John of Ephesus, Ecclesiastical History, Part 3 -- Book 2
AT the commencement of the Second Book, John returns to his main subject, and, by way of introduction, repeats his account of the great grief of the bishops, when they found they had been deceived, and the determination to which they came of immediately breaking off all further communion with the patriarch. His words are as follows: [II. 1.] To return then to the narrative of the bishops, and the many trials and three separate imprisonments, and other things which they had to endure, and of which we have given a short account in the First Book, as was fitting there according to the order of the arrangement; directly they saw that they had been deceived, and that the many promises and repeated oaths made to them, to the effect that unity should be fully established, had been broken, having been thus induced by fraud twice to communicate, they were in sorrow and mourning and trouble without end, and in lamentation and bitter sighs, and finally determined and made up their minds, that never again should there be communion with them and the followers of the two natures for ever, even though they dragged them to death by the sword or fire. And on this account violent anger and great wrath was felt against them, and they were all sent into |85 exile for the third time, each one of them separately; so that now quickly they were removed far away from one another, and severe and bitter sentences passed upon them, and great was their distress in being thus separated and banished far away from their friends and relatives, and that, as the sentence ran, even until their deaths.
[II. 2.] Upon the bishops coming to this firm and mutual resolve, and determining and deciding, that never again would they communicate with the synodites for ever; and when further they resisted and stood up manfully against those in power, and much beyond recounting had been done and spoken on both sides, in great conflict and struggle, sentence of exile was finally in bitter gall decreed against them, each individually, without mercy. And first of all, Paul the patriarch was removed to the monastery of Abraham, and confined there. But while shut up he found a place where a scanty light entered his prison, and began in secret to write an account of what had been done in the church by John of Sirmin: but being watched, he was caught in the act of writing, and the book taken from him before it was finished. And they carried it to John, who took it in bitter wrath, and went and read it before the king; and when on hearing it he found that his own acts against the orthodox were regarded with disapproval, as well as those of the patriarch, he too was greatly enraged and embittered against Paul, and commanded that they should |86 take the book and lay it before Paul, and require him to confess whether he were the author: and should he do so, they were to make him write an acknowledgment with his own hand to that effect. On the other hand, should he refuse, they were to scourge him to the point of death, until he confessed, and then commit him again to his prison. The officers accordingly took the book to the monastery, and with great anger showed it him, and required him to confess in writing that he was its author. And he, as falsehood was useless, confessed that he wrote it, and upon their requisition made with his own hand the following acknowledgement, 'I Paul confess that with my own hand I wrote all these things which are in this book.' Upon which, leaving him in prison, they carried the book back to the king and the patriarch. And so great was their indignation, that they threatened Paul with death; and the more so, upon finding that he had embodied in it accusations also against Rome. And both Paul himself, and all men, were alarmed for his life, and expected that he would die a painful death, and perish from this present life.
[II. 3.] Stephan 1, however, bishop of Cyprus, was then |87 in great honour with the king, and boldly ventured to offer a petition in Paul's behalf, praying that he might be pardoned for his sake, and set free from the terrible misery in which he was confined. And the king accepted his intercession, and promised that if he would come to the capital, and take the communion in his company, all his offences should be forgiven him. Stephan therefore went to him, and after conversing with him, induced him by the terrors of death to yield himself up, and accordingly he came and communicated, and was taken into the patriarch's palace. And John, wishing to make sport of him before all men, assembled a large number of the senators, and certain also of the inhabitants of Alexandria, to which city Paul belonged 2, and made him receive the sacrament from his hands afresh, in the presence of them all, that even though he should wish afterwards to return, it might be, as he supposed, impossible. From this time the king every |88 day received him, and talked with him on many subjects, because he was a wise and intelligent man, and well read in books, and even often asked his advice on business of state, and repeatedly conversed and talked with him confidentially, until John was not a little alarmed, lest the king should deprive him of his office, and substitute Paul in his place. And as John was now in much trouble and solicitude, he began to sound the king, saying, 'If you, my lord, command, we will send father Paul as bishop to Jerusalem or to Thessalonica;' for both these thrones were vacant. But the king easily perceived his cunning, and, to frighten him the more, replied, 'Leave father Paul alone; for we want him here.' And this so alarmed him, that he was now thoroughly taken possession of and troubled by the idea: and therefore he gradually relaxed the vigilance with which Paul had been hitherto guarded, to prevent his escape, and left him without a keeper, and gave his friends full liberty of access to him, that he might have the opportunity of running away: and Paul, nothing loath, fled away, and John once again breathed freely.
The manner of his flight is narrated some few chapters further on as follows: [II. 8.] As it was now supposed that Paul of Antioch was sufficiently embued in the doctrine of the two natures, and John the patriarch was in great alarm at him, he joyfully took the opportunity of suggesting to him the idea of making his escape. And |89 as he was no longer guarded, after having spent so long a time in the bishop's palace, he mixed one evening with the people as they came down, and escaping among them unobserved, went for refuge to a place prepared for him among some ruins. And in time he was sought for, and could not be found: and John now being afraid of the king, went immediately and informed him of Paul's flight. And when he heard of it he was astonished, and filled with anger, and commanded that all the ferries should be occupied, and all ships searched, and all the houses in the outskirts of the whole city, and the suburbs, and monasteries: even the very tombs were opened, and they searched between the rows of corpses there: and, finally, urgent orders were sent to every town and city to the bishops and governors, with a description of his person that he might be recognised and seized: but still he remained undiscovered. Even his brother, who was admiral of the fleet, was arrested, and fell into much trouble. Meanwhile Paul during the whole of this time was hid, as they say, in the city, in a small chamber fixed in the wall, in which he found safety for nine months: and the vigilance of the watch having finally relaxed, he escaped with the privity of the household of Mondir, son of Hareth, into Arabia, where he met with a hospitable refuge until the time when the terrible retribution of Heaven fell upon the patriarch John. As the patriarch had been thus successful |90 separately with two of, the four bishops, whose constancy collectively he had been unable to break, namely, Stephan, bishop of Cyprus, and Paul, patriarch of Antioch, he determined next to force John of Ephesus to submission by equally decided measures, the account of which our author gives as follows :
[II. 4.] When, therefore, Paul had been induced by Stephan to go to the capital, and had been received there, and the synodites now felt quite sure of him, Stephan was next sent to John, surnamed, Superintendant of the heathen and Idol-breaker, as ambassador from the king and patriarch, accompanied by senators and a numerous retinue, to the hospital of Eubulus 3, an which, after his two former imprisonments in the patriarch's palace, and the separation of the bishops from one another, he had been confined in the house of afflictions, (or penitentiary,) and none of his acquaintance on any pretext permitted to visit him. Hither, then, the embassy came, and addressed the prisoner as follows:— 'Our lords, the victorious king and patriarch 4, very lovingly ask thy health, and advise thee to |91 free thyself from this misery, and come and join thy brethren, my lord Paul the patriarch, and my lord Elisha, and rejoice them, as also our merciful king himself, and the holy patriarch; and ye shall again discuss the best means for restoring unity.' But he, on hearing these things, was stirred up with great zeal to answer those who had come to him fiercely and sternly, with anathemas and reproaches and insults too many to record in writing: and so Stephan and his companions retired, embittered and indignant at him. After the lapse of a day they were again sent unto him, beseeching him in the merciful person of the king and patriarch, and saying, 'For the sake of the unity of the church, yield thyself up, and come and let us converse, and do not thus persist in opposition to union.' But they had for answer from him things even sterner than before; for he said: 'Even that former unity I reject before God and man; for it has proved only an overthrowing and an uprooting and a downfall:' and much more too he added of a similar kind. And after they had often visited him, but he would neither submit nor yield to their persuasions, finally they said, 'Inasmuch as we know what you will have to suffer, and have heard the threats of death denounced against you, and that you will not be put to death merely, but in a most painful way, feeling sincere sorrow for you, we wish to say, that we are innocent of the miseries which you will have to bear.' But upon hearing this, he |92 burnt with zeal, and expressed his detestation of them, saying, 'Even though you eat me roasted, if I be but quit of the sight of you, I am ready on these terms to be delivered to a painful death.' And so, to be brief, they departed from him. But Stephanus secretly paid him a solitary visit, to tell him of the threats of death determined upon against him, and said, 'See, I have come to thee, that I may not witness the evils that will fall upon thee; look to thyself.' But though much was said, he could not bend his determined spirit, and finally left him, and departed for Cyprus.
[II. 5.] The first addition, however, to the bitter misery of his imprisonment arose from a painful attack of the gout, which affected both his hands and feet, so that he lay like one dead, unable to stir himself, or move either hand or foot: and in this state he was cut off from all human solicitude, and especially from the care which his relatives would gladly have shown him. But besides this he was tormented night and day with the numerrous vermin with which his prison swarmed. For, first of all he was eaten up with innumerable lice, and the cell, moreover, in which he was imprisoned was full of fleas, which day and night; tormented him out of his life; nor was this all, for the fetid smell of the hospital attracted infinite numbers of flies and gnats, which settled upon him, and neither could he move a hand to chase them away, nor was there any one to drive them from him. And the fourth and bitterest |93 trial of all was occasioned by the bugs at night, which then left their hidingplaces, and covered both him and the mattress on which he lay till his face and eyes were inflamed and swollen, nor could he brush them away. And another, and that his fifth trial, arose from gnats, which, in company with the vermin last mentioned, all night long stung him like fire, especially upon the face, and every part of his body not covered with the bedclothes. And so great was his distress, and the inflammation caused by the five plagues, which encompassed his body within and without, that he wept and lamented, but there was no man to come to his cry, either by night or by day, though he burnt like fire from the stings of all these vermin. And, moreover, Satan brought upon him yet a sixth trial, in some mice which climbed up and made their nest under the pillow which supported his head, and all night long they were scratching and squeaking there. All these distresses were added to the pain of imprisonment and sickness, with no one to help him: and it may be that the record of these things will excite the laughter and ridicule of those who have never been tried, nor fallen, into misery, and who, in the words of our Lord, should rather watch and pray that they enter not into trial.
