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«Inter duas potestates»: The Religious Policy of Theoderic the Great

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Monika Ożóg

This book discusses Theoderic the Great’s years of political activity, which coincided with the advent of a new era and were marked by features of two distinct civilizations. From the political and cultural viewpoint, he stood at the boundary between the Roman tradition and his Germanic origin. From the religious perspective, when he came to power in Italy at the Emperor’s behest, he found himself amid the conflict embroiling Rome and Constantinople at that time. It was the so-called Acacian schism centred around the issue of the recognition of the Council of Chalcedon (451) with its teaching on the two natures in Christ as well as the acknowledgement of Constantinople as the principal see of the Church in the East. Another ecclesiastical – and strictly Roman – problem noted in the Liber Pontificalis is the Laurentian schism, named after Lawrence, who was elected Pope on the same day as Symmachus.
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Chapter I The arian church of the Goths

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1. The Anti-Nicene Attitude of the Goths

It was around the year 341 that Wulfila, a descendant of Cappadocian captives (seized in 258), who had been raised among the Goths, was consecrated bishop by a man named Eusebius.57 The sources tend to rely on Philostorgius58 and report that the consecration had probably been performed by Eusebius of Nicomedia.59 Even though it is not stated explicitly, it would correspond with the Goths’ eventual embrace of Arianism. If the identification of the man called Eusebius with the Bishop of Nicomedia is correct, one could do nothing but agree with the view that the consecration would have taken place at Antioch during a great synod summoned to consecrate a church there in the same year.60 Philostorgius notes that it had happened at the time of the Gothic envoys’ visit to Constantinople, which would have called for Eusebius presence there. Thus, the clergymen who assisted him would not have participated in the Antioch synod but in the synodus endemousa at the capital.61 The ambiguity of this mention may result in disparate interpretations. For instance, Timothy D. Barnes says that Wulfila’s consecration may have taken place in connection with the celebration of Constantine’s tricennalia that commenced in 335.62

I have noted that this would fit in with the later Arian faith of the Goths, but drawing a link between that fact and the consecration performed by Eusebius appears to be anachronistic. At that time, Arianism had not been established...

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