reign of theology was always seen as the domain of darkness’.

In the 4th century an attempt was made to shed light on this darkness, and everything became even darker. ‘Everyone suspects their neighbour’, recognises Basil, father of the Church, ‘the blasphemous tongues have been released’. But the councils, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, that tried to clarify the mysteries, only contributed to create greater confusion. Even Gregory of Nazianzus, the holy father of the Church, mocks the clerical conferences and admits that they seldom come to a good end, stoking more controversy instead of softening it: ‘I avoid the meetings of bishops because until now I have never seen any synod ending well; they do not solve any ill but simply create new ones. In them there is only rivalry and struggles for power’.

On the one hand, of the important Council of Nicaea (325) hardly something survived, as well as some other synods. On the other hand, the victors prevented the circulation of the writings of their opponents, when they did not manage to destroy them.

Only a few fragments of Arius, or Asterius of Cappadocia, a moderate Arian, have come to us through quotations in replication writings. Although Catholic treatises were frequently disseminated, especially those written by the fathers of the Church Hilarius de Poitiers (died 367) and Athanasius of Alexandria (died 373), they only are subjective propaganda products. The no less tendentious historians of the 5th century Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret and Philostorgius, of strict Arian tendency, are already of later generations.

A good idea of the spiritual historiography of that era and its unscrupulous tendency to falsify is provided by the first global history of the Church after Eusebius, that of Gelasius of Caesarea (died between 394 and 400).

Unknown until recently, it has been largely reconstructed and its importance lies in its sources: descriptions of the historians of the 5th century Church (Rufinus, the oldest in the West, Socrates and Gelasius of Cyzicus). Gelasius was also successor (the second) of Eusebius, a high dignitary and archbishop of Caesarea with jurisdiction throughout Palestine.

Friedrich Winkelmann has presented in a very concise manner the method of this unique and great contemporary history of the Church during the Trinitarian dispute: the stereotyped defamation of the adversary. The archbishop, author of the work, hardly cares about the advances or the differentiations produced. Of the Arians, he only relates reticences and intrigues; they are nothing but inconvertible troublemakers, ‘puppets of the devil who speaks through their mouth’.

Gelasius attributes to Arius a perjury. He also lies in saying that it was not Constantius but his son, the Emperor Constantine, who wanted to rehabilitate Arius. On the other hand, Constantine—another lie—did not banish Athanasius, the opponent of Arius, but sent him back to Alexandria full of honours. Gelasius is also the first to expose the falsehood that Constantine named in his testament Constantine II, the Catholic, heir to his kingdom; but that a local priest gave the testament to Constantius in exchange for the promise to support Arianism. The bishop of Caesarea not only masks all the negative, overlooking most of the events, but he also simply runs his imagination, against the strict truth; in sum, what manifests itself is ‘a great complex of a gross falsification of history’.

But was it Athanasius, doctor of the Church, no less scrupulous, agitator and apologist? Globally, he reprimands the Arians: ‘Whom haven’t they not outraged at their will? Whom have they not mistreated to the point that he died in misery or his relatives were harmed? Where is a place that does not show any memory of their wickedness? What adversary have they not annihilated, wielding pretexts invented in the manner of Jezebel?’

Even the Benedictine Baur speaks of a ‘civil war between Catholics and Arians’. Naturally, the same happens with all the authentic Catholic apologists: the Arians—whose name would soon become one of the worst insults in history of the Church—were prey to the devil and degraded the Christian name before a world, still half pagan, ‘with abominable intrigues, persecutory rage, lies and infamies of all kinds, even by means of mass murders’. Therefore, it was time ‘for this poisonous plant to disappear at last from the world’.

At the centre of this dispute among theologians was the question of whether Christ was true God, if he had the same nature as God himself. The Orthodox, although sometimes disappointed, affirmed this, while the Arians, the majority of the Eastern bishops at the height of their power (after the Council of Milan, 355), denied it.

When it seemed that the latter had almost won, they split into radicals, who considered the ‘Son’ and the ‘Father’ as totally disparate and different (anhomoios), semi-Arians, who in their opinion were considered more or less homousians, and a party that rejected the previous two and defended homoism, pointing out the similarity (which was left intentionally vague) or equality of ‘Father’ and ‘Son’, but not the ‘identity of nature’, the homousios of the Nicaeans.

The Arians and the Orthodox remained attached to monotheism, but for the first, no doubt closer to the primitive Christian faith, the ‘Son’ was totally different from the ‘Father’. He was a creature of God, although complete and very on top of all the others. Arius speaks of him with the utmost respect.

For the Orthodox Jesus was, in the mouth of Athanasius, ‘God made flesh’ (theos sarkophoros), but not a ‘man, who leads to God’ (anthropos theophoros); the ‘Father’ and the ‘Son’ being a single nature, an absolute unit; they were homousios, of the same nature. For only in this way was it possible to sustain the dogma of the double, or even triple, divinity and pray to the ‘Son’, the new one, as well as to the ‘Father’, as the Jews already did. The Arians were accused of ‘polytheism’ and ‘having a big God and a small one’.

For the popular masses of Constantinople, who, as everywhere, flocked to the preferred ‘National Church’, the question of faith was apparently captivating and fascinating, with the Christological dispute reaching a great popularity in streets, squares and theatres, as ironically says a contemporary of the late 4th century:

This city is full of artisans and slaves who are profound theologians, who preach in stores and on the streets. If you want to change a coin with a man, first he will inform you about where the difference between God the Father and God the Son lies, and if you ask for the price of a loaf of bread, instead of answering you they will explain that the Son is below the Father; and if you want to know if you have the bathroom ready, the bathroom attendant will answer you that the Son has been created from nothing.