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Constantius II

Eastern emperor from 337; sole emperor from 350. Acceding after defeating Magnentius in the West, he continued the benevolent policy of Constantine I toward the church, which freed clergy from taxation and public service, although his laws in 360/1 made such privileges conditional. Some of his pro-Christian legislation was directed against Jews. Doctrinal disputes threatened the cohesion of the empire. To alleviate Western discontent with Eastern bishops, Constans induced Constantius to recall Athanasius* to Alexandria (346). In 350 he reassured the latter of his support, but gradually, influenced by the Arian Valens* of Mursa, he sought to unite the church with a vague creed which excluded the unscriptural term “substance” and stressed “likeness.” At Milan in 355 he exiled bishops who refused to depose Athanasius, and, despite a brief period of favor towards Homoousions, imposed the “Dated Creed” on the Councils of Rimini and Seleucia (359).