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book gives information about the accession of Justin and Amantius the provost,
who was killed in the palace. And Vitalian the tyrant, and of the martyrs who
were killed in Nagrin, in the royal city of the land of the Homerites, by the
Concerning the accession of Justin
1. In the year eight
hundred and twenty-nine according to the reckoning of the Greeks, on the tenth
of July, when the year eleven was already drawing to an end, on the death of
Anastasius, Justin became king after him.
2. And he was an old man of a
handsome presence with white hair and he was illiterate. This man Marinus of
Apamea, an able man, who was cartulary, depicted in the public baths, as he had
come from the fortress of Mauriana in Illyricum to Constantinople with all the
history of his entry into Constantinople, and how he had been advanced from step
to step until he became king.
3. And, when this same Marinus
was accused on this ground and came into danger, trusting in his astuteness, he
readily rendered an answer, saying, "I have represented these things in
pictures for the consideration of the observant and the understanding of the
4. In order that magnates and
rich men and men of high family may not trust in their power and their riches
and the greatness of their noble family, but in God, who raises the poor man out
of the mire and places him as chief over the people, and rules in the kingdom of
men to give it to whom He will.
5. And to set the lowest among
men over it, and chooses men of low birth in the world, and men that are
rejected, and men that are not, that he may bring to naught men that are."
And he was accepted, and escaped from the danger.
Amantius now, the provost, he
and Andrew the chamberlain, his associate, favored and cherished Theocritus his
domestic; and after the death of Anastasius he gave a large sum of gold to this
old man for the purpose of making gifts to the scholars and the other soldiers,
in order that they might make Theocritus king.
7. But by giving the gold to
these men he gained their favor, and they made him king, because the Lord willed
it. And, because he shared the opinions of the inhabitants of Rome, he gave
strict orders that the Synod and the Tome of Leo should be proclaimed.
8. And this Amantius tried to
prevent it, saying, "The signature of the three patriarchs and the
principal bishops of your dominions, who have written and condemned the Synod,
is not yet dry." And because he spoke with freedom, this same Amantius, the
provost, was immediately put to death, and so were Theocritus his domestic, and
Andrew the chamberlain.
Now a year afterwards John,
the bishop of the city, died, and Epiphanes succeeded him. And, since Severus
withdrew from Antioch for fear of the threats of the king, who had ordered his
tongue to be cut out, Paul succeeded him, who was called "the Jew."
10. And, because he celebrated the
memory of Nestorius, he was driven out, and Euphrasius succeeded him, who was
burnt in a cauldron blazing with aromatic wax during the earthquake of Antioch.
Vitalian the tyrant.
1. Vitalian the tyrant was a
general in the days of Anastasius; and he was a Goth and a stout-hearted
warrior, and barbarians followed him.
2. Of him it was said that he
wished to raise a rebellion against Anastasius; and he exacted an oath from him,
and he did not keep it, but rebelled and induced barbarian tribes to follow him,
and made an attack upon the dominions of Anastasius.
3. And took cities and their
villages; and he marched forward as far as the royal city, and blockaded it, and
annoyed the king in many ways; and caused him anxiety, because he had taken
Hypatius, who had gone out against him, as prisoner, and routed his army.
4. And he carried him with him,
treating him with indignity and insult, and exposing him to contempt; but for a
large sum of gold, which he received for him, he sent him back. And, when
Anastasius was dead, a letter was written to him by this old man Justin,
entreating him and appeasing him, in order that he might not again act unjustly
and rebel in his days, as he was accustomed to do.
5. Then various tribes also
followed him, and the Goth came confidently; and the king went out to the
Martyr's Chapel of Euphemia at Chalcedon, and they swore oaths to one another
and entered the city; and he became one of the generals-in-chief; and in the
fullness of power he went in and out of the palace, and presided over the
conduct of affairs.
6. And he was united by a
spiritual relationship to Flavian of Antioch, who was driven out; and he nursed
great resentment against the holy Severus, who succeeded Flavian, but he was not
able to injure him in the days of Anastasius.
7. However, at the beginning of
the reign of this old man Justin an order was issued that, wherever he was
caught, his tongue should be cut out, they say, by the advice of Vitalian.
8. Now it happened some days
afterwards that, while Vitalian was bathing in the royal city, he received a
command from the king to come to a banquet, he and Justinian the general, his
colleague; and he was coming from the baths, he and Paul his notary and Celer
9. And men having been posted
ready to stab him as he was going from one house to the other, he was killed, he
and his notary and his domestic. But God requited him for the evil which he did
in the days of Anastasius and the violation of his oaths;
1. We inform your affection that
on the twentieth of January in this year eight hundred and thirty - five of the
Greeks that left the camp of Nu'man in company with Abraham the presbyter, the
son of Euphrasius, who had been sent to Mundhir by Justin the king,
2. To make peace, of which we
wrote also in our former epistle. And
we, all the believers, express our thanks to him for his assistance to our side;
and he knows what we wrote formerly and what we are writing now.
