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The wickedness of Decius and Gallus.
1. When Decius had
reigned not quite two years, he was slain with his children, and Gallus
succeeded him. At this time Origen died, being sixty-nine years of age.
Dionysius, writing to Hermammon, speaks as follows of Gallus:
neither recognized the wickedness of Decius, nor considered what had destroyed
him; but stumbled on the same stone, though it lay before his eyes.
3. For when his
reign was prosperous and affairs were proceeding according to his mind, he
attacked the holy men who were interceding with God for his peace and welfare.
Therefore with them he persecuted also their prayers in his behalf." So
much concerning him.
bishops of Rome in those times.
having held the episcopate in the city of Rome about three years, was succeeded
by Lucius. He died in less than eight months, and transmitted his office to
5. Dionysius wrote
to him the first of his letters on baptism, as no small controversy had arisen
as to whether those who had turned from any heresy should be purified by
For the ancient
custom prevailed in regard to such, that they should receive only the laying on
of hands with prayers.
7. First of all,
Cyprian, pastor of the parish of Carthage, maintained that they should not be
received except they had been purified from their error by baptism.
considering it unnecessary to add any innovation contrary to the tradition,
which had been held from the beginning, was very indignant at this.
therefore, having communicated with him extensively on this question by letter,
finally showed him that since the persecution had abated, the churches
everywhere had rejected the novelty of Novatus, and were at peace among
themselves. He writes as follows:
Peace Following the Persecution.
10. "But know
now, my brethren, that all the churches throughout the East and beyond, which
formerly were divided, have become united. And all the bishops everywhere are of
one mind, and rejoice greatly in the peace, which has come beyond expectation.
Demetrianus in Antioch, Theoctistus in Caesarea, Mazabanes in Aelia, Marinus in
Tyre (Alexander having fallen asleep), Heliodorus in Laodicea (Thelymidres being
dead), Helenus in Tarsus, and all the churches of Cilicia, Firmilianus, and all
I have named
only the more illustrious bishops, that I may not make my epistle too long and
my words too burdensome.
13. And all Syria,
and Arabia to which you send help when needed, and whither you have just
written, Mesopotamia, Pontus, Bithynia, and in short all everywhere are
rejoicing and glorifying God for the unanimity and brotherly love." Thus
14. But Stephen,
having filled his office two years, was succeeded by Xystus. Dionysius wrote him
a second epistle on baptism, in which he shows him at the same time the opinion
and judgment of Stephen and the other bishops, and speaks in this manner of
15. He therefore
had written previously concerning Helenus and Firmilianus, and all those in
Cilicia and Cappadocia and Galatia and the neighboring nations, saying that he
would not commune with them for this same cause; namely, that they re-baptized
16. But consider
the importance of the matter. For
truly in the largest synods of the bishops, as I learn, decrees have been passed
on this subject, that those coming over from heresies should be instructed, and
then should be washed and cleansed from the filth of the old and impure leaven.
17. And I wrote
entreating him concerning all these things." Further on he says:
"I wrote also, at first in few words, recently in many, to our
beloved fellow-presbyters, Dionysius and Philemon, who formerly had held the
same opinion as Stephen, and had written to me on the same matters."
18. So much in
regard to the above-mentioned controversy.
The heresy of Sabellius.
1. He refers also
in the same letter to the heretical teachings of Sabellius, which were in his
time becoming prominent, and says:
2. "For concerning the doctrine now agitated in Ptolemais of Pentapolis, -which is impious and marked by great blasphemy against the Almighty God, the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and contains much unbelief respecting his only begotten Son and the first-born of every creature, The Word which became man, and a want of perception of the Holy Spirit, -as there came to me communications from both sides and brethren discussing the matter, I wrote certain letters treating the subject as instructively as, by the help. of God, I was able. Of these I send thee copies."
4. In the third
epistle on baptism which this same Dionysius wrote to Philemon, the Roman
presbyter, he relates the following: "But I examined the works and
traditions of the heretics, defiling my mind for a little time with their
abominable opinions, but receiving this benefit from them, that I refuted them
by myself, and detested them all the more.
5. And when a
certain brother among the presbyters restrained me, fearing that I should be
carried away with the filth of their wickedness (for it would defile my soul), -
in which also, as I perceived, he spoke the truth, -a vision sent from God came
and strengthened me.
6. And the word,
which came to me, commanded me, saying distinctly, `Read everything which thou
can take in hand, for thou art able to correct and prove all; and this has been
to thee from the beginning the cause of thy faith.'
7. I received the
vision as agreeing with the apostolic word, which says to them that are
stronger, `Be skillful money-changers.'"
Then after saying some things concerning all the heresies he adds:
received this rule and ordinance from our blessed father, Heraclas. For those
who came over from heresies, although they had apostatized from the Church, -or
rather had not apostatized, but seemed to meet with them.
9. Yet were
charged with resorting to some false teacher, - when he, had expelled them from
the Church he did not receive them back, though they entreated for it, until
they had publicly reported all things which they had heard from their
10. But then he
received them without requiring of them another baptism, for they had formerly
received the Holy Spirit from him."
11. Again, after
treating the question thoroughly, he adds: "I have learned also that this
is not a novel practice introduced in Africa alone, but that even long ago in
the times of the bishops before us this opinion has been adopted in the most
populous churches, and in synods of the brethren in Iconium and Synnada, and by
12. To overturn
their counsels and throw them into strife and contention, I cannot endure. For
it is said, `Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor's landmark, which thy fathers
13. His fourth
epistle on baptism was written to Dionysius of Rome, who was then a presbyter,
but not long after received the episcopate of that church. It is evident from
what is stated of him by Dionysius of Alexandria, that he also was a learned and
things he writes to him as follows concerning Novatus:
heterodoxy of Navatus.
15. "For with
good reason do we feel hatred toward Novatian, who has sundered the Church and
drawn some of the brethren into impiety and blasphemy, and has introduced
impious teaching concerning God, and has calumniated our most compassionate Lord
Jesus Christ as unmerciful.
16. And besides all
this he rejects the holy baptism, and overturns the faith and confession which
precede it, and entirely banishes from them the Holy Ghost, if indeed there was
any hope that he would remain or return to them."
ungodly baptism of the heretics.
17. His fifth
epistle was written to Xystus, bishop of Rome. In this, after saying much
against the heretics, he relates a certain occurrence of his time as follows:
"For truly, brother, I am in need of counsel, and I ask thy judgment
concerning a certain matter which has come to me, fearing that I may be in
For one of the
brethren that assemble, who has long been considered a believer, and who, before
my ordination, and I think before the appointment of the blessed Heraclas, was a
member of the congregation, was present with those who were recently baptized.
19. And when he
heard the questions and answers, he came to me weeping, and bewailing himself;
and falling at my feet he acknowledged and protested that the baptism with which
he had been baptized among the heretics was not of this character, nor in any
respect like this, because it was full of impiety and blasphemy.
20. And he said
that his soul was now pierced with sorrow, and that he had not confidence to
lift his eyes to God, because he had set out from those impious words and deeds.
And on this account he besought that he might receive this most perfect
purification, and reception and grace.
21. But I did not
dare to do this; and said that his long communion was sufficient for this. For I
should not dare to renew from the beginning one who had heard the giving of
thanks and joined in repeating the Amen; who had stood by the table and had
stretched forth his hands to receive the blessed food; and who had received it,
and partaken for a long while of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
22. But I exhorted
him to be of good courage, and to approach the partaking of the saints with firm
faith and good hope. But he does
not cease lamenting, and he shudders to approach the table, and scarcely, though
entreated, does he dare to be present at the prayers."
23. Besides these
there is also extant another epistle of the same man on baptism, addressed by
him and his parish to Xystus and the church at Rome. In this he considers the
question then agitated with extended argument.
24. And there is
extant yet another after these, addressed to Dionysius of Rome, concerning
Lucian. So much with reference to these.
and the persecution under him.
