Church History, Books VII-X
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EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA
CHURCH HISTORY, BOOKS VII-X
[Translated by Rev. Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Ph.D. Professor of Church History in Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati.]
BOOK VII: INTRODUCTION.
In this seventh book of the Church History, the great bishop of Alexandria, Dionysius, (1) shall again assist us by his own words; relating the several affairs of his time in the epistles which he has left. I will begin with them.
CHAPTER I: The Wickedness of Decius and Gallus.
When Decius had reigned not quite two years, (1) he was slain with his children, and Gallus succeeded him. At this time Origen died, being sixty- nine years of age. (2) Dionysius, writing to Hermammon, (3) speaks as follows of Gallus: (4)
"Gallus neither recognized the wickedness of Decius, nor considered what had destroyed him; but stumbled on the same stone, though it lay before his eyes. For when his reign was prosperous and affairs were proceeding according to his mind, he attacked the holy men who were interceding with God for his peace and welfare. Therefore with them he persecuted also their prayers in his behalf." So much concerning him.
CHAPTER II: The Bishops of Rome in those Times.
Cornelius, (1) having held the episcopate in the city of Rome about three years, was succeeded by Lucius. (2) He died in less than eight months, and transmitted his office to Stephen. (3) Dionysius wrote to him the first of his letters on baptism, (4) as no small controversy had arisen as to whether those who had turned from any heresy should be purified by baptism. For the ancient custom prevailed in regard to such, that they should receive only the laying on of hands with prayers. (5)
CHAPTER III: Cyprian, and the Bishops with him, first taught that it was necessary to purify by Baptism those converted from Heresy.
First of all, Cyprian, pastor of the parish of Carthage, (1) maintained that they should not be received except they had been purified from their error by baptism. But Stephen considering it unnecessary to add any innovation contrary to the tradition which had been held from the beginning, was very indignant at this. (2)
CHAPTER IV: The Epistles which Dionysius wrote an this Subject.
Dionysius, therefore, having communicated with him extensively on this question by letter, (1) finally showed him that since the persecution had abated, (2) the churches everywhere had rejected the novelty of Novatus, and were at peace among themselves. He writes as follows:
CHAPTER V: The Peace following the Persecution.
1. "But know now, my brethren, that all the churches throughout the East and beyond, which formerly were divided, have become united. And all the bishops everywhere are of one mind, and rejoice greatly in the peace which has come beyond expectation. Thus Demetrianus in Antioch, (1) Theoctistus in Caesarea, Mazabanes in AElia, Marinus in Tyre (Alexander having fallen asleep), (2) Heliodorus in Laodicea (Thelymidres being dead), Helenus in Tarsus, and all the churches of Cilicia, Firmilianus, and all Cappadocia. I have named only the more illustrious bishops, that I may not make my epistle too long and my words too burdensome. 2. And all Syria, and Arabia to which you send help when needed, (3) and whither you have just written, (4) Mesopotamia, Pontus, Bithynia, and in short all everywhere are rejoicing and glorifying God for the unanimity and brotherly love." Thus far Dionysius.
3. But Stephen, having filled his office two years, was succeeded by Xystus. (5) Dionysius wrote him a second epistle on baptism, (6) in which he shows him at the same time the opinion and judgment of Stephen and the other bishops, and speaks in this manner of Stephen:
4. "He therefore had written previously concerning Helenus and Firmilianus, and all those in Cilicia and Cappadocia and Galatia and the neighboring nations, saying that he would not commune with them for this same cause; namely, that they re- baptized heretics. But consider the importance of the matter. 5. For truly in the largest synods of the bishops, as I learn, decrees have been passed on this subject, that those coming over from heresies should be instructed, and then should be washed (7) and cleansed from the filth of the old and impure leaven. And I wrote entreating him concerning all these things." Further on he says:
6. "I wrote also, at first in few words, recently in many, to our beloved fellow-presbyters, Dionysius (8) and Philemon, (9) who formerly had held the same opinion as Stephen, and had written to me on the same matters." So much in regard to the above-mentioned controversy.
CHAPTER VI: The Heresy of Sabellius.
He refers also in the same letter to the heretical teachings of Sabellius, (1) which were in his time becoming prominent, and says:
"For concerning the doctrine now agitated in Ptolemais of Pentapolis,-- which is impious and marked by great blasphemy against the Almighty God, the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and contains much unbelief respecting his Only Begotten Son and the first-born of every creature, the Word which became man, and a want of perception of the Holy Spirit, --as there came to me communications from both sides and brethren discussing the matter, I wrote certain letters treating the subject as instructively as, by the help. of God, I was able. (2) Of these I send (3) thee copies."
CHAPTER VII: The Abominable Error of the Heretics; the Divine Vision of Dianysius; and the Ecclesiastical Canon which he received.
1. In the third epistle on baptism which this same Dionysius wrote to Philemon, (1) the Roman presbyter, he relates the following:
"But I examined the works and traditions of the heretics, defiling my mind for a little time with their abominable opinions, but receiving this benefit from them, that I refuted them by myself, and detested them all the more. 2. And when a certain brother among the presbyters restrained me, fearing that I should be carried away with the filth of their wickedness (for it would defile my soul), -- in which also, as I perceived, he spoke the truth, --a vision sent from God came and strengthened me. 3. And the word which came to me commanded me, saying distinctly, 'Read everything which thou canst take in hand, (2) for thou art able to correct and prove all; and this has been to thee from the beginning the cause of thy faith.' I received the vision as agreeing with the apostolic word, which says to them that are stronger, 'Be skillful money-changers.' " (3)
4. Then after saying some things concerning all the heresies he adds: "I received this rule and ordinance from our blessed father, (4) Heraclas. (5) For those who came over from heresies, although they had apostatized from the Church, --or rather had not apostatized, but seemed to meet with them, yet were charged with resorting to some false teacher,-- when he, had expelled them from the Church he did not receive them back, though they entreated for it, until they had publicly reported all things which they had heard from their adversaries; but then he received them without requiring of them another baptism. (6) For they had formerly received the Holy Spirit from him."
5. Again, after treating the question thoroughly, he adds: "I have learned also that this (7) is not a novel practice introduced in Africa alone, but that even long ago in the times of the bishops before us this opinion has been adopted in the most populous churches, and in synods of the brethren in Iconium and Synnada, (8) and by many others. To overturn their counsels and throw them into strife and contention, I cannot endure. For it is said? (9) 'Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor's landmark, which thy fathers have set.' " (10)
6. His fourth epistle on baptism n was written to Dionysius (12) of Rome, who was then a presbyter, but not long after received the epis-copate of that church. It is evident from what is stated of him by Dionysius of Alexandria, that he also was a learned and admirable man. Among other things he writes to him as follows concerning Novatus:
CHAPTER VIII: The Heterodoxy of Navatus.
"For with good reason do we feel hatred toward Novatian, (1) who has sundered the Church and drawn some of the brethren into impiety and blasphemy, and has introduced impious teaching concerning God, and has calumniated our most compassionate Lord Jesus Christ as unmerciful. And besides all this he rejects the holy baptism, (2) and overturns the faith and confession which precede it, (3) and entirely banishes from them the Holy Ghost, if indeed there was any hope that he would remain or return to them." (4)
CHAPTER IX: The Ungodly Baptism of the Heretics.
1. His fifth epistle (1) was written to Xystus, (2) bishop of Rome. In this, after saying much against the heretics, he relates a certain occurrence of his time as follows:
"For truly, brother, I am in need of counsel, and I ask thy judgment concerning a certain matter which has come to me, fearing that I may be in error. 2. For one of the brethren that assemble, who has long been considered a believer, and who, before my ordination, and I think before the appointment of the blessed Heraclas, (3) was a member of the congregation, was present with those who were recently baptized. And when he heard the questions and answers, (4) he came to me weeping, and bewailing himself; and falling at my feet he acknowledged and protested that the baptism with which he had been baptized among the heretics was not of this character, nor in any respect like this, because it was full of impiety and blasphemy. (5) 3. And he said that his soul was now pierced with sorrow, and that he had not confidence to lift his eyes to God, because he had set out from those impious words and deeds. And on this account he besought that he might receive this most perfect purification, and reception and grace. 4. But I did not dare to do this; and said that his long communion was sufficient for this. For I should not dare to renew from the beginning one who had heard the giving of thanks and joined in repeating the Amen; who had stood by the table and had stretched forth his hands to receive the blessed food; and who had received it, and partaken for a long while of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. But I exhorted him to be of good courage, and to approach the partaking of the saints with firm faith and good hope. 5. But he does not cease lamenting, and he shudders to approach the table, and scarcely, though entreated, does he dare to be present at the prayers." (6)
6. Besides these there is also extant another epistle of the same man on baptism, addressed by him and his parish to Xystus and the church at Rome. In this he considers the question then agitated with extended argument. And there is extant yet another after these, addressed to Dionysius of Rome, (7) concerning Lucian. (8) So much with reference to these.
CHAPTER X: Valerian and the Persecution under him.
1. Gallus and the other rulers, (1) having held the government less than two years, were overthrown, and Valerian, with his son Gallienus, received the empire. 2. The circumstances which Dionysius relates of him we may learn from his epistle to Hermammon, (2) in which he gives the following account:
"And in like manner it is revealed to John; 'For there was given to him,' he says, 'a mouth speaking great things and blasphemy; and there was given unto him authority and forty and two months.' (3) 3. It is wonderful that both of these things occurred under Valerian; and it is the more remarkable in this case when we consider his previous conduct, for he had been mild and friendly toward the men of God, for none of the emperors before him had treated them so kindly and favorably; and not even those who were said openly to be Christians (4) received them with such manifest hospitality and friendliness as he did at the beginning of his reign. For his entire house was filled with pious persons and was a church of God. 4. But the teacher and ruler of the synagogue of the Magi from Egypt (5) persuaded him to change his course, urging him to slay and persecute pure and holy men (6) because they opposed and hindered the corrupt and abominable incantations. For there are and there were men who, being present and being seen, though they only breathed and spoke, were able to scatter the counsels of the sinful demons. And he induced him to practice initiations and abominable sorceries and to offer unacceptable sacrifices; to slay innumerable children and to sacrifice the offspring of unhappy fathers; to divide the bowels of new-born babes and to mutilate and cut to pieces the creatures of God, as if by suck practices they could attain happiness."
5. He adds to this the following: "Splendid indeed were the thank- offerings which Macrianus brought them (7) for the empire which was the object of his hopes. He is said to have been formerly the emperor's general finance minister (8); yet he did nothing praiseworthy or of general benefit, (9) but fell under the prophetic saying, 6. 'Woe unto those who prophesy from their own heart and do not consider the general good.' (10) For he did not perceive the general Providence, nor did he look for the judgment of Him who is before all, and through all, and over all. Wherefore he became an enemy of his Catholic (11) Church, and alienated and estranged himself from the compassion of God, and fled as far as possible from his salvation. In this he showed the truth of his own name." (12)
7. And again, farther on he says: "For Valerian, being instigated to such acts by this man, was given over to insults and reproaches, according to what was said by Isaiah: 'They have chosen their own ways and their abominations in which their soul delighted; I also will choose their delusions and will render unto them their sins.' (13) 8. But this man (14) madly desired the kingdom though unworthy of it, and being unable to put the royal garment on his crippled body, set forward his two sons to bear their father's sins. (15) For concerning them the declaration which God spoke was plain, 'Visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.' (16) 9. For heaping on the heads of his sons his own evil desires, in which he had met with success, (17) he wiped off upon them his own wickedness and hatred toward God."
Dionysius relates these things concerning Valerian.
CHAPTER XI: The Events which happened at this Time to Dionysius and those in Egypt.
1. But as regards the persecution which prevailed so fiercely in his reign, and the sufferings which Dionysius with others endured on account of piety toward the God of the universe, his own words shall show, which he wrote in answer to Germanus, (1) a contemporary bishop who was endeavoring to slander him. His statement is as follows:
2. "Truly I am in danger of falling into great folly and stupidity through being forced to relate the wonderful providence of God toward us. But since it is said (2) that 'it is good to keep close the secret of a king, but it is honorable to reveal the works of God,' (3) I will join issue with the violence of Germanus. 3. I went not alone to Aemilianus; (4) but my fellow-presbyter, Maximus, (5) and the deacons Faustus, (6) Eusebius, (7) and Chaeremon, (8) and a brother who was present from Rome, went with me. 4. But Aemilianus did not at first say to me: 'Hold no assemblies;' for this was superfluous to him, and the last thing to one who was seeking to accomplish the first. For he was not concerned about our assembling, but that we ourselves should not be Christians. And he commanded me to give this up; supposing if I turned from it, the others also would follow me. 5. But I answered him, neither unsuitably nor in many words: 'We must obey God rather than men.' (10) And I testified openly that I worshiped the one only God, and no other; and that I would not turn from this nor would I ever cease to be a Christian. Thereupon he commanded us to go to a village near the desert, called Cephro. (11) 6. But listen to the very words which were spoken on both sides, as they were recorded:
"Dionysius, Faustus, Maximus, Marcellus, (12) and Chaeremon being arraigned, Aemilianus the prefect said: 'I have reasoned verbally with you concerning the clemency which our rulers have shown to you; 7. for they have given you the opportunity to save yourselves, if you will turn to that which is according to nature, and worship the gods that preserve their empire, and forget those that are contrary to nature. (13) What then do you say to this? For I do not think that you will be ungrateful for their kindness, since they would turn you to a better course.' 8. Dionysius replied: 'Not all people worship all gods; but each one those whom he approves. We therefore reverence and worship the one God, the Maker of all; who hath given the empire to the divinely favored and august Valerian and Gallienus; and we pray to him continually for their empire, that it may remain unshaken.' 9. Aemilianus, the prefect, said to them: 'But who forbids you to worship him, if he is a god, together with those who are gods by nature. For ye have been commanded to reverence the gods, and the gods whom all know.' Dionysius answered: 'We worship no other.' 10. Aemilianus, the prefect, said to them: 'I see that you are at once ungrateful, and insensible to the kindness of our sovereigns. Wherefore ye shall not remain in this city. But ye shall be sent into the regions of Libya, to a place called Cephro. For I have chosen this place at the command of our sovereigns, and it shall by no means be permitted you or any others, either to hold assemblies, or to enter into the so-called cemeteries. (14) 11. But if any one shall be seen without the place which I have commanded, or be found in any assembly, he will bring peril on himself. For suitable punishment shall not fail. Go, therefore where ye have been ordered.'
"And he hastened me away, though I was sick, not granting even a day's respite. What opportunity then did I have, either to hold assemblies, or not to hold them?" (15)
12. Farther on he says: "But through the help of the Lord we did not give up the open assembly. But I called together the more diligently those who were in the city, as if I were with them; being, so to speak, (16) 'absent in body but present in spirit.' (17) But in Cephro a large church gathered with us of the brethren that followed us from the city, and those that joined us from Egypt; and there 'God opened unto us a door for the Word.' (18) 13. At first we were persecuted and stoned; but afterwards not a few of the heathen forsook the idols and turned to God. For until this time they had not heard the Word, since it was then first sown by us. 14. And as if God had brought us to them for this purpose, when we had performed this ministry he transferred us to another place. For Aemilianus, as it appeared, desired to transport us to rougher and more Libyan-like places; (19) so he commanded them to assemble from all quarters in Mareotis, (20) and assigned to them different villages throughout the country. But he ordered us to be placed nearer the highway that we might be seized first. (21) For evidently he arranged and prepared matters so that whenever he wished to seize us he could take all of us without difficulty. 15. When I was first ordered to go to Cephro I did not know where the place was, and had scarcely ever heard the name; yet I went readily and cheerfully. But when I was told that I was to remove to the district of Colluthion, (22) those who were present know how I was affected. 16. For here I will accuse myself. At first I was grieved and greatly disturbed; for though these places were better known and more familiar to us, yet the country was said to be destitute of brethren and of men of character, and to be exposed to the annoyances of travelers and incursions of robbers. 17. But I was comforted when the brethren reminded me that it was nearer the city, and that while Cephro afforded us much intercourse with the brethren from Egypt, so that we were able to extend the Church more widely, as this place was nearer the city we should enjoy more frequently the sight of those who were truly beloved and most closely related and dearest to us. For they would come and remain, and special meetings (23) could be held, as in the more remote suburbs. And thus it turned out."
After other matters he writes again as follows of the things which happened to him:
18. "Germanus indeed boasts of many confessions. He can speak forsooth of many adversities which he himself has endured. But is he able to reckon up as many as we can, of sentences, confiscations, proscriptions, plundering of goods, loss of dignities, contempt of worldly glory, disregard for the flatteries of governors and of councilors, and patient endurance of the threats of opponents, of outcries, of perils and persecutions, and wandering and distress, and all kinds of tribulation, such as came upon me under Decius and Sabinus, (24) and such as continue even now under Aemilianus? But where has Germanus been seen? And what account is there of him? 19. But I turn from this great folly into which I am falling on account of Germanus. And for the same reason I desist from giving to the brethren who know it an account of everything which took place."'
20. The same writer also in the epistle to! Domitius and Didymus (25) mentions some particulars of the persecution as follows: "As our people are many and unknown to you, it would be superfluous to give their names; but understand that men and women, young and old, maidens and matrons, soldiers and civilians, of every race and age, some by scourging and fire, others by the sword, have conquered inthe strife and received their crowns. 21. But in the case of some a very long time was not sufficient to make them appear acceptable to the Lord; as, indeed, it seems also in my own case, that sufficient time has not yet elapsed. Wherefore he has retained me for the time which he knows to be fitting, saying, 'In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee.' (26) 22. For as you have inquired of our affairs and desire us to tell you how we are situated, you have heard fully that when we -- that is, myself and Gaius and Faustus and Peter and Paul (27)-- were led away as prisoners by a centurion and magistrates, with their soldiers and servants, certain persons from Mareotis came and dragged us away by force, as we were unwilling to follow them. (28) 23. But now I and Gaius and Peter are alone, deprived of the other brethren, and shut up in a desert and dry place in Libya, three days' journey from Paraetonium." 29
24. He says farther on: "The presbyters, 24 Maximus, (30) Dioscorus, (31) Demetrius, and Lucius (32) concealed themselves in the city, and visited the brethren secretly; for Faustinus and Aquila, (33) who are more prominent in the world, are wandering in Egypt. But the deacons, Faustus, Eusebius, and Chaeremon, (34) have survived those who died in the pestilence. Eusebius is one whom God has strengthened. and endowed from the first to fulfill energetically the ministrations for the imprisoned confessors, and to attend to the dangerous task of preparing for burial the bodies of the perfected and blessed martyrs. 25. For as I have said before, unto the present time the governor continues to put to death in a cruel manner those who are brought to trial. And he destroys some with tortures, and wastes others away with imprisonment and bonds; and he suffers no one to go near them, and investigates whether any one does so. Nevertheless God gives relief to the afflicted through the zeal and persistence of the brethren."
26. Thus far Dionysius. But it should be known that Eusebius, whom he calls a deacon, shortly afterward became bishop of the church of Laodicea in Syria; (35) and Maximus, of whom he speaks as being then a presbyter, succeeded Dionysius himself as bishop of Alexandria. (36) But the Faustus who was with him, and who at that time was distinguished for his confession, was preserved until the persecution in our day, (37) when being very old and full of days, he closed his life by martyrdom, being beheaded. But such are the things which happened at that time (38) to Dionysius.
CHAPTER XII: The Martyrs in Caesarea in Palestine.
During the above-mentioned persecution under Valerian, three men in Caesarea in Palestine, being conspicuous in their confession of Christ, were adorned with divine martyrdom, becoming food for wild beasts. One of them was called Priscus, another Malchus, and the name of the third was Alexander. (1) They say that these men, who lived in the country, acted at first in a cowardly manner, as if they were careless and thoughtless. For when the opportunity was given to those who longed for the prize with heavenly desire, they treated it lightly, lest they should seize the Crown of martyrdom prematurely. But having deliberated on the matter, they hastened to Caesarea, and went before the judge and met the end we have mentioned. They relate that besides these, in the same persecution and the same city, a certain woman endured a similar conflict. But it is reported that she belonged to the sect of Marcion. (2)
CHAPTER XIII: The Peace under Gallienus.
1. Shortly ahter this Valerian was reduced to slavery by the barbarians, (1) and his son having become sole ruler, conducted the government more prudently. He immediately restrained the persecution against us by public proclamations, (2) and directed the bishops to perform in freedom their customary duties, in a rescript (3) which ran as follows:
2. "The Emperor Caesar Publius Licinius Gallienus, Pius, Felix, Augustus, (4) to Dionysius, Pinnas, Demetrius, (5) and the other bishops. I have ordered the bounty of my gift to be declared through all the world, that they may depart from the places of religious worship. (6) And for this purpose you may use this copy of my rescript, that no one may molest you. And this which you are now enabled lawfully to do, has already for a long time been conceded by me. (7) Therefore Aurelius Cyrenius, (8) who is the chief administrator of affairs, (9) will observe this ordinance which I have given."
3. I have given this in a translation from the Latin, that it may be more readily understood. Another decree of his is extant addressed to other bishops, permitting them to take possession again of the so-called cemeteries. (10)
CHAPTER XIV: The Bishops that flourished at that Time.
At that time Xystus (1) was still presiding over the church of Rome, and Demetrianus, (2) successor of Fabius, (3) over the church of Antioch, and Firmilianus (4) over that of Caesarea in Cappadocia; and besides these, Gregory (5) and his brother Athenodorus, (6) friends of Origen, were presiding over the churches in Pontus; and Theoctistus (7) of Caesarea in Palestine having died, Domnus (8) received the episcopate there. He held it but a short time, and Theotecnus, (9) our contemporary, succeeded him. He also was a member of Origen's school. But in Jerusalem, after the death of Mazabanes, (10) Hymenaeus, (11) who has been celebrated among us for a great many years, succeeded to his seat.
CHAPTER XV: The Martyrdom of Marinus at Caesarea.
1. At this time, when the peace of the churches had been everywhere (1) restored, Marinus in Caesarea in Palestine, who was honored for his military deeds, and illustrious by virtue of family and wealth, was beheaded for his testimony to Christ, on the following account. 2. The vine-branch (2) is a certain mark of honor among the Romans, and those who obtain it become, they say, centurions. A place being vacated, the order of succession called Marinus to this position. But when he was about to receive the honor, another person came before the tribunal and claimed that it was not legal, according to the ancient laws, for him to receive the Roman dignity, as he was a Christian and did not sacrifice to the emperors; but that the office belonged rather to him. 3. Thereupon the judge, whose name was Achaeus, (3) being disturbed, first asked what opinion Marinus held. And when he perceived that he continually confessed himself a Christian, he gave him three hours for reflection. 4. When he came out from the tribunal, Theotecnus, (4) the bishop there, took him aside and conversed with him, and taking his hand led him into the church. And standing with him within, in the sanctuary, he raised his cloak a little, and pointed to the sword that hung by his side; and at the same time he placed before him the Scripture of the divine Gospels, and told him to choose which of the two he wished. And without hesitation he reached forth his right hand, and took the divine Scripture. "Hold fast then," says Theotecnus to him, "hold fast to God, and strengthened by him mayest thou obtain what thou hast chosen, and go in peace." 5. Immediately on his return the herald cried out calling him to the tribunal, for the appointed time was already completed. And standing before the tribunal, and manifesting greater zeal for the faith, immediately, as he was, he was led away and finished his course by death.
CHAPTER XVI: Story in Regard to Astyrius.
Astyrius (1) also is commemorated on account of his pious boldness in connection with this affair. He was a Roman of senatorial rank, and in favor with the emperors, and well known to all on account of his noble birth and wealth. Being present at the martyr's death, he took his body away on his shoulder, and arraying him in a splendid and costly garment, prepared him for the grave in a magnificent manner, and gave him fitting burial. (2) The friends of this man, that remain to our day, relate many other facts, concerning him.
CHAPTER XVII: The Signs at Paneas of the Great Might of our Saviour.
Among these is also the following wonder. At Caesarea Philippi, which the Phoenicians call Paneas,(1) springs are shown at the foot of the Mountain Panius, out of which the Jordan flows. They say that on a certain feast day, a victim was thrown in, (2) and that through the power of the demon it marvelously disappeared and that which happened was a famous wonder to those who were present. Astyrius was once there when these things were done, and seeing the multitude astonished at the affair, he pitied their delusion; and looking up to heaven he supplicated the God over all through Christ, that he would rebuke the demon who deceived the people, and bring the men's delusion to an end. And they say that when he had prayed thus, immediately the sacrifice floated on the surface of the fountain. And thus the miracle departed; and no wonder was ever afterward performed at the place.
CHAPTER XVIII: The Statue which the Woman with an Issue of Blood erected. (1)
1. Since I have mentioned this city I do not think it proper to omit an account which is worthy of record for posterity. For they say that the woman with an issue of blood, who, as we learn from the sacred Gospel, (2) received from our Saviour deliverance from her affliction, came from this place, and that her house is shown in the city, and that remarkable memorials of the kindness of the Saviour to her remain there. 2. For there stands upon an elevated stone, by the gates of her house, a brazen image of a woman kneeling, with her hands stretched out, as if she were praying. Opposite this is another upright image of a man, made of the same material, clothed decently in a double cloak, and extending his hand toward the woman. At his feet, beside the statue itself, (3) is a certain strange plant, which climbs up to the hem of the brazen cloak, and is a remedy for all kinds of diseases. 3. They say that this statue is an image of Jesus. It has remained to our day, so that we ourselves also saw it when we were staying in the city. 4. Nor is it strange that those of the Gentiles who, of old, were benefited by our Saviour, should have done such things, since we have learned also that the likenesses of his apostles Paul and Peter, and of Christ himself, are preserved in paintings, (4) the ancients being accustomed, as it is likely, according to a habit of the Gentiles, to pay this kind of honor indiscriminately to those regarded by them as deliverers.
CHAPTER XIX: The Episcopal Chair of James.
The chair of James, who first received the episcopate of the church at Jerusalem from the Saviour himself (1) and the apostles, and who, as the divine records show, (2) was called a brother of Christ, has been preserved until now, (3) the brethren who have followed him in succession there exhibiting clearly to all the reverence which both those of old times and those of our own day maintained and do maintain for holy men on account of their piety. So much as to this matter.
CHAPTER XX: The Festal Epistles of Dionysius, in which he also gives a Paschal Canon.
Dionysius, besides his epistles already mentioned, (1) wrote at that time (2) also his extant Festal Epistles, (3) in which he uses words of panegyric respecting the passover feast. He addressed one of these to Flavius, (4) and another to Domitius and Didymus, (5) in which he sets forth a canon of eight years, (6) maintaining that it is not proper to observe the paschal feast until after the vernal equinox. Besides these he sent another epistle to his fellow-presbyters in Alexandria, as well as various others to different persons while the persecution was still prevailing. (7)
CHAPTER XXI: The Occurrences at Alexandria.
1. Peace had but just been restored when he returned to Alexandria; (1) but as sedition and war broke out again, rendering it impossible if or him to oversee all the brethren, separated in different places by the insurrection, at the feast of the passover, as if he were still an exile from Alexandria, he addressed them again by letter. (2) 2. And in another festal epistle written later to Hierax, (3) a bishop in Egypt, he mentions the sedition then prevailing in Alexandria, as follows:
"What wonder is it that it is difficult for me to communicate by letters with those who live far away, when it is beyond my power even to reason with myself, or to take counsel for my own life? 3. Truly I need to send letters to those who are as my own bowels, (4) dwelling in one home, and brethren of one soul, and citizens of the same church; but how to send them I cannot tell. For it would be easier for one to go, not only beyond the limits of the province, but even from the East to the West, than from Alexandria to Alexandria itself. 4. For the very heart of the city is more intricate and impassable than that great and trackless desert which Israel traversed for two generations. And our smooth and waveless harbors have become like the sea, divided and walled up, through which Israel drove and in whose highway the Egyptians were overwhelmed. For often from the slaughters there committed they appear like the Red Sea. 5. And the river which flows by the city has sometimes seemed drier than the waterless desert, and more parched than that in which Israel, as they passed through it, so suffered for thirst, that they cried out against Moses, and the water flowed for them from the steep rock, (5) through him who alone doeth wonders. 6. Again it has overflowed so greatly as to flood all the surrounding country, and the roads and the fields; threatening to bring back the deluge of water that occurred in the days of Noah. And it flows along, polluted always with blood and slaughter and drownings, as it became for Pharaoh through the agency of Moses, when he changed it into blood, and it stank. (6) 7. And what other water could purify the water which purifies everything? How could the ocean, so great and impassable for men, if poured into it, cleanse this bitter sea? Or how could the great river which flowed out of Eden, if it poured the four heads into which it is divided into the one of Geon, (7) wash away this pollution? 8. Or when can the air poisoned by these noxious exhalations become pure? For such vapors arise from the earth, and winds from the sea, and breezes from the river, and mists from the harbors, that the dews are, as it were, discharges from dead bodies putrefying in all the elements around us. 9. Yet men wonder and cannot understand whence these continuous pestilences; whence these severe sicknesses; whence these deadly diseases of all kinds; whence this various and vast human destruction; why this great city no longer contains as many inhabitants, from tender infants to those most advanced in life, as it formerly contained of those whom it called hearty old men. But the men from forty to seventy years of age were then so much more numerous that their number cannot now be filled out, even when those from fourteen to eighty years are enrolled and registered for the public allowance of food. 10. And the youngest in appearance have become, as it were, of equal age with those who formerly were the oldest. But though they see the race of men thus constantly diminishing and wasting away, and though their complete destruction is increasing and advancing, they do not tremble."
CHAPTER XXII: The Pestilence which came upon them.
