Ecclesiastical History I-II

Author: Sozomen

(NOTE: The electronic text obtained from The Electronic Bible Society was not completely corrected. EWTN has corrected all discovered errors. If you find errors or omissions in the text, please notify

Transliteration of Greek words: All phonetical except: w = omega; h serves three puposes: 1. = Eta; 2. = rough breathing, when appearing initially before a vowel; 3. = in the aspirated letters theta = th, phi = ph, chi = ch. Accents are given immediately after their corresponding vowels: acute = ' , grave = `, circumflex = ^. The character ' doubles as an apostrophe, when necessary.



[Translated by E. Walford; revised by Chester D. Hartranft, D.D., Professor of Historical Theology in the Hartford Theological Seminary.]


The popular saying is, that the former emperors were zealous about some useful matter or other; such as were fond of ornaments, cared for the royal purple, the crown, and the like; those who were studious of letters, composed some mythical work or treatise capable of fascinating its readers; those who were practiced in war, sought to send the weapon straight to the mark, to hit wild beasts, to hurl the spear, or to leap upon the horse. Every one who was devoted to a craft which was pleasing to the rulers announced himself at the palace. One brings a precious stone not easily susceptible of polish; another undertakes to prepare a more brilliant color than the purple robe; one dedicates a poem or treatise; another introduces an expert and strange fashion of armor.

It is considered the greatest and a regal thing for the ruler of the whole people to possess, at least, one of the homely virtues; but no such great estimate has been made of piety, which is, after all, the true ornament of the empire. Thou, however, O most powerful Emperor Theodosius, hast in a word, by God s help, cultivated every virtue. Girt with the purple robe and crown, a symbol of thy dignity to onlookers, thou wearest within always that true ornament of sovereignty, piety and philanthropy. Whence it happens that poets and writers, and the greater part of thy officers as well as the rest of thy subjects, concern themselves on every occasion with thee and thy deeds. And when thou presidest as ruler of contests and judge of discourses, thou art not robbed of thy accuracy by any artificial sound and form, but thou awardest the prize sincerely, observing whether the diction is suitable to the design of the composition; so also with respect to the form of words, divisions, order, unity, phraseology, construction, arguments, thought, and narrative. Thou recompensest the speakers with thy favorable judgment and applause, as well as with golden images, erection of statues, gifts, and every kind of honor. Thou showest greater personal favor toward the speakers than the ancient Cretans did toward the much-sung Homer; or the Alevadae did to Simonides; or Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily to Plato, the companion of Socrates; or Philip the Macedonian, to Theopom-pus the historian; or the Emperor Severus to Oppianus, who related in verse the kinds, nature, and catching of fish. For after the Cretans had rewarded Homer with a thousand nummi, they inscribed the amount of the gift on a public column as if to boast of their excessive munificence. The Alevadae, Dionysius, and Philip were not more reserved than the Cretans, who boasted of their modest and philosophical government, but quickly imitated their column, so that they might not be inferior in their donative. But when Severus bestowed upon Oppianus a golden gift for each line of his moderate verse, he so astonished everybody with his liberality, that the poems of Oppianus are popularly called golden words to this day. Such were the donations of former lovers of learning and discourses. But thou, O Emperor, surpassest any of the ancients in thy liberality to letters, and thou seemest to me to do this not unreasonably. For while thou strivest to conquer all by thy virtues, thou dost also conduct thine own affairs successfully, according to thy thorough knowledge of the story of those ancient affairs, so prosperously directed by the Greeks and Romans. Rumor says that during the day, thou takest military and bodily exercise, and arrangest affairs of state by giving judicial decisions, and by making note of what is necessary, and by observation, both in public and private, of the things which ought to be done; and at night that thou busiest thyself with books. It is a saying, that there serves thee for the study of these works, a lamp which causes the oil to flow automatically into the wick, by means of some mechanism, so that not one of the servants in the palace should be compelled to be taxed with thy labors, and to do violence to nature by fighting against sleep. Thus thou art humane and gentle, both to those near, and to all, since thou dost imitate the Heavenly King who is thy pattern; in that He loves to send rain, and causes the sun to rise on the just and unjust, as well as to furnish other blessings ungrudgingly. As is natural, I hear also that by thy various learning, thou art no less familiar with the nature of stones, and the virtues of roots, and forces of remedies, than Solomon, the wisest son of David; while thou excellest him in virtue; for Solomon became the slave of his pleasures, and did not preserve to the end, that piety which had been for him the source of prosperity and wisdom. But thou, most powerful Emperor, because thou settest thy restraining reason in array against levity, art not only an autocrat of men, but also of the passions of soul and body, as one would naturally suppose. And this, too, ought to be remarked: I understand that thou dost conquer the desire for all food and drink; neither the sweeter figs, to speak poetically, nor any other kind of fruit in its season, can take thee prisoner, except the little that thou dost touch and taste, after thou hast returned thanks to the Maker of all things. Thou art wont to vanquish thirst, stifling heat, and cold by thy daily exercise, so that thou seemest to have self-control as a second nature. Lately, as is well known, thou wast anxious to visit the city of Heraclea in Pontus, and to restore it, prostrated by time, and thou tookest the way in the summer season through Bithynia. When the sun about midday was very fiery, one of the body-guard saw thee, heated with much sweat and clouds of dust, and, as if to do thee a favor, he anticipatingly offered to thee a bowl which reflected brilliantly the rays of the sun; he poured in some sweet drink, and added cold water thereto. But thou, most powerful Emperor, didst receive it, and didst praise the man for his good will, and thou didst make it obvious that thou wouldst soon reward him for his well- wrought deed with royal munificence. But when all the soldiers were wondering with open mouth at the dish, and were counting him blessed who should drink, thou, O noble Emperor, didst return the drink to him and didst command him to use it in whatever way he pleased. So that it seems to me that Alexander, the son of Philip, was surpassed by thy virtue; of whom it is reputed by his admirers, that while he, with the Macedonians, was passing through a waterless place, an anxious soldier found water, drew it, and offered it to Alexander; he would not drink it, but poured out the draught. Therefore, in a word, it is appropriate to call thee, according to Homer, more regal than the kings who preceded thee; for we have heard of some who acquired nothing worthy of admiration, and others who adorned their reign with scarcely one or two deeds. But thou, O most powerful Emperor, hast gathered together all the virtues, and hast excelled every one in piety, philanthropy, courage, prudence, justice, munificence, and a magnanimity befitting royal dignity. And every age will boast of thy rule as alone unstained and pure from murder, beyond all governments that ever existed. Thou teachest thy subjects to pursue serious things with pleasure, so that they show zeal for thee and public affairs, with good will and respect. So that for all these reasons, it has appeared to me, as a writer of Ecclesiastical History, necessary to address myself to thee. For to whom can I do this more appropriately, since I am about to relate the virtue of many devoted men, and the events of the Catholic Church; and since her conflicts with so many enemies lead me to thy threshhold and that of thy fathers? Come thou, who knowest all things and possessest every virtue, especially that piety, which the Divine Word says is the beginning of wisdom, receive from me this writing, and marshal its facts and purify it by thy labors, out of thy accurate knowledge, whether by addition or elimination. For whatever course may seem pleasing to thee, that will be wholly advantageous and brilliant for the readers, nor shall any one put a hand to it after thine approval. My history begins with the third consulate of the Caesars, Crispus and Constantine, and stretches to thy seventeenth consulship. (1) I deemed it proper to divide the whole work into nine parts: the first and second books will embrace the ecclesiastical affairs under Constantine; the third and fourth, those under his sons; the fifth and sixth, those under Julian, the cousin of the sons of the great Constantine, and Jovian, and, further, of Valentinian and Valens; the seventh and eighth books, O most powerful Emperor, will open up the affairs under the brothers Gratian and Valentinian, until the proclamation of Theodosius, thy divine grandfather, as far as thy celebrated father Arcadius, together with thy uncle, the most pious and godly Honorius, received the paternal government and shared in the regulation of the Roman world; the ninth book I have devoted to thy Christ-loving and most innocent majesty, which may God always preserve in unbroken good will, triumphing greatly over enemies, and having all things under thy feet and transmitting the holy empire to thy sons' sons with the approbation of Christ, through whom and with whom, be glory to God, and the Father, with the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.




My mind has been often exercised in inquiring how it is that other men are very ready to believe in God the Word, while the Jews are so incredulous, although it was to them that instruction concerning the things of God was, from the beginning, imparted by the prophets, who likewise made them acquainted with the events attendant upon the coming of Christ, before they came to pass. (1) Besides, Abraham, the founder of their nation and of the circumcision, was accounted worthy to be an eye-witness, and the host of the Son of God. (2) And Isaac, his son, was honored as the type of the sacrifice on the cross, for he was led bound to the altar by his father and, as accurate students of the sacred Scriptures affirm, the sufferings of Christ came to pass in like manner. Jacob predicted that the expectation of the nations would be for Christ, as it now is; and he likewise foretold the time in which he came, when he said "the rulers of the Hebrews of the tribe of Judah, the tribal leader, shah fail." (3)

This dearly referred to the reign of Herod, who was an Idumean, on his father's side, and on his mother's, an Arabian, and the Jewish nation was delivered to him by the Roman senate and Augustus Caesar. And of the rest of the prophets some declared beforehand the birth of Christ, His ineffable conception, the mother remaining a virgin after His birth, His people, and country. (4) Some predicted His divine arid marvelous deeds, while others foretold His sufferings, His resurrection from the dead, His ascension into the heavens, and the event accompanying each. But if any be ignorant of these facts it is not difficult to know them by reading the sacred books. Josephus, the son of Matthias, also who was a priest, and was most distinguished among Jews and Romans, may be regarded as a noteworthy witness to the truth concerning Christ (5); for he hesitates to call Him a man since He wrought marvelous works, and was a teacher of truthful doctrines, but openly calls him Christ; that He was condemned to the death of the cross, and appeared alive again the third day. Nor was Josephus ignorant of numberless other wonderful predictions uttered beforehand by the holy prophets concerning Christ. He further testifies that Christ brought over many to Himself both Greeks and Jews, who continued to love Him, and that the people named after Him had not become extinct. It appears to me that in narrating these things, he all but proclaims that Christ, by comparison of works, is God. As if struck by the miracle, he ran, somehow, a middle course, assailing in no way those who believed in Jesus, but rather agreeing with them.

When I consider this matter it seems reasonably remarkable to me, that the Hebrews did not anticipate, and, before the rest of men, immediately turn to Christianity; for though the Sibyl and some oracles announced beforehand the future of events concerning Christ we are not on this account to attribute unbelief to all the Greeks. For they were few, who, appearing superior in education, could understand such prophecies, which were, for the most part, in verse, and were declared with more recondite words to the people. Therefore in my judgment, it was the result of the heavenly preknowledge, for the sake of the agreement in future events, that the coming facts were to be made known, not only by his own prophets, but in part also by strangers. Just as a musician, under pressure of a strange melody, may treat the superfluous tones of the chords lightly with his plectrum, or add others to those already existing.

Having now shown that the Hebrews, although in the possession of numerous and more distinct prophecies concerning the coming of Christ, were less willing than the Greeks to embrace the faith that is in Him, let what has been said on the subject suffice. Yet let it by no means be hence accounted contrary to reason that the church should have been mainly built up by the conversion of other nations; for in the first place, it is evident that, in divine and great affairs, God delights to bring to pass changes in a marvelous manner; and then, be it remembered, it was by the exercise of no common virtues that those who, at the very beginning, were at the head of religious affairs, maintained their influence. If they did not, indeed, possess a language sharpened for expression or for beauty of diction, nor the power of convincing their hearers by means of phrases or mathematical demonstrations, yet they did not the less accomplish the work they had undertaken. They gave up their property, neglected their kindred, were stretched upon a cross, and as if endowed with bodies not their own, suffered many and excruciating tortures; neither seduced by the adulation of the people and rulers of any city, nor terrified by their menaces, they clearly evidenced by their conduct, that they were supported in the struggle by the hope of a high reward. So that they, in fact needed not to resort to verbal arguments for without any effort on their part, their very deeds constrained the inhabitants of every house and of every city to give credit to their testimony, even before they knew wherein it consisted.

Since then so divine and marvelous a change has taken place in the circumstances of men, that ancient cults and national laws have fallen into contempt; since many of the most celebrated writers among the Greeks have tasked their powers of eloquence in describing the Calydonian boar, the bull of Marathon and other similar prodigies, which have really occurred in countries or cities, or have a mystic origin, why should not I rise above myself, and write a history of the Church? For I am persuaded that, as the topic is not the achievements of men, it may appear almost incredible that such a history should be written by me; but, with God, nothing is impossible.

I at first felt strongly inclined to trace the course of events from the very commencement; but on reflecting that similar records of the past up to their own time had been compiled by those wisest of men, Clemens (1) and Hegesippus, successors of the apostles, by Africanus the historian, and by Eusebius, surnamed Pamphilus, (2) a man intimately acquainted with the sacred Scriptures and the writings of the Greek poets and historians, I merely draw up an epitome in two books of all that is recorded to have happened to the churches, from the ascension of Christ to the deposition of Licinius. (3) Now, however, by the help of God, I will endeavor to relate the subsequent events as well.

I shall record the transactions with which I have been connected, and also those concerning which I have heard froth persons who knew or saw the affairs in our own day or before our own generation. But I have sought for records of events of earlier date, amongst the established laws appertaining to religion, amongst the proceedings of the synods of the period, amongst the innovations that arose, and in the epistles of kings and priests. Some of these documents are preserved in palaces and churches, and others are dispersed and in the possession of the learned. I thought frequently of transcribing the whole, but on further reflection I deemed it better, on account of the mass of the documents, to give merely a brief synopsis of their contents; yet whenever controverted topics are introduced, I will readily transcribe freely from any work that may tend to the elucidation of truth. If any one who is ignorant of past events should conclude my history to be false, because he meets with conflicting statements in other writings, let him know that since the dogmas of Arius and other more recent hypotheses have been broached, the rulers of the churches, differing in opinion among themselves, have transmitted in writing their own peculiar views, for the benefit of their respective followers; and further, be it remembered, these rulers convened councils and issued what decrees they pleased, often condemning unheard those whose creed was dissimilar to their own, and striving to their utmost to induce the reigning prince and nobles of the time to side with them. Intent upon maintaining the orthodoxy of their own dogmas, the partisans of each sect respectively formed a collection of such epistles as favored their own heresy, omitting all documents of a contrary tendency. Such are the obstacles by which we are beset in our endeavors to arrive at a conclusion on this subject! Still, as it is requisite, in order to maintain historical accuracy, to pay the strictest attention to the means of eliciting truth, I felt myself bound to examine all writings of this class according to my ability.

Let not an impertinent or malignant spirit be imputed to me, for having dwelt upon the disputes of ecclesiastics among themselves, concerning the primacy and the pre-eminence of their own heresy. In the first place, as I have already said, an historian ought to regard everything as secondary in importance to truth; moreover, the doctrine of the Catholic Church is shown to be especially the most genuine, since it has been tested frequently by the plots of opposing thinkers; yet, the disposal of the lot being of God, the Catholic Church has maintained its own ascendancy, has reassumed its own power, and has led all the churches and the people to the reception of its own truth.

I have had to deliberate whether I ought to confine myself to the recital of events connected with the Church under the Roman government; but it seemed more advisable to include, as far as possible, the record of transactions relative to religion among the Persians and barbarians. Nor is it foreign to ecclesiastical history to introduce in this work an account of those who were the fathers and originators of what is denominated monachism, and of their immediate successors, whose celebrity is well known to us either by observation or report. For I would neither be considered ungracious (1) towards them, nor willing to consign their virtue to oblivion, nor yet be thought ignorant of their history; but I would wish to leave behind me such a record of their manner of life that others, led by their example, might attain to a blessed and happy end. As the work proceeds, these subjects shall be noted as far as possible.

Invoking the help and propitiousness of God, I now proceed to the narration of events; the present history shall have its beginning from this point.


DURING the consulate of Constantine Caesar and Crispus Caesar, Silvester governed the Church of Rome; Alexander, that of Alexandria; and Macarius, that of Jerusalem. Not one, since Romanus? had been appointed over the Church of Antioch on the Orontes; for the persecution it appears, had prevented the ceremony of ordination from taking place. The bishops assembled at Nicaea not long after were, however, so sensible of the purity of the life and doctrines of Eustathius, that they adjudged him worthy to fill the apostolic see; although he was then bishop of the neighboring Boroea, they translated him to Antioch. (3)

The Christians of the East, as far as Libya on the borders of Egypt, did not dare to meet openly as a church; for Licinius had withdrawn his favor from them; but the Christians of the West, the Greeks, the Macedonians, and the Illyrians, met for worship in safety through the protection of Constantine, who was then at the head of the Roman Empire. (4)


We have been informed that Constantine was led to honor the Christian religion by the concurrence of several different events, particularly by the appearance of a sign from heaven.

When he first formed the resolution of entering into a war against Maxentius, he was beset with doubts as to the means of carrying on his military operations, and as to the quarter whence he could look for assistance. In the midst of his perplexity, he saw, in a vision, the sight of the cross (5) shining in heaven. He was amazed at the spectacle, but some holy angels who were standing by, exclaimed, "Oh, Constantine! by this symbol, conquer!" And it is said that Christ himself appeared to him, and showed him the symbol of the cross, and commanded him to construct one like unto it, and to retain it as his help in battle, as it would insure the victory.

Eusebius, surnamed Pamphilus, (6) affirms that he heard the emperor declare with an oath, as the sun was on the point of inclining about the middle of the day, he and the soldiers who were with him saw in heaven the trophy of the cross composed of light, and encircled by the following words: "By this sign, conquer."

This vision met him by the way, when he was perplexed as to whither he should lead his army. While he was reflecting on what this could mean, night came; and when he fell asleep, Christ appeared (1) with the sign which he had seen in heaven, and commanded him to construct a representation of the symbol, and to use it as his help in hostile encounters. There was nothing further to be elucidated; for the emperor clearly apprehended the necessity of serving God.

At daybreak, (2) he called together the priests of Christ, and questioned them concerning their doctrines. They opened the sacred Scriptures, and expounded the truths relative to Christ, and showed him from the prophets, how the signs which had been predicted, had been fulfilled. The sign which had appeared to him was the symbol, they said, of the victory over hell; for Christ came among men, was stretched upon the cross, died, and returned to life the third day. On this account, they said, there was hope that at the close of the present dispensation, there would be a general resurrection of the dead, and entrance upon immortality, when those who had led a good life would receive accordingly, and those who had done evil would be punished. Yet, continued they, the means of salvation and of purification from sin are provided; namely, for the uninitiated, (8) initiation according to the canons of the church; and for the initiated, abstinence from renewed sin. But as few, even among holy men, are capable of complying with this latter, condition, another method of purification is set forth, namely, repentance; for God, in his love towards man, bestows forgiveness on those who have fallen into sin, on their repentance, and the confirmation of their repentance by good works.


THE emperor, amazed at the prophecies concerning Christ which were expounded to him by the priests, sent for some skillful artisans, and commanded them to remodel the standard called by the Romans Labarum, (4) to convert it into a representation of the cross, and to adorn it with gold and precious stones. This warlike trophy was valued beyond all others; for it was always wont to be carried before the emperor, and was worshiped by the soldiery. I think that Constantine changed the most honorable symbol of the Roman power into the sign of Christ, chiefly that by the habit of having it always in view, and of worshiping it, the soldiers might be induced to abandon their ancient forms of superstition, and to recognize the true God, whom the emperor worshiped, as their leader and their help in battle; for this symbol was always borne in front of his own troops, and was, at the command of the emperor, carried among the phalanxes in the thickest of the fight by an illustrious band of spearmen, of whom each one in turn took the standard upon his shoulders, and paraded it through the ranks. It is said that on one occasion, on an unexpected movement of the hostile forces, the man who held the standard in terror, placed it in the hands of another, and secretly fled from the battle. When he got beyond the reach of the enemy's weapons, he suddenly received a wound and fell, while the man who had stood by the divine symbol remained unhurt, although many weapons were aimed at him; for the missiles of the enemy, marvelously directed by divine agency, lighted upon the standard, and the bearer thereof, although in the midst of danger, was preserved.