[II. 6.] From the exhaustion caused by these tortures, and the inflamed state of his body from the stings of these manifold and bitter vermin, the aforesaid John came almost to his last breath: |94 for besides the bitter pains which tormented him, there was the hopelessness of his neglected state, while he looked for some one to pity him, and there was no man, and for a comforter, and one was not found; and that such was his state, from the severity of his trials, he himself afterwards repeatedly declared, both in numerous letters, and in his defence addressed to the synod of the east, and to all classes of the believers, in which he described all these things, and the vision which he saw, protesting before God that he did not exceed the bounds of truth, nor add a single word either to the narrative of his sufferings or to the facts of the vision which appeared unto him openly. And the account which he gave, as in the sight of all men, was as follows:—'When I was scourged by all these trials, and was sick in spirit, and despaired of my life, there came one day a youth of beautiful aspect, clad in a white tunic with fringes of spotless purity, and as he gently approached me, I imagined that he was one of the attendants upon the sick, who after the midday meal, when all were sleeping, and the doors closed, and silence everywhere prevailed, had visited me because I was inflamed and feverish, both from the annoyance of the vermin and my grievous pains. Approaching me quietly, he said, 'Peace be to thee, father! What is thy cry? How art thou? Fear not.' And I, indeed in the deep affliction of my spirit caused by my great misery, said unto him, 'Why askest thou, my son, when thou |95 thyself seest me in such great torture?' But the young man said unto me, 'Cheer up, father, and let not thy spirit be sad, but give thanks unto God, who hath not left thee: for thy affliction is not forgotten by Him.' And I replied, 'What cheer or what consolation can there be for me, who die miserably, not merely from the violence of these cruel pains, which, as my sins deserve, are laid upon me, but also from all these vermin which encompass me, and eat me up, and I have none to bear me in their mind, that I might at least be comforted by the sight of them?' And he said, 'We know that thou art afflicted; and that there is no man to take care of thee: and, moreover, that thou art tormented with pain, and with the vermin, and therefore have I come unto thee, to visit and encourage thee. For I know also that thou art thirsty, and that; there is no one to give thee water, and therefore have I brought thee a cooling draught: God will help thee; cheer up; and know, that as great as is thy present affliction, so will God multiply thy recompense. Be not sad, nor faint in spirit.' And when he had so spoken, and much to this effect, he went out and returned, bearing a cup, in which were wondrous mixtures which sparkled: like fire; and he gave it me, and I drank it with joy and delight, and my spirit was refreshed, and I gave thanks unto God. And to the youth, I told my gratitude, and said, 'God have mercy upon thee, my son, in that thou hast done unto me this kindness, and hast visited and |96 comforted and cheered me.' And after he had consoled me with many words, and said, 'To-morrow I will visit thee again at this time,' he went away: and I was so cheered by the sight and speech of the young man, that all my pains and miseries grew light. And again on the morrow he came at the same time, and asked me of my state, saying, 'Cheer up, and be not sad; for great shall be thy reward which thou shall receive from God for thy heavy affliction : and thou shalt be delivered from thy distress, and thy people shall assemble themselves to thee: for God is with thee. Let not thy spirit be sad.' And after thus talking with me for some time, he departed. And on the third day, when my eyes were straining in hope of his coming, he came not: and I was greatly distressed, and in deep affliction. But on the fourth day he came again at the same hour, and said, 'I know that thou art distressed, because I came not to thee yesterday: but be not grieved, for I will not forsake thee.' And again he spake much to comfort me, and so departed. And thus for eight days he came to and fro to me, and I was in wonder at his comeliness, and the beauty of his features, and at the speech and knowledge of the young man so lovely of aspect. And after he had come in unto me and gone out eight times, the syncellus of the patriarch visited me to sound me, and after he had used to me many arguments, I finally replied, 'Your treatment of me is on a par with your schismatic faith; for you act to me like |97 heathens, and do a heathen deed, in that when you see me in this extreme misery, you fear not God enough to grant me even one of my servants, whom you have shut up in prison, to wait upon me.' And after he had replied, and much had passed between us, and I had sharply handled him, and rebuked him, he went out from me in hot anger, and brought me one of my servants, and said, 'See, here is a servant to wait upon you, and curse us no more:' and so saying, he angrily departed. And from the time I had a servant, the young man came not again, nor did I ever see him more. And when I was astonished and vexed at this, still supposing,that he was one of the attendants, I said to the officer who guarded me, 'A young man of your attendants used to come to me, and comfort me, and visit me: but for some days from the time that I have had a servant to wait upon me, he has come to me no more. Tell me, who is he? and is he ill?' And the guard enquired, 'What was the young man like?' And he answered, 'He was of a beautiful aspect, and very handsome in person, and bright and fair in countenance, and clad in a tunic of spotless white, with rows of embroidery above and below.' And the keeper said, 'None of our attendants resembles what you describe.' But he answered, 'I assure you that for eight days he came in unto me and went out, and comforted and cheered me, and talked with me wisely and sensibly:' but the keeper said, 'We have no such person as you describe.' And then he went and |98 collected all the servants, and set them before him, and said, 'See, here are all the attendants, nor have we any besides: look if any of them is he.' And when he had attentively considered them all, he acknowledged that it was not any one of them. Upon which the keeper said, 'A vision of . God has appeared unto thee, and visited thee, my father: and one of the angels or of the saints has been sent unto thee, to strengthen and encourage thee: for we have no such person as you describe.' And thereupon John was in astonishment, and being full of wonder and amazement, he carefully considered the words and the wisdom and the answers of that youth of wonderful aspect, and said, 'I verily looked upon him as one of the attendants, but God knows who and what he is: but me he hath greatly helped; for he brought me a cup of mixtures, at which I wondered, so bright were they and admirable; and all my pains were lightened. And I myself was astonished at the wise and edifying words which came out of his mouth, and wondered whether one so excellent attended merely upon the sick in your hospital. Henceforward, therefore, in admiration of the goodness of God which has been shown us, we will praise, as in duty bound, the God Who doeth all in His love, and Who alone knoweth the vision of this young man, and who it was that visited us, and alleviated our misery.'
[II. 7.] In this prison John passed twelve months and nine days, in addition to his two confinements in |99 the patriarch's palace: but as even this did not appease the malice of John of Sirmin, orders came for his removal from the hospice, and transportation to an island in the sea, where he was again imprisoned, and treated with great rigour, strict orders being given that none of his friends should on any account be permitted to speak to him. But when he had spent upon the island a period of eighteen months, the chastisement of God overtook the patriarch in so marked a manner as to cause fear and astonishment and terror to both sides alike. And so, finally, upon the command of the Caesar Tiberius, orders were sent to free John from his prison, and bring him to the capital, where he dwelt under the surveillance of keepers' rather more than three years, until the death of the persecutor, John of Sirmin.
All these things will be found also in the numerous letters written by him to various persons as soon as he obtained his freedom, together with the vision of the young man who came to him. And let no one who falls in with both the former narrative and also this present account be surprised if he find that they differ from one another in some points being added and others left out: since the utmost he professes is to give a succinct account of what took place for the glory of God. He has omitted, therefore, and passed by much in his former narrative on account of its too great length, while other particulars he has more fully recorded, and especially some of |100 the details of the vision, and other points, it may be, as well, though even in them he has used the greatest possible brevity, in order that they might simply be short memorials, and lest, should he relate them too fully, they should be regarded as wearisome by such as afterwards fall in with them.
The determination of the king and patriarch to compel all parties to accept the council of Chalcedon not only brought ecclesiastics into trouble, but also many of the chief laity at court. For as Sophia had originally been brought up in Theodora's tenets, most of the officers of her household belonged to the Monophysite party, and apparently had not hitherto been interfered with. But now determined measures were taken to bring them to obedience, and John details the resistance made by many of them, and even by ladies, in the following succession of narratives.
[II. 9.] At this time, when every body was possessed by great fear at the stern and terrible threats of the king, many grew alarmed, and submitted themselves to communion. For he even gave orders that no one should attend his levee to salute him on Easterday unless he had previously partaken of the sacrament in his company. As disobedience to this command entailed loss of office as well as the king's displeasure, most of them were terrified, and went over to his communion. A few, however, stayed away, though convinced that by so doing they passed |101 sentence of death upon themselves, so taken were most of them by abject terror. Among these was Andrew, the queen's chamberlain and purse-bearer, a man of active and fervent zeal, and earnest in the ways of virtue from his youth up, and constant in fasting and prayer. At the commencement of the persecution most of the chamberlains, and ladies of the court, and the queen's chief officer of the household, whose name was Stephan, were members of the orthodox community, and had been so from the days of Theodora; but they were prevailed upon by fear, and submitted to take the communion with the king from the hands of the synodites; but Andrew alone was firm, and stood up manfully with mind fully prepared to struggle even unto death. Their majesties therefore, and the chamberlains on both sides, with the view of obtaining favour, attacked him with strife and argument: but he was not in the least frightened at them all, nor ceased from contending with them, nor gave way: and this made the king repeatedly utter the most fearful threats of death itself against him. And as he still would not yield a single point, nor humble himself, nor shew fear of him, the king once grew so angry that he even struck him with his hands in a fury, because he so boldly and firmly resisted him, answering in his turn when he required him to communicate with those who acknowledged the synod, and arguing, and manfully resisting him in words such as the following: 'I confess that you are my lord, and I am |102 your slave: and my body is in your hands, to do with it whatsoever you will: but over my soul you have no power, for it is in the hands of God, and my faith is for ever, and neither shall ye nor any other change it, because I believe in God.' And in this way constantly every day they argued one with the other. And as both their majesties loved him for his nobleness and virtue, and valued his good sense and knowledge, they were the more anxious to obtain his submission, that he might still remain in their service: and the king even said in the presence of several of his courtiers, 'What shall we do with this audacious fellow who resists and disobeys us? for such a mind and brain as he possesses is not in all our court besides, so that we do not wish to send him away, nor can we possibly let him stay if he refuse us his obedience.' Accordingly they long bore with him in the hope that finally they would convert him, but when he gave no signs of yielding, the king at length briefly said to him, 'Either submit to us, and take the communion with us, or get out of our palace.' Upon which Andrew immediately divested himself of his robe of office 5, and joyfully laying it at the king's feet, said, 'Never hast thou shown me a greater kindness than this, in separating me from the service of men, and making me give myself to His ministry and service, Who created me and brought me into the world; for henceforth I will serve |103 Him alone.' So saying, he left the king's court, and was confined in a miserable prison in the building called "the palace of Hormisdas 6:" and there, after some time, he received a visit from the king's curator, who was sent partly to coax and partly to terrify him, and see whether he would give way, and communicate with them, and not lose his post. The conference lasted for a long time, and at first the curator had recourse only to admonitions and flatteries and persecutions: but when he saw that he would not give way, he began to threaten and terrify him, saying, 'Look to thy life, lest I be compelled to execute upon thee, what I have been commanded.' Upon which Andrew bent down his neck, and stretching out his head before him, said, 'Thou art not a living man, and may God shew thee no mercy if thou dost not bring thy sword and take off my head. But do not mistake, either thou or those that sent thee, and suppose that I ever have on any account held communion with those who divide into two our Lord Jesus Christ, or ever will—the Lord forbid. And may God shew thee no mercy, if thou dost not at once take off my head, and rid me of the burden of this life.' |104 Upon hearing this, the curator departed, and carried his report to the king and queen, who greatly wondered, but also were vexed at his conduct: and in hope still of making him give way, they gave orders for his removal and imprisonment in the monastery of Dalmatus 7, which was the highest in rank of all the religious houses both in the capital and its suburbs. They brought him out, therefore, and removed him in the most public manner by day, in the hope of frightening him: but Andrew, as they led him through the city amidst crowds of people, was full of joy and eagerness, and gave praise to God that he was accounted worthy to suffer imprisonment for the true faith, while the mob ran together to see the queen's purse-bearer stripped of worldly office, and conducted to prison for the true faith's sake. And all men wondered at him, and many glorified God who had given him the strength thus to despise the world; and many too were confirmed in the faith when thus they saw him cheerful and joyous, and gave praise to God on his account. But the monks and others who had |105 charge of him tried to pull up the hood of his cloak to cover his head: but he uncovered it, saying, 'It is a great glory to me to die for Christ's truth: and no man may make my glorying vain.' His imprisonment lasted three years, at the end of which came the chastisement of his persecutors, and he was set free, but not restored to his office at court.
[II. 10.] From this history of her pursebearer, our historian proceeds to give a sketch of the empress Sophia, who, he says, during the lifetime of her aunt, the late queen Theodora, from her youth up to within three years before she ascended the throne, used to take the communion with the orthodox, and entirely rejected the communion of the synodites, that is, of those who held that there were two natures in our Lord. And this was a thing known publicly to everybody, and that also a presbyter named Andrew regularly went, and consecrated the communion in her house, and administered it to her, and to all the members of her household: and when he was reserving the consecrated elements, she used to tell him to put by one pearl,—for so they called the pieces of bread,—and place it upon the patten under the cloth; and no one knew who received the pearl so put by except the patrician Sophia, though it was supposed by every one that it was the merciful Justin himself who took it in secret, as he also had an aversion to the communion of those who held the two |106 natures. Whether or not this was true, we cannot vouch, but have recorded it on hearsay, as being the opinion generally entertained by every body. The conversion of Sophia to the communion of the two natures was brought about in the following way: His late majesty Justinian had long been solicited by many influential members of his court to appoint Justin, his sister's son, to the office of Caesar; but he kept putting it off, and refusing them. At length a certain Theodore, upon his consecration to the bishopric of Caesarea, and whose doom God alone knows for his many evil deeds, had an interview with Sophia, and said to her, 'Be well assured, both of you, that the reason why your uncle has listened to no one, nor consented to appoint his sister's son as Caesar, is his indignation at you for opposing him in communicating with those of whom he disapproves, and not communicating with him. For how can he appoint you to share the royal rank with him, if you are manifestly opposed to him? Listen therefore to me, and go and communicate at Church, and content the king, and then he will content you.' And Sophia being persuaded by his representations gave way, but her union with the synod took place only three years before she became queen.