25. Gallus and the
other rulers, having held the government less than two years, were overthrown,
and Valerian, with his son Gallienus, received the empire. The circumstances,
which Dionysius relates of him, we may learn from his epistle to Hermammon, in
which he gives the following account:
26. And in like
manner it is revealed to John; `For there was given to him,' he says, `a mouth
speaking great things and blasphemy; and there was given unto him authority and
forty and two months.'
27. It is wonderful
that both of these things occurred under Valerian; and it is the more remarkable
in this case when we consider his previous conduct, for he had been mild and
friendly toward the men of God, for none of the emperors before him had treated
them so kindly and favorably; and not even those who were said openly to be
Christians received them with such manifest hospitality and friendliness as he
did at the beginning of his reign.
28. For his entire
house was filled with pious persons and was a church of God. But the teacher and
ruler of the synagogue of the Magi from Egypt persuaded him to change his
course, urging him to slay and persecute pure and holy men because they opposed
and hindered the corrupt and abominable incantations.
29. For there are
and there were men who, being present and being seen, though they only breathed
and spoke, were able to scatter the counsels of the sinful demons. And he
induced him to practice initiations and abominable sorceries.
30. And to offer
unacceptable sacrifices; to slay innumerable children and to sacrifice the
offspring of unhappy fathers; to divide the bowels of new-born babes and to
mutilate and cut to pieces the creatures of God, as if by such practices they
could attain happiness."
He adds to this
the following: "Splendid indeed were the thank-offerings which Macrianus
brought them for the empire which was the object of his hopes. He is said to
have been formerly the emperor's general finance minister; yet he did nothing
praiseworthy or of general benefit, but fell under the prophetic saying, `Woe
unto those who prophesy from their own heart and do not consider the general
32. For he did not
perceive the general Providence, nor did he look for the judgment of Him who is
before all, and through all, and over all. Wherefore he became an enemy of his
Catholic Church, and alienated and estranged himself from the compassion of God,
and fled as far as possible from his salvation. In this he showed the truth of
his own name."
33. And again,
farther on he says: "For Valerian, being instigated to such acts by this
man, was given over to insults and reproaches, according to what was said by
Isaiah: `They have chosen their own ways and their abominations in which their
soul delighted; I also will choose their delusions and will render unto them
34. But this man
madly desired the kingdom though unworthy of it, and being unable to put the
royal garment on his crippled body, set forward his two sons to bear their
35. For concerning
them the declaration, which God spoke, was plain, `Visiting the iniquities of
the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that
36. For heaping on
the heads of his sons his own evil desires, in which he had met with success, he
wiped off upon them his own wickedness and hatred toward God."
relates these things concerning Valerian.
The events, which happened at this time to Dionysius and those in
1. But as regards
the persecution which prevailed so fiercely in his reign, and the sufferings
which Dionysius with others endured on account of piety toward the God of the
universe, his own words shall show, which he wrote in answer to Germanus, a
contemporary bishop who was endeavoring to slander him. His statement is as
am in danger of falling into great folly and stupidity through being forced to
relate the wonderful providence of God toward us. But since it is said that `it
is good to keep close the secret of a king, but it is honorable to reveal the
works of God,' I will join issue with the violence of Germanus.
I went not
alone to Aemilianus; but my fellow-presbyter, Maximus, and the deacons Faustus,
Eusebius, and Chaeremon, and a brother who was present from Rome, went with me.
4. But Aemilianus
did not at first say to me: `Hold no assemblies; 'for this was superfluous to
him, and the last thing to one who was seeking to accomplish the first.
For he was not
concerned about our assembling, but that we ourselves should not be Christians.
And he commanded me to give this up; supposing if I turned from it, the others
also would follow me.
But I answered
him, neither unsuitably nor in many words: `We must obey God rather than men.'
And I testified openly that I worshiped the one only God, and no other; and that
I would not turn from this nor would I ever cease to be a Christian. Thereupon
he commanded us to go to a village near the desert, called Cephro.
7. But listen to
the very words, which were spoken on both sides, as they were recorded:
"Dionysius, Faustus, Maximus, Marcellus, and Chaeremon being arraigned,
Aemilianus the prefect said:
8. I have reasoned
verbally with you concerning the clemency which our rulers have shown to you;
for they have given you the opportunity to save yourselves, if you will turn to
that which is according to nature, and worship the gods that preserve their
empire, and forget those that are contrary to nature.
9. What then do
you say to this? For I do not think that you will be ungrateful for their
kindness, since they would turn you to a better course.'
replied: `Not all people worship all gods; but each one those whom he approves.
We therefore reverence and worship the one God, the Maker of all; who hath given
the empire to the divinely favored and august Valerian and Gallienus; and we
pray to him continually for their empire that it may remain unshaken.'
11. Aemilianus, the
prefect, said to them: `but who forbids you to worship him, if he is a god,
together with those who are gods by nature. For ye have been commanded to
reverence the gods, and the gods whom all know.' Dionysius answered:
12. We worship no
other.' Aemilianus, the prefect, said to them: `I see that you are at once
ungrateful, and insensible to the kindness of our sovereigns. Wherefore ye shall
not remain in this city. But ye shall be sent into the regions of Libya, to a
place called Cephro.
13. For I have
chosen this place at the command of our sovereigns, and it shall by no means be
permitted you or any others, either to hold assemblies, or to enter into the
14. But if any one
shall be seen without the place, which I have commanded, or be found in any
assembly, he will bring peril on himself. For suitable punishment shall not
fail. Go, therefore where ye have been ordered.'
hastened me away, though I was sick, not granting even a day's respite. What
opportunity then did I have, either to hold assemblies, or not to hold
them?" Further on he says: "But through the help of the Lord we did not give up the open assembly. But I
called together the more diligently those who were in the city, as if I were
with them; being, so to speak absent in body but present in spirit.'
16. But in Cephro a
large church gathered with us of the brethren that followed us from the city,
and those that joined us from Egypt; and there `God opened unto us a door for
17. At first we
were persecuted and stoned; but afterwards not a few of the heathen forsook the
idols and turned to God. For until this time they had not heard the Word, since
it was then first sown by us.
And as if God
had brought us to them for this purpose, when we had performed this ministry he
transferred us to another place. For Aemilianus, as it appeared, desired to
transport us to rougher and more Libyan-like places; so he commanded them to
assemble from all quarters in Mareotis, and assigned to them different villages
throughout the country.
19. But he ordered
us to be placed nearer the highway that we might be seized first. For evidently
he arranged and prepared matters so that whenever he wished to seize us he could
take all of us without difficulty.
20. When I was
first ordered to go to Cephro I did not know where the place was, and had
scarcely ever heard the name; yet I went readily and cheerfully. But when I was
told that I was to remove to the district of Colluthion, those who were present
know how I was affected.
For here I will
accuse myself. At first I was grieved and greatly disturbed; for though these
places were better known and more familiar to us, yet the country was said to be
destitute of brethren and of men of character, and to be exposed to the
annoyances of travelers and incursions of robbers.
But I was
comforted when the brethren reminded me that it was nearer the city, and that
while Cephro afforded us much intercourse with the brethren from Egypt, so that
we were able to extend the Church more widely, as this place was nearer the city
we should enjoy more frequently the sight of those who were truly beloved and
most closely related and dearest to us.
For they would
come and remain, and special meetings could be held, as in the more remote
suburbs. And thus it turned out." After other matters he writes again as
follows of the things, which happened to him.
indeed boasts of many confessions. He can speak forsooth of many adversities,
which he himself has endured. But is he able to reckon up as many as we can, of
sentences, confiscations, proscriptions, plundering of goods, loss of dignities,
contempt of worldly glory.
25. Disregard for
the flatteries of governors and of councilors, and patient endurance of the
threats of opponents, of outcries, of perils and persecutions, and wandering and
distress, and all kinds of tribulation, such as came upon me under Decius and
Sabinus, and such as continue even now under Aemilianus?
26. But where has
Germanus been seen? And what account is there of him? But I turn from this great
folly into which I am falling on account of Germanus. And for the same reason I
desist from giving to the brethren who know it an account of everything which
27. The same writer
also in the epistle to! Domitius and Didymus mentions some particulars of the
persecution as follows: "As our people are many and unknown to you, it
would be superfluous to give their names; but understand that men and women,
young and old, maidens and matrons, soldiers and civilians, of every race and
age, some by scourging and fire, others by the sword, have conquered in the
strife and received their crowns.
