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Eusebius/Earliest Biblical Historian besides Josephus/Tells the story of how the churchcame2be

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  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    Pg.234MARTYRS OF ALEXANDRIA under the rulership of Decius
    They seized an old man named Metras and ordered him to blaspheme. When he refued, they beat him with clubs, stabbed his face and eyes with pointed reeds, took him to the suburbs, and stoned him to death. Then they led a believer named Quinta to the temple of idols and tried to make her worship. When she turned away in disgust, they tied her fet and dragged her across the city over the rough pavement, beating her while she was being bruised by the big stones, and stoned her to death at the same placPg.236 They also seized that wonderful old virgin Apollonia, knocked out all her teeth, built a pyre/fire in front of the city, and threatened to burn her alive if she failed to join in their blasphemies. She asked for a brief respite, and when they released her she eagerly jumped nto the fire and was burned to death. Serapion they arrested in his own home. They broke all his limbs through sever e torture and threw him down head first from the upper floor.
    Two more martyrs Julian and Cronion-surnamed Eunus were put on camels and beaten as they were taken through the whole city, and finally burned in quicklime (burned with lime) before the populace. Besas, that gallant warrior of God, was brought to trial and, having fought heroically in the great war of faith, was beheaded. Another man, a Libyan by race named Macar resisted all efforts of the judge to make him deny faith and so was burned alive. After these Epimachus and Alexander were sent to long imprisonment and endless agony from scrapers and whips before being destroyed by quicklime.
    Pg.238 Many others in the cities and villages were torn to pieces by the heathen. Let one example suffice. Ischyrion was an agent of one of the rulers, who ordered him to sacrifice. When he refused, he insulted him, and when he stood by his refusal he heaped abuse on him. When he still persisted, he took a large stick, skewered it through his vital organs, and killed him.
    Didymus mentions events in the persecution *Only purpose in including this passage is to show how other living people wrote about Eusebius; which I guess is also the reason Eusebius included it*
    In the city, the presbyters Maximus, Dioscorus, Demetrius, and Lucius have gone underground to visit the brethren in secret. The better known Faustinus and Aquila are wandering about Egypt. Deacons who survived those who died on the island are Faustus, Eusebius, and Chaeremon-the Eusebius whom God empowered to aid the confessors who were in prison and to perform the risky task of laying ou the bodies of the blessed martyrs.
    -This is a display of a demon’s power
    Pg.265 At Caesarea Philippi, which the Phoenicians call Paneas, on the slopes of a mtn. called Paneion, springs are shown that are the source of Jordan. Into these a victim is hurled at a certain festival, they say, and it disappears miraculously through the demon’s power-a phenomenon deemed a marvel by observers. One day AStrius was there while this was taking place, and when he saw the crowd’s amazement at the affair he pitied their deception, and, looking up to heaven, he asked God through Christ to squelch the demon who was deceiving the people and to stop the deception. After he had prayed, it is said, the sacrifice suddenly floated to the surface of the springs. Thus their miracle ceased, and no marvel ever took place there again.
    DEBATE ON IF JESUS WOULD ESTABLISH HEAVEN ON EARTH AND HAVE IT BE SIMILAR TO HOW EARTH IS GOVERNED EXCEPT WITHOUT CORRUPTION OR IF THE EARTH WOULD BE REMADE ENTIRELY & PHYSICALLY AND LOOK ILLUSTRIOUS AND DIVINE.
    Dionysius answers Nepos:
    They reply strongly on a treatise of Nepos as indisputable proof that Christ’s kingdom will be on earth. Now in general I endorse and love Nepos for his faith and industry, his study of Scripture, and his splendid hymnody, which still heartens the brethren, and I fully respect the man, especially now that he has gone to his rest. But truth is paramount, and one must honor what is correct and criticize what appears unsound. If Nepos were now present and airing his opinions orally, not writing but conversation would suffice-questions and answers o persuade our opponents. But a book has been published that some find convincing, while certain teachers, disregarding Scripture, make lofty claims for tis treatise as if it were some great and hidden mystery. They do not let our simpler brethren have high and noble thoughts about the glorious epiphany of our Lord or about our own resurrection from the dead, when we shall be like him, but persuade them to
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    hope in the kingdom of God for what is petty, mortal, and like the present. Thus we have no option but to debate our brother Nepos as if he were present.
    When I arrived at ARsinoe, where, as you know, this teaching had long been prevalent and caused schisms and separations of whole churches, I convened a meeting of the presbyters and teachers of the village congregations and urged them to air the issue in public. When they brought me this book as some invincible fortress, I sat with them for three days in a row, from morning until night, criticizing what had been written. In so doing I was greatly impressed by the soundness, sincerity, logic, and intelligence of the brethren as we discussed methodically and with restraint the difficulties and points of agreement. We refused to cling to blindly to prior opinions or avoid problems but tried our utmost to grapple with the issues and master them. Nor were we ashamed to alter our opinions, if convinced, but honestly and trusting in God, we accepted whatever was proven by Holy Scriptures. In the end, Coracion, the originator of this teaching, in the
    presence of all the brethren agreed and promised us that he would no longer adhere to it, debate it, mention it, or teach it, since he was convinced by the counterarguments.
    Dionysius goes on to say this about the Revelation of John:
    Some of our predecessors rejected the book altogether, criticizing it chapter by chapter as unintelligible, illogical, and its title false. They say it is neither John’s nor a “revelation” in any sense, since it is veiled by its thick curtain of incomprehensibility, and its author was neither an apostle nor saint nor even church member but Cerinthus, the one who founded the “Cerinthian” sect and wanted to attach to his own forgery a name that commanded respect (Revelation of John). They say that he taught this doctrine: Christ’s kingdom would be on earth and would offer the desires of his dreams: endless gluttony and sexual indulgence at banquets, bacchanals, and wedding feasts or (what he thought more respectable names) festivals, sacrifices, and immolations.
    I, however, would not dare reject the book, since many brethren hold it in esteem, but since my intellect cannot judge it properly, I hold that its interpretation is a wondrous mystery. I do not understand it, but I suspect that the words have a deeper meaning. Putting more reliance on faith than on reason, I have concluded that they are too high for my comprehension. I do not reject what I have failed to understand but am rather puzzled that I failed to understand.
    [After examining all of Revelation and proving that it cannot be understood in the literal sense, he continues:]
    On completing his prophecy, the prophet blesses those who observe it, including himself: “Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book, and I , John, who heard and saw these things,” [Rev. 22:7-8] That, therefore, he was named John and that this book is by a John-some holy, inspired writer-I will not deny. But I do not agree that he was the apostle, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James, who wrote the Gospel according to John and the general epistle. From the character of each and on the style and format of [Revelation], I conclude that the author is not the same.
    **I wonder on this though if it is the real John, and I challenge Dionysius. My merit on the challenge is simple. John didn’t write the book of John, but James wrote the book of John on behalf of John. This is according to the previous paragraph of Dionysius. So….maybe this writing of Revelation is written by John, thus having a different style than James who wrote the gospel of John and not John. I would not say I am correct, but I am just saying hmmm.**
    For the Evangelist nowhere names himself in either the Gospel or Epistle in either the first or third person, whereas the author of Revelation announces himself at the very beginning: “The revelation of Jesus, which he….sent by his angel to his servant John,” ]Rev.1:1-2] Then he writes a letter: “John to the seven churches in Asia: grace to you oand peace,” [Rev. 1:4]. Yet the Evangelist did not write his name even at the beginning of the general epistle but started with the mystery of the divine revelation. “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our own eyes.” [1 John 1:1] Not even in the second or third extant epistles of John, even if they are short, is John named: he is merely the nameless “presbyter.” Yet this writer was not satisfied to give his name once and continue his account but names himself again: ‘I, Joh, your brother and partner….was in the island called Patmos” [Rev.1:9]. Even
    at the close he says: “Blessed is the man who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book, and I, John, who saw and heard these things”[Rev.22:7-8]
    That the writer is John is credible, but which John? He does not say, as in the Gospel, that he was the disciple loved by the Lord, the one who leaned on his breast, the brother of James, the eye-and earwitness of the Lord. Had he wished to identify himself he would surely have used one of these epithets. But he uses none of them, merely referring to himself as our brother, partner, a witness of Jesus, and blessed with revelations. Many have taken the name John
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    in love and admiration for the apostle, much as Paul and Peter are common names for children believers. In Acts there is another John whose surnames was Mark, whom Barnabas and Paul took with them. Was he the writer? Hardly. For he did not go into Asia with the, as Scripture says: “Having set sail from Paphos, Paul and his companions came to Perga in Pamphylia; but John left them and returned to Jerusalem,” [Acts 13:13]. I think there was another John in Asia, since it is said that there
    were two tombs of a “John” in Ephesus.
    The concepts, words, and syntax show two different writers. There is full harmony between the Gospel and Epistle, and they begin alike. The one says: “In the beginning was the Word”; the other, “That which was from the beginning.” The one says: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us.” The other, the same in slightly different words: “What we have heard, seen, and touched…concerning the Word of life, the life was manifested.” This prelude aims at those who denied our Lord’s coming in the flesh. The careful reader will find words and phrases common to both: the life, the light, turning from darkness, truth, grace, joy, the flesh and blood of the Lord, judgment, forgiveness of sins, God’s love for us, the commandment to love one another, keeping all the commandments, convicting the world, the Devil, the Antichrist, the promise of the Holy Spirit, the adoption of the sons of God, faith, and the Father and the Son
    throughout. In sum, the Gospel and the Epistle have the same characteristics.
    But Revelation is completely different from these writings and has hardly a syllable in common with the, so to speak. Nor does the Epistle orGospel contain any concept of the Revelation, whereras Paul in his epistles hints at revelations, which he did not record.
    The style, too, shows the difference. The Gospel and Epistle are written not only in errorless Greek but also with high literary skill in diction, logic, and syntax. Not a barbarous term, solecism, or vulgarity occurs, for their author apparently possessed, by the Lord’s grace, the gift of knowledge and the gift of speech.
    Pgs.275 and pgs. 275 *These pages go on to show how debates took place that proved Jesus was never considered an ordinary man in the New Testament. I chose not to write these pages down b/c they do not include arguments. It simply states arguments were had and states the arguments are to be found in other books that I don’t have**