[II. 11.] From this account of the empress Sophia, which naturally followed the mention of Andrew, her pursebearer, our historian returns to the fortunes of the other chief members of the |107 orthodox party at Constantinople. Among these were three men of consular rank, named John, Peter, and Eudaemon, who counted their lives in the body as nothing compared with the spiritual life by a true faith in Christ; and firmly refused therefore to hold communion with those who divided Him. On this account there was anger against them even unto death, and the turning away of faces; but when every moment they were expecting trial, and the ruin of their estates and families, and of all that they possessed, and everybody felt certain of their utter destruction, God, who saw that they were contending unto death for His name's sake, and for a true faith in Him, saved them. For inasmuch as many members of the senate, and chamberlains, and other nobles, had been prevailed upon by terror to enter into communion with the Chalcedonians, the murmuring occasioned by the violence and compulsion generally used, at length reached the king's ears, and led him to say in the presence of many senators, with the view of making it appear that he prevailed upon no one by violence, as though any one was prevailed upon except by a violence too strong for him to bear: however, be this as it may, God put it into his mind to say words such as these, 'We neither have, nor will we force any one of those who have not submitted to us to communicate with us: we leave them to their own will.' And this declaration of the king's determination rescued them, and they were no longer exposed to trials |108 on account of their faith: but, on the contrary, they finally reached the highest dignities, and enjoyed the fullest freedom; so that the illustrious Eudaemon, who became Comes Privati 8, an office which gave him the charge of the king's privy purse; and the illustrious John, who was descended from king Anastasius, and the son moreover of queen Theodora's daughter 9; and, lastly, Peter, who was of the family of Peter the Patrician, the queen's curator, were sent to make a treaty of peace with the Persians, in behalf of the whole Roman state. And this great embassy was entrusted to them in spite of their continuing to hold the truth, as they had ever done, in full assurance. The patriarch John, however, erased their names from the diptych 10 — an act which caused them great joy: for they said, 'Now we know that God hath pleasure in us, and hath looked upon us, seeing that we are no longer mentioned at the communion of those |109 who divide Christ into two, after the true indivisible union.'
[II. 12.] Less fortunate were two ladies of equally high birth, who with others of patrician rank were fiercely attacked on all sides, breathing out terrible threats of fire, and menaces of death. And the rest, from the overwhelming misery of the persecution, fainted in the conflict, and for their wealth's sake, and houses and children and substance, submitted to communion, as far as form alone went. But these two boldly resisted unto death, and counted as nothing their possessions, and children and households. Of these the elder, whose name was Antipatra, was the mother-in-law of the consul John mentioned in the preceding narrative, and her daughter Georgia, who was also of consular rank, and a zealous believer, was John's wife. The other lady, whose name was Juliana, was the daughter of the consul Magnes, who himself was on one occasion banished with all his family, and Juliana among them, though he also was descended from king Anastasius: and subsequently Juliana herself became sister-in-law of king Justin, having married his brother. After much contention, therefore, and a manly contest, they placed both these ladies in nunneries, upon the straits of Chalcedon, and strict injunctions were given, and orders sent to the convents, in which they were severally confined, that unless they would consent to communion, their hair was to be shorn in monastic fashion, and they were to |110 wear the black dress used by the nuns, and be further compelled to perform the most menial labours. And these orders were strictly carried out, and they were made to sweep the convent, and carry away the dirt, and scrub and wash out the latrinse, and serve in the kitchen, and wash the candlesticks and dishes, and perform other similar duties. And as they could not endure and bear with patience such annoyances as these, they also, as far as appearance went, submitted to the Chalcedonian communion, to be set free, and escape from their miserable imprisonment in these convents, if convents they may be called. Upon their submission, they were allowed to return home, and restored to their former rank: but soon the time of chastisement from God came upon both king and patriarch, and they and all men breathed freely once again after their troubles.
[II.13.] There were also two presbyters who underwent a great conflict for the faith's sake, and who both bore the same name of Sergius; of whom one had been the writer's own syncellus 11, and the other his disciple. While then John was imprisoned in the penitentiary of the hospital of Eubulus, the two Sergiuses were seized, |111 after having long refused to conform, and thrown into prison. Their arrest was effected through the treachery of a relative, who professed to be of their party, but who, after thus playing the part of another Judas, was himself apprehended, and hurried off to the bishop's palace, and imprisoned there. Upon their arrest the two priests resisted those sent to seize them, and argued and disputed sharply with them, until they grew angry, and before a vast crowd they stripped them of their clothing, and tying them up scourged them publicly with the utmost severity, but were not able to break their constancy. And so manfully and with such spirit did they endure and persist in their resistance, that their persecutors wondered at them, and finally imprisoned them in a diaconate 12. Already they had repeatedly endured the horrors of imprisonment twice both together in the patriarch's palace, and Sergius, the syncellus, once by himself in a monastery called Beth-Rabula 13; and their present confinement, which began in February, and lasted forty days, was aggravated by a severe frost. For Sergius the syncellus, the patriarch had a great regard, and sent for him, and advised and coaxed and persuaded him to dwell |112 with him in his palace, and be his cellarius 14; even offering him his solemn promise, that if he would consent, he should not be compelled to take the communion with him: he also added, that 'as I hear of you, that you are a pious man and a monk, abide with us, and be whatever you wish: but if you will consent to take the communion with us, I will immediately make you bishop of whatever city you please.' But Sergius manfully refused, and as he could bow his conviction of the truth neither by promises nor flattering words, and saw his firmness and immoveable constancy, he sent him to the monastery of Beth-Rabula, where however he was treated with considerable kindness, the monks not being ill-inclined to the faith as the rest were, and having no love for the council of Chalcedon, nor even proclaiming it in their worship.
There was also a presbyter named Andrew, who had shut himself up in one of the towers of the city wall; whence he was torn at the patriarch's orders by a band of clergy and Romans, who broke open his place of concealment, and pulled him out. But as they dragged and tore him along, they arrived at length in the middle |113 of the city; and on seeing a large crowd assembled there, he began to cry out, 'Help! help! men: I am a Christian, and an orthodox: and if these who drag me along are not heathens, but Christians, as they say, why do they persecute and murder Christians? And why do they drag me through the midst of you, and ye rest quiet, and shew no zeal for Christ's sake?' As he repeated these and similar cries, a large crowd rapidly ran together, and their eyes flashed with wrath against those who had him in charge, as if they would slay them. And when they saw the anger and zeal of all the multitude against them, they ran away, and hid themselves; and so the people delivered the blessed Andrew from their violence. Subsequently, however, he was again arrested, and imprisoned in the monastery of "the sleepless;" whence also, after a protracted imprisonment, and much suffering, he escaped: but having set people to watch for him, they again seized and imprisoned him in the patriarch's palace; but even from thence, after taking part in several disputations, he again managed to make his escape.
Among the various charitable institutions at Constantinople which had sprung from Christianity, no mean place was held by the diaconates 15, which were institutions for the care of the sick and persons in distress. The utility of them was |114 the greater, because, while the hospitals were attended only by clergy, monks and nuns, the diaconates gave an opportunity to pious laymen also to devote themselves to works of active benevolence: while in those specially set apart for women, numerous ladies, who might otherwise have found no fitting field for their energies, piously tended the suffering members of Christ's [II. 15.] flock. Among those at the capital, two especially were famous for their size and reputation, and both belonged to the orthodox communion. Of these, the first and largest was founded by the divine Paul of Antioch, who, filled with zeal, visited the chief and most famous cities of both East and West, and founded in them diaconates, in which the word of our Lord was visibly fulfilled, that 'this is my rest:' for their object was to give rest to those whom trouble had distressed. On no account, however, would he accept the services of any in the diaconates which he founded who agreed with the synod of Chalcedon.
At the period when the persecution broke out, the head of this diaconate was a great and famous and notable man named Thallus, who had largely increased and multiplied its ministrations by his many spiritual and divine qualities, upon which alone much might be written; and the diaconate continued to flourish under his care, until, by the envy of the devil, an information was laid before the king and bishop, that all the members were opposed to the council of Chalcedon, and had admitted into their fraternity |115 many monks and clergymen, and that meetings for worship, and communions and love-feasts were held there. Upon this the blessed Thallus was compelled to send away the clergy and monks, that he might give no occasion to those who were ready to find fault, but he resolutely continued his care of the sick with the aid of laymen only. And when this reached the ears of those in power, because they honoured and admired the man and his ways, they let him alone, and interfered no more all the days of his life. His death took place in the year eight hundred and eighty-eight, (A. D. 577,) and a silversmith named Romanus was appointed principal in his stead.
[II. 16.] At the head of the other diaconate at this time was a clergyman named Cometes, who also was an active and virtuous man. Originally he had been one of the clergy of the house of my lady Mary of Blachernae 16, but was expelled for the |116 faith sake with many others, whom, however, he prevailed upon to keep together, and live with all the strictness of the monastic rule, while he took charge of them in every thing. Soon afterwards some one who admired his virtues bequeathed him a large hall, capable of being turned into a diaconate, to which use he put it, and actively employed himself in ministering in it to all the wants of the poor. At the time, however, of the persecution, an accusation was brought against him of holding assemblies for the administration of the holy communion, and the hall was confiscated, and formally closed by an imperial brief suspended on the door. Cometes was himself banished to an island, and all |117 his fraternity, except a few, dispersed: but his fate did not deter these few from continuing their labours; for retiring to another place, they still devoted themselves, according to their rule, to ministering and tending the poor.
[II. 17.] Nor was it merely at the capital that the orthodox communities thus suffered, but the persecution carried on there so determinately and despotically, and unremittingly, was the cause of the same violent measures being stirred up against them in every province of the Roman empire, wherever any orthodox communities were to be found. And this persecution was excited by the letters written by John the patriarch, and others: for he was swollen with rage like the waves of the sea, and, like some blazing Babylonian furnace, inflamed not with twigs and brushwood, and other such materials, but with wrath and heat of temper, and eagerness for ruin and slaughter, he burnt and blazed fearfully and terribly, adding to his violence to men's persons those evil deeds which generally go therewith, such as the plundering of their goods and spoiling of their property, on the pretext of their faith; as also painful imprisonments, and heavy chains, and tortures, and the scourge and exile, and the like, in every land and city and village of the realm.
[II. 18.] Thus far then we profess that we have written that only of which we were eyewitnesses, and |118 near spectators of the chief trials recorded, or actual sufferers ourselves during the whole period to which our narrative extends: but we have thought it right now to chronicle events, which we neither saw, nor learnt of our own knowledge, nor can testify to their truth ourselves, inasmuch as we were far away from the countries in which they occurred; but which nevertheless we had, not from private individuals, or men of inferior rank, but from the chief Catholicus of Dovin, the capital of Persarmenia, and the bishops who accompanied him, and who narrated these events in the presence of multitudes in this the royal city of us Romans; for having escaped from the dominions of the Persians, they came for refuge to a Christian realm, and were received with great honour by their victorious majesties; and their narrative scrupulously given as upon oath, and in the presence of a numerous auditory, was as follows:
Revolt of Armenia from the Persians.
When the Magians and princes of the Persians learnt that by the commandment and will of the king of the Romans, all persons, in every land and city of his dominions, were required to conform themselves. and come over to his faith; and that such as refused and were disobedient to his will and commandment, were by his orders persecuted and imprisoned, and their goods spoiled, and finally delivered up even to death; lo! said they, in all the dominions of the Romans these |119 things are now being done, and it is but just for us also to do the same in all our dominions, and convert to our own religion all other religions within our realm.