1. After these events a pestilential disease followed the war, and at the approach of the feast he wrote again to the brethren, describing the sufferings consequent upon this calamity. (1)
2. "To other men (2) the present might not seem to be a suitable time for a festival. Nor indeed is this or any other time suitable for them; neither sorrowful times, nor even such as might be thought especially cheerful. (3) Now, indeed, everything is tears and every one is mourning, and wailings resound daily through the city because of the multitude of the dead and dying. 3. For as it was written of the firstborn of the Egyptians, so now 'there has arisen a great cry, for there is not a house where there is not one dead.' (4) And would that this were all! (5) 4. For many terrible things have happened already. First, they drove us out; and when alone, and persecuted, and put to death by all, even then we kept the feast. And every place of affliction was to us a place of festival: field, desert, ship, inn, prison; but the perfected martyrs kept the most joyous festival of all, feasting in heaven. 5. After these things war and famine followed, which we endured in common with the heathen. But we bore alone those things with which they afflicted us, and at the same time we experienced also the effects of what they inflicted upon and suffered from one another; and again, we rejoiced in the peace of Christ, which he gave to us alone.
6. "But after both we and they had enjoyed a very brief season of rest this pestilence assailed us; to them more dreadful than any dread, and more intolerable than any other calamity; and, as one of their own writers has said, the only thing which prevails over all hope. But to us this was not so, but no less than the other things was it an exercise and probation. For it did not keep aloof even from us, but the heathen it assailed more severely." Farther on he adds:
7. "The most of our brethren were unsparing in their exceeding love and brotherly kindness. They held fast to each other and visited the sick fearlessly, and ministered to them continually, serving them in Christ. And they died with them most joyfully, taking the affliction of others, and drawing the sickness from their neighbors to themselves and willingly receiving their pains. And many who cared for the sick and gave strength to others died themselves having transferred to themselves their death. And the popular saying which always seems a mere expression of courtesy, they then made real in action, taking their departure as the others' 'offscouring.' (6)
8. "Truly the best of our brethren departed from life in this manner, including some presbyters and deacons and those of the people who had the highest reputation; so that this form of death, through the great piety and strong faith it exhibited, seemed to lack nothing of martyrdom. 9. And they took the bodies of the saints in their open hands and in their bosoms, and closed their eyes and their mouths; and they bore them away on their shoulders and laid them out; and they clung to them and embraced them; and they prepared them suitably with washings and garments. And after a little they received like treatment themselves, for the survivors were continually following those who had gone before them.
10. "But with the heathen everything was quite otherwise. They deserted those who began to be sick, and fled from their dearest friends. And they cast them out into the streets when they were half dead, and left the dead like refuse, unburied. They shunned any participation or fellowship with death; which yet, with all their precautions, it was not easy for them to escape."
11. After this epistle, when peace had been restored to the city, he wrote another festal letter (7) to the brethren in Egypt, and again several others besides this. And there is also a certain one extant On the Sabbath, (8) and another On Exercise. 12. Moreover, he wrote again an epistle to Hermammon (9) and the brethren in Egypt, describing at length the wickedness of Decius and his successors, and mentioning the peace under Gallienus.
CHAPTER XXIII: The Reign of Gallienus.
1. But there is nothing like hearing his own words, which are as follows:
"Then he, (1) having betrayed one of the emperors that preceded him, and made war on the other, (2) perished with his whole family speedily and utterly. But Gallienus was proclaimed and universally acknowledged at once an old emperor and a new, being before them and continuing after them. 2. For according to the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah, 'Behold the things from the beginning have come to pass, and new things shall now arise.' (3) For as a cloud passing over the sun's rays and obscuring them for a little time hides it and appears in its place; but when the cloud has passed by or is dissipated, the sun which had risen before appears again; so Macrianus who put himself forward and approached the existing empire of Gallienus, is not, since he never was. But the other is just as he was. 3. And his kingdom, as if it had cast aside old age, and had been purified from the former wickedness, now blossoms out more vigorously, and is seen and heard farther, and extends in all directions." (4)
4. He then indicates the time at which he wrote this in the following words:
"It occurs to me again to review the days of the imperial years. For I perceive that those most impious men, though they have been famous, yet in a short time have become nameless. But the holier and more godly prince, (5) having passed the seventh year, is now completing the ninth, (6) in which we shall keep the feast."
CHAPTER XXIV: Nepos and his Schism. (1)
1. Besides all these the two books on the Promises (2) were prepared by him. The occasion of these was Nepos, a bishop in Egypt, who taught that the promises to the holy men in the Divine Scriptures should be understood in a more Jewish manner, and that there would be a certain millennium of bodily luxury upon this earth. 2. As he thought that he could establish his private opinion by the Revelation of John, he wrote a book on this subject, entitled Refutation of Allegorists. (3) 3. Dionysius opposes this in his books on the Promises. In the first he gives his own opinion of the dogma; and in the second he treats of the Revelation of John, and mentioning Nepos at the beginning, writes of him in this manner:
4. "But since they bring forward a certain work of Nepos, on which they rely confidently, as if it proved beyond dispute that there will be a reign of Christ upon earth, I confess that (4) in many other respects I approve and love Nepos, for his faith and industry and diligence in the Scriptures, and for his extensive psalmody, (5) with which many of the brethren are still delighted; and I hold him in the more reverence because he has gone to rest before us. But the truth should be loved and honored most of all. And while we should praise and approve un-grudgingly what is said aright, we ought to examine and correct what does not seem to have been written soundly. 5. Were he present to state his opinion orally, mere unwritten discussion, persuading and reconciling those who are opposed by question and answer, would be sufficient. But as some think his work very plausible, and as certain teachers regard the law and prophets as of no consequence, and do not follow the Gospels, and treat lightly the apostolic epistles, while they make promises (6) as to the teaching of this work as if it were some great hidden mystery, and do not permit our simpler brethren to have any sublime and lofty thoughts concerning the glorious and truly divine appearing of our Lord, and our resurrection from the dead, and our being gathered together unto him, and made like him, but on the contrary lead them to hope for small and mortal things in the kingdom of God, and for things such as exist now,-- since this is the case, it is necessary that we should dispute with our brother Nepos as if he were present." Farther on he says:
6. "When I was in the district of Arsinoe, (7) where, as you know, this doctrine has prevailed for a long time, so that schisms and apostasies of entire churches have resulted, I called together the presbyters and teachers of the brethren in the villages,-- such brethren as wished being also present,--and I exhorted them to make a public examination of this question. 7. Accordingly when they brought me this book, as if it were a weapon and fortress impregnable, sitting with them from morning till evening for three successive days, I endeavored to correct what was written in it. 8. And I rejoiced over the constancy, sincerity, docility, and intelligence of the brethren, as we considered in order and with moderation the questions and the difficulties and the points of agreement. And we abstained from defending in every manner and contentiously the opinions which we had once held, unless they appeared to be correct. Nor did we evade objections, but we endeavored as far as possible to hold to and confirm the things which lay before us, and if the reason given satisfied us, we were not ashamed to change our opinions and agree with others; but on the contrary, conscientiously and sincerely, and with hearts laid open before God, we accepted whatever was established by the proofs and teachings of the Holy Scriptures. 9. And finally the author and mover of this teaching, who was called Coracion, (8) in the hearing of all the brethren that were present, acknowledged and testified to us that he would no longer hold this opinion, nor discuss it, nor mention nor teach it, as he was fully convinced by the arguments against it. And some of the other brethren expressed their gratification at the conference, and at the spirit of conciliation and harmony which all had manifested."
CHAPTER XXV: The Apocalypse of John. (1)
1. Afterward he speaks in this manner of the Apocalypse of John. "Some before us have set aside and rejected the book altogether, criticising it chapter by chapter, and pronouncing it without sense or argument, and maintaining that the title is fraudulent. 2. For they say that it is not the work of John, nor is it a revelation, because it is covered thickly and densely by a vail of obscurity. And they affirm that none of the apostles, rend none of the saints, nor any one in the Church is its author, but that Cerinthus, who founded the sect which was called after him the Cerinthian, desiring reputable authority for his fiction, prefixed the name. 3. For the doctrine which he taught was this: that the kingdom of Christ will be an earthly one. And as he was himself devoted to the pleasures of the body and altogether sensual in his nature, he dreamed that that kingdom would consist in those things which he desired, namely, in the delights of the belly and of sexual passion; that is to say, in eating and drinking and marrying, and in festivals and sacrifices and the slaying of victims, under the guise of which he thought he could indulge his appetites with a better grace. (2)
4. "But I could not venture to reject the book, as many brethren hold it in high esteem. But I suppose that it is beyond my comprehension, and that there is a certain concealed and more wonderful meaning in every part. For if I do not understand I suspect that a deeper sense lies beneath the words. 5. I do not measure and judge them by my own reason, but leaving the more to faith I regard them as too high for me to grasp. And I do not reject what I cannot comprehend, but rather wonder because I do not understand it."
6. After this he examines the entire Book of Revelation, and having proved that it is impossible to understand it according to the literal sense, proceeds as follows:
"Having finished all the prophecy, so to speak, the prophet pronounces those blessed who shall observe it, and also himself. For he says, 'Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book, and I, John, who saw and heard these things.' (3) 7. Therefore that he was called John, and that this book is the work of one John, I do not deny. And I agree also that it is the work of a holy and inspired man. But I cannot readily admit that he was the apostle, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James, by whom the Gospel of John and the Catholic Epistle (4) were written. 8. For I judge from the character of both, and the forms of expression, and the entire execution of the book, (5) that it is not his. For the evangelist nowhere gives his name, or proclaims himself, either in the Gospel or 9 Epistle." Farther on he adds:
9. "But John never speaks as if referring to himself, or as if referring to another person. (6) But the author of the Apocalypse introduces himself at the very beginning: 'The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which he gave him to show unto his servants quickly; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John, who bare witness of the word of God and of his testimony, even of all things that he saw." (7) 10. Then he writes also an epistle: 'John to the seven churches which are in Asia, grace be with you, and peace.' (8) But the evangelist did not prefix his name even to the Catholic Epistle; but without introduction he begins with the mystery of the divine revelation itself: 'That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes.' (9) For because of such a revelation the Lord also blessed Peter, saying, 'Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my heavenly Father.' (10) 11. But neither in the reputed second or third epistle of John, though they are very short, does the name John appear; but there is written the anonymous phrase, 'the eider.' (11) But this author did not consider it sufficient to give his name once and to proceed with his work; but he takes it up again: 'I, John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and in the patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus.' (12) And toward the close he speaks thus: 'Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book, and I, John, who saw and heard these things.' (13)
12. "But that he who wrote these things was called John must be believed, as he says it; but who he was does not appear. For he did not say, as often in the Gospel, that he was the beloved disciple of the Lord, (14) or the one who lay on his breast, (15) or the brother of James, or the eyewitness and hearer of the Lord. 13. For he would have spoken of these things if he had wished to show himself plainly. But he says none of them; but speaks of himself as our brother and companion, and a witness of Jesus, and blessed because he had seen and heard the revelations. 14. But I am of the opinion that there were many with the same name as the apostle John, who, on account of their love for him, and because they admired and emulated him, and desired to be loved by the Lord as he was, took to themselves the same surname, as many of the children of the faithful are called Paul or Peter. 15. For example, there is also another John, surnamed Mark, mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, (16) whom Barnabas and Paul took with them; of whom also it is said, 'And they had also John as their attendant.' (17) But that it is he who wrote this, I would not say. For it not written that he went with them into Asia, but, 'Now when Paul and his company set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.' (18) 16. But I think that he was some other one of those in Asia; as they say that there are two monuments in Ephesus, each bearing the name of John. (19)
17. "And from the ideas, and from the words and their arrangement, it may be reasonably conjectured that this one is different from that one. (20) 18. For the Gospel and Epistle agree with each other and begin in the same manner. The one says, 'In the beginning was the Word '; (21) the other, 'That which was from the beginning.' (22) The one: 'And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father'; (23) the other says the same things slightly altered: 'Which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes; which we have looked upon and our hands have handled of the Word of life,--and the life was manifested.' (24) 19. For he introduces these things at the beginning, maintaining them, as is evident from what follows, in opposition to those who said that the Lord had not come in the flesh. Wherefore also he carefully adds, 'And we have seen and bear witness, and declare unto you the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested unto us. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you also.' (25) 20. He holds to this and does not digress from his subject, but discusses everything under the same heads and names some of which we will briefly mention. 21. Anyone who examines carefully will find the phrases, 'the life,' 'the light,' 'turning from darkness,' frequently occurring in both; also continually, 'truth,' 'grace,' 'joy,' 'the flesh and blood of the Lord,' 'the judgment,' 'the forgiveness of sins,' 'the love of God toward us,' the 'commandment that we love one another,' that we should' keep all the commandments'; the 'conviction of the world, of the Devil, of AntiChrist,' the 'promise of the Holy Spirit,' the 'adoption of God,' the 'faith continually required of us,' 'the Father and the Son,' occur everywhere. In fact, it is plainly to be seen that one and the same character marks the Gospel and the Epistle throughout. 22. But the Apocalypse is different from these writings and foreign to them; not touching, nor in the least bordering upon them; almost, so to speak, without even a syllable in common with them. 23. Nay more, the Epistle--for I pass by the Gospel -- does not mention nor does it contain any intimation of the Apocalypse, nor does the Apocalypse of the Epistle. But Paul, in his epistles, gives some indication of his revelations, (26) though he has not written them out by themselves.
24. "Moreover, it can also be shown that the, diction of the Gospel and Epistle differs from that of the Apocalypse. 25. For they were written not only without error as regards the Greek language, but also with elegance in their expression, in their reasonings, and in their entire structure. They are far indeed from betraying any barbarism or solecism, or any vulgarism whatever. For the writer had, as it seems, both the requisites of discourse,-that is, the gift of knowledge and the gift of expression,--as the Lord had bestowed them both upon him. 26. I do not deny that the other writer saw a revelation and received knowledge and prophecy. I perceive, however, that his dialect and language are not accurate Greek, but that he uses barbarous idioms, and, in some places, solecisms. 27. It is unnecessary to point these out here, for I would not have any one think that I have said these things in a spirit of ridicule, for I have said what I have only with the purpose of showing dearly the difference between the writings."
CHAPTER XXVI: The Epistles of Dionysius.
1. Besides these, many other epistles of Dionysius are extant, as those against Sabellius, (1) addressed to Ammon, (2) bishop of the church of Bernice, and one to Telesphorus, (8) and one to Euphranor, and again another to Ammon and Euporus. He wrote also four other books on the same subject, which he addressed to his namesake Dionysius, in Rome. (4) 2. Besides these many of his epistles are with us, and large books written in epistolary form, as those on Nature, (5) addressed to the young man Timothy, and one on Temptations, (6) which he also dedicated to Euphranor. 3. Moreover, in a letter to Basilides, (7) bishop of the parishes in Pentapolis, he says that he had written an exposition of the beginning of Ecclesiastes. (8) And he has left us also various letters addressed to this same person. Thus much Dionysius.
But our account of these matters being now completed, permit us to show to posterity the character of our own age. (9)
CHAPTER XXVII: Paul of Samosata, and the Heresy introduced by hint at Antioch.
1. After Xystus had presided over the church of Rome for eleven years, (1) Dionysius, (2) namesake of him of Alexandria, succeeded him. About the same time Demetrianus (3) died in Antioch, and Paul of Samosata (4) received that episcopate. 2. As he held, contrary to (2) the teaching of the Church, low and degraded views of Christ, namely, that in his nature he was a common man, Dionysius of Alexandria was entreated to come to the synod. (5) But being unable to come on account of age and physical weakness, he gave his opinion on the subject under consideration by letter. (6) But all the other pastors of the churches from all directions, made haste to assemble at Antioch, as against a de- spoiler of the flock of Christ.
CHAPTER XXVIII: The Illustrious Bishops of that Time.
1. Of these, the most eminent were Firmilianus, (1) bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia; the brothers Gregory (2) and Athenodorus, pastors of the churches in Pontus; Helenus (3) of the parish of Tarsus, and Nicomas (4) of Iconium moreover, Hymenaeus, (5) of the church of Jerusalem, and Theotecnus (6) of the neighboring church of Caesarea; and besides these Maximus, (7) who presided in a distinguished manner over the brethren in Bostra. If any should count them up he could not fail to note a great many others, besides presbyters and deacons, who were at that time assembled for the same cause in the above-mentioned city. (8) But these were the most illustrious. 2. When all of these assembled at different times and frequently to consider these matters, the arguments and questions were discussed at every meeting; the adherents of the Samosatian endeavoring to cover and conceal his heterodoxy, and the others striving zealously to lay bare and make manifest his heresy and blasphemy against Christ.
3. Meanwhile, Dionysius died in the twelfth year of the reign of Gallienus, (9) having held the episcopate of Alexandria for seventeen years, and Maximus (10) succeeded him. 4. Gallienus after a reign of fifteen years n was succeeded by Claudius, (12) who in two years delivered the government to Aurelian.
CHAPTER XXIX: Paul, having been refuted by Malchion, a Presbyter from the Sophists, was excommunicated.
1. During his reign a final synod (1) composed of a great many bishops was held, and the leader of heresy (2) in Antioch was detected, and his false doctrine clearly shown before all, and he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church under heaven. (3) 2. Malchion especially drew him out of his hiding-place and refuted him. He was a man learned in other respects, and principal of the sophist school of Grecian learning in Antioch; yet on account of the superior nobility of his faith in Christ he had been made a presbyter of that parish. This man, having conducted a discussion with him, which was taken down by stenographers and which we know is still extant, was alone able to detect the man who dissembled and deceived the others.
CHAPTER XXX: The Epistle of the Bishops against Paul.
1. The pastors who had assembled about this matter, prepared by common consent an epistle addressed to Dionysius, (1) bishop of Rome, and Maximus (2) of Alexandria, and sent it to all the provinces. In this they make manifest to all their own zeal and the perverse error of Paul, and the arguments and discussions which they had with him, and show the entire life and conduct of the man. It may be well to put on record at the present time the following extracts from their writing:
2. "To Dionysius and Maximus, and to all our fellow-ministers throughout the world, bishops, presbyters, and deacons, and to the whole Catholic Church under heaven, (3) Helenus, (4) Hymenaeus, Theophilus, Theotecnus, Maximus, Proclus, Nicomas, AElianus, Paul, Bolanus, Protogenes, Hierax, Eutychius, Theodorus, (5) Malchion, and Lucius, and all the others who dwell with us in the neighboring cities and nations, bishops, presbyters, and deacons, and the churches of God, greeting to the beloved brethren in the Lord." 3. A little farther on they proceed thus:" We sent for and called many of the bishops from a distance to relieve us from this deadly doctrine; as Dionysius of Alexandria (6) and Firmilianus (7) of Cappadocia, those blessed men. The first of these not considering the author of this delusion worthy to be addressed, sent a letter to Antioch, (6) not written to him, but to the entire parish, of which we give a copy below. 4. But Firmilianus came twice (9) and condemned his innovations, as we who were present know and testify, and many others understand. But as he promised to change his opinions, he believed him and hoped that without any reproach to the Word what was necessary would be done. So he delayed the matter, being deceived by him who denied even his own God and Lord, (10) and had not kept the faith which he formerly held. 5. And now Firmilianus was again on his way to Antioch, and had come as far as Tarsus because he had learned by experience his God-denying wickedness. But while we, having come together, were calling for him and awaiting his arrival, he died." (11)
6. After other things they describe as follows the manner of life which he (12) led: "Whereas he has departed from the rule of faith, (12a) and has turned aside after base and spurious teachings, it is not necessary,--since he is without,--that we should pass judgment upon his practices: 7. as for instance in that although formerly destitute and poor, and having received no wealth from his fathers, nor made anything by trade or business, he now possesses abundant wealth through his iniquities and sacrilegious acts, and through those things which he extorts from the brethren, (13) depriving the injured of their rights and promising to assist them for reward, yet deceiving them, and plundering those who in their trouble are ready to give that they may obtain reconciliation with their oppressors, 'supposing that gain is godliness'; (14)-8. or in that he is haughty, and is puffed up, and assumes worldly dignities, preferring to be called ducenarius (15) rather than bishop; and struts in the market-places, reading letters and reciting them as he walks in public, attended by a body-guard, with a multitude preceding and following him, so that the faith is envied and hated on account of his pride and haughtiness of heart;-- 9. or in that he practices chicanery in ecclesiastical assemblies, contrives to glorify himself, and deceive with appearances, and astonish the minds of the simple, preparing for himself a tribunal and lofty throne, (16)--not like a disciple of Christ,--and possessing a 'secretum,' (17)--like the rulers of the world,-- and so calling it, and striking his thigh with his hand, and stamping on the tribunal with his feet;--or in that he rebukes and insults those who do not applaud, and shake their handkerchiefs as in the theaters, and shout and leap about like the men and women that are stationed around him, and hear him in this unbecoming manner, but who listen reverently and orderly as in the house of God ;--or in that he violently and coarsely assails in public the expounders of the Word that have departed this life, and magnifies himself, not as a bishop, but as a sophist and juggler, 10. and stops the psalms to our Lord Jesus Christ, as being the modern productions of modern men, and trains women to sing psalms to himself in the midst of the church on the great day of the passover, which any one might shudder to hear, and persuades the bishops and presbyters of the neighboring districts and cities who fawn upon him, to advance the same ideas in their discourses to the people. 11. For to anticipate something of what we shall presently write, he is unwilling to acknowledge that the Son of God has come down from heaven. And this is not a mere assertion, but it is abundantly proved from the records which we have sent you; and not least where he says 'Jesus Christ is from below.' (18) But those singing to him and extolling him among the people say that their impious teacher has come down an angel from heaven, (19) And he does not forbid such things; but the arrogant man is even present when they are uttered. 12. And there are the women, the 'subintroductae,' (19a) as the people of Antioch call them, belonging to him and to the presbyters and deacons that are with him. Although he knows and has convicted these men, yet he connives at this and their other incurable sins, in order that they may be bound to him, and through fear for themselves may not dare to accuse him for his wicked words and deeds. (20) But he has also made them rich; on which account he is loved and admired by those who covet such things. 13. We know, beloved, that the bishop and all the clergy should be an example to the people of all good works. And we are not ignorant how many have fallen or incurred suspicion, through the women whom they have thus brought in. So that even if we should allow that he commits no sinful act, yet he ought to avoid the suspicion which arises from such a thing, lest he scandalize some one, or lead others to imitate him. 14. For how can he reprove or admonish another not to be too familiar with women,--lest he fall, as it is written, (21)-- when he has himself sent one away already, and now has two with him, blooming and beautiful, and takes them with him wherever he goes, and at the same time lives in luxury and surfeiting? 15. Because of these things all mourn and lament by themselves; but they so fear his tyranny and power, that they dare not accuse him. 16. But as we have said, while one might call the man to account for this conduct, if he held the Catholic doctrine and was numbered with us, (28) since he has scorned the mystery and struts about in the abominable heresy of Artemas (23) (for why should we not mention his father?), we think it unnecessary to demand of him an explanation of these things."
17. Afterwards, at the close of the epistle, they add these words:
"Therefore we have been compelled to excommunicate him, since he sets himself against God, and refuses to obey; and to appoint in i his place another bishop for the Catholic Church. By divine direction, as we believe, we have appointed Domnus, (24) who is adorned with all the qualities becoming in a bishop, and who is a son of the blessed Demetrianus, (25) who formerly presided in a distinguished manner over the same parish. We have informed you of this that you may write to him, and may receive letters of communion (26) from him. But let this man write to Artemas; and let those who think as Artemas does, communicate with him." (27)
18. As Paul had fallen from the episcopate, as well as from the orthodox faith, Domnus, as has been said, became bishop of the church at Antioch. 19. But as Paul refused to surrender the church building, the Emperor Aurelian was petitioned; and he decided the matter most equitably, ordering the building to be given to those to whom the bishops of Italy and of the city of Rome should adjudge it. (28) Thus this man was driven out of the church, with extreme disgrace, by the worldly power. 20. Such was Aurelian's treatment of us at that time; but in the course of his reign he changed his mind in regard to us, and was moved by certain advisers to institute a persecution against us. (29) And there was great talk about this on every side. 21. But as he was about to do it, and was, so to speak, in the very act of signing the decrees against us, the divine judgment came upon him and restrained him at the very verge (30) of his undertaking, showing in a manner that all could see clearly, that the rulers of this world can never find an opportunity against the churches of Christ, except the hand, that defends them permits it, in divine and heavenly judgment, for the sake of discipline and correction, at such times as it sees best.
22. After a reign of six years, (31) Aurelian was succeeded by Probus. He reigned for the same number of years, and Carus, with his sons, Carinus and Numerianus, succeeded him. After they had reigned less than three years the government devolved on Diocletian, and those associated with him. (32) Under them took place the persecution of our time, and the destruction of the churches connected with it. 23. Shortly before this, Dionysius, (32) bishop of 23 Rome, after holding office for nine years, died, and was succeeded by Felix. (34)
CHAPTER XXXI: The Perversive Heresy of the Manicheans which began at this Time.
1. At this time, the madman, (1) named from his demoniacal heresy, armed himself in the perversion of his reason, as the devil, Satan, who himself fights against God, put him forward to the destruction of many. He was a barbarian in life, both in word and deed; and in his nature demoniacal and insane. In consequence of this he sought to pose as Christ, and being puffed up in his madness, he proclaimed himself the Paraclete and the very Holy Spirit; (2) and afterwards, like Christ, he chose twelve disciples 2 as partners of his new doctrine. 2. And he patched together false and godless doctrines collected from a multitude of long- extinct impieties, and swept them, like a deadly poison, from Persia to our part of the world. From him the impious name of the Manicheans is still prevalent among many. Such was the foundation of this "knowledge falsely so-called," (8) which sprang up in those times.
CHAPTER XXXII: The Distinguished Ecclesiastics (1) of our Day, and which of them survived until the Destruction of the Churches.
1. At this time, Felix, (2) having presided over the church of Rome for five years, was succeeded by Eutychianus, (3) but he in less than ten months left the position to Caius, (4) who lived in our day. He held it about fifteen years, and was in turn succeeded by Marcellinus, (5) who was overtaken by the persecution. 2. About the same time Timaeus (6) received the episcopate of Antioch after Domnus, (7) and Cyril, (8) who lived in our day, succeeded him. In his time we became acquainted with Dorotheus, (9) a man of learning among those of his day, who was honored with the office of presbyter in Antioch. He was a lover of the beautiful in divine things, and devoted himself to the Hebrew language, so that he read the Hebrew Scriptures with facility. (10) 3. He belonged to those who(3) were especially liberal, and was not unacquainted with Grecian propaedeutics. (11) Besides this he was a eunuch, (12) having been so from his very birth. On this account, as if it were a miracle, the emperor (13) took him into his family, and honored him by placing him over the purple dye-works at Tyre. We have heard him expound the Scriptures wisely in the Church. 4. After Cyril, Tyrannus (14) received the episcopate of the parish of Antioch. In his time occurred the destruction of the churches.
5. Eusebius, (15) who had come from the city of Alexandria, ruled the parishes of Laodicea after Socrates. (16) The occasion of his removal thither was the affair of Paul. He went on this account to Syria, and was restrained from returning home by those there who were zealous in divine things. Among our contemporaries he was a beautiful example of religion, as is readily seen from the words of Dionysius which we have quoted. (17) 6. Anatolius (18) was appointed his successor; one good man, as they say, following another. He also was an Alexandrian by birth. In learning and skill in Greek philosophy, such as arithmetic and geometry, astronomy, and dialectics in general, as well as in the theory of physics, he stood first among the ablest men of our time, and he was also at the head in rhetorical science. It is reported that for this reason he was requested by the citizens of Alexandria to establish there a school of Aristotelian philosophy. (19)
7. They relate of him many other eminent deeds during the siege of the Pyrucheium (20) in Alexandria, on account of which he was especially honored by all those in high office; but I will give the following only as an example. 8. They say that bread had failed the besieged, so that it was more difficult to withstand the famine than the enemy outside; but he being present provided for them in this manner. As the other part of the city was allied with the Roman army, and therefore was not under siege, Anatolius sent for Eusebius,--for he was still there before his transfer to Syria, and was among those who were not besieged, and possessed, moreover, a great reputation and a renowned name which had reached even the Roman general,-- and he informed him of those who were perishing in the siege from famine. 9. When he learned this he requested the Roman commander as the greatest possible favor, to grant safety to deserters from the enemy. Having obtained his request, he communicated it to Anatolius. As soon as he received the message he convened the senate of Alexandria, and at first proposed that all should come to a reconciliation with the Romans. But when he perceived that they were angered by this advice, he said, "But I do not think you will oppose me, if I counsel you to send the supernumeraries and those who are in nowise useful to us, as old women and children and old men, outside the gates, to go wherever they may please. For why should we retain for no purpose these who must at any rate soon die? and why should we destroy with hunger those who are crippled and maimed in body, when we ought to provide only for men and youth, and to distribute the necessary bread among those who are needed for the garrison of the city?" 10. With such arguments he persuaded the assembly, and rising first he gave his vote that the entire multitude, whether of men or women, who were not needful for the army, should depart from the city, because if they remained and unnecessarily continued in the city, there would be for them no hope of safety, but they would perish with famine. 11. As all the others in the senate agreed to this, he saved almost all the besieged. He provided that first, those belonging to the church, and afterwards, of the others in the city, those of every age should escape, not only the classes included in the decree, but, under cover of these, a multitude of others, secretly clothed in women's garments; and through his management they went out of the gates by night and escaped to the Roman camp. There Eusebius, like a father and physician, received all of them, wasted away through the long siege, and restored them by every kind of prudence and care. 12. The church of Laodicea was honored by two such pastors in succession, who, in the providence of God, came after the aforesaid war from Alexandria to that city.
13. Anatolius did not write very many works; but in such as have come down to us we can discern his eloquence and erudition. In these he states particularly his opinions on the passover. It seems important to give here the following extracts from them. (21)
From the Paschal Canons of Anatolius.