But in the case
of some a very long time was not sufficient to make them appear acceptable to
the Lord; as, indeed, it seems also in my own case, that sufficient time has not
yet elapsed. Wherefore he has retained me for the time, which he knows to be
fitting, saying, `In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of
salvation have I helped thee.'
For as you have
inquired of our affairs and desire us to tell you how we are situated, you have
heard fully that when we - that is, myself and Gaius and Faustus and Peter and
Paul - were led away as prisoners by a centurion and magistrates, with their
soldiers and servants, certain persons from Mareotis came and dragged us away by
force, as we were unwilling to follow them.
But now I and
Gaius and Peter are alone, deprived of the other brethren, and shut up in a
desert and dry place in Libya, three days' journey from Peritoneum."
He says further on:
presbyters, Maximus, Dioscorus, Demetrius, and Lucius concealed themselves in
the city, and visited the brethren secretly; for Faustinus and Aquila, who are
more prominent in the world, are wandering in Egypt. But the deacons, Faustus,
Eusebius, and Chaeremon, have survived those who died in the pestilence.
Eusebius is one
whom God has strengthened. And endowed from the first to fulfill energetically
the ministrations for the imprisoned confessors, and to attend to the dangerous
task of preparing for burial the bodies of the perfected and blessed martyrs.
For as I have
said before, unto the present time the governor continues to put to death in a
cruel manner those who are brought to trial. And he destroys some with tortures,
and wastes others away with imprisonment and bonds; and he suffers no one to go
near them, and investigates whether any one does so.
God gives relief to the afflicted through the zeal and persistence of the
brethren." Thus far Dionysius.
35. But it should
be known that Eusebius, whom he calls a deacon, shortly afterward became bishop
of the church of Laodicea in Syria; and Maximus, of whom he speaks as being then
a presbyter, succeeded Dionysius himself as bishop of Alexandria.
But the Faustus
who was with him, and who at that time was distinguished for his confession, was
preserved until the persecution in our day, when being very old and full of
days, he closed his life by martyrdom, being beheaded.
37. But such are
the things which happened at that time to Dionysius.
The martyrs in Caesarea in Palestine.
1. During the
above-mentioned persecution under Valerian, three men in Caesarea in Palestine,
being conspicuous in their confession of Christ, were adorned with divine
martyrdom, becoming food for wild beasts.
One of them was
called Priscus, another Malchus,
and the name of the third was Alexander.
They say that these men, who lived in the country, acted at first in a cowardly
manner, as if they were careless and thoughtless.
For when the
opportunity was given to those who longed for the prize with heavenly desire,
they treated it lightly, lest they should seize the Crown of martyrdom
prematurely. But having deliberated on the matter, they hastened to Caesarea,
and went before the judge and met the end we have mentioned.
that besides these, in the same persecution and the same city, a certain woman
endured a similar conflict. But it is reported that she belonged to the sect of
peace under Gallienus.
this Valerian was reduced to slavery by the barbarians, and his son having
become sole ruler, conducted the government more prudently. He immediately
restrained the persecution against us by public proclamations, and directed the
bishops to perform in freedom their customary duties, in a rescript, which ran
Emperor Caesar Publius Licinius, Gallienus, Pius, Felix, Augustus, to Dionysius,
Pinnas, Demetrius, and the other bishops. I have ordered the bounty of my gift
to be declared through all the world, that they may depart from the places of
7. And for this
purpose you may use this copy of my rescript, that no one may molest you. And
this, which you are now enabled lawfully to do, has already for a long time been
conceded by me.
Aurelius Cyrenius, who is the chief administrator of affairs, will observe this
ordinance which I have given."
9. I have given
this in a translation from the Latin, that it may be more readily understood.
Another decree of his is extant addressed to other bishops, permitting them to
take possession again of the so-called cemeteries.
bishops that flourished at that time.
At that time
Xystus was still presiding over the church of Rome, and Demetrianus, successor
of Fabius, over the church of Antioch, and Firmilianus over that of Caesarea in
Cappadocia; and besides these, Gregory and his brother Athenodorus, friends of
Origen, were presiding over the churches in Pontus; and Theoctistus of Caesarea
in Palestine having died.
11. Domnus received
the episcopate there. He held it but a short time, and Theotecnus, our
contemporary, succeeded him.
12. He also was a
member of Origen's school. But in Jerusalem, after the death of Mazabanes,
Hymenaeus, who has been celebrated among us for a great many years, succeeded to
martyrdom of Marinus at Caesarea.
At this time,
when the peace of the churches had been everywhere restored, Marinus
in Caesarea in Palestine, who was honored for his military deeds, and
illustrious by virtue of family and wealth, was beheaded for his testimony to
Christ, on the following account. The
vine-branch is a certain mark of honor among the Romans, and those who obtain it
become, they say, centurions.
14. A place being
vacated, the order of succession called Marinus to this position. But when he
was about to receive the honor, another person came before the tribunal and
claimed that it was not legal, according to the ancient laws, for him to receive
the Roman dignity, as he was a Christian and did not sacrifice to the emperors;
but that the office belonged rather to him.
15. Thereupon the
judge, whose name was achaeus, being disturbed, first asked what opinion Marinus
held. And when he perceived that he continually confessed himself a Christian,
he gave him three hours for reflection.
16. When he came
out from the tribunal, Theotecnus the bishop there, took him aside and conversed
with him, and taking his hand led him into the church. And standing with him
within, in the sanctuary, he raised his cloak a little, and pointed to the sword
that hung by his side.
17. And at the same
time he placed before him the Scripture of the divine Gospels, and told him to
choose which of the two he wished.
hesitation he reached forth his right hand, and took the divine Scripture.
"Hold fast then," says Theotecnus to him, "hold fast to God, and
strengthened by him may thou obtain what thou hast chosen, and go in
his return the herald cried out calling him to the tribunal, for the appointed
time was already completed. And standing before the tribunal, and manifesting
greater zeal for the faith, immediately, as he was, he was led away and finished
his course by death.
20. Astyrius also
is commemorated on account of his pious boldness in connection with this affair.
He was a Roman of senatorial rank, and in favor with the emperors, and well
known to all on account of his noble birth and wealth.
21. Being present
at the martyr's death, he took his body away on his shoulder, and arraying him
in a splendid and costly garment, prepared him for the grave in a magnificent
manner, and gave him fitting burial. The friends of this man, that remain to our
day, relate many other facts, concerning him.
The signs at Paneas of the great might of our Savior.
Among these is
also the following wonder. At Caesarea Philippi, which the Phoenicians call
Paneas, springs are shown at the foot of the Mountain Panius, out of which the
Jordan flows. They say that on a certain feast day, a victim was thrown in, and
that through the power of the demon it marvelously disappeared and that which
happened was a famous wonder to those who were present.
2. Astyrius was
once there when these things were done, and seeing the multitude astonished at
the affair, he pitied their delusion; and looking up to heaven he supplicated
the God over all through Christ, that he would rebuke the demon who deceived the
people, and bring the men's delusion to an end.
3. And they say
that when he had prayed thus, immediately the sacrifice floated on the surface
of the fountain. And thus the miracle departed; and no wonder was ever afterward
performed at the place.
statue which the woman with an issue of blood erected.
Since I have
mentioned this city I do not think it proper to omit an account, which is worthy
of record for posterity. For they say that the woman with an issue of blood,
who, as we learn from the sacred Gospel, received from our Savior deliverance
from her affliction, came from this place, and that her house is shown in the
city, and that remarkable memorials of the kindness of the Savior to her remain
5. For there
stands upon an elevated stone, by the gates of her house, a brazen image of a
woman kneeling, with her hands stretched out, as if she were praying. Opposite
this is another upright image of a man, made of the same material, clothed
decently in a double cloak, and extending his hand toward the woman.