[II. 19.] They therefore assembled together, and begged an audience with Khosrun 17 their king, and said, 'O king, live for ever! Behold we have learnt that the Roman Caesar requireth, and forceth, and compelleth all persons within his realm to conform themselves to his faith, and obligeth many throughout all his dominions to worship according to his religion. And all those who will not. submit, he driveth away, and persecuteth from all his realm. Let thy godship therefore in like manner command, that so it shall also be throughout thy realm: that all religions shall conform to thy religion, and all persons in thy dominions worship according to thy worship; and that such as insolently dare to resist thy commandment shall no longer live.' And when Khosrun the king heard these words of the Magians, he consented thereto, and accepted their counsel: and immediately he began with the Christians first, and sent and seized three bishops and many of the clergy, and commanded them to deny their faith, and worship with him fire and the sun and the other objects of his reverence. |120
But they argued with him, and manfully resisted, and confessed, saying; 'We are of Christian sentiments, and worship and honour the God Who made the heavens and the earth and the seas, and all that therein is: and we cannot leave Him Who is the Creator of all to worship His creatures. Let not the king mistake: for over our bodies thou hast power to do with them whatsoever thou wilt: but our souls are His, and in His hands, and over them thou hast absolutely no power at all.' And when the king heard the bishops testify these things, and much besides of a similar nature, he commanded that they should be that instant flayed, and die. And many evils besides he inflicted upon the Christians, and their monasteries and churches were everywhere levelled to the ground, and multitudes bound and thrown into prison: and the heart of the king was lifted up, and he blasphemed Christ, and said, 'Let us see what Christ the God of the Christians will do unto me: for I do not know who or what He is.' And this then, and much more, was related by these bishops as having been said and done at this time by the king of the Persians previously to the revolt of Armenia to the Romans, and which was occasioned by his command that fire-temples should be erected throughout all that part of Armenia which was subject to his rule.
[II. 20.] His next measure, as the Catholicus and his companions proceeded to relate, was to send a |121 Marzban 18 to our territories, attended by an armed force of two thousand cavalry, who came first of all to our city, and commanded us to erect a fire-temple, for the celebration of the rites of the king's religion. But when, said he, he showed it to me and the people of the city, I burnt with zeal, and stood up against him, I and all the people of the city, and we said, 'We are indeed servants of the king of kings, and to him we pay tribute; but we are Christians, and in matters of faith we can yield him no obedience, even though we have to die for our faith's sake. For this same thing was attempted in the days of Sapor, king of kings, who also wanted to build here a temple for his worship, but the people of the land gathered themselves together, and a war ensued, which lasted seven years, and at the end he made terms, and published an edict, commanding that no one should meddle or interfere with us as regards our being Christians for ever.' |122 And we further shewed him the original copy of king Sapor's edict: but he refused to obey it, and in obedience to Khosrun's commands, began by main force to mark out a site, and to dig and lay the foundations, and to build the walls; while at the same time he made determined preparations for battle. And I besought him again and again, but availed nothing, nor would he attend to me, or even deign me a single look; and finally I sent everywhere to all the people of the land, and when they heard the news, they burnt with zeal for the faith's sake in Christ, and assembled all as one man, to the number of ten thousand, armed for battle either to live or die for Christ, and firmly determined not to permit a Magian and heathen temple to be built in their land. And when there were assembled all the princes and chieftains of the land, we went to the Marzban, to the place where he was building the fire-temple, and had a long conference with him, and boldly resisted him, saying, 'We are Christians, and subjects of the king of kings: but in matters of faith we neither can nor will yield submission to any one, and even though the king come in person, yet as long as any one of us lives to resist it, there shall no heathen temple be built to all eternity in our land. Depart therefore without war or devastation from our country, and tell the king of the firm determination of our minds to defend our faith; and let him take such steps as he thinks right; for though it cost us all our lives, we will never permit a temple for the |123 Magian worship to be erected in our land?' A long conference followed, in which the Marzban protested to the people assembled that he must build the temple according to his orders, and argued with them, and testified against them, saying, 'You are resisting the commandment of the king of kings, and setting him at nought, though it is in his power to command you to be put to an evil death: beware therefore what you do.'
But when he saw their readiness and their preparations to resist him, and perceived moreover that they were stronger than himself, he retired, with threats nevertheless and protests against their conduct: and returning in great anger to the king, informed him of all that had taken place. And he, on learning it, was roused to anger, and burnt with indignation; and vowing death against all the people of the land, he sent against them the Marzban with a body of fifteen thousand men ready for war, with instructions to exterminate any who ventured to resist his commandment, and erect there a shrine for a temple of fire. But the people of the land, when they heard thereof, assembled together to the number of twenty thousand men, and made ready for battle, prepared to struggle even unto death in defence of their Christianity. And on the arrival of the Persians, they drew themselves up in order of battle against them; and shouting, 'In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,' they moved onward to the attack. And Christ broke the foe before the children of the land, and they utterly |124 destroyed them as one man, and slew the Marzban, and took off his head, and sent it to the patrician Justinian, who was encamped at that time at Theodosiopolis 19 in the marches. Such then were these events, and they were followed by others, the full recital of which would occupy greater space than we can spare.
[II. 21.] And when these things had taken place, and the whole people of the Greater Armenia saw that a fierce war was stirred up against them from the wicked kingdom of the Persians, they all gathered themselves together from one end of it to the other, and ran for refuge to the kingdom of the Christians, saying, 'Henceforward we are the servants of the kingdom of the Christians, and have run to take refuge in the Roman realm, that it may deliver us from the savage violence of the Magians.' And all this, and much more, the Catholicus of Dovin, and the other bishops who were with him, related in the presence of our merciful king and queen, and of the whole senate: but we have admitted only a small portion of it into our history; for they recounted also the details of the repeated |125 conflicts and devastations which followed, and in which the Persian hosts had more than once been vanquished, and their elephants captured; but which we at present must omit for want of space.
[II. 22.] Such then is a short abstract of the account of the Catholicus of Dovin, the capital of Persarmenia, related in the royal city of us Romans, by him, and the other bishops and the numerous noblemen who accompanied him, in the presence of many witnesses: and all on their arrival were received with distinguished respect, and large presents and regal honours paid them, and high dignities granted them, and some of the royal residences and chief monasteries were set apart for their abode, and an income assigned sufficient for their proper maintenance; and titles of high rank were also sent to the leading men in the land, as also a large subsidy of gold, and orders that no tax should be levied for three years for the king of the Romans, but that they should do their best to assist those who, having accepted the sovereignty of the land, were warring in their defence, and that of the whole of Armenia against the Persians. And this they did for a long time, and the Magian people fell before the Christians on numerous occasions in the first six years of the time during which the war lasted. Of these events we will subsequently give some brief particulars in their proper place. As for the Catholicus, at the end of two years he died |126 at Constantinople, and never returned to his own land.
[II. 23.] Upon the first arrival at the capital of the Catholicus of Armenia, and the bishops and nobles in his suite, as men who had fled from the wicked and heathenish kingdom of the Magians, and had come for refuge to the kingdom of the Christians, meeting immediately upon their arrival with so honourable a reception, they went, without making inquiries, and through inattention communicated in full confidence with the patriarch of the city, as not being aware of the schism and quarrel which had arisen in all the churches of the Roman dominions, from the corruption of the faith by the council of Chalcedon. But when intelligence of this reached the bishops and leading men of Armenia, they were angry with them, and wrote sharply to them such things as may now be well passed over in silence; and therefore they withdrew, and separated themselves, and having fitted up a large hall, in a building granted to one of their nobles for a residence, into a church, they there formed a distinct congregation, and celebrated the communion after their own manner; and continued so to do even after the death of the Catholicus.
[II. 24.] We are well aware that the events which happened in our time are numerous, especially now at last, and that they exceed the limits of history: and more particularly after the defection of Armenia to the Romans, which took place in |127 the year eight hundred and eighty 20, of the era of Alexander, (A. D. 569.) For this act was the cause of constant and numerous battles on all sides, and of dreadful devastations, and the shedding of much blood. For the Magian, after his defeats, was again lifted up in his wickedness, and fell upon the Roman armies in Armenia, expecting to route and annihilate them utterly. But when he found himself unequal to this, he turned aside and entered the Lesser or Roman Armenia, in the hope of being able to capture and pillage the city of Caesarea, in Cappadocia: but the Roman armies hemmed him in, and drove him back from thence, and gave him battle, and deprived him utterly of his baggage, and made him return ashamed; and had it not been for a disagreement between the Roman commanders, he would scarcely have escaped with his life. And again the Roman king sent presents and subsidies, and despatched fresh troops to Armenia to ensure his victories; but nevertheless, after it had been completely taken possession of and occupied by the Romans, and they had gained numerous victories, and had reduced several powerful tribes to obedience, finally, either by the unskilful measures of their generals, or because in many things they had brought upon them the anger of God, when they were not fewer in number than a hundred |128 thousand men, they were stricken with a panic at the presence of a single paltry Marzban, with but thirty thousand troops, and all the Roman hosts fled, with the loss of their arms and horses, and were put to shame. And the Persian was lifted up, and increased in strength, and overran and conquered the whole of Armenia, and all the land asked for terms of peace from him, and he granted them; whereupon it returned to its allegiance, excepting those only who had betaken themselves to Constantinople, when seven years before they rebelled against him, and the struggle began 21.
After this, men of high rank in both kingdoms were sent as ambassadors to examine the matters in dispute between the two realms, and to confer about peace; and for more than a year they were occupied at the borders talking and discussing, and disputing with one another, but without effecting any thing. And at first the Persian required a sum of money, before he would make peace; but at this the king of the Romans was stirred up manfully, and said, 'This man demands of us gold, as if we were afraid of him, or subject to him; but let him know that as he never yet has received of us a single mina, so neither shall he as long as we live. And if he treats not with us on equal terms, kingdom with kingdom, we will not make |129 peace with him.' And so, finally, the Persian gave way on this point; but nothing came of it. But of all this, it is not possible for us to give the particulars: many books would scarce hold a full account of it, and of the other contests in the church and the world, which happened in our days, and which therefore, from their too great length, we must omit 22. |130
[II. 25.] Contemporaneously with the disgrace which befell the Roman arms in Armenia, there was seen in very deed the meaning and accomplishment of the apostolic lesson, [Rom. i. 18] 'that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven upon all iniquity and wickedness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.' For because Christians, on slight and insufficient reasons, had risen up as stern and violent persecutors of Christians, mercilessly and without fear of God, yea, savagely, barbarously, and unchristianly, 'like unto a lion roaring that he may break in pieces, and as a lion's whelp that sitteth in secret,' therefore did the Lord arise before their faces, and lay them low, |131 so manifestly that it was known and observed of all men. For they had intemperately practised every cruelty against the members of their own body, even against the whole people of the orthodox, in vehement wrath, not treating them in that orderly and gentle manner which becomes just and Christian men, but stirring themselves up to be violent and merciless persecutors. For they sentenced the servants of God to cruel imprisonments in dark and narrow dungeons, though they were aged men, infirm and frail in body, and venerable for their years; yea, they condemned them to merciless banishment, without fear of God; ordering them in bonds and strict confinement, to be left exposed to hunger and thirst, and no friend permitted to visit them: and when they banished them, they gave directions that the exiles should have no mercy shown them, but be ill treated in every possible way, in the expectation that the greatness of their sufferings and trials would compel them to submit themselves to the will of their tormentors. And when, by force and compulsion, they had made any submit, they then, in violation of all law and canonical order, pronounced the ordination invalid, which they had received long before at the hands of orthodox bishops, and ordained them afresh, both priests and bishops. And so many were their deeds of this kind, that the time is too short to relate them, nor, as the event plainly proved, could the justice of God either tolerate or endure them. For quick and speedy |132 was the wrathful sentence sent down from heaven upon this cruelty and savageness, or rather upon those who, unrestrained by the fear of God, had practised it, even upon John the patriarch, and upon the king, who was led by him astray, and who did these things under his influence. For both were scourged by the same angry rod, and received the same sentence, that they should be given over to evil spirits. And they had much meanwhile to suffer, which was terrible and alarming, but which shall now be veiled by us in silence, because of the honour due to the priesthood and the royal dignity; but which being wrought in them during a lengthened period of time by the devils, to whom they were severally given up, became matters of common report and conversation, and to the truth of which, and their terrible and fearful reality, we have the testimony of all the people of those times.