3. For we traveled ten days'
journey through the desert towards the south-east, and we came upon Mundhir over
against the hills called 'the hills of sand,' and in the Saracen language
'Ramlah.' And as we were entering the encampment of Mundhir, some Saracens,
heathens met us, and said to us,
4. What can you do? For, behold!
Your Christ has been expelled by the Romans and the Persians and the Homerites.
And these insults by the Saracens it distressed us, in addition to the sorrow
that fell on us because of an envoy that had been sent by the king of the
Homerites to Mundhir.
5. This king gave him an letter
full of boasting; and it was written as follows: 'The king whom the Ethiopians
set up in our country died; and, because the winter season had begun, they were
not able to march out into our country and appoint a Christian king, as they
6. Accordingly, I became king
over the whole country of the Homerites, and I resolved first to slay all the
Christians who confessed Christ, unless they became Jews like us. And I killed
two hundred and eighty men, of the priests that were found, and besides them
Ethiopians that were guarding the church.
7. And I made their church into a
synagogue for us. Then, with a force of 120,000 men I went to Nagrin, their
royal city. And, when I had sat down before it for some days and was not able to
take it, I swore oaths to them.
8. And their chiefs came out to
me; but I judged it right not to keep my word to the Christians, my enemies. And
I arrested them, and required them to bring their gold and their silver and
their possessions; and they brought them to me, and I took them.
9. And I asked for Paul their
bishop; and, when they told me that he was dead, I did not believe them, until
they showed me his grave: and I dug up his bones and burnt them, as well as
their church and their priests and everyone who was found seeking refuge there.
10. And the rest I urged to deny
Christ and the Cross, and to become Jews; but they would not, confessing that He
only is God and the Son of the Blessed, they even chose to die for His sake. And
their chief said many things against us, and insulted us.
11. And I ordered all their
magnates to be put to death. And we fetched their wives, and told them, now that
they had seen their husbands put to death for Christ, to deny, and have mercy on
their sons and on their daughters.
12. And we urged them, but they
would not; the nuns however strove hard to be put to death first; and the wives
of the magnates were angry with them, and said, "We ought to die after our
13. And they were all put to death
by our order except Rhumi,
the wife of the king who was to have reigned there, whom we would not permit to
die; but we kept requiring her to deny Christ and live, having mercy upon her
daughters, and retain that, which she possessed by becoming a Jew.
14. And we bade her go and take
counsel, attended by guards from our army. And she went out, going round the
streets and the squares of the city with her head uncovered, a woman whose
person no one had seen in the street since she grew up.
15. And she cried and said,
"Women of Nagrin, my Christian companions, and the rest of you who are Jews
and heathens, listen! You know my birth and my family, and whose Christian
daughter I am, and that I have gold and silver and slaves, male and female, and
many lands and revenues.
16. And, now that my husband has
been put to death for Christ's sake, if I wish to be married to a husband, I
have 40,000 denari and gold ornaments, and much silver and pearls and
raiment, splendid and magnificent, besides the treasures of my husband.
17. And you yourselves know that I
do not speak falsely of these things; and that to a woman there are no days of
joy like the days of her marriage; for from that time forward there are
distresses and lamentation, at the birth of children, and when she is deprived of
them, and when she buries them.
18. But I from this day forward am
free from them all. And on the day of my first marriage I was full of joy, and
now, behold! It is in the gladness of my heart that I have adorned my five
virgin daughters for Christ.
19. Look upon me, my companions,
for, lo! You have seen me twice, once at my first marriage, and this the second
one; for it was with my face exposed before you all that I went to my former
20. And now it is with my face
exposed that I am going to Christ, my Lord and my God, and the Lord and God of
my daughters, even as He in His love humbled Himself and came to us and suffered
for our sake.
21. Imitate me and my daughters,
and consider that I am not inferior to you in beauty; and, behold! I am going to
Christ my Lord resplendent in that beauty, undefiled, as it is, by Jewish
denial, that my beauty may be a witness before my Lord that it could not lead me
astray to commit the sin of denial.
22. And my gold and silver and all
that I have may be witnesses that I did not love them as I loved my God, which
this rebellious king permitted me to deny and live.
23. Far be it from me, my
companions, far be it from me to deny Christ my God in whom I have believed! I
and my daughters have been baptized in the name of the Trinity, and I worship
His cross, and for His sake I and my daughters joyfully die, even as He
suffered in the flesh for our sake.