14. "There is then in the first year the new moon of the first month, which is the beginning of every cycle of nineteen years, (21a) on the twenty-sixth day of the Egyptian Phamenoth; (22) but according to the months of the Macedonians, the twenty-second day of Dystrus, (23) or, as the Romans would say, the eleventh before the Kalends of April. 15. On the said twenty-sixth of Phamenoth, the sun is found not only entered on the first segment, (24) but already passing through the fourth day in it. They are accustomed to call this segment the first dodecatomorion, (25) and the equinox, and the beginning of months, and the head of the cycle, and the starting-point of the planetary circuit. But they call the one preceding this the last of months, and the twelfth segment, and the final dodecatomorion, and the end of the planetary circuit. Wherefore we maintain that those who place the first month in it, and determine by it the fourteenth of the passover, commit no slight or common blunder. 16. And this is not an opinion of our own; but it was known to the Jews of old, even before Christ, and was carefully observed by them. This may be learned from what is said by Philo, Josephus, and Musaeus; (25) and not only by them, but also by those yet more ancient, the two Agathobuli, (27) surnamed 'Masters,' and the famous Aristobulus, (28) who was chosen among the seventy interpreters of the sacred and divine Hebrew Scriptures (29) by Ptolemy Philadelphus and his father, and who also dedicated his exegetical books on the law of Moses to the same kings. 17. These writers, explaining questions in regard to the Exodus, say that all alike should sacrifice the passover offerings after the vernal equinox, in the middle of the first month. But this occurs while the sun is passing through the first segment of the solar, or as some of them have styled it, the zodiacal circle. Aristobulus adds that it is necessary for the feast of the passover, that not only the sun should pass through the equinoctial segment, but the moon also. 18. For as there are two equinoctial segments, the vernal and the autumnal, directly opposite each other, and as the day of the passover was appointed on the fourteenth of the month, beginning with the evening, the moon will hold a position diametrically opposite the sun, as may be seen in full moons; and the sun will be in the segment of the vernal equinox, and of necessity the moon in that of the autumnal. 19. I know that many other things have been (19) said by them, some of them probable, and some approaching absolute demonstration, by which they endeavor to prove that it is altogether necessary to keep the passover and the feast of unleavened bread after the equinox. But I refrain from demanding this sort of demonstration for matters from which the veil of the Mosaic law has been removed, so that now at length with uncovered face we continually behold as in a glass Christ and the teachings and sufferings of Christ. (30) But that with the Hebrews the first month was near the equinox, the teachings also of the Book of Enoch show." (31)
20. The same writer has also left the Institutes of Arithmetic, in ten books, (32) and other evidences of his experience and proficiency in divine things. 21. Theotecnus, (33) bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, first ordained him as bishop, designing to make him his successor in his own parish after his death. And for a short time both of them presided over the same church. (34) But the synod which was held to consider Paul's case (35) called him to Antioch, and as he passed through the city of Laodicea, Eusebius being dead, he was detained by the brethren there. 22. And after Anatolius had departed this life, the last bishop of that parish before the persecution was Stephen, (36) who was admired by many for his knowledge of philosophy and other Greek learning. But he was not equally devoted to the divine faith, as the progress of the persecution manifested; for it showed that he was a cowardly and unmanly dissembler rather than a true philosopher. 23. But this did not seriously injure the church, for Theodotus (37) restored their affairs, being straightway made bishop of that parish by God himself, the Saviour of all. He justified by his deeds both his lordly name (88) and his office of bishop. For he excelled in the medical art for bodies, and in the healing art for souls. Nor did any other man equal him in kindness, sincerity, sympathy, and zeal in helping such as needed his aid. He was also greatly devoted to divine learning. Such an one was he.
24. In Caesarea in Palestine, Agapius succeeded Theotecnus, who had most zealously performed the duties of his episcopate. Him too we know to have labored diligently, and to have manifested most genuine providence in his oversight of the people, particularly caring for all the poor with liberal hand. 25. In his time we became acquainted with Pamphilus, (40) that most eloquent man, of truly philosophical life, who was esteemed worthy of the office of presbyter in that parish. It would be no small matter to show what sort of a man he was and whence he came. But we have described, in our special work concerning him, (41) all the particulars of his life, and of the school which he established, and the trials which he endured in many confessions during the persecution, and the crown of martyrdom with which he was finally honored. But of all that were there he was indeed the most admirable. 26. Among those nearest our times, we have known Pierius, (42) of the presbyters in Alexandria, and Meletius, (43) bishop of the churches in Pontus, -- rarest of men. 27. The first was distinguished for his life of extreme poverty and his philosophic learning, and was exceedingly diligent in the contemplation and exposition of divine things, and in public discourses in the church. Meletius, whom the learned called the "honey of Attica," (44) was a man whom every one would describe as most accomplished in all kinds of learning; and it would be impossible to admire sufficiently his rhetorical skill. It might be said that he possessed this by nature; but who could surpass the excellence of his great experience and erudition in other respects? 28. For in all branches of knowledge had you undertaken to try him even once, you would have said that he was the most skillful and learned. Moreover, the virtues of his life were not less remarkable. We observed him well in the time of the persecution, when for seven full years he was escaping from its fury in the regions of Palestine.
29. Zambdas (45) received the episcopate of the church of Jerusalem after the bishop Hymenaeus, whom we mentioned a little above. (46) He died in a short time, and Hermon, (47) the last before the persecution in our day, succeeded to the apostolic chair, which has been preserved there until the present time. (48) 30. In Alexandria, Maximus, (49) who, after the death of Dionysius, (50) had been bishop for eighteen years, was succeeded by Theonas. (51) In his time Achillas, (52) who had been appointed a presbyter in Alexandria at the same time with Pierius, became celebrated. He was placed over the school of the sacred faith, (53) and exhibited fruits of philosophy most rare and inferior to none, and conduct genuinely evangelical. 31. After Theonas had held the office for nineteen years, Peter (54) received the episcopate in Alexandria, and was very eminent among them for twelve entire years. Of these he governed the church less than three years before the persecution, and for the remainder of his life he subjected himself to a more rigid discipline and cared in no secret manner for the general interest of the churches. On this account he was beheaded in the ninth year of the persecution, and was adorned with the crown of martyrdom.
32. Having written out m these books the account of the successions from the birth of our Saviour to the destruction of the places of worship, -- a period of three hundred and five years, (55) permit me to pass on to the contests of those who, in our day, have heroically fought for religion, and to leave in writing, for the information of posterity, the extent and the magnitude of those conflicts.
As we have described in seven books the events from the time of the apostles, (1) we think it proper in this eighth book to record for the information of posterity a few of the most important occurrences of our own times, which are worthy of permanent record. Our account will begin at this point.
CHAPTER I: The Events which preceded the Persecution in our Time
1. It is beyond our ability to describe in a suitable manner the extent and nature of the glory and freedom with which the word of piety toward the God of the universe, proclaimed to the world through Christ, was honored among all men, both Greeks and barbarians, before the persecution in our day. 2. The favor shown our people by the rulers might be adduced as evidence; as they committed to them the government of provinces, (1) and on account of the great friendship which they entertained toward their doctrine, released them from anxiety in regard to sacrificing. 3. Why need I speak of those in the royal palaces, and of the rulers over all, who allowed the members of their households, wives (2) and children and servants, to speak openly before them for the Divine word and life, and suffered them almost to boast of the freedom of their faith? Indeed they esteemed them highly, and preferred them to their fellow-servants. 4. Such an one was that Dorotheus, (3) the most devoted and faithful to them of all, and on this account especially honored by them among those who held the most honorable offices and governments. With him was the celebrated Gorgonius, (4) and as many as had been esteemed worthy of the same distinction on account of the word of God. 5. And one could see the rulers in every church accorded the greatest favor (5) by all officers and governors.
But how can any one describe those vast assemblies, and the multitude that crowded together in every city, and the famous gatherings in the houses of prayer; on whose account not being satisfied with the ancient buildings they erected from the foundation large churches in all the cities? 6. No envy hindered the progress of these affairs which advanced gradually, and grew and increased day by day. Nor could any evil demon slander them or hinder them through human counsels, so long as the divine and heavenly hand watched over and guarded his own people as worthy.
7. But when on account of the abundant freedom, we fell into laxity and sloth, and envied and reviled each other, and were almost, as it were, taking up arms against one another, rulers assailing rulers with words like spears, and people forming parties against people, and monstrous hypocrisy and dissimulation rising to the greatest height of wickedness, the divine judgment with forbearance, as is its pleasure, while the multitudes yet continued to assemble, gently and moderately harassed the episcopacy.
8. This persecution began with the brethren in the army. But as if without sensibility, we were not eager to make the Deity favorable and propitious; and some, like atheists, thought that our affairs were unheeded and ungoverned; and thus we added one wickedness to another. And those esteemed our shepherds, casting aside the bond of piety, were excited to conflicts with one another, and did nothing else than heap up strifes and threats and jealousy and enmity and hatred toward each other, like tyrants eagerly endeavoring to assert their power. Then, truly, according to the word of Jeremiah, "The Lord in his wrath darkened the daughter of Zion, and cast down the glory of Israel from heaven to earth, and remembered not his foot- stool in the day of his anger. The Lord also overwhelmed all the beautiful things of Israel, and threw down all his strongholds." (6) 9. And according to what was foretold in the Psalms: "He has made void the covenant of his servant, and profaned his sanctuary to the earth, --in the destruction of the churches, -and has thrown down all his strongholds, and has made his fortresses cowardice. All that pass by have plundered the multitude of the people; and he has become besides a reproach to his neighbors. For he has exalted the right hand of his enemies, and has turned back the help of his sword, and has not taken his part in the war. But he has deprived him of purification, and has cast his throne to the ground. He has shortened the days of his time, and besides all, has poured out shame upon him." (7)
CHAPTER II: The Destruction of the Churches.
1. All these things were fulfilled in us, when we saw with our own eyes the houses of prayer thrown down to the very foundations, and the Divine and Sacred Scriptures committed to the flames in the midst of the market- places, and the shepherds of the churches basely hidden here and there, and some of them captured ignominiously, and mocked by their enemies. When also, according to another prophetic word, "Contempt was poured out upon rulers, and he caused them to wander in an untrodden and pathless way." (1)
2. But it is not our place to describe the sad misfortunes which finally came upon them, as we do not think it proper, moreover, to record their divisions and unnatural conduct to each other before the persecution. Wherefore we have decided to relate nothing concerning them except the things in which we can vindicate the Divine judgment. 3. Hence we shall not mention those who were shaken by the persecution, nor those who in everything pertaining to salvation were shipwrecked, and by their own will were sunk in the depths of the flood. But we shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be use-fill first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity. (2) Let us therefore proceed to describe briefly the sacred conflicts of the witnesses of the Divine Word.
4. It was in the nineteenth year of the reign (4) of Diocletian, (3) in the month Dystrus, (4) called March by the Romans, when the feast of the Saviour's passion was near at hand, (5) that royal edicts were published everywhere, commanding that the churches be leveled to the ground and the Scriptures be destroyed by fire, and ordering that those who held places of honor be degraded, and that the household servants, if they persisted in the profession of Christianity, be deprived of freedom. (6)
5. Such was the first edict against us. But not long after, other decrees were issued, commanding that all the rulers of the churches in every place be first thrown into prison, (7) and afterwards by every artifice be compelled to sacrifices. (8)
CHAPTER III: The Nature of the Conflicts endured in the Persecution.
1. Then truly a great many rulers of the churches eagerly endured terrible sufferings, and furnished examples of noble conflicts. But a multitude of others, (1) benumbed in spirit by fear., were easily weakened at the first onset. Of the rest each one endured different forms of torture. (2) The body of one was scourged with rods. Another was punished with insupportable rackings and scrapings, in which some suffered a miserable death. 2. Others passed through different conflicts. Thus one, while those around pressed him on by force and dragged him to the abominable and impure sacrifices, was dismissed as if he had sacrificed, though he had not. (3) Another, though he had not approached at all, nor touched any polluted thing, when others said that he had sacrificed, went away, bearing the accusation in silence. 3. Another being taken up half dead, was cast aside as if already dead, and again a certain one lying upon the ground was dragged a long distance by his feet and counted among those who had sacrificed. One cried out and with a loud voice testified his rejection of the sacrifice; another shouted that he was a Christian, being resplendent in the confession of the saving Name. Another protested that he had not sacrificed and never would. But they were struck in the mouth and silenced by a large band of soldiers who were drawn up for this purpose; 4. and they were smitten on the face and cheeks and driven away by force; so important did the enemies of piety regard it, by any means, to seem to have accomplished their purpose. But these things did no avail them against the holy martyrs; for an accurate description of whom, what word of ours could suffice?
CHAPTER IV: The Famous Martyrs of God, who filled Every Place with their Memory and won Various Crowns in behalf of Religion.
1. For we might tell of many who showed admirable zeal for the religion of the God of the universe, not only from the beginning of the general persecution, but long before that time, while yet peace prevailed. 2. For though he who had received power was seemingly aroused now as from a deep sleep, yet from the time after Decius and Valerian, he had been plotting secretly and without notice against the churches. He did not wage war against all of us at once, but made trial at first only of those in the army. For he supposed that the others could be taken easily if he should first attack and subdue these. Thereupon many of the soldiers were seen most cheerfully embracing private life, so that they might not deny their piety toward the Creator of the universe. 3. For when the commander, (1) whoever he was, (2) began to persecute the soldiers, separating onto tribes an purging those who were enrolled in the army, giving them the choice either by obeying to receive the honor which belonged to them, or on the other hand to be deprived of it if they disobeyed the command, a great many soldiers of Christ's kingdom, without hesitation, instantly preferred the confession of him to the seeming glory and prosperity which they were enjoying. 4. And one and another of them occasionally received in exchange, for their pious constancy, (3) not only the loss of position, but death. But as yet the instigator of this plot proceeded with moderation, and ventured so far as blood only in some instances; for the multitude of believers, as it is likely, made him afraid, and deterred him from waging war at once against all. 5. But when he made the attack more boldly, it is impossible to relate how many and what sort of martyrs of God could be seen, among the inhabitants of all the cities and countries. (4)
CHAPTER V: Those in Nicomedia. (1)
1. Immediately on the publication of the decree against the churches in Nicomedia, (2) a certain man, not obscure but very highly honored with distinguished temporal dignities, moved with zeal toward God, and incited with ardent faith, seized the edict as it was posted openly and publicly, and tore it to pieces as a profane and impious thing; (3) and this was done while two of the sovereigns were in the same city, -- the oldest of all, and the one who held the fourth place in the government after him. (4) 2. But this man, first in that place, after distinguishing himself in such a manner suffered those things which were likely to follow such daring, and kept his spirit cheerful and undisturbed till death.
CHAPTER VI: Those in the Palace.
1. This period produced divine and illustrious martyrs, above all whose praises have ever been sung and who have been celebrated for courage, whether among Greeks or barbarians, in the person of Dorotheus (1) and the servants that were with him in the palace. Although they received the highest honors from their masters, and were treated by them as their own children, they esteemed reproaches and trials for religion, and the many forms of death that were invented against them, as, in truth, greater riches than the glory and luxury of this life.
We will describe the manner in which one of them ended his life, and leave our readers to infer from his case the sufferings of the others. 2. A certain man was brought forward in the above-mentioned city, before the rulers of whom we have spoken. (2) He was then commanded to sacrifice, but as he refused, he was ordered to be stripped and raised on high and beaten with rods over his entire body, until, being conquered, he should, even against his will, do what was commanded. 3. But as he was unmoved by these sufferings, and his bones were already appearing, they mixed vinegar with salt and poured it upon the mangled parts of his body. As he scorned these agonies, a gridiron and fire were brought forward. And the remnants of his body, like flesh intended for eating, were placed on the fire, not at once, lest he should expire instantly, but a little at a time. And those who placed him on the pyre were not permitted to desist until, after such sufferings, he should assent to the things commanded. 4. But he held his purpose firmly, and victoriously gave up his life while the tortures were still going on. Such was the martyrdom of one of the servants of the palace, who was indeed well worthy of his name, for he was called Peter. (3) 5. The martyrdoms of the rest, though they were not inferior to his, we will pass by for the sake of brevity, recording only that Dorotheus and Gorgonius, (4) with many others of the royal household, after varied sufferings, ended their lives by strangling, and bore away the trophies of God-given victory.
6. At this time Anthimus, (5) who then presided over the church in Nicomedia, was beheaded for his testimony to Christ. A great multitude of martyrs were added to him, a conflagration having broken out in those very days in the palace at Nicomedia, I know not how, which through a false suspicion was laid to our people. (6) Entire families of the pious in that place were put to death in masses at the royal command, some by the sword, and others by fire. It is reported that with a certain divine and indescribable eagerness men and women rushed into the fire. And the executioners bound a large number of others and put them on boats (7) and threw them into the depths of the sea. 7. And those who had been esteemed their masters considered it necessary to dig up the bodies of the imperial servants, who had been committed to the earth with suitable burial (7) and cast them into the sea, lest any, as they thought, regarding them as gods, might worship them lying in their sepulchers. (8)
8.Such things occurred in Nicomedia at the beginning of the persecution. (9) But not long after, as persons in the country called Melitene, (10) and others throughout Syria, (11) attempted to usurp the government, a royal edict directed that the rulers of the churches everywhere (12) should lye thrown into prison and bonds. 9. What was to be seen after this exceeds all description. A vast multitude were imprisoned in every place; and the prisons everywhere, which had long before been prepared for murderers and robbers of graves, were filled with bishops, presbyters and deacons, readers and exorcists, (13) so that room was no longer left in them for those condemned for crimes. 10. And as other decrees followed the first, directing that those in prison if they would sacrifice should be permitted to depart in freedom, but that those who refused should be harassed with many tortures, (14) how could any one, again, number the multitude of martyrs in every province, (15) and especially of those in Africa, and Mauritania, and Thebais, and Egypt? From this last country many went into other cities and provinces, and became illustrious through martyrdom.
CHAPTER VII: The Egyptians in Phoenicia.
1. Those of them that were conspicuous in Palestine we know, as also those that were at Tyre in Phoenicia. (1) Who that saw them was not astonished at the numberless stripes, and at the firmness which these truly wonderful athletes of religion exhibited under them? and at their contest, immediately after the scourging, with bloodthirsty wild beasts, as they were cast before leopards and different kinds of bears and wild boars and bulls goaded with fire and red-hot iron? and at the marvelous endurance of these noble men in the face of all sorts of wild beasts?
2. We were present ourselves when these things occurred, and have put on record the divine power of our martyred Saviour Jesus Christ, which was present and manifested itself mightily in the martyrs. For a long time the man-devouring beasts did not dare to touch or draw near the bodies of those dear to God, but rushed upon the others who from the outside irritated and urged them on. And they would not in the least touch the holy athletes, as they stood alone and naked and shook their hands at them to draw them toward themselves,--for they were commanded to do this. But whenever they rushed at them, they were restrained as if by some diviner power and retreated again. 3. This continued for a long time, and occasioned no little wonder to the spectators. And as the first wild beast did nothing, a second and a third were let loose against one and the same martyr. 4. One could not but be astonished at the invincible firmness of these holy men, and the enduring and immovable constancy of those whose bodies were young. You could have seen a youth not twenty years of age standing unbound and stretching out his hands in the form of a cross, with unterrified and untrembling mind, engaged earnestly in prayer to God, and not in the least going back or retreating from the place where he stood, while bears and leopards, breathing rage and death, almost touched his flesh. And yet their mouths were restrained, I know not how, by a divine and incomprehensible power, and they ran back again to their place. Such an one was he.
5. Again you might have seen others, for they were five in all, cast before a wild bull, who tossed into the air with his horns those who approached from the outside, and mangled them, leaving them to be token up half dead; but when he rushed with rage and threatening upon the holy martyrs, who were standing alone, he was unable to come near them; but though he stamped with his feet, and pushed in all directions with his horns, and breathed rage and threatening on account of the irritation of the burning irons, he was, nevertheless, held back by the sacred Providence. And as he in nowise harmed them, they let loose other wild beasts upon them. 6. Finally, after these terrible and various attacks upon them, they were all slain with the sword; and instead of being buried in the earth they were committed to the waves of the sea.
CHAPTER VIII: These in Egypt. (1)
1. Such was the conflict of those Egyptians who contended nobly for religion in Tyre. But we must admire those also who suffered martyrdom in their native land; where thousands of men, women, and children, despising the present life for the sake of the teaching of our Saviour, endured various deaths. 2. Some of them, after scrapings and rackings and severest scourgings, and numberless other kinds of tortures, terrible even to hear of, were committed to the flames; some were drowned in the sea; some offered their heads bravely to those who cut them off; some died under their tortures, and others perished with hunger. And yet others were crucified; some according to the method commonly employed for malefactors; others yet more cruelly, being nailed to the cross with their heads downward, and being kept alive until they perished on the cross with hunger.
CHAPTER IX: Those in Thebais. (1)
1. It would be impossible to describe the outrages and tortures which the martyrs in Thebais endured. They were scraped over the entire body with shells instead of hooks until they died. Women were bound by one foot and raised aloft in the air by machines, and with their bodies altogether bare and uncovered, presented to all beholders this most shameful, cruel, and inhuman spectacle. 2. Others being bound to the branches and trunks of trees perished. For they drew the stoutest branches together with machines, and bound the limbs of the martyrs to them; and then, allowing the branches to assume their natural position, they tore asunder instantly the limbs of those for whom they contrived this. 3. All these things were done, not for a few days or a short time, but for a long series of years. Sometimes more than ten, at other times above twenty were put to death. Again not less than thirty, then about sixty, and yet again a hundred men with young children and women, were slain in one day, being condemned to various and diverse torments.
4. We, also being on the spot ourselves, have observed large crowds in one day; some suffering decapitation, others torture by fire; so that the murderous sword was blunted, and becoming weak, was broken, and the very executioners grew weary and relieved each other. 5. And we beheld the most wonderful ardor, and the truly divine energy and zeal of those who believed in the Christ of God. For as soon as sentence was pronounced against the first, one after another rushed to the judgment seat, and confessed themselves Christians. And regarding with indifference the terrible things and the multiform tortures, they declared themselves boldly and undauntedly for the religion of the God of the universe. And they received the final sentence of death with joy and laughter and cheerfulness; so that they sang and offered up hymns and thanksgivings to the God of the universe till their very last breath.
6. These indeed were wonderful; but yet more wonderful were those who, being distinguished for wealth, noble birth, and honor, and for learning and philosophy, held everything secondary to the true religion and to faith in our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. 7. Such an one was Philoromus, who held a high office under the imperial government at Alexandria, (2) and who administered justice every day, attended by a military guard corresponding to his rank and Roman dignity. Such also was Phileas, (3) bishop of the church of Thmuis, a man eminent on account of his patriotism and the services rendered by him to his country, and also on account of his philosophical learning. 8. These persons, although a multitude of relatives and other friends besought them, and many in high position, and even the judge himself entreated them, that they would have compassion on themselves and show mercy to their children and wives, yet were not in the least induced by these things to choose the love of life, and to despise the ordinances of our Saviour concerning confession and denial. But with manly and philosophic minds, or rather with pious and God-loving souls, they persevered against all the threats and insults of the judge; and both of them were beheaded.
CHAPTER X: The Writings of Phileas the Martyr describing the Occurrences at Alexandria.
1. Since we have mentioned Phileas as having a high reputation for secular learning, let him be his own witness in the following extract, in which he shows us who he was, and at the same time describes more accurately than we can the martyrdoms which occurred in his time at Alexandria: (1)
2. "Having before them all these examples and models and noble tokens which are given us in the Divine and Sacred Scriptures, the blessed martyrs who were with us did not hesitate, but directing the eye of the soul in sincerity toward the God over all, and having their mind set upon death for religion, they adhered firmly to their calling. For they understood that our Lord Jesus Christ had become man on our account, that he might cut off all sin and furnish us with the means of entrance into eternal life. For 'he counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, but emptied himself taking the form of a servant; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross.' (2) 3. Wherefore also being zealous for the greater gifts, the Christ-bearing martyrs endured all trials and all kinds of contrivances for torture; not once only, but some also a second time. And although the guards vied with each other in threatening them in all sorts of ways, not in words only, but in actions, they did not give up their resolution; because 'perfect love casteth out fear.' (3)
4. "What words could describe their courage and manliness under every torture? For as liberty to abuse them was given to all that wished, some beat them with clubs, others with rods, others with scourges, yet others with thongs, and others with ropes. 5. And the spectacle of the outrages was varied and exhibited great malignity. For some, with their hands bound behind them, were suspended on the stocks, and every member stretched by certain machines. Then the torturers, as commanded, lacerated with instruments (4) their entire bodies; not only their sides, as in the case of murderers, but also their stomachs and knees and cheeks. Others were raised aloft, suspended from the porch by one hand, and endured the most terrible suffering of all, through the distension of their joints and limbs. Others were bound face to face to pillars, not resting on their feet, but with the weight of their bodies bearing on their bonds and drawing them tightly. 6. And they endured this, not merely as long as the governor talked with them or was at leisure, but through almost the entire day. For when he passed on to others, he left officers under his authority to watch the first, and observe if any of them, overcome by the tortures, appeared to yield. And he commanded to cast them into chains without mercy, and afterwards when they were at the last gasp to throw them to the ground and drag them away. 7. For he said that they were not to have the least concern for us, but were to think and act as if we no longer existed, our enemies having invented this second mode of torture in addition to the stripes.
8. "Some, also, after these outrages, were placed on the stocks, and had both their feet stretched over the four (5) holes, so that they were compelled to lie on their backs on the stocks, being unable to keep themselves up on account of the fresh wounds with which their entire bodies were covered as a result of the scourging. Others were thrown on the ground and lay there under the accumulated infliction of tortures, exhibiting to the spectators a more terrible manifestation of severity, as they bore on their bodies the marks of the various and diverse punishments which had been invented. 9. As this went on, some died under the tortures, shaming the adversary by their constancy. Others half dead were shut up in prison, and suffering with their agonies, they died in a few days; but the rest, recovering under the care which they received, gained confidence by time and their long detention in prison. 10. When therefore they were ordered to choose whether they would be released from molestation by touching the polluted sacrifice, and would receive from them the accursed freedom, or refusing to sacrifice, should be condemned to death, they did not hesitate, but went to death cheerfully. For they knew what had been declared before by the Sacred Scriptures. For it is said, (6) 'He that sacrificeth to other gods shall be utterly destroyed,' (7) and, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me.'" (8)
11. Such are the words of the truly philosophical and God-loving martyr, which, before the final sentence, while yet in prison, he addressed to the brethren in his parish, showing them his own circumstances, and at the same time exhorting them to hold fast, even after his approaching death, to the religion of Christ. 12. But why need we dwell upon these things, and continue to add fresh instances of the conflicts of the divine martyrs throughout the world, especially since they were dealt with no longer by common law, but attacked like enemies of war?
CHAPTER XI: Those in Phrygia.
1. A small town (1) of Phrygia, inhabited solely by Christians, was completely surrounded by soldiers while the men were in it. Throwing fire into it, they consumed them with the women and children while they were calling upon Christ. This they did because all the inhabitants of the city, and the curator himself, and the governor, with all who held office, and the entire populace, confessed themselves Christians, and would not in the least obey those who commanded them to worship idols.
2. There was another man of Roman dignity named Adauctus, (2) of a noble Italian family, who had advanced through every honor under the emperors, so that he had blamelessly filled even the general offices of magistrate, as they call it, and of finance minister. (3) Besides all this he excelled in deeds of piety and in the confession of the Christ of God, and was adorned with the diadem of martyrdom. He endured the conflict for religion while still holding the office of finance minister.
CHAPTER XII: Many Others, both Men and Women, who suffered in Various Ways.
1. Why need we mention the rest by name, or number the multitude of the men, or picture the various sufferings of the admirable martyrs of Christ? Some of them were slain with the axe, as in Arabia. The limbs of some were broken, as in Cappadocia. Some, raised on high by the feet, with their heads down, while a gentle fire burned beneath them, were suffocated by the smoke which arose from the burning wood, as was done in Mesopotamia. Others were mutilated by cutting off their noses and ears and hands, and cutting to pieces the other members and parts of their bodies, as in Alexandria. (1) 2. Why need we revive the recollection of those in Antioch who were roasted on grates, not so as to kill them, but so as to subject them to a lingering punishment? Or of others who preferred to thrust their right hand into the fire rather than touch the impious sacrifice? Some, shrinking from the trial, rather than be taken and fall into the hands of their enemies, threw themselves from lofty houses, considering death preferable to the cruelty of the impious.
3. A certain holy person,--in soul admirable for virtue, in body a woman, -- who was illustrious beyond all in Antioch for wealth and family and reputation, had brought up in the principles of religion her two daughters, who were now in the freshness and bloom of life. Since great envy was excited on their account, every means was used to find them in their concealment; and when it was ascertained that they were away, they were summoned deceitfully to Antioch. Thus they were caught in the nets of the soldiers. When the woman saw herself and her daughters thus helpless, and knew the things terrible to speak of that men would do to them,--and the most unbearable of all terrible things, the threatened violation of their chastity, (2)--she exhorted herself and the maidens that they ought not to submit even to hear of this. For, she said, that to surrender their souls to the slavery of demons was worse than all deaths and destruction; and she set before them the only deliverance from all these things,--escape to Christ. 4. They then listened to her advice. And after arranging their garments suitably, they went aside from the middle of the road, having requested of the guards a little time for retirement, and cast themselves into a river which was flowing by. 5. Thus they destroyed themselves. (3) But there were two other virgins in the same city of Antioch who served God in all things, and were true sisters, illustrious in family and distinguished in life, young and blooming, serious in mind, pious in deportment, and admirable for zeal. As if the earth could not bear such excellence, the worshipers of demons commanded to cast them into the sea. And this was done to them.