    Paul’s teachings(Bishop Paul, not the apostle) were further challenged by debates with the following deacons in attendance: Helenus, Hymenaeus, Theophilus, Theotecnus, Maximus, Proclus, Nicomas, Aelian, Paul, Bolanus, Protogenes, Hierax, Eutychius,Theodore, Malchion, and Lucius; but Paul would not show up. Paul later promised to change his stance.
    This was Paul’s manner of life:
    Pg.277 This charlatan puts on a show in church assemblies to dazzle the simple souls as he sits on the dais and lofty throne he designed for himself-how inappropriate for a disciple of Christ!-or in the secretum he devised in imitation of the rulers of this world. He slaps his thigh and stamps on the dais. Some fail to applaud or wave their handkerchief as in a theater or shout and jump up as do the disorderly men and women who are his partisans, listening instead in orderly reverence, as in God’s house. These he scorns and insults. Against interpreters of the Word who have departed this life he makes vulgar attacks in public, while boasting of himself as if he were a sophist or mountebank rather than bishop.

    pg.281EASTER THE DAY-this is how much went into the day of easter-this is important to know to refute those ignorant enough to claim Easter was picked in celebration of and parallel to a pagan holiday.
    In the beginning of the 19 year cycle, it has the new moon of the first month in the first year-26Phamenoth according to the Egyptians, 22 Dystrus according to the Macedonians, or, as the Romans would say, 11 before the Kalends of April [March 21]. On this day, the sun is already through the fourth day of the first sign of the zodiac. This first of the twelve signs is equinoctial: the beginning of months and starting point of the planetary course. The preceding twelfth sign, however, is the last of the months and the end of the planetary circuit. Therefore those who place the first month in it and calculate the Paschal fourteenth day accordingly make an extraordinary error. This is not my own claim, but a fact known to Jews even before Christ and carefully observed by them, as witness Philo, Josephus, Musaeus, and the two Agathobuli, famed as teachers of Aristobulus the Great. He was one of the 70 who translated the Hebrew Scriptures for Ptolemy Philadelphus and his father and dedicated to them commentaries on the Mosaic law.
    In dealing with problems regarding the Exodus, these writers say that all should sacrifice the Passover after the vernal equinox in the middle of the first month and that this occurs when the sun passes through the first sign of the solar (or zodiacal) cycle. Aristobulus adds that not only the sun but also the moon should be passing through an equinoctial sign. There are two such signs, one in spring and one in autumn, diametrically opposite each other, and the day of the Passover is the fourteenth of the month after sunset, so the moon will be diametrically opposed to the sun as in the case of full moons. Hence the sun will be in the sign of the vernal equinox and the moon necessarily in the autumnal.

    pg.284 In these books I have completed the subject of the successions from our Savior's birth to theta destruction of our places of worship, an account that covers 305 years. Now, for the information of those who come after us, I shall record the nature and extent of the ordeals in my own day on the part of those who fought so manfully for the true faith.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    BRONZE STATUE OF JESUS IS THE OLDEST ART OF JESUS *Panama, Panama also has a black Jesus that they received/took from Colombia*
    pg.285
    Dionysius's letters show the church life of his day in fascinating detail. He was also a good, critical scholar, as is evident from his lucid discussion of the authorship of Revelation. Until his time, the final book of the New Testament had generally been thought the work of John the apostle, but Dionysius convincingly ascribes it to another John in Asia Minor, which is the majority view among New Testament scholars today, and for the very reasons advanced by Dionysius. Eusebius is about to use much of Dionysius's letters to describe the happenings.
    Book 7 *This is commentary from the book that is provided before each chapter* also describes two material items of maximum interest: the statue of Jesus at Caesarea Philippi and the bishops's throne of his half brother James in Jerusalem. Mention of the former and of paintings of the apostles is especially significant since the second commandment against worshipping engraved images of any kind fairly ruined art among the Jews, whereas Christian Gentiles did not feel similarly restricted with regard to images, provided they were not worshipped. Accordingly, the bronze statue of Jesus could indeed have been fashioned in a Gentile center like Caesarea Philippi, and Eusebius claims to have seen it himself.

    PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS
    Valerian, who had been friendly to the church, reversed course and renewed its persecution with a vengeance. Eusebius describes the magician Macrian's nefarious role in seducing Valerian into quasi-devil worship, and again it was church leaders who became special targets, such as Bishop Xystus of Rome and Cyprian of Carthage.
    Gallienus, who assumed sole control of the empire after his father's death, fared much better against Rome's enemies in both East and West. He reformed the legions and improved their battle strategy, but he was also a man of intelligence and culture, very much resembling Hadrian. Hiw wife, the empress Salonina, was a Christian, and Gallienus himself, though no convert, reversed his father's policy of persecution and published an edict of toleration-the first such in Roman history-ordering restoration of all church property.
    pg.287 A final Illyrian, Diocletian (284-305) became one of the ablest emperors of the third century, the man who put an end to the Roman civil wars. So far as the church was concerned, however, he was also one of the most devastating, as we shall see.

    BELOW IS THE WRITTEN ACCOUNT of DIOCLETIAN TO GALERIUS AS FOR THE REASON THE ROMAN GOVERNMENT TURNED AGAINST CHRISTIANS, written by Dionysius

    pg. 289 Before the persecution of my day, the message given through Christ to the world of reverence to God was accorded honor and freedom by all men, Greeks and non-Greeks alike. Rulers granted our people favors and even permitted them to govern provinces, while freeing them from the agonizing issue of pagan sacrifice. In the imperial palaces, emperors allowed members of their own households-wives, children, and servants-to practice the faith openly, according men like the loyal Dorotheus and the celebrated Gorgonius higher favor than their fellow servants or even officers. All governors honored the church leaders, mass meetings gathered in every city, and congregations worshipped in new, spacious churches that replaced the old. This all progressed day by day, the divine hand protecting its people from jealousy or plot so long as they were worthy.
    But greater freedom brought with it arrogance and sloth. We began envying and attacking one another, making war on ourselves with weapons formed from words. Church leaders attacked church leaders and laymen formed factions against laymen, while unspeakable hypocrisy and pretense reached their evil limit. Finally, while the assemblies were still crowded, divine judgment, with its accustomed mercy, gradually started to intervene, and the persecution began with our brothers in the army. *So, this is how I read this. First, Greeks allowed Christians complete freedom. Christians then began accusing others and attacking each other and forming groups; and calling on the government; then the persecution began due to the Christian's reputation of being troublemakers within the city/government.*
    In our blindness, however, we made no effort to propitiate the Deity but, like atheists, assumed that our affairs went unnoticed, and we went from one wickedness to another. Those who were supposed to be pastors, unrestrained by the fear of God, quarreled bitterly with one another and only added to the strife, threats, jealousy, and hate, frantically claiming the tyrannical power they craved. Then it was that the Lord in his anger humiliated his daughter Zion, in the words of Jeremiah, and threw down from the heaven the glory of Israel [Lam.2:1-2]. And, as foretold in the Psalms, he renounced the covenant with is servant and profaned to the ground his sanctuary-through the destruction of churches-exalting the right hand of his servant's enemies, not assisting him in battle, and covering him with shame. *Again, Dionysius and Eusebius believe Christian persecution was brought on by God for Christians attacking one another and defiling God's name*

    pg.290All this was fulfilled in my time, when I saw with my own eyes the houses of worship demolished to their foundations, the inspired and sacred Scriptures committed to flames in the middle of public squares, and the pastors of the churches hiding shamefully in one place or another, or arrested and held up to ridicule by their enemies. But I will neither describe their wretched misfortune nor record their quarrels and inhumanity to each other prior to the persecution,
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    only enough to justify the divine judgment. We proceed, then, to describe briefly the sacred ordeals of the martyrs of the divine Word.
    In March of the 19th year of Diocletian's reign, when the festival of the Savior's passion Easter was approaching, an imperial edict was announced everywhere ordering that the churches be demolished and the Scriptures destroyed by fire. Any Christians who held high places would lose them, while those in households would be imprisoned IF THEY CONTINUED TO PROFESS CHRISTIANITY.
    Such was the first decree against us. Soon, however, other edicts appeared ordering that the presidents of the churches everywhere be thrown into prison and then forced by every sort of device to offer sacrifice.
    BELOW IS THE ORDER OF THE PERSECUTIONS IN HOW THE ROMANS TOOK OVER THE CHRISTIANS
    During the period after the emperors Decius and Valerian, he who received the authority had made secret attempts against the churches but was now, as it were, waking up from the deepest sleep. 1st he struck at those in the camps, thinking that if he won there the rest would be easily defeated. Now large numbers of soldiers were glad to become civilians so as not to renounce their reverence for the Creator. The commander-in-chief, whoever he was (Venturius), first began persecuting the soldiers by sorting them out and letting them choose either to conform and retain their rank or disobey the edict and be stripped of it. A great many soldier's of Christ's kingdom unhesitatingly chose to confess him rather than hold onto their apparent glory and prosperity.
    THIS IS HOW THE CHRISTIANS RESPONDED
    When the edict against the churches was published at Nicomedia and posted in a public place, a distinguished man Euethius was so moved by his burning faith that he seized it and tore it to pieces-this despite the presence in the same city of two emperors Diocletian and Galerius. But he was only the first of those who so distinguished themselves at that time, suffering the consequences of such a daring act with a cheerful confidence to his very last breath.
    *moving on*
    A certain man was brought into a public place and ordered to sacrifice. When he refused, the was hoisted up naked and lashed with whips until he should give in. Since even this failed to bend him, they mixed salt with vinegar and poured it over the lacerations of his body where the bones were already protruding. When he scorned these agonies too, a lit brazier was applied, and the rest of his body was roasted by the fire as if meat for eating-not all at once, lest he find to quick a release in death, but little by little. Still he clung immovably to his purpose and expired triumphantly in the middle of his tortures. Such was the martyrdom of one of the imperial servants who was truly worthy of his name-Peter.