24. Behold! I resign everything
that is pleasant to the eyes and to the bodily senses on the earth and passes
away, that I may go and receive from my Lord that which does not pass away.
Blessed are you, my companions, if you will hear my words and know the truth and
love Christ, for whose sake I and my daughters die.
25. Then shall there be rest and
peace to the people of God. The blood of my brothers and my sisters who have
been slain for Christ shall be a wall to this city, if it hold fast to Christ my
Lord. Behold, with my face exposed I pass away from this city, in which I have
been as in a temporary tabernacle, that I may go with my daughters to an
everlasting city, for it is there that I have betrothed them.
26. Pray for me, my companions,
that Christ my Lord may receive me and may pardon me for having remained alive
these three days after my husband."
27. And, when we heard a cry of
lamentation from the city, and asking those who had been sent told us that, as
written above, Rhumi had
gone around the city, speaking to the women her companions and encouraging them,
and a cry of woe was being raised in the city.
28. Then with the guards we were
so much enraged in not having been able to persuade her, we would have put them
to death for allowing her to act in this manner. And at last as she came out
from the city like a madwoman, with her head uncovered, accompanied by her
daughters; she stood before me without shame, holding her daughters, who were
attired as for marriage.
29. And she loosened the bands of her hair and turning them around with
her hand, she stretched out her neck, and bowed her head, crying, "I am a Christian, and so are my daughters; for Christ's sake
we die. Cut off our heads, that we may go and find our brothers and our sisters
and the father of my daughters."
30. But after all this madness I
exhorted her to deny Christ, and only to say that He was a man; but she would
not, and one of her daughters insulted us for saying this.
And, since I saw that it was
not possible to induce her to deny Christ, for the sake of striking terror into
the other Christians I gave orders, and they threw her to the ground, and her
daughters' throats were cut, and their blood ran down into her mouth, and
afterwards her head was cut off.
32. And by Adonai I swear that I
was much distressed because of her beauty and that of her daughters. Now the
chief priests and I thought that in accordance with the support of the laws the
children ought not to die because of parents.
33. And I distributed them, both
the boys and the girls, among the army to bring them up; and as soon as they are
grown up, if they become Jews, they shall live; but if they confess Christ, they
shall die. And these things I have described and related to your Majesty, and I
beg you not to suffer a Christian among your people, unless he denies and stands
on your side.
34. Now, as for the Jews also, my
brethren, who are in your dominions, treat them kindly, my brother, and write
and send me word what you wish me to send you in return for this.
35. All these things were written
to him after we had reached the place: and he assembled his army, and the epistle was read
before him, and the envoy related how the Christians had been put to death and
banished from the land of the Homerites.
36. And Mundhir said to the
Christians in his army, ‘Behold! You have heard what has happened. Deny
Christ; for I am no better than the other kings who have persecuted the
37. And a certain man of high
position in his army, who was a Christian, was moved with zeal, and boldly said
to the king, 'It was not in your time that we became Christians, that we should
38. And Mundhir was enraged, and
said, 'Do you dare to speak in my presence?' And he said, 'Because of the fear
of God I speak without fear, and no one shall stop me; for my sword is no
shorter than the swords of others, and I will not shrink from fighting unto
39. And because of his birth, and
because he was a great and distinguished man and valiant in war, Mundhir was
40. And, when we returned to the
camp of Nu'man in the first week of the fast, we found a Christian envoy, who
had been sent by the king of the Homerites before he died.
This man, when he heard about
the people who had been slaughtered by this Jewish tyrant, immediately hired a
man from the camp of Nu'man, and sent him to Nagrin to bring him intelligence of
what he saw and learned as to the events, which had happened there.
42. And, when he returned, he also
in our presence related to the former Christian envoy the things which are
recorded above, and that three hundred and forty of the magnates had been put to
death, who had come out to him from the city.
43. And he swore to them, and
perjured himself to them; as to their chief, Harith the son of Khanab, the husband of Rhumi,
that the Jew insulted
him, and said to him, ”You have rebelled against me by trusting in Christ, but
have mercy upon your old age and deny Him, or else you shall die with your
44. And he answered and said to
him, “I am truly distressed for all my companions and my brothers, because
they would not listen to me when I told them that you were lying, and said that
we should not go out to you, nor trust your words, but fight with you.
45. And I trusted in Christ that I
might overcome you, and the city would not have been taken, for there was
nothing lacking in it. And you are not a king, but a liar: and I have myself
seen many kings who are truthful and do not lie.
46. And I will not deny Christ my
God to become a Jew like you, and a liar. And now I know that He loves me; and I
have lived long in the world, and have had children and grandchildren, and I
have daughters and many kinsmen, and I have won renown in wars by the power of
47. And I am sure that, even as a
vine, which is pruned and gives forth much fruit, so shall our Christian people
be multiplied in this city. And the church, which has been burnt by you, shall
increase and be built up.