6. In Pontus, others endured sufferings horrible to hear. Their fingers were pierced with sharp reeds under their nails. Melted lead, bubbling and boiling with the heat, was poured down the backs of others, and they were roasted in the most sensitive parts of the body. 7. Others endured on their bowels and privy members shameful and inhuman and unmentionable torments, which the noble and law-observing judges, to show their severity, devised, as more honorable manifestations of wisdom. And new tortures were continually invented, as if they were endeavoring, by surpassing one another, to gain prizes in a contest. 8. But at the close of these calamities, when finally they could contrive no greater cruelties, and were weary of putting to death, and were filled and satiated with the shedding of blood, they turned to what they considered merciful and humane treatment, so that they seemed to be no longer devising terrible things against us. 9. For they said that it was not fitting that the cities should be polluted with the blood of their own people, or that the government of their rulers, which was kind and mild toward all, should be defamed through excessive cruelty; but that rather the beneficence of the humane and royal authority should be extended to all, and we should no longer be put to death. For the infliction of this punishment upon us should be stopped in consequence of the humanity of the rulers.
10. Therefore it was commanded that our eyes should be put out, and that we should be maimed in one of our limbs. For such things were humane in their sight, and the lightest of punishments for us. So that now on account of this kindly treatment accorded us by the impious, it was impossible to tell the incalculable number of those whose right eyes had first been cut out with the sword, and then had been cauterized with fire; or who had been disabled in the left foot by burning the joints, and afterward condemned to the provincial copper mines, not so much for service as for distress and hardship. Besides all these, others encountered other trials, which it is impossible to recount; for their manly endurance surpasses all description. 11. In these conflicts the noble martyrs of Christ shone illustrious over the entire world, and everywhere astonished those who beheld their manliness; and the evidences of the truly divine and unspeakable power of our Saviour were made manifest through them. To mention each by name would be a long task, if not indeed impossible.
CHAPTER XIII: The Bishops of the Church that evinced by their Blood the Genuineness of the Religion which they preached.
1. As for the rulers of the Church that suffered martyrdom in the principal cities, the first martyr of the kingdom of Christ whom we shall mention among the monuments of the pious is Anthimus, (1) bishop of the city of Nicomedia, who was beheaded. 2. Among the martyrs at Antioch was Lucian, (2) a presbyter of that parish, whose entire life was most excellent. At Nicomedia, in the presence of the emperor, he proclaimed the heavenly kingdom of Christ, first in an oral defense, and afterwards by deeds as well. 3. Of the martyrs in Phoenicia the most distinguished were those devoted pastors of the spiritual flocks of Christ: Tyrannion, (3) bishop of the church of Tyre; Zenobius, a presbyter of the church at Sidon; and Silvanus, (4) bishop of the churches about Emesa. 4. The last of these, with others, was made food for wild beasts at Emesa, and was thus received into the ranks of martyrs. The other two glorified the word of God at Antioch through patience unto death. The bishop (5) was thrown into the depths of the sea. But Zenobius, who was a very skillful physician, died through severe tortures which were applied to his sides. 5. Of the martyrs in Palestine, Silvanus, (6) bishop of the churches about Gaza, was beheaded with thirty-nine others at the copper mines of Phaeno. (7) There also the Egyptian bishops, Peleus and Nilus, (8) with others, suffered death by fire. 6. Among these we must mention Pamphilus, a presbyter, who was the great glory of the parish of Caesarea, and among the men of our time most admirable. The virtue of his manly deeds we have recorded in the proper place. (9) 7. Of those who suffered death illustriously at Alexandria and throughout Egypt and Thebais, Peter, (10) bishop of Alexandria, one of the most excellent teachers of the religion of Christ, should first be mentioned; and of the presbyters with him Faustus, (11) Dius and Ammonius, perfect martyrs of Christ; also Phileas, (12) Hesychius, (13) Pachymius and Theodorus, bishops of Egyptian churches, and besides them many other distinguished persons who are commemorated by the parishes of their country and region.
It is not for us to describe the conflicts of those who suffered for the divine religion through-out the entire world, and to relate accurately what happened to each of them. This would be the proper work of those who were eye-witnesses of the events. I will describe for posterity in another work (14) those which I myself witnessed. 8. But in the present book (15) I will add to what I have given the revocation issued by our persecutors, and those events that occurred at the beginning of the persecution, which will be most profitable to such as shall read them.
9. What words could sufficiently describe the greatness and abundance of the prosperity of the Roman government before the war against us, while the rulers were friendly and peaceable toward us? Then those who were highest in the government, and had held the position ten or twenty years, passed their time in tranquil peace, in festivals and public games and most joyful pleasures and cheer. 10. While thus their authority was growing uninterruptedly, and increasing day by day, suddenly they changed their peaceful attitude toward us, and began an implacable war. But the second year of this movement was not yet past, when a revolution took place in the entire government and overturned all things. 11. For a severe sickness came upon the chief of those of whom we have spoken, by which his understanding was distracted; and with him who was honored with the second rank, he retired into private life. (16) Scarcely had he done this when the entire empire was divided; a thing which is not recorded as having ever occurred before. (17) 12. Not long after, the Emperor Constantius, who through his entire life was most kindly and favorably disposed toward his subjects, and most friendly to the Divine Word, ended his life in the common course of nature, and left his own son, Constantine, as emperor and Augustus in his stead. (18) He was the first that was ranked by them among the gods, and received after death every honor which one could pay to an emperor. 13. He was the kindest and mildest of emperors, and the only one of those of our day that passed all the time of his government in a manner worthy of his office. Moreover, he conducted himself toward all most favorably and beneficently. He took not the smallest part in the war against us, but preserved the pious that were under him unharmed and unabused. He neither threw down the church buildings, (20) nor did he devise anything else against us. The end of his life was honorable and thrice blessed. He alone at death left his empire happily and gloriously to his own son as his successor,--one who was in all respects most prudent and pious. 14. His son Constantine entered on the government at once, being proclaimed supreme emperor and Augustus by the soldiers, And long before by God himself, the King of all. He showed himself an emulator of his father's piety toward our doctrine. Such an one was he.
But after this, Licinius was declared emperor and Augustus by a common vote of the rulers. (21) 15. These things grieved Maximinus greatly, for until that time he had been entitled by all only Caesar. He therefore, being exceedingly imperious, seized the dignity for himself, and became Augustus, being made such by himself. (22) In the mean time he whom we have mentioned as having resumed his dignity after his abdication, being detected in conspiring against the life of Constantine, perished by a most shameful death. (23) He was the first whose decrees and statues and public monuments were destroyed because of his wickedness and impiety. (24)
CHAPTER XIV: The Character of the Enemies of Religion.
1. Maxentius his son, who obtained the government at Rome, (1) at first feigned our faith, in complaisance and flattery toward the Roman people. On this account he commanded his subjects to cease persecuting the Christians, pretending to religion that he might appear merciful and mild beyond his predecessors. 2. But he did not prove in his deeds to be such a person as was hoped, but ran into all wickedness and abstained from no impurity or licentiousness, committing adulteries and indulging in all kinds of corruption. For having separated wives from their lawful consorts, he abused them and sent them back most dishonor-ably to their husbands. And he not only practiced this against the obscure and unknown, but he insulted especially the most prominent and distinguished members of the Roman senate. 3. All his subjects, people and rulers, honored and obscure, were worn out by grievous oppression. Neither, although they kept quiet, and bore the bitter servitude, was there any relief from the murderous cruelty of the tyrant. Once, on a small pretense, he gave the people to be slaughtered by his guards; and a great multitude of the Roman populace were slain in the midst of the city, with the spears and arms, not of Scythians and barbarians, but of their own fellow-citizens. 4. It would be impossible to recount the number of senators who were put to death for the sake of their wealth; multitudes being slain on various pretenses. 5. To crown all his wickedness, the tyrant resorted to magic. And in his divinations he cut open pregnant women, and again inspected the bowels of newborn infants. He slaughtered lions, and performed various execrable acts to invoke demons and avert war. For his only hope was that, by these means, victory would be secured to him. 6. It is impossible to tell the ways in which this tyrant at Rome oppressed his subjects, so that they were reduced to such an extreme dearth of the necessities of life as has never been known, according to our contemporaries, either at Rome or elsewhere.
7. But Maximinus, the tyrant in the East, having secretly formed a friendly alliance with the Roman tyrant as with a brother in wickedness, sought to conceal it for a long time. But being at last detected, he suffered merited punishment. (2) 8. It was wonderful how akin he was in wickedness to the tyrant at Rome, or rather how far he surpassed him in it. For the chief of sorcerers and magi-clans were honored by him with the highest rank. Becoming exceedingly timid and superstitious, he valued greatly the error of idols and demons. Indeed, without soothsayers and oracles he did not venture to move even a finger, (3) so to speak. 9. Therefore he persecuted us more violently and incessantly than his predecessors. He ordered temples to be erected in every city, and the sacred groves which had been destroyed through lapse of time to be speedily restored. He appointed idol priests in every place and city; and he set over them in every province, as high priest, some political official who had especially distinguished himself in every kind of service, giving him a band of soldiers and a body-guard. And to all jugglers, as if they were pious and beloved of the gods, he granted governments and the greatest privileges. 10. From this time on he distressed and harassed, not one city or country, but all the provinces under his authority, by extreme exactions of gold and silver and goods, and most grievous prosecutions and various fines. He took away from the wealthy the property which they had inherited from their ancestors, and bestowed vast riches and large sums of money on the flatterers about him. 11. And he went to such an excess of folly and drunkenness that his mind was deranged and crazed in his carousals; and he gave commands when intoxicated of which he repented afterward when sober. He suffered no one to surpass him in debauchery and profligacy, but made 'himself an instructor in wickedness to those about him, both rulers and subjects. He urged on the army to live wantonly in every kind of revelry and intemperance, and encouraged the governors and generals to abuse their subjects with rapacity and covetousness, almost as if they were rulers with him. 12. Why need we relate the licentious, shameless deeds of the man, or enumerate the multitude with whom he committed adultery? For he could not pass through a city without continually corrupting women and ravishing virgins. 13. And in this he succeeded with all except the Christians. For as they despised death, they cared nothing for his power. For the men endured fire and sword and crucifixion and wild beasts and the depths of the sea, and cutting off of limbs, anti burnings, and pricking and digging out of eyes, and mutilations of the entire body, and besides these, hunger and mines and bonds. In all they showed patience in behalf of religion rather than transfer to idols the reverence due to God. 14. And the women were not less manly than the men in behalf of the teaching of the Divine Word, as they endured conflicts with the men, and bore away equal prizes of virtue. And when they were dragged away for corrupt purposes, they surrendered their lives to death rather than their bodies to impurity. (4)
15. One only of those who were seized for adulterous purposes by the tyrant, a most distinguished and illustrious Christian woman in Alexandria, conquered the passionate and intemperate soul of Maximinus by most heroic firmness. Honorable on account of wealth and family and education, she esteemed all of these inferior to chastity. He urged her many times, but although she was ready to die, he could not put her to death, for his desire was stronger than his anger. 16. He therefore punished her with exile, and took away all her property. Many others, unable even to listen to the threats of violation from the heathen rulers, endured every form of tortures, and rackings, and deadly punishment.
These indeed should be admired. But far the most admirable was that woman at Rome, who was truly the most noble and modest of all, whom the tyrant Maxentius, fully resembling Maximinus in his actions, endeavored to abuse. 17. For when she learned that those who served the tyrant in such matters were at the house (she also was a Christian), and that her husband, although a prefect of Rome, would suffer them to take and lead her away, having requested a little time for adorning her body, she entered her chamber, and being alone, stabbed herself with a sword. Dying immediately, she left her corpse to those who had come for her. And by her deeds, more powerfully than by any words, she has shown to all men now and hereafter that the virtue which prevails among Christians is the only invincible and indestructible possession?
18. Such was the career of wickedness which was carried forward at one and the same time by the two tyrants who held the East and the West. Who is there that would hesitate, after careful examination, to pronounce the persecution against us the cause of such evils? Especially since this extreme confusion of affairs did not cease until the Christians had obtained liberty.
CHAPTER XV: The Events which happened to the Heathen. (1)
1. During the entire ten years (2) of the persecution, they were constantly plotting and warring against one another. (3) For the sea could not be navigated, nor could men sail from any port without being exposed to all kinds of outrages; being stretched on the rack and lacerated in their sides, that it might be ascertained through various tortures, whether they came from the enemy; and finally being subjected to punishment by the cross or by fire. 2. And besides these things shields and breastplates were preparing, and darts and spears and other warlike accoutrements were making ready, and galleys and naval armor were collecting in every place. And no one expected anything else than to be attacked by enemies any day. In addition to this, famine and pestilence came upon them, in regard to which we shall relate what is necessary in the proper place. (4)
CHAPTER XVI: The Change of Affirms for the Better.
1. Such was the state of affairs during the entire persecution. But in the tenth year, through the grace of God, it ceased altogether, having begun to decrease after the eighth year. (1) For when the divine and heavenly grace showed us favorable and propitious oversight, then truly our rulers, and the very persons (2) by whom the war against us had been earnestly prosecuted, most remarkably changed their minds, and issued a revocation, and quenched the great fire of persecution which had been kindled, by merciful proclamations and ordinances concerning us. 2. But this was not due to any (2) human agency; nor was it the result, as one might say, of the compassion or philanthropy of our rulers;--far from it, for daily from the beginning until that time they were devising more and more severe measures against us, and continually inventing outrages by a greater variety of instruments;--but it was manifestly due to the oversight of Divine Providence, on the one I hand becoming reconciled to his people, and on the other, attacking him a who instigated these evils, and showing anger toward him as the author of the cruelties of the entire persecution. 3. For though it was necessary that (3) these things should take place, according to the divine judgment, yet the Word saith, "Woe to him through whom the offense cometh." (4) Therefore punishment from God came upon him, beginning with his flesh, and proceeding to his soul. (5) 4. For an abscess suddenly appeared in the midst of the secret parts of his body, and from it a deeply perforated sore, which spread irresistibly into his inmost bowels. An indescribable multitude of worms sprang from them, and a deathly odor arose, as the entire bulk of his body had, through his gluttony, been changed, before his sickness, into an excessive mass of soft fat, which became putrid, and thus presented an awful and intolerable sight to those who came near. 5. Some of the physicians, being wholly (5) unable to endure the exceeding offensiveness of the odor, were slain; others, as the entire mass had swollen and passed beyond hope of restoration, and they were unable to render any help, were put to death without mercy.
CHAPTER XVII: The Revocation of the Rulers.
1.Wrestling with so many evils, he thought of the cruelties which he had committed against the pious. Turning, therefore, his thoughts toward himself, he first openly confessed to the God of the universe, and then summoning his attendants, he commanded that without delay they should stop the persecution of the Christians, and should by law and royal decree, urge them forward to build their churches and to perform their customary worship, offering prayers in behalf of the emperor. Immediately the deed followed the word. 2. The imperial decrees were published in the cities, containing the revocation of the acts against us in the following form:
3. "The Emperor Caesar Galerius Valerius Maximinus, Invictus, Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, conqueror of the Germans, conqueror of the Egyptians, conqueror of the Thebans, five times conqueror of the Sarmatians, conqueror of the Persians, twice conqueror of the Carpathians, six times conqueror of the Armenians, conqueror of the Medes, conqueror of the Adiabeni, Tribune of the people the twentieth time, Emperor the nineteenth time, Consul the eighth time, Father of his country, Pro-consul; 4. and the Emperor Caesar Flavius Valerius Constantinus, Pins, Felix, Invictus, Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, Tribune of the people, Emperor the fifth time, Consul, Father of his country, Proconsul; 5. and the Emperor Caesar Valerius Licinius, Pins, Felix, Invictus, Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, Tribune of the people the fourth time, Emperor the third time, Consul, Father of his country, Proconsul; to the people of their provinces, greeting: (1)
6. "Among the other things which we have ordained for the public advantage and profit, we formerly wished to restore everything to conformity with the ancient laws and public discipline (2) of the Romans, and to provide that the Christians also, who have forsaken the religion of their ancestors, (3) should return to a good disposition. 7. For in some way such arrogance had seized them and such stupidity had overtaken them, that they did not follow the ancient institutions which possibly their own ancestors had formerly established, but made for themselves laws according to their own purpose, as each one desired, and observed them, and thus assembled as separate congregations in various places. 8. When we had issued this decree that they should return to the nstitutions established by the ancients, (4) a great many (5) submitted under danger, but a great being harassed endured all kinds of death. (6) 9. And since many continue in the same folly, (7) and we perceive that they neither offer to the heavenly gods the worship which is due, nor pay regard to the God of the Christians, in consideration of our philanthropy and our invariable custom, by which we are wont to extend pardon to all, we have determined that we ought most cheerfully to extend our indulgence in this matter also; that they may again be Christians, and may rebuild the conventicles in which they were accustomed to assemble, (8) on condition that nothing be done by them contrary to discipline. (9) In another letter we shall indicate to the magistrates what they have to observe. 10. Wherefore, on account of this indulgence of ours, they ought to supplicate their God for our safety, and that of the people, and their own, that the public welfare may be preserved in every place, (10) and that they may live securely in their several homes."
Such is the tenor of this edict, translated, as well as possible, from the Roman tongue into the Greek? It is time to consider what took place after these events.
---That which follows is found in Some Copies in the Eighth Book. (1)
1. The author of the edict very shortly after this confession was released from his pains and died. He is reported to have been the original author of the misery of the persecution, having endeavored, long before the movement of the other emperors, to turn from the faith the Christians in the army, and first of all those in his own house, degrading some from the military rank, and abusing others most shamefully, and threatening still others with death, and finally inciting his partners in the empire to the general persecution. It is not proper to pass over the death of these emperors in silence. 2. As four of them held the supreme authority, those who were advanced in age and honor, after the persecution had continued not quite two years, abdicated the government, as we have already stated, (2) and passed the remainder of their lives in a common and private station. 3. The end of their lives 3 was as follows. He who was first in honor and age perished through a long and most grievous physical infirmity. (3) He who held the second place ended his life by strangling, (4) thus according to a certain demoniacal prediction, on account of his many daring crimes. 4. Of those after them, the last, (5) of whom we have spoken as the originator of the entire persecution, suffered such things as we have related. But he who preceded him, the most merciful and kindly emperor Constantius, (6) passed all the time of his government in a manner worthy of his office. (6) Moreover, he conducted himself towards all most favorably and beneficently. He took not the smallest part in the war against us, and preserved the pious that were under him unharmed and unabused. Neither did he throw down the church buildings, nor devise anything else against us. The end of his life was happy and thrice blessed. He alone at death left his empire happily and gloriously to his own son (7) as his successor, one who was in all respects most prudent and pious. He entered on the government at once, being proclaimed supreme emperor and Augustus by the soldiers; 5. and he showed himself an emulator of his father's piety toward our doctrine.
Such were the deaths of the four of whom we have written, which took place at different times. 6. Of these, moreover, only the one referred to a little above by us, with those who afterward shared in the government, finally published openly to all the above-mentioned confession, in the written edict which he issued.
MARTYRS OF PALESTINE. (1)
----The Following also we found in a Certain Copy in the Eighth Book. (2)
It was in the nineteenth year of the reign of Diocletian, in the month Xanthicus, (3) which is called April by the Romans, about the time of the feast of our Saviour's passion, while Flavianus (4) was governor of the province of Palestine, that letters were published everywhere, commanding that the churches be leveled to the ground and the Scriptures be destroyed by fire, and ordering that those who held places of honor be degraded, and that the household servants, if they persisted in the profession of Christianity, be deprived of freedom.
Such was the force of the first edict against us. But not long after other letters were issued, commanding that all the bishops of the churches everywhere be first thrown into prison, and afterward, by every artifice, be compelled to sacrifice.
1. The first of the martyrs of Palestine was Procopius, (1) who, before he had received the trial of imprisonment, immediately on his first appearance before the governor's tribunal, having been ordered to sacrifice to the so-called gods, declared that he knew only one to whom it was proper to sacrifice, as he himself wills. But when he was commanded to offer libations to the four emperors, having quoted a sentence which displeased them, he was immediately beheaded. The quotation was from the poet:
"The rule of many is not good; let there be one ruler and one king." (2)
2. It was the seventh (3) day of the month Desius, (4) the seventh before the ides of June, (5) as the Romans reckon, and the fourth day of the week, when this first example was given at Caesura in Palestine.
3. Afterwards, (6) in the same city, many rulers of the country churches readily endured terrible sufferings, and furnished to the beholders an example of noble conflicts. But others, benumbed in spirit by terror, were easily weakened at the first onset. Of the rest, each one endured different forms of torture, as scourgings without number, and rackings, and tearings of their sides, and insupportable fetters, by which the hands of some were dislocated. 4. Yet they endured what came upon them, as in accordance with the inscrutable purposes of God. For the hands of one were seized, and he was led to the altar, while they thrust into his right hand the polluted and abominable offering, and he was dismissed as if he had sacrificed. Another had not even touched it, yet when others said that he had sacrificed, he went away in silence. Another, being taken up half dead, was cast aside as if already dead, and released from his bonds, and counted among the sacrificers. When another cried out, and testified that he would not obey, he was struck in the mouth, and silenced by a large band of those who were drawn up for this purpose, and driven away by force, even though he had not sacrificed. Of such consequence did they consider it, to seem by any means to have accomplished their purpose.
5. Therefore, of all this number, the only ones who were honored with the crown of the holy martyrs were Alphaeus and Zacchaeus. (7) After stripes and scrapings and severe bonds and additional tortures and various other trials, and after having their feet stretched for a night and day over four holes in the stocks, (8) on the seventeenth day of the month Dius, (9) -- that is, according to the Romans, the fifteenth before the Kalends of December, -- having confessed one only God and Christ Jesus as king, (10) as if they had uttered some blasphemy, they were beheaded like the former martyr.
1. What occurred to Romanus on the same day (1) at Antioch, is also worthy of record. For he was a native of Palestine, a deacon and exorcist in the parish of Caesarea; and being present at the destruction of the churches, he beheld many men, with women and children, going up in crowds to the idols and sacrificing. (2) But, through his great zeal for religion, he could not endure the sight, and rebuked them with a loud voice. 2. Being arrested for his boldness, he proved a most noble witness of the truth, if there ever was one. For when the judge informed him that he was to die by fire, (3) he received the sentence with cheerful countenance and most ready mind, and was led away. When he was bound to the stake, and the wood piled up around him, as they were awaiting the arrival of the emperor before lighting the fire, he cried, "Where is the fire for me?" 3. Having said this, he was summoned again before the emperor, (4) and subjected to the unusual torture of having his tongue cut out. But he endured this with fortitude and showed to all by his deeds that the Divine Power is present with those who endure any hardship whatever for the sake of religion, lightening their sufferings and strengthening their zeal. When he learned of this strange mode of punishment, the noble man was not terrified, but put out his tongue readily, and offered it with the greatest alacrity to those who cut it off. 4. After this punishment he was thrown into prison, and suffered there for a very long time. At last the twentieth anniversary of the emperor being near, (5) when, according to an established gracious custom, liberty was proclaimed everywhere to all who were in bonds, he alone had both his feet stretched over five holes in the stocks, (6) and while he lay there was strangled, and was thus honored with martyrdom, as he desired. 5. Although he was outside of his country, yet, as he was a native of Palestine, it is proper to count him among the Palestinian martyrs. These things occurred in this manner during the first year, when the persecution was directed only against the rulers of the Church.
1.In the course of the second year, the persecution against us increased greatly. And at that time Urbanus (1) being governor of the province, imperial edicts were first issued to him, commanding by a general decree that all the people should sacrifice at once in the different cities, and offer libations to the idols. (2)
In Gaza, a city of Palestine, Timotheus endured countless tortures, and afterwards was subjected to a slow and moderate fire. Having given, by his patience in all his sufferings, most genuine evidence of sincerest piety toward the Deity, he bore away the crown of the victorious athletes of religion. At the same time Agapius (3) and our contemporary, Thecla, (4) having exhibited most noble constancy, were condemned as food for the wild beasts.
2. But who that beheld these things would not have admired, or if they heard of them by report, would not have been astonished? For when the heathen everywhere were holding a festival and the customary shows, it was noised abroad that besides the other entertainments, the public combat of those who had lately been condemned to wild beasts would also take place. 3. As this report increased and spread in all directions, six young men, namely, Timolaus, a native of Pontus, Dionysius from Tripolis in Phoenicia, Romulus, a sub-deacon of the parish of Diospolis, (5) Paesis and Alexander, both Egyptians, and another Alexander from Gaza, having first bound their own hands, went in haste to Urbanus, who was about to open the exhibition, evidencing great zeal for martyrdom. They confessed that they were Christians, and by their ambition for all terrible things, showed that those who glory in the religion of the God of the universe do not cower before the attacks of wild beasts. 4. Immediately, after creating no ordinary astonishment in the governor and those who were with him, they were cast into prison. After a few days two others were added to them. One of them, named Agapius, (6) had in former confessions endured dreadful torments of various kinds. The other, who had supplied them with the necessaries of life, was called Dionysius. All of these eight were beheaded on one day at Caesarea, on the twenty-fourth day of the month Dystrus, (7) which is the ninth before the Kalends of April. 5. Meanwhile, a change in the emperors occurred, and the first of them all in dignity, and the second retired into private life, (8) and public affairs began to be troubled. 6. Shortly after the Roman government became divided against itself, and a cruel war arose among them. (9) And this division, with the troubles which grew out of it, was not settled until peace toward us had been established throughout the entire Roman Empire. 7. For when this peace arose for all, as the daylight after the darkest and most gloomy night, the public affairs of the Roman government were re-established, and became happy and peaceful, and the ancestral good-will toward each other was revived. But we will relate these things more fully at the proper time. Now let us return to the regular course of events.
1. Maximinus Caesar (1) having come at that time into the government, as if to manifest to all the evidences of his reborn enmity against God, and of his impiety, armed himself for persecution against us more vigorously than his predecessors. 2. In consequence, no little confusion arose among all, and they scattered here and there, endeavoring in some way to escape the danger; and there was great commotion everywhere.
But what words would suffice for a suitable description of the Divine love and boldness, in confessing God, of the blessed and truly innocent lamb,- I refer to the martyr Apphianus, (2) --who presented in the sight of all, before the gates of Caesarea, a wonderful example of piety toward the only God? 3. He was at that time not twenty years old. He had first spent a long time at Berytus, (3) for the sake of a secular Grecian education, as he belonged to a very wealthy family. It is wonderful to relate how, in such a city, he was superior to youthful passions, and clung to virtue, uncorrupted neither by his bodily vigor nor his young companions; living discreetly, soberly and piously, in accordance with his profession of the Christian doctrine and the life of his teachers.
4. If it is needful to mention his native (4) country, and give honor to it as producing this noble athlete of piety, we will do so with pleasure. 5. The young man came from Pagae, (4) -- if any one is acquainted with the place, -- a city in Lycia of no mean importance. After his return from his course of study in Berytus, though his father held the first place in his country, he could not bear to live with him and his relatives, as it did not please them to live according to the rules of religion. Therefore, as if he were led by the Divine Spirit, and in accordance with a natural, or rather an inspired and true philosophy, regarding this preferable to what is considered the glory of life, and despising bodily comforts, he secretly left his family. And because of his faith and hope in God, paying no attention to his daily needs, he was led by the Divine Spirit to the city of Caesarea, where was prepared for him the crown of martyrdom for piety. 6. Abiding with us there, and conferring with us in the Divine Scriptures diligently for a short time, and fitting himself zealously by suitable exercises, he exhibited such an end as would astonish any one should it be seen again. 7. Who, that hears of it, would not justly admire his courage, boldness, constancy, and even more than these the daring deed itself, which evidenced a zeal for religion and a spirit truly superhuman? 8. For in the second attack upon us under Maximinus, in the third year of the persecution, edicts of the tyrant were issued for the first time, commanding that the rulers of the cities should diligently and speedily see to it that all the people offered sacrifices. (5) Throughout the city of Caesarea, by command of the governor, the heralds were summoning men, women, and children to the temples of the idols, and besides this, the chiliarchs were calling out each one by name from a roll, and an immense crowd of the wicked were rushing together from all quarters. Then this youth fearlessly, while no one was aware of his intentions, eluded both us who lived in the house with him and the whole band of soldiers that surrounded the governor, and rushed up to Urbanus as he was offering libations, and fearlessly seizing him by the right hand, straightway put a stop to his sacrificing, and skillfully and persuasively, with a certain divine inspiration, exhorted him to abandon his delusion, because it was not well to forsake the one and only true God, and sacrifice to idols and demons. 9. It is probable that this was done by the youth through a divine power which led him forward, and which all but cried aloud in his act, that Christians, who were truly such, were so far from abandoning the religion of the God of the universe which they had once espoused, that they were not only superior to threats and the punishments which followed, but yet bolder to speak with noble and untrammeled tongue, and, if possible, to summon even their persecutors to turn from their ignorance and acknowledge the only true God.
10. Thereupon, he of whom we are speaking, and that instantly, as might have been expected after so bold a deed, was torn by the governor and those who were with him as if by wild beasts. And having endured manfully innumerable blows over his entire body, he was straightway cast into prison. 11. There he was stretched by the tormentor with both his feet in the stocks for a night and a day; and the next day he was brought before the judge. As they endeavored to force him to surrender, he exhibited all constancy under suffering and terrible tortures. His sides were torn, not once, or twice, but many times, to the bones and the very bowels; and he received so many blows on his face and neck that those who for a long time had been well acquainted with him could not recognize his swollen face. But as he would not yield under this treatment, the torturers, as commanded, covered his feet with linen cloths soaked in oil and set them on fire. No word can describe the agonies which the blessed one endured from this. For the fire consumed his flesh and penetrated to his bones, so that the humors of his body were melted and oozed out and dropped down like wax. 13. But as he was not subdued by this, his adversaries being defeated and unable to comprehend his superhuman constancy, cast him again into prison. A third time he was brought before the judge; and having witnessed the same profession, being half dead, he was finally thrown into the depths of the sea.
