To save his flock from extinction or dispersion, Ulfilas decided to withdraw both himself and his people.
The Arianism of Ulfilas was a fact of pregnant consequence for his people, and indirectly for the empire.
This ordination of Ulfilas by the chiefs of the semi-Arian party is at once an indication of their determination to extend their influence by active missionary enterprise, and evidence that Ulfilas was now a declared adherent of the Arian or semi-Arian party.
This Arian form of Christianity was imparted by Ulfilas and his disciples to most of the tribes of the Gothic stock, and persisted among them, in spite of persecution, for two centuries.
At an early age Ulfilas was sent, either as an envoy or as a hostage for his tribe, to Constantinople, probably on the occasion of the treaty arranged in 332.
What Ulfilas was to the Gothic tribes, what Columba and his disciples were to the early Celtic missions, what Augustine or Aidan was to the British Isles, what Boniface was to the churches of Germany and Anskar to those of Denmark and Sweden, that, on the discovery of a new world of missionary enterprise, was Xavier to India, Hans Egede to Greenland, Eliot to the Red Indians, Martyn to the church of Cawnpore, Marsden to the Maoris, Carey, Heber, Wilson, Duff and Edwin Lewis to India, Morrison, Gilmour, Legge, Hill, Griffith John to China, Gray, Livingstone, Mackenzie, Moffat, Hannington, Mackay to Africa, Broughton to Australia, Patteson to Melanesia, Crowther to the Niger Territory, Chalmers to New Guinea, Brown to Fiji.
The other legacy bequeathed by Ulfilas was of less questionable value.
It was in the East especially that preaching flourished: Eusebius of Caesarea, Eusebius of Emesa, Athanasius, Macarius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Ephraem Syrus among the orthodox; and of the Arians, Arius himself and Ulfilas the great Gothic missionary, are all of high quality; but above even these stand out the three Cappadocians,Basil (q.v.) of Caesarea,cultured, devout and practical; his brother Gregory of Nyssa, more inclined to the speculative and metaphysical, and Gregory (q.v.) of Nazianzus, richly endowed with poetic and oratorial gifts, the finest preacher of the three.