48. And Christianity shall have
dominion and give commands to kings, and shall reign, and your Judaism shall be
blotted out, and your kingdom shall pass away, and your dominion shall come to
an end. Boast not that you have done anything, nor be puffed up with glorying.'
49. And, when the great Harith the son of Khanab, the
venerable old man, had said these things, he turned around and said in a loud
voice to his believing companions who surrounded him, 'Did you hear, my
brothers, what I said to this Jew?'
50. And they said, 'We heard
everything which you said, father of ours.' And again he said, 'Is it true or
not?' And they cried, 'It is true.' And he said, 'If any man fears the sword and
denies Christ, let him be separated from among us.'
51. And they cried, 'Far be it
from us! Be of good cheer, father of ours: we are all like you, and with you
will we die for Christ's sake, and no one amongst us will remain after you.' And
he cried and said, 'Ye Christian people who surround me, and ye heathens and
52. If any man of my family and my
relations and of my kin denies Christ and joins this Jew, he has no part with
me, and he shall not inherit anything that is mine, but all that belongs to me
shall go to the expenses of the church that shall be built.
But, if any man of my kin does
not deny Christ and survives me, he shall inherit my property; but three fields,
whichever the Church shall choose in my estate, shall go to the expenses of the
Church.' And, when he had said these things, he turned to the king and said;
54. You and everyone that deny
Christ - I deny. Behold! We
stand before you.' And his companions were emboldened, and said, 'Behold!
Abraham the patriarch will look upon you and us with you; but everyone who
denies Christ and remains alive after you we deny.'
55. And he ordered them to be
taken to the gully called Wadiya, for their heads to be cut off and their
bodies to be thrown into it. And they stretched out their hands to heaven and
said, 'Christ, our God, come to our aid, and put strength within us, and receive
56. And may the blood of Thy
bondservants, which is shed for Thy sake, smell sweet unto Thee; and make us
worthy of Thy sight; and confess us before Thy Father, as Thou promised. And may
the church be built, and may a bishop be appointed in the stead of Paul, Thy
bond-servant, whose bones they burnt.'
57. And they bade one another
farewell; and the old man Harith made the sign over them, and he bowed his head and received the
sword. And his companions rushed forward and crowded together and smeared
themselves with his blood; and they were all martyred.
58. And a child of three years
old, whose mother was coming out to be put to death and was holding him with her
hand, ran up (and it happened that, when he saw the king sitting clad in royal
apparel, he left his mother and ran up and kissed the king on the knees).
59. And the king took hold of him
and began to caress him and to say to him, 'Which do you prefer, to go and die
with your mother, or to stay with me?' And
the boy said to him, 'By our Lord, I would like to die with my mother; and for
this purpose I am going with my mother; for she said to me, "Come, my son,
let us go and die for Christ's sake."
60. Release me, that I may go to
my mother, lest she die and I do not see her, because she said to me, "The
king of the Jews has commanded that everyone who does not deny Christ shall
die," and I will not deny Him.'
61. And he said to him, 'Whence do
you know Christ?' The boy said to him, 'Every day I see Him in the church with
my mother, whenever I go to the church.' And he said to him, 'Do you love me, or
your mother?' And again he said to him, 'Do you love me, or Christ?' He said to
him, 'Christ more than you.'
62. And he said to him, 'Why did
you come and kiss my knees?' The boy said to him, 'I thought that you were the
Christian king, whom I used to see in the church, and I did not know that you
were the Jew.'
63. He said to him, 'I will give
you nuts and almonds and figs.' And the boy said, 'No, by Christ, I will not eat
the Jews' nuts; but let me go to my mother.'
64. And he said to him, 'Stay with
me, and you shall be a son to me.' And the boy said, 'No, by Christ, I will not
stay with you, because your smell is foul and fetid, and not sweet like my
mother.' And the king said to those that were standing by, 'Look at this evil
root, whom from his boyhood Christ has deceived so as to make him love Him.'
65. And one of the magnates said to the boy, 'Come with me, and I will
take you, that you may be a son to the queen.' And the boy said to him, 'You are smitten on the face. My mother, who takes me to the church,
is more to me than the queen.'
66. And, when he saw that they
held him tight, he bit the king on the thigh, and said, 'Release me, you wicked Jew, that I may go to my mother and die with
her.' And he gave him to one of the
magnates, and said, 'Take care of him until he grows up; and, if he denies
Christ, he shall live; and, if not, he shall die.'
And, while this man's slave
was carrying him off, he struggled with his feet and cried to his mother, 'My
mother, come and take me, that I may go with you to the church.'