    Such were the events in Nicomedia at the beginning of the persecution. But when, soon afterward, attempts were made in Melitene and Syria to overthrow the empire, an imperial decree ordered that church leaders everywhere be chained and imprisoned, resulting in a spectacle beyond description. Countless numbers were incarcerated everywhere. Prisons prepared for murderers and grave robbers were now filled with bishops, presbyters and deacons, readers and exorcists, so that there was no longer any room for criminals.
    The first decree was followed by others, according to which those imprisoned were to be set free if they sacrificed but mutilated by constant torture if they refused.
    Pg.295 We know those who were luminaries in Palestine and those at Tyre in Phoenicia. Who, seeing them, was not astounded at the countless lashes and perseverance displayed by these superb champions of godliness; at the contests with man-eating beasts that followed the floggings, when they were attacked by leopards; bears of all kinds, wild boars, and bulls goaded with hot irons; and at the incredible courage of these noble people in facing each of the beasts?
    I myself was there when his was happening, and I saw the divine power of our Savior Jesus Christ himself-the object of their witness-clearly present and revealing itself to the martyrs: the man-eaters for some time did not dare to touch or even approach those who were God’s beloved but attacked others who were goading them on from the outside. The holy champions, though they stood naked and waved their hands to attract the animals, as they were ordered to do, were left untouched. Or when the beasts did rush at them, they were stopped, as if by some divine power, and would retreat. For a long time this went on, astonishing the spectators, and when the first beast did nothing, a second and a third were released against one and the same martyr.
    The dauntless courage of these saints in the face of these ordeals and the firm tenacity in young bodies was astounding. You would have seen a youth not yet twenty standing unchained, his arms spread in the form of a cross and his mind at ease, in leisure prayer to the Deity. While bears and panthers breathing anger and death almost touched him, he did not retreat an inch. Yet by a divine, mysterious power their mouths were seemingly muzzled and they retreated again. You would also have seen others-five in all-thrown to a maddened bull. When others approached from the perimeter he tossed them into the air with his horns and mangled them, leaving them to be picked up half dead. But when he rushed furiously at the defenseless martyrs, he could not even approach them, though he pawed with his hoofs and thrust his horns to and fro. Goaded on by hot irons into a snorting rage, he was dragged backward by divine providence, and other beasts had to be let
    loose against them in place of the harmless bull. At last, after a horrible variety of assaults by these animals, they were all butchered with the sword, and instead of an earthen burial they were cast into the waves of the sea.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    ONE HECK OF A WAY TO BE KILLED
    PG.298 The outrageous agonies endured by the martyrs in the Theban area, however, defeat all description. Their whole bodies were torn to shreds with clawlike potsherds until they expired. Women were tied by one foot and swung high in the air, head downward, by machines, their bodies totally naked without a stitch of clothing-the most shameful, cruel, inhumane of all spectacles for onlookers. Others died fastened to trees: they bent down their strongest branches by machines, fastened one of the martyr’s legs to each, and then let the branches fly back to their natural position, instantly tearing apart the limbs of their victims. This went on for not a few days but for some whole years. Sometimes 10 or more, at times more than 20 were put to death, or 30, or almost 50; at other times a 100 men, women, and little children were condemned to a variety of punishments and killed in a single day.
    I myself saw some of these mass executions by decapitation or fire, a slaughter that dulled the murderous axe until it wore out and broke in pieces, while the executioners grew so tired they had to work in shifts. But I also observed a marvelous eagerness and a divine power and enthusiasm in those who placed their faith in Christ: as soon as the first was sentenced, others would jump up on the tribunal in front of the judge and confess themselves Christians. Heedless of torture in its terrifying forms but boldly proclaiming their devotion to the God of the universe, they received the final sentence of death with joy, laughter, and gladness, singing hymns of thanksgiving to God until their last breath.
    Wonderful as these were, even more admirable were those distinguished for their wealth, birth, and reputation, as well as for learning and philosophy, who yet put everything second to true piety and faith in Jesus Christ. Philoromus and Phileas.
    Pg.299 [From the writings of Phileas to the Thmuites as he was in prison sentenced to die]
    In this ever- changing spectacle of odious torments, some, with hands tied behind them, were hung from the gallows and all their limbs were pulled apart by machines. Then, as they lay helplessly, their tormenters were ordered to use the instruments of torture not only on their sides, as with murderers, but also on their bellies, legs, and cheeks. Others were suspended by one hand from a colonnade and hauled up with excruciating pain in their joints and limbs. Others were lashed to pillars, facing them, with their feet off the ground and their body weight pulling the ropes tighter and tighter. This they endured not only while the governor was speaking to them at his leisure but for most of the day. Whenever he we went on to others, he left his agents to watch the first in case anyone seemed to e surrendering to the tortures. Only at the last gasp were they to be taken down and dragged off.