It is also asserted that no soldier who bore this standard in battle ever fell, through any dark calamity, such as is wont to happen to the soldiery in war, or was wounded, or taken prisoner.


I AM aware that it is reported by the pagans that Constantine, after slaying some of his nearest relations, and particularly after assenting to the murder of his own son Crispus, repented of his evil deeds, and inquired of Sopater, (5) the philosopher, who was then master of the school of Plotinus, concerning the means of purification from guilt. The philosopher- -so the story goes--replied that such moral defilement could admit of no purification. The emperor was grieved at this repulse, but happening to meet with some bishops who told him that he would be cleansed from sin, on repentance and on submitting to baptism, he was delighted with their representations, and admired their doctrines, and became a Christian, and led his subjects to the same faith. It appears to me that this story was the invention of persons who desired to vilify the Christian religion. Crispus, (6) on whose account, it is said, Constantine required purification, did not die till the twentieth year of his father's reign; he held the second place in the empire and bore the name of Caesar and many laws, framed with his sanction in favor of Christianity, are still extant. That this was the case can be proved by referring to the dates affixed to these laws, and to the lists of the legislators. It does not appear likely that Sopater had any intercourse with Constantine whose government was then centered in the regions near the ocean and the Rhine; for his dispute with Maxentius, the governor of Italy, had created so much dissension in the Roman dominions, that it was then no easy matter to dwell in Gaul, in Britain, or in the neighboring countries, in which it is universally admitted Constantine embraced the religion of the Christians, previous to his war with Maxentius, and prior to his return to Rome and Italy: and this is evidenced by the dates of the laws which he enacted in favor of religion. But even granting that Sopater chanced to meet the emperor, or that he had epistolary correspondence with him, it cannot be imagined the philosopher was ignorant that Hercules, the son of Alcmena, obtained purification at Athens by the celebration of the mysteries of Ceres after the murder of his children, and of Iphitus, his guest and friend. That the Greeks held that purification from guilt of this nature could be obtained, is obvious from the instance I have just alleged, and he is a false calumniator who represents that Sopater taught the contrary.

I cannot admit the possibility of the philosopher's having been ignorant of these facts; for he was at that period esteemed the most learned man in Greece.


UNDER the government of Constantine the churches flourished and increased in numbers daily, since they were honored by the good deeds of a benevolent and well-disposed emperor, and otherwise God preserved them from the persecutions and harassments which they had previously encountered. When the churches were suffering from persecution in other parts of the world, Constantius alone, the father of Constantine, accorded the Christians the right of worshiping God without fear. I know of an extraordinary thing done by him, which is worthy of being recorded. He wished to test the fidelity of certain Christians, excellent and good men, who were attached to his palaces. He called them all together, and told them that if they would sacrifice to idols as well as serve God, they should remain in his service and retain their appointments; but that if they refused compliance with his wishes, they should be sent from the palaces, and should scarcely escape his I vengeance. When difference of judgment had divided them into two parties, separating those who consented to abandon their religion from those who preferred the honor of God to their present welfare, the emperor determined upon retaining those who had adhered to their faith as his friends and counselors; but he turned away from the others, whom he regarded as unmanly and impostors, and sent them from his presence, judging that they who had so readily betrayed their God could never be true to their king. Hence it is probable that while Constantius was alive, it did not seem contrary to the laws for the inhabitants of the countries beyond Italy to profess Christianity, that is to say, in Gaul, in Britain, or in the region of the Pyrenean mountains as far as the Western Ocean. When Constantine succeeded to the same government, the affairs of the churches became still more brilliant; for when Maxentius, the son of Herculius, was slain, his share also devolved upon Constantine; and the nations who dwelt by the river Tiber and the Eridanus, which the natives call Padus, those who dwelt by the Aquilis, whither, it is said, the Argo was dragged, and the inhabitants of the coasts of the Tyrrhenian sea were permitted the exercise of their religion without molestation.

When the Argonauts fled from Aeetes, they returned homewards by a different route, crossed the sea of Scythia, sailed through some of the rivers there, and so gained the shores of Italy, where they passed the winter and built a city, which they called Emona. The following summer, with the assistance of the people of the country, they dragged the Argo, by means of machinery, the distance of four hundred stadia, and so reached the Aquilis, a river which falls into the Eridanus: the Eridanus itself falls into the Italian sea.

After the battle of Cibalis (1) the Dardanians and the Macedonians, the inhabitants of the banks of the Ister, of Hellas, and the whole nation of Illyria, became subject to Constantine.


After this reverse, Licinius, (2) who had previously respected the Christians, changed his opinion, and ill-treated many of the priests who lived under his government; he also persecuted a multitude of other persons, but especially the soldiers. He was deeply incensed against the Christians on account of his disagreement with Constantine, and thought to wound him by their sufferings for religion, and besides, he suspected that the churches were praying and zealous that Constantine alone should enjoy the sovereign rule. In addition to all this, when on the eve of another battle with Constantine, Licinius, as was wont to be done, made a forecast of the expected war, by sacrifices and oracles, and, deceived by promises of conquest. he returned to the religion of the pagans.

The pagans themselves, too, relate that about this period he consulted the oracle of Apollo Didymus at Miletus, and received an answer concerning the result of the war from the demon, couched in the following verses of Homer: (1)

"Much, old man, do the youths distress thee, warring against thee! Feeble thy strength has become, but thy old age yet shall be hardy."

From many facts it has often appeared to me that the teaching of the Christians is supported, and its advancement secured, by the providence of God; and not least from what then occurred for at the very moment that Licinius was about to persecute all the churches under him, the war in Bithynia broke out, which ended in a war between him and Constantine, and in which Constantine was so strengthened by Divine assistance that he was victorious over his enemies by land and by sea. On the destruction of his fleet and army, Licinius threw himself into Nicomedia, and resided for some time at Thessalonica as a private individual, and was eventually killed there. Such was the end of one who, at the beginning of his reign, had distinguished himself in war and in peace, and who had been honored by receiving the sister of Constantine in marriage.


AS soon as the sole government of the Roman empire was vested in Constantine, he issued a public decree (2) commanding all his subjects in the East to honor the Christian religion, carefully to worship the Divine Being, and to recognize that only as Divine which is also essentially so, and which has the power that endures for ever and ever: for he delights to give all good things ungrudgingly to those who zealously embrace the truth; he meets their undertakings with the best hopes, while misfortunes, whether in peace or in war, whether in public or in private life, befall transgressors. Constantine then added, but without vain boasting, that, God having accounted him as a fitting servant, worthy to reign, he had been led from the British sea to the Eastern provinces in order that the Christian religion might be extended, and that those who, on account of the worship of God had remained steadfast in confessions or martyrdoms, might be advanced to public honors. After making these statements, he entered upon a myriad other details by which he thought his subjects might be drawn to religion. He decreed that all acts and judgments passed by the persecutors of the church against Christianity should be revoked; and commanded that all those who, on account of their confession of Christ, had been sent to banishment--either to the isles or elsewhere, contrary to their own inclination--and all those who had been condemned to labor in the mines, the public works, the harems, the linen factories, or had been enrolled as public functionaries, should be restored to liberty. He removed the stigma of dishonor from those upon whom it had been cast, and permitted those who had been deprived of high appointments in the army, either to reassume their former place, or with an honorable discharge, to enjoy a liberal ease according to their own choice; and when he had recalled all to the enjoyment of their former liberties and customary honors, he likewise restored their possessions. In the case of those who had been slain, and whose property had been confiscated, he enacted that the inheritance should be transferred to the next of kin, or, in default of heirs, to the church belonging to the locality where the estate was situated; and when the inheritance had passed into other hands, and had become either private or national property, he commanded it to be restored. He likewise promised to resort to the fittest and best possible arrangements when the property had been purchased by the exchequer, or had been received therefrom by gift. These measures, as it had been said, having been enacted by the emperor, and ratified by law, were forthwith carried into execution. Christians were thus placed in almost all the principal posts of the Roman government; the worship of false gods was universally prohibited; and the arts of divination, the dedication of statues, and the celebration of pagan festivals were interdicted. Many of the most ancient customs observed in the cities fell into disuse: and among the Egyptians the measure used to indicate the increase of the waters of the Nile was no longer borne into pagan temples, but into churches. The spectacle of gladiators was then prohibited among the Romans; and the custom which prevailed among the Phoenicians of Lebanon and Heliopolis of prostituting virgins before marriage, who were accustomed to cohabit in lawful marriage after the first trial of an illicit intercourse, was abolished. Of the houses of prayer, the emperor repaired some which were of sufficient magnitude; others were brilliantly restored by additional length and breadth, and he erected new edifices in places where no building of the kind had existed previously. He furnished the requisite supplies from the imperial treasury, and wrote to the bishops of the cities and the governors of the provinces, desiring them to contribute whatever might be wished, and enjoining submission and zealous obedience to the priests.

The prosperity of religion kept pace with the increased prosperity of the empire. After the war with Licinius, the emperor was successful in battle against foreign nations; he conquered the Sarmatians and the people called Goths, and concluded an advantageous treaty with them. These people dwelt upon the Ister; and as they were very warlike, and always ready in arms both by the multitude and magnitude of their bodies, they kept the other tribes of barbarians in awe, and found antagonists in the Romans alone. It is said that, during this war, Constantine perceived clearly, by means of signs and dreams, that the special protection of Divine Providence had been extended to him. Hence when he had vanquished all those who rose up in battle against him he evinced his thankfulness to Christ by zealous attention to the concerns of religion, and exhorted the governors to recognize the one true faith and way of salvation. He enacted that part of the funds levied from tributary countries should be forwarded by the various cities to the bishops and clergy, wherever they might be domiciled, and commanded that the law enjoining this gift should be a statute forever. In order to accustom the soldiers to worship God as he did, he had their weapons marked with the symbol of the cross, and he erected a house of prayer in the palace. When he engaged in war, he caused a tent to be borne before him, constructed in the shape of a church, so that in case he or his army might be led into the desert, they might have a sacred edifice in which to praise and worship God, and participate in the mysteries. (1) Priests and deacons followed the tent, who fulfilled the orders about these matters, according to the law of the church. From that period the Roman legions, which now were called by their number, provided each its own tent, with attendant priests and deacons. He also enjoined the observance of the day termed the Lord's day," (2) which the Jews call the first day of the week, and which the pagans dedicate to the sun, as likewise the day before the seventh, and commanded that no judicial or other business should be transacted on those days, but that God should be served with prayers and supplications. He honored the Lord's day, because on it Christ arose from the dead, and the day above mentioned, because on it he was crucified. He regarded the cross with peculiar reverence, on account both of the power which it conveyed to him in the battles against his enemies, and also of the divine manner in which the symbol had appeared to him. He took away by law the crucifixion customary among the Romans, from the usage of the courts. He commanded that this divine symbol should always be inscribed and stamped whenever coins and images should be struck, and his images, which exist in this very form, still testify to this order. And indeed he strove in everything, particularly in the enactment of laws, to serve God. It appears, too, that he prohibited many flagitious and licentious connections, (3) which till that period had not been forbidden; as one, who cares about it, may see at a glance from these few instances what the laws were, which he established about these points; it appears to me unreasonable now to treat them exhaustively. I consider it necessary, however, to mention the laws enacted for the honor and consolidation of religion, as they constitute a considerable portion of ecclesiastical history. I shall therefore proceed to the recital.


THERE was an ancient Roman law, by which those who were unmarried at the age of twenty-five were not admitted to the same privileges as the married; (4) amongst other clauses in this law, it was specified that those who were not the very nearest kinsmen could gain nothing from a will; and also, that those who were childless were to be deprived of half of any property that might be bequeathed to them. The object of this ancient Roman law was to increase the population of Rome and the subject people, which had been much reduced in numbers by the civil wars, not a long while before this law. The emperor, perceiving that this enactment militated against the interests of those who continued in a state of celibacy and remained childless for the sake of God, and deeming it absurd to attempt the multiplication of the human species by the care and zeal of man (since nature always receiving increase or decrease according to the fiat from on high), made a law enjoining that the unmarried and childless should have the same advantages as the married. He even bestowed peculiar privileges on those who embraced a life of continence and virginity, and permitted them, contrary to the usage which prevailed throughout the Roman empire, to make a will before they attained the age of puberty; for he believed that those who devoted themselves to the service of God and the cultivation of philosophy would, in all cases, judge aright. For a similar reason the ancient Romans permitted the vestal virgins to make a will as soon as they attained the age of six years. That was the greatest proof of the superior reverence for religion. Constantine exempted the clergy everywhere from taxation, and permitted litigants to appeal to the decision of the bishops if they preferred them to the state rulers. (1) He enacted that their decree should be valid, and as far superior to that of other judges as if pronounced by the emperor himself; that the governors and subordinate military officers should see to the execution of these decrees: and that the definitions made by synods should be irreversible.

Having arrived at this point of my history, it would not be right to omit all mention of the laws passed in favor of those individuals in the churches who had received their freedom. Owing to the strictness of the laws and the unwillingness of masters, there were many difficulties in the way of the acquisition of this better freedom; that is to say, of the freedom of the city of Rome. Constantine therefore made three laws, enacting that all those individuals in the churches, whose freedom should be attested by the priests, should receive the freedom of Rome?

The records of these pious regulations are still extant, it having been the custom to engrave on tablets all laws relating to manumission. Such were the enactments of Constantine; in everything he sought to promote the honor of religion; and religion was valued, not only for its own sake, but also on account of the virtue of those who then participated in it.


SINCE the persecution had recently ceased, many excellent Christians, and many of the confessors who had survived, adorned the churches: among these were Hosius, (3) bishop of [Cordova; Amphion, (4) bishop of Epiphania in Cilicia; Maximus, who succeeded Macarius in [the church of Jerusalem; and Paphnutius, (5) an Egyptian. It is said by this latter God wrought many miracles, controlling demons, and giving him grace to heal divers kinds of sickness. this Paphnutius, and Maximus, whom we just mentioned, were among the number of confessors whom Maximinus condemned to work in the mines, after having deprived them of the right eye, and the use of the left leg.


SPYRIDON, (6) bishop of Trimythun in Cyprus, flourished at this period. To show his virtues, I think the fame which still prevails about him suffices. The wonderful works which he wrought by Divine assistance are, it appears, generally known by those who dwell in the same region. I shall not conceal the facts which have come to me.

He was a peasant, was married, and had children; yet was not, on this account, deficient in spiritual attainments. It is related that one night some wicked men entered his sheepfold, and were in the act of stealing his sheep, when they were suddenly bound, and yet no one bound them. The next day, when he went to the fold, he found them fettered, and released them from their invisible bonds; but he censured them for having preferred to steal what it was lawful for them to win and take, and also for making such a great exertion by night: yet he felt compassion towards them, and, desirous of affording them instruction, so as to induce them to lead a better life, he said to them, "Go, and take this ram with you; for you are wearied with watching, and it is not just that your labor should be so blamed, that you should return empty-handed from my sheepfold." This action is well worthy admiration, but not less so is that which I shall now relate. An individual confided a deposit to the care of his daughter, who was a virgin, and was named Irene. For greater security, she buried it; and it so happened that she died soon after, without mentioning the circumstance to any one. The person to whom the deposit belonged came to ask for it. Spyridon knew not what answer to give him, so he searched the whole house for it; but not being able to find it, the man wept, tore his hair, and seemed ready to expire. Spyridon, moved with pity, went to the grave, and called the girl by name; and when she answered, he inquired about the deposit. After obtaining the information desired, he returned, found the treasure in the place that had been signified to him, and gave it to the owner. As I have entered upon this subject, it may not be amiss to add this incident also.

It was a custom with this Spyridon to give a certain portion of his fruits to the poor, and to lend another portion to those who wished it as a gratuity; but neither in giving nor taking back did he ever himself distribute or receive he merely pointed out the storehouse, and told those who resorted to him to take as much as they needed, or to restore what they had borrowed. A certain man who had borrowed in this way, came as though he were about to return it, and when as usual he was directed to replace his loan in the storehouse, he saw an opportunity for an injustice; imagining that the matter would be concealed, he did not liquidate the debt, but fraudulently pretending to have discharged his obligation, he went away as though he had made the return. This, however, could not be long concealed. After some time the man came back again to borrow, and was sent to the storehouse, with permission to measure out for himself as much as he required. Finding the storehouse empty, he went to acquaint Spyridon, and this latter said to him, "I wonder, O man, how it is that you alone have found the storehouse empty and unsupplied with the articles you require: reflect whether you have restored the first loan, since you are in need a second time: were it otherwise, what you seek would not be lacking. Go, trust, and you will find." The man felt the reproof and acknowledged his error. The firmness and the accuracy in the administration of ecclesiastical affairs on the part of this divine man are worthy of admiration. It is said that on one occasion thereafter, the bishops of Cyprus met to consult on some particular emergency. Spyridon was present, as likewise Triphyllius, (1) bishop of the Ledri, a man otherwise eloquent, who on account of practicing the law, had lived alone while at Berytus. (2)

When an assembly had convened, having been requested to address the people, Triphyllius had occasion, in the middle of his discourse, to quote the text, "Take up thy bed and walk," and he substituted the word "couch" (ski'mpous), for the word "bed" (kra'bbatos). Spyridon was indignant, and exclaimed, "Art thou greater than he who uttered the word 'bed,' that thou art ashamed to use his words?" When he had said this, he turned from the throne of the priest, and looked towards the people; by this act he taught them to keep the man who is proud of eloquence within bounds and he was fit to make such a rebuke; for he was reverenced and most illustrious for his works: at the same time he was the superior of that presbyter in age and in the priesthood.

The reception which Spyridon gave to strangers will appear from the following incident. In the quadragesima, it happened that a traveler came upon a journey to visit him on one of those days in which it was his custom to keep a continuous fast with his household, (4) and on the day appointed for tasting food, he would remain without nourishment to mid-day. Perceiving that the stranger was much fatigued, Spyridon said to his daughter, "Come, wash his feet and set meat before him." The virgin replying that there was neither bread nor barley-food in the house, for it would have been superfluous to provide such things at the time of the fast, Spyridon first prayed and asked forgiveness, and bade her to cook some salt pork which chanced to be in the house. When it was prepared, he sat down to table with the stranger, partook of the meat, and told him to follow his example. But the stranger declining, under the plea of being a Christian, he said to him, "It is for that very reason that you ought not to decline partaking of the meat; for the Divine word shows that to the pure all things are pure." (5) Such are the details which I had to relate concerning Spyridon.