And, crying out to him, she
said, 'Go, my son; you are intrusted to Christ's care; do not weep; wait for me
in the church in Christ's presence till I come.' And, when she had said this,
they cut off her head.
69. And owing to this letter and
the reports that have been received distress has fallen upon all the Christians
here. And, in order that the things which have happened in the land of the
Homerites may be made known to the pious believing bishops.
70. And that they may celebrate
the memory of the illustrious martyrs, we have written these things; and we beg
your affection to let them be made known at once to the archimandrites and
bishops, and especially to the chief priest of Alexandria, in order that he may
write to the king of the Ethiopians to come at once and help the Homerites.
71. But let the chief priests of
the Jews in Tiberias also be arrested, and be compelled to send to this Jewish
king, who has appeared, and tell him to put an end to the tribulation and
persecution in the land of the Homerites."
72. And so the rest, consisting of
salutations to the chief priests and bishops of that time and the believing
archimandrites, which are contained in the epistle.
While Asclepius Bar Malohe,
the brother of Andrew and of Demosthenes the prefect, held the see of Edessa,
having become bishop there after Paul, who showed an outward appearance of being
orthodox. This man was ostentatious in his person, and polished.
2. And, when he was bishop in
Edessa in the days of Flavian, before Asclepius, he drew up a written statement
for him, which did not condemn the Synod. And
this book came into the hands of the holy Severus, who succeeded Flavian;
3. And, when this Paul went up to
salute him, he gave it him, and in divine love forgave him his offence, that is,
on his assurance that he was a believer; and this wise man, who kept knowledge
hidden, as it is written, did not expose him.
4. And in the days of this king
he at first firmly refused to accept the Synod, while the people of Edessa
supported him, and even suffered loss and outrage on his account every day;
however, on being banished to Euchaita he conformed, and returned to Edessa.
5. And after surviving a short
time he was struck with shame and soon after died, and Asclepius succeeded him.
And he was a Nestorian; but he was just in his deeds, and showed kindness to the
tillers of the soil, and was gentle towards them, and was not greedy after
6. In his body he was chaste, and
in outward matters he did much good to his church, and paid its debts. But he
was active and violent against the believers.
7. And many were banished by him
and outraged with every kind of torture, or died under the hard treatment
inflicted on them at the hands of Liberius, a Goth, a cruel governor, who was
called "the bull-eater."
8. And while affairs in Edessa
were in this condition, in the year eight hundred and thirty-six of the Greeks,
the year three, on
the twenty-second of April, the river Scirtus, which enters and passes through
the city, rose and overflowed, and overthrew two sides of the wall, and drowned
9. For it was supper-time, and
while their food was in their mouth the waters rushed in upon them, the flooded
Scirtus. But Asclepius escaped, and so did Liberius.
10. And the flow of the waters of
Shiluho, which are in Jerusalem, in the southern quarter of it, was stopped for
fifteen years. And the temple of
Solomon in the city of Heliopolis in the forest of Lebanon, which Scripture
mentions that Solomon built it and stored arms in it, was burnt.
And to the south of it are
three wonderful stones, on which nothing is built, but they stand by themselves,
joined and united together and touching one another; and all three are
distinguished by effigies, and they are very large.
12. And in a mystical sense they
are set, as it were, to represent the temple of the knowledge of the faith in
the adorable Trinity, the calling of the nations by the preaching of the gospel
13. There came down lightning from
heaven, while the rain fell in small quantities: it struck the temple and
reduced its stones to powder by the heat, and overthrew its pillars, and broke
it to pieces and destroyed it.
14. But the three stones it did
not touch, but remained perfect; and now a house of prayer has been built there,
dedicated to Mary the Holy Virgin.
15. And a year afterwards, in the
year four, Antioch was overthrown by a great earthquake of unusual severity, and
countless people perished in it. For it was summer time; and while they were
feasting, and their food was in their mouth, their houses were thrown
down upon them, as upon the sons of Job in the proving of Satan.
16. And Euphrasius was chief
priest there, who succeeded Paul who was called "the Jew"; and he fell
into a boiling cauldron of wax, and perished.
17. And his successor was Ephraim
of Amida. And this man in the authority, which he exercised in various
countries, was a man just in his deeds, and was not greedy after bribes, and was
able and successful.
18. And for years he had been
infected with the teaching of the Diphysites through some books which his mother
had inherited from a certain Bar Shalumo of Constantia, of the school of
Diodorus and Theodore;
19. And he corrupted and won over
many persons, some by subtlety and moderation, and some by the threats of the
king, who was fond of him, and paid attention to what he wrote to him.
