Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, Lake, Loeb, 1926
XL. Αs to that which befell Dionysius, I shall uote from a letter of his against Germanus, where, eaking of himself, he gives the following account : Now I for my part speak also before God, and Ηe οws if I lie. Αcting not on my οwn judgement nor art from God have I taken flight; but οn a former
Then, after some intervening remarks, he tells what appened to him after the ffight, adffing as follows: ‘ For I, indeed, falling about sunset into the hands of the soldiers, together with those who were with was brought to Taposiris,3 but Timothy by the ivine Providence happened to be absent and to cape being seized; but coming afterwards he found house deserted and senants guarffing it, and us mpletely taken ”
Αnd further on he says: “Αnd what was the way which Ηe wonderfully brought it about? For the shall be told. one of the country-folk met imonthy fleeing and distraught, and inquired the ason of his haste. Αnd he spoke οut the truth, and when the other heard it (now he was off to take part [*](had to do with the commissariat, but they also acted as uriers, and were employed on bolice work. 2 These may be either the sons οr the pupils οr the servants Dionysius. 3 Νear the coast, about thirty miles S.W. οf Alexandria. )
XLI. But the same person in a letter to Fabius, of the Antiochenes, gives the following account contests of those who suffered martyrdom at dria under Decius: “It was not with the ial edict that the persecution began amongst
“First, then, they seized an old man named Metras, and bade him utter blasphemous words; and when le refused to οbey they belaboured his body with udgels, stabbed his face and eyes with sharp reeds, and leading him to the suburbs stoned him.
“Then they led a woman called Quinta, a believer, the idol temple, and were for forcing her to worship. But when she turned away and showed her lisgust, they bound her by the feet and dragged her through the whole city over the rough pavement, hat she was bruised by the big stones, beating her ll the while; and bringing her to the same place hey stoned her to death. Then with one accord they II rushed to the houses of the godly, and, falling ach upon those whom they recognized as neighbours, hey harried, spoiled and plundered them, appropriting the more valuable of their treasures, and scatterng and burning in the streets the cheaper articles and uch as were made of wood, until they gave the city he appearance of having been captured by enemies. ut the brethren gave way and gradually retired, and, like those of whom Paul also testified, they took yfully the spoiling of their possessions. Αnd I now not there be —save, it may it be. some single one who fell into their —who up to the resent has denied the Lord.
“Moreover, they seized then that marvellous aged virgin Apollonia, broke out all her teeth with blows οn her jaws, and piling up a pyre before the city threatened to burn her alive, if she refused to recite along with them their blasphemous sayings. But she asked for a brief space, and, being released, without flinching 1 she leaped into the fire and was consumed.
“Serapion they laid hold of at his own home, broke all his limbs by the severe tortures they inflicted, and cast him down head foremost from the upper story.
“Νow there was no way, no thoroughfare, no alley by which we could go, either by night or during the day: alaways and everywhere all were shouting, that he who did not join in the chorus of blasphemy must immediately be dragged off and burnt. Αnd this state of things continued at its height for a long time. But strife and civil war came upon the wretehed men, and turned on themselves the fury of which we had been the object; and for a brief space we breathed again, since they had no time to indulge their anger against us. Straightway, however, the news was spread abroad of the change from that rule that had been more kindly to us, 2 and great was the fear of threatened punishment that hung over us. And, what is more, the edict arriVed, and it was almost like that which was predicted by our Lord, wellnigh the most terrible of all, so as, if possible, to cause to stumble even the elect.3 Ηowsoever that be, all cowered with fear. Αnd of many of the more eminent persons, some came forward immediately through fear, others in public positions were to do so by their business, and others were [*](3 Matt. xxiv. 24. Eusebius has σκανδαλίσαι for Matthew’s πλανᾶσθαι. )
“But the firm and blessed pillars ofthe Lord, being strengthened by Ηim, and receiving power and stedfasness in due measure according to the mighty faith that was in them, proved themselves admirable martyrs οf Ηis kingdom. Of these the first was Julian, a man who suffered from gout, unable to stand or walk. Ηe was brought up with two others who carried him, of whom the one straightway denied; the οther, Cronion by name, but surnamed Eunus, and the οld man Julian himself, confessed the Lord, and were carried upon eamels through the whole city, very large in extent as ye know, and thus uplifted were beaten, and in the end, surrounded by all the [*](1 Α very free reference to Matt. xix. 23; cf. Mark x. 23 Luke xviii. 24.)
“And with them four women : Ammonarion, a holy virgin, though tortured vigorously by the judge for a very long time, inamueh as she had made it plain beforehand that she would not utter anything of what he bade her, kept true to her promise, and was led away. And as to the rest, Mercuria, an aged woman of reverend mien, and Dionysia, the mother indeed of many children, who yet did not love them above the Lord, when the governor was ashamed to ply continued torture all to no end, and to be worsted by women,—they were put to death by the and so had trial of no further tortures. For these Ammonarion, true champion, had taken upon herself on behalf of all.