[II. 26.] Upon this alarming chastisement falling upon the king and patriarch, the bishop John was at first rather stimulated to increased persecution of the believers by the operation and incitement of the evil spirit which wrought within him, so that every day, without knowing what he was doing, or settled purpose, he gave utterance to savage and cruel threats, unwarned by the chastisement which, from time to time, he received from the evil spirit; and thus he still more irritated the righteous Judge, Who sent yet again upon him a disease of the bowels, and internal |133 pains, and the bitter agonies of gout: so that, being now tormented beyond hope of cure, and pain following upon pain, and blow upon blow more intensely every day; and all the care of his many physicians being in vain, and no respite or aid appearing, at length, as the magicians confessed before Pharaoh, saying, 'This is the finger of God,' so also was he now forced to understand that his chastisement came from Heaven; and he began with sighs and tears to say to his physicians, 'Why weary ye yourselves, my children, about me, a miserable wretch? for my maladies are past the power of healing. For all these tortures have been inflicted upon me by the just sentence of Heaven because of my cruelty, and men cannot heal them. For now I know and understand that as I, without mercy, smote many, so am I now singly scourged without mercy by the One.' And in process of time the physicians ceased to attend him, for he himself refused their services; and he became unable to take food, and even when he swallowed any thing liquid, he quickly threw it off his stomach, and finally his bowels came away piecemeal. And his torment was not only thus bitter and severe, but also protracted, so that he often said with tears before many people, 'I know, O Lord, that I have done evil in Thy sight, and that the curses of Thy aged and honoured servants have overtaken me, and stirred up Thy wrath against me, because I treated them without mercy.' His punishment began about a year |134 after he commenced the persecution, and never abated: and as he did not even then desist from the cruelty of his measures, there finally fell upon him this severe and most painful torment, under which he lingered two years, and at length departed from this present life in the thirteenth year of the reign of king Justin. The latter still lingered under his maladies, finding occasional relief, but never being entirely delivered from his sufferings until the day of his decease. [II. 27.] His death was followed by the immediate recall of Eutychius 23 to the patriarchal throne: and as we have mentioned briefly before the purport of this chapter, so now we will shew at length the just judgment of God, which not only at the day of future trial, but also here, visits men with retribution according to their deeds. For John the bishop of the capital, of whom we are now |135 speaking, being urged onwards by savage violence, and hurried along by pride and arrogance like a boy, and intoxicated and drunken with power, took down and erased all the pictures of the orthodox fathers, and fixed up his own everywhere in their place. And while he thought not that he should die, suddenly the time of his departure overtook him, and Eutychius his predecessor, who had been deposed, was summoned to fill his place. And though by the persuasion of their majesties he consented upon his return to let all that had previously passed between him and John rest in silence, yet his pictures he everywhere obliterated, and expelled them, not merely from the episcopal palace and the churches, but even had a search made for them, lest any one should here and there escape notice. And the inhabitants of both towns and villages, when they learnt his will, that they might not be informed against, obliterated all John's pictures, whether painted on the walls or on tablets, and took them down, and fixed up those of Eutychius in their place, so that at most only one or two remained here and there: [Jud.ix.56.] 'and God requited the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done, in slaying his brethren, fifty men, upon one stone.' And this became a wonder and an astonishment to all men, that God so quickly had recompensed John even here, and that as he had done, so it was done unto him, [1 Sam.xxv.39] 'and the Lord returned the requital of Nabal upon his own head.' And thus the pictures of John were obliterated as soon as |136 he was dead, just as he had boldly taken down the pictures of the saints and set up his own.
The time during which John 24 occupied the patriarchal throne was thirteen years, more or less.
[II. 28.] Among the satellites of the patriarch was a certain deacon, named Theodulus, who distinguished himself by the activity he displayed in the persecution, and who also was overtaken by the Divine vengeance. From his youth this man had been remarkable for his demureness, and humility, and quietness, and had thereby earned with many the reputation of extraordinary virtue. These qualities had moreover gained him an introduction to the king Justinian, who, on seeing his humility and sedateness, employed him as his almoner, and intrusted him with large sums of money to distribute to the poor, and prisoners, and to the monasteries in the suburbs and outskirts of the city. The money thus given him amounted to many talents; and his services were not confined to the capital, but he was often sent on similar errands even to distant countries: |137 and finally, by little and little, he amassed for himself out of the sums given him to distribute great riches. After Justinian's death, he was employed by Justin in the same confidential post; and when the persecution broke out, being anxious to obtain the favour of men, he was the means, as one who held a confidential position, of bringing, in company with John and the rest, many evils upon the whole body of the believers. His business was to go in advance to the monasteries, and there, by his false oaths, he deceived many: but finally, he was detected in his wickedness.
His zeal and vehemence in defence of the synod, and the whole heresy of the two natures, was even greater than that of John himself; and as he was perpetually slandering the believers both to the king and patriarch, and exciting cruel anger against them, he was himself invested with power to seize and imprison and torture whom he would, besides being often intrusted with special commands, in the execution of which he treated the believers in the most wilful manner. Even the patriarch himself was in no little alarm and fright at his rising power, and the more so when the Arians everywhere were put under his authority. But when he was thus lifted up, and still busied with persecution, God severely scourged him, so that he could no longer walk erect. For while he was still in his strength, and angrily urging on the persecution, it so happened that his own and his wife's cousins and his |138 secretary embarked in a carvin 25, or small vessel, to cross the sea: but it foundered, and all on board, two or three only excepted, were drowned. Nor was this the only calamity which befell him: for, soon after, his wife died, and a severe illness stretched him also upon his bed, where he lay in much pain for three years. And now, in the misery brought upon him by these severe chastisements, he confessed with bitter tears, saying, 'Woe is me! for the curses of those whom I persecuted have overtaken me, and the cry of those whom I oppressed has gone up before God, and therefore is this my humiliation sent upon me from Heaven.' For it had so happened, a little time before, that somehow or other he offended his vestryman, who had the charge of all which he possessed; and for revenge he went in secret and informed the king of the talents which his master Theodulus had secreted, and which it is said—for we have no means of knowing exactly —were from twenty-four to thirty. These the king had secretly removed, and then sending for Theodulus, he said; 'We are in great need, O deacon, of money for the wars; and if thou wilt lend us two or three talents, we will requite thee.' And he replied, 'Me, my lord, whence could I have talents?' ' By my life and my salvation,' exclaimed the king, ' say you that you have none?' |139 'None, certainly,' was the answer; and he took his oath that he was not worth a talent. Upon this, the king ordered the talents to be produced, and with them the vestryman, and sternly said, 'Knowest thou these? and how didst thou swear, and perjure thyself unto us and unto God? Thy shame suffice thee: depart hence.' And so he departed, ashamed like the shame of a thief when he is caught, and hid himself for shame; and became the scorn and ridicule of all men.
Thus then disgrace was added to his other afflictions, and he was further dismissed from his office, and continues so to the present day.
[II 29.]Another of the chief persecutors was the king's quaestor, Anastasius, who by birth was a Samaritan; and when his countrymen in Palestine were being brought to judgment by Photius, they accused him also of practising their idolatrous customs, and an indictment against him was drawn up, and laid before the king. And upon this the alarm of Anastasius was extreme, and he ran hither and thither, and. gave bribes on all sides, and so the indictment disappeared, and no inquiry was made into his conduct. This man was the foe and stern enemy of the believers, and used to threaten them severely; and whenever in the patriarch's absence he acted as his commissary, he used the opportunity for stirring up the king against them by his calumnies: and on John's return, the two persisted, whenever they had an audience, in these representations, and so abused the king's confidence, that, |140 being roused to anger, he published decrees of alarming severity against the whole body of the believers. And, as was known to every one, Anastasius was constantly in the habit of receiving sums of money from John, and was his adviser and inciter to every thing that was abominable, like his accursed teacher Aetherius 26, who prided himself upon Anastasius having been from the first a labourer in the same cause as himself, and eager to walk in all his footsteps.
But justice could no longer endure this man's cruelty, who, while professing himself a Christian, used the opportunity of his office secretly in every way, and on every pretext, to smite the Christians, as only a heathen and a Samaritan would do, and conspired with the other secret heathens to prevent the unity of the church. But God saw his crafty purposes, and while he supposed that he was deceiving both God and men, He brought his falsehood to light before the whole church, when it was crowded with people, on the day of the adoration of the holy cross of our Saviour. On this festival the cross is brought out, and set up in the great church, and the whole senate and all the people of the city assemble to adore it: and with the senate came also the quaestor, to show forsooth in |141 pretence that he also was an adorer. And as they formed themselves in rows, and drew near in order, he too approached the holy cross; but before he could adore it, a demon entered into him, and lifted him up, and threw him on the ground before the holy cross,—yes, this man, I say, who falsely and deceitfully, in mockery of the Christian religion, had drawn near to worship —and he began to foam, and was torn by the devil, and deprived of his senses, and screamed so long, that at length the patriarch gave orders for them to lift him up, and carry him through the throng, and place him in an inner apartment of the church: while the whole multitude who filled the church long continued crying Kyrie eleison, being in wonder at the revelation of his fraud, and at the chastisement which the Lord of the cross had inflicted upon him, before the eyes of so many people. And terror fell on many deceivers and hypocrites.
As for Anastasius, he never again raised his head, but being thus tormented by the devil, he lived about a year and a half, more or less, and so departed from this life.
[II. 30.] Nor did vengeance fall only upon individuals, but as the synodites had rooted up the churches of the orthodox during the persecution, so after a short time, by a righteous sentence, the altars of their churches throughout Thrace, and up to the very walls of the city, were rased to the ground by the barbarians. For it seemed good to the rulers in church and state, to |142 overthrow the meeting-houses of the believers, and level their altars with the ground: but when a short time only had elapsed, a barbarous people, who from their unshorn hair are called Avars, invaded the country and marched up to the outer walls of Constantinople: and all the churches in Thrace were plundered by them and desolated with the whole land, and the altars were stripped and overthrown, and the ciboria 27 destroyed and plucked down, even to the very walls of the city. And many of them understood this just judgment, and said, 'Lo, that which was unjustly done by men of our own party unto those who do not agree with us, in uprooting their churches, this has God done unto us in anger, and our churches also are rooted up and ruined.' —And all men wondered thereat and praised God, Who requiteth every man according to his works.
[II. 31.] Upon the death of the patriarch John, Eutychius was once again summoned to fill the archiepiscopal throne, from a monastery at Amasea 28 in the north. And on his arrival at |143 the capital, he was received by their majesties and the whole city with the utmost pomp: for wonderful rumours were spread abroad concerning him, to the effect that he wrought miracles and did mighty works. The whole city therefore rejoiced at his arrival, and congratulated themselves upon their deliverance from the perfidy and falseness and usurpation 29 of John, who had been appointed in violation of canonical order; and moreover originally he held a menial position, and subsequently was a jurist; nor was it until a very short time before that he received the tonsure and became a clergyman, and then unexpectedly bishop of the royal city; but this in no way broke him of his habits as a layman and jurist. Eutychius, on the contrary, was a sober monk: and already at his deposition he had occupied the throne of the capital for twelve years; and on his expulsion John had held the episcopate also for twelve years, and just entered upon the thirteenth: and so Eutychius returned, feeling as though he could not sit upon his throne until he had excommunicated John, and cast, his memory out of the church of God.