  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    FINAL PART, PART 3 COMING
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    PART 3 FOR THOSE THAT THINK CHRIST WAS NOT GOD here is the arguments had. THERE IS ALSO AN EXAMPLE OF DIVINE ANGELS WHIPPING
    pg.201 Paul of Samosata has refuted this heresy, which asserts that the Savior was merely human, as a recent innovation, since those who introduced it tried to make it respectable by claiming it as ancient. After many other arguments against their blasphemous falsehood, the treatise continues:
    They claim that all their predecessors and the apostles themselves taught what they do and that the true teaching was preserved until the time of Victor, the 13th Bishop of Rome after Peter, but that the truth has been perverted from the time of his successor, Zephyrinus. Their claims might be credible if the divine Scriptures were not opposed to them. And Christian writers before Victor also defended the t ruth against both the pagans and the heretics of their own day-I mean the works of Justin, Miltiades, Tatian, Clement, and many more, in all of which Christ is treated as God. For who does not know the books of Irenaeus, Melito, and the others who proclaim Christ as God and man or all the earliest psalms and hymns that sing of Christ as the Word of God and regard him as God? When the church's understanding has been proclaimed for so many years, how then is it possible that Victor's predecessors can have preached as these people claim? Are they not ashamed of slandering Victor in this way when they know well enough that he excommunicated Theodotus the shoemaker, the father of this God-denying apostasy, when he first said that Christ was merely human? If Victor's attitude toward them was as their blasphemy teaches, how could he have ejected Theodotus who invented this heresy?
    An event occurred in my time that I think would have served s warning to the men of Sodom had it happened there. A confessor named Natalius was led astray by Asclepiodotus and a second Theodotus, a banker. Both were disciples of Theodotus the shoemaker, who was the first to be excommunicated by Victor for this way of thinking, or rather, of not thinking. They persuaded Natalius to be named bishop of this heresy, with a salary of 150 denarii a month. After joining them, he was often warned by the Lord in visions, for our merciful God and Lord did not want one who had been witness to his own sufferings to die outside the church. After paying scant attention to the visions, for he was ensnared by his fame among them and the greed that ruins so many, he was finally whipped all night by holy angels and suffered considerably. In the morning he put on sackcloth and ashes and hurried in tears to prostrate himself before Bishop Zephyrinus, rolling at the feet of both clergy and laity. Although he begged for mercy and showed the stripes he had received, he was readmitted into communion only after much reluctance.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    **commentary on Eusebius's work*pg.203 Within the Roman Empire, fewer Christians were persecuted in Rome and Italy than in the North African provinces-Egypt in particular-as well as Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor. As for Gaul, the grisly scenes in the amphitheater at Lyons were equaled only by the horrors in the stadium at Alexandria.
    **ORIGEN IS A CHRISTIAN OTHERS SHOULD READ ABOUT. 7 of his students were martyred. One of his female students was martyred by being burned by slow, drop by drop boiling tar.
    pg.209 As a boy he wanted to court danger and plunge into conflict. He came within a hair's breadth of ending his days , had not providence acted through his mother for the good of humankind. First she tried words, pleading with him to spare a mother's feelings, but when he learned that his father had been thrown into prison, he was filled with a craving for martyrdom. Seeing that he was more determined than ever, she hid all his clothes and so forced him to stay home. With an intensity beyond his years that could not be silenced, he sent his father a letter urging martyrdom, in which he advised, "Don't change your mind on our account!"
    The fist example of Origen's boyish acumen and devotion to God reflects his firm foundation in the faith, based on study of the divine Scriptures from early childhood. His father had insisted that he not devote time to the usual curriculum until he had mastered sacred studies each day through memorization and repetition. Not at all disinclined, the boy studied excessively and was not satisfyd to read the sacred words in a simple and literal sense but sough something more, and even at that age looked for deeper interpretations, worrying his father with questions regarding the inner meaning of inspired Scripture. His father Leonides was later captured and beheaded when he was 16. His father's property was confiscated for the imperial treasury, leaving the family without the necessities of life. A very wealthy and distinguished lady adopted him. He was an Antiochene by birth, and she accorded him special favor.
    While he applied himself to teaching, since there were no instructors at Alexandria, some of the pagans approached him to hear the Word of God. The first of these was Plutarch, who noble life was adorned with martyrdom. The second was Heraclas, Plutarch's brother, who became bishop of Alexandria after Demetrius. Origen was 18 when he became head of the catechetical school and came into prominence during the persecutions under Aquila, governor of Alexandria, for his eager assistance to all the holy martyrs, known and unknown. Origen was with the martyrs in prison, in court, and at the final death sentence, even with them as they were led to their deaths. He would kiss them boldly.
    So great was the unbelievers' war against him that soldiers were posted around his house b/c of the number of those he was instructing in the sacred faith. Soon thre was no longer any room for him in the city. He moved from house to house, pressured on all sides in reprisal for his many converts.
    For many years he continued living the philosophic life, dismissing all stimuli to youthful lusts and disciplining himself with arduous tasks by day but spending most of the night studying the divine Scriptures. S/times he fasted, at other times he restricted the time for sleep, which he took on the floor-never in bed. Above all, he felt that he had to keep the Savior's sayings urging us not to own two coats or wear shoes or worry about the future. By enduring cold, nakedness, and extreme poverty, he astonished his concerned followers, who begged him to share their possessions. Yet he did not bend: for many years he is said to have walked shoeless, to have refrained from wine and all but the most necessary food. so that he actually risked his health.
    7 of his students were martyred.
    First was Plutarch. Origen was almost killed by Plutarch's fellow citizens as being responsible for his death. The 2nd was Serenus, who proved his faith through being burned by fire. 3rd Heraclides, from the same school, and Hero was the fourth. Both were beheaded. 5th another Serenus was decapitated after enduring great torture. 6th was Herais who was a woman who was burned alive.
    Seventh was Basilides, who led the famous Potamiaena to execution. Praises of this woman resound to this day among her people. Because her beauty of mind and body was in full flower, she had to struggle continually with lovers in defense of her chastity and virginity, which were above reproach. After suffering tortures too terrible to describe, she and her mother , Marcella, were fulfilled by fire. It is said that Aquila, the judge, inflicted horrible tortures over her whole body and finally threatened to hand her over o the gladiators for ravishing. when asked what her decision was, she though briefly and gave a reply that offended their religion. Instantly she was sentenced, and a soldier named Basilides led her off to execution. But as the crowd tried to harass and insult her with obscenities, he pushed them back and drove them off, showing extreme pity and kindness to her. She accepted his sympathy and encouraged him, promising to ask her Lord for him after her departure and before long she would repay him for all he had done in her behalf. Having said this, she endured her end nobly when boiling tar was poured slowly, drop by drop, over various parts of her body from head to toe. Her name was Potamiaena.
    Not long afterward, one of Basilides fellow soldiers asked him to take an oath for some reason, but he refused maintaining that swearing was absolutely forbidden to him as a Christian, confessing it openly. At first they thought he was joking, but when he continued to affirm it, they brought him before the judge, who sent him to prison when he confirmed his beliefs. His brothers in God visited him and asked the reason for this sudden, incredible inclination, and he is reported to have said that 3 days after her martyrdom, Potamiaena appeared to him at night, wreathed his head with a crown, and said that she had prayed the Lord for him, had obtained her request, and before long would take him to herself. At this the brethren conferred on him the seal of the Lord in baptism, and the next day he gave a noble testimony for the Lord and was beheaded. They say that many others at Alexandria suddenly came to Christ at this time because Potamiaena appeared to them in dreams and invited them.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    pg.212 Origen's willingness to cut his thing off
    While Origen was teaching in Alexandria at this time, he did something that gave proof enough of his young and immature mind but also of his faith and self-control. He took the saying, "there are those who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake," [matt.19:12] in too literal and absurd a sense, and he was eager to fulfill the Savior's words and also to forestall all slander on the part of unbelievers. So he quickly carried out the Savior's words, trying to do so unnoticed by most of his students. But however much he wished it, he could not possibly hide such a deed. Demetrius learned of it later, since he presided over the community there. He was astonished at Origen's rash act but approved the genuine enthusiasm of his faith, told him to take heart, and urged that he apply himself more fervently than ever to the work of instruction.
    Such was his attitude at the time. Not long afterward, however, when he saw Origen prosperous, great, and esteemed by all, he was overcome by jealousy and tired to portray the deed of Origen as a young man-outrageous
    to bishops across the world-just when the bishops of Caesarea and Jerusalem, the most distinguished in Palestine, considered him worthy of the highest honor and ordained him as presbyter. Against this universal fame, then, Demetrius, with no other reason to charge him, maligned him savagely for what he had done long ago as a boy and had the audacity to include those who raised him to the presbyterate in his accusations.
    MIRACLE FOR BISHOP NARCISSUS
    pg.213 Among the reported wonders performed by Narcissus, as handed down by brethren of the community in succession, is the following. Once, during the great all-night vigil of Easter, the congregation was deeply disturbed when the deacons ran out of oil. At this, Narcissus told those tending the lamps to draw water and bring it to him. This done, he prayed over the water and had them pour it into the lamps with absolute faith in the Lord. When they did this, against all reason but by divine power its nature was changed from water into oil. From then on until the present, many of the brethren there have preserved a little of it as proof of that wonder.
    Here is another interesting story about him. Certain contemptible wretches, jealous of his energy and conscientiousness and afraid that they would be put on trial for their evil deeds, tried to festal tis by devising a plot an spreading vile slander against him. Then, to convince their hearers, they propped up their charges with oaths. One swore: "[If this isn't true, let me be destroyed by fire!" Another: "Let my body be ravaged by a terrible disease!" A third: "May I go blind!" But, swear as they might, none of the faithful paid any attention to them,since Narcissus's integrity and virtuous lifestyle were known to all. Still,he could not tolerate their odious allegations, and besides he had long opted for the philosophic life; so he departed form the church community and spent many years hiding in deserts and remote haunts. The great eye of Justice, however, was not passive a these events but quickly brought down on those godless perjurers the very curses with which they had bound themselves. The first was burned to death, with all his family, when nothing more than a small spark happened to set ablaze the house in which he was staying. The body of the second was covered from head to toe with the very disease he had prescribed as penalty, while the third, seeing the fate of the other two and fearing God's judgment, publicly confessed his part in the plot. In his remorse, however, he shed so many endless tears that both his eyes were ruined. Such was the penalty these men paid for their lies.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    ORIGEN TAKING ON DEBATES TOWARD CHRISTIANITY AND THE CONSISTENCIES OF SCRIPTURE
    Pg.229 Julius Africanus, author of books called Cesti, was another prominent writer. A letter that he wrote to Origen is extant in which he suggest that the story of Susanna in the book of Daniel is spurious. Origen sent a full reply. A five volume Chronography of his is also at hand. In it he says that he journeyed to Alexandria because of the great fame of Heraclas, who, after outstanding scholarship in philosophy and secular studies, had become bishop, as previously stated. Another of his extant letters, addressed to Aristides, deals with the rpesumed inconsistency between Matthew and Luke regarding Christ’s genealogy. In it he clearly shows the harmony of the Evangelists, which I included in Book 1 of the present work. **Earlier in this essay I showed Eusebius’ prove that there is no inconsistency with the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew or Luke.
    ANOTHER BISHOP TRIES TO SAY JESUS WAS NOT THE CHRIST
    Pg.230 Beryllus, the previously mentioned bishop of Bostra in Arabia, perverted church doctrine by introducing opinions alien to the faith, daring to claim that our Savior and Lord did not preexist before residing among men and had no divinity of his own apart from the Father’s indwelling. A large number of bishops therefore questioned and debated with him until Origen and several others were invited into the discussion. After conversing with the man to learn his ideas, Origen corrected what was unorthodox and through reason restored him to his previous sound convictions.
    Pg.232 BRIEF LITTLE SAYING BY ORIGEN THAT MAKES ME THINK OF Mormons
    Pg.232
    Recently, a man, has proudly championed a godless and impious opinion, that of the so-called Helkesaites, which has clashed with the churches. I shall present their error for your benefit so it will not seduce you. It rejects portions of every book in Scripture, using every part of the Old Testament and the Gospels but rejecting the apostle Paul entirely. It says that to deny the truth does not matter and that a sensible person under duress will deny it with his mouth but not his heart. They also produce a book they claim fell from heaven, and anyoe who hears it read ad believes will receive forgiveness of sins-forgiveness other than that won for us by Christ Jesus.
    PERSECUTION OF ORIGEN
    In this persecution the evil demon/*a judge* attacked Origen, in particular, with all the weapons in his arsenal, making him endure chains and torture for the Word of Christ as he lay in irons in the depths of his dungeon. Day after day his legs were stretched apart four paces in the stocks, but he courageously endured threats of fire and every other torment devised by his enemies. The way it all ended when the judge tried valiantly to avoid sentencing him to death and his final messages to us, so full of help for those in need of solace, all is recorded truthfully and in detail in his own numerous letters.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    Pg.234MARTYRS OF ALEXANDRIA under the rulership of Decius