“ Hero and Αter and Isidore, Egyptians, and with them a young boy of about fifteen named were delivered up. Αnd at first [the governor] tried to wheedle the Ιad by words, as one easily led astray, and to compel him by tortures, as one that would easily give in ; but Dioscrous neither obeyed nor [*](1 “Blessed.” )
“Α certain Νamesion, he alsο an Εgyptian, was fahely accused of consorting with rοbbers, and when he had cleared himself before the centuriοn of that charge sο fοreign to his character, he was informed against as beingg a christian, and came bound before the gοvernοr. Ηe mοst unjusfly inflicted on him tmicece as many tortures and scourgings as he did on the robbers, and bumt hI·m between them, thus honouringng him, happy man, with a likeness to Christ.
“Α whole band of soldieriers, Αmmοn and Ζeno and Ptolemy and Ingenuus, and with them an old man Theophilus, had taken their stand before the cοurt. Νow a certain man was being tried as a Christian, and at that moment was inclining towards denial, when these men standing by ground their teeth, cast looks at him, sοetched out their hands and made gestures with their bodies. Αnd when all turned towards them, befοre anyone could οtherwise seize them, they ran of their own accord tο the prisoner’s dock saying that they were christians; so that both the govemor and his assessors were filled with fear, and those who were on their trial showed themselves very courageous in the face of their future sufferings, while the Judges were affrighted. So these men marched frοm the court in proud pro-
XLII. “ Αnd many others throughout the cities and villages were torn in pieces by the heathen, οf whom I shall mention οne as an example. Ischyrion was acting as the hired steward of one of the rulers. Ηis employer bade him sacrifice ; when he refused he insulted him, when he abode by his refusal he abused him foully ; and as he still remained firm he took a very large stick, thrust it through his bowels and vital οrgans, and so killed him.
“ What need is there to speak of the multitude of those who wandered in deserts and mountains,1 perished by hunger and thirst and frost and diseases and robbers and wild beasts ? Such of them as survive bear testimony to their election and victory ; but οne fact in connexion with these men also I shall adduce as evidence. Chaeremon was bishop of the city called Nilopolis, and of extreme age. Ηe fled to the Αrabian mountain with his wife, 2 and never returned, nor could the brethren ever lay eyes again either on them οr their bodies, although they made a long and thorough search. But many in that same Αrabian mountain were reduced to utter slavery by barbarian Saracens. Of these some were with difficulty ransomed for large sums, others have not yet been, up to this day.
“ Αnd I have not given this account, brother, to purpose, but that you may know all the terrible things that happened with us. Those who have had a larger experience of them would know more examples.“
Then, after a little, he adds as follows: “ Thererore the divine martyrs themselves among us, who now are assessors οf Christ, and share the fellowship οf
Νow these words Dionysius added suitably, raising the question about those who had proved weak in the time of persecution,
XLIII. since Novatus, 3 a presbyter of the church of the Romans, being lifted up by arrogance against these, as if there was no longer any hope of salvation for them, not even if they were to perform everything that a genuine conversion and a pure confession demand, became the leader of a separate sect of those who, in their pride of mind, styled themselves Ρuritans. Whereupon a very large synod was assembled at Rome, of sixty bishop and a still greater number οf presbyters οf penitents. They were admitted to the eucharistic prayers, but debarred from communion. [*](3 This person, the founder of the Novatianist sect, is called by Eusebius, and subsequent Greek writers, Novatus, but by the Westerns (no doubt rightly) Novatianus. Cf. the letters οf Dionysius in c. 45 and vii. 8)
Νow there have reached us a letter of Cornelius, bishop of the Romans, to Fabius, bishop of the church of the Αntiochenes, telling the fects concerning the Roman Synod, and what was decreed by them of Italy and Africa and the regions thereabout; ; and, again, another of Cyprian and of those with him in Αfrica, composed in the Latin language, in which it was made clear that they also agreed that those who had suffered trial should meet with succour, and that in the reason of things it was fitting that the leader of the heresy should be excommunicated from the Catholic Church, and likewise all those who were led away with him. To these was subjoine3d a certain οther letter of Cornelius, on the resolutions of the synod ; and, again, another on the doings of Novatus. There is nothing to prevent me from quoting parts of this last, so that those who read this book may know about him. Ιn explaining, then, to Fabius what kind of manner of man Novatus was, Cornelius writes these very words : “ “But that you may know that for a long time back this marvellous fellow has been seeking the office of a bishop, and has succeeded in concealing in his heart this his violent desire, using
Then shortly afterwards he says : “ Ηow extraordinary a change and transformation, brother beloved, we have beheld to have taken plaee in him in a little while ḷ For in sooth this highly distinguished person, who was in the habit οf pledging himself by some terrible oaths in no wise to seek the office οf a bishop, of a sudden appears as a bishop as if he were cast into our midst by some contrivance.1 For in sooth this master οf doctrine, this champion of the Chrurch's discipline, when he was attempting to wrest and filch away the episcopate that was not given him from above, chose to himself two companions [*](1 μαγγάνου : the reference is probably to the method of raising, by means οf pulleys, cages containing wild beasts to the level οf the arena.)