[II.32.] His return brought with it a practical difficulty as to who had been the real bishop of Constantinople during the twelve years of John's |144 occupancy: and therefore the archdeacon of Rome, after the death of John of Sirmin and the restoration of Eutychius, spake with much freedom before the king, as follows: 'Be it known unto your clemency, that according to the canons and rules of the church, if John was patriarch,—and he certainly acted in that capacity all the days of his life,—then Eutychius was not patriarch, and it is utterly impossible for him to be admitted into the church, and occupy the throne. If however Eutychius is received, and admitted as patriarch, and occupies the throne, then John and all that he did cannot be acknowledged by the church, but must be rejected, whether it be the consecration of bishops, or ordinations, or any baptism which he performed, or the consecration of a church, or an altar, it is all null and void, and his name must be erased, and proclamation made of his expulsion from the church of God, and the order of the priesthood. And this is the more necessary, because the two have mutually deposed and excommunicated each other, and all who severally communicate with them: so that it plainly follows from the canons, that one or other is deposed and ejected from the church.' And when the archdeacon had said these things in the presence of the king, and declared that the pope of Rome held the same view, he was sharply rebuked, and told to hold his peace, and not trouble himself about the exact letter of the canons. And so he held |145 his peace, and passed the matter by; and the rule of the canons was trampled under foot and broken.
[II.33.] The archdeacon of Rome had however only expressed the general opinion: for all men had expected that Eutychius, upon his recall, would refuse to occupy the patriarchal throne, until a synod had been assembled, and full enquiry made. But on arriving at the city, he mounted and sat upon his throne without opposition: and both parties drank and swallowed down the turbid dregs of the mutual excommunications, which John and Eutychius had pronounced against each other and their respective adherents; so that astonishment took possession of all men.
[II.34.] But though Eutychius abstained from a ca nonical enquiry into the validity of John's patriarchate, fearing lest he should stir up some opponent against himself, and lose his manger, he showed his hatred and fierceness against him by giving orders that all his pictures should immediately be extirpated and removed from the palace; which John had himself rebuilt in a magnificent manner, after it had been destroyed by fire. His pictures also elsewhere were obliterated, and his name no longer heard at the recitation from the diptychs of the former patriarchs of Constantinople, until the king expressed his displeasure at the omission. He moreover drove away and deprived all his relatives of their offices, and heaped upon his |146 predecessor's memory every possible contumely. And every one who wished to please him, when they saw his infatuation, spoke ill of John, and he listened to it with pleasure: and finally, his folly reached such a height, that he used openly to say, 'John never was bishop of Constantinople, but was simply keeping my place, having himself nothing to do with it.' But these absurdities deceived no one but himself: for all knew that he had been deposed, and that John was appointed in his stead, and had occupied the see, and formally pronounced his deprivation.
[II. 35.] The restoration of Eutychius did not promise much peace to the orthodox party: for in his exile he had occupied himself in his monastery in tearing up and arranging books of lacerations 30, as a proof from the fathers of the doctrine of a quaternity instead of the Holy Trinity, as it had been set forth at the synod of Chalcedon in the wicked tome of Leo. For he in like manner taught that there are two natures in Christ even after the union, and said that all the fathers also acknowledged this. Immediately then that he had been reinstated in his see, he busied himself in eagerly sending copies of these books to the leading men, and ladies of note, requesting them to read and understand, and so be led themselves to acknowledge the two natures: and especially he sent them to such persons as were |147 offended at the doctrine of the two natures, and held, in accordance with all. the fathers, that there was but one nature in Christ as He existed corporeally. But the contrary effect to what he had expected followed upon the perusal of his books: for even his own suffragans and people generally ridiculed his absurdity, and the whole city began to be excited, and those especially, who had not drunk of the turbid dregs of Nestorius' gall, expressed freely and in severe terms their indignation, including some of his own bishops. And at length so much excitement and debate was stirred up against him, that they assembled at the palace, and frankly said, 'Know that if thou dost not gather in thy books, and say nothing more upon this matter, thou wilt cause a schism in the church of God, even among our own party.' And so he gathered in his books, upon which the excitement died away, though he continued to hold the same views as before.
[II.36] After these things, the haughty Eutychius, who belonged originally in the main to the heresy of Paul of Samosata, was not long in precipitating himself into a fresh snare, by adopting the views of those who denied the resurrection of the body: nor did he merely assent to their opinions, but set himself industriously and zealously to confess and publicly teach their doctrine, saying, 'These bodies of men do not attain to the resurrection, but others are created anew, which arise in their stead.' And this view he not merely taught by word of mouth, but even drew up |148 written treatises in its defence, and distributed them publicly, and constantly spoke of nothing else. And again, on this account the whole city was excited against him, and murmurs were every where heard, and expressions of scorn and ridicule. And those especially were scandalized who were of his party, and finally they said to him, 'If thou dost not hold thy tongue about this doctrine, we will in a body excommunicate thee.' And even this threat did not divert him from his opinion, but he attempted no longer to teach it, especially as all men had come to regard him as a heretic and a simpleton.
A few chapters further on, John repeats this narrative as follows:
[II. 42.] The vanity of his heart often led the patriarch Eutychius astray; and whereas originally he belonged to the heresy of the Samosatenians, on being made bishop, he sought to conceal this fact; and to please those who had appointed him, and who held the Chalcedonian tenets, he stood up and played the man in the heresy of the two natures, and began to persecute severely. And when he was driven from his throne into exile, he composed a large work of instruction, divided into heads, concerning the two natures, which upon his restoration after John's death, as we have previously narrated, he began to distribute among the houses of the leading senators, both to men and women, especially to such as held back from the confession of the two natures. And with his book he sent this message, 'Read |149 and learn that the church confesses two natures in Christ after the union.' And laughing at his absurdity, they sent him his books back again. Next, after a short interval, he heard of the heresy of Athanasius, who after having been head and founder of the heresy of those who number the substances, that is, the essences and natures in the Holy Trinity, having been led astray by the error of John Grammaticus, of Alexandria, he further said that these bodies of ours do not rise again at the resurrection of the dead, but that others are made 31, which come to the resurrection in their stead. And from this madness, worthy of heathenism or the Manichees, there arose a schism among them, and they anathematized one another in their writings. When then Eutychius heard of these people, he immediately joined himself unto them, and was imbued with their sentiments, and became one of them, and began composing a work in their defence, and drew up and published books, until |150 his bishops and clergy were alarmed, and resisted him; and after much discussion, he was ashamed, and held his peace, and gathered in his writings, though he still continued of the same opinion.
[II. 37.] Eutychius, however, himself ascribed the ill success of his books to the machinations of the orthodox: and though the supposition was unfounded, it led him to entertain an implacable animosity against them, and to set his face to exterminate and destroy them. He let loose therefore upon them, on the occasion of the celebration of their love feasts, the more violent members of his party, such as the officials of the ecclesiastical courts, and soldiers and civilians and clergymen and guardsmen 32, who attacking them, not like Christians, but like murderers and barbarians, dragged them with open violence to prison, overturned their altars, threw down their oblations, and poured, out the consecrated wine, while the sacred vessels, and every thing else of any worth, which they could find, with the service books, they plundered and stole: they even robbed the worshippers of their clothing and their shoes, and any thing else they found of value they took, without despising even trifles. And when they had stolen all they could, they dragged them away, and all whom they found |151 in their company, to prison, and confined them, rich and poor together, and only let them out to make room for a fresh crowd, as similar scenes were repeated every day. But these proceedings brought general disgrace upon Eutychius and his party, because, like heathens, they had thrown down and trampled under foot the bread consecrated on Christian altars, and even cast it into the fire and burnt it. And all these evils were done without restraint, until no congregation openly ventured to celebrate public worship throughout the whole city.
[II.38.] The cause of all these wrong doings was a certain Fravian, or Flavian 33, originally a slave of Andrew, the queen's pursebearer, who at the commencement of the persecution left the palace and his office, and went forth for the truth's sake, and was plundered, and imprisoned in the monastery of Dalmatus, but retained his constancy unbroken. In his household was a slave of barbarian parentage, whom he had carefully brought up, and trained to be his scribe; and he was a believer and all his house. In process, however, of time he apostatized and conformed to the tenets of Eutychius, by whom he was employed as an informer, and troubler of the believing clergy and their congregations. Taking therefore with him a troop of officials and |152 guardsmen and civilians and clergy, he went about laying hands on every body, and dragging them to prison, after plundering them barbarously, and spoiling them and taking from them all they had. To escape from him, many gave him large bribes; for though a man crept and hid himself in a needle's eye, as the proverb is, he was sure to creep in after him by some stratagem or other, and seize him, and plunder and imprison him. And thus he became the tempter and Satan of all the priests and congregations, and of all the believers in the capital, and of us too with the rest; and, in short, it would be impossible to enumerate the evils wrought by this man against the whole orthodox church.
[II. 39.] Among those who endured this persecution with exemplary firmness was a young nun. She was one of two sisters whose mother died while they were infants, and their father placed them in a convent; and dying soon after, he left them, that is, their convent, whatever he possessed. And in process of time they grew up, and had just arrived at womanhood, when John's persecution broke out, and subsequently that of Eutychius: and as they obliged every religious house to receive the sacrament at their hands; they took the sisters, upon their refusal, and placed them in separate convents: but they both stood firm as adamant, and especially the elder; upon which they inflicted upon her every kind of torture and pain, and close confinement, |153 and hunger and thirst, as being the elder of the two, and glorying and fervent in the faith. But she rebuked and reproached those in whose convent she was confined, and said, 'Ye and your priests, and all your party, are aliens to the Holy Trinity, and hold instead of it a quaternity of persons, like the synod of Chalcedon, which makes a pretence of excommunicating Nestorius, but really and truly holds his view, and acknowledges two natures, just as he did, and as you also do, and all who agree with it.' And as they could not refute her arguments, they went and accused her to the bishop, and said to him plainly, 'Unless you give orders for the immediate removal of this tempter, know for certain that we must all quit our nunnery; for it is impossible to endure her scoffs and contumelies, or answer her arguments.' He therefore sent to the exarch, or officer who had the general oversight of the monastic institutions, commanding him to go and examine her, and severely chastise her; and then eject her, and send her to a convent where their discipline was more severe, with directions to torture her until they made her submit. The exarch accordingly deputed his visitor to try the case, and on his arrival they began to accuse and threaten her; but she of her own accord laughed at them, openly expressing her contempt, and saying, 'Why do ye heathens and murderers threaten a poor weak girl like me? If ye go no further than threats, and do not at once murder me, according to your |154 custom and that of him who sent yon, I do not count you as men, or even as living creatures.' Upon this, they beat her in anger with a staff until they were tired: but she only derided them the more, and anathematized them, saying, 'O you heathen persecutors and murderers of Christians!' and urging them to kill her, she said, 'You are heathens and not Christians; for Christians do not persecute Christians: but you shew yourselves to be heathens, and that you do the work of heathens.' And as they could not answer her, they dragged her away and imprisoned her in another nunnery, leaving orders that they should torture her severely. But when but a few days had passed, they also began to cry out, and try to get rid of her. And so she was removed to one convent after another; and when none could break her spirit, Eutychius gave orders that she should be brought to him in the church. But when the exarch's people heard of the patriarch's intention, they went to him, and said, 'Know, my lord, that if you let her enter your presence, and do not first cut out her tongue, or strike off her head, there is no reproach or ridicule that she will not freely utter to your face: for even when flogged and scourged, she only grows the more vehement, being ready and eager to suffer death.' Finally, however, she was brought to the church, and many attacked her one after another, and multiplied their threats and denunciations; but she regarded them no more than as if they had been |155 so many dead persons, and reproved them at great length. And so they were all everywhere vanquished by her, and finally let her return to her own nunnery. And thus she was the cause of the whole convent being unmolested: for they never ventured again to attack them, being unwilling to encounter her, and saying, 'If this one sister of that convent has endured without flinching all these trials, since they are all alike, who will ever be able to overpower them?'