THOSE who at this period had embraced monasticism (6) were not the least in manifesting the church as most illustrious, and evidencing the truth of their doctrines by their virtuous line of conduct. Indeed, the most useful thing that has been received by man from God is their philosophy. (7) They neglect many branches of mathematics and the technicalities of dialectics, because they regard such studies as superfluous, and as a useless expenditure of time, seeing that they contribute nothing towards correct living. They apply themselves exclusively to the cultivation of natural and useful science, in order that they may mitigate, if not eradicate, evil. They invariably refrain from accounting any action or principle as good, which occupies a middle place between virtue and vice, for they delight only in what is good. They regard every man as wicked, who, though he abstain from evil, does not do good. For they do not demonstrate virtue by argument, but practice it, and count as nothing the glory current among men. They manfully subjugate the passions of the soul, yielding neither to the necessities of nature, nor succumbing to the weakness of the body. Having possessed the power of the Divine mind, they always look away to the Creator of the whole, night and day worshiping him, and appeasing him by prayers and supplications. By purity of soul and by a life of good works they entered without guilt upon religious observances, and despised purification, lustral vessels, and such ceremonials; for they think that sins alone are blemishes. They are greater than the external casualties to which we are liable, and hold, as it were, all things under their control: and are not therefore diverted from the path they have selected by the disasters or the necessity which sway the life. They are not distressed when insulted, nor do they defend themselves when suffering from malice; nor do they lose heart when pressed by sickness or lack of necessaries but rather rejoice in such trials and endure then with patience and meekness. They inure themselves through the whole of life to be content with little, and approximate as nearly to God as is possible to human nature. They regard the present life as a journey only, and are not therefore solicitous about acquiring wealth, nor do they provide for the present beyond urgent necessities. They admire the beauty and simplicity of nature, but their hope is placed in heaven and the blessedness of the future. Wholly absorbed in the worship of God, they revolted from obscene language; and as they had banished evil practices, so they would not allow such things to be even named. They limited, as far as possible, the demands of nature, and compelled the body to be satisfied with moderate supplies. They overcame intemperance by temperance, injustice by justice, and falsehood by truth, and attained the happy medium in all things. They dwelt in harmony and fellowship with their neighbors. They provided for their friends and strangers, imparted to those who were in want, according to their need, and comforted the afflicted. As they were diligent in all things, and zealous in seeking the supreme good, their instructions, though clothed in modesty and prudence, and devoid of vain and meritricious eloquence, possessed power, like sovereign medicines, in healing the moral diseases of their audience; they spoke, too, with fear and reverence, and eschewed all strife, raillery, and anger. Indeed, it is but reasonable to suppress all irrational emotions, and to subdue carnal and natural passions. Elias the prophet and John the Baptist were the authors, as some say, of this sublime philosophy. Philo the Pythagorean (1) relates, that in his time the most virtuous of the Hebrews assembled from all parts of the world, and settled in a tract of country situated on a hill near Lake Mareotis, for the purpose of living as philosophers. He describes their dwellings, their regimen, and their customs, as similar to those which we now meet with among the monks of Egypt. He says that from the moment they began to apply themselves to the study of philosophy, they gave up their property to their relatives, relinquished business and society, and dwelt outside of walls, in fields and in gardens. They had also, he informs us, sacred edifices which were called monasteries, in which they dwelt apart and alone, occupied in celebrating the holy mysteries, and in worshiping God sedulously with psalms and hymns. They never tasted food before sunset, and some only took food every third day, or even at longer intervals. Finally, he says, that on certain days they lay on the ground and abstained from wine and the flesh of animals; that their food was bread, salt, and hyssop, and their drink, water; and that there were women among them who had lived as virgins to old age, who, for the love of philosophy, and from their voluntary judgment, practiced celibacy. In this narrative, Philo seems to describe (2) certain Jews who had embraced Christianity, and yet retained the customs of their nation; for no vestiges of this manner of life are to be found elsewhere: and hence I conclude that this philosophy flourished in Egypt from this period. Others, however, assert that this mode of life originated from the persecutions for the sake of religion, which arose from time to time, and by which many were compelled to flee to the mountains and deserts and forests, and they became used to this kind of living.


WHETHER the Egyptians or others are to be regarded as the founders of this philosophy, it is universally admitted that Antony, (1) the great monk, developed this course of life, by morals and befitting exercises, to the summit of exactness and perfection. His fame was so widely spread throughout the deserts of Egypt, that the emperor Constantine, for the reputation of the man's virtue, sought his friendship, honored him with correspondence, and urged him to write about what he might need. He was an Egyptian by race, and belonged to an illustrious family of Coma, which was situated near the Heraclea which is on the Egyptian borders. (2) He was but a youth when he lost his parents; he bestowed his paternal inheritance upon his fellow-villagers, sold the rest of his possessions and distributed the proceeds among the needy; for he was aware that philosophy does not merely consist in the relinquishment of property, but in the proper distribution of it. He obtained the acquaintance of the devoted men of his time, and emulated the virtues of all. Believing that the practice of goodness would become delightful by habit, though arduous at the outset, he reflected on more intense methods of asceticism, and day by day he augmented it by self- control just as if he were always recommencing his undertaking. He subdued the voluptuousness of the body by labor, and restrained the passions of the soul by the aid of the Divine wisdom. His food was bread and salt, his drink water, and he never broke his fast till after sunset. He often remained two or more days without eating. He watched, so to speak, throughout the night, and continued in prayer till daybreak. If at any time he indulged in sleep, it was but for a little while on a short mat; but generally the bare earth was his couch. He rejected the practice of anointing with oil, and the use of baths and of similar luxuries likely to relax the tension of the body by moisture; and it is said that he never at any time saw himself naked. He neither possessed nor admired learning, but he valued a good understanding, as being prior to letters and as being the very discoverer of it. He was exceedingly meek and philanthropic, prudent and manly; cheerful in conversation and friendly in disputations, even when others used the controverted topics as occasion for strife. By his own habit and a kind of intelligence he quieted contentiousness when on the increase, and restored them to moderation; he also tempered the ardor of those who conversed with him, and regulated their manners. Although on account of his extraordinary virtues, he had become filled with the Divine foreknowledge, he did not regard foreknowledge of the future as a virtue, nor did he counsel others to seek this gift rashly, for he considered that no one would be punished or rewarded according to his ignorance or knowledge of futurity; for true blessedness consists in the service of God, and in keeping his laws. "But," said he, "if any man would know the future, let him continually be purified in soul, for then he will i have power to walk in the light, and to understand things that are to happen, for God will reveal the future to him." He never suffered himself to be idle, but exhorted all those who seemed disposed to lead a good life, to diligence in labor, to self-examination and confession of sin before Him who created the day and the night; and when they erred, he urged them to record the transgression in writing, that so they might be ashamed of their sins, and be fearful lest any one should find the many things recorded; for he would be fearful, lest if the document were traced to him he should become disclosed to other people as a depraved character. He above all others came forward spiritedly and most zealously for the defense of the injured, and in their cause often resorted to the cities; for many came out to him, and compelled him to intercede for them with the rulers and men in power. All the people felt honored in seeing him, listened with avidity to his discourses, and yielded assent to his arguments; but he preferred to remain unknown and concealed in the deserts. When compelled to visit a city, he never failed to return to the deserts as soon as he had accomplished the work he had undertaken; for, he said, that as fishes are nourished in the water, so the desert is the world prepared for monks; and as fishes die when thrown upon dry land, so monastics lose their gravity when they go into cities. He carried himself obediently and graciously towards all who saw him, and he was careful not to have, nor seem to have, a supercilious nature. I have given this concise account of the manners of Antony, in order that an idea of his philosophy may be formed, by analogy, from the description of his conduct in the desert.

He had many renowned disciples, of whom some flourished in Egypt and Libya, others in Palestine, Syria, and Arabia; not less than their master, did each disciple pass his life with those among whom he dwelt, and regulate his conduct, and instruct many, and wed them unto kindred virtues and philosophy. But it would be difficult for any one to find the companions of Antony or their successors by going carefully through cities and villages to discover them, for they sought concealment more earnestly than many ambitious men, by means of pomp and show, now seek popularity and renown. We must relate, in chronological order, the history of the most celebrated disciples of Antony, and particularly that of Paul, surnamed the Simple. (1) It is said that he dwelt in the country, and was married to a beautiful woman, and that having surprised her in the act of adultery, he laughed placidly and affirmed with an oath, that he would live with her no longer; that he left her with the adulterer, and went immediately to join Antony in the desert. It is further related that he was exceedingly meek and patient: and that, being aged and unaccustomed to monastic severity, Antony put his strength to the proof by various trials, for he was newly come, and detected nothing ignoble; and that, having given evidence of perfect philosophy, he was sent to live alone, as no longer requiring a teacher. And God himself confirmed the testimony of Antony; and demonstrated the man to be most illustrious through his deeds, and as greater than even his teacher in vexing and expelling demons.


It was about this period that Ammon, (2) the Egyptian, embraced philosophy. It is said that he was compelled to marry by his family, but that his wife never knew him carnally; for on the day of their marriage, when they were alone, and when he as the bridegroom was leading her as the bride to his bed, he said to her, "Oh, woman! our marriage has indeed taken place, but it is not consummated"; and then he showed her from the Holy Scriptures that it was her chief good to remain a virgin, and en-treated that they might live apart. She was convinced by his arguments concerning virginity, but was much distressed by the thought of being separated from him; and therefore, though occupying a separate bed, he lived with her for eighteen years, during which time he did not neglect the monastic exercises. At the end of this period, the woman whose emulation had been strongly excited by the virtue of her husband, became convinced that it was not just that such a man should, on her account, live in the domestic sphere; and she considered that it was necessary that each should, for the sake of philosophy, live apart from the other; and she entreated this of her husband. He therefore took his departure, after having thanked God for the counsel of his wife, and said to her, "Do thou retain this house, and I will make another for myself." He retired to a desert place, south of the Mareotic lake between Scitis and the mountain called Nitria; and here, during two and twenty years, he devoted himself to philosophy and visited his wife twice every year. This divine man was the founder of the monasteries there, and gathered round him many disciples of note, as the registers of succession show. Many extraordinary events happened to him, which have been accurately fixed by the Egyptian monks, who did very much to commemorate carefully the virtues of the more ancient ascetics, preserved in a succession of unwritten tradition. I will relate such of them as have come to our knowledge.

Ammon and his disciple Theodore, had once occasion to take a journey somewhere, and on the road found it requisite to cross a canal called Lycus. Ammon ordered Theodore to pass over backwards, lest they should witness each other's nudity, and as he was likewise ashamed to see himself naked, he was suddenly, and by a Divine impulse, seized and carried over, and landed on the opposite bank. When Theodore had crossed the water, he perceived that the clothes and feet of the eider were not wet, and inquired the reason; not receiving a reply, he expostulated strongly on the subject, and at length Ammon, after stipulating that it should not be mentioned during his lifetime, confessed the fact.

Here follows another miracle of the same nature. Some wicked fathers, having brought to him a son, who had been bitten by a mad dog, and was nigh unto death, besought him in their lamentations to heal him. He said to them, "Your son does not require my healing, but if you are willing to restore to your masters the ox you have stolen, he will be healed immediately." And the result was even as had been predicted; for the ox was restored and the malady of the child removed. It is said that, when Ammon died, Antony saw his spirit ascending into heaven, since the heavenly powers conducted him with the singing of psalms, and on being questioned by his companions as to the cause of his evident astonishment, he did not conceal the matter from them; for he was seen to survey the sky intently, because of his amazement at the sight of the marvelous spectacle. A short time after, certain persons came from Scitis, and, announcing the hour of Ammon's death, the truth of Antony's prediction was manifested. Thus, as is testified by all good men, each of these holy persons was blessed in a special manner; the one, by being released from this life; the other, by being accounted worthy of witnessing so miraculous a spectacle as that which God showed him; for Antony and Ammon lived at a distance of many days' journey from each other, and the above incident is corroborated by those who were personally acquainted with them both.

I am convinced that it was likewise during this reign that Eutychianus (1) embraced philosophy. He fixed his residence in Bithynia, near Olympus. He belonged to the sect of the Novatians, (2) and was a partaker of Divine grace he healed diseases and wrought miracles, and the fame of his virtuous life induced Constantine to keep his intimacy and friendship. It so happened, that about this period, one of the royal body-guard, who was suspected of plotting against the sovereign, fled, and after search, was apprehended near Olympus. Eutychianus was besought by relatives of the man to intercede on his behalf with the emperor, and in the meantime, to direct that the prisoner's chains might be loosened, lest he should perish beneath their weight. It is related that Eutychianus accordingly sent to the officers who held the man in custody, desiring them to loosen the chains; and that, on their refusal, he went himself to the prison, when the doors, though fastened, opened of their own accord, and the bonds of the prisoner fell off. Eutychianus afterwards repaired to the emperor who was then residing at Byzantium, and easily obtained a pardon, for Constantine was not wont to refuse his requests, because he held the man in very great honor.

I have now given in few words the history of the most illustrious professors of the monastic philosophy. If any one desires more exact information about these men he will find it in the biographies which have been written of very many of them.


ALTHOUGH, as we have shown, religion was in a flourishing condition at this period, yet the churches were disturbed by sore contentions; for under the pretext of piety and of seeking the more perfect discovery of God, certain questions were agitated, which had not, till then, been examined. Arius (3) was the originator of these disputations. He was a presbyter of the church at Alexandria in Egypt, and was at first a zealous thinker about doctrine, and upheld the innovations of Melitius. Eventually, however, he abandoned this latter opinion, (4) and was ordained deacon by Peter, bishop of Alexandria, who afterwards cast him out of the church, because when Peter anathematized the zealots of Melitius and rejected their baptism, Arius assailed him for these acts and could not be restrained in quietness. After the martyrdom of Peter, Arius asked forgiveness of Achillas, and was restored to his office as deacon, and afterwards elevated to the presbytery. Afterwards Alexander, also, held him in high repute, since he was a most expert logician; for it was said that he was not lacking in such knowledge. He fell into absurd discourses, so that he had the audacity to preach in the church what no one before him had ever suggested; namely, that the Son of God was made out of that which had no prior existence, that there was a period of time in which he existed not; that, as possessing free will, he was capable of vice and virtue, and that he was created and made: to these, many other similar assertions were added as he went forward into the arguments and the details of inquiry. Those who heard these doctrines advanced, blamed Alexander for not opposing the innovations at variance with doctrine. But this bishop deemed it more advisable to leave each party to the free discussion of doubtful topics, so that by persuasion rather than by force, they might cease from contention; hence he sat down as a judge with some of his clergy, and led both sides into a discussion. But it happened on this occasion, as is generally the case in a strife of words, that each party claimed the victory. Arius defended his assertions, but the others contended that the Son is consubstantial and co-eternal with the Father. The council was convened a second time, and the same points contested, but they came to no agreement amongst themselves. During the debate, Alexander seemed to incline first to one party and then to the others (5); finally, however, he declared himself in favor of those who affirmed that the Son was consubstantial and co-eternal with the Father, and he commanded Arius to receive this doctrine, and to reject his former opinions. Arius, however, would not be persuaded to compliance, and many of the bishops and clergy considered his statement of doctrine to be correct. Alexander, therefore, ejected him and the clergy who concurred with him in sentiment from the church. Those of the parish of Alexandria, who had embraced his opinions, were the presbyters Aithalas, Achillas, Carpones, Sarmates, and Arius, (6) and the deacons Euzoius, Macarius, Julius, Menas, and Helladius. Many of the people, likewise, sided with them: some, because they imagined their doctrines to be of God; others, as frequently happens in similar cases, because they believed them to have been ill-treated and unjustly excommunicated. Such being the state of affairs at Alexandria, the partisans of Arius, deeming it prudent to seek the favor of the bishops of other cities, sent legations to them; they sent a written statement of their doctrines to them, requesting them that, if they considered such sentiments to be of God, they would signify to Alexander that he ought not to molest them; but that if they disapproved of the doctrines, they should teach them what opinions were necessary to be held. This precaution was of no little advantage to them; for their tenets became thus universally disseminated, and the questions they had started became matters of debate among all the bishops. Some wrote to Alexander, entreating him not to receive the partisans of Arius into communion unless they repudiated their opinions, while others wrote to urge a contrary line of conduct. When Alexander perceived that many who were revered by the appearance of good conduct, and weighty by the persuasiveness of eloquence, held with the party of Arius, and particularly Eusebius, president of the church of Nicomedia, a man of considerable learning and held in high repute at the palace; he wrote to the bishops of every church desiring them not to hold communion with them. This measure kindled the zeal of each party the more, and as might have been expected, the contest was increasingly agitated. Eusebius and his partisans had often petitioned Alexander, but could not persuade him; so that considering themselves insulted, they became indignant and came to a stronger determination to support the doctrine of Arius. A synod having been convened in Bithynia, they wrote to all the bishops, desiring them to hold communion with the Arians, as with those making a true confession, and to require Alexander to hold communion with them likewise. As compliance could not be extorted from Alexander Arius sent messengers to Paulinas, bishop of Tyre, to Eusebius Pamphilus, who presided over the church of Caesarea in Palestine, and to Patrophilus, bishop of Scythopolis, soliciting permission for himself and for his adherents, as they had previously attained the rank of presbyters, to form the people who were with them into a church. For it was the custom in Alexandria, as it still is in the present day, that all the churches should be under one bishop, but that each presbyter should have his own church, in which to assemble the people. These three bishops, in concurrence with others who were assembled in Palestine, granted the petition of Arius, and permitted him to assemble the people as before; but enjoined submission to Alexander, and commanded Arius to strive incessantly to be restored to peace and communion with him.


AFTER there had been many synods held in Egypt, and the contest had still continued to Increase in violence, the report of the dissension reached the palace, and Constantine was thereby greatly troubled; for just at this period, when religion was beginning to be more generally propagated, many were deterred by the difference in doctrines from embracing Christianity. The emperor (1) openly charged Arius and Alexander with having originated this disturbance, and wrote to rebuke them for having made a controversy public which it was in their power to have concealed, and for having contentiously agitated a question which ought never to have been mooted, or upon which, at least, their opinion ought to have been given quietly. He told them that they ought not to have separated from others on account of difference of sentiment concerning certain points of doctrine.

For concerning the Divine Providence men ought necessarily to hold one and the same belief; but the minute researches in this province, especially if they do not bring them to the one opinion, must be retained in secret according to all reason. He exhorted them to put away all loose talk about such points, and to be of one mind; for he had been not a little grieved, and on this account he had renounced his intention of visiting the cities of the East. It was in this strain that he wrote to Alexander and to Arius, reproving and exhorting them both.

Constantine was also deeply grieved at the diversity of opinion which prevailed concerning the celebration of the Passover; (2) for some of the cities in the East differed on this point, although they did not withhold from communion with one another; they kept the festival more according to the manner of the Jews, (3) and as was natural by this divergence, detracted from the splendor of the festal sacrifice. The emperor zealously endeavored to remove both these causes of dissension from the church; and thinking to be able to remove the evil before it advanced to greater proportions, be sent one who was honored for his faith, his virtuous life, and most approved in those former times for his confessions about this doctrine, to reconcile those who were divided on account of doctrine in Egypt, and those who in the East differed about the Passover. This man was Hosius, bishop of Cordova.


WHEN it was found that the event did not answer the expectations of the emperor, but that on the contrary, the contention was too great for reconciliation, so that he who had been sent to make peace returned without having accomplished his mission, Constantine convened a synod at Nicaea, in Bithynia, and wrote (1) to the most eminent men of the churches in every country, directing them to be there on an appointed day. (2) Of those who occupied the apostolic sees, the following participated in this conference: Macarius of Jerusalem, Eustathius, who already presided over the church of Antioch on the Orontes; and Alexander of Alexandria near Lake Mareotis. Julius, (3) bishop of Rome, was unable to attend on account of extreme old age; but his place was supplied by Vito and Vicentius, presbyters of his church. Many other excellent and good men from different nations were congregated together, of whom some were celebrated for their learning, their eloquence, and their knowledge of the sacred books, and other discipline; some for the virtuous tenor of their life, and others for the combination of all these qualifications. About three hundred and twenty bishops were present, accompanied by a multitude of presbyters and deacons. There were, likewise, men present who were skilled in dialectics, and ready to assist in the discussions. And as was usually the case on such occasions, many priests resorted to the council for the purpose of transacting their own private affairs; (4) for they considered this a favorable opportunity for rectifying their grievances, and in what points each found fault with the rest, he presented a document to the emperor, wherein he noted the offenses committed against himself. As this course was pursued day after day, the emperor set apart one certain day on which all complaints were to be brought before him. When the appointed time arrived, he took the memorials which had been presented to him, and said, "All these accusations will be brought forward in their own season at the great day of judgment, and will there be judged by the Great Judge of all men; as to me, I am but a man, and it would be evil in me to take cognizance of such matters, seeing that the accuser and the accused are priests; and the priests ought so to act as never to become amenable to the judgment of others. Imitate, therefore, the divine love and mercy of God, and be ye reconciled to one another; withdraw your accusations against each other; let us be persuaded, and let us devote our attention to those subjects connected with the faith on account of which we are assembled." After this address, in order to make the document of each man nugatory, the emperor commanded the memorials to be burnt, and then appointed a day for solving the doubtful points. But before the appointed time arrived, the bishops assembled together, and having summoned Arius to attend, began to examine the disputed topics, each one amongst them advancing his own opinion. As might have been expected, however, many different questions started out of the investigation: some of the bishops spoke against the introduction of novelties contrary to the faith which had been delivered to them from the beginning. And those especially who had adhered to simplicity of doctrine argued that the faith of God ought to be received without curious inquiries; others, however, contended that ancient opinions ought not to be followed without examination. Many of the bishops who were then assembled, and of the clergy who accompanied them, being remarkable for their dialectic skill, and practiced in such rhetorical methods, became conspicuous, and attracted the notice of the emperor and the court. Of that number Athanasius, who was then a deacon of Alexandria, and had accompanied his bishop Alexander, seemed to have the largest share in the counsel concerning these subjects.