14. But what happened immediately after this will scarcely be believed by those who did not see it. Although we realize this, yet we must record the event, of which to speak plainly, all the inhabitants of Caesarea were witnesses. For truly there was no age but beheld this marvelous sight. 15. For as soon as they had cast this truly sacred and thrice- blessed youth into the fathomless depths of the sea, an uncommon commotion and disturbance agitated the sea and all the shore about it, so that the land and the entire city were shaken by it. And at the same time with this wonderful and sudden perturbation, the sea threw out before the gates of the city the body of the divine martyr, as if unable to endure it. (6)
Such was the death of the wonderful Apphianus. It occurred on the second day of the month Xanthicus, (7) which is the fourth day before the Nones of April, on the day of preparation (8).
1. About the same time, in the city of Tyre, a youth named Ulpianus,(1) after dreadful tortures and most severe scourgings, was enclosed in a raw oxhide, with a dog and with one of those poisonous reptiles, an asp, and cast into the sea. Wherefore I think that we may properly mention him in connection with the martyrdom of Apphianus.
2. Shortly afterwards, Aedesius, (2) a brother of Apphianus, not only in God, but also in the flesh, being a son of the same earthly father, endured sufferings like his, after very many confessions and protracted tortures in bonds, and after he had been sentenced by the governor to the mines in Palestine. He conducted himself through them all in a truly philosophic manner; for he was more highly educated than his brother, and had prosecuted philosophic studies. 3. Finally in the city of Alexandria, when he beheld the judge, who was trying the Christians, offending beyond all bounds, now insulting holy men in various ways, and again consigning women of greatest modesty and even religious virgins to procurers for shameful treatment, he acted like his brother. For as these things seemed insufferable, he went forward with bold resolve, and with his words and deeds overwhelmed the judge with shame and disgrace. After suffering in consequence many forms of torture, he endured a death similar to his brother's, being cast into the sea. But these things, as I have said, happened to him in this way a little later.
1. In the fourth year of the persecution against us, on the twelfth day before the Kalends of December, which is the twentieth day of the month Dius, (1) on the day before the Sabbath, (2) while the tyrant Maximinus was present and giving magnificent shows in honor of his birthday, the following event, truly worthy of record, occurred in the city of Caesarea. 2. As it was an ancient custom to furnish the spectators more splendid shows when the emperors were present than at other times,new and foreign spectacles taking the place of the customary amusements, such as animals brought from India or Ethiopia or other places, or men who could astonish the beholders with skillful bodily exercises, -- it was necessary at this time, as the emperor was giving the exhibition, to add to the shows something more wonderful. And what should this be? 3. A witness of our doctrine was brought into the midst and endured the contest for the true and only religion. This was Agapius, who, as we have stated a little above, (3) was, with Thecla, the second to be thrown to the wild beasts for food. He had also, three times and more, marched with malefactors from the prison to the arena; and every time, after threats from the judge, whether in compassion or in hope that he might change his mind, had been reserved for other conflicts. But the emperor being present, he was brought out at this time, as if he had been appropriately reserved for this occasion, until the very word of the Saviour should be fulfilled in him, which through divine knowledge he declared to his disciples, that they should be brought before kings on account of their testimony unto him. (4) 4. He was taken into the midst of the arena with a certain malefactor who they said was charged with the murder of his master. 5. But this murderer of his master, when he had been cast to the wild beasts, was deemed worthy of compassion and humanity, almost like Barabbas in the time of our Saviour. And the whole theater resounded with shouts and cries of approval, because the murderer was humanely saved by the emperor, and deemed worthy of honor and freedom. 6. But the athlete of religion was first summoned by the tyrant and promised liberty if he would deny his profession. But he testified with a loud voice that, not for any fault, but for the religion of the Creator of the universe, he would readily and with pleasure endure whatever might be inflicted upon him. 7. Having said this, he joined the deed to the word, and rushed to meet a bear which had been let loose against him, surrendering himself most cheerfully to be devoured by him. After this, as he still breathed, he was cast into prison. And living yet one day, stones were bound to his feet, and he was drowned in the depths of the sea. Such was the martyrdom of Agapius.
1. Again, in Caesarea, when the persecution had continued to the fifth year, on the second day of the month Xanthicus, (1) which is the fourth before the Nones of April, on the very Lord's day of our Saviour's resurrection, (2) Theodosia, a virgin from Tyre, a faithful and sedate maiden, not yet eighteen years of age, went up to certain prisoners who were confessing the kingdom of Christ and sitting before the judgment seat, and saluted them, and, as is probable, besought them to remember her when they came before the Lord. 2. Thereupon, as if she had committed a profane and impious act, the soldiers seized her and led her to the governor. And he immediately, like a madman and a wild beast in his anger, tortured her with dreadful and most terrible torments in her sides and breasts, even to the very bones. And as she still breathed, and withal stood with a joyful and beaming countenance, he ordered her thrown into the waves of the sea. Then passing from her to the other confessors, he condemned all of them to the copper mines in Phaeno in Palestine.
3. Afterwards on the fifth of the month Dius, (3) on the Nones of November according to the Romans, in the same city, Silvanus (who at that time was a presbyter and confessor, but who shortly after was honored with the episcopate and died a martyr), and those with him, men who had shown the noblest firmness in behalf of religion, were condemned by him to labor in the same copper mines, command being first given that their ankles be disabled with hot irons. 4. At the same time he delivered to the flames a man who was illustrious through numerous other confessions. This was Domninus, who was well known to all in Palestine for his exceeding fearlessness (5) After this the same judge, who was a cruel contriver of suffering, and an inventor of devices against the doctrine of Christ, planned against the pious punishments that had never been heard of. He condemned three to single pugilistic combat. He delivered to be devoured by wild beasts Auxentius, a grave and holy old man. Others who were in mature life he made eunuchs, and condemned them to the same mines. Yet others, after severe tortures, he cast into prison.
Among these was my dearest friend Pamphilus, (6) who was by reason of every virtue the most illustrious of the martyrs in our time. 5. Urbanus first tested him in rhetorical philosophy and learning; and afterwards endeavored to compel him to sacrifice. But as he saw that he refused and in nowise regarded his threats, being exceedingly angry, he ordered him to be tormented with severest tortures. 6. And when the brutal man, after he had almost satiated himself with these tortures by continuous and prolonged scrapings in his sides, was yet covered with shame before all, he put him also with the confessors in prison.
7. But what recompense for his cruelty to the saints, he who thus abused the martyrs of Christ, shall receive from the Divine judgment, may be easily determined from the preludes to it, in which immediately, and not long after his daring cruelties against Pamphilus, while he yet held the government, the Divine judgment came upon him. For thus suddenly, he who but yesterday was judging on the lofty tribunal, guarded by a band of soldiers, and ruling over the whole nation of Palestine, the associate and dearest friend and table companion of the tyrant himself, was stripped in one night, and overwhelmed with disgrace and shame before those who had formerly admired him as if he were himself an emperor; and he appeared cowardly and unmanly, uttering womanish cries and supplications to all the people whom he had ruled. And Maximinus himself, in reliance upon whose favor Urbanus was formerly so arrogantly insolent, as if he loved him exceedingly for his deeds against us, was set as a harsh and most severe judge in this same Caesarea to pronounce sentence of death against him, for the great disgrace of the crimes of which he was convicted. 8. Let us say this in passing. A suitable time may come when we shall have leisure to relate the end and the fate of those impious men who especially fought against us, (7) both of Maximinus himself and those with him.
1. Up to the sixth year the storm had been incessantly raging against us. Before this time there had been a very large number of confessors of religion in the so-called Porphyry quarry in Thebais, which gets its name from the stone found there. Of these, one hundred men, lacking three, together with women and infants, were sent to the governor of Palestine. When they confessed the God of the universe and Christ, Firmilianus, (1) who had been sent there as governor in the place of Urbanus, directed, in accordance with the imperial command, that they should be maimed by burning the sinews of the ankles of their left feet, and that their right eyes with the eyelids and pupils should first be cut out, and then destroyed by hot irons to the very roots. And he then sent them to the mines in the province to endure hardships with severe toil and suffering.
2. But it was not sufficient that these only who suffered such miseries should be deprived of their eyes, but those natives of Palestine also, who were mentioned just above as condemned to pugilistic combat, Since they would neither receive food from the royal storehouse nor undergo the necessary preparatory Exercises. Having been brought on this account not only before the overseers, but also before Maximinus himself, 3. and having manifested the noblest persistence in confession by the endurance of hunger and stripes, they received like punishment with those whom we have mentioned, and with them other confessors in the city of Caesarea. 4. Immediately afterwards others who were gathered to hear the Scriptures read, were seized in Gaza, and some endured the same sufferings in the feet and eyes; but others were afflicted with yet greater torments and with most terrible tortures in the sides. 5. One of these, in body a woman, but in understanding a man, would not endure the threat of fornication, and spoke directly against the tyrant who entrusted the government to such cruel judges. She was first scourged and then raised aloft on the stake, and her sides lacerated. 6. As those appointed for this purpose applied the tortures incessantly and severely at the command of the judge, another, with mind fixed, like the former, on virginity as her aim,-- a woman who was altogether mean in forth and contemptible in appearance; but, on the other hand, strong in soul, and endowed with an understanding superior to her body,--being unable to bear the merciless and cruel and inhuman deeds, with a boldness beyond that of the combatants famed among the Greeks, cried out to the judge from the midst of the crowd: "And how long will you thus cruelly torture my sister?" But he was greatly enraged, and ordered the woman to be immediately seized. 7. Thereupon she was brought forward and having called herself by the august name of the Saviour, she was first urged by words to sacrifice, and as she refused she was dragged by force to the altar. But her sister continued to maintain her former zeal, and with intrepid and resolute foot kicked the altar, and overturned it with the fire that was on it. 8. Thereupon the judge, enraged like a wild beast, inflicted on her such tortures in her sides as he never had on any one before, striving almost to glut himself with her raw flesh. But when his madness was satiated, he bound them both together, this one and her whom she called sister, and condemned them to death by fire. It is said that the first of these was from the country of Gaza; the other, by name Valentina, was of Caesarea, and was well known to many.
9. But how can I describe as it deserves the martyrdom which followed, with which the thrice-blessed Paul was honored. He was condemned to death at the same time with them, under one sentence. At the time of his martyrdom, as the executioner was about to cut off his head, he requested a brief respite. 10. This being granted, he first, in a clear and distinct voice, supplicated God in behalf of his fellow-Christians, (2) praying for their pardon, and that freedom might soon be restored to them. Then he asked for the conversion of the Jews to God through Christ; and proceeding in order he requested the same things for the Samaritans, and besought that those Gentiles, who were in error and were ignorant of God, might come to a knowledge of him, and adopt the true religion. Nor did he leave neglected the mixed multitude who were standing around. 11. After all these, oh! great and unspeakable forbearance! he entreated the God of the universe for the judge who had condemned him to death, and for the highest rulers, and also for the one who was about to behead him, in his hearing and that of all present, beseeching that their sin toward him should not be reckoned against them. 12. Having prayed for these things with a loud voice, and having, as one who was dying unjustly, moved almost all to compassion and tears, of his own accord he made himself ready, and submitted his bare neck to the stroke of the sword, and was adorned with divine martyrdom. This took place on the twenty-fifth day of the month Panemus, (3) which is the eighth before the Kalends of August.
13. Such was the end of these persons. But not long after, one hundred and thirty admirable athletes of the confession of Christ, from the land of Egypt, endured, in Egypt itself, at the command of Maximinus the same afflictions in their eyes and feet with the former persons, and were sent to the above-mentioned mines in Palestine. But some of them were condemned to the mines in Cilicia.
1. After such noble acts of the distinguished martyrs of Christ, the flame of persecution lessened, and was quenched, as it were by their sacred blood, and relief and liberty were granted to those who, for Christ's sake, were laboring in the mines of Thebais, and for a little time we were beginning to breath pure air. But by some new impulse, I know not what, he who held the power to persecute was again aroused against the Christians. 2. Immediately letters from Maximinus against us were published everywhere in every province. (1) The governors and the military prefect (2) urged by edicts and letters and public ordinances the magistrates and generals and notaries (3) in all the cities to carry out the imperial decree, which ordered that the altars of the idols should with all speed be rebuilt; and that all men, women, and children, even infants at the breast, should sacrifice and offer oblations; and that with diligence and care they should cause them to taste of the execrable offerings; and that the things for sale in the market should be polluted with libations from the sacrifices; and that guards should be stationed before the baths in order to defile with the abominable sacrifices those who went to wash in them. 3. When these orders were being carried out, our people, as was natural, were at the beginning greatly distressed in mind; and even the unbelieving heathen blamed the severity and the exceeding absurdity of what was done. For these things appeared to them extreme and burdensome.
As the heaviest storm impended over all in every quarter, the divine power of our Saviour again infused such boldness into his athletes, (4) that without being drawn on or dragged forward by any one, they spurned the threats. 4. Three of the faithful joining together, rushed on the governor as he was sacrificing to the idols, and cried out to him to cease from his delusion, there being no other God than the Maker and Creator of the universe. When he asked who they were, they confessed boldly that they were Christians. 5. Thereupon Firmilianus, being greatly enraged, sentenced them to capital punishment without inflicting tortures upon them. The name of the eldest of these was Antoninus; of the next, Zebinas, who was a native of Eleutheropolis; and of the third, Germanus. This took place on the thirteenth of the month Dius, the Ides of November?
6. There was associated with them on the same day Ennathas, a woman from Scythopolis, who was adorned with the chaplet of virginity. She did not indeed do as they had done, but was dragged by force and brought before the judge. 7. She endured scourgings and cruel insults, which Maxys, a tribune of a neighboring district, without the knowledge of the superior authority, dared to inflict upon her. He was a man worse than his name, (6) sanguinary in other respects, exceedingly harsh, and altogether cruel, and censured by all who knew him. This man stripped the blessed woman of all her clothing, so that she was covered only from her loins to her feet and the rest of her body was bare. And he led her through the entire city of Caesarea, and regarded it as a great thing to beat her with thongs while she was dragged through all the market- places. 8. After such treatment she manifested the noblest constancy at the judgment seat of the governor himself; and the judge condemned her to be burned alive. He also carried his rage against the pious to a most inhuman length and transgressed the laws of nature, not being ashamed even to deny burial to the lifeless bodies of the sacred men. 9. Thus he ordered the dead to be exposed in the open air as food for wild beasts and to be watched carefully by night and day. For many days a large number of men attended to this savage and barbarous decree. And they looked out from their post of observation, as if it were a matter worthy of care, to see that the dead bodies should not be stolen. And wild beasts and dogs and birds of prey scattered the human limbs here and there, and the whole city was strewed with the entrails and bones of men, 10. so that nothing had ever appeared more dreadful and horrible, even to those who formerly hated us; though they bewailed not so much the calamity of those against whom these things were done, as the outrage against themselves and the common nature of man. 11. For there was to be seen near the gates a spectacle beyond all description and tragic recital; for not only was human flesh devoured in one place, but it was scattered in every place; so that some said that limbs and masses of flesh and parts of entrails were to be seen even within the gates.
12. After these things had continued for many days, a wonderful event occurred. The air was clear and bright and the appearance of the sky most serene. When suddenly throughout the city from the pillars which supported the public porches many drops fell like tears; and the market places and streets, though there was no mist in the air, were moistened with sprinkled water, whence I know not. Then immediately it was reported everywhere that the earth, unable to endure the abomination of these things, had shed tears in a mysterious manner; and that as a rebuke to the relentless and unfeeling nature of men, stones and lifeless wood had wept for what had happened. I know well that this account may perhaps appear idle and fabulous to those who come after us, but not to those to whom the truth was confirmed at the time. (7)
1. On the fourteenth day of the following month Appellaeus, (1) the nineteenth before the Kalends of January, certain persons from Egypt were again seized by those who examined people passing the gates. They had been sent to minister to the confessors in Cilicia. They received the same sentence as those whom they had gone to help, being mutilated in their eyes and feet. Three of them exhibited in Ascalon, where they were imprisoned, marvelous bravery in the endurance of various kinds of martyrdom. One of them named Ares was condemned to the flames, and the others, called Probus (2) and Elias, were beheaded.
2. On the eleventh day of the month Audynaeus, (3) which is the third before the Ides of January, in the same city of Caesarea, Peter an ascetic, also called Apselamus, (4) from the village of Anea, (5) on the borders of Eleutheropolis, like purest gold, gave noble proof by fire of his faith in the Christ of God. Though the judge and those around him besought him many times to have compassion on himself, and to spare his own youth and bloom, he disregarded them, preferring hope in the God of the universe to all things, even to life itself. A certain Asclepius, supposed to be (6) a bishop of the sect of Marcion, possessed as he thought with zeal for religion, but "not according to knowledge," (7) ended his life on one and the same funeral pyre. These things took place in this manner.
1. It is time to describe the great and celebrated spectacle of Pamphilus, (1) a man thrice dear to me, and of those who finished their course with him. They were twelve in all; being counted worthy of apostolic grace and number. 2. Of these the leader and the only one honored with the position of presbyter at Caesarea, was Pamphilus; a man who through his entire life was celebrated for every virtue, for renouncing and despising the world, for sharing his possessions with the needy, for contempt of earthly hopes, and for philosophic deportment and exercise. He especially excelled all in our time in most sincere devotion to the Divine Scriptures and indefatigable industry in whatever he undertook, and in his helpfulness to his relatives and associates. 3. In a separate treatise on his life, (2) consisting of three books, we have already described the excellence of his virtue. Referring to this work those who delight in such things and desire to know them, let us now consider the martyrs in order.
4. Second after Pamphilus, Vales, who was honored for his venerable gray hair, entered the contest. He was a deacon from Aelia, (3) an old man of gravest appearance, and versed in the Divine Scriptures, if any one ever was. He had so laid up the memory of them in his heart that he did not need to look at the books if he undertook to repeat any passage of Scripture.
5. The third was Paul from the city of Jamna, (4) who was known among them as most zealous and fervent in spirit. Previous to his martyrdom, he had endured the conflict of confession by cauterization.
After these persons had continued in prison for two entire years, the occasion of their martyrdom was a second arrival of Egyptian brethren who suffered with them. 6. They had accompanied the confessors in Cilicia to the mines there and were returning to their homes. At the entrance of the gates of Caesarea, the guards, who were men of barbarous character, questioned them as to who they were and whence they came. They kept back nothing of the truth, and were seized as malefactors taken in the very act. They were five in number. 7. When brought before the tyrant, being very bold in his presence, they were immediately thrown into prison. On the next day, which was the nineteenth of the month Peritius, (5) according to the Roman reckoning the fourteenth before the Kalends of March, they were brought, according to command, before the judge, with Pamphilus and his associates whom we have mentioned. First, by all kinds of torture, through the invention of strange and various machines, he tested the invincible constancy of the Egyptians. 8. Having practised these cruelties upon the leader (5a) of all, he asked him first who he was. He heard in reply the name of some prophet instead of his proper name. For it was their custom, in place of the names of idols given them by their fathers, if they had such, to take other names; so that you would hear them calling themselves Elijah or Jeremiah or Isaiah or Samuel or Daniel, thus showing themselves inwardly true Jews, and the genuine Israel of God, not only in deeds, but in the names which they bore. When Firmilianus had heard some such name from the martyr, and did not understand the force of the word, he asked next the name of his country. 9. But he gave a second answer similar to the former, saying that Jerusalem was his country, meaning that of which Paul says, "Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother," (6) and, "Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem." (7) 10. This was what he meant; but the judge thinking only of the earth, sought diligently to discover what that city was, and in what part of the world it was situated. And therefore he applied tortures that the truth might be acknowledged. But the man, with his hands twisted behind his back, and his feet crushed by strange machines, asserted firmly that he had spoken the truth. 11. And being questioned again repeatedly what and where the city was of which he spoke, he said that it was the country of the pious alone, for no others should have a place in it, and that it lay toward the far East and the rising sun. 12. He philosophized about these things according to his own understanding, and was in nowise turned froth them by the tortures with which he was afflicted on every side. And as if he were without flesh or body he seemed insensible of his sufferings. But the judge being perplexed, was impatient, thinking that the Christians were about to establish a city somewhere, inimical and hostile to the Romans. And he inquired much about this, and investigated where that country toward the East was located. 13. But when he had for a long time lacerated the young man with scourgings, and punished him with all sorts of torments, he perceived that his persistence in what he had said could not be changed, and passed against him sentence of death. Such a scene was exhibited by what was done to this man. And having inflicted similar tortures on the others, he sent them away in the same manner.
14. Then being wearied and perceiving that he punished the men in vain, having satiated his desire, he proceeded against Pamphilus and his companions. And having learned that already under former tortures they had manifested an unchangeable zeal for the faith, he asked them if they would now obey. And receiving from every one of them only this one answer, as their last word of confession in martyrdom, he inflicted on them punishment similar to the others.
15. When this had been done, a young man, one of the household servants of Pamphilus, who had been educated in the noble life and instruction of such a man, learning the sentence passed upon his master, cried out from the midst of the crowd asking that their bodies might be buried. 16. Thereupon the judge, not a man, but a wild beast, or if anything more savage than a wild beast, giving no consideration to the young man's age, asked him only the same question. When he learned that he confessed himself a Christian, as if he had been wounded by a dart, swelling with rage, he ordered the tormentors to use their utmost power against him. 17. And when he saw that he refused to sacrifice as commanded, he ordered them to scrape him continually to his very bones and to the inmost recesses of his bowels, not as if he were human flesh but as if he were stones or wood or any lifeless thing. But after long persistence he saw that this was in vain, as the man was speechless and insensible and almost lifeless, his body being worn out by the tortures. 18. But being inflexibly merciless and inhuman, he ordered him to be committed straightway, as he was, to a slow fire. And before the death of his earthly master, though he had entered later on the conflict, he received release from the body, while those who had been zealous about the others were yet delaying. 19. One could then see Porphyry, (8) like one who had come off victorious in every conflict, his body covered with dust, but his countenance cheerful, after such sufferings, with courageous and exulting mind, advancing to death. And as if truly filled with the Divine Spirit, covered only with his philosophic robe thrown about him as a cloak, soberly and intelligently he directed his friends as to what he wished, and beckoned to them, preserving still a cheerful countenance even at the stake. But when the fire was kindled at some distance around him in a circle, having inhaled the flame into his mouth, he continued most nobly in silence from that time till his death, after the single word which he uttered when the flame first touched him, and he cried out for the help of Jesus the Son of God. Such was the contest of Porphyry.
20. His death was reported to Pamphilus by a messenger, Seleucus. He was one of the confessors from the army. As the bearer of such a message, he was forthwith deemed worthy of a similar lot. For as soon as he related the death of Porphyry, and had saluted one of the martyrs with a kiss, some of the soldiers seized him and led him to the governor. And he, as if he would hasten him on to be a companion of the former on the way to heaven, commanded that he be put to death immediately. 21. This man was from Cappadocia, and belonged to the select band of soldiers, and had obtained no small honor in those things which are esteemed among the Romans. For in stature and bodily strength, and size and vigor, he far excelled his fellow-soldiers, so that his appearance was matter of common talk, and his whole form was admired on account of its size and symmetrical proportions. 22. At the beginning of the persecution he was prominent in the conflicts of confession, through his patience under scourging. After he left the army he set himself to imitate zealously the religious ascetics, and as if he were their father and guardian he showed himself a bishop and patron of destitute orphans and defenceless widows and of those who were distressed with penury or sickness. It is likely that on this account he was deemed worthy of an extraordinary call to martyrdom by God, who rejoices in such things more than in the smoke and blood of sacrifices. 23. He was the tenth athlete among those whom we have mentioned as meeting their end on one and the same day. On this day, as was fitting, the chief gate was opened, and a ready way of entrance into the kingdom of heaven was given to the martyr Pamphilus and to the others with him.
24. In the footsteps of Seleucus came Theodulus, a grave and pious old man, who be- longed to the governor's household, and had been honored by Firmilianus himself more than all the others in his house on account of his age, and because he was a father of the third generation, and also on account of the kindness and most faithful conscientiousness which he had manifested toward him. (9) As he pursued the course of Seleucus when brought before his master, the latter was more angry at him than at those who had preceded him, and condemned him to endure the martyrdom of the Saviour on the cross. (10) 25. As there lacked yet one to fill up the number of the twelve martyrs of whom we have spoken, Julian came to complete it. He had just arrived from abroad, and had not yet entered the gate of the city, when having learned about the martyrs while still on the way, he rushed at once, just as he was, to see them. When he beheld the tabernacles of the saints prone on the ground, being filled with joy, he embraced and kissed them all. 26. The ministers of slaughter straightway seized him as he was doing this and led him to Firmilianus. Acting as was his custom, he condemned him to a slow fire. Thereupon Julian, leaping and exulting, in a loud voice gave thanks to the Lord who had judged him worthy of such things, and was honored with the crown of martyrdom. 27. He was a Cappadocian by birth, and in his manner of life he was most circumspect, faithful and sincere, zealous in all other respects, and animated by the Holy Spirit himself.
Such was the company which was thought worthy to enter into martyrdom with Pamphilus. 28. By the command of the impious governor their sacred and truly holy bodies were kept as food for the wild beasts for four days and as many nights. But since, strange to say, through the providential care of God, nothing approached them, -- neither beast of prey, nor bird, nor dog,- - they were taken up uninjured, and after suitable preparation were buried in the customary manner.
29. When the report of what had been done to these men was spread in all directions, Adrianus and Eubulus, having come from the so-called country of Manganaea n to Caesarea, to see the remaining confessors, were also asked at the gate the reason for their coming; and having acknowledged the truth, were brought to Firmilianus. But he, as was his custom, without delay inflicted many tortures in their sides, and condemned them to be devoured by wild beasts. 30. After two days, on the fifth the month Dystrus, (12) the third before the Nones of March, which was regarded as the birthday of the tutelary divinity of Caesarea, Adrianus was thrown to a lion, and afterwards slain with the sword. But Eubulus, two days later, on the Nones of March, that is, on the seventh of the month Dystrus, when the judge had earnestly entreated him to enjoy by sacrificing that which was considered freedom among them, preferring a glorious death for religion to transitory life, was made like the other an offering to wild beasts, and as the last of the martyrs in Caesarea, sealed the list of athletes.
31. It is proper also to relate here, how in a short time the heavenly Providence came upon the impious rulers, together with the tyrants themselves. For that very Firmilianus, who had thus abused the martyrs of Christ, after suffering with the others the severest punishment, was put to death by the sword.
Such were the martyrdoms which took place at Caesarea during the entire period of the persecution.
I think it best to pass by all the other events which occurred in the meantime: such as those which happened to the bishops of the churches, when instead of shepherds of the rational (1) flocks of Christ, over which they presided in an unlawful manner, the divine judgment, considering them worthy of such a charge, made them keepers of camels, (2) an irrational beast (3) and very crooked in the structure of its body, or condemned them to have the care of the imperial horses; -- and I pass by also the insults and disgraces and tortures they endured from the imperial overseers and rulers on account of the sacred vessels and treasures of the Church; and besides these the lust of power on the part of many, the disorderly and unlawful ordinations, and the schisms among the confessors themselves; also the novelties which were zealously devised against the remnants of the Church by the new and factious members, who added innovation after innovation and forced them in unsparingly among the calamities of the persecution, heaping misfortune upon misfortune. I judge it more suitable to shun and avoid the account of these things, as I said at the beginning. (4) But such things as are sober and praiseworthy, according to the sacred word, -- "and if there be any virtue and praise," 5 -I consider it most proper to tell and to record, and to present to believing hearers in the history of the admirable martyrs. And after this I think it best to crown the entire work with an account of the peace which has appeared unto us from heaven.
1. The seventh year of our conflict was completed; and the hostile measures which had continued into the eighth year were gradually and quietly becoming less severe. A large number of confessors were collected at the copper mines in Palestine, and were acting with considerable boldness, so far as even to build places of worship. But the ruler of the province, a cruel and wicked man, as his acts against the martyrs showed, having come there and learned the state of affairs, communicated it to the emperor, writing in accusation whatever he thought best. 2. Thereupon, being appointed superintendent of the mines, he divided the band of confessors as if by a royal decree, and sent some to dwell in Cyprus and others in Lebanon, and he scattered others in different parts of Palestine and ordered them to labor in various works. 3. And, selecting the four who seemed to him to be the leaders, he sent them to the commander of the armies in that section. These were Peleus and Nilus, (1) Egyptian bishops, also a presbyter, (2) and Patermuthius, who was well known among them all for his zeal toward all. The commander of the army demanded of them a denial of religion, and not obtaining this, he condemned them to death by fire.
4. There were others there who had been allotted to dwell in a separate place by themselves,-- such of the confessors as on account of age or mutilations, or for other bodily infirmities, had been released from service. Silvanus, (3) a bishop from Gaza, presided over them, and set a worthy and genuine example of Christianity. 5. This man having from the first day of the persecution, and throughout its entire continuance, been eminent for his confessions in all sorts of conflicts, had been kept all that time that he might, so to speak, set the final seal upon the whole con-flier in Palestine. 6. There were with him many from Egypt, among whom was John, who surpassed all in our time in the excellence of his memory. He had formerly been deprived of his sight. Nevertheless, on account of his eminence in confession he had with the others suffered the destruction of his foot by cauterization. And although his sight had been destroyed he was subjected to the same burning with fire, the executioners aiming after everything that was merciless and pitiless and cruel and inhuman. 7. Since he was such a man, one would not be so much astonished at his habits and his philosophic life, nor would he seem so wonderful for them, as for the strength of his memory. For he had written whole books of the Divine Scriptures, "not in tables of stone" (4) as the divine apostle says, neither on skins of animals, nor on paper which moths and time destroy, but truly "in fleshy tables of the heart," (5) in a transparent soul and most pure eye of the mind, so that whenever he wished he could repeat, as if from a treasury of words, any portion of the Scripture, whether in the law, or the prophets, or the historical books, or the gospels, or the writings of the apostles.