At his feet,
beside the statue itself, is a certain strange plant, which climbs up to the hem
of the brazen cloak, and is a remedy for all kinds of diseases. They say that
this statue is an image of Jesus. It
has remained to our day, so that we ourselves also saw it when we were staying
in the city.
7. Nor is it
strange that those of the Gentiles
who, of old, were benefited by our Savior, should have done such things, since
we have learned also that the likenesses of his apostles Paul and Peter, and of
Christ himself, are preserved in paintings.
8. The ancients
being accustomed, as it is likely, according to a habit of the Gentiles, to pay
this kind of honor indiscriminately to those regarded by them as deliverers.
episcopal chair of James.
9. The chair of
James, who first received the episcopate of the church at Jerusalem from the
Savior himself and the apostles, and who, as the divine records show, was called
a brother of Christ, has been preserved until now.
who have followed him in succession there exhibiting clearly to all the
reverence which both those of old times and those of our own day maintained and
do maintain for holy men on account of their piety. So much as to this matter.
besides his epistles already mentioned, wrote at that time also his extant
Festal Epistles, in which he uses words of panegyric respecting the Passover
feast. He addressed one of these to Flavius, and another to Domitius and
Didymus, in which he sets forth a canon of eight years, maintaining that it is
not proper to observe the paschal feast until after the vernal equinox.
12. Besides these
he sent another epistle to his fellow-presbyters in Alexandria, as well as
various others to different persons while the persecution was still prevailing.
occurrences at Alexandria.
13. Peace had but
just been restored when he returned to Alexandria; but as sedition and war broke
out again, rendering it impossible for him to oversee all the brethren,
separated in different places by the insurrection, at the feast of the Passover,
as if he were still an exile from Alexandria, he addressed them again by letter.
14. And in another
festal epistle written later to Hierax, a bishop in Egypt, he mentions the
sedition then prevailing in Alexandria, as follows: "What wonder is it that it is difficult for me to
communicate by letters with those who live far away, when it is beyond my power
even to reason with myself, or to take counsel for my own life?
15. Truly I need to
send letters to those who are as my own bowels, dwelling in one home, and
brethren of one soul, and citizens of the same church; but how to send them I
cannot tell. For it would be easier for one to go, not only beyond the limits of
the province, but even from the East to the West, than from Alexandria to
16. For the very
heart of the city is more intricate and impassable than that great and trackless
desert which Israel traversed for two generations. And our smooth and waveless
harbors have become like the sea, divided and walled up, through which Israel
drove and in whose highway the Egyptians were overwhelmed.
For often from the slaughters there committed they appear like the Red
17. And the river
which flows by the city has sometimes seemed drier than the waterless desert,
and more parched than that in which Israel, as they passed through it, so
suffered for thirst, that they cried out against Moses, and the water flowed for
them from the steep rock, through Him who alone doeth wonders.
18. Again it has
overflowed so greatly as to flood all the surrounding country, and the roads and
the fields; threatening to bring back the deluge of water that occurred in the
days of Noah. And it flows along, polluted always with blood and slaughter and
drowning, as it became for Pharaoh through the agency of Moses, when he changed
it into blood, and it stank.
19. And what other
water could purify the water, which purifies everything? How could the ocean, so
great and impassable for men, if poured into it, cleanse this bitter sea? Or how
could the great river which flowed out of Eden, if it poured the four heads into
which it is divided into the one of Geon,157
wash away this pollution?
Or when can the
air poisoned by these noxious exhalations become pure? For such vapors arise
from the earth, and winds from the sea, and breezes from the river, and mists
from the harbors, that the dews are, as it were, discharges from dead bodies
putrefying in all the elements around us.
21. Yet men wonder
and cannot understand whence these continuous pestilences; whence these severe
sicknesses; whence these deadly diseases of all kinds; whence this various and
vast human destruction; why this great city no longer contains as many
inhabitants, from tender infants to those most advanced in life, as it formerly
contained of those whom it called hearty old men.
22. But the men
from forty to seventy years of age were then so much more numerous that their
number cannot now be filled out, even when those from fourteen to eighty years
are enrolled and registered for the public allowance of food.
23. And the
youngest in appearance have become, as it were, of equal age with those who
formerly were the oldest. But though they see the race of men thus constantly
diminishing and wasting away, and though their complete destruction is
increasing and advancing, they do not tremble."
The pestilence, which came upon them.
1. After these
events a pestilential disease followed the war, and at the approach of the feast
he wrote again to the brethren, describing the sufferings consequent upon this
2. "To other
men the present might not seem to be a suitable time for a festival. Nor indeed
is this or any other time suitable for them; neither sorrowful times, nor even
such as might be thought especially cheerful. Now, indeed, everything is tears
and every one is mourning, and wailings resound daily through the city because
of the multitude of the dead and dying.
For as it was
written of the firstborn of the Egyptians, so now `there has arisen a great cry,
for there is not a house where there is not one dead.' And would that this were
terrible things have happened already. First, they drove us out; and when alone,
and persecuted, and put to death by all, even then we kept the feast. And every
place of affliction was to us a place of festival: field, desert, ship, inn,
prison; but the perfected martyrs kept the most joyous festival of all, feasting
5. After these
things war and famine followed, which we endured in common with the heathen. But
we bore alone those things with which they afflicted us, and at the same time we
experienced also the effects of what they inflicted upon and suffered from one
another; and again, we rejoiced in the peace of Christ, which he gave to us
6. "But after
both we and they had enjoyed a very brief season of rest this pestilence
assailed us; to them more dreadful than any dread, and more intolerable than any
other calamity; and, as one of their own writers has said, the only thing which
prevails over all hope. But to us this was not so, but no less than the other
things was it an exercise and probation. For it did not keep aloof even from us,
but the heathen it assailed more severely."
7. Farther on he
adds; "The most of our brethren were unsparing in their exceeding love and
brotherly kindness. They held fast to each other and visited the sick
fearlessly, and ministered to them continually, serving them in Christ. And they
died with them most joyfully, taking the affliction of others, and drawing the
sickness from their neighbors to themselves and willingly receiving their pains.
8. And many who
cared for the sick and gave strength to others died themselves having
transferred to themselves their death. And the popular saying which always seems
a mere expression of courtesy, they then made real in action, taking their
departure as the others".
9. "Truly the
best of our brethren departed from life in this manner, including some
presbyters and deacons and those of the people who had the highest reputation;
so that this form of death, through the great piety and strong faith it
exhibited, seemed to lack nothing of martyrdom.
10. And they took
the bodies of the saints in their open hands and in their bosoms, and closed
their eyes and their mouths; and they bore them away on their shoulders and laid
them out; and they clung to them and embraced them; and they prepared them
suitably with washings and garments. And after a little they received like
treatment themselves, for the survivors were continually following those who had
gone before them.
the heathen everything was quite otherwise. They deserted those who began to be
sick, and fled from their dearest friends. And they cast them out into the
streets when they were half dead, and left the dead like refuse, unburied. They
shunned any participation or fellowship with death; which yet, with all their
precautions, it was not easy for them to escape."
12. After this
epistle, when peace had been restored to the city, he wrote another festal
letter to the brethren in Egypt, and again several others besides this. And
there is also a certain one extant On the Sabbath, and another On Exercise.
13. Moreover, he
wrote again an epistle to Hermammon and the brethren in Egypt, describing at
length the wickedness of Decius and his successors, and mentioning the peace
reign of Gallienus.
But there is
nothing like hearing his own words, which are as follows: "Then he, having
betrayed one of the emperors that preceded him, and made war on the other,
perished with his whole family speedily and utterly. But Gallienus was
proclaimed and universally acknowledged at once an old emperor and a new, being
before them and continuing after them.
15. For according
to the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah, `Behold the things from the beginning
have come to pass, and new things shall now arise.' For as a cloud passing over
the sun's rays and obscuring them for a little time hides it and appears in its
place; but when the cloud has passed by or is dissipated, the sun which had
risen before appears again.
16. So Macrianus
who put himself forward and approached the existing empire of Gallienus, is not,
since he never was. But the other is just as he was.