WHILE these disputations were being carried on, certain of the pagan philosophers became desirous of taking part in them; some, because they wished for information as to the doctrine that was inculcated; and others, because, feeling incensed against the Christians on account of the recent suppression of the pagan religion, they wished to convert the inquiry about doctrine into a strife about words, so as to introduce dissensions among them, and to make them appear as holding contradictory opinions. It is related that one of these philosophers, priding himself on his acknowledged superiority of eloquence, began to ridicule the priests, and thereby roused the indignation of a simple old man, highly esteemed as a confessor, who, although unskilled in logical refinements and wordiness, undertook to oppose him. The less serious of those who knew the confessor, raised a laugh (1) at his expense for engaging in such an undertaking; but the more thoughtful felt anxious lest, in opposing so eloquent a man, he should only render himself ridiculous; yet his influence was so great, and his reputation so high among them, that they could not forbid his engaging in the debate; and he accordingly delivered himself in the following terms: "In the name of Jesus Christ, O philosopher, hearken to me. There is one God, the maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. He made all things by the power of the Word, and established them by the holiness of His Spirit. The Word, whom we call the Son of God, seeing that man was sunk in error and living like unto the beasts pitied him, and vouchsafed to be born of woman, to hold intercourse with men, and to die for them. And He will come again to judge each of us as to the deeds of this present life. We believe these things to be true with all simplicity. Do not, therefore, expend your labor in vain by striving to disprove facts which can only be understood by faith or by scrutinizing the manner in which these things did or did not come to pass. Answer me, dost thou believe?" The philosopher, astonished at what had occurred, replied, "I believe"; and having thanked the old man for having overcome him in argument, he began to teach the same doctrines to others. He exhorted those who still held his former sentiments to adopt the views he had embraced, assuring them on oath, that he had been impelled to embrace Christianity by a certain inexplicable impulse.

It is said that a similar miracle was performed by Alexander, who governed the church of Constantinople. When Constantine returned to Byzantium, certain philosophers came to him to complain of the innovations in religion, and particularly of his having introduced a new form of worship into the state, contrary to that followed by his forefathers, and by all who were formerly in power, whether among the Greeks or the Romans. They likewise desired to hold a disputation on the doctrine with Alexander the bishop; and he, although unskilled in such argumentative contests, and perhaps persuaded by his life, seeing that he was an excellent and good man, accepted the struggle at the command of the emperor. When the philosophers were assembled, since every one wished to engage in the discussion, he requested that one whom they esteemed worthy might be chosen as spokesman, while the others were to remain silent. When one of the philosophers began to open the debate, Alexander said to him, "I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ not to speak." The man was instantaneously silenced. It is then right to consider whether it is a greater miracle that a man, and he a philosopher, should so easily be silenced by a word, or that a stone-wall should be cleft by the power of a word, which miracle I have heard some attribute to Julian, surnamed the Chaldean. (2) I have understood that these events happened in the way above narrated.


THE bishops held long consultations; and after summoning Arius before them, they made an accurate test of his propositions; they were intently on their guard, not to come to a vote on either side. When at length the appointed day arrived on which it had been decided to settle the doubtful points, they assembled together (3) in the palace, because the emperor had signified his intention of taking part in the deliberations. When he was in the same place with the priests, he passed through to the head of the conference, and seated himself on the throne which had been prepared for him, and the synod was then commanded to be seated; for seats had been arranged on either side along the walls of the palatial rooms, for it was the largest, and excelled the other chambers.

After they were seated, Eusebius Pamphilus arose and delivered an oration (4) in honor of the emperor, returning thanks to God on his account. When he had ceased speaking, and silence was restored, the emperor delivered himself in the following words: "I give thanks to God for all things, but particularly, O friends, for being permitted to see your conference. And the event has exceeded my prayer, in that so many priests of Christ have been conducted into the same place; now, it is my desire that you should be of one mind and be partakers of a consentient judgment, for I deem dissension in the Church of God as more dangerous than any other evil. Therefore when it was announced, and I understood you were in discord, an unwholesome thing to hear, I was deeply pained in soul; and least of all does it profit you, since you are the conductors of divine worship and arbiters of peace. On this account it is, that I have called you together in a holy Synod, and being both your emperor and your fellow- physician, I seek for you a favor which is acceptable to our common Lord, and as honorable for me to receive, as for you to grant. The favor which I seek is, that you examine the causes of the strife, and put a consentient and peaceful end thereto i so that I may triumph with you over the envious demon, who excited this internal revolt because he was provoked to see our external enemies and tyrants under our feet, and envied our good estate." The emperor pronounced this discourse in Latin, and the interpretation was supplied by one at his side.


THE next debate by the priests turned upon doctrine. (1) The emperor gave patient attention to the speeches of both parties; he applauded those who spoke well, rebuked those who displayed a tendency to altercation, and according to his apprehension of what he heard, for he was not wholly unpracticed in the Greek tongue, he addressed himself with kindness to each one. Finally all the priests agreed with one another and conceded that the Son is consubstantial with the Father. At the commencement of the conference there were but seventeen who praised the opinion of Arius, but eventually the majority of these yielded assent to the general view, To this judgment the emperor likewise deferred, for he regarded the unanimity of the conference to be a divine approbation; and he ordained that any one who should be rebellious thereto, should forthwith be sent into banishment, as guilty of endeavoring to overthrow the Divine definitions. I had thought it necessary to reproduce the very document concerning the matter, as an example of the truth, in order that posterity might possess in a fixed and clear form the symbol of the faith which proved pacificatory at the time but since some pious friends, who understood such matters, recommended that these truths ought to be spoken of and heard by the initiated and their initiators (2) only, I agreed with their council; for it is not unlikely that some of the uninitiated may read this book. While I have concealed such of the prohibited material as I ought to keep silent about, I have not altogether left the reader ignorant of the opinions held by the synod.


IT ought to be known, that they affirmed the Son to be consubstantial with the Father; and that those are to be excommunicated and voted aliens to the Catholic Church, who assert that there was a time in which the Son existed not, and before He was begotten He was not, and that He was made from what had no existence, and that He is of another hypostasis or substance from the Father, and that He is subject to change or mutation. This decision was sanctioned by Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia; by Theognis, bishop of Nicaea; by Maris, bishop of Chalcedon; by Patrophilus, bishop of Scythopolis; and by Secundus, bishop of Ptolemais in Libya. (3) Eusebius Pamphilus, however, withheld his assent for a little while, but on further examination assented. (4) The council excommunicated Arius and his adherents, and prohibited his entering Alexandria. The words in which his opinions were couched were likewise condemned, as also a work entitled "Thalia," which he had written on the subject. I have not read this book, but I understand that it is of a loose character, resembling in license Sotadus. (5) It ought to be known that although Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, and Theognis, bishop of Nicaea, assented to the document of this faith set forth by the council, they neither agreed nor subscribed to the deposition of Arius. The emperor punished Arius with exile, and dispatched edicts to the bishops and people of every country, denouncing him and his adherents as ungodly, and commanding. that their books should be destroyed, in order that no remembrance of him or of the doctrine which he had broached might remain. Whoever should be found secreting his writings and who should not bum them immediately on the accusation, should undergo the penalty of death, and suffer capital punishment. The emperor wrote letters to every city against Arius and those who had received his doctrines, and commanded Eusebius and Theognis to quit the cities whereof they were bishops; he addressed himself in particular to the church of Nicomedia, urging it to adhere to the faith which had been set forth by the council, to elect orthodox bishops, to obey them, and to let the past fall into oblivion; and he threatened with punishment those who should venture to speak well of the exiled bishops, or to adopt their sentiments. In these and in other letters, he manifested resentment against Eusebius, because he had previously adopted the opinions of the tyrant, and had engaged in his plots. In accordance with the imperial edicts, Eusebius and Theognis were ejected from the churches which they held, and Amphion received that of Nicomedia, and Chrestus that of Nicaea. On the termination of this doctrinal controversy, the council decided that the Paschal feast should be celebrated at the same time in every place. (1)


IT is related, that the emperor, under the impulse of an ardent desire to see harmony re-established among Christians, summoned Acesius, bishop of the church of the Novatians, (2) to the council, placed before him the definition of the faith and of the feast, which had already been confirmed by the signatures of the bishops, and asked whether he could agree thereto. Acesius answered that their exposition defined no new doctrine, and that he accorded in opinion with the Synod, and that he had from the beginning held these sentiments with respect both to the faith and to the feast. "Why, then," said the emperor, "do you keep aloof from communion with others, if you are of one mind with them?" He replied that the dissension first broke out trader Decius, between Novatius and Cornelius, (3) and that he considered such persons unworthy of communion who, after baptism, had fallen into those sins which the Scriptures declare to be unto death; (4) for that the remission of those sins, he thought, depended on the authority of God only, and not on the priests. The emperor replied, by saying, "O Acesius, take a ladder and ascend alone to heaven." By this speech I do not imagine the emperor intended to praise Acesius, but rather to blame him, because, being but a man, he fancied himself exempt from sin. (5)


ZEALOUS of reforming the life of those who were engaged about the churches, the Synod enacted laws which were called canons. (6) While they were deliberating about this, some thought that a law ought to be passed enacting that bishops and presbyters, deacons and subdeacons, should hold no intercourse with the wife they had espoused before they entered the priesthood; but Paphnutius, (7) the confessor, stood up and testified against this proposition; he said that marriage was honorable and chaste, and that cohabitation with their own wives was chastity, and advised the Synod not to frame such a law, for it would be difficult to bear, and might serve as an occasion of incontinence to them and their wives; and he reminded them, that according to the ancient tradition of the church, those who were unmarried when they took part in the communion of sacred orders, were required to remain so, but that those who were married, were not to put away their wives. Such was the advice of Paphnutius, although he was himself unmarried, and in accordance with it, the Synod concurred in his counsel, enacted no law about it, but left the matter to the decision of individual judgment, and not to compulsion. The Synod, however, enacted other laws regulating the government of the Church; and these laws may easily be found, as they are in the possession of many individuals.


AFTER an investigation had been made into the conduct of Melitius when in Egypt, the Synod sentenced him to reside in Lycus, (8) and to retain only the name of bishop; and prohibited him from ordaining any one either in a city or a village. Those who had previously been ordained by him, were permitted by this law, to remain in communion and in the ministry, but were to be accounted secondary in point of dignity to the clergy in church and parish. (9) When by death an appointment became vacant, they were allowed to succeed to it, if deemed worthy, by the vote of the multitude, but in this case, were to be ordained by the bishop of the Church of Alexandria, for they were interdicted from exercising any power or influence in elections. This regulation appeared just to the Synod, for Melitius (1) and his followers had manifested great rashness and temerity in administering ordination; so that it also deprived the ordinations which differed from those of Peter of all consideration. He, when he conducted the Alexandrian Church, fled on account of the persecution then raging, but afterwards suffered martyrdom.


AT the very time that these decrees were passed by the council, the twentieth anniversary (2) of the reign of Constantine was celebrated; for it was a Roman custom to have a feast on the tenth year of every reign. The emperor, therefore, thought it to be opportune, and invited the Synod to the festival, and presented suitable gifts to them; and when they prepared to return home, he called them all together, and exhorted them to be of one mind about the faith and at peace among themselves, so that no dissensions might henceforth creep in among them. After many other similar exhortations, be concluded by commanding them to be diligent in prayer, and always to supplicate God for himself, his children, and the empire, and after he had thus addressed those who had come to Nicaea, he bade them farewell. He wrote to the churches in every city, in order that he might make plain to those who had not been present, what had been rectified by the Synod; and especially to the Church of Alexandria he wrote more than this; urging them to lay aside all dissent, and to be harmonious in the faith issued by the Synod; for this could be nothing else than the judgment of God, since it was established by the Holy Spirit from the concurrence of so many and such illustrious high priests, and approved after accurate inquiry and test of all the doubtful points.



WHEN the business at Nicaea had been transacted as above related, the priests returned home. The emperor rejoiced exceedingly at the restoration of unity of opinion in the Catholic Church, and desirous of expressing in behalf of himself, his children, and the empire, the gratitude towards God which the unanimity of the bishops inspired, he directed that a house of prayer should be erected to God at Jerusalem (1) near the place called Calvary. At the same time his mother Helena repaired to the city for the purpose of offering up prayer, and of visiting the sacred places. Her zeal for Christianity made her anxious to find the wood which had formed the adorable cross. But it was no easy matter to discover either this relic or the Lord's sepulchre; for the Pagans, who in former times had persecuted the Church, (2) and who, at the first promulgation of Christianity, had had recourse to every artifice to exterminate it, had concealed that spot under much heaped up earth, and elevated what before was quite depressed, as it looks now, and the more effectually to conceal them, had enclosed the entire place of the resurrection and Mount Calvary within a wall, and had, moreover, ornamented the whole locality, and paved it with stone. They also erected a temple to Aphrodite, and set up a little image, so that those who repaired thither to worship Christ would appear to bow the knee to Aphrodite, and that thus the true cause of offering worship in that place would, in course of time, be forgotten; and that as Christians would not dare fearlessly to frequent the place or to point it out to others, the temple and statue would come to be regarded as exclusively appertaining to the Pagans. At length, however, the place was discovered, and the fraud about it so zealously maintained was detected; some say that the facts were first disclosed by a Hebrew who dwelt in the East, and who derived his information from some documents which had come to him by paternal inheritance; but it seems more accordant with truth to suppose that God revealed the fact by means of signs and dreams; for I do not think that human information is requisite when God thinks it best to make manifest the same. When by command of the emperor the place was excavated deeply, the cave whence our Lord arose from the dead was discovered; and at no great distance, three crosses were found and another separate piece of wood, on which were inscribed in white letters in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin, the following words: "Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews." These words, as the sacred book of the gospels relates, were placed by command of Pilate, governor of Judaea, over the head of Christ. There yet, however, remained a difficulty in distinguishing the Divine cross from the others; for the inscription had been wrenched from it and thrown aside, and the cross itself had been cast aside with the others, without any distinction, when the bodies of the crucified were taken down. For according to history, the soldiers found Jesus dead upon the cross, and they took him down, and gave him up to be buried; while, in order to accelerate the death of the two thieves, who were crucified on either hand, they broke their legs, and then took down the crosses, and flung them out of the way. It was no concern of theirs to deposit the crosses in their first order; for it was growing late, and as the men were dead, they did not think it worth while to remain to attend to the crosses. A more Divine information than could be furnished by man was therefore necessary in order to distinguish the Divine cross from the others, and this revelation was given in the following manner: There was a certain lady of rank in Jerusalem who was afflicted with a most grievous and incurable disease; Macarius, bishop of Jerusalem, accompanied by the mother of the emperor and her attendants, repaired to her bedside. After engaging in prayer, Macarius signified by signs to the spectators that the Divine cross would be the one which, on being brought in contact with the invalid, should remove the disease. He approached her in turn with each of the crosses; but when two of the crosses were laid on her, it seemed but folly and mockery to her for she was at the gates of death. When, however, the third cross was in like manner brought to her, she suddenly opened her eyes, regained her strength, and immediately sprang from her bed, well. It is said that a dead person was, in the same way, restored to life. The venerated wool having been thus identified, the greater portion of it was deposited in a silver case, in which it is still preserved in Jerusalem: but the empress sent part of it to her son Constantine, together with the nails by which the body of Christ had been fastened. Of these, it is related, the emperor had a head-piece and bit made for his horse, according to the prophecy of Zechariah, who referred to this period when he said, "that which shall be upon the bit of the horse shall be holy to the Lord Almighty.'' (1) These things, indeed, were formerly known to the sacred prophets, and predicted by them, and at length, when it seemed to God that they should be manifested, were confirmed by wonderful works. Nor does this appear so marvelous when it is remembered that, even among the Pagans, it was confessed that the Sibyl had predicted that thus it should be, --

"Oh most blessed tree, on which our Lord was hung." (2)

Our most zealous adversaries cannot deny the truth of this fact, and it is hence evident that a pre-manifestation was made of the wood of the cross, and of the adoration (se'bas) it received.

The above incidents we have related precisely as they were delivered to us by men of great accuracy, by whom the information was derived by succession from father to son; and others have recorded the same events in writing for the benefit of posterity.


ABOUT this period, the emperor, having determined upon erecting a temple in honor of God, charged the governors to see that the work was executed in the most magnificent and costly manner possible. His mother Helena also erected two temples, (3) the one at Bethlehem near the cave where Christ was born, the other on ridges of the Mount of Olives, whence He was taken up to heaven. Many other acts show her piety and religiousness, among which the following is not the least remarkable: During her residence at Jerusalem, it is related that she assembled the sacred virgins at a feast, ministered to them at supper, presented them with food, poured water on their hands, and performed other similar services customary to those who wait upon guests. When she visited the cities of the East, she bestowed befitting gifts on the churches in every town, enriched those individuals who had been deprived of their possessions, supplied ungrudgingly the necessities of the poor, and restored to liberty those who had been long imprisoned, or condemned to exile or the mines. It seems to me that so many holy actions demanded a recompense; and indeed, even in this life, she was raised to the summit of magnificence and splendor; she was proclaimed Augusta; her image was stamped on golden coins, and she was invested by her son with authority over the imperial treasury to give it according to her judgment. Her death, too, was glorious; for when, at the age of eighty, she quitted this life, she left her son and her descendants (like her of the race of Caesar), masters of the Roman world. And if there be any advantage in such fame -- forgetfulness did not conceal her though she was dead -- the coming age has the pledge of her perpetual memory; for two cities are named after her, the one in Bithynia, and the other in Palestine. (4) Such is the history of Helena.


THE emperor, (5) always intent on the advancement of religion, erected the most beautiful temples to God in every place, particularly in metropolises, such as Nicomedia in Bithynia, Antioch on the river Orontes, and Byzantium. He greatly improved this latter city, and constituted it the equal of Rome in power, and participation in the government; for, when he had settled the affairs of the empire according to his own mind, and had rectified foreign affairs by wars and treaties, he resolved upon founding a city which should be called by his own name, and should be equal in celebrity to Rome. With this intention, he repaired to a plain at the foot of Troy, near the Hellespont, above the tomb of Ajax, where, it is said, the Achaians had their naval stations and tents while besieging Troy; and here he laid the plan of a large and beautiful city, and built the gates on an elevated spot of ground, whence they are still visible from the sea to those sailing by. But when he had advanced thus far, God appeared to him by night, and commanded him to seek another spot. Led by the hand of God, he arrived at Byzantium in Thrace, beyond Chalcedon in Bithynia, and here he was desired to build his city and to render it worthy of the name of Constantine. In obedience to the words of God, he therefore enlarged the city formerly called Byzantium, and surrounded it with high walls. He also erected magnificent dwelling houses southward through the regions. Since he was aware that the former population was insufficient for so great a city, he peopled it with men of rank and their households, whom he summoned hither from the eider Rome and from other countries. He imposed taxes to cover the expenses of building and adorning the city, and of supplying its inhabitants with food, and providing the city with all the other requisites. He adorned it sumptuously with a hippodrome, fountains, porticos, and other structures. He named it New Rome and Constantinople, and constituted it the imperial capital for all the inhabitants of the North, the South, the East, and the shores of the Mediterranean, from the cities on the Ister and from Epidamnus and the Ionian gulf, to Cyrene and that part of Libya called Borium.