8. I confess that I was astonished when I first saw the man as he was standing in the midst of a large congregation and repeating portions of the Divine Scripture. While I only heard his voice, I thought that, according to the custom in the meetings, he was reading. But when I came near and perceived what he was doing, and observed all the others standing around him with sound eyes while he was using only the eyes of his mind, and yet was speaking naturally like some prophet, and far excelling those who were sound in body, it was impossible for me not to glorify God and wonder. And I seemed to see in these deeds evident and strong confirmation of the fact that true manhood consists not in excellence of bodily appearance, but in the soul and understanding alone. For he, with his body mutilated, manifested the superior excellence of the power that was within him.
9. But as to those whom we have mentioned as abiding in a separate place, and attending to their customary duties in fasting and prayer and other exercises, God himself saw fit to give them a salutary issue by extending his right hand in answer to them. The bitter foe, as they were armed against him zealously through their prayers to God, could no longer endure them, and determined to slay and destroy them from off the earth because they troubled him. 10. And God permitted him to accomplish this, that he might not be restrained from the wickedness he desired, and that at the same time they might receive the prizes of their manifold conflicts. Therefore at the command of the most accursed Maximinus, forty, lacking one, (6) were beheaded in one day.
11. These martyrdoms were accomplished in Palestine during eight complete years; and of this description was the persecution in our time. Beginning with the demolition of the churches, it increased greatly as the rulers rose up from time to time against us. In these assaults the multiform and various conflicts of those who wrestled in behalf of religion produced an innumerable multitude of martyrs in every province, -- in the regions extending from Libya and throughout all Egypt, and Syria, and from the East round about to the district of Illyricum.
12. But the countries beyond these, all Italy and Sicily and Gaul, and the regions toward the setting sun, in Spain, Mauritania, and Africa, suffered the war of persecution during less than two years, (7) and were deemed worthy of a speedier divine visitation and peace; the heavenly Providence sparing the singleness of purpose and faith of those men. 13. For what had never before been recorded in the annals of the Roman government, first took place in our day, contrary to all expectation; for during the persecution in our time the empire was divided into two parts. (8) The brethren dwelling in the part of which we have just spoken enjoyed peace; but those in the other part endured trials without number. 14. But when the divine grace kindly and compassionately manifested its care for us too, then truly our rulers also, those very ones through whom the wars against us had been formerly carried on, changed their minds in a most wonderful manner, and published a recantation; (9) and by favorable edicts and mild decrees concerning us, extinguished the conflagration against us. This recantation also must be recorded.(10)
CHAPTER I: The Pretended Relaxation.
1. The imperial edict of recantation, which has been quoted above, (1) was posted in all parts of Asia and in the adjoining provinces. After this had been done, Maximinus, the tyrant in the East,--a most impious man, if there ever was one, and most hostile to the religion of the God of the universe,--being by no means satisfied with its contents, (2) instead of sending the above-quoted decree to the governors under him, gave them verbal commands to relax the war against us. 2. For since he could not in any other way oppose the decision of his superiors, keeping the law which had been already issued secret, and taking care that it might not be made known in the district under him, he gave an unwritten order to his governors that they should relax the persecution against us. They communicated the command to each other in writing. 3. Sabinus, (3) at least, who was honored with the highest official rank among them, communicated the will of the emperor to the provincial governors in a Latin epistle, the translation of which is as follows:
4. "With continuous and most devoted earnestness their Majesties, our most divine masters, the emperors, (4) formerly directed the minds of all men to follow the holy and correct course of life, that those also who seemed to live in a manner foreign to that of the Romans, should render the worship due to the immortal gods. But the obstinacy and most unconquerable determination of some went so far that they could neither be turned back from their purpose by the just reason of the command, nor be intimidated by the impending punishment. 5. Since therefore it has come to pass that by such conduct many have brought themselves into danger, their Majesties, our most powerful masters, the emperors, in the exalted nobility of piety, esteeming it foreign to their Majesties' purpose to bring men into so great danger for such a cause, have commanded their devoted servant, myself, to write to thy wisdom, (5) that if any Christian be found engaging in the worship of his own people, thou shouldst abstain from molesting and endangering him, and shouldst not suppose it necessary to punish any one on this pretext. For it has been proved by the experience of so long a time that they can in no way be persuaded to abandon such obstinate conduct. 6. Therefore it should be thy care to write to the curators (6) and magistrates and district overseers (7) of every city, that they may know that it is not necessary for them to give further attention to this matter." (8) 7. Thereupon the rulers of the provinces, thinking that the purpose of the things which were written was truly made known to them, declared the imperial will to the curators and magistrates and prefects of the various districts (9) in writing. But they did not limit themselves to writing, but sought more quickly to accomplish the supposed will of the emperor in deeds also. Those whom they had imprisoned on account of their confession of the Deity, they set at liberty, and they released those of them who had been sent to the mines for punishment; for they erroneously supposed that this was the true will of the emperor. 8. And when these things had thus been done, immediately, like a light shining forth in a dark night, one could see in every city congregations gathered and assemblies thronged, and meetings held according to their custom. And every one of the unbelieving heathen was not a little astonished at these things, wondering at so marvelous a transformation, and exclaiming that the God of the Christians was great and alone true. 9. And some of our people, who had faithfully and bravely sustained the conflict of persecution, again became frank and bold toward all; but as many as had been diseased in the faith and had been shaken in their souls by the tempest, strove eagerly for healing, beseeching and imploring the strong to stretch out to them a saving hand, and supplicating God to be merciful unto them. 10. Then also the noble athletes of religion who had been set free from their sufferings in the mines returned to their own homes. Happily and joyfully they passed through every city, full of unspeakable pleasure and of a boldness which cannot be expressed in words. 11. Great crowds of men pursued their journey along the highways and through the market-places, praising God with hymns and psalms. And you might have seen those who a little while before had been driven in bonds from their native countries under a most cruel sentence, returning with bright and joyful faces to their own firesides; so that even they who had formerly thirsted for our blood, when they saw the unexpected wonder, congratulated us on what had taken place.
CHAPTER II: The Subsequent Reverse.
1. But the tyrant who, as we have said, ruled over the districts of the Orient, a thorough hater of the good and an enemy of every virtuous person, as he was, could no longer bear this; and indeed he did not permit matters to go on in this way quite six months. (1) Devising all possible means of destroying the peace, he first attempted to restrain us, under a pretext, (2) from meeting in the cemeteries. 2. Then through the agency of some wicked men he sent an embassy to himself against us, (3) inciting the citizens of Antioch to ask from him as a very great favor that he would by no means permit any of the Christians to dwell in their country; and others were secretly induced to do the same thing. The author of all this in Antioch was Theotecnus, (4) a violent and wicked man, who was an impostor, and whose character was foreign to his name. (5) He appears to have been the curator (6) of the city.
CHAPTER III: The Newly Erected Statue at Antioch.
After this man had carried on all kinds of war against us and had caused our people to be diligently hunted up in their retreats, as if they were unholy thieves, and had devised every sort of slander and accusation against us, and become the cause of death to vast numbers, he finally erected a statue of Jupiter Philius (1) with certain juggleries and magic rites. And after inventing unholy forms of initiation and ill-omened mysteries in connection with it, and abominable means of purification, (2) he exhibited his jugglery, by oracles which he pretended to utter, even to the emperor; and through a flattery which was pleasing to the ruler he aroused the demon against the Christians and said that the god had given command to expel the Christians as his enemies beyond the confines of the city and the neighboring districts.
CHAPTER IV: The Memorials against us. (1)
1. The fact that this man, who took the lead in this matter, had succeeded in his purpose was an incitement to all the other officials in the cities under the same government to prepare a similar memorial. (2) And the governors of the provinces perceiving that this was agreeable to the emperor suggested to their subjects that they should do the same. 2. And as the tyrant by a rescript declared himself well pleased with their measures, (3) persecution was kindled anew against us. Priests for the images were then appointed in the cities, and besides them high priests by Maximinus himself. (4) The latter were taken from among those who were most distinguished in public life and had gained celebrity in all the offices which they had filled; and who were imbued, moreover, with great zeal for the service of those whom they worshiped. 3. Indeed, the extraordinary superstition of the emperor, to speak in brief, led all his subjects, both rulers and private citizens, for the sake of gratifying him, to do everything against us, supposing that they could best show their gratitude to him for the benefits which they had received from him, by plotting murder against us and exhibiting toward us any new signs of malignity.
CHAPTER V: The Forged Acts.
1. Having therefore forged Acts of Pilate (1) and our Saviour full of every kind of blasphemy against Christ, they sent them with the emperor's approval to the whole of the empire subject to him, with written commands that they should be openly posted to the view of all in every place, both in country and city, and that the schoolmasters should give them to their scholars, instead of their customary lessons, to be studied and learned by heart. 2. While these things were taking place, another military commander, whom the Romans call Dux, (2) seized some infamous women in the market- place at Damascus in Phoenicia, (3) and by threatening to inflict tortures upon them compelled them to make a written declaration that they had once been Christians and that they were acquainted with their impious deeds,-- that in their very churches they committed licentious acts; and they uttered as many other slanders against our religion as he wished them to. Having taken down their words in writing, he communicated them to the emperor, who commanded that these documents also should be published in every place and city.
CHAPTER VI: Those who suffered Martyrdom at this Time.
1. Nor long afterward, however, this military commander became his own murderer and paid the penalty for his wickedness. But we were obliged again to endure exile and severe persecutions, and the governors in every province were once more terribly stirred up against us; so that even some of those illustrious in the Divine Word were seized and had sentence of death pronounced upon them without mercy. Three of them in the city of Emesa (1) in Phoenicia, having confessed that they were Christians, were thrown as food to the wild beasts. Among them was a bishop Silvanus, (2) a very old man, who had filled his office full forty years. 2. At about the same time Peter (3) also, who presided most illustriously over the parishes in Alexandria, a divine example of a bishop on account of the excellence of his life and his study of the sacred Scriptures, being seized for no cause and quite unexpectedly, was, as if by command of Maxi-minus, immediately and without explanation, beheaded. With him also many other bishops of Egypt suffered the same fate. 3. And Lucian, (4) a presbyter of the parish at Antioch, and a most excellent man in every respect, temperate in life and famed for his learning in sacred things, was brought to the city of Nicomedia, where at that time the emperor happened to be staying, and after delivering before the ruler an apology for the doctrine which he professed, was committed to prison and put to death. Such trials were brought upon us in a brief time by Maximinus, the enemy of virtue, so that this persecution which was stirred up against us seemed far more cruel than the former.
CHAPTER VII: The Decree against us which was engraved on Pillars.
1. The memorials against us (1) and copies of the imperial edicts issued in reply to them were engraved and set up on brazen pillars in the midst of the cities, (2)--a course which had never been followed elsewhere. The children in the schools had daily in their mouths the names of Jesus and Pilate, and the Acts which had been forged in wanton insolence. (3) 2. It appears to me necessary to insert here this document of Maximinus which was posted on pillars, in order that there may be made manifest at the same time the boastful and haughty arrogance of the God-hating man, and the sleepless evil-hating divine vengeance upon the impious, which followed close upon him, and under whose pressure he not long afterward took the opposite course in respect to us and confirmed it by written laws. (4)
The rescript is in the following words:
----Copy of a translation of the rescript of Maximinus in answer to the memorials against us, taken from the pillar in Tyre.
3. "Now at length the feeble power of the human mind has become able to shake off and to scatter every dark mist of error, which before this besieged the senses of men, who were more miserable than impious, and enveloped them in dark and destructive ignorance; and to perceive that it is governed and established by the beneficent providence of the immortal gods. 4. It passes belief how grateful, how pleasing and how agreeable it is to us, that you have given a most decided proof of your pious resolution; for even before this it was known to every one how much regard and reverence you were paying to the immortal gods, exhibiting not a faith of bare and empty words, but continued and wonderful examples of illustrious deeds. 5. Wherefore your city may justly be called a seat and dwelling of the immortal gods. At least, it appears by many signs that it flourishes because of the presence of the celestial gods. 6. Behold, therefore, your city, regardless of all private advantages, and omitting its former petitions in its own behalf, when it perceived that the adherents of that execrable vanity were again beginning to spread, and to start the greatest conflagration,--like a neglected and extinguished funeral pile when its brands are rekindled,-immediately resorted to our piety as to a metropolis of all religiousness, asking some remedy and aid. 7. It is evident that the gods have given you this saving mind on account of your faith and piety.
"Accordingly that supreme and mightiest Jove, who presides over your illustrious city, who preserves your ancestral gods, your wives and children, your hearths and homes from every destructive pest, has infused into your souls this wholesome resolve; showing and proving how excellent and glorious and salutary it is to observe with the becoming reverence the worship and sacred rites of the immortal gods. 8. For who can be found so ignorant or so devoid of all understanding as not to perceive that it is due to the kindly care of the gods that the earth does not refuse the seed sown in it, nor disappoint the hope of the husbandmen with vain expectation; that impious war is not inevitably fixed upon earth, and wasted bodies dragged down to death under the influence of a corrupted atmosphere; that the sea is not swollen and raised on high by blasts of intemperate winds; that unexpected hurricanes do not burst forth and stir up the destructive tempest; moreover, that the earth, the nourisher and mother of all, is not shaken from its lowest depths with a terrible tremor, and that the mountains upon it do not sink into the opening chasms. No one is ignorant that all these, and evils still worse than these, have oftentimes happened hitherto. 9. And all these misfortunes have taken place on account of the destructive error of the empty vanity of those impious men, when it prevailed in their souls, and, we may almost say, weighed down the whole world with shame." 10. After other words he adds: "Let them look at the standing crops already flourishing with waving heads in the broad fields, and at the meadows glittering with plants and flowers, in response to abundant rains and the restored mildness and softness of the atmosphere. 11. Finally, let all rejoice that the might of the most powerful and terrible Mars has been propitiated by our piety, our sacrifices, and our veneration; and let them on this account enjoy firm and tranquil peace and quiet; and let as many as have wholly abandoned that blind error and delusion and have returned to a right and sound mind rejoice the more, as those who have been rescued from an unexpected storm or severe disease and are to reap the fruits of I pleasure for the rest of their life. 12. But if they still persist in their execrable vanity, let them, as you have desired, be driven far away from your city and territory, that thus, in accordance with your praiseworthy zeal in this matter, your city, being freed from every pollution and impiety, may, according to its native disposition, attend to the sacred rites of the immortal gods with becoming reverence. 13. But that ye may know how acceptable to us your request respecting this matter has been, and how ready our mind is to confer benefits voluntarily, without memorials and petitions, we permit your devotion to ask whatever great gift ye may desire in return for this your pious disposition. 14. And now ask that this may be done and that ye may receive it; for ye shall obtain it without delay. This, being granted to your city, shall furnish for all time an evidence of reverent piety toward the immortal gods, and of the fact that you have obtained from our benevolence merited prizes for this choice of yours; and it shall be shown to your children and children's children."
15. This was published against us in all the provinces, depriving us of every hope of good, at least from men; so that, according to that divine utterance, "If it were possible, even the elect would have stumbled" (5) at these things. 16. And now indeed, when the hope of most of us was almost extinct, suddenly while those who were to execute against us the above decree had in some places scarcely finished their journey, God, the defender of his own Church, exhibited his heavenly interposition in our behalf, well-nigh stopping the tyrant's boasting against us.
CHAPTER VIII: The Misfortunes which happened in Connection with these Things, in Famine, Pestilence, and War
1. The customary rains and showers of the winter season ceased to fall in their wonted abundance upon the earth and an unexpected famine made its appearance, and in addition to this a pestilence, and another severe disease consisting of an ulcer, which on account of its fiery appearance was appropriately called a carbuncle. (1) This, spreading over the whole body, greatly endangered the lives of those who suffered from it; but as it chiefly attacked the eyes, it deprived multitudes of men, women, and children of their sight. 2. In addition to this the tyrant was compelled to go to war with the Armenians, who had been from ancient times friends and allies of the Romans. As they were also Christians (2) and zealous in their piety toward the Deity, the enemy of God had attempted to compel them to sacrifice to idols and demons, and had thus made friends foes, and allies enemies. 3. All these things suddenly took place at one and the same time, and refuted the tyrant's empty vaunt against the Deity. For he had boasted that, because of his zeal for idols and his hostility against us, neither famine nor pestilence nor war had happened in his time. (3) These things, therefore, coming upon him at once and together, furnished a prelude also of his own destruction. 4. He himself with his forces was defeated in the war with the Armenians, and the rest of the inhabitants of the cities under him were terribly afflicted with famine and pestilence, so that one measure of wheat was sold for twenty- five hundred Attic drachms. (4) 5. Those who died in the cities were innumerable, and those who died in the country and villages were still more. So that the tax lists which formerly included a great rural population were almost entirely wiped out; nearly all being speedily destroyed by famine and pestilence. 6. Some, therefore, desired to dispose of their most precious things to those who were better supplied, in return for the smallest morsel of food, and others, selling their possessions little by little, fell into the last extremity of want. Some, chewing wisps of hay and recklessly eating noxious herbs, undermined and mined their constitutions. 7. And some of the high-born women in the cities, driven by want to shameful extremities, went forth into the market- places to beg, giving evidence of their former liberal culture by the modesty of their appearance and the decency of their apparel. 8. Some, wasted away like ghosts and at the very point of death, stumbled and tottered here and there, and too weak to stand fell down in the middle of the streets; lying stretched out at full length they begged that a small morsel of food might be given them, and with their last gasp they cried out Hunger! having strength only for this most painful cry. 9. But others, who seemed to be better supplied, astonished at the multitude of the beggars, after giving away large quantities, finally became hard and relentless, expecting that they themselves also would soon suffer the same calamities as those who begged. So that in the midst of the market-places and lanes, dead and naked bodies lay unburied for many days, presenting the most lamentable spectacle to those that beheld them. 10. Some also became food for dogs, on which account the survivors began to kill the dogs, lest they should become mad and should go to. devouring men.
11. But still worse was the pestilence which consumed entire houses and families, and especially those whom the famine was not able to destroy because of their abundance of food. Thus men of wealth, rulers and governors and multitudes in office, as if left by the famine on purpose for the pestilence, suffered swift and speedy death. Every place therefore was full of lamentation; in every lane and market-place and street there was nothing else to be seen or heard than tears, with the customary instruments and the voices of the mourners. (5) 12. In this way death, waging war with these two weapons, pestilence and famine, destroyed whole families in a short time, so that one could see two or three dead bodies carried out at once. 13. Such were the rewards of the boasting of Maximinus and of the measures of the cities against us.
14. Then did the evidences of the universal zeal and piety of the Christians become manifest to all the heathen. For they alone in the midst of such ills showed their sympathy and humanity by their deeds. Every day some continued caring for and burying the dead, for there were multitudes who had no one to care for them; others collected in one place those who were afflicted by the famine, throughout the entire city, and gave bread to them all; so that the thing became noised abroad among all men, and they glorified the God of the Christians; and, convinced by the facts themselves, confessed that they alone were truly pious and religious. 15. After these things were thus done, God, the great and celestial defender of the Christians, having revealed in the events which have been described his anger and indignation at all men for the great evils which they had brought upon us, restored to us the bright and gracious sunlight of his providence in our behalf; so that in the deepest darkness a light of peace shone most wonderfully upon us from him, and made it manifest to all that God himself has always been the ruler of our affairs. From time to time indeed he chastens his people and corrects them by his visitations, but again after sufficient chastisement he shows mercy and favor to those who hope in him.
CHAPTER IX: The Victory of the God-Beloved Emperors. (1)
1. Thus when Constantine, whom we have already mentioned (1a) as an emperor, born of an emperor, a pious son of a most pious and prudent father, and Licinius, second to him, (2)-two God-beloved emperors, honored alike for their intelligence and their piety,--being stirred up against the two most impious tyrants by God, the absolute Ruler and Saviour of all, engaged in formal war against them, with God as their ally, Maxentius (8) was defeated at Rome by Constantine in a remarkable manner, and the tyrant of the East (4) did not long survive him, but met a most shameful death at the hand of Licinius, who had not yet become insane. (5) 2. Constantine, who was the superior both in dignity and imperial rank, (6) first took compassion upon those who were oppressed at Rome, and having invoked in prayer the God of heaven, and his Word, and Jesus Christ himself, the Saviour of all, as his aid, advanced with his Whole army, (7) proposing to restore to the Romans their ancestral liberty. 3. But Maxentius, putting confidence rather in the arts of sorcery than in the devotion of his subjects, did not dare to go forth beyond the gates of the city, but fortified every place and district and town which was enslaved by him, in the neighborhood of Rome and in all Italy, with an immense multi-rude of troops and with innumerable bands of soldiers. But the emperor, relying upon the assistance of God, attacked the first, second, and third army of the tyrant, and conquered them all; and having advanced through the greater part of Italy, was already very near Rome. 4. Then, that he might not be compelled to wage war with the Romans for the sake of the tyrant, God himself drew the latter, as if bound in chains, some distance without the gates, and confirmed those threats against the impious which had been anciently inscribed in sacred books,--disbelieved, indeed, by most as a myth, but believed by the faithful,--confirmed them, in a word, by the deed itself to all, both believers and unbelievers, that saw the wonder with their eyes. 5. Thus, as in the time of Moses himself and of the ancient God-beloved race of Hebrews, "he cast Pharaoh's chariots and host into the sea, and overwhelmed his chosen charioteers in the Red Sea, and covered them with the flood," (8) in the same way Maxentius also with his soldiers and body-guards "went down into the depths like a stone," (9) when he fled before the power of God which was with Constantine, and passed through the river which lay in his way, over which he had formed a bridge with boats, and thus prepared the means of his own destruction. 6. In regard to him one might say, "he digged a pit and opened it and fell into the hole which he had made; his labor shall turn upon his own head, and his unrighteousness shall fall upon his own crown." (10) 7. Thus, then, the bridge over the river being broken, the passageway settled down, and immediately the boats with the men disappeared in the depths, and that most impious one himself first of all, then the shield-bearers who were with him, as the divine oracles foretold, "sank like lead in the mighty waters"; 8. (11) so that those who obtained the victory from God, if not in words, at least in deeds, like Moses, the great servant of God, and those who were with him, fittingly sang as they had sung against the impious tyrant of old, saying, "Let us sing unto the Lord, for he hath gloriously glorified himself; horse and rider hath he thrown into the sea; a helper and a protector hath he become for my salvation;" (12) and "Who is like unto thee, O Lord; among the gods, who is like unto thee? glorious in holiness, (13) marvelous in glory, doing wonders." (14) 9. These and the like praises Constantine, by his very deeds, sang to God, the universal Ruler, and Author of his victory, as he entered Rome in triumph. Immediately all the members of the senate and the other most celebrated men, with the whole Roman people, together with children and women, received him as their deliverer, their saviour, and their benefactor, with shining eyes and with their whole souls, with shouts of gladness and unbounded joy. 10. But he, as one possessed of inborn piety toward God, did not exult in the shouts, nor was he elated by the praises; but perceiving that his aid was from God, he immediately commanded that a trophy of the Saviour's passion be put in the hand of his own statue. And when he had placed it, with the saving sign of the cross in its right hand, in the most public place in Rome, he commanded that the following inscription should be engraved upon it in the Roman tongue: 11. "By this salutary sign, the true proof of bravery, I have saved and freed your city from the yoke of the tyrant and moreover, having set at liberty both the senate and the people of Rome, I have restored them to their ancient distinction and splendor." (15) 12. And after this both Constantine himself and with him the Emperor Licinius, who had not yet been seized by that madness into which he later fell, (16) praising God as the author of all their blessings, with one will and mind drew up a full and most complete decree in behalf of the Christians, (17) and sent an account of the wonderful things done for them by God, and of the victory over the tyrant, together with a copy of the decree itself, to Maximinus, who still ruled over the nations of the East and pretended friendship toward them. 13. But he, like a tyrant, was greatly pained by what he learned; but not wishing to seem to yield to others, nor, on the other hand, to suppress that which was commanded, for fear of those who enjoined it, as if on his own authority, he addressed, under compulsion, to the governors under him this first communication in behalf of the Christians, (18) falsely inventing things against himself which had never been done by him.
----Copy of a translation of the epistle of the tyrant Maximinus.
"Jovius Maximinus Augustus to Sabinus. (10) I am confident that it is manifest both to thy firmness and to all men that our masters Diocletian and Maximianus, our fathers, when they saw almost all men abandoning the worship of the gods and attaching themselves to the party of the Christians, 14. rightly decreed that all who gave up the worship of those same immortal gods should be recalled by open chastisement and punishment to the worship of the gods. 15. But when I first came to the East under favorable auspices and learned that in some places a great many men who were able to render public service had been banished by the judges for the above-mentioned cause, I gave command to each of the judges that henceforth none of them should treat the provincials with severity, but that they should rather recall them to the worship of the gods by flattery and exhortations. (20) 16. Then when, in accordance with my command, these orders were obeyed by the judges, it came to pass that none of those who lived in the districts of the East were banished or insulted, but that they were rather brought back to the worship of the gods by the fact that no severity was employed toward them. 17. But afterwards, when I went up last year (21) under good auspices to Nicomedia and sojourned there, citizens of the same city came to me with the images of the gods, earnestly entreating that such a people should by no means be permitted to dwell in their country. (22) 18. But when I learned that many men of the same religion dwelt in those regions, I replied that I gladly thanked them for their request, but that I perceived that it was not proffered by all, and that if, therefore, there were any that persevered in the same superstition, each one had the privilege of doing as he pleased, even if he wished to recognize the worship of the gods. (23) 19. Nevertheless, I considered it necessary to give a friendly answer to the inhabitants of Nicomedia and to the other cities which had so earnestly presented to me the same petition, namely, that no Christians should dwell in their cities,--both because this same course had been pursued by all the ancient emperors, and also because it was pleasing to the gods, through whom all men and the government of the state itself endure,--and to confirm the request which they presented in behalf of the worship of their deity. 20. Therefore, although before this time, special letters have been sent to thy devotedness, and commands have likewise been given that no harsh measures should be taken against those provincials who desire to follow such a course, but that they should be treated mildly and moderately,--nevertheless, in order that they may not suffer insults or extortions (24) from the beneficiaries, (25) or from any others, I have thought meet to remind thy firmness in this epistle (26) also that thou shouldst lead our provincials rather by flatteries and exhortations to recognize the care of the gods. 21. Hence, 'if any one of his own choice should decide to adopt the worship of the gods, it is fitting that he should be welcomed, but if any should wish to follow their own religion, do thou leave it in their power. 22. Wherefore it behooves thy devotedness to observe that which is committed to thee, and to see that power is given to no one to oppress our provincials with insults and extortions, (27) since, as already written, it is fitting to recall our provincials to the worship of the gods rather by exhortations and flatteries. But, in order that this command of ours may come to the knowledge of all our provincials, it is incumbent upon thee to proclaim that which has been enjoined, in an edict issued by thyself."
23. Since he was forced to do this by necessity and did not give the command by his own will, he was not regarded by any one as sincere or trustworthy, because he had already shown his unstable and deceitful disposition after his former similar concession. 24. None of our people, therefore, ventured to hold meetings or even to appear in public, because his communication did not cover this, but only commanded to guard against doing us any injury, and did not give orders that we should hold meetings or build churches or perform any of our customary acts. 25. And yet Constantine and Licinius, the advocates of peace and piety, had written him to permit this, and had granted it to all their subjects by edicts and ordinances. (28) But this most impious man did not choose to yield in this matter until, being driven by the divine judgment, he was at last compelled to do it against his will.
CHAPTER X: The Overthrow of the Tyrants and the Words, which they uttered before their Death. (1)
1. The circumstances which drove him to this course were the following. Being no longer able to sustain the magnitude of the government which had been undeservedly committed to him, in consequence of his want of prudence and imperial understanding, he managed affairs in a base manner, and with his mind unreasonably exalted in all things with boastful pride, even toward his colleagues in the empire who were in every respect his superiors, in birth, in training, in education, in worth and intelligence, and, greatest of all, in temperance and piety toward the true God, he began to venture to act audaciously and to arrogate to himself the first rank. (2) 2. Becoming mad in his folly, he broke the treaties which he had made with Licinius (3) and undertook an implacable war. Then in a brief time he threw all things into confusion, and stirred up every city, and having collected his entire force, comprising an immense number of soldiers, he went forth to battle with him, elated by his hopes in demons, whom he supposed to be gods, and by the number of his soldiers. 3. And when he joined battle (4) he was deprived of the oversight of God, and the victory was given to Licinius, (5) who was then ruling, by the one and only God of all. 4. First, the army in which he trusted was destroyed, and as all his guards abandoned him and left him alone, and fled to the victor, he secretly divested himself as quickly as possible of the imperial garments, which did not fitly belong to him, and in a cowardly and ignoble and unmanly way mingled with the crowd, and then fled, concealing himself in fields and villages. (6) But though he was so careful for his safety, he scarcely escaped the hands of his enemies, revealing by his deeds that the divine oracles are faithful and true, in which it is said, 5. "A king is not saved by a great force, and a giant shall not be saved by the greatness of his strength; a horse is a vain thing for safety, nor shall he be delivered by the greatness of his power. Behold, the eyes of the Lord are upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy, to deliver their souls from death." (7) 6. Thus the tyrant, covered with shame, went to his own country. And first, in frantic rage, he slew many priests and prophets of the gods whom he had formerly admired, and whose oracles had incited him to undertake the war, as sorcerers and impostors, and besides all as betrayers of his safety. Then having given glory to the God of the Christians and enacted a most full and complete ordinance in behalf of their liberty, (8) he was immediately seized with a mortal disease, and no respite being granted him, departed this life. (9) The law enacted by him was as follows:
----7. Copy of the edict of the tyrant in behaIf of the Christians, translated from the Roman tongue.