1. Kawad, the king of the
Persians, kept making pressing demands for the payment of a tribute of 500 Ib..
weight of gold which was paid to him by the king of the Romans on account of the
expense of the Persian force which guarded the gates facing the land of the
2. And for this reason from time
to time he used to send his own Saracens into the territory of the Romans, and
they plundered and carried off captives. The Romans also invaded Arzanene, a
country that belonged to him, and the district of Nisibis, and did damage.
3. On this account negotiations
were held, and the two kings sent envoys, Justin sending Hypatius and the old
man Farzman, and Kawad Asthebid. And much discussion took place on the frontier,
which was reported to the two kings by their magnates through couriers; and no
peaceful message was sent by them, but they were hostile to one another.
4. And Mundhir, the Saracen king,
went up into the territory of Emesa and Apamea and the district of Antioch on
two occasions; and he carried off many people, and took them away with him.
5. And four hundred virgins, who
were suddenly taken captive among the congregation in the church of Thomas the
Apostle at Emesa, these he sacrificed in one day in honor of uzzai.
Dodo, the Anchorite, an old man, who was also captive among the
congregation, saw it with his own eyes, and told me.
6. Now of the bishops of the
East, and especially those in the jurisdiction of the learned Severus, some were
banished, and others withdrew to Alexandria and various other countries, walking
in the footsteps of the chief priest, Severus the doctor.
7. And Akhs'noyo of Hierapolis
had been sent into exile at Gangra; and he was imprisoned over the kitchen in
the hospital there, and was suffocated by the smoke, as he states in his
epistle; and at last he died.
8. And Antoninus of Berrhoea, and
Thomas of Damascus, and Thomas of Dara, and John of Constantia, and Thomas of
Amrin, and Peter of Rhesaina, and Constantine of Laodicea, and Peter of Apamea,
and others withdrew, and lived in hiding wherever it was convenient for them.
9. But the see of Alexandria had
not been disturbed, and Timothy succeeded Dioscorus; and he did not withdraw nor
accept the Synod in the days of Justin; and the fugitive believing priests who
sought refuge with him he received affectionately, and honored and encouraged
10. Now Nonnus of Seleucia, who
came from Amida, had withdrawn to his own city and taken up his abode in his
mansion there, because he came of a wealthy family, and had been governor and
great steward of the Church in his city in the days of John the bishop, who came
from the monastery of Karthamin, a righteous man.
He in his days blessed Nonnus,
and said, "I am confident in my Lord that you will die as bishop in my
see." And the event was delayed, inasmuch as after the captivity of Amida
the gracious Thomas became bishop there, who built Dara.
And when couriers came to
seize him, in order that either he might accept the Synod or they might drive
him out, he fell ill in accordance with his prayer, and died suddenly while in
possession of his see, and this caused many to marvel.
13. Accordingly, in order that the
blessing of John might be fulfilled, the men of Amida seized Nonnus and
appointed him bishop there; and he lived a few months, and departed.
And in succession to him, in
the presence of three bishops, as the canons require, Nonnus of Martyropolis,
Arathu of Ingila, and Aaron of Arsamosata, who were on the spot, ordained Moro
Bar Kustant, the governor, that was steward of the Church.
15. He was an abstemious man and
righteous in his deeds, chaste and believing; and he was fluent and practiced in
the Greek tongue, having been educated in the monastery of St. Thomas, which had
been removed and resettled at Kenneshre on the river Euphrates.
16. There it was rebuilt by John
the Archimandrite, a learned man, who was at that time a native of Edessa, the
son of Aphthonia. And this Moro had been trained up in all kinds of right
instruction and mental excellence from his boyhood by Sh'muni and Morutho, his
grave, chaste, and believing sisters.
17. And after a short time in his
see he was banished to Petra, and from Petra to Alexandria; and he stayed there
for a time, and formed a library there containing many admirable books; and in
them there is abundance of great profit for those who love instruction.
18. And after the man's death
these were transferred to the treasury of the Church of Amida. And in every
matter, which I record, in order not to cause annoyance by blaming one man or
praising another, I have related whatever the truth of the matter is without any
19. However, the man progressed
more and more in reading in Alexandria, and there he fell asleep. And his body
was conveyed, by his sisters, who were with him and ministered to him,
comforting him in affliction, as it is written, and laid in his own Martyrs'
Chapel in the village of Beth Shuro.
20. And as a record of the
eloquent expression of his love of instruction I will set down at the end of
this Book the prologue composed by him in the Greek tongue and inserted in his
21. The believing cloistered monks
now in the East had also been expelled and had withdrawn from the year three
until the year nine, one week of years that is, from their cloisters in the
district of Antioch and in Euphratesia, and also in Osrhoene and Mesopotamia.
