an active champion of orthodoxy during the troubles which agitated the church in the middle of the fourth century, was a native of Sardinia, passed his early life as an ecclesiastical reader at Rome, and in A. D. 340 was, by Pope Julius, ordained bishop of Vercelli, where, although an utter stranger, he in a very brief space acquired the love and respect of all by the simplicity of his life, and by the interest Which he manifested in the spiritual welfare of his flock and his clergy.
The latter he was wont to assemble in his house and retain for long periods, living with them in common, and stimulating them by his example to acts of devotion and self-denial.
This is said to be the first instance upon record of an attempt to combine the duties of an active priesthood with monastic observances, and is belived to have led the way to the institution of regular canons, and to have suggested many of the principles upon which cathedral establishments were formed and regulated. Eusebius, in A. D. 354, at the request of Liberius, undertook, in company with Lucifer of Cagliari and the deacon Hilarius, an embassy to Constantius, by whom the persecution of Athanasius had been sanctioned.
In consequence of their urgent representations the council of Milan was summoned the following year, where Eusebius pleaded the cause of the true faith with so much freedom and energy, that the Arian emperor, we are told, in a transport of rage drew his sword upon the orator, whom he banished on the spot to Scythopolis, a city in the Decapolis of Syria. From thence he was transported into Cappadocia, and afterwards to the Thebaid, where he remained until restored to liberty by the edict of Julian, published in A. D. 362, pronouncing the recall of the exiled prelates. Repairing to Alexandria, in compliance with the request of Athanasius, he was present at the great council (of 362), and his name is appended to the proceedings, being the only signature expressed in Latin characters. From Alexandria, Eusebius proceeded to Antioch, where he attempted in vain to heal the dissensions excited by the election of Paulinus; and after visiting many churches in the East, returned at length to his own diocese, where he died, according to St. Jerome, in A. D. 370.
We possess three Epistolae
of this father.
Written on the occasion of his banishment, to which is attached Libellus facti,
a sort of protest against the violent conduct of the Arian bishop Patrophilus, who was in some sort his jailor during his residence at Scythopolis.
found among the fragments of Hilarius (11.5).
He executed also a translation of the commentary drawn up by his namesake, Eusebius of Caesareia, on the Psalms.
Edition of the Evangelists
an edition of the Evangelists, from a copy said to be transcribed by his own hand, preserved at Vercelli.
Published at Milan, 4to. 1748, by J. A. Irico.
The above-mentioned letters are given in the Bibl. Patr. Max., Lugdun. 1677, vol. v. p. 1127
; in the Bibl. Patr. of Galland, vol. v. p. 78
, and in all the larger collections of the fathers.
Hieron. de Viris Ill.