Official Theology: Eusebius of Caesarea (Part 3)

The History of Christianity #93

Our History of Christianity Scripture verse today is Daniel 2:21 which reads: “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Eusebius. He said: “Constantine saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing this inscription: conquer by this. At the sight, he himself was struck with amazement and his whole army also.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Official Theology: Eusebius (yoo-see-bee-uh-s) of Caesarea” (Part 3) from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

Eusebius had met Constantine years before, when the future emperor visited Palestine with Diocletian’s court. In Nicea, at the time of the council, Eusebius saw the emperor seeking the unity and well-being of the church. On a number of other occasions he had interviews and correspondence with the emperor. He probably came to know the ruler best when Constantine and his court went to Jerusalem for the dedication of the newly built Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The festivities on that occasion were part of the celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of Constantine’s reign. The Arian controversy was still boiling, and the bishops who gathered for the great dedication – first at Tyre and then at Jerusalem – were deeply interested in it, as was the emperor. Eusebius, as bishop of the principal city in the area, played an important role in the proceedings, as delivered a speech in praise of Constantine. This speech, still extant, is one of the reasons why some accuse him of sheer flattery. But, when judged in terms of what was then customary in such situation, Eusebius’ speech appears rather moderate in its praise of the emperor.

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