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From The Lives of the Popes from the Time of our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII. Written Originally in Latin by B. Platina, Native of Cremona, and translated into English (from an anonymous translation, first printed in 1685 by Sir Paul Rycaut), Edited by William Benham, Volume I, London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, [1888, undated in text]; pp. 77-79.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.

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A.D. 337-352.

JULIUS, a Roman, the son of Rusticus, lived in the time of Constantius, who, sharing the Empire with his two brethren, Constantine and Constans, reigned twenty-four years.

Among the successors of Constantine the Great is sometimes reckoned Delmatius Cæsar, his nephew, who was certainly a very hopeful young gentleman, but was soon cut off in a tumult of the soldiers, though by the permission, rather than at the command of Constantius. In the meantime the Arian heresy mightily prevailed, being abetted by Constantius, who compelled the orthodox to receive Arius. In the second year of his reign, therefore, a council was called at Laodicea, a city of Syria, or, as others have it, at Tyre. Thither resorted both the Catholics and Arians, and their daily debate was, Whether Christ should be styled ὁμοούσὶος, of the same substance with the Father, or no. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, asserted it, and pressed hard upon them with his reason and arguments for it; which when Arius found himself not able to answer, he betook himself to reproach and calumny, accusing the holy man of sorcery, and to procure credit to his charge, producing out of a box the pretended arm of Arsenius, whom he falsely asserted that Athanasius had killed, and was wont to make use of that dead arm in his incantations. Hereupon Athanasius was violently run down and condemned by the Emperor, but making his escape he lay concealed in a dry cistern for six years together without seeing the sun; but being at length discovered by a certain servant maid, when his enemies were ready to seize him, by Divine admonition he fled to the Emperor Constans, who by menaces compelled his brother Constantius 78 to receive him again. In the meantime, Arius, as he was going along in the streets, attended with several bishops and multitudes of people, stepping aside to a place of easement, he voiced his entrails into the privy, and immediately died, undergoing a death agreeable to the filthiness of his life.

Our bishop Julius, having been very uneasy amidst this confusion of things, at length, after ten months’ banishment, returns to Rome; especially having received the news of the death of Constantine the younger, who, making war upon his brother Constans, and fighting unwarily near Aquileia, was there slain. But notwithstanding the present face of things, Julius desisted not from censuring the Oriental bishops, and especially the Arians, for calling a council at Antioch without the command of the Bishop of Rome, pretending it ought not to have been done without his authority, for the pre-eminence of the Roman above all other churches. To which they of the east returned this ironical answer: “That since the Christian princes came from them to the west, for this reason their Church ought to have the preference, as being the fountain and spring from whence so great a blessing flowed.” But Julius, laying aside that controversy, built two churches, one near the Forum Romanum, the other in that part of the city beyond Tiber. He erected also three cemeteries — one in the Via Flaminia, another in the Via Aurelia, the third in the Via Portuensis. He constituted likewise, that no clergyman should plead before any but an ecclesiastical judge. He appointed likewise, that all matter belonging to the Church should be penned by the notaries or the protonotary, whose office it was to commit to writing all memorable occurrences. But in our age, most of them (not to say all) are so ignorant, that they are scarce able to write their own names in Latin, much less to transmit the actions of others. Concerning their morals, I am ashamed to say anything, since panders and parasites have been sometimes preferred to that office. During the reign of Constantine and Constantius, Marcellus, Bishop of Ancyra, was a man of considerable note, and wrote several things, particularly against the Arians. Asterius and Apollonarius wrote against him, and accused him of the Sabellian heresy, as did likewise Hilarius, whom while Marcellus is confuting, his very defence shows him to be of a different opinion from Julius and Athanasius. He was opposed likewise by Basilius, Bishop of Ancyra, in his book “De Virginitate,” 79 which Basilius, together with Eustathius, Bishop of Sebastia, were the principal men of the Macedonian party. About this time also, Theodorus, Bishop of Heraclea in Thrace, a person of terse and copious eloquence, was a considerable writer, as particularly appears by his commentaries upon St Matthew, St John, the Psalms, and Epistles. As for Julius himself, having at three Decembrian ordinations made eighteen presbyters, three deacons, nine bishops, he died, and was buried in the Via Aurelia, in the cemetery of Calepodius, three miles from the city, August the 12th. He sat in the chair fifteen years, two months, six days, and by his death the see was vacant twenty-five days.1


 1  In this Pontificate was held the Council of Sardica, in Illyria, attended by 100 western and 76 eastern bishops. Its object was to decide some disputed questions in the Arian controversy, and to reconcile the breach which that controversy had caused between the eastern and western churches. The result, however, was not successful, for that alienation was made stronger. — ED.

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Previous Pope:  35. Marcus I. 36. Julius I. Next Pope: 37. Liberius I.

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