He constructed another council house which they call senate; he ordered the same honors and festal days as those customary to the other Romans, and he did not fail studiously to make the city which bore his name equal in every respect to that of Rome in Italy; nor were his wishes thwarted; for by the assistance of God, it had to be confessed as great in population and wealth. I know of no cause to account for this extraordinary aggrandizement, unless it be the piety of the builder and of the inhabitants, and their compassion and liberality towards the poor. The zeal they manifested for the Christian faith was so great that many of the Jewish inhabitants and most of the Greeks were converted. As this city became the capital of the empire during the period of religious prosperity, it was not polluted by altars, Grecian temples, nor sacrifices; and although Julian authorized the introduction of idolatry for a short space of time, it soon afterwards became extinct. Constantine further honored this newly compacted city of Christ, named after himself, by adorning it with numerous and magnificent houses of prayer. And the Deity also co- operated with the spirit of the emperor, and by Divine manifestations persuaded men that these prayer houses in the city were holy and salvatory. According to the general opinion of foreigners and citizens, the most remarkable church was that built in a place formerly called Hestiae. This place, which is now called Michaelium, lies to the fight of those who sail from Pontus to Constantinople, and is about thirty-five stadia distant from the latter city by water, but if you make the circuit of the bay, the journey between them is seventy stadia and upwards. This place obtained the name which now prevails, because it is believed that Michael, the Divine archangel, once appeared there. And I also affirm that this is true, because I myself received the greatest benefits, and the experience of really helpful deeds on the part of many others proves this to be so. For some who had fallen into fearful reverses or unavoidable dangers, others with disease and unknown sufferings, there prayed to God, and met with a change in their misfortunes. I should be prolix were I to give details of circumstance and person. But I cannot omit mentioning the case of Aquilinus, who is even at the present time residing with us, and who is an advocate in the same court of justice as that to which we belong. (1) I shall relate what I heard from him concerning this occurrence and what I saw. Being attacked with a severe fever, arising from a yellowish bile, the physicians gave him some foreign drug to drink. This he vomited, and, by the effort of vomiting, diffused the bile, which tinged his countenance with a yellow color. Hence he had to vomit all his food and drink. For a long time he remained in this state; and since his nourishment would not be quiet in him, the skill of the physicians was at a loss for the suffering. Finding that he was already half dead, he commanded his servant to carry him to the house of prayer; for he affirmed earnestly that there he would either die or be freed from his disease. While he was lying there, a Divine Power appeared to him by night, and commanded him to dip his foot in a confection made of honey, wine, and pepper. The man did so, and was freed from his complaint, although the prescription was contrary to the professional rules of the physicians, a confection of so very hot a nature being considered adverse to a bilious disorder. I have also heard that Probianus, one of the physicians of the palace, who was suffering greatly from a disease in the feet, likewise met with deliverance from sickness at this place, and was accounted worthy of being visited with a wonderful and Divine vision. He had formerly been attached to the Pagan superstitions, but afterwards became a Christian; yet, while he admitted in one way or another the probability of the rest of our doctrines, he could not understand how, by the Divine cross, the salvation of all is effected. While his mind was in doubt on this subject, the symbol of the cross, which lay on the altar of this church, was pointed out to him in the Divine vision, and he heard a voice openly declaring that, as Christ had been crucified on the cross, the necessities of the human race or of individuals, whatsoever they might be, could not be met by the ministration of Divine angels or of pious and good men; for that there was no power to rectify apart from the venerated cross. I have only recorded a few of the incidents which I know to have taken place in this temple, because there is not time to recount them all.


I CONSIDER it necessary to detail the proceedings of Constantine in relation to what is called the oak of Mature. (1) This place is now called Terebinthus, and is about fifteen stadia distant from Hebron, which lies to the south, but is two hundred and fifty stadia distant from Jerusalem. It is recorded that here the Son of God appeared to Abraham, with two angels, who had been sent against Sodom, and foretold the birth of his son. Here the inhabitants of the country and of the regions round Palestine the Phoenicians, and the Arabians, assemble annually during the summer season to keep a brilliant feast; and many others, both buyers and sellers, resort thither on account of the fair. Indeed, this feast is diligently frequented by all nations: by the Jews, because they boast of their descent from the patriarch Abraham; by the Pagans, because angels there appeared to men; and by Christians, because He who for the salvation of mankind was born of a virgin, afterwards manifested Himself there to a godly man. This place was moreover honored fittingly with religious exercises. Here some prayed to the God of all; some called upon the angels, poured out wine, burnt incense, or offered an ox, or he-goat, a sheep, or a cock. Each one made some beautiful product of his labor, and after carefully husbanding it through the entire year, he offered it according to promise as provision for that feast, both for himself and his dependents. And either from honor to the place, or from fear of Divine wrath, they all abstained from coming near their wives, although during the feast these were more than ordinarily studious of their beauty and adornment. Nor, if they chanced to appear and to take part in the public processions, did they act at all licentiously. Nor did they behave imprudently in any other respect, although the tents were contiguous to each other, and they all lay promiscuously together. The place is open country, and arable, and without houses, with the exception of the buildings around Abraham's old oak and the well he prepared. No one during the time of the feast drew water from that well; for according to Pagan usage, some placed burning lamps near it; some poured out wine, or cast in cakes; and others, coins, myrrh, or incense. Hence, as I suppose, the water was rendered useless by commixture with the things cast into it. Once whilst these customs were being celebrated by the Pagans, after the aforesaid manner, and as was the established usage with hilarity, the mother-in-law (2) of Constantine was present for prayer, and apprised the emperor of what was being done. On receiving this information, he rebuked the bishops of Palestine in no measured terms, because they had neglected their duty, and had permitted a holy place to be defiled by impure libations and sacrifices; and he expressed his godly censure in an epistle which he wrote on the subject to Macarius, bishop of Jerusalem, to Eusebius Pamphilus, and to the bishops of Palestine. He commanded these bishops to hold a conference on this subject with the Phoenician bishops, and issue directions for the demolition, from the foundations, of the altar formerly erected there, the destruction of the carved images by fire, and the erection of a church worthy of so ancient and so holy a place. The emperor finally enjoined, that no libations or sacrifices should be offered on the spot, but that it should be exclusively devoted to the worship of God according to the law of the Church; and that if any attempt should be made to restore the former rites, the bishops were to inform against the delinquent, in order that he might be subjected to the greatest punishment. The governors and priests of Christ strictly enforced the injunctions contained in the emperor's letter.


As many nations and cities throughout the whole realm of his subjects retained a feeling of fear and veneration towards their vain idols, which led them to disregard the doctrines of the Christians, and to have a care for their ancient customs, and the manners and feasts of their fathers, it appeared necessary to the emperor to teach the governors to suppress their superstitious rites of worship. He thought that this would be easily accomplished if he could get them to despise their temples and the images contained therein. (1) To carry this project into execution he did not require military aid; for Christian men belonging to the palace went from city to city bearing imperial letters. The people were induced to remain passive from the fear that, if they resisted these edicts, they, their children, and their wives, would be exposed to evil. The vergers and the priests, being unsupported by the multitude, brought out their most precious treasures, and the idols called diopeth^, (2) and through these servitors, the gifts were drawn forth from the shrines and the hidden recesses in the temples. The spots previously inaccessible, and known only to the priests, were made accessible to all who desired to enter. Such of the images as were constructed of precious material, and whatever else was valuable, were purified by fire, and became public property. The brazen images which were skillfully wrought were carried to the city, named after the emperor, and placed there as objects of embellishment, where they may still be seen in public places, as in the streets, the hippodrome, and the palaces. Amongst them was the statue of Apollo which was in the seat of the oracle of the Pythoness, and likewise the statues of the Muses from Helicon, the tripods from Delphos, and the much extolled Pan, which Pausanias the Lacedaemonian and the Grecian cities had devoted, -- after the war against the Medes.

As to the temples, some were stripped of their doors, others of their roofs, and others were neglected, allowed to fall into ruin, or destroyed. The temple of Aesculapius in Aegis, a city of Cilicia, and that of Venus at Aphaca, near Mount Lebanon and the River Adonis, were then undermined and entirely destroyed. Both of these temples were most highly honored and reverenced by the ancients; as the Aegeatae were wont to say, that those among them who were weakened in body were delivered from diseases because the demon manifested himself by night, and healed them. And at Aphaca, it was believed that on a certain prayer being uttered on a given day, a fire like a star descended from the top of Lebanon and sunk into the neighboring river; they affirmed that this was Urania, for they call Aphrodite by this name. The efforts of the emperor succeeded to the utmost of his anticipations; for on beholding the objects of their former reverence and fear boldly cast down and stuffed with straw and hay, the people were led to despise what they had previously venerated, and to blame the erroneous opinion of their ancestors. Others, envious at the honor in which Christians were held by the emperor, deemed it necessary to imitate the acts of the ruler; others devoted themselves to an examination of Christianity, and by means of signs, of dreams, or of conferences with bishops and monks, were convinced that it was better to become Christians. From this period, nations and citizens spontaneously renounced their former opinion. At that time a port of Gaza, called Majuma, wherein superstition and ancient ceremonies had been hitherto admired, turned unitedly with all its inhabitants to Christianity. The emperor, in order to reward their piety, deemed them worthy of the greatest honor, and distinguished the place as a city, a status it had not previously enjoyed, and named it Constantia: thus honoring the spot on account of its piety, by bestowing on it the name of the dearest of his children. On the same account, also, Constantine in Phoenicia is known to have received its name from the emperor. But it would not be convenient to record every instance of this kind, for many other cities about this time went over to religion, and spontaneously, without any command of the emperor, destroyed the adjacent temples and statues, and erected houses of prayer.


THE church having been in this manner spread throughout the whole Roman world, religion was introduced even among the barbarians themselves. (3) The tribes on both sides of the Rhine were Christianized, as likewise the Celts and the Gauls who dwelt upon the most distant shores of the ocean; the Goths, too, and such tribes as were contiguous to them, who formerly dwelt on either of the high shores of the Danube, had long shared in the Christian faith, and had changed into a gentler and more rational observance. Almost all the barbarians had professed to hold the Christian doctrine in honor, from the time of the wars between the Romans and foreign tribes, under the government of Gallienus and the emperors who succeeded him. For when an unspeakable multitude of mixed nations passed over from Thrace into Asia and overran it, and when other barbarians from the various regions did the same things to the adjacent Romans, many priests of Christ who had been taken captive, dwelt among these tribes; and during their residence among them, healed the sick, and cleansed those who were possessed of demons, by the name of Christ only, and by calling on the Son of God; moreover they led (1) a blameless life, and excited envy by their virtues. The barbarians, amazed at the conduct and wonderful works of these men, thought that it would be prudent on their part, and pleasing to the Deity, if they should imitate those whom they saw were better; and, like them, would render homage to God. When teachers as to what should be done, had been proposed to them, the people were taught and baptized, and subsequently were gathered into churches.


IT is said that during this reign the Iberians, (2) a large and warlike barbarian nation, confessed Christ. (3) They dwelt to the north beyond Armenia. A Christian woman, who had been taken captive, induced them to renounce the religion of their fathers. She was very faithful and godly, and did not, amongst foreigners, remit her accustomed routine of religious duty. To fast, to pray night and day, and to praise God, constituted her delight. The barbarians inquired as to the motives of her endurance: she simply answered, that it was necessary in this way to worship the Son of God; but the name of Him who was to be worshiped, and the man-her of worshiping, appeared strange to them. It happened that a boy of the country was taken ill, and his mother, according to the custom of the Iberians, took him around from house to house, in hope that some one might be found capable of curing the disease, and the change from the suffering might be easy for the afflicted. As no one capable of healing him could be found, the boy was brought to the captive, and she said, "as to medicines, I have neither experience nor knowledge, nor am I acquainted with the mode of applying ointments or plasters; but, O woman, I believe that Christ whom I worship, the true and great God, will become the Saviour of thy child." Then she prayed for him immediately and freed him from the disease, although just before it was believed that he was about to die. A little while after, the wife of the governor of the nation was, by an incurable disease, brought nigh unto death; yet she too was saved in the same manner. And thus did this captive teach the knowledge of Christ, by introducing Him as the dispenser of health, and as the Lord of life, of empire, and of all things. The governor's wife, convinced by her own personal experience, believed the words of the captive, embraced the Christian religion, and held the woman in much honor. The king, astonished at the celerity of the cure, and the miraculousness and healing of faith, learned the cause from his wife, and commanded that the captive should be rewarded with gifts. "Of gifts," said the queen, "her estimate is very low, whatever may be their value; she makes much of the service she renders to her God only. Therefore if we wish to gratify her, or desire to do what is safe and right, let us also worship God, who is mighty and a Saviour, and who, at His will, gives continuance unto kings, casts down the high, renders the illustrious abject, and saves those in terrible straits." The queen continued to argue in this excellent manner, but the sovereign of Iberia remained in doubt and unconvinced, as he reflected on the novelty of the matters, and also respected the religion of his fathers. A little while after, he went into the woods with his attendants, on a hunting excursion; all of a sudden thick clouds arose, and a heavy air was everywhere diffused by them, so as to conceal the heavens and the sun; profound night and great darkness pervaded the wood. Since each of the hunters was alarmed for his own safety, they scattered in different directions. The king, while thus wandering alone, thought of Christ, as men are wont to do in times of danger. He determined that if he should be delivered from his present emergency, he would walk before God and worship Him. At the very instant that these thoughts were upon his mind, the darkness was dissipated, the air became serene, the rays of the sun penetrated into the wood, and the king went out in safety. He informed his wife of the event that had befallen him, sent for the captive, and commanded her to teach him in what way he ought to worship Christ. When she had given as much instruction as it was right for a woman to say and do, he called together his subjects and declared to them plainly the Divine mercies which had been vouchsafed to himself and to his wife, and although uninitiated, he declared to his people the doctrines of Christ. The whole nation was persuaded to embrace Christianity, the men being convinced by the representations of the king, and the women by those of the queen and the captive. And speedily with the general consent of the entire nation, they prepared most zealously to build a church. When the external walls were completed, machines were brought to raise up the columns, and fix them upon their pedestals. It is related, that when the first and second columns had been righted by these means, great difficulty was found in fixing the third column, neither art nor physical strength being of any avail, although many were present to assist in the pulling. When evening came on, the female captive remained alone on the spot, and she continued there throughout the night, interceding with God that the erection of the columns might be easily accomplished, especially as all the rest had taken their departure distressed at the failure; for the column was only half raised, and remained standing, and one end of it was so embedded in its foundations that it was impossible to move it downward. It was God's will that by this, as well as by the preceding miracle, the Iberians should be still further confirmed about the Deity. Early in the morning, when they were present at the church, they beheld a wonderful spectacle, which seemed to them as a dream. The column, which on the day before had been immovable, now appeared erect, and elevated a small space above its proper base. All present were struck with admiration, and confessed, with one consent, that Christ alone is the true God. Whilst they were all looking on, the column slipped quietly and spontaneously, and was adjusted as by machinery on its base. The other columns were then erected with ease, and the Iberians completed the structure with greater alacrity. The church having been thus speedily built, the Iberians, at the recommendation of the captive, sent ambassadors to the Emperor Constantine, bearing proposals for alliance and treaties, and requesting that priests might be sent to their nation. On their arrival, the ambassadors related the events that had occurred, and how the whole nation with much care worshiped Christ. The emperor of the Romans was delighted with the embassy, and after acceding to every request that was proffered, dismissed the ambassadors. Thus did the Iberians receive the knowledge of Christ, and until this day they worship him carefully.


SUBSEQUENTLY the Christian religion became known to the neighboring tribes and was very greatly disseminated. (1) The Armenians, I have understood, were the first to embrace Christianity. (2) It is said that Tiridates, then the sovereign of that nation, became a Christian by means of a marvelous Divine sign which was wrought in his own house; and that he issued commands to all the subjects, by a herald, to adopt the same religion. (3) I think that the beginning of the conversion of the Persians (4) was owing to their intercourse with the Osroenians and Armenians; for it is likely that they would converse with such Divine men and make experience of their virtue.


WHEN, in course of time, the Christians increased in number, and began to form churches, and appointed priests and deacons, the Magi, who as a priestly tribe had from the beginning in successive generations acted as the guardians of the Persian religion, became deeply incensed against them. (5) The Jews, who through envy are in some way naturally opposed to the Christian religion, were likewise offended. They therefore brought accusations before Sapor, the reigning sovereign, against Symeon, who was then archbishop of Seleucia and Ctesiphon, royal cities of Persia, and charged him with being a friend of the Caesar of the Romans, and with communicating the affairs of the Persians to him. Sapor believed these accusations, and at first, ground the Christians with excessive taxes, although he knew that the generality of them had voluntarily embraced poverty. He entrusted the exaction to cruel men, hoping that, by the want of necessaries, and the atrocity of the ex-actors, they might be compelled to abjure their religion; for this was his aim. Afterwards, however, be commanded that the priests and conductors of the worship of God should be slain with the sword. The churches were demolished, their vessels were deposited in the treasury, and Symeon was arrested as a traitor to the kingdom and the religion of the Persians. Thus the Magi, with the co- operation of the Jews, quickly destroyed the houses of prayer. Symeon, on his apprehension, was bound with chains, and brought before the king. There the man evinced his excellence and courage; for when Sapor commanded that he should be led away to the torture, he did not fear, and would not prostrate himself. The king, greatly exasperated, demanded why he did not prostrate himself as he had done formerly. Symeon replied, "Formerly I was not led away bound in order that I might abjure the truth of God, and therefore I did not then object to pay the customary respect to royalty; but now it would not be proper for me to do so; for I stand here in defense of godliness and of our opinion." When he ceased speaking, the king commanded him to worship the sun, promising, as an inducement, to bestow gifts upon him, and to hold him in honor; but on the other hand, threatening, in case of non-compliance, to visit him and the whole body of Christians with destruction. When the king found that he neither frightened him by menaces, nor caused him to relax by promises, and that Symeon remained firm and refused to worship the sun, or to betray his religion, he commanded him to be put in bonds for a while, probably imagining that he would change his mind.

When Symeon was being conducted to prison, Usthazanes, an aged eunuch, the foster-father of Sapor and superintendent of the palace, who happened to be sitting at the gates of the palace, arose to do him reverence. Symeon reproachfully forbade him in a loud and haughty voice, averted his countenance, and passed by; for the eunuch had been formerly a Christian, but had recently yielded to authority, and had worshiped the sun. This conduct so affected the eunuch that he wept aloud, laid aside the white garment with which he was robed, and clothed himself, as a mourner, in black. He then seated himself in front of the palace, crying and groaning, and saying, "Woe is me! What must not await me since I have denied God; and on this account Symeon, formerly my familiar friend, does not think me worthy of being spoken to, but turns away and hastens from me." When Sapor heard of what had occurred, he called the eunuch to him, and inquired into the cause of his grief, and asked him whether any calamity had befallen his family. Usthazanes replied and said, "O king, nothing has occurred to my family; but I would rather have suffered any other affliction whatsoever than that which has befallen me, and it would have been easy to bear. Now I mourn because I am alive, and ought to have been dead long ago; yet I still see the sun which, not voluntarily, but to please thee, I professed to worship. Therefore, on both accounts, it is just that I should die, for I have been a betrayer of Christ, and a deceiver of thee." He then swore by the Maker of heaven and earth, that he would never swerve from his convictions. Sapor, astonished at the wonderful conversion of the eunuch, was still more enraged against the Christians, as if they had effected it by enchantments. Still, he spared the old man, and strove with all his strength, by alternate gentleness and harshness, to bring him over to his own sentiments. But finding that his efforts were useless, and that Usthazanes persisted in declaring that he would never be so foolish as to worship the creature instead of the creator, he became inflamed with passion, and commanded that the eunuch's head should be struck off with a sword. When the executioners came forward to perform their office, Usthazanes requested them to wait a little, that he might communicate something to the king. He then called one of the most faithful eunuchs, and bade him say to Sapor, "From my youth until now I have been well affected, O king, to your house, and have ministered with fitting diligence to your father and yourself. I need no witnesses to corroborate my statements; these facts are well established. For all the matters wherein at divers times I have gladly served you, grant me this reward; let it not be imagined by those who are ignorant of the circumstances, that I have incurred this punishment by acts of unfaithfulness against the kingdom, or by the commission of any other crime; but let it be published and proclaimed abroad by a herald, that Usthazanes loses his head for no knavery that he has ever committed in the palaces, but for being a Christian, and for refusing to obey the king in denying his own God." The eunuch delivered this message, and Sapor, according to the request of Usthazanes, commanded a herald to make the desired proclamation; for the king imagined that others would be easily deterred from embracing Christianity, by reflecting that he who sacrificed his aged foster-father and esteemed household servant, would assuredly spare no other Christian. Usthazanes, however, believed that as by his timidity in consenting to worship the sun, he had caused many Christians to fear, so now, by the diligent proclamation of the cause of his sufferings, many might be edified by learning that he died for the sake of religion, and so became imitators of his fortitude.


