After kissing your hands. I read with amazement and puzzlement the article referred to above, in which you claim that the Council of Nicaea approved the transfer of two bishops (Eusabius and Eustathius) to larger dioceses. Would you kindly give us a reference to confirm this claim? One assumes that someone who aspires to become the 118th Patriarch of Alexandria should be familiar with the writings of the previous Patriarchs of Alexandria like Saint Alexander, the 19th Patriarch who tells us in his famous letter announcing the deposition of Arius:
But since Eusebius, now in Nicomedia, thinks that the affairs of the Church are under his control because, forsooth, he deserted his charge at Berytus and assumed authority over the Church at Nicomedia with impunity, and has put himself at the head of these apostates, daring oven to send commendatory letters in all directions concerning them, if by any means he might inveigle some of the ignorant into this most impious and anti-christian heresy...
As you see, Eusebius illegally seized the see of Nicomedia long before the Council of Nicaea convened. It was this habit that was practised by Arian bishops that prompted Saint Athanasius to pronounce his famous canon:
The diocese was the bishop's bride, and that to desert it and take another was an act of unjustifiable divorce, and subsequent adultery.
It seems that your Eminence is not aware about who Eusebius of Nicomedia was, since had you known you would have never given him as an example to be followed. So, I beg your indulgence to allow my abjection to give you a summary of who he was:
- Distantly related to the imperial family of Constantine, he owed his progression from a less significant bishopric to a more important episcopal see to his influence at court, and the great power he wielded in the Church was derived from that source. In fact, during his time in the Imperial court, the Eastern court and the major positions in the Eastern Church were held by Arians or Arian sympathizers. With the exception of a short period of eclipse, he enjoyed the complete confidence both of Constantine and Constantius II and was the tutor of the later Emperor Julian the Apostate. [Ellingsen, "Reclaiming Our Roots: An Inclusive Introduction to Church History, Vol. I, The Late First Century to the Eve of the Reformation", pp.121.]
- The Arian influence grew so strong during his tenure in the Imperial court that it wasn't until the end of the Constantinian dynasty and the appointment of Theodosius I that Arianism lost its influence in the Empire. [Young, "From Nicaea to Chalcedon", pp.92.]
- Like Arius, he was a pupil of Lucian of Antioch, and it is probable that he held the same views as Arius from the very beginning; he was also one of Arius' most fervent supporters who encouraged Arius. [Jones, "Constantine and the Conversion of Europe", pp.121.]
- He was the first person whom Arius contacted after the latter was excommunicated from Alexandria by Alexander. [Young, "From Nicaea to Chalcedon", pp.59.]
- Arius and Eusebius were close enough and Eusebius powerful enough that Arius was able to put his theology down in writing. [Young, "From Nicaea to Chalcedon", pp.61.]
- At the First Council of Nicaea, 325, he signed the Confession, but only after a long and desperate opposition in which he "subscribed with hand only, not heart" ["The Church History of Rufinus of Aquileia: Books 10 and 11", 10.5.]
- A few months after the council he was sent into exile due to his continual contacts with Arius and the exiles. [Drake, "Constantine and the Bishops", pp.259.]
- After the lapse of three years, he succeeded in regaining the imperial favor by convincing Constantine that Arius and his views do not conflict with the Nicene Creed. Upon his return, he regained the lost ground resulted from the First Council of Nicaea, established alliances with other groups such as the Meletians and expelled many opponents. [Roldanus, "The Church in the Age of Constantine: The Theological Challenges", pp.78.]
- He was also described by ancient sources as "a high-handed person who was also aggressive in his dealings". ["The Church History of Rufinus of Aquileia: Books 10 and 11", 10.12.]
- He was able to dislodge and exile three key opponents who espoused the First Council of Nicaea: Eustathius of Antioch in 330, Athanasius of Alexandria in 335 and Marcellus of Ancyra in 336. [Roldanus, "The Church in the Age of Constantine: the Theological Challenges", pp.84.]