Eusebius, the author of traditions and legends of Christianity
In 312 The
Roman Emperor Constantine accepted his own version of the Christian
faith While he was preparing for another military campaign. The
story claims he had a vision of the cross against the sun,
accompanied by the words, "In this sign, conquer."
It is said
it was Constantine that made all religions legal and made
Christianity the state religion. After this act it began to be
corrupted by man centered thinking, and Greek philosophy.
“We grant both to Christians and to all men freedom to follow
whatever religion each one wishes, in order that whatever divinity
there is in the seat of heaven may be appeased and made propitious
towards us and towards all who have been set under our power. . . .
And since these same Christians are known to have possessed not only
the places in which they had the habit of assembling but other
property too which belongs by right to their body. . . you will
order all this property. . . to be given back without any
equivocation or dispute to all those same Christians.
(Quoted in Michael Walsh, The Triumph of the Meek: Why Early
Christianity Succeeded (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986), 248.
Historians dispute whether Constantine's conversion to Christianity
was genuine E.g., Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (Pelican
Books, 1967, reprinted Penguin Books, 1990), 125-127; Edward Gibbon,
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Great Books of the
Western World ed. (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.1952), 290.
Although Eusebius recounts that in AD 312, Constantine saw a
"vision" in which the sign of the cross was emblazoned across the
sky surrounded by the words "In this, conquer," this "vision" was
almost certainly apocryphal. See Ramsay MacMullen, Constantine
(New York: Dial Press, 1969), 73.
Assole emperor. His first act (Soz. 1. 8) was to issue a
proclamation in favor of the Christians (Soz. l.c.; V. C. 2. 24-,
and 48). This was followed by many other acts in their
favor,--building of churches,
313 a.d. Edict of Constantine and Licinius for the restoration of
the Church. In Lact. De M. P. c. 48, and also in Euseb. H. E. 10. 5
(Op. Const. ed. Migne, 105-110). The second edict of toleration. The
first edict (Euseb. 8. 17; Lact. De M. P. 34) can hardly be classed
among the "writings" of Constantine. This famous second edict grants
full religious liberty to the Christians and restoration of their
“Constantine called on him (God) with earnest prayer to reveal to
him who he was, and stretch forth his right hand to help him in his
present difficulties. And while he was thus praying with fervent
entreaty, a most extraordinary sign appeared to him from heaven –
something which it might have been hard to believe had the story
been told by any other person. But since the victorious emperor
himself long afterwards declared it to the writer of this history,
when he was honored with his acquaintance and society, and confirmed
his statement by an oath, who could hesitate to believe it,
especially since other testimonies have established its truth? He
said that about noon, when the day was already beginning to decline,
he saw with his own eyes the sign of a cross of light in the
heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription, “By this symbol
you will conquer.” He was struck with amazement by the sight, and
his whole army witnessed the miracle.
told his friend, Bishop Eusebius, the most eminent of early Church
historians, that, after noon, as he was praying, he had a vision of
a cross of light in the heavens bearing the inscription, .Conquer by
this,. and that confirmation came in a dream in which God appeared
to him with the same sign and commanded him to make a likeness of it
and use it as a safeguard in all encounters with his enemies. How
accurately Constantine remembered the experience we do not know, but
Eusebius is usually discriminating in his evaluation of data, and he
declares that he himself saw the standard which was made in response
to the vision. a spear overlaid with gold, with a cross which was
formed by a transverse bar and a wreath of gold and precious stones
enclosing a monogram of the letters Chi and Rho for the name of
Christ. The staff also had an embroidered cloth with the picture of
Constantine and his children. Constantine was victor, the winning
battle being at the Milvian Bridge, near Rome, and he therefore took
possession of the capital. Presumably his faith in the efficacy of
the Christian symbol was thus confirmed.” (“A
History of Christianity,” by Kenneth Scott Latourette Vol. 1, pp.
The Emperor constantly made use of this sign of salvation as a
safeguard against every adverse and hostile power, and commanded
that others similar to it should be carried at the head of all his
come to Eusebius, who is titled the first church historian (or some
claim THE church historian).
Around 315 he was elected bishop of Cæsarea, in Palestine, and found
himself in the midst of a growing controversy of Arianism. He took
the side of Arius, that Jesus was a creature. At the Council of
Nicæa (325), he attempted to reconcile the opposing parties.
Although he did not side with the homoousios doctrine of Athanasius
(who was not a bishop), that held the full divinity and equality of
Christ with the Father.