IN this manner the honorable life of Usthazanes was terminated, and when the intelligence was brought to Symeon in the prison, he offered thanksgiving to God on his account. The following day, which happened to be the sixth day of the week, and likewise the day on which, as immediately preceding the festival of the resurrection, the annual memorial of the passion of the Saviour is celebrated, the king issued orders for the decapitation of Symeon; for he had again been conducted to the palace from the prison, had reasoned most nobly with Sapor on points of doctrine, and had expressed a determination never to worship either the king or the sun. On the same day a hundred other prisoners were ordered to be slain. Symeon beheld their execution, and last of all he was put to death. Amongst these victims were bishops, presbyters, and other clergy of different grades. As they were being led out to execution, the chief of the Magi approached them, and asked them whether they would preserve their lives by conforming to the religion of the king and by worshiping the sun. As none of them would comply with this condition, they were conducted to the place of execution, and the executioners applied themselves to the task of slaying these martyrs. Symeon, standing by those who were to be slain, exhorted them to constancy, and reasoned concerning death, and the resurrection, and piety, and showed them from the sacred Scriptures that a death like theirs is true life; whereas to live, and through fear to deny God, is as truly death. He told them, too, that even if no one were to slay them, death would inevitably overtake them; for our death is a natural consequence of our birth. The things after those of this life are perpetual, and do not happen alike to all men; but as if measured by some rule, they must give an accurate account of the course of life here. Each one who did well, will receive immortal rewards and will escape the punishments of those who did the opposite. He likewise told them that the greatest and happiest of all good actions is to die for the cause of God. While Symeon was pursuing such themes, and like a household attendant, was exhorting them about the manner in which they were to go into the conflicts, each one listened and spiritedly went to the slaughter. After the executioner had despatched a hundred, Symeon himself was slain; and Abedechalaas and Anannias, two aged presbyters of his own church, who had been his fellow-prisoners, suffered with him. (1)


PUSICES, the superintendent of the king's artisans, was present at the execution; perceiving that Anannias trembled as the necessary preparations for his death were being made, he said to him, "O old man, close your eyes for a little while and be of good courage, for you will soon behold the light of Christ." No sooner had he uttered these words than he was arrested and conducted before the king; and as he frankly avowed himself a Christian, and spoke with great freedom to the king concerning his opinion and the martyrs, he was condemned to an extraordinary and most cruel death, because it was not lawful to address the king with such boldness. The executioners pierced the muscles of his neck in such a manner as to extract his tongue. On the charge of some persons, his daughter, who had devoted herself to a life of holy virginity, was arraigned and executed at the same time. The following year, on the day on which the passion of Christ was commemorated, and when preparations were being made for the celebration of the festival commemorative of his resurrection from the dead, Sapor issued a most cruel edict throughout Persia, condemning to death all those who should confess themselves to be Christians. It is hid that a greater number of Christians suffered by the sword; for the Magi sought diligently in the cities and villages for those who had concealed themselves; and many voluntarily surrendered themselves, lest they should appear, by their silence, to deny Christ. Of the Christians who were thus unsparingly sacrificed, many who were attached to the palace were slain, and amongst these was Azades, (2) a eunuch, who was especially beloved by the king. On hearing of his death, Sapor was overwhelmed with grief, and put a stop to the general slaughter of the Christians; and he directed that the teachers of religion should alone be slain.


ABOUT the same period, the queen was attacked with a disease, and Tarbula, the sister of Symeon the bishop, a holy virgin, was arrested with her servant, who shared in the same mode of life, as likewise a sister of Tarbula, who, after the death of her husband, abjured marriage, and led a similar career. The cause of their arrest was the charge of the Jews, who reported that they had injured the queen by their enchantments, on account of their rage at the death of Symeon. As invalids easily give credit to the most repulsive representations, the queen believed the charge, and especially because it emanated from the Jews, since she had embraced their sentiments, and lived in the observance of the Jewish rites, for she had great confidence in their veracity and in their attachment to herself. The Magi having seized Tarbula and her companions, condemned them to death; and after having sawn them asunder, they fastened them up to poles and made the queen pass through the midst of the poles as a medium for turning away the disease. It is said that this Tarbula was beautiful and very stately in form, and that one of the Magi, having become deeply enamored with her, secretly sent a proposal for intercourse, and promised as a reward to save her and her companions if she would consent. But she would give no ear to his licentiousness, and treated the Magi with scorn, and rebuked his lust. She would rather prefer courageously to die than to betray her virginity.

As it was ordained by the edict of Sapor, which we mentioned above, that the Christians should not be slaughtered indiscriminately, but that the priests and teachers of the opinions should be slain, the Magi and Arch-Magi traversed the whole country of Persia, studiously maltreating the bishops and presbyters. They sought them especially in the country of Adiabene, a part of the Persian dominions, because it was wholly Christianized.


ABOUT this period they arrested Acepsimas the bishop, and many of his clergy. After having taken counsel together, they satisfied themselves with the hunt after the leader only; they dismissed the rest after they had taken away their property. James, however, who was one of the presbyters, voluntarily followed Acepsimas, obtained permission from the Magi to share his prison, and spiritedly ministered to the old man, lightened his misfortunes as far as he was able, and dressed his wounds; for not long after his apprehension, the Magi had injuriously tortured him with raw thongs in forcing him to worship the sun; and on his refusal to do so had retained him again in bonds. Two presbyters named Aithalas and James, and two deacons, by name Azadanes and Abdiesus, after being scourged most injuriously by the Magi, were compelled to live in prison, on account of their opinions. After a long time had elapsed, the great Arch-Magi communicated to the king the facts about them to be punished; and having received permission to deal with them as he pleased, unless they would consent to worship the sun, he made known this decision of Sapor's to the prisoners. They replied openly, that they would never betray the cause of Christ nor worship the sun; he tortured them unsparingly. Acepsimas persevered in the manly confession of his faith, till death put an end to his torments. Certain Armenians, whom the Persians retained as hostages, secretly carried away his body and buried it. The other prisoners, although not less scourged, lived as by a miracle, and as they would not change their judgment, were again put in bonds. Among these was Aithalas, who was stretched out while thus beaten, and his arms were torn out of his shoulders by the very great wrench; and he carried his hands about as dead and swinging loosely, so that others had to convey food to his mouth. Under this rule, an innumerable multitude of presbyters, deacons, monks, holy virgins, and others who served the churches and were set apart for its dogma, terminated their lives by martyrdom. The following are the names of the bishops, so far as I have been able to ascertain: Barbasymes, Paulus, Gaddiabes, Sabinus, Mareas, Mocius, John, Hormisdas, Papas, James, Romas, Maares, Agas, Bochres, Abdas, Abdiesus, John, Abramins, Agdelas, Sapores, Isaac, and Dausas. The latter had been made prisoner by the Persians, and brought from a place named Zabdaeus. (1) He died about this time in defense of the dogma; and Mareabdes, a chorepiscopus, and about two hundred and fifty of his clergy, who had also been captured by the Persians, suffered with him.


About this period Milles suffered martyrdom. He originally served the Persians in a military capacity, but afterwards abandoned that vocation, in order to embrace the apostolical mode of life. It is related that he was ordained bishop over a Persian city, and he underwent a variety of sufferings, and endured wounds and drawings; and that, failing in his efforts to convert the inhabitants to Christianity, he uttered imprecations against the city, and departed. Not long after, some of the principal citizens offended the king, and an army with three hundred elephants was sent against them; the city was utterly demolished and its land was ploughed and sown. Milles, taking with him only his wallet, in which was the holy Book of the Gospels, repaired to Jerusalem in prayer; thence he proceeded to Egypt in order to see the monks. The extraordinary and admirable works which we have heard that he accomplished, are attested by the Syrians, who have written an account of his actions and life. For my own part, I think that I have said enough of him and of the other martyrs who suffered in Persia during the reign of Sapor; for it would be difficult to relate in detail every circumstance respecting them, such as their names, their country, the mode of completing their martyrdom, and the species of torture to which they were subjected; for they are innumerable, since such methods are jealously affected by the Persians, even to the extreme of cruelty. I shall briefly state that the number of men and women whose names have been ascertained, and who were martyred at this period, have been computed to be sixteen thousand; while the multitude outside of these is beyond enumeration, and on this account to reckon off their names appeared difficult to the Persians and Syrians and to the inhabitants of Edessa, who have devoted much care to this matter.


CONSTANTINE the Roman emperor was angry, and bore it ill when he heard of the sufferings to which the Christians were exposed in Persia. He desired most anxiously to render them assistance, yet knew not in what way to effect this object. About this time some ambassadors from the Persian king arrived at his court, and after granting their requests and dismissing them, he thought it would be a favorable opportunity to address Sapor in behalf of the Christians in Persia, and wrote to him, (1) confessing that it would be a very great and forever indescribable favor, if he would be humane to those who admired the teaching of the Christians under him. "There is nothing in their religion," said he, "of a reprehensible nature; by bloodless prayers alone do they offer supplication to God, for he delighteth not in the outpouring of blood, but taketh pleasure only in a pure soul devoted to virtue and to religion; so that they who believe these things are worthy of commendation." The emperor then assured Sapor that God would be propitious to him if he treated the Christians with lenity, and adduced the example of Valerian and of himself in proof thereof. He had himself, by faith in Christ, and by the aid of Divine inclination, come forth from the shores of the Western ocean, and reduced to obedience the whole of the Roman world, and had terminated many wars against foreigners and usurpers; and yet had never had recourse to sacrifices or divinations, but had for victory used only the symbol of the Cross at the head of his own armies, and prayer pure from blood and defilement. The reign of Valerian was prosperous so long as he refrained from persecuting the Church; but he afterwards commenced a persecution against the Christians, and was delivered by Divine vengeance into the hands of the Persians, who took him prisoner and put him to a cruel death."

It was in this strain that Constantine wrote to Sapor, urging him to be well-disposed to this religion; for the emperor extended his watchful care over all the Christians of every region, whether Roman or foreign.


NOT long after the council of Nice, Arius was recalled from exile; but the prohibition to enter Alexandria was unrevoked. It shall be related in the proper place how he strove to obtain permission to return to Egypt. Not long after, Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, and Theognis, bishop of Nicaea, regained possession of their churches after expelling Amphion and Chrestos who had been ordained in their stead. (2) They owed their restoration to a document which they had presented to the bishops, containing a retractation: "Although we have been condemned without a trial by your piety, we deemed it right to remain silent concerning the judgment passed by your piety. But as it would be absurd to remain longer silent, when silence is regarded as a proof of the truth of the calumniators, we now declare to you that we too agree in this faith, and after a diligent examination of the thought in the word 'consubstantial,' we are wholly intent upon preserving peace, and that we never pursued any heresy. Having proposed for the safety of the churches such argument (3) as occurred to us, and having been fully convinced, and fully convincing those who ought to have been persuaded by us, we undersigned the creed; but we did not subscribe to the anathema, not because we impugned the creed, but because we did not believe the accused to be what he was represented to us; the letters we had received from him, and the arguments he had delivered in our presence, fully satisfying us that he was not such an one. Would that the holy Synod were convinced that we are not bent on opposing, but are accordant with the points accurately defined by you, and by this document, we do attest our assent thereto: and this is not because we are wearied of exile, but because we wish to avert all suspicion of heresy; for if you will condescend to admit us now into your presence, you will find us in all points of the same sentiments as yourselves, and obedient to your decisions, and then it shall seem good to your piety to be merciful to him who was accused on these points and to have him recalled. If the party amenable to justice has been recalled and has defended himself from the charge made, it would be absurd, were we by our silence to confirm the reports that calumny had spread against us. We beseech you then, as befits your piety, dear to Christ, that you memorialize our emperor, most beloved of God, and that you hand over our petition, and that you counsel quickly, what is agreeable to you concerning us." It was by these means that Eusebius and Theognis, after their change of sentiment, were reinstated in their churches.


ABOUT this period (1) Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, when about to depart this life, left Athanasius as his successor, in accordance, I am convinced, with the Divine will directing the vote upon him. It is said that Athanasius at first sought to avoid the honor by flight, but that he, although unwilling, was afterwards constrained by Alexander to accept the bishopric. This is testified by Apolinarius, the Syrian, (2) in the following terms: "In all these matters much disturbance was excited by impiety, but its first effects were felt by the blessed teacher of this man, who was at hand as an assistant, and behaved as a son would to his father. Afterwards this holy man himself underwent the same experience, for when appointed to the episcopal succession he fled to escape the honor; but he was discovered in his place of concealment by the help of God, who had forecast by Divine manifestations to his blessed predecessor, that the succession was to devolve upon him. For when Alexander was on the point of death, he called upon Athanasius, who was then absent. One who bore the same name, and who happened to be present, on hearing him call this way, answered him; but to him Alexander was silent, since he was not summoning this man. Again he called, and as it often happens, the one present kept still, and so the absent one was disclosed. Moreover, the blessed Alexander prophetically exclaimed, 'O Athanasius, thou thinkest to escape, but thou wilt not escape'; meaning that Athanasius would be called to the conflict." Such is the account given by Apolinarius respecting Athanasius.

The Arians assert that after the death of Alexander, the respective followers of that bishop and of Melitius held communion together, and fifty-four bishops from Thebes, and other parts of Egypt, assembled together, and agreed by oath to choose by a common vote, the man who could advantageously administer the Church of Alexandria; but that seven a of the bishops, in violation of their oath, and contrary to the opinion of all, secretly ordained Athanasius; and that on this account many of the people and of the Egyptian clergy seceded from communion with him. For my part, I am convinced that it was by Divine appointment that Athanasius succeeded to the high-priesthood; for he was eloquent and intelligent, and capable of opposing plots, and of such a man the times had the greatest need. He displayed great aptitude in the exercise of the ecclesiastical functions and fitness for the priesthood, and was, so to speak, from his earliest years, self-taught. It is said that the following incident occurred to him in his youth. (4) It was the custom of the Alexandrians to celebrate with great pomp an annual festival in honor of one of their bishops named Peter, who had suffered martyrdom. Alexander, who then conducted the church, engaged in the celebration of this festival, and after having completed the worship, he remained on the spot, awaiting the arrival of some guests whom he expected to breakfast. In the meantime he chanced to cast his eyes towards the sea, and perceived some children playing on the shore, and amusing themselves by imitating the bishop and the ceremonies of the Church. At first he considered the mimicry as innocent, and took pleasure in witnessing it; but when they touched upon the unutterable, he was troubled, and communicated the matter to the chief of the clergy. The children were called together and questioned as to the game at which they were playing, and as to what they did and said when engaged in this amusement. At first they through fear denied; but when Alexander threatened them with torture, they confessed that Athanasius was their bishop and leader, and that many children who had not been initiated had been baptized by him. Alexander carefully inquired what the priest of their play was in the habit of saying or doing, and what they answered or were taught. On finding that the exact routine of the Church had been accurately observed by them, he consulted the priests around him on the subject, and decided that it would he unnecessary to rebaptize those who, in their simplicity, had been judged worthy of the Divine grace. He therefore merely performed for them such offices as it is lawful only for those who are consecrated to initiating the mysteries. He then took Athanasius and the other children, who had playfully acted as presbyters and deacons, to their own relations under God as a witness that they might be brought up for the Church, and for leadership in what they had imitated. Not long after, he took Athanasius as his table companion and secretary. He had been well educated, was versed in grammar and rhetoric, and already when he came to man's estate, and before he attained the bishopric, he gave proof to those conversing with him of his being a man of wisdom and intellectuality. But when, (1) on the death of Alexander, the succession devolved upon him, his reputation was greatly increased, and was sustained by his own private virtues and by the testimony of the monk, Antony the Great. This monk repaired to him when he requested his presence, visited the cities, accompanied him to the churches, and agreed with him in opinion concerning the Godhead. He evinced unlimited friendship towards him, and avoided the society of his enemies and opponents.


THE reputation of Athanasius was, however, especially increased by the Arians and Melitians; (2) although always plotting, they never appeared rightly to catch and make him a prisoner. In the first place, Eusebius wrote to urge him to receive the Arians into communion, and threatened, without writing it, to ill-treat him should he refuse to do so. But as Athanasius would not yield to his representation, but maintained that those who had devised a heresy in innovating upon the truth, and who had been condemned by the council of Nice, ought not to be received into the Church, Eusebius contrived to interest the emperor in favor of Arius, and so procured his return. I shall state a little further on how all these events came to pass. (3)

At this period, the bishops had another tumultuous dispute among themselves, concerning the precise meaning of the term "consubstantial." (4) Some thought that this term could not be admitted without blasphemy; that it implied the non-existence of the Son of God; and that it involved the error of Montanus and Sabellius. Those, on the other hand, who defended the term, regarded their opponents as Greeks (or pagans), and considered that their sentiments led to polytheism. Eusebius, surnamed Pamphilus, and Eustathius, bishop of Antioch, took the lead in this dispute. They both confessed the Son of God to exist hypostatically, and yet they contended together as if they had misunderstood each other. Eustathius accused Eusebius of altering the doctrines ratified by the council of Nicaea, while the latter declared that he approved of all the Nicaean doctrines, and reproached Eustathius for cleaving to the heresy of Sabellius.


A SYNOD having been convened at Antioch, Eustathius was deprived of the church of that city. (5) It was most generally believed that he was deposed merely on account of his adherence to the faith of the council of Nicaea, and on account of his having accused Eusebius, Paulinus, bishop of Tyre, and Patrophilus, bishop of Scythopolis (whose sentiments were adopted by the Eastern priests), of favoring the heresy of Arius. The pretext resorted to for his deposition, however, was, that he had defiled the priesthood by unholy deeds. His deposition excited so great a sedition at Antioch, that the people were on the point of taking up arms, and the whole city was in a state of commotion. This greatly injured him in the opinion of the emperor; for when he understood what had happened, and that the people of that church were divided into two parties, he was much enraged, and regarded him with suspicion as the author of the tumult. The emperor, however, sent an illustrious officer of his palace, invested with full authority, to calm the populace, and put an end to the disturbance, without having recourse to violence or injury.

Those who had deposed Eustathius, and who on this account were assembled in Antioch, imagining that their sentiments would be universally received, if they could succeed in placing over the Church of Antioch one of their own opinion, who was known to the emperor, and held in repute for learning and eloquence, and that they could obtain the obedience of the rest, fixed their thoughts upon Eusebius Pamphilus for that see. They wrote to the emperor upon this subject, and stated that this course would be highly acceptable to the people. He had, in fact, been sought by all the clergy and laity who were inimical to Eustathius. Eusebius, however, wrote to the emperor refusing the dignity. The emperor approved of his refusal with praise; for there was an ecclesiastical law prohibiting the removal of a bishop from one bishopric to another. He wrote to the people and to Eusebius, adopting his judgment and calling him happy, because he was worthy to hold the bishopric not only of one single city, but of the world. The emperor also wrote to the people of the Church of Antioch concerning like-mindedness, and told them that they ought not to desire the bishops of other regions, even as they ought not to covet the possessions of others. In addition to these, he despatched another epistle to the Synod, in private session, and similarly commended Eusebius as in the letter to him for having refused the bishopric; and being convinced that Euphronius, a presbyter of Cappadocia, and George of Arethusa were men approved in creed, he commanded the bishops to decide for one or other of them, or for whomsoever might appear worthy of the honor, and to ordain a president for the Church of Antioch. On the receipt of these letters from the emperor, Euphronius was ordained; and I have heard that Eustathius bore this unjust calumny calmly, judging it to be better, as he was a man who, besides his virtues and excellent qualities, was justly admired on account of his fine eloquence, as is evidenced by his transmitted works, which are highly approved for their choice of words, flavor of expression, temperateness of sentiments, elegance and grace of narration.


ABOUT this time Mark, (1) who had succeeded Silvester, and who had held the episcopal sway during a short period, died, and Julius was raised to the see of Rome. Maximus succeeded Macarius in the bishopric of Jerusalem. (2) It is said that Macarius had ordained him bishop over the church of Diospolis, but that the members of the church of Jerusalem insisted upon his remaining among them. For since he was a confessor, and otherwise excellent, he was secretly chosen beforehand in the approbation of the people for their bishopric, after that Macarius should die. The dread of offending the people and exciting an insurrection led to the election of another bishop over Diospolis, and Maximus remained in Jerusalem, and exercised the priestly functions conjointly with Macarius; and after the death of this latter, he governed that church. It is, however, well known to those who are accurately acquainted with these circumstances, that Macarius concurred with the people in their desire to retain Maximus; for it is said that he regretted the ordination of Maximus, and thought that he ought necessarily to have been reserved for his own succession on account of his holding right views concerning God and his confession, which had so endeared him to the people. He likewise feared that, at his death, the adherents of Eusebius and Patrophilus, who had embraced Arianism, would take that opportunity to place one of their own views in his see; for even while Macarius was living, they had attempted to introduce some innovations, but since they were to be separated from him, they on this account kept quiet.