And his kingdom, as if it had cast aside old age, and had been purified
from the former wickedness, now blossoms out more vigorously, and is seen and
heard farther, and extends in all directions."
indicates the time at which he wrote this in the following words: "It
occurs to me again to review the days of the imperial years. For I perceive that
those most impious men, though they have been famous, yet in a short time have
become nameless. But the holier and more godly prince, having passed the seventh
year, is now completing the ninth, in which we shall keep the feast."
and his schism.
these the two books on the Promises were prepared by him. The occasion of these
was Nepos, a bishop in Egypt, who taught that the promises to the holy men in
the Divine Scriptures should be understood in a more Jewish manner, and that
there would be a certain millennium of bodily luxury upon this earth.
19. As he thought
that he could establish his private opinion by the Revelation of John, he wrote
a book on this subject, entitled Refutation of Allegorists. Dionysius opposes
this in his books on the Promises.
In the first he
gives his own opinion of the dogma; and in the second he treats of the
Revelation of John, and mentioning Nepos at the beginning, writes of him in this
manner: "But since they bring
forward a certain work of Nepos, on which they rely confidently, as if it proved
beyond dispute that there will be a reign of Christ upon earth.
I confess that
in many other respects I approve and love Nepos, for his faith and industry and
diligence in the Scriptures, and for his extensive psalmody, with which many of
the brethren are still delighted; and I hold him in the more reverence because
he has gone to rest before us.
But the truth
should be loved and honored most of all. And
while we should praise and approve ungrudgingly what is said aright, we ought to
examine and correct what does not seem to have been written soundly.
Were he present
to state his opinion orally, mere unwritten discussion, persuading and
reconciling those who are opposed by question and answer, would be sufficient.
But as some think his work very plausible, and as certain teachers regard the
law and prophets as of no consequence, and do not follow the Gospels.
lightly the apostolic epistles, while they make promises as to the teaching of
this work as if it were some great hidden mystery, and do not permit our simpler
brethren to have any sublime and lofty thoughts concerning the glorious and
truly divine appearing of our Lord, and our resurrection from the dead,.
25. And our being
gathered together unto him, and made like him, but on the contrary lead them to
hope for small and mortal things in the kingdom of God, and for things such as
exist now,- since this is the case, it is necessary that we should dispute with
our brother Nepos as if he were present." Farther on he says:
26. "When I
was in the district of Arsinoe, where, as you know, this doctrine has prevailed
for a long time, so that schisms and apostasies of entire churches have
resulted, I called together the presbyters and teachers of the brethren in the
villages, -such brethren as wished being also present, -and I exhorted them to
make a public examination of this question.
when they brought me this book, as if it were a weapon and fortress impregnable,
sitting with them from morning till evening for three successive days, I
endeavored to correct what was written in it.
28. And I rejoiced
over the constancy, sincerity, docility, and intelligence of the brethren, as we
considered in order and with moderation the questions and the difficulties and
the points of agreement. And we abstained from defending in every manner and
contentiously the opinions, which we had once held, unless they appeared to be
29. Nor did we
evade objections, but we endeavored as far as possible to hold to and confirm
the things which lay before us, and if the reason given satisfied us, we were
not ashamed to change our opinions and agree with others; but on the contrary,
conscientiously and sincerely, and with hearts laid open before God, we accepted
whatever was established by the proofs and teachings of the Holy Scriptures.
And finally the
author and mover of this teaching, who was called Coracion, in the hearing of
all the brethren that were present, acknowledged and testified to us that he
would no longer hold this opinion, nor discuss it, nor mention nor teach it, as
he was fully convinced by the arguments against it.
31. And some of the
other brethren expressed their gratification at the conference, and at the
spirit of conciliation and harmony which all had manifested."
The apocalypse of John.
1. Afterward he
speaks in this manner of the Apocalypse of John. "Some before us have set aside and rejected the book
altogether, criticizing it chapter by chapter, and pronouncing it without sense
or argument, and maintaining that the title is fraudulent.
2. For they say
that it is not the work of John, nor is it a revelation, because it is covered
thickly and densely by a vail of obscurity. And they affirm that none of the
apostles, and none of the saints, nor any one in the Church is its author, but
that Cerinthus, who founded the sect, which was called after him the Corinthian,
desiring reputable authority for his fiction, prefixed the name.
doctrine, which he taught, was this: that the kingdom of Christ will be an
earthly one. And as he was himself devoted to the pleasures of the body and
altogether sensual in his nature, he dreamed that that kingdom would consist in
those things which he desired.
4. Namely, in the
delights of the belly and of sexual passion; that is to say, in eating and
drinking and marrying, and in festivals and sacrifices and the slaying of
victims, under the guise of which he thought he could indulge his appetites with
a better grace.
could not venture to reject the book, as many brethren hold it in high esteem.
But I suppose that it is beyond my comprehension, and that there is a certain
concealed and more wonderful meaning in every part. For if I do not understand I
suspect that a deeper sense lies beneath the words.
6. I do not
measure and judge them by my own reason, but leaving the more to faith I regard
them as too high for me to grasp. And I do not reject what I cannot comprehend,
but rather wonder because I do not understand it."
7. After this he
examines the entire Book of Revelation, and having proved that it is impossible
to understand it according to the literal sense, proceeds as follows:
"Having finished all the prophecy, so to speak, the prophet pronounces
those blessed who shall observe it, and also himself.
For he says,
`Blessed is he that keeps the words of the prophecy of this book, and I, John,
who saw and heard these things.' Therefore
that he was called John, and that this book is the work of one John, I do not
9. And I agree
also that it is the work of a holy and inspired man. But I cannot readily admit
that he was the apostle, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James, by whom the
Gospel of John and the Catholic Epistle were written.
For I judge
from the character of both, and the forms of expression, and the entire
execution of the book, that it is not his. For the evangelist nowhere gives his
name, or proclaims himself, either in the Gospel or Epistle."
Further on he
adds: "But John never speaks as if referring to himself, or as if referring
to another person. But the author of the Apocalypse introduces himself at the
very beginning: `The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which he gave him to show unto
his servants quickly; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant
John, who bare witness of the word of God and of his testimony, even of all
things that he saw.'
Then he writes
also an epistle: `John to the seven churches which are in Asia, grace be with
you, and peace.' But the evangelist did not prefix his name even to the Catholic
Epistle; but without introduction he begins with the mystery of the divine
revelation itself: `
13. That which was
from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes.' For
because of such a revelation the Lord also blessed Peter, saying, `blessed art
thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but
my heavenly Father.'
But neither in
the reputed second or third epistle of John, though they are very short, does
the name John appear; but there is written the anonymous phrase, `the elder.'
But this author did not consider it sufficient to give his name once and to
proceed with his work; but he takes it up again:
15. I, John, who
also am your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and in the
patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos for the Word of
God and the testimony of Jesus.' And toward the close he speaks thus: `Blessed
is he that keeps the words of the prophecy of this book, and I, John, who saw
and heard these things.'
16. "But that
he who wrote these things was called John must be believed, as he says it; but
who he was does not appear. For he did not say, as often in the Gospel, that he
was the beloved disciple of the Lord, or the one who lay on his breast, or the
brother of James, or the eyewitness and hearer of the Lord.
For he would
have spoken of these things if he had wished to show himself plainly. But he
says none of them; but speaks of himself as our brother and companion, and a
witness of Jesus, and blessed because he had seen and heard the revelations.
But I am of the
opinion that there were many with the same name as the apostle John, who, on
account of their love for him, and because they admired and emulated him, and
desired to be loved by the Lord as he was, took to themselves the same surname,
as many of the children of the faithful are called Paul or Peter.
there is also another John, surnamed Mark, mentioned in the Acts of the
whom Barnabas and Paul took with them; of whom also it is said, `And they had
also John as their attendant.' But that it is he who wrote this, I would not
say. For it not written that he went with them into Asia, but, `
20. Now when Paul
and his company set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia and John
departing from them returned to Jerusalem.'
But I think that he was some other one of those in Asia; as they say that
there are two monuments in Ephesus, each bearing the name of John.
from the ideas, and from the words and their arrangement, it may be reasonably
conjectured that this one is different from that one.