    They seized an old man named Metras and ordered him to blaspheme. When he refued, they beat him with clubs, stabbed his face and eyes with pointed reeds, took him to the suburbs, and stoned him to death. Then they led a believer named Quinta to the temple of idols and tried to make her worship. When she turned away in disgust, they tied her fet and dragged her across the city over the rough pavement, beating her while she was being bruised by the big stones, and stoned her to death at the same placPg.236 They also seized that wonderful old virgin Apollonia, knocked out all her teeth, built a pyre/fire in front of the city, and threatened to burn her alive if she failed to join in their blasphemies. She asked for a brief respite, and when they released her she eagerly jumped nto the fire and was burned to death. Serapion they arrested in his own home. They broke all his limbs through sever e torture and threw him down head first from the upper floor.
    Two more martyrs Julian and Cronion-surnamed Eunus were put on camels and beaten as they were taken through the whole city, and finally burned in quicklime (burned with lime) before the populace. Besas, that gallant warrior of God, was brought to trial and, having fought heroically in the great war of faith, was beheaded. Another man, a Libyan by race named Macar resisted all efforts of the judge to make him deny faith and so was burned alive. After these Epimachus and Alexander were sent to long imprisonment and endless agony from scrapers and whips before being destroyed by quicklime.
    Pg.238 Many others in the cities and villages were torn to pieces by the heathen. Let one example suffice. Ischyrion was an agent of one of the rulers, who ordered him to sacrifice. When he refused, he insulted him, and when he stood by his refusal he heaped abuse on him. When he still persisted, he took a large stick, skewered it through his vital organs, and killed him.
    Didymus mentions events in the persecution *Only purpose in including this passage is to show how other living people wrote about Eusebius; which I guess is also the reason Eusebius included it*
    In the city, the presbyters Maximus, Dioscorus, Demetrius, and Lucius have gone underground to visit the brethren in secret. The better known Faustinus and Aquila are wandering about Egypt. Deacons who survived those who died on the island are Faustus, Eusebius, and Chaeremon-the Eusebius whom God empowered to aid the confessors who were in prison and to perform the risky task of laying ou the bodies of the blessed martyrs.
    -This is a display of a demon’s power
    Pg.265 At Caesarea Philippi, which the Phoenicians call Paneas, on the slopes of a mtn. called Paneion, springs are shown that are the source of Jordan. Into these a victim is hurled at a certain festival, they say, and it disappears miraculously through the demon’s power-a phenomenon deemed a marvel by observers. One day AStrius was there while this was taking place, and when he saw the crowd’s amazement at the affair he pitied their deception, and, looking up to heaven, he asked God through Christ to squelch the demon who was deceiving the people and to stop the deception. After he had prayed, it is said, the sacrifice suddenly floated to the surface of the springs. Thus their miracle ceased, and no marvel ever took place there again.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    DEBATE ON IF JESUS WOULD ESTABLISH HEAVEN ON EARTH AND HAVE IT BE SIMILAR TO HOW EARTH IS GOVERNED EXCEPT WITHOUT CORRUPTION OR IF THE EARTH WOULD BE REMADE ENTIRELY & PHYSICALLY AND LOOK ILLUSTRIOUS AND DIVINE.
    Dionysius answers Nepos:
    They reply strongly on a treatise of Nepos as indisputable proof that Christ’s kingdom will be on earth. Now in general I endorse and love Nepos for his faith and industry, his study of Scripture, and his splendid hymnody, which still heartens the brethren, and I fully respect the man, especially now that he has gone to his rest. But truth is paramount, and one must honor what is correct and criticize what appears unsound. If Nepos were now present and airing his opinions orally, not writing but conversation would suffice-questions and answers o persuade our opponents. But a book has been published that some find convincing, while certain teachers, disregarding Scripture, make lofty claims for tis treatise as if it were some great and hidden mystery. They do not let our simpler brethren have high and noble thoughts about the glorious epiphany of our Lord or about our own resurrection from the dead, when we shall be like him, but persuade them to
    hope in the kingdom of God for what is petty, mortal, and like the present. Thus we have no option but to debate our brother Nepos as if he were present.
    When I arrived at ARsinoe, where, as you know, this teaching had long been prevalent and caused schisms and separations of whole churches, I convened a meeting of the presbyters and teachers of the village congregations and urged them to air the issue in public. When they brought me this book as some invincible fortress, I sat with them for three days in a row, from morning until night, criticizing what had been written. In so doing I was greatly impressed by the soundness, sincerity, logic, and intelligence of the brethren as we discussed methodically and with restraint the difficulties and points of agreement. We refused to cling to blindly to prior opinions or avoid problems but tried our utmost to grapple with the issues and master them. Nor were we ashamed to alter our opinions, if convinced, but honestly and trusting in God, we accepted whatever was proven by Holy Scriptures. In the end, Coracion, the originator of this teaching, in the
    presence of all the brethren agreed and promised us that he would no longer adhere to it, debate it, mention it, or teach it, since he was convinced by the counterarguments.
    Dionysius goes on to say this about the Revelation of John:
    Some of our predecessors rejected the book altogether, criticizing it chapter by chapter as unintelligible, illogical, and its title false. They say it is neither John’s nor a “revelation” in any sense, since it is veiled by its thick curtain of incomprehensibility, and its author was neither an apostle nor saint nor even church member but Cerinthus, the one who founded the “Cerinthian” sect and wanted to attach to his own forgery a name that commanded respect (Revelation of John). They say that he taught this doctrine: Christ’s kingdom would be on earth and would offer the desires of his dreams: endless gluttony and sexual indulgence at banquets, bacchanals, and wedding feasts or (what he thought more respectable names) festivals, sacrifices, and immolations.
    I, however, would not dare reject the book, since many brethren hold it in esteem, but since my intellect cannot judge it properly, I hold that its interpretation is a wondrous mystery. I do not understand it, but I suspect that the words have a deeper meaning. Putting more reliance on faith than on reason, I have concluded that they are too high for my comprehension. I do not reject what I have failed to understand but am rather puzzled that I failed to understand.
    [After examining all of Revelation and proving that it cannot be understood in the literal sense, he continues:]
    On completing his prophecy, the prophet blesses those who observe it, including himself: “Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book, and I , John, who heard and saw these things,” [Rev. 22:7-8] That, therefore, he was named John and that this book is by a John-some holy, inspired writer-I will not deny. But I do not agree that he was the apostle, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James, who wrote the Gospel according to John and the general epistle. From the character of each and on the style and format of [Revelation], I conclude that the author is not the same.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    **I wonder on this though if it is the real John, and I challenge Dionysius. My merit on the challenge is simple. John didn’t write the book of John, but James wrote the book of John on behalf of John. This is according to the previous paragraph of Dionysius. So….maybe this writing of Revelation is written by John, thus having a different style than James who wrote the gospel of John and not John. I would not say I am correct, but I am just saying hmmm.**
    For the Evangelist nowhere names himself in either the Gospel or Epistle in either the first or third person, whereas the author of Revelation announces himself at the very beginning: “The revelation of Jesus, which he….sent by his angel to his servant John,” ]Rev.1:1-2] Then he writes a letter: “John to the seven churches in Asia: grace to you oand peace,” [Rev. 1:4]. Yet the Evangelist did not write his name even at the beginning of the general epistle but started with the mystery of the divine revelation. “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our own eyes.” [1 John 1:1] Not even in the second or third extant epistles of John, even if they are short, is John named: he is merely the nameless “presbyter.” Yet this writer was not satisfied to give his name once and continue his account but names himself again: ‘I, Joh, your brother and partner….was in the island called Patmos” [Rev.1:9]. Even
    at the close he says: “Blessed is the man who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book, and I, John, who saw and heard these things”[Rev.22:7-8]
    That the writer is John is credible, but which John? He does not say, as in the Gospel, that he was the disciple loved by the Lord, the one who leaned on his breast, the brother of James, the eye-and earwitness of the Lord. Had he wished to identify himself he would surely have used one of these epithets. But he uses none of them, merely referring to himself as our brother, partner, a witness of Jesus, and blessed with revelations. Many have taken the name John in love and admiration for the apostle, much as Paul and Peter are common names for children believers. In Acts there is another John whose surnames was Mark, whom Barnabas and Paul took with them. Was he the writer? Hardly. For he did not go into Asia with the, as Scripture says: “Having set sail from Paphos, Paul and his companions came to Perga in Pamphylia; but John left them and returned to Jerusalem,” [Acts 13:13]. I think there was another John in Asia, since it is said that there
    were two tombs of a “John” in Ephesus.
    The concepts, words, and syntax show two different writers. There is full harmony between the Gospel and Epistle, and they begin alike. The one says: “In the beginning was the Word”; the other, “That which was from the beginning.” The one says: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us.” The other, the same in slightly different words: “What we have heard, seen, and touched…concerning the Word of life, the life was manifested.” This prelude aims at those who denied our Lord’s coming in the flesh. The careful reader will find words and phrases common to both: the life, the light, turning from darkness, truth, grace, joy, the flesh and blood of the Lord, judgment, forgiveness of sins, God’s love for us, the commandment to love one another, keeping all the commandments, convicting the world, the Devil, the Antichrist, the promise of the Holy Spirit, the adoption of the sons of God, faith, and the Father and the Son
    throughout. In sum, the Gospel and the Epistle have the same characteristics.
    But Revelation is completely different from these writings and has hardly a syllable in common with the, so to speak. Nor does the Epistle orGospel contain any concept of the Revelation, whereras Paul in his epistles hints at revelations, which he did not record.
    The style, too, shows the difference. The Gospel and Epistle are written not only in errorless Greek but also with high literary skill in diction, logic, and syntax. Not a barbarous term, solecism, or vulgarity occurs, for their author apparently possessed, by the Lord’s grace, the gift of knowledge and the gift of speech.
    Pgs.275 and pgs. 275 *These pages go on to show how debates took place that proved Jesus was never considered an ordinary man in the New Testament. I chose not to write these pages down b/c they do not include arguments. It simply states arguments were had and states the arguments are to be found in other books that I don’t have**
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    Paul’s teachings(Bishop Paul, not the apostle) were further challenged by debates with the following deacons in attendance: Helenus, Hymenaeus, Theophilus, Theotecnus, Maximus, Proclus, Nicomas, Aelian, Paul, Bolanus, Protogenes, Hierax, Eutychius,Theodore, Malchion, and Lucius; but Paul would not show up. Paul later promised to change his stance.
    This was Paul’s manner of life:
    Pg.277 This charlatan puts on a show in church assemblies to dazzle the simple souls as he sits on the dais and lofty throne he designed for himself-how inappropriate for a disciple of Christ!-or in the secretum he devised in imitation of the rulers of this world. He slaps his thigh and stamps on the dais. Some fail to applaud or wave their handkerchief as in a theater or shout and jump up as do the disorderly men and women who are his partisans, listening instead in orderly reverence, as in God’s house. These he scorns and insults. Against interpreters of the Word who have departed this life he makes vulgar attacks in public, while boasting of himself as if he were a sophist or mountebank rather than bishop.
    pg.281EASTER THE DAY-this is how much went into the day of easter-this is important to know to refute those ignorant enough to claim Easter was picked in celebration of and parallel to a pagan holiday.
    In the beginning of the 19 year cycle, it has the new moon of the first month in the first year-26Phamenoth according to the Egyptians, 22 Dystrus according to the Macedonians, or, as the Romans would say, 11 before the Kalends of April [March 21]. On this day, the sun is already through the fourth day of the first sign of the zodiac. This first of the twelve signs is equinoctial: the beginning of months and starting point of the planetary course. The preceding twelfth sign, however, is the last of the months and the end of the planetary circuit. Therefore those who place the first month in it and calculate the Paschal fourteenth day accordingly make an extraordinary error. This is not my own claim, but a fact known to Jews even before Christ and carefully observed by them, as witness Philo, Josephus, Musaeus, and the two Agathobuli, famed as teachers of Aristobulus the Great. He was one of the 70 who translated the Hebrew Scriptures for Ptolemy Philadelphus and his father and dedicated to them commentaries on the Mosaic law.
    In dealing with problems regarding the Exodus, these writers say that all should sacrifice the Passover after the vernal equinox in the middle of the first month and that this occurs when the sun passes through the first sign of the solar (or zodiacal) cycle. Aristobulus adds that not only the sun but also the moon should be passing through an equinoctial sign. There are two such signs, one in spring and one in autumn, diametrically opposite each other, and the day of the Passover is the fourteenth of the month after sunset, so the moon will be diametrically opposed to the sun as in the case of full moons. Hence the sun will be in the sign of the vernal equinox and the moon necessarily in the autumnal.
    pg.284 In these books I have completed the subject of the successions from our Savior's birth to theta destruction of our places of worship, an account that covers 305 years. Now, for the information of those who come after us, I shall record the nature and extent of the ordeals in my own day on the part of those who fought so manfully for the true faith.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    BRONZE STATUE OF JESUS IS THE OLDEST ART OF JESUS
    pg.285
    Dionysius's letters show the church life of his day in fascinating detail. He was also a good, critical scholar, as is evident from his lucid discussion of the authorship of Revelation. Until his time, the final book of the New Testament had generally been thought the work of John the apostle, but Dionysius convincingly ascribes it to another John in Asia Minor, which is the majority view among New Testament scholars today, and for the very reasons advanced by Dionysius. Eusebius is about to use much of Dionysius's letters to describe the happenings.
    Book 7 *This is commentary from the book that is provided before each chapter* also describes two material items of maximum interest: the statue of Jesus at Caesarea Philippi and the bishops's throne of his half brother James in Jerusalem. Mention of the former and of paintings of the apostles is especially significant since the second commandment against worshipping engraved images of any kind fairly ruined art among the Jews, whereas Christian Gentiles did not feel similarly restricted with regard to images, provided they were not worshipped. Accordingly, the bronze statue of Jesus could indeed have been fashioned in a Gentile center like Caesarea Philippi, and Eusebius claims to have seen it himself.

    PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS
    Valerian, who had been friendly to the church, reversed course and renewed its persecution with a vengeance. Eusebius describes the magician Macrian's nefarious role in seducing Valerian into quasi-devil worship, and again it was church leaders who became special targets, such as Bishop Xystus of Rome and Cyprian of Carthage.
    Gallienus, who assumed sole control of the empire after his father's death, fared much better against Rome's enemies in both East and West. He reformed the legions and improved their battle strategy, but he was also a man of intelligence and culture, very much resembling Hadrian. Hiw wife, the empress Salonina, was a Christian, and Gallienus himself, though no convert, reversed his father's policy of persecution and published an edict of toleration-the first such in Roman history-ordering restoration of all church property.
    pg.287 A final Illyrian, Diocletian (284-305) became one of the ablest emperors of the third century, the man who put an end to the Roman civil wars. So far as the church was concerned, however, he was also one of the most devastating, as we shall see.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    BELOW IS THE WRITTEN ACCOUNT of DIOCLETIAN TO GALERIUS AS FOR THE REASON THE ROMAN GOVERNMENT TURNED AGAINST CHRISTIANS, written by Dionysius
    pg. 289 Before the persecution of my day, the message given through Christ to the world of reverence to God was accorded honor and freedom by all men, Greeks and non-Greeks alike. Rulers granted our people favors and even permitted them to govern provinces, while freeing them from the agonizing issue of pagan sacrifice. In the imperial palaces, emperors allowed members of their own households-wives, children, and servants-to practice the faith openly, according men like the loyal Dorotheus and the celebrated Gorgonius higher favor than their fellow servants or even officers. All governors honored the church leaders, mass meetings gathered in every city, and congregations worshipped in new, spacious churches that replaced the old. This all progressed day by day, the divine hand protecting its people from jealousy or plot so long as they were worthy.
    But greater freedom brought with it arrogance and sloth. We began envying and attacking one another, making war on ourselves with weapons formed from words. Church leaders attacked church leaders and laymen formed factions against laymen, while unspeakable hypocrisy and pretense reached their evil limit. Finally, while the assemblies were still crowded, divine judgment, with its accustomed mercy, gradually started to intervene, and the persecution began with our brothers in the army. *So, this is how I read this. First, Greeks allowed Christians complete freedom. Christians then began accusing others and attacking each other and forming groups; and calling on the government; then the persecution began due to the Christian's reputation of being troublemakers within the city/government.*
    In our blindness, however, we made no effort to propitiate the Deity but, like atheists, assumed that our affairs went unnoticed, and we went from one wickedness to another. Those who were supposed to be pastors, unrestrained by the fear of God, quarreled bitterly with one another and only added to the strife, threats, jealousy, and hate, frantically claiming the tyrannical power they craved. Then it was that the Lord in his anger humiliated his daughter Zion, in the words of Jeremiah, and threw down from the heaven the glory of Israel [Lam.2:1-2]. And, as foretold in the Psalms, he renounced the covenant with is servant and profaned to the ground his sanctuary-through the destruction of churches-exalting the right hand of his servant's enemies, not assisting him in battle, and covering him with shame. *Again, Dionysius and Eusebius believe Christian persecution was brought on by God for Christians attacking one another and defiling God's name*