"The Emperor Caesar Caius Valerius Maximinus, Germanicus, Sarmaticus, Plus, Felix, Invictus, Augustus. We believe it manifest that no one is ignorant, but that every man who looks back over the past knows and is conscious that m every way we care continually for the good of our provincials, and wish to furnish them with those things which are of especial advantage to all, and for the common benefit and profit, and whatever contributes to the public welfare and is agreeable to the views of each. 8. When, therefore, before this, it became clear to our mind that under pretext of the command of our parents, the most divine Diocletian and Maximianus, which enjoined that the meetings of the Christians should be abolished, many extortions (10) and spoliations had been practiced by officials; and that those evils were continually increasing, to the detriment of our provincials toward whom we are especially anxious to exercise proper care, and that their possessions were in consequence perishing, letters were sent last year (11) to the governors of each province, in which we decreed that, if any one wished to follow such a practice or to observe this same religion, he should be permitted without hindrance to pursue his purpose and should be impeded and prevented by no one, and that all should have liberty to do without any fear or suspicion that which each preferred. 9. But even now we cannot help perceiving that some of the judges have mistaken our commands, and have given our people reason to doubt the meaning of our ordinances, and have caused them to proceed too reluctantly to the observance of those religious rites which are pleasing to them. 10. In order, therefore, that in the future every suspicion of fearful doubt may be taken away, we have commanded that this decree be published, so that it may be clear to all that whoever wishes to embrace this sect and religion is permitted to do so by virtue of this grant of ours; and that each one, as he wishes or as is pleasing to him, is permitted to practice this religion which he has chosen to observe according to his custom. It is also granted them to build Lord's houses. 11. But that this grant of ours may be the greater, we have thought good to decree also that if any houses and lands before this time rightfully belonged to the Christians, and by the command of our parents fell into the treasury, or were confiscated by any city,--whether they have been sold or presented to any one as a gift,--that all these should be restored to their original possessors, the Christians, in order that in this also every one may have knowledge of our piety and care."
12. These are the words of the tyrant which were published not quite a year after the decrees against the Christians engraved by him on pillars. (12) And by him to whom a little before we seemed impious wretches and atheists and destroyers of all life, so that we were not permitted to dwell in any city nor even in country or desert,--by him decrees and ordinances were issued in behalf of the Christians, and they who recently had been destroyed by fire and sword, by wild beasts and birds of prey, in the presence of the tyrant himself, and had suffered every species of torture and punishment, and most miserable deaths as atheists and impious wretches, were now acknowledged by him as possessors of religion and were permitted to build churches; and the tyrant himself bore witness and confessed that they had some rights. 13. And having made such confessions, as if he had received some benefit on account of them, he suffered perhaps less than he ought to have suffered, and being smitten by a sudden scourge of God, he perished in the second campaign of the war. 14. But his end was not like that of military chieftains who, while fighting bravely in battle for virtue and friends, often boldly encounter a glorious death; for like an impious enemy of God, while his army was still drawn up in the field, remaining at home and concealing himself, he suffered the punishment which he deserved. For he was smitten with a sudden scourge of God in his whole body, and harassed by terrible pains and torments, he fell prostrate on the ground, wasted by hunger, while all his flesh was dissolved by an invisible and God-sent fire, so that the whole appearance of his frame was changed, and there was left only a kind of image wasted away by length of time to a skeleton of dry bones; so that those who were present could think of his body as nothing else than the tomb of his soul, which was buried in a body already dead and completely melted away. 15. And as the heat still more violently consumed him in the depths of his marrow, his eyes burst forth, and falling from their sockets left him blind. Thereupon still breathing and making free confession to the Lord, he invoked death, and at last, after acknowledging that he justly suffered these things on account of his violence against Christ, he gave up the ghost.
CHAPTER XI: The Final Destruction of the Enemies of Religion.
1. Thus when Maximinus, who alone had remained of the enemies of religion (1) and had appeared the worst of them all, was put out of the way, the renovation of the churches from their foundations was begun by the grace of God the Ruler of all, and the word of Christ. shining unto the glory of the God of the universe, obtained greater freedom than before, while the impious enemies of religion were covered with extremest shame and dishonor. 2. For Maximinus himself, being first pronounced by the emperors a common enemy, was declared by public proclamations to be a most impious, execrable, and God-hating tyrant. And of the portraits which had been set up in every city in honor of him or of his children, some were thrown down from their places to the ground, and torn in pieces; while the faces of others were obliterated by daubing them with black paint. And the statues which had been erected to his honor were likewise overthrown and broken, and lay exposed to the laughter and sport of those who wished to insult and abuse them. 3. Then also all the honors of the other enemies of religion were taken away, and all those who sided with Maximinus were slain, especially those who had been honored by him with high offices in reward for their flattery, and had behaved insolently toward our doctrine. 4. Such an one was Peucetius, (2) the dearest of his companions, who had been honored and rewarded by him above all, who had been consul a second and third time, and had been appointed by him chief minister; (3) and Culcianus, (4) who had likewise advanced through every grade of office, and was also celebrated for his numberless executions of Christians in Egypt; (6) and besides these not a few others, by whose agency especially the tyranny of Maximinus had been confirmed and extended. 5. And Theotecnus (6) also was summoned by justice which by no means overlooked his deeds against the Christians. For when the statue had been set up by him at Antioch, (7) he appeared to be in the happiest state, and was already made a governor by Maximinus. 6. But Licinius, coming down to the city of Antioch, made a search for impostors, and tortured the prophets and priests of the newly erected statue, asking them for what reason they practiced their deception. They, under the stress of torture, were unable longer to conceal the matter, and declared that the whole deceptive mystery had been devised by the art of Theotecnus. Therefore, after meting out to all of them just judgment, he first put Theotecnus himself to death, and then his confederates in the imposture, with the severest possible tortures. 7. To all these were added also the children (8) of Maximinus, whom he had already made sharers in the imperial dignity, by placing their names on tablets and statues. And the relatives of the tyrant, who before had been boastful and had in their pride oppressed all men, suffered the same punishments with those who have been already mentioned, as well as the extremest disgrace. For they had not received instruction, neither did they know and understand the exhortation given in the Holy Word: 8. "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation; his spirit shall go forth and return to his earth; in that day all their thoughts perish." (9)
9. The impious ones having been thus removed, the government was preserved firm and undisputed for Constantine and Licinius, to whom it fittingly belonged. They, having first of all cleansed the world of hostility to the Divine Being, conscious of the benefits which he had conferred upon them, showed their love of virtue and of God, and their piety and gratitude to the Deity, by their ordinance in behalf of the Christians. (10)
CHAPTER I: The Peace granted us by God.
1. Thanks for all things be given unto God the Omnipotent Ruler and King of the universe, and the greatest thanks to Jesus Christ the Saviour and Redeemer of our souls, through whom we pray that peace may be always preserved for us firm and undisturbed by external troubles and by troubles of the mind. 2. Since in accordance with thy wishes, my most holy Paulinus, (1) we have added the tenth book of the Church History to those which have preceded, (2) we will inscribe it to thee, proclaiming thee as the seal of the whole work; 3. and we will fitly add in a perfect number the perfect panegyric upon the restoration of the churches, (3) obeying the Divine. Spirit which exhorts us in the following words: "Sing unto the Lord a new song, for he hath done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm hath saved him. The Lord hath made known his salvation, his righteousness hath he revealed in the presence of the nations." (4) 4. And in accordance with the utterance which commands us to sing the new song, let us proceed to show that, after those terrible and gloomy spectacles which we have described, (5) we are now permitted to see and celebrate such things as many truly righteous men and martyrs of God before us desired to see upon earth and did not see, and to hear and did not hear. (6) 5. But they, hastening on, obtained far better things, (7) being carried to heaven and the paradise of divine pleasure. But, acknowledging that even these things are greater than we deserve, we have been astonished at the grace manifested by the author of the great gifts, and rightly do we admire him, worshiping him with the whole power of our souls, and testifying to the truth of those recorded utterances, in which it is said, 6. "Come and see the works of the Lord, the wonders which he hath done upon the earth; he removeth wars to the ends of the world, he shall break the bow and snap the spear in sunder, and shall burn the shields with fire." (8) Rejoicing in these things which have been clearly fulfilled in our day, let us proceed with our account.
7. The whole race of God's enemies was destroyed in the manner indicated, (9) and was thus suddenly swept from the sight of men. So that again a divine utterance had its fulfillment: "I have seen the impious highly exalted and raising himself like the cedars of Lebanon and I have passed by, and behold, he was not and I have sought his place, and it could not be found." (10) 8. And finally a bright and splendid day, overshadowed by no cloud, illuminated with beams of heavenly light the churches of Christ throughout the entire world. And not even those without our communion were prevented from sharing in the same blessings, or at least from coming under their influ ence and enjoying a part of the benefits bestowed upon us by God. (12)
CHAPTER II: The Restoration of the Churches.
1. All men, then, were freed from the oppression of the tyrants, and being released from the former ills, one in one way and another in another acknowledged the defender of the pious to be the only true God. And we especially who placed our hopes in the Christ of God had unspeakable gladness, and a certain inspired joy bloomed for all of us, when we saw every place which shortly before had been desolated by the impieties of the tyrants reviving as if from a long and death-fraught pestilence, and temples again rising from their foundations to an immense height, and receiving a splendor far greater than that of the old ones which had been destroyed. 2. But the supreme rulers also confirmed to us still more extensively the munificence of God by repeated ordinances in behalf of the Christians; and personal letters of the emperor were sent to the bishops, with honors and gifts of money. It may not be unfitting to insert these documents, translated from the Roman into the Greek tongue, at the proper place in this book, (1) as in a sacred tablet, that they may remain as a memorial to all who shall come after us.
CHAPTER III: The Dedications in Every Place.
1. After this was seen the sight which had been desired and prayed for by us all; feasts of dedication in the cities and consecrations of the newly built houses of prayer took place, bishops assembled, foreigners came together from abroad, mutual love was exhibited between people and people, the members of Christ's body were united in complete harmony. 2. Then was fulfilled the prophetic utterance which mystically foretold what was to take place: "Bone to bone and joint to joint," (1) and whatever was truly announced in enigmatic expressions in the inspired passage. 3. And there was one energy of the Divine Spirit pervading all the members, and one soul in all, and the same eagerness of faith, and one hymn from all in praise of the Deity. Yea, and perfect services were conducted by the prelates, the sacred rites being solemnized, and the majestic institutions of the Church observed, here with the singing of psalms and with the reading of the words committed to us by God, and there with the performance of divine and mystic services; and the mysterious symbols of the Saviour's passion were dispensed. 4. At the same time people of every age, both male and female, with all the power of the mind gave honor unto God, the author of their benefits, in prayers and thanksgiving, with a joyful mind and soul. And every one of the bishops present, each to the best of his ability, delivered panegyric orations, adding luster to the assembly.
CHAPTER IV: Panegyric on the Splendor of Affairs.
1. A Certain one of those of moderate talent, (1) who had composed a discourse, stepped forward in the presence of many pastors who were assembled as if for a church gathering, and while they attended quietly and decently, he addressed himself as follows to one who was in all things a most excellent bishop and beloved of God, (2) through whose zeal the temple in Tyre, which was the most splendid in Phoenicia, had been erected.
----2. Panegyric upon the building of the churches, addressed to Paulinus, Bishop of Tyre.
"Friends and priests of God who are clothed in the sacred gown and adorned with the heavenly crown of glory, the inspired unction and the sacerdotal garment of the Holy Spirit; and thou? oh pride of God's new holy temple, endowed by him with the wisdom of age, and yet exhibiting costly works and deeds of youthful and flourishing virtue, to whom God himself, who embraces the entire world, has granted the distinguished honor of building and renewing this earthly house to Christ, his only begotten and first-born Word, and to his holy and divine bride; (4) 3. -- one might call thee a new Beseleel, (5) the architect of a divine tabernacle, or Solomon, king of a new and much better Jerusalem, or also a new Zerubabel, who added a much greater glory than the former to the temple of God; (6) 4. --and you also, oh nurslings of the sacred flock of Christ, habitation of good words, school of wisdom, and august and pious auditory of religion:(7) 5. It was long ago permitted us to raise hymns and songs to God, when we learned from hearing the Divine Scriptures read the marvelous signs of God and the benefits conferred upon men by the Lord's wondrous deeds, being taught to say 'Oh God! we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us the work which thou didst in their days, in days of old.'(8) 6. But now as we no longer perceive the lofty arm (9) and the celestial right hand of our all-gracious God and universal King by hearsay merely or report, but observe so to speak in very deed and with our own eyes that the declarations recorded long ago are faithful and true, it is permitted us to raise a second hymn of triumph and to sing with loud voice, and say, 'As we have heard, so have we seen; in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God.' (10) 7. And in what city but in this newly built and God- constructed one, which is a 'church of the living God, a pillar and foundation of the truth,' (11) concerning which also another divine oracle thus proclaims, 'Glorious things have been spoken of thee, oh city of God.' (12) Since the all-gracious God has brought us together to it, through the grace of his Only- Begotten, let every one of those who have been summoned sing with loud voice and say, ' I was glad when they said unto me, we shall go unto the house of the Lord,' (13) and 'Lord, I have loved the beauty of thy house and the place where thy glory dwelleth.' (14) 8. And let us not only one by one, but all together, with one spirit and one soul, honor him and cry aloud, saying, ' Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in his holy mountain.' (15) For he is truly great, and great is his house, lofty and spacious and comely in beauty above the sons of men.' (16) 'Great is the Lord who alone doeth wonderful things'; (17) 'great is he who doeth great things and things past finding out, glorious and marvelous things which cannot be numbered'; (18) is great is he ' who changeth times and seasons, who exalteth and debaseth kings';19 , who raiseth up the poor from the earth and lifteth up the needy from the dunghill.' (20) He hath put clown princes from their thrones and hath exalted them of low degree from the earth. The hungry he hath filled with good things and the arms of the proud he hath broken.' (21) 9. Not only to the faithful, but also to unbelievers, has he confirmed the record of ancient events; he that worketh miracles, he that doeth great things, the Master of all, the Creator of the whole world, the omnipotent, the all- merciful, the one and only God. To him let us sing the new song, (22) supplying in thought, (23) ' To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth forever'; To him which smote great kings, and slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth forever'; (25) 'For the Lord remembered us in our low estate and delivered us from our adversaries.' (26) 10. And let us never cease to cry aloud in these words to the Father of the universe. And let us always honor him with our mouth who is the second cause of our benefits, the instructor in divine knowledge, the teacher of the true religion, the destroyer of the impious, the slayer of tyrants, the reformer of life, Jesus, the Saviour of us who were in despair. 11. For he alone, as the only all-gracious Son of an all-gracious Father, in accordance with the purpose of his Father's benevolence, has willingly put on the nature of us who lay prostrate in corruption, and like some excellent physician, who for the sake of saving them that are ill, examines their sufferings, handles their foul sores, and reaps pain for himself from the miseries of another, (27) so us who were not only diseased and afflicted with terrible ulcers and wounds already mortified, but were even lying among the dead, he hath saved for himself from the very jaws of death. For none other of those in heaven had such power as without harm (28) to minister to the salvation of so many. 12. But he alone having reached our deep corruption, he alone having taken upon himself our labors, he alone having suffered the punishments due for our impieties, having recovered us who were not half dead merely, but were already in tombs and sepulchers, and altogether foul and offensive, saves us, both anciently and now, by his beneficent zeal, beyond the expectation of any one, even of ourselves, and imparts liberally of the Father's benefits, he who is the giver of life and light, our great Physician and King and Lord, the Christ of God. 13. For then when the whole human race lay buried in gloomy night and in depths of darkness through the deceitful arts of guilty demons and the power of God-hating spirits, by his simple appearing he loosed once for all the fast-bound cords of our impieties by the rays of his light, even as wax is melted. 14. But when malignant envy and the evil-loving demon wellnigh burst with anger at such grace and kindness, and turned against us all his death-dealing forces, and when, at first, like a dog gone mad which gnashes his teeth at the stones thrown at him, and pours out his rage against his assailants upon the inanimate missiles, he leveled his ferocious madness at the stones of the sanctuaries and at the lifeless material of the houses, and desolated the churches, --at least as he supposed,--and then emitted terrible hissings and snake-like sounds, now by the threats of impious tyrants, and again by the blasphemous edicts of profane rulers, vomiting forth death, moreover, and infecting with his deleterious and soul-destroying poisons the souls captured by him, and almost slaying them by his death-fraught sacrifices of dead idols, and causing every beast in the form of man and every kind of savage to assault us 15. --then, indeed, the 'Angel of the great Council,' (29) the great Captain (30) of God after the mightiest soldiers of his kingdom had displayed sufficient exercise through patience and endurance in everything, suddenly appeared anew, and blotted out and annihilated his enemies and foes, so that they seemed never to have had even a name. But his friends and relatives he raised to the highest glory, in the presence not only of all men, but also of celestial powers, of sun and moon and stars, and of the whole heaven and earth, 16. so that now, as has never happened before, the supreme rulers, conscious of the honor which they have received from him, spit upon the faces of dead idols, trample upon the unhallowed rites of demons, make sport of the ancient delusion handed down from their fathers, and acknowledge only one God, the common benefactor of all, themselves included. And they confess Christ, the Son of God, universal King of all, and proclaim him Saviour on monuments, (31) imperishably recording in imperial letters, in the midst of the city which rules over the earth, his righteous deeds and his victories over the impious. Thus Jesus Christ our Saviour is the only one from all eternity who has been acknowledged, even by those highest in the earth, not as a common king among men, but as a trite son of the universal God, and who has been worshiped as very God, (32) and that rightly. 17. For what king that ever lived attained such virtue as to fill the ears and tongues of all men upon earth with his own name? What king, after ordaining such pious and wise laws, has extended them from one end of the earth to the other, so that they are perpetually read in the hearing of all men? 18. Who has abrogated barbarous and savage customs of uncivilized nations by his gentle and most philanthropic laws? Who, being attacked for entire ages by all, has shown such superhuman virtue as to flourish daily, and remain young throughout his life? 19. Who has founded a nation which of old was not even heard of, but which now is not concealed in some comer of the earth, but is spread abroad everywhere under the sun? Who has so fortified his soldiers with the arms of piety that their souls, being firmer than adamant, shine brilliantly in the contests with their opponents? 20. What king prevails to such an extent, and even after death leads on his soldiers, and sets up trophies over his enemies, and fills every place, country and city, Greek and barbarian, with his royal dwellings, even divine temples with their consecrated oblations, like this very temple with its superb adornments and votive offerings, which are themselves so truly great and majestic, worthy of wonder and admiration, and clear signs of the sovereignty of our Saviour? For now, too, 'he spake, and they were made; he commanded, and they were created.' (33) For what was there to resist the nod of the universal King and Governor and Word of God himself? (34)
21. "A special discourse would be needed accurately to survey and explain all this; and also to describe how great the zeal of the laborers is regarded by him who is celebrated as divine, (35) who looks upon the living temple which we all constitute, and surveys the house, composed of living and moving stones, which is well and surely built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the chief cornerstone being Jesus Christ himself, who has been rejected not only by the builders of that ancient building which no longer stands, but also by the builders -- evil architects of evil works -- of the structure, which is composed of the mass of men and still endures (36) But the Father has approved him both then and now, and has made him the head of the corner of this our common church. 22. Who that beholds this living temple of the living God formed of ourselves-- this greatest and truly divine sanctuary, I say, whose inmost shrines are invisible to the multitude and are truly holy and a holy of holies -- would venture to declare it? Who is able even to look within the sacred enclosure, except the great High Priest of all, to whom alone it is permitted to fathom the mysteries of every rational soul? 23. But perhaps it is granted to another, to one only, to be second after him in the same work, namely, to the commander of this army whom the first and great High Priest himself has honored with the second place in this sanctuary, the shepherd of your divine flock who has obtained your people by the allotment and the judgment of the Father, as if he had appointed him his own servant and interpreter, a new Aaron or Melchizedec, made like the Son of God, remaining and continually preserved by him in accordance with the united prayers of all of you. 24. To him therefore alone let it be granted, if not in the first place, at least in the second after the first and greatest High Priest, to observe and supervise the inmost state of your souls,--to him who by experience and length of time has accurately proved each one, and who by his zeal and care has disposed you all in pious conduct and doctrine, and is better able than any one else to give an account, adequate to the facts, of those things which he himself has accomplished with the Divine assistance. 25. As to our first and great High Priest, it is said, (37) 'Whatsoever he seeth the Father doing those things likewise the Son also doeth.' (38) So also this one, (39) looking up to him as to the first teacher, with pure eyes of the mind, using as archetypes whatsoever things he seeth him doing, produceth images of them, making them so far as is possible in the same likeness, in nothing inferior to that Beseleel, whom God himself 'filled with the spirit of wisdom and understanding' (40) and with other technical and scientific knowledge, and called to be the maker of the temple constructed after heavenly types given in symbols. 26. Thus this one also bearing in his own soul the image of the whole Christ, the Word, the Wisdom, the Light, has formed this magnificent temple of the highest God, corresponding to the pattern of the greater as a visible to an invisible, it is impossible to say with what greatness of soul, with what wealth and liberality of mind, and with what emulation on the part of all of you, shown in the magnanimity of the contributors who have ambitiously striven in no way to be left behind by him in the execution of the same purpose. And this place,--for this deserves to be mentioned first of all, - - which had been covered with all sorts of rubbish by the artifices of our enemies he did not overlook, nor did he yield to the wickedness of those who had brought about that condition of things, although he might have chosen some other place, for many other sites were available in the city, where he would have had less labor, and been free from trouble. 27. But having first aroused himself to the work, and then strengthened the whole people with zeal, and formed them all into one great body, he fought the first contest. For he thought that this church, which had been especially besieged by the enemy, which had first suffered and endured the same persecutions with us and for us, like a mother bereft of her children, should rejoice with us in the signal favor of the all-merciful God. 28. For when the Great Shepherd had driven away the wild animals and wolves and every cruel and savage beast, and, as the divine oracles say, 'had broken the jaws of the lions,' (41), he thought good to collect again her children in the same place, and in the most righteous manner he set up the fold of her flock, 'to put to shame the enemy and avenger,' (42) and to refute the impious daring of the enemies of God. (43) 29. And now they are not,--the haters of God,--for they never were. After they had troubled and been troubled for a little time, they suffered the fitting punishment, and brought themselves and their friends and their relatives to total destruction, so that the declarations inscribed of old in sacred records have been proved true by facts. In these declarations the divine word truly says among other things the following concerning them: 30. 'The wicked have drawn out the sword, they have bent their bow, to slay the righteous in heart; let their sword enter into their own heart and their bows be broken.' (44) And again: 'Their memorial is perished with a sound' (45) and 'their name hast thou blotted out forever and ever'; (46) for when they also were in trouble they 'cried out and there was none to save: unto the Lord, and he heard them not. (47) But 'their feet were bound together, and they fell, but we have arisen and stand upright.' (48) And that which was announced beforehand in these words,-'O Lord, in thy city thou shalt set at naught their image,' (49)--has been shown to be true to the eyes of all. 31. But having waged war like the giants against God, (50) they died in this way. But she that was desolate and rejected by men received the consummation which we behold in consequence of her patience toward God, so that the prophecy of Isaiah was spoken of her: 32. 'Rejoice, thirsty desert, let the desert rejoice and blossom as the lily, and the desert places shall blossom and be glad.' (51) 'Be strengthened, ye weak hands and feeble knees. Be of good courage, ye feeble-hearted, in your minds; be strong, fear not. Behold our God recompenseth judgment and will recompense, he will come and save us.' (52) 'For,' he says, 'in the wilderness water has broken out, and a pool in thirsty ground, and the dry land shall be watered meadows, and in the thirsty ground there shall be springs of water.' (53)33. These things which were prophesied long ago have been recorded in sacred books; but no longer are they transmitted to us by hearsay merely, but in facts. This desert, this dry land, this widowed and deserted one, 'whose gates they cut down with axes like wood in a forest, whom they broke down with hatchet and hammer,' (54) whose books also they destroyed, (55) 'burning with fire the sanctuary of God, and profaning unto the ground the habitation of his name,' (56) 'whom all that passed by upon the way plucked, and whose fences they broke down, whom the boar out of the wood ravaged, and on which the savage wild beast fed,' (57) now by the wonderful power of Christ, when he wills it, has become like a lily. For at that time also she was chastened at his nod as by a careful father; 'for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.' (58) 34. Then after being chastened in a measure, according to the necessities of the case, she is commanded to rejoice anew; and she blossoms as a lily and exhales her divine odor among all men. 'For,' it is said, 'water hath broken out in the wilderness,' (59) the fountain of the saving bath of divine regeneration. (60) And now she, who a little before was a desert, 'has become watered meadows. and springs of water have gushed forth in a thirsty land.' (61) The hands which before were 'weak' have become 'truly strong'; (62) and these works are great and convincing proofs of strong hands. The knees, also, which before were 'feeble and infirm,' recovering their wonted strength, are moving straight forward in the path of divine knowledge, and hastening to the kindred flock (63) of the all- gracious Shepherd. 35. And if there are any whose souls have been stupefied by the threats of the tyrants, not even they are passed by as incurable by the saving Word; but he heals them also and urges them on to receive divine comfort, saying, 'Be ye comforted, ye who are faint- hearted; be ye strengthened, fear not.' (64) 36. This our new and excellent Zerubabel, having heard the word which announced beforehand, that she who had been made a desert on account of God should enjoy these things, after the bitter captivity and the abomination of desolation, did not overlook the dead body; but first of all with prayers and supplications propitiated the Father with the common consent of all of you, and invoking the only one that giveth life to the dead as his ally and fellow-worker, raised her that was fallen, after purifying and freeing her from her ills. And he clothed her not with the ancient garment, but with such an one as he had again learned from the sacred oracles, which say clearly, 'And the latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former.' (65) 37. Thus, enclosing a much larger space, he fortified the outer court with a wall surrounding the whole, which should serve as a most secure bulwark for the entire edifice. (66) 38. And he raised and spread out a great and lofty vestibule toward the rays of the rising sun, (67) and furnished those standing far without the sacred enclosure a full view of those within, almost turning the eyes of those who were strangers to the faith, to the entrances, so that no one could pass by without being impressed by the memory of the former desolation and of the present incredible transformation. His hope was that such an one being impressed by this might be attracted and be induced to enter by the very sight. 39. But when one comes within the gates he does not permit him to enter the sanctuary immediately, with impure and unwashed feet; but leaving as large a space as possible between the temple and the outer entrance, he has surrounded and adorned it with four transverse cloisters, making a quadrangular space with pillars rising on every side, which he has joined with lattice-work screens of wood, rising to a suitable height; and he has left an open space (68) in the middle, so that the sky can be seen, and the free air bright in the rays of the sun. 40. Here he has placed symbols of sacred purifications, setting up fountains opposite the temple which furnish an abundance of water wherewith those who come within the sanctuary may purify themselves. This is the first halting- place of those who enter; and it furnishes at the same time a beautiful and splendid scene to every one, and to those who still need elementary instruction a fitting station. 41. But passing by this spectacle, he has made open entrances to the temple with many other vestibules within, placing three doors on one side, likewise facing the rays of the sun. The one in the middle, adorned with plates of bronze, iron bound, and beautifully embossed, he has made much higher and broader than the others, as if he were making them guards for it as for a queen. 42. In the same way, arranging the number of vestibules for the corridors on each side of the whole temple, he has made above them various openings into the building, for the purpose of admitting more light, adorning them with very fine wood-carving. But the royal house he has furnished with more beautiful and splendid materials, using unstinted liberality in his disbursements. 43. It seems to me superfluous to describe here in detail the length and breadth of the building, its splendor and its majesty surpassing description, and the brilliant appearance of the work, its lofty pinnacles reaching to the heavens, and the costly cedars of Lebanon above them, which the divine oracle has not omitted to mention, saying, 'The trees of the Lord shall rejoice and the cedars of Lebanon which he hath planted.' (69) 44. Why need I now describe the skillful architectural arrangement and the surpassing beauty of each part, when the testimony of the eye renders instruction through the ear superfluous? For when he had thus completed the temple, he provided it with lofty thrones in honor of those who preside, and in addition with seats arranged in proper order throughout the whole building, and finally placed in the middle (70) the holy of holies, the altar, and, that it might be inaccessible to the multitude, enclosed it with wooden lattice-work, accurately wrought with artistic carving, presenting a wonderful sight to the beholders. 45. And not even the pavement was neglected by him; for this too he adorned with beautiful marble of every variety. Then finally he passed on to the parts without the temple, providing spacious exedrae and buildings (71) on each side, which were joined to the basilica, and communicated with the entrances to the interior of the structure. These were erected by our most peaceful (72) Solomon, the maker of the temple of God, for those who still needed purification and sprinkling by water and the Holy Spirit, so that the prophecy quoted above is no longer a word merely, but a fact; for now it has also come to pass that in truth 'the biter glory of this house is greater than the former.' (73) 46. For it was necessary and fitting that as her shepherd and Lord had once tasted death for her, and after his suffering had changed that vile body which he assumed in her behalf into a splendid and glorious body, leading the very flesh which had been delivered (74) from corruption to incorruption, she too should enjoy the dispensations of the Saviour. For having received from him the promise of much greater things than these, she desires to share uninterruptedly throughout eternity with the choir of the angels of light, in the far greater glory of regeneration, (75) in the resurrection of an incorruptible body, in the palace of God beyond the heavens, with Christ Jesus himself, the universal Benefactor and Saviour. 47. But for the present, she that was formerly widowed and desolate is clothed by the grace of God with these flowers, and is become truly like a lily, as the prophecy says, (76) and having received the bridal garment and the crown of beauty, she is taught by Isaiah to dance, and to present her thank-offerings unto God the King in reverent words. 48. Let us hear her saying, 'My soul shall rejoice in the Lord; for he hath clothed me with a garment of salvation and with a robe of gladness; he hath bedecked me like a bridegroom with a garland, and he hath adorned me like a bride with jewels; and like the earth which bringeth forth her bud, and like a garden which causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth, thus the Lord God hath caused righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.' (77) 49. In these words she exults. And in similar words the heavenly bridegroom, the Word Jesus Christ himself, answers her. Hear the Lord saying, 'Fear not because thou hast been put to shame, neither be thou confounded because thou hast been rebuked; for thou shalt forget the former shame, and the reproach of thy widowhood shalt thou remember no more.' (78) 'Not (79) as a woman deserted and faint-hearted I hath the Lord called thee, nor as a woman hated from her youth, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercy will I have mercy upon thee; in a little wrath I hid my face from thee, but with everlasting mercy will I have mercy upon thee, saith the Lord that hath redeemed thee.' (80) 50. 'Awake, awake, thou who hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury; for thou hast drunk the cup of ruin, the vessel of my wrath, and hast drained it. And there was none to console thee of all thy sons whom thou didst bring forth, and there was none to take thee by the hand.' (81) 'Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of ruin, the vessel of my fury, and thou shalt no longer drink it. And I will put it into the hands of them that have treated thee unjustly and have humbled thee.' (82) 51. 'Awake, awake, put on thy strength, put on thy glory. Shake off the dust and arise. Sit thee down, loose the bands of thy neck.' 83 'Lift up thine eyes round about and behold thy children gathered together; behold they are gathered together and are come to thee. As I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt clothe thee with them all as with an ornament, and gird thyself with them as with the ornaments of a bride. For thy waste and corrupted and ruined places shall now be too narrow by reason of those that inhabit thee, and they that swallow thee up shall be far from thee. 52. For thy sons whom thou hast lost shall say in thine ears, The place is too narrow for me, give place to me that I may dwell. Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these? I am childless and a widow, and who hath brought up these for me? I was left alone, and these, where were they for me?' (84)
53. "These are the things which Isaiah foretold; and which were anciently recorded concerning us in sacred books and it was necessary that we should sometime learn their truthfulness by their fulfillment. 54. For when the bridegroom, the Word, addressed such language to his own bride, the sacred and holy Church, this bridesman, (85) -- when she was desolate and lying like a corpse, bereft of hope in the eyes of men, -- in accordance with the united prayers of all of you, as was proper, stretched out your hands and aroused and raised her up at the command of God, the universal King, and at the manifestation of the power of Jesus Christ; and having raised her he established her as he had learned from the description given in the sacred oracles. 55. This is indeed a very great wonder, passing all admiration, especially to those who attend only to the outward appearance; but more wonderful than wonders are the archetypes and their mental prototypes and divine models; I mean the reproductions of the inspired and rational building in our souls. 56. This the Divine Son himself created after his own image, imparting to it everywhere and in all respects the likeness of God, an incorruptible nature, incorporeal, rational, free from all earthly matter, a being endowed with its own intelligence; and when he had once called her forth from non- existence into existence, he made her a holy spouse, an all-sacred temple for himself and for the Father. This also he clearly declares and confesses in the following words: 'I will dwell in them and will walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.' (86) Such is the perfect and purified soul, so made from the beginning as to bear the image of the celestial Word. 57. But when by the envy and zeal of the malignant demon she became, of her own voluntary choice, sensual and a lover of evil, the Deity left her; and as if bereft of a protector, she became an easy prey and readily accessible to those who had long envied her; and being assailed by the batteries and machines of her invisible enemies and spiritual foes, she suffered a terrible fall, so that not one stone of virtue remained upon another in her, but she lay completely dead upon the ground, entirely divested of her natural ideas of God.