IN the meantime the contention which had been stirred in the beginning among the Egyptians, could not be quelled. (3) The Arian heresy had been positively condemned by the council of Nice, while the followers of Melitius had been admitted into communion under the stipulations above stated. When Alexander returned to Egypt, Melitius delivered up to him the churches whose government he had unlawfully usurped, and returned to Lycus. Not long after, finding his end approaching, he nominated John, one of his most intimate friends, as his successor, contrary to the decree of the Nicaean Council, and thus fresh cause of discord in the churches was produced. When the Arians perceived that the Melitians were introducing innovations, they also harassed the churches. For, as frequently occurs in similar disturbances, some applauded the opinion of Arius, while others contended that those who had been ordained by Melitius ought to govern the churches. These two bodies of sectarians had hitherto been opposed to each other, but on perceiving that the priests of the Catholic Church were followed by the multitude, they became jealous and formed an alliance together, and manifested a common enmity to the clergy of Alexandria. Their measures of attack and defense were so long carried on in concert, that in process of time the Melitians were generally called Arians in Egypt, although they only dissent on questions of the presidency of the churches, while the Arians hold the same opinions concerning God as Arius. Although they individually denied one another's tenets, yet they dissimulated in contradiction of their own view, in order to attain an underhanded agreement in the fellowship of their enmity; at the same time each one expected to prevail easily in what he desired. From this period, however, the Melitians after the discussion on those topics, received the Arian doctrines, and held the same opinion as Arius concerning God. This revived the original controversy concerning Arius, and some of the laity and clergy seceded from communion with the others. The dispute concerning the doctrines of Arius was rekindled once more in other cities, and particularly in Bithynia and Hellespontus, and in the city of Constantinople. In short, it is said that Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, and Theognis, bishop of Nicaea, bribed the notary to whom the emperor had intrusted the custody of the documents of the Nicaean Council, effaced their signatures, and attempted openly to teach that the Son is not to be considered consubstantial with the Father. Eusebius was accused of these irregularities before the emperor, and he replied with great boldness as he showed part of his clothing. "If this robe," said he, "had been cut asunder in my presence, I could not affirm the fragments to be all of the same substance." The emperor was much grieved at these disputes, for he had believed that questions of this nature had been finally decided by the council of Nicaea, but contrary to his hopes he saw them again agitated. He more especially regretted that Eusebius and Theognis had received certain Alexandrians into communion, (1) although the Synod had recommended them to repent on account of their heterodox opinions, and although he had himself condemned them to banishment from their native land, as being the exciters of sedition. (2) It is asserted by some, that it was for the above reasons that the emperor in anger exiled Eusebius and Theognis; but as I have already stated, I have derived my information from those who are intimately acquainted with these matters.


THE various calamities which befell Athanasius were primarily occasioned by Eusebius and Theognis. (3) As they possessed great freedom of speech and influence with the emperor, they strove for the recall of Arius, with whom they were on terms of concord and friendship, to Alexandria, and at the same time the expulsion from the Church of him who was opposed to them. They accused him before Constantine of being the author of all the seditions and troubles that agitated the Church, and of excluding those who were desirous of joining the Church; and alleged that unanimity would be restored were he alone to be removed. The accusations against him were substantiated by many bishops and clergy who were with John, and who sedulously obtained access to the emperor; they pretended to great orthodoxy, and imputed to Athanasius and the bishops of his party all the bloodshed, bonds, unjust blows, wounds, and conflagrations of churches. But when Athanasius demonstrated to the emperor the illegality of the ordination of John's adherents, their innovations of the decrees of the Nicaean Council, and the unsoundness of their faith, and the insults offered to those who held right opinions about God, Constantine was at a loss to know whom to believe. Since there were such mutual allegations, and many accusations were frequently stirred up by each party, and since he was earnestly anxious to restore the like-mindedness of the people, he wrote to Athanasius that no one should be shut out. If this should be betrayed to the last, he would send regardless of consequences, one who should expel him from the city of Alexandria. If any one should desire to see this letter of the emperor's, he will here find the portion of it relating to this affair: "As you are now acquainted with my will, which is, that to all who desire to enter the Church you should offer an unhindered entrance. For should I hear that any who are willing to join the Church, have been debarred or hindered therefrom by you, I shall send at once an officer who shall remove you, according to my command, and shall transfer you to some other place." Athanasius, however, wrote to the emperor and convinced him that the Arians ought not to be received into communion by the Catholic Church; and Eusebius perceiving that his schemes could never be carried into execution while Athanasius strove in opposition, determined to resort to any means in order to get rid of him. But as he could not find a sufficient pretext for effecting this design, he promised the Melitians to interest the emperor and those in power in their favor, if they would bring an accusation against Athanasius. Accordingly, came the first indictment that he had imposed upon the Egyptians a tax on linen tunics, and that such a tribute had been exacted from the accusers. Apis (1) and Macarius, presbyters of the Church of Athanasius, who then happened to be at court, clearly proved the persistent accusation to be false. On being summoned to answer for the offense, Athanasius was further accused of having conspired against the emperor, and of having sent, for this purpose, a casket of gold to one Philumen. The emperor detected the calumny of his accusers, sent Athanasius home, and wrote to the people of Alexandria to testify that their bishop possessed great moderation and a correct faith; that he had gladly met him, and recognized him to be a man of God; and that, as envy had been the sole cause of his indictment, he had appeared to better advantage than his accusers; and having heard that the Arian and Melitian sectarians had excited dissensions in Egypt, the emperor, in the same epistle, exhorted the multitude to look to God, to take heed unto his judgments, to be well disposed toward one another, to prosecute with all their might those who plotted against their like-mindedness; thus the emperor wrote to the people, exhorting them all to like-mindedness, and striving to prevent divisions in the Church.


THE Melitians, on the failure of their first attempt, secretly concocted other indictments against Athanasius. (2) On the one hand they charged him with breaking a sacred chalice, and on the other with having slain one Arsenius, and with having cut off his arm and retained it for magical purposes. It is said that this Arsenius was one of the clergy, (3) but that, having committed some crime, he fled to a place of concealment for fear of being convicted and punished by his bishop. The enemies of Athanasius devised the most serious attack for this occurrence. They sought Arsenius with great diligence, and found him; they showed him great kindness, promised, to secure for him every goodwill and safety, and conducted him secretly to Patrines, (4) a presbyter of a monastery, who was one of their confederates, and of the same interest as themselves. After having thus carefully concealed him, they diligently spread the report in the market-places and public assemblies that he had been slain by Athanasius. They also bribed John, a monk, to corroborate the accusation. As this evil report was universally circulated, and had even reached the ears of the emperor, Athanasius, being apprehensive that it would be difficult to defend his cause before judges whose minds were prejudiced by such false rumors, resorted to stratagems akin to those of his adversaries. He did everything in his power to prevent truth from being obscured by their attacks; but the multitude could not be convinced, on account of the non-appearance of Arsenius. Reflecting, therefore, that the suspicion which rested upon him could not be removed except by proving that Arsenius, who was said to be dead, was still alive, he sent a most trustworthy deacon in quest of him. The deacon went to Thebes, and ascertained from the declaration of some monks where he was living. And when he came to Patrines, with whom he had been concealed, he found that Arsenius was not there; for on the first intelligence of the arrival of the deacon he had been conveyed to Lower Egypt. The deacon arrested Patrines, and conducted him to Alexandria, as also Elias, one of his associates, who was said to have been the person who conveyed Arsenius elsewhere. He delivered them both to the commander of the Egyptian forces, and they confessed that Arsenius was still alive, that he had been secretly concealed in their house, and that he was now living in Egypt. Athanasius took care that all these facts should be reported to Constantine. The emperor wrote back to him, desiring him to attend to the due performance of the priestly functions, and the maintenance of order and piety among the people, and not to be disquieted by the machinations of the Melitians, it being evident that envy alone was the cause of the false indictments which were circulated against him and the disturbance in the churches. The emperor added that, for the future, he should not give place to such reports; and that, unless the calumniators preserved the peace, he should certainly subject them to the rigor of the state laws, add let justice have its course, as they had not only unjustly plotted against the innocent, but had also shamefully abused the good order and piety of the Church. Such was the strain of the emperor's letter to Athanasius; and he further commanded that it should be read aloud before the public, in order that they might all be made acquainted with his intentions. The Melitians were alarmed at these menaces, and became more quiet for a while, because they viewed with anxiety the threat of the ruler. The churches throughout Egypt enjoyed profound peace, and, directed by the presidency of this great priest, it daily increased in numbers by the conversion of multitudes of pagans and other heretics.


WE have heard that about this period some of the most distant of the nations that we call Indians, to whom the preaching of Bartholomew was unknown, shared in our doctrine, through Frumentius, (1) who became a priest and teacher of the sacred learning among them. But in order that we may know, even by the marvel of what happened in India, that the doctrine of the Christians ought to be received as a system not from man, as it seems a tissue of miracles to some, it is necessary to relate the reason for the ordination of Frumentius. It was as follows: The most celebrated philosophers among the Greeks explored unknown cities and regions. Plato, the friend of Socrates, dwelt for a time among the Egyptians, in order to acquaint himself with their manners and customs. He likewise sailed to Sicily for the sight of its craters, whence, as from a fountain, spontaneously issued streams of fire, which frequently overflowing, rushed like a river and consumed the neighboring regions, so that even yet many fields appear burnt and cannot be sown or planted with trees, just as they narrate about the land of Sodom. These craters were likewise explored by Empedocles, a man highly celebrated for philosophy among the Greeks, and who has expounded his knowledge in heroic verse. He set out to investigate this fiery eruption, when either because he thought such a mode of death preferable to any other, or because, to speak more truthfully, he perhaps knew not wherefore he should seek to terminate his life in this manner, he leaped into the fire and perished. Democritus of Coos explored many cities and climates and nations, and he says concerning himself that eighty years of his life were spent in traveling through foreign lands. Besides these philosophers, thousands of wise men among the Greeks, ancient and modern, devoted themselves to this travel. In emulation, Meropius, a philosopher of Tyre in Phoenicia, journeyed as far as India. They say he was accompanied by two youths, named Frumentius and Edesius; they were his relatives; he conducted their rhetorical training, and educated them liberally. After exploring India as much as possible, he set out for home, and embarked in a vessel which was on the point of sailing for Egypt. It happened that, from want of water or some other necessary, the vessel was obliged to stop at some port, and the Indians rushed upon it and murdered all, Meropius included. These Indians had just thrown off their alliance with the Romans; they took the boys as living captives, because they pitied their youth, and conducted them to their king. He appointed the younger one his cup-bearer; the older, Frumentius, he put over his house and made him administrator of his treasures; for he perceived that he was intelligent and very capable in business. These youths served the king usefully and faithfully during a long course of years, and when he felt his end approaching, his son and wife surviving, he rewarded the good-will of the servants with liberty, and permitted them to go where they pleased. They were anxious to return to Tyre, where their relatives resided; but the king's son being a minor, his mother besought them to remain for a little while and take charge of public affairs, until her son reached the years of manhood. They yielded to her entreaties, and directed the affairs of the kingdom and of the government of the Indies. Frumentius, by some Divine impulse, perhaps because God moved him spontaneously, inquired whether there were any Christians in India, or Romans among the merchants, who had sailed thither. Having succeeded in finding the objects of his inquiry, he summoned them into his presence, treated them with love and friendliness, and convened them for prayer, and the assembly was conducted after the Roman usage; and when he had built houses of prayer, he encouraged them to honor God continually.

When the king's son attained the age of manhood, Frumentius and Edesius besought him and the queen, and not without difficulty persuaded the rulers to be separated from themselves, and having parted as friends, they went back as Roman subjects. Edesius went to Tyre to see his relatives, and was soon after advanced to the dignity of presbyter. Frumentius, however, instead of returning to Phoenicia, repaired to Alexandria; for with him patriotism and filial piety were subordinate to religious zeal. He conferred with Athanasius, the head of the Alexandrian Church, described to him the state of affairs in India, and the necessity of appointing a bishop over the Christians located in that country. Athanasius assembled the endemic priests, and consulted with them on the subject; and he ordained Frumentius bishop of India, since he was peculiarly qualified and apt to do much service among those among whom he was the first to manifest the name of Christian, and the seed of the participation in the doctrine was sown. (2) Frumentius, therefore, returned to India, and, it is said, discharged the priestly functions so admirably that he became an object of universal admiration, and was revered as no less than an apostle. God highly honored him, enabling him to perform many wonderful cures, and to work signs and wonders. Such was the origin of the Indian priesthood.


THE plots of the enemies of Athanasius involved him in fresh troubles, excited the hatred of the emperor against him, and stirred up a multitude of accusers. Wearied by their importunity, the emperor convened a council at Caesarea in Palestine. Athanasius was summoned thither; but fearing the artifices of Eusebius, bishop of the city, of Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, and of their party, he refused to attend, and for thirty months, although pressed to attend, persisted in his refusal. At the end of that period, however, he was forced more urgently and repaired to Tyre, where a great number of the bishops of the East were assembled, (1) who commanded him to undergo the charges of those who accused him. Of John's party, Callinicus, a bishop, and a certain Ischurias, accused him of breaking a mystical chalice and of throwing down an episcopal chair; and of often causing Ischurias, although he was a presbyter, to be loaded with chains; and by falsely informing Hyginus, governor of Egypt, that he had cast stones at the statues of the emperor of occasioning his being thrown into prison; of deposing Callinicus, bishop of the Catholic Church at Pelusium, and of saying that he would debar him from fellowship unless he could remove certain suspicions concerning his having broken a mystical chalice; of committing the Church of Pelusium to Mark, a deposed presbyter; and of placing Callinicus under a military guard, and of putting him under judicial tortures Euplus, Pachomius, Isaac, Achillas, (1) and Hermaeon, bishops of John's party, accused him of inflicting blows. They all concurred in maintaining that he obtained the episcopal dignity by means of the perjury of certain individuals, it having been decreed that no one should receive ordination, who could not clear himself of any crime laid to his charge. They further alleged, that having been deceived by him, they had separated themselves from communion with him, and that, so far from satisfying their scruples, he had treated them with violence and thrown them into prison.

Further, the affair of Arsenius was again agitated; and as generally happens in such a studiously concocted plot, many even of those considered his friends loomed up unexpectedly as accusers. A document was then read, containing popular complaints that the people of Alexandria could not continue their attendance at church on his account. Athanasius, having been urged to justify himself, presented himself repeatedly before the tribunal; successfully repelled some of the allegations, and requested delay for investigation as to the others. He was exceedingly perplexed when he reflected on the favor in which his accusers were held by his judges, on the number of witnesses belonging to the sects of Arius and Melitius who appeared against him, and on the indulgence that was manifested towards the informers, whose allegations had been overcome. And especially in the indictment concerning Arsenius, whose arm he was charged with having cut off for purposes of magic, and in the indictment concerning a certain woman to whom he was charged with having given gifts for uncleanness, and with having corrupted her by night, although she was unwilling. Both these indictments were proved to be ridiculous and full of false espionage. When this female made the deposition before the bishops, Timothy, a presbyter of Alexandria, who stood by Athanasius, approached her according to a plan he had secretly concerted, and said to her, "Did I then, O woman, violate your chastity?" (3) She replied, "But didst thou not?" and mentioned the place and the attendant circumstances, in which she had been forced. He likewise led Arsenius into the midst of them, showed both his hands to the judges, and requested them to make the accusers account for the arm which they had exhibited. For it happened that Arsenius, either driven by a Divine influence, or, as it is said, having been concealed by the plans of Athanasius, when the danger to that bishop on his account was announced, escaped by night, and arrived at Tyre the day before the trial. But these allegations having been thus summarily dismissed, so that no defense was necessary, no mention of the first was made in the transactions; most probably, I think, because the whole affair was considered too indecorous and absurd for insertion. As to the second, the accusers strove to justify themselves by saying that a bishop under the jurisdiction of Athanasius, named Plusian, (4) had, at the command of his chief, burnt the house of Arsenius, fastened him to a column, and maltreated him with thongs, and then chained him in a cell. They further stated that Arsenius escaped from the cell through a window, and while he was sought for remained a while in concealment; that as he did not appear, they naturally supposed him to be dead; that the reputation he had acquired as a man and confessor, had endeared him to the bishops of John's party; and that they sought for him, and applied on his behalf to the magistrates.

Athanasius was filled with apprehension when he reflected on these subjects, and began to suspect that his enemies were secretly scheming to effect his ruin. After several sessions, when the Synod was filled with tumult and confusion, and the accusers and a multitude of persons around the tribunal were crying aloud that Athanasius ought to be deposed as a sorcerer and a ruffian, and as being utterly unworthy the priesthood, the officers, who had been appointed by the emperor to be present at the Synod for the maintenance of order, compelled the accused to quit the judgment hall secretly; for they feared lest they might become his murderers, as is apt to be the case in the rush of a tumult. On finding that he could not remain in Tyre without peril of his life, and that there was no hope of obtaining justice against his numerous accusers, from judges who were inimical to him, he fled to Constantinople. The Synod condemned him during his absence, deposed him from the bishopric, and prohibited his residing at Alexandria, lest, said they, he should excite disturbances and seditions. John and all his adherents were restored to communion, as if they had been unjustly suffering wrongs, and each was reinstated in his own clerical rank. The bishops then gave an account of their proceedings to the emperor, and wrote to the bishops of all regions, enjoining them not to receive Athanasius into fellowship, and not to write to him or receive letters from him, as one who had been convicted of the crimes which they had investigated, and on account of his flight, as also guilty in those indictments which had not been tried. They likewise declared, in this epistle, that they had been obliged to pass such condemnation upon him, because, when commanded by the emperor the preceding year to repair to the bishops of the East, who were assembled at Caesarea, he disobeyed the injunction, kept the bishops waiting for him, and set at naught the commands of the ruler. They also deposed that when the bishops had assembled at Tyre, he went to that city, attended by a large retinue, for the purpose of exciting disturbances and tumults in the Synod; that when there, he sometimes refused to reply to the charges preferred against him; sometimes insulted the bishops individually; when summoned by them, sometimes not obeying, at others not deigning to be judged. They specified in the same letter, that he was manifestly guilty of having broken a mystical chalice, and that this fact was attested by Theognis, bishop of Nicaea; by Maris, bishop of Chalcedonia; by Theodore, bishop of Heraclea; by Valentinus and Ursacius; and by Macedonius, who had been sent to the village in Egypt, where the chalice was said to have been broken, in order to ascertain the truth. Thus did the bishops detail successively each of the allegations against Athanasius, with the same art to which sophists resort when they desire to heighten the effect of their calumnies. Many of the priests, however, who were present at the trial, perceived the injustice of the accusation. It is related that Paphnutius, the confessor, (1) who was present at the Synod, arose, and took the hand of Maximus, the bishop of Jerusalem, to lead him away, as if those who were confessors, and had their eyes dug out for the sake of piety, ought not to participate in an assembly of wicked men.


THE temple, (2) called the "Great Martyrium," which was built in the place of the skull at Jerusalem, was completed about the thirtieth year (3) of the reign of Constantine; and Marianus, an official, who was a short- hand writer of the emperor, came to Tyre and delivered a letter from the emperor to the council, commanding them to repair quickly to Jerusalem, in order to consecrate the temple. Although this had been previously determined upon, yet the emperor deemed it necessary that the disputes which prevailed among the bishops who had been convened at Tyre should be first adjusted, and that they should be purged of all discord and grief before going to the consecration of the temple. For it is fitting to such a festival for the priests to be like-minded. When the bishops arrived at Jerusalem, the temple was therefore consecrated, as likewise numerous ornaments and gifts, which were sent by the emperor and are still preserved in the sacred edifice; their costliness and magnificence is such that they cannot be looked upon without exciting wonder. Since that period the anniversary of the consecration has been celebrated with great pomp by the church of Jerusalem; (4) the festival continues eight days, initiation by baptism is administered, and people from every region under the sun resort to Jerusalem during this festival, and visit the sacred places.