22. And the cloister of Thomas at
Seleucia with the brotherhood came to Kenneshre on the Euphrates, and was
settled there by the learned John the archimandrite, the son of Aphthonia.
23. And Cyrus, archimandrite of
the Syrians in Antioch, was expelled, together with the brotherhood of the
monastery of Thel 'Addo, and the monastery of Romanus, and Simeon of
L'gino, and Ignatius, archimandrite of the monastery of 'Akibo at Chalcis, and
the monastery of S'nun.
24. And John, archimandrite of
Khafro d'Birtho, and the monastery of my lord Bassus, and John of the Orientals,
and the monks of the Arches, and the monastery of Magnus, and Sergius of the
Quarry, and Thomas of the house of Natsih, and Isaac of the house of ''bedyeshu.
25. And the cloisters of 'Arab in
Mesopotamia and Izlo and Beth Gaugal, and five metropolitan cloisters in Amida,
Hananyo and Abraham called "the humble," a worker of miracles, and
Daniel, visitor of the cloister of Edessa, and Elijah of the house of Ishokuni.
26. And Simai and Cosmas of the
foundation of John the Anzetenian, and Maron of the Orientals, and Solomon of the house of my lord Samuel, and
Cyrus of Sugo, and the monks of the Watch-tower and of Thiri, near Rhesaina.
27. Now for this reason four or
five communities of hermits also settled in the desert: with Ramsho Mori, a
chaste man and of honorable character; and with Natfo Sergius, a plain and
28. And after him Antony, a mild
and peaceful man, and that kindly old man Elijah, our countryman, and Simeon of
Chalcis, and Sergius, who has now rebuilt Sodak, and the community on the
Harmosho, the monastery founded by my lord John at Hauro.
29. And Simeon, archimandrite of
the monastery of my lord Isaac at Gabbula, which is now polluted with the heresy
of Julian the fantasist, who was at that time zealous in the faith, he and those
that were with him.
30. And Bar Hakino of the house of
my lord Hanino, a worker of miracles, was similarly moved with zeal, insomuch as
to go up to the royal city and in his own person to admonish and reprove the
king, although he was not received.
31. And this was witnessed by
Akhs'noyo's epistle of thanks which he wrote to him from Gangra ; and similarly
with the monks of the house of my lord Zakhai at Callinicus, and of the
foundation of my lord Abbo, and of Beth R'kum.
32. And so the desert was at
peace, and was abundantly supplied with a population of believers who lived in
it, and fresh ones who were every day added to them and aided in swelling the
numbers of their brethren, some from a desire to visit their brethren out of
Christian love, and others again because they were being driven from country to
country by the bishops in the cities.
33. And there grew up, as it were,
a commonwealth of illustrious and believing priests, and a tranquil brotherhood
with them; and they were united in love and abounded in mutual affection, and
they were beloved and acceptab le in the sight of everyone.
le in the sight of everyone.
And nothing was lacking, for
the honored heads of the corporation, which is composed of all the members of
the body, accompanied them, the pious John of Constantia, a religious and
ascetic man, and Thomas of Dara
again, while undergoing many labors, conversed much upon physics.
35. Now in the year nine, in the fifth year of the reign of this serene king, Justinian, the king of our day, being moved by God our Lord, who had foreknowledge of his deeds, he distributed justice, and ordered that all orders should return from exile and from the countries to which in zeal for the faith they had withdrawn, and he summoned the believing bishops to come up to him.
36. And, after this had happened
in the year nine, in the year ten a multitude of Huns entered the Roman
territory and massacred those whom they found outside the cities; and they
crossed the river Euphrates, and advanced as far as the district of Antioch.
37. Accordingly, under the
direction of God, as he said, "My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and
hide thyself until My indignation be past," and by order of the king, the
believers in the East again retired into hiding.
38. But John the hermit of
Anastasia, a man of honorable character, had been killed in the desert by the
Huns; but Simeon the hermit, who was called "the horned," had not been
The chief priests
in the days of Justin are as follows:
Of Rome, Hormisda; of Alexandria, Timothy; of Jerusalem, Peter, who
succeeded John; and of Antioch, Paul the Jew, who was driven out, and after him
Euphrasius, who was burnt in the earthquake of Antioch in the year four, and
after him was Ephraim of Amida; of Constantinople, Epiphanies.
A total of nine years.
2. In order to gather together the sense of a long treatise a man stores
up a knowledge of these things succinctly under a few heads in his mind and
memory and understanding. And we may understand these things from the heads
which are set down in this book.
3. And these again cause the
inner meaning of all that is in them to pass rapidly and succinctly into the
mind, when heard and considered in due order. For, if a man gathers together the
record of the Gospels, he will learn from it that God became incarnate, and that
divine as well as human
properties are His, by which He made the, foundations of the world, which at His
second coming He will make clearly to appear.