[II.40.] Not satisfied with these attacks upon their persons and their property, Eutychius endeavoured also to weaken the argumentative position of the orthodox by making a change in those parts of the Liturgy which favoured their views.
Carrying himself then proudly, in this as in every thing else, and wishing to prove himself a theologian, he formed the purpose of doing away with and abolishing the immemorial custom of the ministrations in the churches, and establishing a corruption of his own composing: he therefore drew up an antiphon for the Thursday in Passion week, and had it copied on tablets, and sent it to all the churches, with orders that the ordinary antiphon should no longer be used, but his own substituted in its place, adding threats and menaces against such as should still venture to use the former one in preference to his own.
But not only the clergy of all the churches and convents and monasteries, and monks and nuns, were in alarm and commotion, but also the whole city and senate: and a general riot was on the |156 point of breaking out, not only on the part of the churches and monasteries, but also of the people of the city. And at length the matter reached the king's ears, to whom it was told by one of the senate: and when the bishop came in haste and hot anger, to complain to the king of these things, he rebuked him very sharply, and said, 'How long will it be before you can moderate yourself, and live in quiet? For see, you have agitated and disturbed the whole city. For how could you imagine that you had authority to change our ancient customs? Look to yourself, that they do not stone you.' To this he replied: 'I assure you, my lord, that what I have composed is far fitter for the occasion than the old one.' But the king said, 'Know that if you had brought your antiphon down from heaven, we would not admit it. Go, and keep to your church: and follow in it what has been established by the ancient fathers.' And so his vehemence was checked, and his menaces gave place to a discreet silence.
[II.52.] Of a similar change attempted in the Trishagion34 our author gives some more particulars in |157 the last chapter of this book, wherein he says, that as we have mentioned above the excellent Eutychius was a very eager opponent of the phrase, 'That wast crucified for us,' and wrote strict injunctions to the bishops everywhere to omit this confession from the churches of the cities over which they presided: and at the consecration of all new bishops he exacted a promise that they would cause its entire suppression in their dioceses. But upon their endeavouring to obey this command, the people everywhere, both in the cities and villages, were offended and scandalized, especially in Syria, Asia, and Cappadocia, inasmuch as they had used this phrase from the first. And in many places they resisted, and rose up, saying, 'Though we be hacked to pieces, and burnt, yet will we not deny the God Who was crucified and suffered for us.' And this strife and quarrel continued in every province of the empire even after the death of Eutychius.
[II.41.] In this persecution our author suffered chiefly in the unjust legal proceedings taken against him respecting some property. For this, John, generally known as Superintendent of the heathen, and who was bishop of Ephesus, after all the trials and imprisonments and persecutions and banishments which he had endured, was required to give up the writings of an endowment which had been granted him by Callinicus, chief officer of the king's household, and a patrician. But John, upon receiving it, had expended upon it considerable sums, having both restored the buildings, |158 and built a church, and erected three cisterns; and finally, had dedicated it as a monastery. But when the persecution broke out, in the time of John of Sirmin, he took from him the monastery, and put into it monks in communion with Chalcedon, and sent its founder into exile to an island in the sea. And when upon John's death he returned from exile, Eutychius demanded of him the deed of gift and all the other writings by which he held the property; and not only so, but also the furniture, and service books, and every thing else belonging to it. And when John resisted, after a lengthened persecution, he finally arrested him, and cast him into prison, and took from him by force all the papers upon which he could lay hands. And while he still lay in prison, he assembled a troop of officials and laymen to try him for refusing to deliver up the furniture. But John was strengthened by the grace of,God, and said to them, 'What furniture and what things demand ye? Is it aught that ye gave, or that some one else gave? He who gave me the furniture would be the fitting person to demand it back. For lo! all the deeds of the endowment that were in my possession ye have already taken away by fraud and violence, without fear of God. Read then, and see for yourselves: is there so much as the name of monastery there, or. any mention of furniture as received by me? If there be, then let it be required of me. For I it was who, to my misfortune, made it a monastery. But if the name do not occur, then was it no |159 monastery when first it came into my hands.' And so, by the grace of God, he made them ashamed of themselves, and they said nothing more to him upon this point; but they took away from him the right of having five loaves at each public distribution of corn m, which had cost him three hundred darics, saying, 'These at all events you bought in the name of the monastery.' And even then they did not restore him to liberty, but kept him in prison, until he formally resigned the endowment, and so he was set free.
The two succeeding chapters contain the information respecting Paul, metropolitan of Aphrodi-sias, which we have given above in its proper place: and then follows an account of Deuterius, John's fellow labourer, and subsequently the successor of Paul as bishop of the orthodox communion in Asia. He is spoken of by his former coadjutor in terms of sincere affection, as follows:
[II.44.] 'This Deuterius was a man of industrious and upright habits, who from his youth to old age uninterruptedly, through a period of five-and-thirty years, was fellow-labourer with John in instructing the heathen in the provinces of Asia, Caria, Phrygia, and Lydia, where together they built ninety-nine new churches and twelve monasteries: and throughout this time John confided in him, and trusted in him more than in all besides. When therefore he grew old, and became the victim also of persecution, he appointed |160 Deuterius in his place as bishop of the orthodox in Caria, and intrusted to his charge the churches and monasteries there, among which he laboured, visiting and strengthening them all, until his death, which happened at Constantinople. For he was greatly assisted by Divine grace, which enabled him to discharge efficiently and zealously and manfully the painful duties of his office: and when the synodites pursued him in hopes of getting him into their power, that they might treat him as they had done Paul of Aphrodisias, and substitute him in the place of the other Paul of Antioch, the Lord did not deliver him into their power: and so he fought unto the end the good fight, and arrived at a prosperous old age.
The next chapter treated of the apostasy of the Cappadocian monks, whom Narses had received temporarily into his convent in Bithynia (l. i. c. 39), and we have therefore arranged it with the rest of their history: and possibly the next chapter should have accompanied it, as it is a lament over the confusion and uncertain creed which was occasioned in the monasteries by the persecution, and of which they were an example. As, however, it belongs chronologically to the present time, it has been allowed to retain its original position; and is as follows:
[II. 47.] Upon the visitation of the nunneries, great and small, the inmates were compelled to receive the communion at the hands of their persecutors,; and such of them as submitted, continued to |161 reside as inmates; but some of those who refused, subsequently returned, and again commenced residence. There were therefore now two parties in the nunneries; those who had submitted, and those who had not; and both joined in the whole service, except the actual partaking of the Eucharist. And even when the elements were consecrated by the clergy, and during the actual participation, all had to stand and join in the services, and perform the whole office in common, without venturing to separate one from the other. Such, however, as did not actually partake were allowed to have a special service for themselves, and receive the Lord's supper at the hands of orthodox presbyters. And because of the urgency of the times, they were compelled to submit to these regulations, or they would have been summarily expelled and dispersed; and the chiefs of the orthodox were obliged to keep quiet, and overlook these things, or orthodoxy would have come to a speedy and utter end.
[II.48.] There were at that time at Constantinople some elephants, whose conduct excited wonder and astonishment. Now it may easily happen that those who are given to ridicule will find only an occasion for derision in lighting upon a narrative of the acts of irrational animals in our histories: but we do not record it without reason, or, so to say, foolishly, but first of all for the glory of God, and secondly for the refutation and conviction of heathens and Jews, and of all other |162 mistaken persons, who deny the cross, and reject the dispensation of our Saviour, the sign of which is the cross upon which it was wrought.
These elephants then were part of the spoil captured after a victory, which God gave the Christians over the accursed people of the Magians; and being sent to Constantinople, continued there a long time; and whenever they passed a church, the foremost elephant, who was marching in their front, turned round towards the east, and bowed down his head and trunk, and made obeisance; and then, raising up his trunk, he waved it round, and made the sign of the cross, and signed himself, and so passed on. And next, the second would raise his trunk, and act in the same manner; and the rest in order unto the last. And this we have often seen with our own eyes, while we wondered and praised God, Who had given the knowledge of Christianity even to dumb animals, for the rebuke of those who have the gift of reason, and yet neglect Christianity, and despise the grace of Him Who has saved our sinful race.
And there was another similar practice of these animals equally wonderful and astonishing, and which they never failed to perform whenever the customary horseraces were held in the Hippodrome. For these elephants were always brought in, each with his conductor on his neck; and standing in the Hippodrome opposite the king, they bowed down, and made their obeisance to him to the best of their ability, and as far as |163 their nature would permit. And then each one of them made the sign of the cross with his trunk, and signed himself before the king: while the crowds assembled there were amazed and astonished to see them use the sign of the cross exactly like men. And finally, the king made them presents, and they retired.
[II.49.] Another extraneous subject is an account of a great fire, which, towards the close of Tiberius' reign, and the commencement of that of Maurice, broke out in the very centre of Constantinople, and devastated a great portion of it; so that many estates, some large and some moderate and some small, were simultaneously destroyed, and their owners, even if they escaped with their lives, were stripped and beggared of all they possessed, and with their own eyes saw it fall in one day a prey to the flaming fire.
[II.50.] Now when men of practised learning fall in with these narratives, they will possibly blame the writer, because it may so happen that the same fact is recorded in a confused and disorderly way in several different chapters; be it known, then, in our defence to such as are inclined to find fault, that most of these histories were written at the very time when the persecution was going on, and under the difficulties caused by its pressure: and it was even necessary that friends should remove the leaves on which these chapters were inscribed, and every other particle of writing, and conceal them in various places, where they sometimes remained for two |164 or three years. When therefore matters occurred which the writer wished to record, it was possible that he might have partly spoken of them before, but he had no papers or notes by which to read and know whether they had been described or not. If therefore he did not remember that he had recorded them, at some subsequent time he probably again proceeded to their detail; and therefore occasionally the same subject is recorded in more chapters than one: nor afterwards did he ever find a fitting time for plainly and clearly arranging them in an orderly narrative.
Of this we have an instance in the two next chapters, one giving an account of the lapse of Eutychius into the heresy of the Athanasians, and the other of his attack upon the Trishagion, both of which belong to previous portions of the history.
End of the Second Book of the Narratives of the Church, in which are contained fifty-two chapters.
[Footnotes moved to end and renumbered]
1. a As no attempt is made by John of Ephesus to arrange his Narratives in chronological order, I imagine that it was subsequently to the banishment of the four bishops, that the patriarch had convinced Stephan of the soundness of the council of Chalcedon, by the extraordinary arguments recorded in c. 16, and as he still continued in communion with Chalcedon, though refusing to be reconsecrated, and was supported in this by Justin, he was now dwelling at Constantinople in full possession of the influence which, as our author mentions above, he obtained over the weak mind of the king.
2. b So Dionysius, in his Chronicle, quoted by Ass. B. O. ii. 6. 'Paul who had been consecrated patriarch of Antioch, by Jacob Burdoho, was by birth of Alexandria, and having partaken of the communion with John the Chalcedonian, for the sake of peace, he was deposed and ejected; and further, because he had secretly consecrated a patriarch of Alexandria;' (of which we shall see more hereafter in the history of Longinus).
3. c The hospital of Eubulus was a late foundation at Constantinople, having been built in the reign of Justin I, and must have been situated near the great church of St. Sophia, as the Alexandrine chronicle mentions that when that edifice perished by fire, the hospitals of Sampson and Eubulus were also destroyed, and the sick in them perished in the flames. Du Fresne Con. Chr. ii. 163.
4. d Both these substantives are in the plural, the patriarch as well as the king taking the pluralis majestatis.
5. e This was the paragau~dij, for which cf. Du Cange Glos. sub Paragauda.
