Ecclesiastical history (Philostorgius)/Fragments

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Ecclesiastical history by Philostorgius
- Fragments

Concernins Apollinarius, Basil, and Gregory of Nazianzum, as Given in Suidas under those names, in the words of Philostorgius[edit]

At those times flourished Apollinarius at Laodicea in Syria, Basil at Caesarea in Cappadocia, and Gregory at Nazianzum, which is a station on the road through Cappadocia. These three individuals were strenuous in their defence of the consubstantial faith against the doctrine of dissimilarity of substance, and so wholly confuted all those who previously and up to my own day were leaders of that heresy, that Athanasius must be judged a mere child in comparison with them. For they were very great proficients in that kind of instruction which is called "external," or "profane," and they had great knowledge of whatever contributed to the deep study and remembrance of the Scriptures; this was the case most especially with Apollinarius, for he was skilled also in Hebrew. Moreover, each of them, in his own particular matter, was excellent in his style of writing and speaking ; Apollinarius being first in that kind which is best adapted to commentaries; Basil being the most splendid in panegyrical discourses ; while the style of Gregory, as compared with both of them, would rank higher as a composition. Apollinarius was the more copious, Basil the weightier, in his speech, And whilst they were endowed with such talents for speaking and writing, they exhibited in their lives a character well fitted to draw a multitude to imitate themselves ; so that those who beheld them and heard their speech, and read their writings, were all of them drawn over to their communion, as many at least as could easily be persuaded by any of their arguments.

Concerning Paenas and the Jordan[edit]

AT the farthest confines of Palestine, near where Phoenicia commences, there is situated a city formerly called Dan, after the tribe to which it belonged. Here some wanderers, cut off from the rest of their race at a distant period, settled down for some time., taking possession of the district around, built a town at its extreme border, and assumed to themselves the name of Phylarchs. This was the farthest point of Judaea on the side of Phoenicia. Herod the Great, in later times, built this city, and changed its name to that of Caesarea Philippi ; now, however, it is called Paneas, from a statue of Pan which was placed within its confines. In this town of Paneas rises one of the two fountains of the Jordan, (for it has two sources,) which is even now called "Dan," after the ancient name of the place. The other fountain, which is called "Jor," is about 160 stadia distant, and takes its rise out of the side of a hill. From each of these fountains flows a river, the one called Jorates and the other Danites. Descending from their hills, these rivers descend into a plain, where they join their waters, and, flowing in a single channel, form the river Jordan. This river henceforth mingles together alike the waters and the names of both, and flows through the lake of Tiberias, dividing it in the midst, and finding its way to the opposite continent, maintaining throughout an uniform size and width. Thence it flows through the whole of Palestine, and is at length absorbed in the sea which is called the Dead Sea, where it disappears.

Concerning Agapetus[edit]

Agapetus, bishop of Synada, whom Eusebius Pamphilus celebrates with the highest praises, commemorating his wondrous and surpassing miracles, used to change the situation of mountains and the courses of rivers, and to raise the dead to life. He says also, that the emperor Maximin wished to kill him while he was still a soldier, as a Christian, because he had found many who were so taken with admiration of the wonderful works which were done by Agapetus, that he left the worship of heathen gods and came over to the Christian faith.

Concerning Aetius[edit]

Aetius of Antioch in Syria, whose pupil was Eunomius, was born in Antioch, a city of Syria, of parents both poor and humble. His father had been enrolled among the military ranks, and having been unfortunate in his affairs, died early, leaving him quite a child. Reduced to the extreme of penury, he began to practise the art of gilding, and arrived at great eminence in his line. But the bent of genius led him to loftier aspirations, and he applied his mind to the study of logic. At first he was a pupil of Paulinus, who had been shortly before translated to Antioch from the city of Tyre, while Constantine was still emperor. While Aetius was his pupil, he showed no small grasp of intellect in disputations against those to whom he was opposed in the schools, and his attack was almost beyond all endurance. At length Paulinus died, and was succeeded by Eulalius as the twenty-third successor of the apostles in the see of Antioch. Hereupon many of those who had been convicted by Aetius, feeling indignant at being conquered and defeated by a stripling and a common artisan, formed a combination against him, and expelled him from Antioch. Accordingly, on being rejected, Aetius betook himself to Anazarbus, and in a very short time, having learned all the science and faculty of logic, he continually showed fruits far superior to the rudimental and elementary instructions which he had received from others. Meantime, however, he did not cease to censure and refute his adversaries, though he wore but a thin and scanty cloak, and lived upon very humble and ordinary food.