    pg.290All this was fulfilled in my time, when I saw with my own eyes the houses of worship demolished to their foundations, the inspired and sacred Scriptures committed to flames in the middle of public squares, and the pastors of the churches hiding shamefully in one place or another, or arrested and held up to ridicule by their enemies. But I will neither describe their wretched misfortune nor record their quarrels and inhumanity to each other prior to the persecution, only enough to justify the divine judgment. We proceed, then, to describe briefly the sacred ordeals of the martyrs of the divine Word.
    In March of the 19th year of Diocletian's reign, when the festival of the Savior's passion Easter was approaching, an imperial edict was announced everywhere ordering that the churches be demolished and the Scriptures destroyed by fire. Any Christians who held high places would lose them, while those in households would be imprisoned IF THEY CONTINUED TO PROFESS CHRISTIANITY.
    Such was the first decree against us. Soon, however, other edicts appeared ordering that the presidents of the churches everywhere be thrown into prison and then forced by every sort of device to offer sacrifice.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    BELOW IS THE ORDER OF THE PERSECUTIONS IN HOW THE ROMANS TOOK OVER THE CHRISTIANS
    During the period after the emperors Decius and Valerian, he who received the authority had made secret attempts against the churches but was now, as it were, waking up from the deepest sleep. 1st he struck at those in the camps, thinking that if he won there the rest would be easily defeated. Now large numbers of soldiers were glad to become civilians so as not to renounce their reverence for the Creator. The commander-in-chief, whoever he was (Venturius), first began persecuting the soldiers by sorting them out and letting them choose either to conform and retain their rank or disobey the edict and be stripped of it. A great many soldier's of Christ's kingdom unhesitatingly chose to confess him rather than hold onto their apparent glory and prosperity.
    THIS IS HOW THE CHRISTIANS RESPONDED
    When the edict against the churches was published at Nicomedia and posted in a public place, a distinguished man Euethius was so moved by his burning faith that he seized it and tore it to pieces-this despite the presence in the same city of two emperors Diocletian and Galerius. But he was only the first of those who so distinguished themselves at that time, suffering the consequences of such a daring act with a cheerful confidence to his very last breath.
    *moving on*
    A certain man was brought into a public place and ordered to sacrifice. When he refused, the was hoisted up naked and lashed with whips until he should give in. Since even this failed to bend him, they mixed salt with vinegar and poured it over the lacerations of his body where the bones were already protruding. When he scorned these agonies too, a lit brazier was applied, and the rest of his body was roasted by the fire as if meat for eating-not all at once, lest he find to quick a release in death, but little by little. Still he clung immovably to his purpose and expired triumphantly in the middle of his tortures. Such was the martyrdom of one of the imperial servants who was truly worthy of his name-Peter.
    Such were the events in Nicomedia at the beginning of the persecution. But when, soon afterward, attempts were made in Melitene and Syria to overthrow the empire, an imperial decree ordered that church leaders everywhere be chained and imprisoned, resulting in a spectacle beyond description. Countless numbers were incarcerated everywhere. Prisons prepared for murderers and grave robbers were now filled with bishops, presbyters and deacons, readers and exorcists, so that there was no longer any room for criminals.
    The first decree was followed by others, according to which those imprisoned were to be set free if they sacrificed but mutilated by constant torture if they refused.
    Pg.295 We know those who were luminaries in Palestine and those at Tyre in Phoenicia. Who, seeing them, was not astounded at the countless lashes and perseverance displayed by these superb champions of godliness; at the contests with man-eating beasts that followed the floggings, when they were attacked by leopards; bears of all kinds, wild boars, and bulls goaded with hot irons; and at the incredible courage of these noble people in facing each of the beasts?
    I myself was there when his was happening, and I saw the divine power of our Savior Jesus Christ himself-the object of their witness-clearly present and revealing itself to the martyrs: the man-eaters for some time did not dare to touch or even approach those who were God’s beloved but attacked others who were goading them on from the outside. The holy champions, though they stood naked and waved their hands to attract the animals, as they were ordered to do, were left untouched. Or when the beasts did rush at them, they were stopped, as if by some divine power, and would retreat. For a long time this went on, astonishing the spectators, and when the first beast did nothing, a second and a third were released against one and the same martyr.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    The dauntless courage of these saints in the face of these ordeals and the firm tenacity in young bodies was astounding. You would have seen a youth not yet twenty standing unchained, his arms spread in the form of a cross and his mind at ease, in leisure prayer to the Deity. While bears and panthers breathing anger and death almost touched him, he did not retreat an inch. Yet by a divine, mysterious power their mouths were seemingly muzzled and they retreated again. You would also have seen others-five in all-thrown to a maddened bull. When others approached from the perimeter he tossed them into the air with his horns and mangled them, leaving them to be picked up half dead. But when he rushed furiously at the defenseless martyrs, he could not even approach them, though he pawed with his hoofs and thrust his horns to and fro. Goaded on by hot irons into a snorting rage, he was dragged backward by divine providence, and other beasts had to be let
    loose against them in place of the harmless bull. At last, after a horrible variety of assaults by these animals, they were all butchered with the sword, and instead of an earthen burial they were cast into the waves of the sea.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    ONE HECK OF A WAY TO BE KILLED
    PG.298 The outrageous agonies endured by the martyrs in the Theban area, however, defeat all description. Their whole bodies were torn to shreds with clawlike potsherds until they expired. Women were tied by one foot and swung high in the air, head downward, by machines, their bodies totally naked without a stitch of clothing-the most shameful, cruel, inhumane of all spectacles for onlookers. Others died fastened to trees: they bent down their strongest branches by machines, fastened one of the martyr’s legs to each, and then let the branches fly back to their natural position, instantly tearing apart the limbs of their victims. This went on for not a few days but for some whole years. Sometimes 10 or more, at times more than 20 were put to death, or 30, or almost 50; at other times a 100 men, women, and little children were condemned to a variety of punishments and killed in a single day.
    I myself saw some of these mass executions by decapitation or fire, a slaughter that dulled the murderous axe until it wore out and broke in pieces, while the executioners grew so tired they had to work in shifts. But I also observed a marvelous eagerness and a divine power and enthusiasm in those who placed their faith in Christ: as soon as the first was sentenced, others would jump up on the tribunal in front of the judge and confess themselves Christians. Heedless of torture in its terrifying forms but boldly proclaiming their devotion to the God of the universe, they received the final sentence of death with joy, laughter, and gladness, singing hymns of thanksgiving to God until their last breath.
    Wonderful as these were, even more admirable were those distinguished for their wealth, birth, and reputation, as well as for learning and philosophy, who yet put everything second to true piety and faith in Jesus Christ. Philoromus and Phileas.
    Pg.299 [From the writings of Phileas to the Thmuites as he was in prison sentenced to die]
    In this ever- changing spectacle of odious torments, some, with hands tied behind them, were hung from the gallows and all their limbs were pulled apart by machines. Then, as they lay helplessly, their tormenters were ordered to use the instruments of torture not only on their sides, as with murderers, but also on their bellies, legs, and cheeks. Others were suspended by one hand from a colonnade and hauled up with excruciating pain in their joints and limbs. Others were lashed to pillars, facing them, with their feet off the ground and their body weight pulling the ropes tighter and tighter. This they endured not only while the governor was speaking to them at his leisure but for most of the day. Whenever he we went on to others, he left his agents to watch the first in case anyone seemed to e surrendering to the tortures. Only at the last gasp were they to be taken down and dragged off.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    Pg.300 A CHRISTIAN TOWN BURNED [Back to Eusebius’s writing]
    A little town in Phrygia, for instance, all of whose inhabitants were Christian, was surrounded by armed infantrymen who set it on fire and burned to death men, women, and young children as they were calling on almighty God. The reason? All the townspeople, from the mayor himself and the magistrates to the entire populace, confessed their Christianity and refused to commit idolatry.
    Pg.302 Sometimes Christians were killed with an axe, as was the case in Arabia, or had their legs broken, as those in Cappadocia. At other times they were hung upside down over a slow fire, so that smoke rising from the burning wood suffocated them, as in Mesopotamia. Sometimes, noses, ears, and hands were mutilated and the other parts of the body butchered, as was the case in Alexandria.
    At Antioch Christians were roasted on hot gridirons for prolonged torture, not seared to death. Rather than touch the cursed sacrifice, some stuck their hands directly into the fire. Others, to escape such trials, threw themselves down from the roofs of tall houses before they were caught, regarding death as a prize snatched from the wicked.
    The only way to escape from it all was to flee to the Lord. Agreeing on this, they arranged their clothes, and when they came to the midpoint of the journey they modestly asked the guards to excuse them for a moment and threw themselves into the river that flowed by.
    In Pontus, others suffered things horrifying to hear; sharp reeds were driven into their fingers under the nail ends, or molten lead was poured down their backs, scalding the vital pats of their bodies. Others endured shameful, pitiful, unmentionable suffering in their private parts and intestines, which the noble, law-abiding judges eagerly invented, trying to outdo one another in devising new tortures, as if contending for a prize.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    Pg. 304 THE REASON THEY ENDED PERSECUTIONS AND CONSTANTINE
    These torments came to an end when their gruesome wickedness wore them out. Tired of killing and sated with blood, they turned to what they deemed mercy and humanity in no longer harming us-or so they thought. To pollute the cities with the blood of its own citizens was hardly in good taste, they felt, or to render the supreme rulers vulnerable to a change of cruelty, a gov’t that was mild and favorable to all. Rather, the kindness of the humane imperial authority should be extended to everyone and the death penalty no longer imposed. It had been stopped, thanks to the humanity of the rulers.
    Instead, orders were now issued that their eyes be gouged out and one of their legs maimed-“Humanity”, in their opinion, and “the lightest of punishments.” As a result of such philanthropy the part of godless men, it is now impossible to report the vast number of people who first had their right eye sliced out with a sword and cauterized with fire and the left foot rendered useless by branding irons applied to the joints. After this they were condemned to the copper mines in the province.
    Pg.305 Constantine [THE GUY WHO GETS THE CREDIT FOR CANONIZING THE BIBLE], Diocletian, and Constantius Chlorus
    Before the Roman gov’t went to war against us and whenever the emperors were friendly and peacefully disposed toward us, it enjoyed an inexpressibly bountiful harvest of good things, the rulers of the worldwide empire reaching their 10th or 20th year and passing their days in festivities, public games, the most joyful banquets, and merriment during total, secure peace. But as their authority increased day by day without check or hindrance, they suddenly canceled their peaceful attitude toward us and started a perpetual war. Less than 2 years later, a revolution took place that overturned the entire gov’t. An ill-fated disease attacked the foremost of the previously mentioned emperors [Diocletian[, which deranged his mind, so he returned to ordinary private life, along with the one who was in 2nd place after him [Maximia]. And this had not yet happened when the whole empire was split in two, something that had never occurred before.
    Not long afterward, the emperor Constantius, who was always kindly disposed toward his subjects and friendly to the divine Word, died, leaving his lawful son Constantine emperor and Augustus in his place. He, Constantius, was the first of the tetrarchs to be proclaimed one of the gods, judged worthy of every posthumous honor that might be accorded an emperor as one of the kindest and mildest. He was the only one in my day who spent his whole reign in conduct worthy of his exalted office, showing favor and benevolence to all.
    The legions immediately proclaimed his son Constantine supreme emperor and Augustus, as did God himself, the King of all, long before them. And he, Constantine, resolved to emulate his father’s reverence toward our beliefs.
    Meanwhile, the man who had abdicated and the resumed office, Maximian, devised a plot to kill Constantine but was discovered and died a most shameful death.
    Maximin Daia, the tyrant of the East, formed a secret alliance with the tyrant of Rome to put fire, swords and nailings to the Christians. He would send them to wild beasts and submerge them into the sea; branding and cutting off of limbs, stabbing, gouging out of eyes, and mutilation of the whole body; and, in addition, starvation, chains, and the mines. They preferred to suffer for the faith rather than transfer to idols the reverence due to God.
    While these happened, the most wonderful of all was a woman at Rome who was the noblest and most chaste of all, the intended prey of that Maximin-like tyrant, Maxentius. She also was a Christian, and when she learned that the tyrant’s procurers were at her house and that her husband, though a Roman prefect, through fear had given them permission to take her away, she asked to be excused for a moment, as if to beautifyherself. Alone in her room, she impaled herself on a sword and died quickly. Her corpse she left to the procurers, but by deeds more eloquent than any words she announced to all that the only invincible and indestructible possession is a Christian’s virtue.
    Pg.311 END OF PERSECUTION
    By the grace of God, the persecution came to a complete end in its 10th year, though it began to die down after the eighth.
    Persecution ended with the death of Galerius, the prime instigator of the whole evil persecution. Divine punishment overtook him, which started with his flesh and went on to his soul. An abscess suddenly appeared in the middle of his genitals, then a deep ulcerous fistula that ate into his inner intestines incurably. From them came a great mass of worms and a deadly stench, since gluttony had transformed his whole body, even before the disease, into a great blob of flabby fat that then decayed, offering a revolting and horrendous spectacle.
    After composing himself, he first publicly confessed to the God of the universe and then ordered his officers to halt the persecution against the Christians immediately. By imperial law and edict, they were now to build their churches and perform their customary rites, offering prayers in behalf of the emperor.
    Action followed immediately, and imperial ordinances were announced in each city with the following recantation:
    IMPERIAL RECANTATION [ROMAN GOV’T BEGGIN FOR CHRISTIANS TO PRAY TO THEIR GOD TO DELIVER THE CITY FROM PUNISHMENT.]
    *So basically fear of the Christians freed the Christians*
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    *I’m skipping the names and two paragraphs and get right to where it acknowledges the crimes they themselves are writing about committing against the Christians.**
    Therefore, when we issued an edict that they were to return to the practices of the ancients, vast numbers of them were placed in jeopardy, and many were harassed and endured death of all kinds. Most of them shared the same folly, neither paying the gods in heaven the worship due them nor honoring the god of the Christians. Thus, in view of our clemency and our consistent practice of granting pardon to all men, we thought it right also in this instance to offer our concession most cheerfully, so that Christians may exist again and restore the houses in which they used to assemble, provided that they do nothing against the public order. In another letter we shall show the judges how they are to proceed. Accordingly, in view of this our concession, the Christians, will be obligated to implore their own god for our welfare and that of the state and of themselves, so that the welfare of the state may be preserved in every way and they may live unburdened
    lives.
    *These are the mysterious deaths of other rulers that made people fear the Christians*
    Pg.314 Diocletian was first in honor and age, succumbed to a long and painful illness, while Maximian was second to him, strangled himself for his many crimes and so fulfilled a demonic prediction. Of the rest Galerius, who was last in last place-the originator of the whole persecution-suffered the fate mentioned above. But his immediate superior, Constantius Chlorus, spent his entire reign in a manner worthy of his high office, most gracious and favorable to all. He desisted from the war against us, saving his godly subjects from injury and abuse, and he neither destroyed any church buildings nor troubled us in any way. When he died, he was succeeded by his son Constantine, who was immediately proclaimed the most perfect ruling emperor and Augustus by the armies, and he resolved to emulate his father’s reverence toward our faith.
    *Below is the narrator that makes brief appearances in this book of Eusebius. He comments on how hard Egyptians, Palestinians, and Romans tried to rid the world of all Christians and Christianity*
    Pg.317 Eusebius was an eyewitness to much of what he reports in these pages. Here he is the contemporary historian, reporting his own observations or using the reports of others, with due credit, as in the records of persecution in Egypt. The ghastly tails of torment in Book 8 testify to both the final desperation of demonic emperors *to rid the world of Christianity* and the presence of eyewitnesses.
    Eusebius does delight in reporting the grotesque medical details of the death of Galerius- a pattern he most likely learned from Josephus’s account of the final illness of Herod the Great. And yet he finds also a higher, even astonishing, cause beyond the brutality of the emperors: it was the complacency, envy, hypocrisy, and quarreling within the church that incited divine justice to permit persecution. This was a remarkable admission by a writer usually faulted for his exuberant triumphalism.
    Eusebius did not intend to provide a political history of his day but, where Rome was concerned, only a record of those points at which imperial policies involved the church.
    HOW DID ROME GO FROM HAVING ONE EMPEROR TO 4?
    PG.317
    To bring order to Rome Diocletian made it so Romans were to know long in advance who the next emperors would be, and by thus ruling out competitors a peaceful succession would follow. Convinced, furthermore, that the empire was too vast to be controlled by a single ruler, Diocletian now divided its administration into western and eastern halves, with the Adriatic Sea as the divider. Italy, Gaul, Britannia, Spain, and western North Africa were to be governed from Milan under his colleague Maximian, while Greece and all the eastern provinces Diocletian himself would rule from his new capital at Nicomedia {eastern part of Turkey}.
    The two emperors, each called an Augustus, selected one subordinate each, who was termed a Caesar, and he would directly administer a portion of the half. When the Augusti retired or died, the two Caesars would become the new Augusti; they in turn would choose new Caesars, and the cycle would continue. Diocletian chose Galerius as his Caesar, and Maximian selected Constantius Chlorus, the father of Constantine, as his. Thus the pattern started as follows:
    Augusti in the West was Maximian. Augusti in the East was Diocletian.
    Caesars in the west (Britain/Gaul) was Constantius Chlorus Caesars in the East (ruling Syria, Palestine, Egypt) was Galerius.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    Each Caesar married the daughter of the Augustus he would one day succeed, and thus the empire was divided among these four rulers.
    On May 1,305, two years after the persecution began, an ailing Diocletian, under enormous pressure from Galerius, tearfully abdicated his office and retired to Dalmatia. Earlier, Galerius (a brutal man that incited the persecutions) had persuaded Maximian to retire also. The new Augusti were Galerius himself and Constantius Chlorus, as planned, but then everything went wrong. Galerius chose both new Caesar: his nephew Maximin Daia for the East and his friend Severus for the West-this when Constantius's son Constantine or Maximian's son Maxentius might have been chosen instead for the West.
    Constantine asked Galerius for permission to join his father in the West. This was denied. Nevertheless, Constantine managed to escape and join his father after a furious horseback ride to Gaul. When they crossed into Britain and Constantius subsequently died at York, his troops immediately proclaimed Constantine as Augustus, in July 306. Galerius was furious and grudgingly accorded him the title of Caesar, but raised his friend Severus to the rank of co-Augustus with Constantine. This is how Constantine became an Augusti over Gaul, Spain and Britain.
    RELIEF
    ROMAN GOV'T RECOGNIZES IN WRITING CHRISTIANS CAN'T BE CONVINCED BY FEAR OF PERSECUTIONS TO TURN FROM THEIR GOD B/C IT CHRISTIANS WON'T TURN FROM THEIR GOD AMID PERSECUTIONS.