For the Gospel and Epistle agree with each other and begin in the same
22. The one says,
`In the beginning was the Word'; the other, `That which was from the beginning.'
The one: `And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father'; the other says the same
things slightly altered: `Which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes;
which we have looked upon and our hands have handled of the Word of life, -and
the life was manifested.'
introduces these things at the beginning, maintaining them, as is evident from
what follows, in opposition to those who said that the Lord had not come in the
flesh. Wherefore also he carefully adds, `and we have seen and bear witness, and
declare unto you the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested
unto us. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you also.'
He holds to
this and does not digress from his subject, but discusses everything under the
same heads and names some of which we will briefly mention. Any one who examines
carefully will find the phrases, `the life,' `the light,' `turning from
darkness,' frequently occurring in both; also continually, `truth,' `grace,'
`joy,' `the flesh and blood of the Lord,' `the judgment,' `the forgiveness of
sins,' `the love of God toward us,'
`commandment that we love one another,' that we should `keep all the
commandments'; the `conviction of the world, of the Devil, of Anti-Christ,' the
`promise of the Holy Spirit,' the `adoption of God,' the `faith continually
required of us,` `the Father and the Son,' occur everywhere. In fact, it is
plainly to be seen that one and the same character marks the Gospel and the
Apocalypse is different from these writings and foreign to them; not touching,
nor in the least bordering upon them; almost, so to speak, without even a
syllable in common with them. Nay
more, the Epistle-for I pass by the Gospel - does not mention nor does it
contain any intimation of the Apocalypse, nor does the Apocalypse of the
But Paul, in
his epistles, gives some indication of his revelations, though he has not
written them out by themselves. "Moreover,
it can also be shown that the, diction of the Gospel and Epistle differs from
that of the Apocalypse.
28. For they were
written not only without error as regards the Greek language, but also with
elegance in their expression, in their reasoning, and in their entire structure.
They are far indeed from betraying any barbarism or solecism, or any vulgarism
29. For the writer
had, as it seems, both the requisites of discourse, -that is, the gift of
knowledge and the gift of expression, -as the Lord had bestowed them both upon
I do not deny
that the other writer saw a revelation and received knowledge and prophecy. I
perceive, however, that his dialect and language are not accurate Greek, but
that he uses barbarous idioms, and, in some places, solecisms.
31. It is
unnecessary to point these out here, for I would not have any one think that I
have said these things in a spirit of ridicule, for I have said what I have only
with the purpose of showing dearly the difference between the writings."
The epistles of Dionysius.
1. Besides these,
many other epistles of Dionysius are extant, as those against Sabellius,
addressed to Ammon, bishop of the church of Bernice, and one to Telesphorus, and
one to Euphranor, and again another to Ammon and Euporus.
2. He wrote also
four other books on the same subject, which he addressed to his namesake
Dionysius, in Rome. Besides these
many of his epistles are with us, and large books written in epistolary form, as
those on Nature, addressed to the young man Timothy, and one on Temptations,
that he also dedicated to Euphranor.
Moreover, in a
letter to Basilides, bishop of the parishes in Pentapolis, he says that he had
written an exposition of the beginning of Ecclesiastes. And he has left us also
various letters addressed to this same person.
4. Thus much
Dionysius. But our account of these
matters being now completed, permit us to show to posterity the character of our
of Samosata, and the heresy introduced by him at Antioch.
had presided over the Church of Rome for eleven years, Dionysius, namesake of
him of Alexandria, succeeded him. About the same time Demetrianus died in
Antioch, and Paul of Samosata received that episcopate.
6. As he held,
contrary to the teaching of the Church, low and degraded views of Christ,
namely, that in his nature he was a common man, Dionysius of Alexandria was
entreated to come to the synod. But being unable to come on account of age and
physical weakness, he gave his opinion on the subject under consideration by
7. But all the
other pastors of the churches from all directions, made haste to assemble at
Antioch, as against a despoiler of the flock of Christ.
illustrious bishops of that time.
8. Of these, the
most eminent were Firmilianus, bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia; the brothers
Gregory and Athenodorus, pastors of the churches in Pontus; Helenus of the
parish of Tarsus, and Nicomas of Iconium moreover, Hymenaeus, of the church of
Jerusalem, and Theotecnus of the neighboring church of Caesarea; and besides
these Maximus, who presided in a distinguished manner over the brethren in
9. If any should
count them up he could not fail to note a great many others, besides presbyters
and deacons, who were at that time assembled for the same cause in the
above-mentioned city. But these were the most illustrious.
10. When all of
these assembled at different times and frequently to consider these matters, the
arguments and questions were discussed at every meeting; the adherents of the
Samosatian endeavoring to cover and conceal his heterodoxy, and the others
striving zealously to lay bare and make manifest his heresy and blasphemy
Dionysius died in the twelfth year of the reign of Gallienus, having held the
episcopate of Alexandria for seventeen years, and Maximus succeeded him.
Gallienus after a reign of fifteen years was succeeded by Claudius, who
in two years delivered the government to Aurelian.
reign a final synod composed of a great many bishops was held, and the leader of
heresy in Antioch was detected, and his false doctrine clearly shown before all,
and he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church under heaven.
especially drew him out of his hiding-place and refuted him. He was a man
learned in other respects, and principal of the sophist school of Grecian
learning in Antioch; yet on account of the superior nobility of his faith in
Christ he had been made a presbyter of that parish.
having conducted a discussion with him, which was taken down by stenographers
and which we know is still extant, was alone able to detect the man who
dissembled and deceived the others.
epistle of the bishops against Paul.
The pastors who
had assembled about this matter, prepared by common consent an epistle addressed
to Dionysius, bishop of Rome, and Maximus of Alexandria, and sent it to all the
provinces. In this they make manifest to all their own zeal and the perverse
error of Paul, and the arguments and discussions, which they had with him, and
show the entire life, and conduct of the man.
It may be well
to put on record at the present time the following extracts from their writing:
"To Dionysius and Maximus, and to all our fellow-ministers
throughout the world, bishops, presbyters, and deacons, and to the whole
Catholic Church under heaven, Helenus, Hymenaeus, Theophilus, Theotecnus,
Maximus, Proclus, Nicomas, Aelianus, Paul, Bolanus, Protogenes, Hierax,
Eutychius, Theodorus, Malchion, and Lucius, and all the others who dwell with us
in the neighboring cities and nations, bishops, presbyters, and deacons, and the
churches of God, greeting to the beloved brethren in the Lord."
farther on they proceed thus: "We sent for and called many of the bishops
from a distance to relieve us from this deadly doctrine; as Dionysius of
Alexandria and Firmilianus of Cappadocia, those blessed men. The first of these
not considering the author of this delusion worthy to be addressed, sent a
letter to Antioch, not written to him, but to the entire parish, of which we
give a copy below.
18. But Firmilianus
came twice and condemned his innovations, as we who were present know and
testify, and many others understand. But as he promised to change his opinions,
he believed him and hoped that without any reproach to the Word what was
necessary would be done.
19. So he delayed
the matter, being deceived by him who denied even his own God and Lord, and had
not kept the faith, which he formerly held.
And now Firmilianus was again on his way to Antioch, and had come as far
as Tarsus because he had learned by experience his God-denying wickedness.
But while we, having come together, were calling for him and awaiting his
arrival, he died." After other
things they describe as follows the manner of life, which he led:
he has departed from the rule of faith, and has turned aside after base and
spurious teachings, it is not necessary, -since he is without, -that we should
pass judgment upon his practices: as for instance in that although formerly
destitute and poor, and having received no wealth from his fathers, nor made
anything by trade or business.
21. He now
possesses abundant wealth through his iniquities and sacrilegious acts, and
through those things which he extorts from the brethren, depriving the injured
of their rights and promising to assist them for reward, yet deceiving them, and
plundering those who in their trouble are ready to give that they may obtain
reconciliation with their oppressors.
22. Supposing that
gain is godliness'; -or in that he is haughty, and is puffed up, and assumes
worldly dignities, preferring to be called Ducenarius rather than bishop; and
struts in the market-places, reading letters and reciting them as he walks in
public, attended by a body-guard, with a multitude preceding and following him.