THE bishops who had embraced the sentiments of Arius found a favorable opportunity of restoring him and Euzoius to communion, by zealously striving to have a council in the city of Jerusalem. They effected their design in the following manner (11): --

A certain presbyter who was a great admirer of the Arian doctrines, was on terms of intimacy with the emperor's sister. At first he concealed his sentiments; but as he frequently visited and became by degrees more familiar with Constantia, for such was the name of the sister of Constantine, he took courage to represent to her that Arius was unjustly exiled from his country, and cast out from the Church, through the jealousy and personal enmity of Alexander bishop of the Alexandrian Church. He said that his jealousy had been excited by the esteem which the people manifested towards Arius.

Constantia believed these representations to be true, yet took no steps in her lifetime to innovate upon the decrees of Nicaea. Being attacked with a disease which threatened to terminate in death, she besought her brother, who went to visit her, to grant what she was about to ask, as a last favor; this request was, to receive the above mentioned presbyter on terms of intimacy, and to rely upon him as a man who had correct opinions about the Divinity. "For my part," she added, "I am drawing nigh to death, and am no longer interested in the concerns of this life; the only apprehension I now feel, arises from dread lest you should incur the wrath of God and suffer any calamity, or the loss of your empire, since you have been induced to condemn just and good men wrongfully to perpetual banishment." From that period the emperor received the presbyter into favor, and after permitting him to speak freely with him and to commune on the same topics concerning which his sister had given her command, deemed necessary to subject the case of Arius to a fresh examination; it is probable that, in forming this decision, the emperor was either influenced by a belief in the credibility of the attacks, or by the desire of gratifying his sister. It was not long before he recalled Arius from exile, (2) and demanded of him a written exposition of his faith concerning the Godhead. Arius avoided making use of the new terms which he had previously devised, and constructed another exposition by using simple terms, and such as were recognized by the sacred Scriptures; he declared upon oath, that he held the doctrines set forth in this exposition, that he both felt these statements ex animo and had no other thought than these. It was as follows: (3) "Arius and Euzoius, presbyters, to Constantine, our most pious emperor and most beloved of God.

"According as your piety, beloved of God, commanded, O sovereign emperor, we here furnish a written statement of our own faith, and we protest before God that we, and all those who are with us, believe what is here set forth.

"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, and in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, who was begotten from Him before all ages, God the Word, by whom all things were made, whether things in heaven or things on earth; He came and took upon Him flesh, suffered and rose again, and ascended into heaven, whence He will again come to judge the quick and the dead.

"We believe in the Holy Ghost, in the resurrection of the body, in the life to come, in the kingdom of heaven, and in one Catholic Church of God, established throughout the earth. We have received this faith from the Holy Gospels, in which the Lord says to His disciples, 'Go forth and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' If we do not so believe this, and if we do not truly receive the doctrines concerning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, as they are taught by the whole Catholic Church and by the sacred Scriptures, as we believe in every point, let God be our judge, both now and in the day which is to come. Wherefore we appeal to your piety, O our emperor most beloved of God, that, as we are enrolled among the members of the clergy, and as we hold the faith and thought of the Church and of the sacred Scriptures, we may be openly reconciled to our mother, the Church, through your peacemaking and pious piety; so that useless questions and disputes may be cast aside, and that we and the Church may dwell together in peace, and we all in common may offer the customary prayer for your peaceful and pious empire and for your entire family."

Many considered this declaration of faith as an artful compilation, and as bearing the appearance of difference in expression, while, in reality, it supported the doctrine of Arius; the terms in which it was couched being so vague that it was susceptible of diverse interpretations. The emperor imagined that Arius and Euzoius were of the same sentiments as the bishops of the council of Nicaea, and was delighted over the affair. He did not, however, attempt to restore them to communion without the judgment and approval of those who are, by the law of the Church, masters in these matters. He, therefore, sends them to the bishops who were then assembled at Jerusalem, and wrote, desiring them to examine the declaration of faith submitted by Arius and Euzoius, and so to influence the Synod that, whether they found that their doctrine was orthodox, and that the jealousy of their enemies had been the sole cause of their condemnation, or that, without having reason to blame those who had condemned them, they had changed their minds, a humane decision might, in either case, be accorded them. Those who had long been zealous for this, seized the opportunity under cover of the emperor's letter, and received him into fellowship. They wrote immediately to the emperor himself, to the Church of Alexandria, and to the bishops and clergy of Egypt, of Thebes, and of Libya, earnestly exhorting them to receive Arius and Euzoius into communion, since the emperor bore witness to the correctness of their faith, in one of his own epistles, and since the judgment of the emperor had been confirmed by the vote of the Synod. (1)

These were the subjects which were zealously discussed by the Synod of Jerusalem.


ATHANASIUS, after having fled from Tyre, repaired (2) to Constantinople, and on coming to the emperor Constantine, complained of what he had suffered, in presence of the bishops who had condemned him, and besought him to permit the decrees of the council of Tyre to be submitted for examination before the emperor. Constantine regarded this request as reasonable, and wrote in the following terms to the bishops assembled at Tyre: --

"I know not what has been enacted in confusion and vehemence by your Synod; but it appears that, from some disturbing disorder, decrees which are not in conformity with truth have been enacted, and that your constant irritation of one another evidently prevented you from considering what is pleasing to God. But it will be the work of Divine Providence to scatter the evils which have been drawn out of this contentiousness, and to manifest to us clearly whether you have not been misled in your judgment by motives of private friendship or aversion. I therefore command that you all come here to my piety without delay, in order that we may receive an exact account of your transactions. I will explain to you the cause of my writing to you in this strain, and you will know from what follows, why I summon you before myself through this document. As I was returning on horseback to that city which bears my name, and which I regard as my much prospered country, Athanasius, the bishop, presented himself so unexpectedly in the middle of the highway, with certain individuals who accompanied him, that I felt exceedingly surprised at beholding him. God, who sees all things, is my witness, that at first I did not know who he was, but that some of my attendants having ascertained this point, and the injustice which he had suffered, gave me the necessary information. I did not on this occasion grant him an interview. He, however, persevered in requesting an audience; and although I refused him, and was on the point of commanding that he should be removed from my presence, he told me with more boldness, that he sought no other favor of me than that I should summon you hither, in order that he might in your presence complain of what he had suffered unnecessarily. As this request appears reasonable and timely, I deemed it right to address you in this strain, and to command all of you who were convened at the Synod of Tyre to hasten to the court of our clemency, so that you may demonstrate by your works, the purity and inflexibility of your decisions before me, whom you cannot refuse to acknowledge as a genuine servant of God. By my zeal in His service, peace has been established throughout the world, and the name of God is genuinely praised among the barbarians, who till now were m ignorance of the truth; and it is evident that whoever is ignorant of the truth knows not God. Notwithstanding, as is above stated, the barbarians have, through my instrumentality, learnt to know genuinely and to worship God; for they perceived that everywhere, and on all occasions, his protection rested on me; and they reverence God the more deeply because they fear my power. But we who have to announce the mysteries of forbearance (for I will not say that we keep them), we, I say, ought not to do anything that can tend to dissension or hatred, or, to speak plainly, to the destruction of the human race. Come, then, to us, as I have said, with all diligence, and be assured that I shall do everything in my power to preserve all the particularly infallible parts of the law of God in a way that no fault or heterodoxy can be fabricated; while those enemies of the law who, under the guise of the Holy Name, endeavor to introduce variant and differing blasphemies, have been openly scattered, utterly crushed, and wholly suppressed."

This letter of the emperor so excited the fears of some of the bishops that they set off on their journey homewards. But Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, and his partisans, went to the emperor, and represented that the Synod of Tyre had enacted no decrees against Athanasius but what were founded on justice. They brought forward as witnesses Theognis, Maris, Theodore, Valens, and Ursacius, and deposed that he had broken the mystical cup, and after uttering many other calumnies, they prevailed with their accusations. The emperor, either believing their statements to be true, or imagining that unanimity would be restored among the bishops if Athanasius were removed, exiled him to Treves, in Western Gaul; and thither, therefore, he was conducted.


AFTER the Synod of Jerusalem, Arius went to Egypt, (1) but as he could not obtain permission to hold communion with the Church of Alexandria, he returned to Constantinople. As all those who had embraced his sentiments, and those who were attached to Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, had assembled cunningly in that city for the purpose of holding a council, Alexander, who was then ordering the see of Constantinople, used every effort to dissolve the council. But as his endeavors were frustrated, he openly refused all covenant with Arius, affirming that it was neither just nor according to ecclesiastical canons, to make powerless their own vote, and that of those bishops who had been assembled at Nicaea, from nearly every region under the sun. When the partisans of Eusebius perceived that their arguments produced no effect on Alexander, they had recourse to contumely, and threatened that unless he would receive Arius into communion on a stated day, he should be expelled from the church, and that another should be elected in his place who would be willing to hold communion with Arius. They then separated, the partisans of Eusebius, to await the time they had fixed for carrying their menaces into execution, and Alexander to pray that the words of Eusebius might be prevented from being carried into deed. His chief source of fear arose from the fact that the emperor had been persuaded to give way. On the day before the appointed day he prostrated himself before the altar, and continued all the night in prayer to God, that his enemies might be prevented from carrying their schemes into execution against him. Late in the afternoon, Arius, being seized suddenly with pain in the stomach, was compelled to repair to the public place set apart for emergencies of this nature. As some time passed away without his coming out, some persons, who were waiting for him outside, entered, and found him dead and still sitting upon the seat. When his death became known, all people did not view the occurrence under the same aspect. Some believed that he died at that very hour, seized by a sudden disease of the heart, or suffering weakness from his joy over the fact that his matters were falling out according to his mind; others imagined that this mode of death was inflicted on him in judgment, on account of his impiety. Those who held his sentiments were of opinion that his death was brought about by magical arts. It will not be out of place to quote what Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, stated on the subject. The following is his narrative:--


"ARIUS, (2) the author of the heresy and the associate of Eusebius, having been summoned before the most blessed Constantine Augustus, at the solicitation of the partisans of Eusebius, was desired to give in writing an exposition of his faith. He drew up this document with great artfulness, and like the devil, concealed his Impious assertions beneath the simple words of Scripture. The most blessed Constantine said to him, 'If you have no other points in mind than these, render testimony to the truth; for if you perjure yourself, the Lord will punish you'; and the wretched man swore that he neither held nor conceived any sentiments except those now specified in the document, even if he had ever affirmed otherwise; soon after he went out, and judgment was visited upon him; for he bent forwards and burst in the middle, With all men the common end of life is death. We must not blame a man, even if he be an enemy, merely because he died, for it is uncertain whether we shall live to the evening. But the end of Arius was so singular that it seems worthy of some remark. The partisans of Eusebius threatened to reinstate him in the church, and Alexander, bishop of Constantinople, opposed their intention; Arius placed his confidence in the power and menaces of Eusebius; for it was the Sabbath, and he expected the next day to be readmitted. The dispute ran high; the partisans of Eusebius were loud in their menaces, while Alexander had recourse to prayer. The Lord was the judge, and declared himself against the unjust. A little before sunset Arius was compelled by a want of nature to enter the place appointed for such emergencies, and here he lost at once both restoration to communion and his life. The most blessed Constantine was amazed when he heard of this occurrence, and regarded it as the proof of perjury. It then became evident to every one that the menaces of Eusebius were absolutely futile, and that the expectations of Arius were vain. It also became manifest that the Arian madness could not be fellowshipped by the Saviour both here and in the church of the Firstborn. Is it not then astonishing that some are still found who seek to exculpate him whom the Lord condemned, and to defend that heresy which the Lord proved to be unworthy of fellowship, by not permitting its author to enter the church? We have been duly informed that this was the mode of the death of Arius." It is said that for a long period subsequently no one would make use of the seat on which he died. Those who were compelled by necessities of nature, as is wont to be the case in a crowd, to visit the public place, when they entered, spoke to one another to avoid the seat, and the place was shunned afterwards, because Arius had there received the punishment of his impiety. At a later time a certain rich and powerful man, who had embraced the Arian tenets, bought the place of the public, and built a house on the spot, in order that the occurrence might fall into oblivion, and that there might be no perpetual memorial of the death of Arius.


THE death of Arius did not terminate the doctrinal dispute which he had originated. (1) Those who adhered to his sentiments did not cease from plotting against those who maintained opposite opinions. The people of Alexandria loudly complained of the exile of Athanasius, and offered up supplications for his return; and Antony, the celebrated monk, wrote frequently to the emperor to entreat him to attach no credit to the insinuations of the Melitians, but to reject their accusations as calumnies; yet the emperor was not convinced by these arguments, and wrote to the Alexandrians, accusing them of folly and of disorderly conduct. He commanded the clergy and the holy virgins to remain quiet, and declared that he would not change his mind nor recall Athanasius, whom, he said, he regarded as an exciter of sedition, justly condemned by the judgment of the Church. He replied to Antony, by stating that he ought not to overlook the decree of the Synod; for even if some few of the bishops, he said, were actuated by ill-will or the desire to oblige others, it scarcely seems credible that so many prudent and excellent bishops could have been impelled by such motives; and, he added, that Athanasius was contumelious and arrogant, and the cause of dissension and sedition. The enemies of Athanasius accused him the more especially of these crimes, because they knew that the emperor regarded them with peculiar aversion. When he heard that the Church was split into two factions, of which one supported Athanasius and the other John, he was transported with indignation, and exiled John himself. This John had succeeded Melitius, and had, with those who held the same sentiments as himself, been restored to communion and re- established in the clerical functions by the Synod of Tyre. His banishment was contrary to the wishes of the enemies of Athanasius, yet it was done, and the decrees of the Synod of Tyre did not benefit John, for the emperor was beyond supplication or petition of any kind with respect to any one who was suspected of stirring up Christian people to sedition or dissension.


ALTHOUGH the doctrine of Arius was zealously supported by many persons in disputations, (2) a party had not as yet been formed to whom the name of Arians could be applied as a distinctive appellation; for all assembled together as a church and held communion with each other, with the exception of the Novatians, those called Phrygians, the Valentinians, the Marcionites, the Paulianians, and some few others who adhered to already invented heresies. The emperor, however, enacted a law that their own houses of prayer should be abolished; and that they should meet in the churches, and not hold church in private houses, or in public places. He deemed it better to hold fellowship in the Catholic Church, and he advised them to assemble in her walls. By means of this law, almost all the heresies, I believe, disappeared. During the reign of preceding emperors, all who worshiped Christ, however they might have differed from each other in opinion, received the same treatment from the pagans, and were persecuted with equal cruelty. These common calamities, to which they were all equally liable, prevented them from prosecuting any close inquiries as to the differences of opinion which existed among themselves; it was therefore easy for the members of each party to hold church by themselves, and by continually conferring with one another, however few they might have been in number, they were not disrupted. But after this law was passed they could not assemble in public, because it was forbidden; nor could they hold their assemblies in secret, for they were watched by the bishops and clergy of their city. Hence the greater number of these sectarians were led, by fear of consequences, to join themselves to the Catholic Church. Those who adhered to their original sentiments did not, at their death, leave any disciples to propagate their heresy, for they could neither come together into the same place, nor were they able to teach in security those of the same opinions. On account either of the absurdity of the heretical dogmas, or of the utter ignorance of those who devised and taught them, the respective followers of each heresy were, from the beginning, very few in number. The Novatians alone, (1) who had obtained good leaders, and who entertained the same opinions respecting the Divinity as the Catholic Church, were numerous, from the beginning, and remained so, not being much injured by this law; the emperor, I believe, willingly relaxed in their favor the rigor of the enactment, for he only desired to strike terror into the minds of his subjects, and had no intention of persecuting them. Acesius, who was then the bishop of this heresy in Constantinople, was much esteemed by the emperor on account of his virtuous life; and it is probable that it was for his sake that the church which he governed met with protection. The Phrygians suffered the same treatment as the other heretics in all the Roman provinces except Phrygia and the neighboring regions, for here they had, since the time of Montanus, existed in great numbers and do so to the present day.

About this time the partisans of Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, and of Theognis, bishop of Nicaea, began to make innovations in writing upon the confession set forth by the Nicaean Council. They did not venture to reject openly the assertion that the Son is consubstantial with the Father, because this assertion was maintained by the emperor; but they propounded another document, and signified to the Eastern bishops that they received the terms of the Nicaean doctrine with verbal interpretations. From this declaration and reflection, the former dispute lapsed into fresh discussion, and what seemed to have been put at rest was again set in motion.


AT the same period, Marcellus, bishop of Ancyra, (2) in Galatia, was deposed and cast out of the Church by the bishops assembled at Constantinople, because he had introduced some new doctrines, whereby he taught that the existence of the Son of God commenced when He was born of Mary, and that His kingdom would have an end; he had, moreover, drawn up a written document wherein these views were pro-pounded. Basil, a man of great eloquence and learning, was invested with the bishopric of the parish of Galatia. They also wrote to the churches in the neighboring regions, to desire them to search for the copies of the book (3) written by Marcellus, and to destroy them, and to lead back any whom they might find to have embraced his sentiments. They stated that the work was too voluminous to admit of their transcribing the whole in their epistle, but that they inserted quotations of certain passages in order to prove that the doctrines which they had condemned were there advocated. Some persons, however, maintained that Marcellus had merely propounded a few questions which had been misconstrued by the adherents of Eusebius, and represented to the emperor as actual confessions. Eusebius and his partisans were much irritated against Marcellus, because he had not consented to the definitions propounded by the Synod in Phoenicia, nor to the regulations which had been made in favor of Arius at Jerusalem; and had likewise refused to attend at the consecration of the Great Martyrium, in order to avoid communion with them. In their letter to the emperor, they dwelt largely upon this latter circumstance, and brought it forward as a charge, alleging that it was a personal in-suit to him to refuse attendance at the consecration of the temple which he had constructed at Jerusalem. The motive by which Marcellus was induced to write this work was that Asterius, who was a sophist and a native of Cappadocia, had written a treatise in defense of the Arian doctrines, and had read it in various cities, and to the bishops, and likewise at several Synods where he had attended. Marcellus undertook to refute his arguments, and while thus engaged, he, either deliberately or unintentionally, fell into the opinions of Paul of Samosata. He was afterwards, however, reinstated in his bishopric by the Synod of Sardis, after having proved that he did not hold such sentiments.


THE emperor had already divided the empire among his sons, who were styled Caesars. (1) To Constantine and Constans he awarded the western regions; and to Constantius, the eastern; and as he was indisposed, and required to have recourse to bathing, he repaired for that purpose to Helenopolis, a city of Bithynia. His malady, however, increased, and he went to Nicomedia, and was initiated into holy baptism in one of the suburbs of that city. After the ceremony he was filled with joy, and returned thanks to God. He then confirmed the division of the empire among his sons, according to his former allotment, and bestowed certain privileges on old Rome and on the city named after himself. He placed his testament in the hands of the presbyter who constantly extolled Arius, and who had been recommended to him as a man of virtuous life by his sister Constantia in her last moments, and commanded him with an added oath to deliver it to Constantius on his return, for neither Constantius nor the other Caesars were with their dying father. After making these arrangements, Constantine survived but a few days; be died in the sixty- fifth year of his age, and the thirty-first of his reign. He was a powerful protector of the Christian religion, and was the first of the emperors who began to be zealous for the Church, and to bestow upon her high benefactions. He was more successful than any other sovereign in all his undertakings; for he formed no design, I am convinced, without God. He was victorious in his wars against the Goths and Sarmatians, and, indeed, in all his military enterprises; and he changed the form of government according to his own mind with so much ease, that he created another senate and another imperial city, to which he gave his own name. He assailed the pagan religion, and in a little while subverted it, although it had prevailed for ages among the princes and the people.

After the death of Constantine, his body was placed in a golden coffin, conveyed to Constantinople, and deposited on a certain platform in the palace; the same honor and ceremonial were observed, by those who were in the palace, as were accorded to him while living. On hearing of his father's death, Constantius, who was then in the East, hastened to Constantinople, and interred the royal remains with the utmost magnificence, and deposited them in the tomb which had been constructed by order of the deceased in the Church of the Apostles. From this period it became the custom to deposit the remains of subsequent Christian emperors in the same place of interment; and here bishops, likewise, were buried, for the hierarchical dignity is not only equal in honor to imperial power, but, in sacred places, even takes the ascendancy.

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/II, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.