6. f The palace of Hormisdas was originally a mere house, the use of which was granted to Hormisdas, when he fled to Constantinople for refuge from the cruelty of his brother, Sapor, king of Persia: but when subsequently Justinian dwelt there, before he attained to the empire, he conceived so great an attachment for it, that he rebuilt it magnificently, and added it to the palace by a covered way.
7. g The monastery of Dalmatus (for so we ought to read, the mark of the plural both here and constantly in the case of the monastery of Eubulus being an error of the copyist, who mistook the waw, which represents the genitive case, tou~ Dalma&tou, for a plural termination) was the highest in rank and most ancient and celebrated of all the religious houses at Constantinople. It was founded in the reign of Theodosius the younger, and an account of it will be found in Du Fresne Const. Christ. ii. 154.
8. h Comes Privati, ko&mhj tw~n priba&twn, is defined by Philostorgius as, o( th~j basilikh~j oi0ki/aj proestw&j.
9. i Theodora bore Justinian an only daughter, of whose son, Anastasius, Procopius gives an account in his Hist. Arc. c. iv. calling him 'Anastasi/w| tw~| th~j basili/doj qugatridw~|, and detailing the particulars of the scheme for marrying him to Belisarius' daughter Joannina; but of another son, John, he knows nothing.
10. k The diptychs here spoken of were of two kinds — one for the dead, and one for the living; and on them were inscribed the names of those who were to be mentioned at the eucharist. The omission therefore of their names was equivalent to condemning them as heretics; and Evagrius mentions that Anastasius' own name was similarly removed 'because of heresy.'
11. l Syncellus signifies literally, 'one who shares the same cell,' whence it became the title of a high ecclesiastical dignity, the person invested with it being at once the prime minister and privy councillor of the bishop. Occasionally the syncellus was nominated by the emperor, to watch and control the actions of a dangerous prelate.
12. m These diaconates were also hospitals; but the sick in them were tended by deacons and laymen.
13. n Beth-Babula was built at Constantinople by S. Rabula, bishop of Emesa, in the reign of Anastasius, who provided him with the funds. An account of its erection will be found in the Menologies, under Feb. 19.
14. o The cellarius was the house-steward of a bishop, or monastery, and the immense revenues of the patriarchates rendered the office one of great responsibility. Lanfranc, in the 8th chapter of his Decrees to regulate the monks of the order of S. Benedict, thus describes his duties: 'Ad cellarii ministerium pertinet omnia quae in pane et potu et diversis ciborum generibus patribus sunt necessaria procurare,' etc.
15. p For these diaconates, conf. Du Cange, Glos. sub Diaconia.
16. q There was a very famous temple of the Virgin at Blachernae, but she is so universally styled Deipara, both by our author and by all who have described this church, that I feel far from certain of the correctness of the translation.
So beautiful was this edifice, that Nicephorus Callistus describes it as 'the great house of the Mother of God, which vies in beauty with the very heavens:' and its foundation is so illustrative of the times, that I cannot forbear giving it from the Greek Liturgies, where it will be found in the Menologies, or Services for the Saints' days, under July 2. 'Two Patrician youths, we are there told, named Galbius and Candidus, went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; and passing through Galilee, they lodged for the night with a pious woman, who had in her possession a robe which had once belonged to the holy Virgin. This treasure she shewed to the devout travellers, who, eager to gain so precious a relic, offered her large sums of money: but being unable to induce her to part with it, they finally proceeded on their way to Jerusalem. There, while visiting the holy places, the pious thought suggested itself of engaging the services of a carpenter to make a chest exactly similar to that in which the robe was deposited in the widow's house: and so exact was the counterfeit, that the brothers returned full of holy joly to Galilee; and being again hospitably entertained, they succeeded easily in effecting the substitution, as the true chest miraculously aided in the exchange. On returning to Constantinople, the youths endeavoured to conceal their pious theft, but the miraculous virtues of the robe quickly manifested themselves, and being noised abroad, they were constrained to acknowledge their possession of it to the Emperor, who hastened with all humility to kiss and do homage to the saintly relic, and built a splendid church for its reception, wherein the blessed chest remains even to this day, the palladium of the city against danger, and its best protection against pestilence and war.'
17. r This Khosrun is the famous Nushirwan, whose eulogy has been written by Gibbon, and to whose many excellent qualities our historian himself bears witness in the sixth book of his history.
18. s The title of Marzban is exactly equivalent to the German Markgraf, and English Marquis, and signifies Lord or Warden of the Marches, or border lands. Adelung, in his Krit. Wörterbuch, enumerates an endless number of dialects in which Marz or Mark has this meaning, and we retain it exactly in landmark, which signifies the edge, border, limit of the land, not a sign to mark the boundary. Ban the Germans retain as the title of the Warden of Croatia; and Adelung says, Ban, Pen, in Goth. Fan, signifies high, the summit, the chief lord. As regards the title King of kings, which occurs a few lines below, it is perhaps hardly necessary to say that Khosrun is meant by it, as it was the regular title of the Persian monarchs.
19. t Theodosiopolis is better known by its other name of Resaina, by which it is frequently spoken of afterwards, and was situated in Mesopotamia. The patrician Justinian was the grand nephew of the Emperor of that name, and in the latter part of Justin's reign conducted the war against Khosrun with considerable ability. Evagrius (Eccles. Hist. V. 7-15.) gives a brief account of these transactions confirmatory of the more stirring narrative of John.
20. u The real date was A. D. 571, consequently [Syriac] has probably been omitted from the text.
21. x A more full, but still piecemeal, account of these events will be found in the sixth book.
22. y Before completely dismissing the subject, it may he interesting to add a translation of Saint Martin's account of this seven years' war, in his Mémoires sur 1'Arménie, vol. i. p. 330, and which is as follows:—'In spite of the treaty made between Vahan Mamigonean and king Balasch, the Persian sovereigns frequently persecuted the Christians in Armenia, in the hope of making them abjure their faith. Nevertheless during most of the reign of king Khosrou, Armenia was tranquil, and enjoyed as much prosperity as was possible for a land which was necessarily the battle field for the incessant struggle waged between the Greek and the Persian empires. Towards the end however of his reign a war broke out, which for many years spread devastation and slaughter through every part of the land. For Vartan Mamigonean, irritated by the persecutions which his Christian countrymen had to endure, raised in A. D. 571 the standard of revolt, marched upon Tovin, the capital, of which he made himself master, defeated and slew beneath its walls the Marzban Souren Jihrveschnasbean, and with the support of the emperor of Constantinople, assumed the reins of government as an independent prince. And at first success seemed likely to crown his enterprise: for the army which Khosrou sent to suppress the rebellion was defeated by Vartan in the plains of Khaghamakha, on the shores of the Ourmiah lake. But this reverse served only to rouse the aged king to greater efforts, and upon the approach of his most famous general Bahrain Tchoubin, with a numerous army, the insurgents, weakened by intestine discords, did not dare to meet him in the field, and some even fled to Constantinople. The Greek emperors in vain endeavoured to prop up Vartan's tottering rule, and after a seven years' struggle, the Armenians, in A. D. 578, wearied with the ravages of war, made voluntary offers of submission, which were accepted by the Persian king, and Mihram Jihrvegon appointed to be their Marzban.'
This summary of the seven years' war is gathered by Saint Martin from the writings of the Armenians themselves; and should it interest any one in the brave endeavours of this people to maintain their faith in spite of the incessant persecutions of the Zoroastrian priests, he will find a stirring recital of a more successful struggle waged a hundred years before, in the translation (into French) of the history, which Elisée Vartabed wrote at the request of the hero of the war, Vahan Mamigonean, the ancestor of the Vartan mentioned above, by the abbé Gregory Karabagy Garabed: other available sources of information are, the translation of Moses Chorenus, an Armenian bishop of the fifth century, by Le Vaillant de Florival; Avdall's translation of Michael Chamich's History of Armenia, Calcutta, 1827; and the recent translations of Dulaurier.
23. z The deposition of this prelate had been one of the last acts of Justinian's reign, who, in his eagerness to unite all parties within the church, had adopted as his standard the tenets of a subdivision of the Monophysite party, who held that the body of Christ was not subject to corruption. The head of this party was Julianus, and a Syriac translation of the great work of Severus of Antioch in opposition to his views is extant among the manuscripts of the British Museum. Eutychius, to his honour, opposed the Emperor's scheme of elevating this doctrine to the rank of orthodoxy: and by a stretch of the imperial prerogative, by no means uncommon in those days, was at once deposed, and went into retirement. It follows therefore that John's elevation was entirely uncanonical, and hence the treatment of his pictures, &c. regarded by our historian as part of his retribution.
24. a The opinion of Baronius concerning John is by no means a favourable one: for speaking of Eutychius's deposition, he says, 'his successor was John Scholasticus, apocrisiarius of the church of Antioch, a man plainly the slave of glory, and a trafficker in holy things, and who purchased his high rank by flattery.' (Eccles. Hist. sub A. D. 564.) Raderus is even less complimentary: for referring to the fact that the Greek church celebrates him as a saint, he says, 'I find no traces of sanctity in him: away with him therefore from the sacred Fasti.' (Conf. Morcellus in Kal. Eccl. Const. ii. 229.)
25. b The carvin, or kara&bion, is explained by Isidore as a vessel made of osiers and hides: its Ar. equivalent [Arabic] is the small vessel used in disembarking from a larger one. In modern languages it still exists in the Portuguese, Caravela; Italian, Caravella, &c.
26. c Evagrius, Eccles. Hist. v. 3, applies the same epithet of exsecrable, or accursed (alith&rioj) to Aetherius, and describes him as a man whose sole delight was in calumniating and bringing evil upon others. He was put to death by Justin, on a charge of conspiracy against his life.
27. d The ciborium was properly a covering built over the altar, and supported by four pillars at the corners; and in this sense S. Chrysostom uses it to explain the 'silver shrines of Diana,' in the Acts. Subsequently the name was also given to the pyx erected under it for the reservation of the host.
28. e Amasea is in Pontus, and Eutychius had been apocrisiarius there before his elevation to the see, and had retired to his old monastery upon his deposition.
29. f [Syriac] literally means, that John was an impostor, e0piqe/thj, his appointment being uncanonical, and therefore invalid.
30. g This simply means that he drew up a Catena, or string of passages from the fathers in support of his views.
31. h Or, perhaps, 'but are made into others.' Eustathius, in his life of Eutychius, gives no explanation of John's assertion, that originally he was a follower of Paul of Samosata, if such is the meaning of [Syriac]: but he refers to this charge of his being an Athanasian, and says that he held no more than the fathers generally, in whose writings he was deeply versed, and of whom Gregory said, 'Despise the flesh, which passes away; care for the soul, which is immortal.' And Basil, 'Would that I might put off this heavy cloak, and receive a lighter one.'
The ill fate of Eutychius' books evidently was a favourite topic with our author, as he tells the whole story again in lib. iii. cc. 17, 18.
32. i [Syriac] evidently is for Xlanidwtoi\, but who are meant by the term is uncertain: as Chlanis, teste Du Cange, is however used for Chlamys, I imagine they may possibly be the young officers of the royal bodyguard, generally called Chlamydati.
33. k The change of Flavianus to Fravianus is not unusual in the Graecising of Roman names. Thus in the lists of the patriarchs of Constantinople we find Phravitas, i. e. Flavitas, still better known as Flavianus II., patriarch A. D. 488-490.
34. l The Trishagion was a hymn originally taken from Is. vi. 3, but subsequently remodelled till its words were, 'O holy God, holy mighty One, holy Immortal, have mercy upon us.' Into this Peter the fuller, patriarch of Antioch in A. D. 460, introduced the words, 'that wast crucified for us;' with the express purpose of supporting the views of the Monophysites, and succeeded in the patriarchate of Antioch, when their views were for many years in the ascendant.
35. m The a!rtoi politikoi\ are fully explained below in III. 14.
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