So that the
faith is envied and hated on account of his pride and haughtiness of heart;-or
in that he practices chicanery in ecclesiastical assemblies, contrives to
glorify himself, and deceive with appearances, and astonish the minds of the
simple, preparing for himself a tribunal and lofty throne, -not like a disciple
24. And possessing
a `secretum,' -like the rulers of the world,-and so calling it, and striking his
thigh with his hand, and stamping on the tribunal with his feet;-or in that he
rebukes and insults those who do not applaud, and shake their handkerchiefs as
in the theaters, and shout and leap about like the men and women that are
stationed around him, and hear him in this unbecoming manner.
25. But who listen
reverently and orderly as in the house of God;-or in that he violently and
coarsely assails in public the expounders of the Word that have departed this
life, and magnifies himself, not as a bishop, but as a sophist and juggler,
and stops the psalms to our Lord Jesus Christ, as being the modern
productions of modern men.
26. And trainís
women to sing psalms to himself in the midst of the church on the great day of
the Passover, which any one might shudder to hear, and persuades the bishops and
presbyters of the neighboring districts and cities who frown upon him, to
advance the same ideas in their discourses to the people.
anticipate something of what we shall presently write, he is unwilling to
acknowledge that the Son of God has come down from heaven. And this is not a
mere assertion, but it is abundantly proved from the records which we have sent
you; and not least where he says `Jesus Christ is from below.'
28. But those
singing to him and extolling him among the people say that their impious teacher
has come down an angel from heaven. And he does not forbid such things; but the
arrogant man is even present when they are uttered.
29. And there are
the women, the `sub-introduction,' as the people of Antioch call them, belonging
to him and to the presbyters and deacons that are with him. Although he knows
and has convicted these men, yet he connives at this and their other incurable
sins, in order that they may be bound to him, and through fear for themselves
may not dare to accuse him for his wicked words and deeds.
But he has also
made them rich; on which account he is loved and admired by those who covet such
things. We know, beloved, that the
bishop and all the clergy should be an example to the people of all good works.
And we are not ignorant how many have fallen or incurred suspicion, through the
women whom they have thus brought in.
So that even if
we should allow that he commits no sinful act, yet he ought to avoid the
suspicion, which arises from such a thing, lest he scandalize some one, or lead
others to imitate him. For how can
he reprove or admonish another not to be too familiar with women, -lest he fall,
as it is written, -when he has himself sent one away already, and now has two
with him, blooming and beautiful, and takes them with him wherever he goes, and
at the same time lives in luxury and surfeiting?
32. Because of
these things all mourn and lament by themselves; but they so fear his tyranny
and power, that they dare not accuse him. But
as we have said, while one might call the man to account for this conduct, if he
held the Catholic doctrine and was numbered with us, since he has scorned the
mystery and struts about in the abominable heresy of Artemas (for why should we
not mention his father?), we think it unnecessary to demand of him an
explanation of these things."
33. Afterwards, at
the close of the epistle, they add these words: "Therefore we have been
compelled to excommunicate him, since he sets himself against God, and refuses
to obey; and to appoint in his place another bishop for the Catholic Church.
34. By divine
direction, as we believe, we have appointed Domnus, who is adorned with all the
qualities becoming in a bishop, and who is a son of the blessed Demetrianus, who
formerly presided in a distinguished manner over the same parish.
35. We have
informed you of this that you may write to him, and may receive letters of
communion from him. But let this man write to Artemas; and let those who think
as Artemas does, communicate with him."
36. As Paul had
fallen from the episcopate, as well as from the orthodox faith, Domnus, as has
been said, became bishop of the church at Antioch. But as Paul refused to surrender the church building, the
Emperor Aurelian was petitioned; and he decided the matter most equitably,
ordering the building to be given to those to whom the bishops of Italy and of
the city of Rome should adjudge it.
37. Thus this man
was driven out of the church, with extreme disgrace, by the worldly power.
Such was Aurelian's treatment of us at that time; but in the course of
his reign he changed his mind in regard to us, and was moved by certain advisers
to institute a persecution against us. And there was great talk about this on
But as he was
about to do it, and was, so to speak, in the very act of signing the decrees
against us, the divine judgment came upon him and restrained him at the very
verge of his undertaking, showing in a manner that all could see clearly, that
the rulers of this world can never find an opportunity against the churches of
Christ, except the hand, that defends them permits it, in divine and heavenly
judgment, for the sake of discipline and correction, at such times as it sees
39. After a reign
of six years, Aurelian was succeeded by Probus. He reigned for the same number
of years, and Carus, with his sons, Carinus and Numerianus, succeeded him. After
they had reigned less than three years the government devolved on Diocletian,
and those associated with him.
40. Under them took
place the persecution of our time, and the destruction of the churches connected
with it. Shortly before this,
Dionysius, bishop of Rome, after holding office for nine years, died, and was
succeeded by Felix.
The heresy of the Manicheans, which began at this time.
1. At this time,
the madman, named from his demoniacal heresy, armed himself in the perversion of
his reason, as the devil, Satan, who himself fights against God, put him forward
to the destruction of many. He was a barbarian in life, both in word and deed;
and in his nature demoniacal and insane.
2. In consequence
of this he sought to pose as Christ, and being puffed up in his madness, he
proclaimed himself the Paraclete and the very Holy Spirit; and afterwards, like
Christ, he chose twelve disciples as partners of his new doctrine.
And he patched
together false and godless doctrines collected from a multitude of long-extinct
impieties, and swept them, like a deadly poison, from Persia to our part of the
world. From him the impious name of the Manicheans is still prevalent among
many. Such was the foundation of this "knowledge falsely so-called,"
which sprang up in those times.
At this time,
Felix, having presided over the Church of Rome for five years, was succeeded by
Eutychianus, but he in less than ten months left the position to Caius, who
lived in our day. He held it about fifteen years, and was in turn succeeded by
Marcellinus, who was overtaken by the persecution.
5. About the same
time Timaeus received the episcopate of Antioch after Domnus, and Cyril, who
lived in our day, succeeded him. In his time we became acquainted with
Dorotheus, a man of learning among those of his day, who was honored with the
office of presbyter in Antioch. He was a lover of the beautiful in divine
things, and devoted himself to the Hebrew language, so that he read the Hebrew
Scriptures with facility.
6. He belonged to
those who were especially liberal, and was not unacquainted with Grecian
propaedeutics. Besides this he was a eunuch, having been so from his very birth.
On this account, as if it were a miracle, the emperor took him into his family,
and honored him by placing him over the purple dye-works at Tyre. We have heard
him expound the Scriptures wisely in the Church.
7. After Cyril,
Tyrannus received the episcopate of the parish of Antioch. In his time occurred
the destruction of the churches. Eusebius,
who had come from the city of Alexandria, ruled the parishes of Laodicea after
The occasion of
his removal thither was the affair of Paul. He went on this account to Syria,
and was restrained from returning home by those there who were zealous in divine
things. Among our contemporaries he was a beautiful example of religion, as is
readily seen from the words of Dionysius which we have quoted. Anatolius was
appointed his successor; one good man, as they say, following another. He also
was an Alexandrian by birth.
In learning and
skill in Greek philosophy, such as arithmetic and geometry, astronomy, and
dialectics in general, as well as in the theory of physics, he stood first among
the ablest men of our time, and he was also at the head in rhetorical science.
It is reported that for this reason he was requested by the citizens of
Alexandria to establish there a school of Aristotelian philosophy.
They relate of
him many other eminent deeds during the siege of the Pyrucheium in Alexandria,
on account of which he was especially honored by all those in high office; but I
will give the following only as an example.
They say that
bread had failed the besieged, so that it was more difficult to withstand the
famine than the enemy outside; but he being present provided for them in this
manner. As the other part of the city was allied with the Roman army, and
therefore was not under siege, Anatolius sent for Eusebius, -for he was still
there before his transfer to Syria, and was among those who were not besieged,
and possessed, moreover, a great reputation and a renowned name which had
reached even the Roman general, -and he informed him of those who were perishing
in the siege from famine.