Constantine became the Emperor, fourteen years had already gone by
since Emperor Galerius brought an end to the Christian persecutions.
Many of the men who suffered for the name of Christ that survived
the persecution were now representatives at the Council of Nicaea.
In 325 (June 19-Aug. 25) the Council of Nicæa was held (cf. Euseb.
V. C. 3. 6, and notes), and Constantine took an active part in its
proceedings though he did not attend. Eusibius
eventually signed the formula approved at Nicæa, complying
with Emperor Constantine who had convened the council for the new
historical view Eusebius explains the developing church and the
relationship of Christianity with the Roman Empire and their
leaders. Eusebius was Constantine’s ecclesiastical “biographer,”
under Constantine’s leadership until 339 AD.
Eusebius fully endorsed
Constantine’s vision and his leadership, which tells us a whole lot
about this man. He was so supportive of Constantine, he called him
Constantine the Great.
Eusebius wrote an influential history of the church that is often
referred to today.
Many of the traditions of the apostles death came from Eusebius
(i.e. Peter and Paul’s death, John boiled in oil).
His view was certainly seen in some of his writings. He taught that
the promises of scripture were for the gentiles while the curses
were for the Jews, and that the church was the "true Israel.”
Eusebius must be questioned on at least some his writing of early
history. He may not have corrupted all the early writings on every
matter but certainly some. Unless one can use independent sources
for the early writers apart from going through Eusibius we cannot
accept his writings verbatim. Because of his loyalty and association
with Constantine; he must be scrutinized. In fact, using Eusebius
makes it far more difficult to speak out on Roman Catholics who
makes use of these early writers he recorded.
the historian writes In CHAPTER XXXII: How Constantine received
Instruction, and read the Sacred Scriptures.
things were done shortly afterwards. But at
the time above specified,
being struck with amazement at the extraordinary vision, and
resolving to worship no other God save Him who had appeared to him,
he sent for those who were acquainted with the mysteries of His
doctrines, and enquired who that God was, and what was intended by
the sign of the vision he had seen. They affirmed that He was God,
the only begotten Son of the one and only God: that the sign which
had appeared was the symbol of immortality, (1) and the trophy of
that victory over death which He had gained in time past when
sojourning on earth. They taught him also the causes of His advent,
and explained to him the true account of His incarnation. Thus he
was instructed in these matters, and was impressed with wonder at
the divine manifestation which had been presented to his sight.”
While Eusebius states this of Constantine, we find he believed the
opposite. Constantine did not believe in the Trinity (ignoring the
debates at the council of Niacea) he was later baptized believing
Jesus was a creature.
It was Arius who
believed Jesus was a creature. Arius, writing to Eusebius, Bishop of
Nicodemia, when his father Ammonius was visiting the city Nicodemia,
penned this, “how grievously the bishop attacks and persecutes us,
and comes full tilt against us, so that he drives us from the city
as atheists because we do not concur with him when he publicly
preaches, ’God always, the Son always; at the same time the
Father, at the same time the Son; the Son co-exists with God,
unbegotten; He is ever begotten, He is not born by begetting;
neither by thought nor by any moment in time does God precede the
Son; God always, Son Always, the Son exists from God himself’…Arius’
view was “And before He was begotten or created or appointed or
established, He did not exist; for He was not unbegotten. We are
persecuted because we say the son had a beginning, but God is
without beginning” (Letter to Eusibius 321 A.D. Theodoret.
Bishop of Cyrus 423-458 H.E.I.v).
later won to the side of Arius by Eusebius of Nicodemia, the
Emperors friend. Constantine then recalled Arius from exile sending
him back to Alexandria. Receiving Eusebius of Nicodemia on his
deathbed, Constantine was baptized an Arian (337 A.D) . Now
supporting Arius' view, he rejected the Trinitarian view, and
Constantine then disposed Athanasius and his followers
“Constantine began to wonder whether Arius had not been a heretic
after all. But when the Emperor himself died, in the following year,
he received the rites of baptism from his friend and counselor
Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia, an Arian.
Constantius took theology more seriously than his father. He made
his own inquiry into the paternity of Jesus, adopted the Arian view,
and felt a moral obligation to enforce it upon all Christendom.”
STORY OF CIVILIZATION The Age of Faith Durant, Will, 1950)
Eusebius was an admirer of Constantine one should consider his
accuracy in recording history as being so accurate as he is credited