Concerning Auxentius[edit]

Auxentius, bishop of Mopsuestia, was one of the confessors. He was one of the number of those who were distinguished as soldiers in the palace of the emperor Licinius, being one of his scribes, or, as the Romans call them, notaries. His confession was made in the following way. In a certain court of the imperial palace stood a fountain, and above it a statue of Bacchus, and around it a large vine which covered and overshadowed the entire place. When Licinius had gone thither for the purpose of mental recreation, followed by a numerous train of attendants from the palace, and among others by Auxentius, he cast his eyes upon the vine, and happening to see a bunch of grapes of prodigious size and beauty, as it hung down from the branches of the vine, he ordered Auxentius to cut it. Forthwith Auxentius, without any suspicion of what was about to follow, cut off the bunch of grapes. Licinius then turned to him and said, "Place this before the feet of Bacchus." To this Auxentius answered, "By no means, O emperor ; I am a Christian." On hearing this Licinius said, "Go then away ; you are discharged from the service, for one of two things you must do." Auxentius delayed not a moment, but without delay threw aside his belt, and gladly took his departure from the palace, ungirded, just as he was. Not long afterwards, the supervisors appointed him bishop of Mopsuestia. His younger brother was Theodore, who had taught rhetoric at Athens, and who afterwards obtained the bishopric of Tarsus. For Aetius being accustomed even aforetime to teach Eunomius, and others who were of higher than ordinary talent, as soon as he promoted Eunomius to the degree of a professor, made him act instead of himself as a master and teacher, as well of others as those who were more perfectly advanced in learning and instruction, while he himself was ever ready to teach others the elements and first principles. But Eunomius was considered as by far his superior in improving and building upon the foundations previously laid, and in giving perspicuous and eloquent interpretations.

Concerning Euxodius[edit]

Euxodius, bishop of Antioch, carne originally from Arabyssus, a town of Lesser Armenia. His father, Caesarius, had obtained the crown of martyrdom during the reign of the emperor Maximin, although previously he had shown himself addicted to vicious pleasures. But he studied to wash out the stains of his early life in the blood of martyrdom. For when his executioners had pierced both of his feet with six huge nails, they cast him on a funeral pile; and because he expired while yet on his way to the flames, his relations carried off his body from the pile, when it was still entire and only partially burnt, and buried it in a field called Subel.

Concerning Theophilus[edit]

This Theophilus returned from India and took up his abode at Antioch, without having the care of any particular church as his own, but acting as a common bishop, so that at his will he visited all churches as his own ; the emperor exhibiting towards him all possible respect and reverence, and the rest whom he visited receiving him with great alacrity, and admiring the excellence of his virtue. This was so great and so noble, that no one can do justice to it in terms ; it was, so to speak, a correct copy of that of the apostles. They say that while he was at Antioch, he raised to life again a certain Jewess : such at least is the assertion of Thalassius, who lived with him for many years, and has never been suspected of falsehood in matters of this nature; and who, moreover, has very many persons who lived at the time, and who were eye-witnesses of the miracle.

Concerning Leontius[edit]