When he learned
this he requested the Roman commander as the greatest possible favor, to grant
safety to deserters from the enemy. Having obtained his request, he communicated
it to Anatolius. As soon as he received the message he convened the senate of
Alexandria, and at first proposed that all should come to reconciliation with
But when he
perceived that they were angered by this advice, he said, "But I do not
think you will oppose me, if I counsel you to send the supernumeraries and those
who are in nowise useful to us, as old women and children and old men, outside
the gates, to go wherever they may please. For why should we retain for no
purpose these who must at any rate soon die?
14. And why should
we destroy with hunger those who are crippled and maimed in body, when we ought
to provide only for men and youth, and to distribute the necessary bread among
those who are needed for the garrison of the city?"
arguments he persuaded the assembly, and rising first he gave his vote that the
entire multitude, whether of men or women, who were not needful for the army,
should depart from the city, because if they remained and unnecessarily
continued in the city, there would be for them no hope of safety, but they would
perish with famine.
16. As all the
others in the senate agreed to this, he saved almost all the besieged. He
provided that first, those belonging to the church, and afterwards, of the
others in the city, those of every age should escape, not only the classes
included in the decree, but, under cover of these, a multitude of others,
secretly clothed in women's garments; and through his management they went out
of the gates by night and escaped to the Roman camp.
like a father and physician, received all of them, wasted away through the long
siege, and restored them by every kind of prudence and care.
The church of Laodicea was honored by two such pastors in succession,
who, in the providence of God, came after the aforesaid war from Alexandria to
not write very many works; but in such as have come down to us we can discern
his eloquence and erudition. In these he states particularly his opinions on the
Passover. It seems important to give here the following extracts from them.
From the Paschal Canons of Anatolius.
then in the first year the new moon of the first month, which is the beginning
of every cycle of nineteen years, on the twenty-sixth day of the Egyptian
Phamenoth; but according to the months of the Macedonians, the twenty-second day
of Dystrus, or, as the Romans would say, the eleventh before the Kalends of
20. On the said
twenty-sixth of Phamenoth, the sun is found not only entered on the first
segment, but already passing through the fourth day in it. They are accustomed
to call this segment the first part, and the equinox, and the
beginning of months, and the head of the cycle, and the starting-point of the
21. But they call
the one preceding this the last of months, and the twelfth segment, and the
final [art, and the end of the planetary circuit. Wherefore we
maintain that those who place the first month in it, and determine by it the
fourteenth of the Passover, commit no slight or common blunder.
And this is not
an opinion of our own; but it was known to the Jews of old, even before Christ,
and was carefully observed by them. This may be learned from what is said by
Philo, Josephus, and Musaeus; and not only by them, but also by those yet more
ancient, the two Agathobuli, surnamed `Masters, ` and the famous Aristobulus,
who was chosen among the seventy interpreters of the sacred and divine Hebrew
Scriptures by Ptolemy Philadelphus and his father, and who also dedicated his
exegetical books on the law of Moses to the same kings.
explaining questions in regard to the Exodus, say that all alike should
sacrifice the Passover offerings after the vernal equinox, in the middle of the
first month. But this occurs while the sun is passing through the first segment
of the solar, or as some of them have styled it, the zodiacal circle.
Aristobulus adds that it is necessary for the feast of the Passover, that not
only the sun should pass through the equinoctial segment, but the moon also.
24. For as there
are two equinoctial segments, the vernal and the autumnal, directly opposite
each other, and as the day of the Passover was appointed on the fourteenth of
the month, beginning with the evening, the moon will hold a position
diametrically opposite the sun, as may be seen in full moons; and the sun will
be in the segment of the vernal equinox, and of necessity the moon in that of
25. I know that
many other things have been said by them, some of them probable, and some
approaching absolute demonstration, by which they endeavor to prove that it is
altogether necessary to keep the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread
after the equinox.
26. But I refrain
from demanding this sort of demonstration for matters from which the veil of the
Mosaic law has been removed, so that now at length with uncovered face we
continually behold as in a glass Christ and the teachings and sufferings of
Christ. But that with the Hebrews the first month was near the equinox, the
teachings also of the Book of Enoch show.'
The same writer
has also left the Institutes of Arithmetic, in ten books, and other evidences of
his experience and proficiency in divine things.
Theotecnus, bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, first ordained him as
bishop, designing to make him his successor in his own parish after his death.
28. And for a short
time both of them presided over the same church. But the synod which was held to
consider Paul's case called him to Antioch, and as he passed through the city of
Laodicea, Eusebius being dead, he was detained by the brethren there.
Anatolius had departed this life, the last bishop of that parish before the
persecution was Stephen, who was admired by many for his knowledge of philosophy
and other Greek learning. But he was not equally devoted to the divine faith, as
the progress of the persecution manifested; for it showed that he was a cowardly
and unmanly dissembler rather than a true philosopher.
30. But this did
not seriously injure the church, for Theodotus restored their affairs, being
straightway made bishop of that parish by God himself, the Savior of all. He
justified by his deeds both his lordly name and his office of bishop. For he
excelled in the medical art for bodies, and in the healing art for souls. Nor
did any other man equal him in kindness, sincerity, sympathy, and zeal in
helping such as needed his aid. He was also greatly devoted to divine learning.
Such a one was he.
31. In Caesarea in
Palestine, Agapius succeeded Theotecnus, who had most zealously performed the
duties of his episcopate. Him too we know to have labored diligently, and to
have manifested most genuine providence in his oversight of the people,
particularly caring for all the poor with liberal hand.
32. In his time we
became acquainted with Pamphilus, that most eloquent man, of truly philosophical
life, who was esteemed worthy of the office of presbyter in that parish. It
would be no small matter to show what sort of a man he was and whence he came.
33. But we have
described, in our special work concerning him, all the particulars of his life,
and of the school which he established, and the trials which he endured in many
confessions during the persecution, and the crown of martyrdom with which he was
finally honored. But of all that were there he was indeed the most admirable.
34. Among those
nearest our times, we have known Pierius, of the presbyters in Alexandria, and
Meletius, bishop of the churches in Pontus, - rarest of men.
The first was
distinguished for his life of extreme poverty and his philosophic learning, and
was exceedingly diligent in the contemplation and exposition of divine things,
and in public discourses in the church. Meletius, whom the learned called the
"honey of Attica," was a man whom every one would describe as most
accomplished in all kinds of learning; and it would be impossible to admire
sufficiently his rhetorical skill. It might be said that he possessed this by
nature; but who could surpass the excellence of his great experience and
erudition in other respects?
For in all
branches of knowledge had you undertaken to try him even once, you would have
said that he was the most skillful and learned. Moreover, the virtues of his
life were not less remarkable. We observed him well in the time of the
persecution, when for seven full years he was escaping from its fury in the
regions of Palestine.
received the episcopate of the church of Jerusalem after the bishop Hymenaeus,
whom we mentioned a little above. He died in a short time, and Hermon, the last
before the persecution in our day, succeeded to the apostolic chair, which has
been preserved there until the present time.
38. In Alexandria,
Maximus, who, after the death of Dionysius, had been bishop for eighteen years,
was succeeded by Theonas. In his time Achillas, who had been appointed a
presbyter in Alexandria at the same time with Pierius, became celebrated. He was
placed over the school of the sacred faith, and exhibited fruits of philosophy
most rare and inferior to none, and conduct genuinely evangelical.
39. After Theonas
had held the office for nineteen years, Peter received the episcopate in
Alexandria, and was very eminent among them for twelve entire years. Of these he
governed the church less than three years before the persecution, and for the
remainder of his life he subjected himself to a more rigid discipline and cared
in no secret manner for the general interest of the churches. On this account he
was beheaded in the ninth year of the persecution, and was adorned with the
crown of martyrdom.
40. Having written
out these books the account of the successions from the birth of our Savior to
the destruction of the places of worship, - a period of three hundred and five
years, - permit me to pass on to the contests of those who, in our day, have
heroically fought for religion, and to leave in writing, for the information of
posterity, the extent and the magnitude of those conflicts.