    This imperial will was published throughout Asia and in the adjacent provinces. Maximin would not let the letter be posted as it should by law in his cities and posted it in a corner of town where noone would ever see it. His subordinate Sabinus communicated what was in the letter to the provincial governors:
    If any of the Christians is found practicing their religion, you should shield him from molestation and danger and not punish him on this charge, since a long period of time has shown that they cannot in any way be persuaded to abandon their obstinate behavior.

    *Eusebius writes*
    The provincial governors, deeming the communication authentic, then wrote letters alerting the comptrollers, magistrates, and rural officers to the imperial decision. They implemented it not only in writing, but even more by action, setting free all who were incarcerated for confessing the Deity and even releasing those condemned to the mines, for they assumed that this was what the emperor intended.
    When this had been done, it was as if a light had suddenly blazed out of a dark night. In every city, churches were thronged, congregations crowded, and rites duly performed. All the unbelieving heathen were astonished at the wonder of so great a transformation and hailed the Christians' God as alone great and true.

    pg.323 Maximin grew furious over this. He tried in numerous ways to overturn the peace, first by finding a pretext to stop us from assembling in the cemeteries. He then sent delegations of miscreants to forbid any Christian from living in his area and arranged it so that Christians also could not live in the city. He did this by recruiting an evil fraud by the name of Theotecnus of Antiochene. He was the city comptroller.He tried every means to hunt Christians, accuse us, and cause our deaths to countless numbers. Finally, with illusions and sorceries, he erected a statue of Zeus as god of friendship, and after devising demonic rites, initiations, and repulsive purifications for it, he displayed his magic even in the emperor's presence through whatever oracular utterances he pleased. Moreover, through flattery pleasing to the emperor, this fellow claimed that the god had ordered the Christians out of the city and its vicinity since they were his enemies. **I'm taking a wild guess the persecutions are about to start again**

    This man acted first, but all the other officials in cities under the same rule quickly followed suit, the provincial governors seeing that this pleased the emperor and proposing that their subjects do the same. Maximin gladly approved their petitions by rescript, and once again the persecution against us was reignited.
    Maximin appointed those priests and even high priests who sought to kick Christians out with images of them in each city to show that they were the most distinguished. The inane superstition of the ruler was clearly persuading all under him, governors and the governed alike, to curry his favor by a full-fledged assault on us. To thirst for our blood and find novel ways to show their hostility was the greatest favor they could bestow on him in return for the benefits they expected from him.
    pg. 324 In fact, they forged Memoirs of Pilate and of our Savior, full of all sorts of blasphemy against Christ, and sent them, with the approval of their superior, all over his realm with edicts that they were to be posted everywhere, both town and country, and assigned to children by their teachers to study and memorize instead of lessons.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    **Basically they wrote false scriptures and attributed them to Jesus' and forced people to memorize them as though it was true**
    **This is one of the ways they tried to ruin Christians reputation**
    At Damascus, meanwhile, an army commander-called dux by the Romans-arranged to have some loose women abducted from the city square and forced them, under threat of torture, to put in writing that they had once been Christians, knew about their Christians' criminal activities, and that in their very churches the Christians indulged in immoralities, and whatever else he wanted the women to say in defaming the faith. He also copied their words in his report to the emperor, who ordered him to publish the document in every district and city.
    MARTYRDOM RENEWS ITSELF
    pg.324
    3 confessed Christians in Emesa, a city of Phoenicia, were thrown to wild beasts as food, Silvanus among them, a every old bishop who had served 40 years in office. Peter also, who presided admirably over the churches in Alexandria-was suddenly arrested for no reason and beheaded, as if by command of Maximin, as were many other Egyptian bishops. Lucian a presbyter at Antioch was brought to Nicomedia where the emperor was staying. After defending the faith in the presence of the ruler, he ws sent to prison and put to death.
    In the urban centers, petitions against us from cities and rescripts of imperial replies were engraved on bronze tablets and posted-something that had never happened before-while children in the schools daily had the names of Jesus and Pilate on their lips and the insolently forged Memoirs. This is what Maximin had written and posted on the Tablet at Tyre:
    At last the feeble boldness of the human mind has shaken off and scattered all the blinding fog of error that, until now, had assaulted the senses of people more miserable than wicked and shrouded them in the darkness of ignorance, and it now recognizes that the benevolent providence of the immortal gods governs and sustains it. Words cannot express how very grateful I am at the most splendid proof of your godly character, since even before this all knew of the reverence and piety you accorded the immortal gods, with a faith not of mere empty words but continual and marvelous in its deeds. Your city, then, deserves to be called a temple and domicile of the immortal deities, and many signs suggest that it flourishes because the immortal gods dwell there.
    It was your city that totally ignored its private pursuits and earlier requests when it saw that the followers of that damnable folly (Christianity) were starting to spread once again, like a forgotten, smoldering pyre that rekindles into a blazing conflagration. Instantly you appealed to our piety, as to a mother city of all religious worship, for some healing and help, a salvific idea clearly implanted in you by the gods b/c of your faith and reverence to them. It was therefore he, the most high and mighty Zeus-defender of your illustrioius city, the guardian of your ancestral gods, your women and children, your hearth and home from all destruction-who inspired you with this resolve for rescue, demonstrating how splendid and salutary it is to accord due reverence to worship and sacred rights for the immortal gods.
    Who is so senseless or stupid as not to grasp that only the benevolence of the gods prevents the earth from refusing the seeds committed to it and frustrating the hopes of the farmer? Or that impious war does not plant itself on the earth to drag grimy bodies off to death and pollute the healthy air of heaven? Or that the sea does not swell and storm under the blasts of wind? Or that typhoons do not strike in lethal destruction without warning? Or, again, that the earth, the nurse and mother of all, does not sink with a dreadful quake into its deepest hollows and her mountains collapse into the chasms that result? All these disasters, and those even worse, have often happened before this, as everyone knows. And all of them happened at once b/c of the error and folly of those immoral people (Christians), when it possessed their minds and nearly subverted the entire world through its shameful deeds.
    Let them see on the broad plains the crops ripe with waving ears of grain, the meadows glittering with flowers-thanks to timely rains-and the weather temperate and mild. Let all rejoice that through our piety, sacrifices, and veneration, the power of the mighty and uncompromising air has been propitiated, and they may therefore enjoy the most tranquil peace in safety and in quiet. And let all those who have been saved from that blind folly and restored to a right state of mind rejoice the more, as if they had been deliviered from an unexpected storm or critical illness, and let hem reap life's future delights. But if they persist in their damnable folly, let them be driven out of your city and vicinity, just as you requested, so that, in accord with your laudable enthusiasm in this matter, your city may be purged of all pollution and impiety and follow its natural disposition to worship the immortal gods with due reverence.
    That you may know how much we appreciate your request and how inclined we are to benevolence quite apart from petitions and pleas, we permit Your Dedication to ask whatever reward you wish in return for this godly intention of yours. Resolve now to do this and receive your reward without delay. Awarding it to your city will forever demonstrate your piety toward the immortal gods and a proof to your posterity that our benevolence duly rewarded your conduct.
    **Basically to summarize all that written above. Maximin wrote an eloquent speech saying if you enjoy peace and blessings of weather and don't want to be cursed by Zeus then turn in Christians and ask your gov't for a reward and the gov't will reward your wishes and Zeus will bless the city with rain, food, and good farming. Again, we will give you a reward if you turn in Christians because they are a threat to Zeus and to your peace and to the city and its government.**
    *Eusebius writes*
    This was engraved on tablets in every province, leaving us hopeless of any human help, so that, as in the divine saying, these things might cause even the elect to stumble [Matt.24:24]. In fact hope was fading among most when suddenly God, the Champion of his own church showed himself our ally.
    pg.327 The usual winter rains and showers were denying the earth its normal downpour when famine struck, as well as plague and an epidemic of another sort of disease: an ulcer that was called a carbuncle because of its fiery appearance. It spread very dangerously over the entire body but attacked the eyes in particular, blinding countless men, women, and children.
    In addition to this Maximin was troubled with war against the Armenians, people who had been friends and allies of the Romans from early times. But since they were Christians and ardent in their reverence to the Deity, Maximin tried to make them sacrifice to idols and demons and so turned them from friends into foes, enemies instead of allies.
    The fact that all these things occurred at the same time completely refuted the tyrant's impudent boasting against the Deity, for he had the gall to proclaim that in his day famine, plague, and war were averted by his enthusiasm for the idols and his attack on us. ALL OF THESE IMPACTING HIM AT THE SAME TIME SERVED AS PRELUDE TO HIS OVERTHROW.
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