58. "But as she, who had been made in the image of God, thus lay prostrate, it was not that wild boar from the forest which we see that despoiled her, but a certain destroying demon and spiritual wild beasts who deceived her with their passions as with the fiery darts of their own wickedness, and burned the truly divine sanctuary of God with fire, and profaned to the ground the tabernacle of his name. Then burying the miserable one with heaps of earth, they destroyed every hope of deliverance. 59. But that divinely bright and saving Word, her protector, after she had suffered the merited punishment for her sins, again restored her, securing the favor of the all- merciful Father. 60. Having won over first the souls of the highest rulers, he purified, through the agency of those most divinely favored princes, the whole earth from all the impious destroyers, and from the terrible and God-hating tyrants themselves. Then bringing out into the light those who were his friends, who had long before been consecrated to him for life, but in the midst, as it were, of a storm of evils, had been concealed under his shelter, he honored them worthily with the great gifts of the Spirit. And again, by means of them, he cleared out and cleaned with spades and mattocks-- the admonitory words of doctrine (87) -- the souls which a little while before had been covered with filth and burdened with every kind of matter and rubbish of impious ordinances. 61. And when he had made the ground of all your minds clean and clear, he finally committed it to this all-wise and God-beloved Ruler, who, being endowed with judgment and prudence, as well as with other gifts, and being able to examine and discriminate accurately the minds of those committed to his charge, from the first day, so to speak, down to the present, has not ceased to build. Now he has supplied the brilliant gold, again the refined and unalloyed silver, and the precious and costly stones in all of you, so that again is fulfilled for you in facts a sacred and mystic prophecy, which says, 62. 'Behold I make thy stone a carbuncle, and thy foundations of sapphire, and thy battlements of jasper, and thy gates of crystals, and thy wall of chosen stones; and all thy sons shall be taught of God, and thy children shall enjoy complete peace; and in righteousness shall thou be built.' 63. Building therefore in righteousness, he divided the whole people according to their strength. With some he fortified only the outer enclosure, walling it up with unfeigned faith; such were the great mass of the people who were incapable of bearing a greater structure. Others he permitted to enter the building, commanding them to stand at the door and act as guides for those who should come in; these may be not unfitly compared to the vestibules of the temple. Others he supported by the first pillars which are placed without about the quadrangular hall, initiating them into the first elements of the letter of the four Gospels. Still others he joined together about the basilica on both sides; these are the catechumens who are still advancing and progressing, and are not far separated from the inmost view of divine things granted to the faithful. 64. Taking from among these the pure souls that have been cleansed like gold by divine washing, (89) he then supports them by pillars, much better than those without, made from the inner and mystic teachings of the Scripture, and illumines them (90) by windows. 65. Adorning the whole temple with a great vestibule of the glory of the one universal King and only God, and placing on either side of the authority of the Father Christ, and the Holy Spirit as second lights, he exhibits abundantly and gloriously throughout the entire building the clearness and splendor of the truth of the rest in all its details. And having selected from every quarter the living and moving and well-prepared stones of the souls, he constructs out of them all the great and royal house, splendid and full of light both within and without; for not only soul and understanding, but their body also is made glorious by the blooming ornament of purity and modesty. 66. And in this temple there are also thrones, and a great number of seats and benches, in all those souls in which sit the Holy Spirit's gifts, such as were anciently seen by the sacred apostles, and those who were with them, when there 'appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire, and sat upon each one of them.' (91) 67. But in the leader of all it is reasonable to suppose (92) that Christ himself dwells in his fullness, (93) and in those that occupy the second rank after him, in proportion as each is able to contain the power of Christ and of the Holy Spirit. (94) And the souls of some m of those, namely, who are committed to each of them for instruction and care -- may be seats for angels. 68. But the great and august and unique altar, what else could this be than the pure holy of holies of the soul of the common priest of all? Standing at the right of it, Jesus himself, the great High Priest of the universe, the Only Begotten of God, receives with bright eye and extended hand the sweet incense from all, and the bloodless and immaterial sacrifices offered in their prayers, and bears them to the heavenly Father and God of the universe. And he himself first worships him, and alone gives to the Father the reverence which is his due, beseeching him also to continue always kind and propitious to us all.
69. "Such is the great temple which the great Creator of the universe, the Word, has built throughout the entire world, making it an intellectual image upon earth of those things which lie above the vault of heaven, so that throughout the whole creation, including rational beings on earth, his Father might be honored and adored. 70. But the region above the heavens, with the models of earthly things which are there, and the so-called Jerusalem above, (95) and the heavenly Mount of Zion, and the supramundane city of the living God, in which innumerable choirs of angels and the Church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven, (96) praise their Maker and the Supreme Ruler of the universe with hymns of praise unutterable and incomprehensible to us,--who that is mortal is able worthily to celebrate this? ' For eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of men those things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' (97) 71. Since we, men, children, and women, small and great, are already in part partakers of these things, let us not cease all together, with one spirit and one soul, to confess and praise the author of such great benefits to us, 'Who for-giveth all our iniquities, who healeth all our diseases, who redeemeth our life from destruction, who crowneth us with mercy and compassion, who satisfieth our desires with good things.' 'For he hath not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities;' (99) 'for as far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our iniquities from us. Like as a father pitieth his own children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.' (100) 72. Rekindling these thoughts in our memories, both now and during all time to come, and contemplating in our mind night and day, in every hour and with every breath, so to speak, the Author and Ruler of the present festival, and of this bright and most splendid day, let us love and adore him with every power of the soul. And now rising, let us beseech him with loud voice to shelter and preserve us to the end in his fold, granting his unbroken and unshaken peace forever, in Christ Jesus our Saviour; through whom be the glory unto him forever and ever. (101) Amen."
CHAPTER V: Copies of Imperial Laws. (1)
1. Let us finally subjoin the translations from the Roman tongue of the imperial decrees of Constantine and Licinius.
----2. Copy of imperial decrees translated from the Roman tongue." (2)
"Perceiving long ago that religious liberty ought not to be denied, but that it ought to be granted to the judgment and desire of each individual to perform his religious duties according to his own choice, we had given orders that every man, Christians as well as others, should preserve the faith of his own sect and religion. (3) 3. But since in that rescript, in which such liberty was granted them, many and various conditions (4) seemed clearly added, some of them, it may be, after a little retired from such observance. 4. When I, Constantine Augustus, and I, Licinius Augustus, came under favorable auspices to Milan and took under consideration everything which pertained to the common weal and prosperity, we resolved among other things, or rather first of all, to make such decrees as seemed in many respects for the benefit of every one; namely, such as should preserve reverence and piety toward the deity. We resolved, that is, to grant both to the Christians and to all men freedom to follow the religion which they choose, that whatever heavenly divinity exists (5) may be propitious to us and to all that live under our government. 5. We have, therefore, determined, with sound and upright purpose, that liberty is to be denied to no one, to choose and to follow the religious observances of the Christians, but that to each one freedom is to be given to devote his mind to that religion which he may think adapted to himself, (6) in order that the Deity may exhibit to us in all things his accustomed care and favor. 6. It was fitting that we should write that this is our pleasure, that those conditions (7) being entirely left out which were contained in our former letter concerning the Christians which was sent to your devotedness, everything that seemed very severe and foreign to our mildness may be annulled, and that now every one who has the same desire to observe the religion of the Christians may do so without molestation. 7. We have resolved to communicate this most fully to thy care, in order that thou mayest know that we have granted to these same Christians freedom and full liberty to observe their own religion. 8. Since this has been granted freely by us to them, thy devotedness perceives that liberty is granted to others also who may wish to follow their own religious observances; it being clearly in accordance with the tranquillity of our times, that each one should have the liberty of choosing and worshiping whatever deity he pleases. This has been done by us in order that we might not seem in any way to discriminate against any rank or religion. 9. And we decree still further in regard to the Christians, that their places, in which they were formerly accustomed to assemble, and concerning which in the former letter sent to thy devotedness a different command was given (9) if it appear that any have bought them either from our treasury or from any other person, shall be restored to the said Christians, without demanding money or any other equivalent, with no delay or hesitation. If any happen to have received the said places as a gift, they shall restore them as quickly as possible to these same Christians: 10. with the understanding that if those who have bought these places, or those who have received them as a gift, demand anything from our bounty, they may go to the judge of the district, that provision may be made for them by our clemency. All these things are to be granted to the society of Christians by your care immediately and without any delay. 11. And since the said Christians are known to have possessed not only those places in which they were accustomed to assemble, but also other places, belonging not to individuals among them, but to the society (10) as a whole, that is, to the society of Christians, you will command that all these, in virtue of the law which we have above stated, be restored, without any hesitation, to these same Christians; that is, to their society and congregation: the above-mentioned provision being of course observed, that those who restore them without price, as we have before said, may expect indemnification from our bounty. 12. In all these things, for the behoof of the aforesaid society of Christians, you are to use the utmost diligence, to the end that our command may be speedily fulfilled, and that in this also, by our clemency, provision may be made for the common and public tranquillity. (11) 13. For by this means, (12) as we have said before, the divine favor toward us which we have already experienced in many matters will continue sure through all time. 14. And that the terms of this our gracious ordinance may be known to all, it is expected that this which we have written will be published everywhere by you and brought to the knowledge of all, in order that this gracious ordinance of ours may remain unknown to no one."
----15. Copy of another imperial decree which they issued, (13) indicating that the grant was made to the Catholic Church alone.
"Greeting to thee, our most esteemed Anulinus. It is the custom of our benevolence, most esteemed Anulinus, to will that those things which belong of right to another should not only be left unmolested, but should also be restored. (14) 16. Wherefore it is our will that (16) when thou receivest this letter, if any such things belonged to the Catholic Church of the- Christians, in any city or other place, but are now held by citizens (15) or by any others, thou shalt cause them to be restored immediately to the said churches. For we have already determined that those things which these same. churches formerly possessed shall be re- stored to them. 17. Since therefore thy devotedness perceives that this command of ours is most explicit, do thou make haste to restore to them, as quickly as possible, everything which formerly belonged to the said churches,-whether gardens or buildings or whatever they may be, -- that we may learn that thou hast obeyed this decree of ours most carefully. Farewell, our most esteemed and beloved Anulinus."
----18. Copy of an epistle in which the Emperor commands that a synod of bishops be held at Rome in behalf of the unity and can-card of the churches. (16)
"Constantine Augustus to Miltiades, (17) bishop of Rome, and to Marcus. (18) Since many such communications have been sent to me by Anulinus, (19) the most illustrious proconsul of Africa, in which it is said that Caecilianus, (20) bishop of the city of Carthage, has been accused by some of his colleagues in Africa, in many matters; (21) and since it seems to me a very serious thing that in those provinces which Divine Providence has freely entrusted to my devotedness, and in which there is a great population, the multitude are found following the baser course, and dividing, as it were, into two parties, and the bishops are at variance, 19. -- it has seemed good to me that Caecilianus himself, with ten of the bishops that appear to accuse him, and with ten others whom he may consider necessary for his defense, should sail to Rome, that there, in the presence of yourselves and of Retecius (22) and Maternus (23) and Marinus, (24) your colleagues, whom I have commanded to hasten to Rome for this purpose, (25) he may be heard, as you may understand to be in accordance with the most holy law. 20. But in order that you may be enabled to have most perfect knowledge of all these things, I have subjoined to my letter copies of the documents sent to me by Anulinus, and have sent them to your above- mentioned colleagues. When your firmness has read these, you will consider in what way the above-mentioned case may be most accurately investigated and justly decided. For it does not escape your diligence that I have such reverence for the legitimate (26) Catholic Church that I do not wish you to leave schism or division in any place. May the divinity of the great God preserve you, most honored sirs, for many years."
----21. Copy of an epistle in which the emperor commands another synod to be held for the purpose of removing all dissensions among the bishops.
"Constantine Augustus to Chrestus, (27) bishop of Syracuse. When some began wickedly and perversely to disagree (28) among themselves in regard to the holy worship and celestial power and Catholic doctrine, (29) wishing to put an end to such disputes among them, I formerly gave command that certain bishops should be sent from Gaul, and that the opposing parties who were contending persistently and incessantly with each other, should be summoned from Africa; that in their presence, and in the presence of the bishop of Rome, the matter which appeared to be causing the disturbance might be examined and decided with all care. (30) 22. But since, as it happens, some, forgetful both of their own salvation and of the reverence due to the most holy religion, do not even yet bring hostilities to an end, and are unwilling to conform to the judgment already passed, and assert that those who expressed their opinions and decisions were few, or that they had been too hasty and precipitate in giving judgment, before all the things which ought to have been accurately investigated had been examined,- - on account of all this it has happened that those very ones who ought to hold brotherly and harmonious relations toward each other, are shamefully, or rather abominably, (31) divided among themselves, and give occasion for ridicule to those men whose souls are aliens to this most holy religion. Wherefore it has seemed necessary to me to provide that this dissension, which ought to have ceased after the judgment had been already given by their own voluntary agreement, should now, if possible, be brought to an end by the presence of many. 23. Since, therefore, we have commanded a number of bishops from a great many different places (32) to assemble in the city of Arles, (33) before the kalends of August, we have thought proper to write to thee also that thou shouldst secure from the most illustrious La-tronianus, (34) corrector of Sicily, (35) a public vehicle, and that thou shouldst take with thee two others of the second rank (36) whom thou thyself shalt choose, together with three servants who may serve you on the way, and betake thyself to the above-mentioned place before the appointed day; 24. that by thy firmness, and by the wise unanimity and harmony of the others present, this dispute, which has disgracefully continued until the present time, in consequence of certain shameful strifes, after all has been heard which those have to say who are now at variance with one another, and whom we have likewise commanded to be present, may be settled in accordance with the proper faith, and that brotherly harmony, though it be but gradually, may be restored. May the Almighty God preserve thee in health for many years."
CHAPTER VI. (1): Copy of an Imperial Epistle in which Money is granted to the Churches. (2)
1. "Constantine Augustus to Caecilianus, (3) bishop of Carthage. Since it is our pleasure that something should be granted in all the provinces of Africa and Numidia and Mauritania to certain ministers of the legitimate (4) and most holy catholic religion, to defray their expenses, I have written to Ursus, (5) the illustrious finance minister (6) of Africa, and have directed him to make provision to pay to thy firmness three thousand folles. (7) 2. Do thou therefore, when thou hast received the above sum of money, command that it be distributed among all those mentioned above, according to the briefs sent to thee by Hosius. (9) 3. But if thou shouldst find that anything is wanting for the fulfillment of this purpose of mine in regard to all of them, thou shalt demand without hesitation from Heracleides, (10) our treasurer, (11) whatever thou findest to be necessary. For I commanded him when he was present that if thy firmness should ask him for any money, he should see to it that it be paid without delay. 4. And since I have learned that some men of unsettled mind wish to turn the people from the most holy and catholic Church by a certain method of shameful corruption, (12) do thou know that I gave command to Anulinus, the proconsul, and also to Patricius, (13) vicar of the prefects, (14) when they were present, that they should give proper attention not only to other matters but also above all to this, and that they should not overlook such a thing when it happened. 5. Wherefore if thou shouldst see any such men continuing in this madness, do thou without delay go to the above-mentioned judges and report the matter to them; that they may correct them as I commanded them when they were present. (15) The divinity of the great God preserve thee for many years."
CHAPTER VII: The Exemption of the Clergy.
----1. Copy of an epistle in which the emperor commands that the rulers of the churches be exempted from all political duties. (1)
"Greeting to thee, our most esteemed Anulinus. Since it appears from many circumstances that when that religion is despised, in which is preserved the chief reverence for the most holy celestial Power, great dangers are brought upon public affairs; but that when legally adopted and observed (2) it affords the most signal prosperity to the Roman name and remarkable felicity to all the affairs of men, through the divine beneficence,-- it has seemed good to me, most esteemed Anulinus, that those men who give their services with due sanctity and with constant observance of this law, to the worship of the divine religion, should receive recompense for their labors. 2. Wherefore it is my will that those within the province entrusted to thee, (3) in the catholic Church, over which Caecilianus presides, (4) who give their services to this holy religion, and who are commonly called clergymen, be entirely exempted from all public duties, that they may not by any error or sacrilegious negligence be drawn away from the service due to the Deity, but may devote themselves without any hindrance to their own law. For it seems that when they show greatest reverence to the Deity, the great- est benefits accrue to the state. Farewell, our most esteemed and beloved Anulinus."
CHAPTER VIII: The Subsequent Wickedness of Licinius, and his Death.
1. Such blessings did divine and heavenly grace confer upon us through the appearance of our Saviour, and such was the abundance of benefits which prevailed among all men in consequence of the peace which we enjoyed. And thus were our affairs crowned with rejoicings and festivities. 2. But malignant envy, and the demon who loves that which is evil, were not able to bear the sight of these things; and moreover the events that befell the tyrants whom we have already mentioned were not sufficient to bring Licinius to sound reason. 3. For the latter, although his government was prosperous and he was honored with the second rank after the great Emperor Constantine, and was connected with him by the closest ties of marriage, abandoned the imitation of good deeds, and emulated the wickedness of the impious tyrants whose end he had seen with his own eyes, and chose rather to follow their principles than to continue in friendly relations with him who was better than they. Being envious of the common benefactor he waged an impious and most terrible war against him, paying regard neither to laws of nature, nor treaties, nor blood, and giving no thought to covenants. (1) 4. For Constantine, like an all-gracious emperor, giving him evidences of true favor, did not refuse alliance with him, and did not refuse him the illustrious marriage with his sister, but honored him by making him a partaker of the ancestral nobility and the ancient imperial blood, (1a) and granted him the right of sharing in the dominion over all as a brother-in- law and co-regent, conferring upon him the government and administration of no less a portion of the Roman provinces than he himself possessed. (2) 5. But Licinius, on the contrary, pursued a course directly opposite to this; forming daily all kinds of plots against his superior, and devising all sorts of mischief, that he might repay his benefactor with evils. At first he attempted to conceal his preparations, and pretended to be a friend, and practiced frequently fraud and deceit, in the hope that he might easily accomplish the desired end. (3) 6. But God was the friend, protector, and guardian of Constantine, and bringing the plots which had been formed in secrecy and darkness to the light, he foiled them. So much virtue does the great armor of piety possess for the warding off of enemies and for the preservation of our own safety. Protected by this, our most divinely favored emperor escaped the multitudinous plots of the abominable man. 7. But when Licinius perceived that his secret preparations by no means progressed according to his mind, -- for God revealed every plot and wickedness to the God-favored emperor, -- being no longer able to conceal himself, he undertook an open war. (4) 8. And at the same time that he determined to wage war with Constantine, he also proceeded to join battle with the God of the universe, whom he knew that Constantine worshiped, and began, gently for a time and quietly, to attack his pious subjects, who had never done his government any harm.(5) This he did under the compulsion of his innate wickedness which drove him into terrible blindness. 9. He did not therefore keep before his eyes the memory of those who had persecuted the Christians before him, nor of those whose destroyer and executioner he had been appointed, on account of the impieties which they had committed. But departing from sound reason, being seized, in a word, with insanity, he determined to war against God himself as the ally of Constantine, instead of against the one who was assisted by him. 10. And in the first place, he drove from his house every Christian, thus depriving himself, wretched man, of the prayers which they offered to God in his behalf, which they are accustomed, according to the teaching of their fathers, to offer for all men. Then he commanded that the soldiers in the cities should be cashiered and stripped of their rank unless they chose to sacrifice to the demons. And yet these were small matters when compared with the greater things that followed. 11. Why is it necessary to relate minutely and in detail all that was done by the hater of God, and to recount how this most lawless man invented unlawful laws? (6) He passed an ordinance that no one should exercise humanity toward the sufferers in prison by giving them food, and that none should show mercy to those that were perishing of hunger in bonds; that no one should in any way be kind, or do any good act, even though moved by Nature herself to sympathize with one's neighbors. And this was indeed an openly shameful and most cruel law, calculated to expel all natural kindliness. And in addition to this it was also decreed, as a punishment, that those who showed compassion should suffer the same things with those whom they compassionated; and that those who kindly ministered to the suffering should be thrown into bonds and into prison, and should endure the same punishment with the sufferers. Such were the decrees of Licinius.
12. Why should we recount his innovations in regard to marriage or in regard to the dying -- innovations by which he ventured to annul the ancient laws of the Romans which had been well and wisely formed, and to introduce certain barbarous and cruel laws, which were truly unlawful and lawless? (7) He invented, to the detriment of the provinces which were subject to him, innumerable prosecutions, (8) and all sorts of methods of extorting gold and silver. new measurements of land (9) and injurious exactions from men in the country, who were no longer living, but long since dead. 13. Why is it necessary to speak at length of the banishments which, in addition to these things, this enemy of mankind inflicted upon those who had done no wrong, the expatriations of men of noble birth and high reputation whose young wives he snatched from them and consigned to certain baser fellows of his own, to be shamefully abused by them, and the many married women and virgins upon whom he gratified his passions, although he was in advanced age --why, I say, is it necessary to speak at length of these things, when the excessive wickedness of his last deeds makes the first appear small and of no account? 14. For, finally, he reached such a pitch of madness that he attacked the bishops, supposing that they--as servants of the God over all -- would be hostile to his measures. He did not yet proceed against them openly, on account of his fear of his superior, but as before, secretly and craftily, employing the treachery of the governors for the destruction of the most distinguished of them. And the manner of their murder was strange, and such as had never before been heard of. 15. The deeds which he performed at Amaseia (11) and in the other cities of Pontus surpassed every excess of cruelty. Some of the churches of God were again razed to the ground, others were closed, so that none of those accustomed to frequent them could enter them and render the worship due to God. 16. For his evil conscience led him to suppose that prayers were not offered in his behalf; but he was persuaded that we did everything in the interest of the God-beloved emperor, and that we supplicated God for him. (12) Therefore he hastened to turn his fury against us. 17. And then those among the governors who wished to flatter him, perceiving that in doing such things they pleased the impious tyrant, (13) made some of the bishops suffer the penalties customarily inflicted upon criminals, and led away and without any pretext punished like murderers those who had done no wrong. Some now endured a new form of death: having their bodies cut into many pieces with the sword, and after this savage and most horrible spectacle, being thrown into the depths of the sea as food for fishes. 18. Thereupon the worshipers of God again fled, and fields and deserts, forests and mountains, again received the servants of Christ. And when the impious tyrant had thus met with success in these measures, he finally planned to renew the persecution against all. 19. And he would have succeeded in his design, and there would have been nothing to hinder him in the work, had not God, the defender of the lives of his own people, most quickly anticipated that which was about to happen, and caused a great light to shine forth as in the midst of a dark and gloomy night, and raised up a deliverer for leading into those regions with a lofty arm, his servant, Constantine.
CHAPTER IX: The Victory of Constantine, and the Blessings which under him accrued to the Subjects of the Roman Empire.
1. To him, therefore, God granted, from heaven above, the deserved fruit of piety, the trophies of victory over the impious, and he cast the guilty one with all his counselors and friends prostrate at the feet of Constantine. 2. For when Licinius carried his madness to the last extreme, the emperor, the friend of God, thinking that he ought no longer to be tolerated, acting upon the basis of sound judgment, and mingling the firm principles of justice with humanity, gladly determined to come to the protection of those who were oppressed by the tyrant, and undertook, by putting a few destroyers out of the way, to save the greater part of the human race. (1) 3. For when he had formerly exercised humanity alone and had shown mercy to him who was not worthy of sympathy, nothing was accomplished; for Licinius did not renounce his wickedness, but rather increased his fury against the peoples that were subject to him, and there was left to the afflicted no hope of salvation, oppressed as they were by a savage beast. 4. Wherefore, the protector of the virtuous, mingling hatred for evil with love for good, went forth with his son Crispus, a most beneficent prince, (2) and extended a saving right hand to all that were perishing. Both of them, father and son, under the protection, as it were, of God, the universal King, with the Son of God, the Saviour of all, as their leader and ally, drew up their forces on all sides against the enemies of the Deity and won an easy victory; (3) God having prospered them in the battle in all respects according to their wish. 5. Thus, suddenly, and sooner than can be told, those who yesterday and the day before breathed death and threatening were no more, and not even their names were remembered, but their inscriptions and their honors suffered the merited disgrace. And the things which Licinius with his own eyes had seen come upon the former impious tyrants he himself likewise suffered, because he did not receive instruction nor learn wisdom from the chastisements of his neighbors, but followed the same path of impiety which they had trod, and was justly hurled over the same precipice.Thus he lay prostrate.
6. But Constantine, the mightiest victor, adorned with every virtue of piety, together with his son Crispus, a most God-beloved prince, and in all respects like his father, recovered the East which belonged to them; (4) and they formed one united Roman empire as of old, bringing under their peaceful sway the whole world from the rising of the sun to the opposite quarter, both north and south, even to the extremities of the declining day. 7. All fear therefore of those who had formerly afflicted them was taken away from men, and they celebrated splendid and festive days. Everything was filled with light, and those who before were downcast beheld each other with smiling faces and beaming eyes. With dances and hymns, in city and country, they glorified first of all God the universal King, because they had been thus taught, and then the pious emperor with his God- beloved children. 8. There was oblivion of past evils and forgetfulness of every deed of impiety; there was enjoyment of present benefits and expectation of those yet to come. Edicts full of clemency and laws containing tokens of benevolence and true piety were issued in every place by the victorious emperor. (5) 9. Thus after all tyranny had been purged away, the empire which belonged to them was preserved firm and without a rival for Constantine and his sons alone. (6) And having obliterated the godlessness of their predecessors, recognizing the benefits conferred upon them by God, they exhibited their love of virtue and their love of God, and their piety and gratitude to the Deity, by the deeds which they performed in the sight of all men.
THE END, WITH GOD'S HELP, OF THE TENTH BOOK OF THE CHURCH HISTORY OF EUSEBIUS PAMPHILI.
Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (LNPF II/I, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.