“ This vindicator, then, of the gospel did not know that there should be one bishop in a catholic church, in which he was not ignorant (for how could he be ?) that there are forty-six presbyters, seven deacons, seven sub-deacons, forty-two acolytes, fifty-two exorcists, readers and door-keepers, above fifteen hundred widows and persons in distress, all of whom are supported by the grace and loving-kindness of the Master. But not even did this great multitude, so
Αnd shortly afterwards he says again : “ . . . he who through cowardice and love of life at the time of persecution denied that he was a presbyter. For when he was requested and exhorted by the deacons to leave the cell in which he shut himself, and bring all the help to the brethren that it is right and possible for a presbyter to being to brethren who are in danger and in need of succour, so far was he from obeying the deacons' exhortations, that he even went
Passing over a few things, he again adds as follows : “ For when this illustrious person deserted the Church of God, in which, when he came to believe, he was deemed worthy of the presbyterate through the favour of the bishop, who laid his hand on him to confer that order (meeting the opposition of all the clergy and many lay persons as well—since one has received baptism by affusion1 on his bed owing to sickness, as Νovatus had, might not be ordained to an order—with the request that he should be to ordain this man alone) .... ”
Then he adds something else, the worst of all the man's offences, saying thus : “ For when he has the offerings, and is distributing to each his portion,2 as he gives it [into their hands] he compels the wretched persons to utter an oath instead of the blessing, taking in both his hands those of him who had received, and not letting go until they swear saying thus (for I shall use his very words) : ‘Swear to me by the Blood and Body of our Lord Jesus Christ never to forsake me and turn to Cornelius.’ the miserable person does not taste until he first calls down a curse upon himself, and instead οf saying the Αmen as he receives that bread, he says, ‘ I will not return to Cornelius.’
Αnd after οther remarks he again says as follows : ‘‘ But know that now he has become bare and desolate, for every day the brethren desert him and go back [*](1 i.e. by pouring water, not by immersion. 2 i.e. of the Sacrament. )
Αnd at the close οf the letter he has made a catalogue οf the bishops present at Rome who condemned the stupidity of Νοvatus, indicating at once both their names and the name of the community over which each one presided ; and of those who were not present, indeed, at Rome, but who signified in writing their assent to the judgement of the aforesaid, he mentions the names and, as well, the city where each lived and from which each wrote. This is what Cornelius wrote for the information of Fabius, bishop of Antioch.
XLIV. But to this same Fabius, when he was inclining somewhat towards the schism, Dionysius also, he of Alexandria, wrote, making many οther reamarks with reference to repentance in his letter to him and describing the conflicts of those lately martyred at Alexandria. In the course of his narrative he tells a certain astonishing tale, which must needs be handed down in this work. It is as follows : ‘‘ But this one example that happened amongst us I shall set forth for thee. There was a certain Serapion amongst us, an old man and a believer, who lived blamelessly for a long time, but in the trial fell. This man oftentimes besought [absolution], and no one paid him heed. For indeed he had sacrificed. Αnd, falling sick, he continued for three successive days speechless and unconscious ; but on the fourth
XLV. Such is the aeeount of Dionysius. But let us see the kind of lerter that the same person wrote also to Novatus, 2 who was then disturbing the Roman brotherhood. Since, then, he put forward some of the brethren as an excuse for his defection and sehism, as having been eompelled by them to proeeed to this length, see how Dionysius writes to him: “Dionysius [*](must therefore have been soaked in vater, or unconseerated wine—a very early instance οf communion in οne 2 See note on 43. 1. )
XLVI. This aho he wrote to Novatus. Αnd he wrote also to the Egyptians a letter on Repentanee, in which he has set forth his opinions with reference to those who had fallen, outlining degrees of failures. Αnd to Colon (he was bishop of the community οf the Hermopolitans) a personal letter of his is extant On Repentance, and another in the nature of a rebuke to his flock at Alexandria. Αmong these there is also the brethren at Laofficea over whom Thelymidres resided as bishop ; and he wrote to those in rmenia, likewise On Repentanee, whose bishop was eruzanes. In addition to all these he wrote also Cornelius of Rome, when he received his letter against Novatus, in which abo he clearly infficates that he had been invited by Helenus, bishop at Tarsus [*](1 sce note οn 43. 1.)
Next to this there is also another extant, a “diaconic’’ 1 letter of DionySius to those in Rome through Hippolytus. To the same peOple he composed another letter On Peace, and likewise Οn Repentanee, and again another to the confessors there While they were still in agreement with the opinion of Novatus. Αnd to these same persons he wrote two more, after they had returned to the Chureh. Αnd in his communications with many others, likewise by letter, he has left behind a varied Souree of profit to those who still to this day set store by his writings.