Leontius, bishop of Tripolis, a city of Lydia, was sprung from a Moesian tribe, dwelling on the banks of the Danube, the same that Homer calls a0gxi/maxoi, that is " fighting in close combat," This Leontius is claimed by the impious Philostorgius, in his seventh book, as inclined to the Arian party, of which he was himself an adherent. He had an only son, and perceiving in him no signs of a good disposition, he obtained by prayer from God that he should depart this life while still very young ; judging that it would be better to die, and to be removed from the uncertain dangers and chances of this life, before he could do anything sinful and disgraceful. They also called him the "Rule of the Church," on account of the extreme freedom which he used in his opinions, and in his speech towards all alike. On one occasion, when a synod of bishops was convened, and the empress Eusebia, and wife of Constantius, was Saluted by the rest of the bishops, he alone of them all remained at home, and paid no regard to her whatever. The empress being enraged at this, and boiling with indignation, sent to him one of her attendants, with the endeavour to conciliate him, partly by reproaches and partly by enticing promises, and saying that she would build him a large church, and add to it a large sum of money besides, if he would only come to visit her. Leontius answered her in the following terms : "If you have the desire of performing any of these promises which you make to me, my empress, be assured that you will be gratifying your own inclination rather than me. But if you really wish me to come and salute you, I will do so, provided the due and customary reverence for the bishop be shown ; I mean, that when I enter the room, you will come down from your lofty throne, and meet me with respect, bending your head down to my hands in order to receive my episcopal benediction. Next, that I shall sit down, and you stand in a respectful attitude; sitting clown when I bid you and give you the signal for so doing. If you choose to do all this, I will willingly come to you ; but if not, you will never give me presents sufficiently ample and magnificent to induce me to abate one particle of the honour which is due to bishops, and be willing to violate the divine laws of the priesthood." The queen, on receiving this message, grew white with the vehemence of her rage ; and would not patiently submit to have such an answer brought back to her from Leontius. And being violently excited with wrath, and agitated in mind, and having used those threats which accord with the light and excitable disposition of a woman, she related the matter to her husband, and demanded revenge. He, however, thought that the freedom of speech used by Leontius was rather to be admired ; so he calmed down the rage of his wife, and sent her back to her own apartment. Likewise on another occasion, when Constantius was presiding in an assembly of bishops, and wanted to enter all the churches at his will, while all the rest received the words of the emperor with admiration and applause, and said that he had done everything right, Leontius alone held his tongue and was silent. And when the emperor asked him why he alone of all kept silence, Leontius answered thus : "I am astonished that you, who are set over matters of one kind, to administer them, should take in hand the administration of others which are distinct from them : and that when the care of military and civil matters has been intrusted to you, you should dictate to bishops in matters which appertain to the office of a bishop alone." On hearing these words, Constantius was fairly abashed and overcome with shame, and ceased thenceforth to act and to command on behalf of the state in matters of this kind.

Concerning Demophilus[edit]

Demophilus, bishop of Constantinople, was a man who was accustomed to mingle everything together in his mad impetuosity, and who, like some wild and rapid torrent, rolled along much mud and filth in his discourses, as any one might easily detect from the first sermon which he delivered at Constantinople. Now, in this discourse, it is probable that he would have been more than usually accurate and diligent, considering that these kind of discourses are taken down by notaries. Certainly, in his commentaries extant to the present day, he is very confused and indistinct in his positions; and, discussing concerning the Father and the Son, he thus speaks in learned terms. "The Son was begotten by the will of the Father alone, without time and without means, so that he is the minister and servant of the commands of the Father. For God foresaw that all those things which he was about to create, could not exist, inasmuch as they were to be of a kind pure and unmixed, like God himself who created them. And so it was necessary that all created beings should become gods according to the dignity of their Creator; from whence it would follow that there would be a plurality of gods. Or certainly it was necessary that all things should be straightway dissolved as soon as made, just as though they were placed near the hottest fire. On this account, the Son existed as a medium between the creatures who were to be created and the Father from whom he is begotten ; so that abasing himself, and joining and uniting himself to those things which were to be created, he might fulfil the Divine will, and become the Mediator between God and us men who are created by him." But Demophilus does not perceive that in these words he falsely attributes weakness and envy to the Supreme God, and that he makes the Son to be of a lower condition than the rest of his creatures. For the Father himself must needs be weak, according to the opinion of Demophilus, inasmuch as though he wished to impart his essence to all created beings, he could not effect his design afterwards. But he would by no means be free from evil will, if, when it was in his power to make all his creatures gods, he studiously abstained from making his creatures of the same condition and dignity with himself. And, moreover, there would be none of his creatures who would not appear to be more perfect and happy than the Son himself, if indeed he was begotten not as his own end, but for the contemplation and use of his own creatures. For whatever exists for the use of something else, must needs be inferior to that for which it is created. And many other mad dreams of the same kind does Demophilus set forth in his writings.