4. And so everyone who examines
these things severally will find first a notice of the census before His
Incarnation, and then next the birth of John the Baptist for a testimony to the
God of Israel, which happened in accordance with the previous annunciation of
5. And he will find that the
supernatural birth of Jesus, who is God, took place in the Virgin Mary and from
her, and that every man has his beginning from the earth according to the saying
of the Baptist, but He who is not from the earth is Jesus from heaven.
6. Now the testimonies to His
Incarnation mentioned in the book of the Gospel are those spoken in the spirit
by Elizabeth and by the angel to the Virgin and Joseph and the shepherds at the
annunciation of His birth by the assembly of watching angels.
7. And again the prophecy of
Zachariah, and the rising of the star, which bekoned the indestructible reign of
the Son of God, who was born; and the prophecy of Simeon the priest and Anna
about the coming of Christ for the salvation of the world and of Israel.
And besides these also the proclamation of the Baptist, who testified
that he was from earth and our Savior from heaven.
8. And, further, in the
Gospel-record a man will understand His divine dispensation, which was effected
by infinite wisdom, and not through book-wisdom and the pursuit of learning; and
His power of performing wonderful mighty works in deed and word, and His
knowledge about everything.
9. And that He did no sin; and
again that it was at His own pleasure to suffer in His own time and not to
suffer when it was not time; and that it was in His power to destroy sufferings
by His voluntary sufferings in the body, and to do away death by His
Resurrection and to ascend to heaven.
10. And the record plainly states
that He became incarnate of the Virgin in flesh endowed with a soul and an
intellect; it states His nine months' human conception, His natural and
supernatural birth, and that He was wrapped in swaddling-clothes and
sucked milk, and was also circumcised according to law.
11. And, further, that He fled
before the threats of Herod into Egypt, carried by His mother, and that He came
up: from Egypt for the renovation of Israel and after the manner of
Israel; and again, that He increased in stature, and was subject to His mother
and to Joseph her husband.
12. And was baptized with water by
John to signify the renovating birth of mankind, which is in him renewed in a
figure, because His baptism bestowed upon us the holy birth of the Spirit; and
He was tempted by the devil as a man, but as God easily overcame the tempter in
the contest and the argument.
13. And He was ministered unto by
angels; and He gave peace to our race by restoring us to Paradise ; further, He
associated with the disciples in human fashion, and withdrew at one time from
the persecutors, and hungered and thirsted and was weary.
14. But He showed that He did not
submit to these things merely from the necessity of nature in human fashion, as
though He were not God, by the fact that it is testified that He verily fasted
forty days and was afterwards hungry.
15. And, further, that, when they
sought to throw Him down from the brow of the hill they could not do so, but,
while they stood all around Him, He passed through the midst of them and went
His way; and when wounded by the lance on the Cross, His life did not pass away
of necessity, but He bowed His head and gave up the ghost ; and in every respect
divine and human qualities are His.
16. But the reforms which Christ
effected in the world are His rebuke of the deceiver, and the demons which He
drove out, and the fiends which He ejected, and the sore diseases which He
healed, and the dead which He raised, and the divers temptations which He thrust
17. And certain passions which He
brought to naught; which reforms were types and figures of the future world,
which shall be far removed from evil, the world which is looked for by us with
hope and faith and love.
18. And the teaching of our Savior
draws men away from the passion of the love of money and the love of glory and
pleasure, and raises them up that they may serve God in uprightness of will.
19. Now there was inserted in the
Gospel of the holy Moro the bishop, in the eighty-ninth canon, a chapter which
is related only by John in his Gospel, and is not found in other manuscripts, a
section running thus:
20. "It happened one day,
while Jesus was teaching, they brought Him a woman who had been found to be with
child of adultery, and told Him about her.
21. And Jesus said to them (since
as God He knew their shameful passions and also their deeds), 'What does He
command in the law?' And they said to Him, 'That at the mouth of two or three
witnesses she should be stoned.
But He answered and said to
them, 'In accordance with the law, whoever is pure and free from these sinful
passions, and can bear witness with confidence and authority, as being under no
blame in respect of this sin, let him bear witness against her, and let him
first throw a stone at her, and then those that are after him, and she shall be
23. But they, because they were
subject to condemnation and blameworthy in respect of this sinful passion,
went out one by one from before Him and left the woman.
24. And, when they had gone, Jesus
looked upon the ground and, writing in the dust there, said to the woman, 'They
who brought thee here and wished to bear witness against thee, having understood
what I said to them, which thou hast heard, have left thee and departed. Do thou
also, therefore, go thy way, and commit not this sin again.