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Chapter XLVII: Ecclesiastical Discord.—Part II.
The prize was not unworthy of his ambition. At a distance from the court, and at the head of an immense capital, the patriarch, as he was now styled, of Alexandria had gradually usurped the state and authority of a civil magistrate. The public and private charities of the city were blindly obeyed by his numerous and fanatic parabolani,57675767 The Parabolani of Alexandria were a charitable corporation, instituted during the plague of Gallienus, to visit the sick and to bury the dead. They gradually enlarged, abused, and sold the privileges of their order. Their outrageous conduct during the reign of Cyril provoked the emperor to deprive the patriarch of their nomination, and to restrain their number to five or six hundred. But these restraints were transient and ineffectual. See the Theodosian Code, l. xvi. tit. ii. and Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 276—278. familiarized in their daily office with scenes of death; and the praefects of Egypt were awed or provoked by the temporal power of these Christian pontiffs. Ardent in the prosecution of heresy, Cyril auspiciously opened his reign by oppressing the Novatians, the most innocent and harmless of the sectaries. The interdiction of their religious worship appeared in his eyes a just and meritorious act; and he confiscated their holy vessels, without apprehending the guilt of sacrilege. The toleration, and even the privileges of the Jews, who had multiplied to the number of forty thousand, were secured by the laws of the Caesars and Ptolemies, and a long prescription of seven hundred years since the foundation of Alexandria. Without any legal sentence, without any royal mandate, the patriarch, at the dawn of day, led a seditious multitude to the attack of the synagogues. Unarmed and unprepared, the Jews were incapable of resistance; their houses of prayer were levelled with the ground, and the episcopal warrior, after-rewarding his troops with the plunder of their goods, expelled from the city the remnant of the unbelieving nation. Perhaps he might plead the insolence of their prosperity, and their deadly hatred of the Christians, whose blood they had recently shed in a malicious or accidental tumult.
Such crimes would have deserved the animadversion of the magistrate; but in this promiscuous outrage, the innocent were confounded with the guilty, and Alexandria was impoverished by the loss of a wealthy and industrious colony. The zeal of Cyril exposed him to the penalties of the Julian law; but in a feeble government and a superstitious age, he was secure of impunity, and even of praise. Orestes complained; but his just complaints were too quickly forgotten by the ministers of Theodosius, and too deeply remembered by a priest who affected to pardon, and continued to hate, the praefect of Egypt. As he passed through the streets, his chariot was assaulted by a band of five hundred of the Nitrian monks his guards fled from the wild beasts of the desert; his protestations that he was a Christian and a Catholic were answered by a volley of stones, and the face of Orestes was covered with blood. The loyal citizens of Alexandria hastened to his rescue; he instantly satisfied his justice and revenge against the monk by whose hand he had been wounded, and Ammonius expired under the rod of the lictor. At the command of Cyril his body was raised from the ground, and transported, in solemn procession, to the cathedral; the name of Ammonius was changed to that of Thaumasius the wonderful; his tomb was decorated with the trophies of martyrdom, and the patriarch ascended the pulpit to celebrate the magnanimity of an assassin and a rebel. Such honors might incite the faithful to combat and die under the banners of the saint; and he soon prompted, or accepted, the sacrifice of a virgin, who professed the religion of the Greeks, and cultivated the friendship of Orestes. Hypatia, the daughter of Theon the mathematician,57685768 For Theon and his daughter Hypatia. see Fabricius, Bibliothec. tom. viii. p. 210, 211. Her article in the Lexicon of Suidas is curious and original. Hesychius (Meursii Opera, tom. vii. p. 295, 296) observes, that he was persecuted; and an epigram in the Greek Anthology (l. i. c. 76, p. 159, edit. Brodaei) celebrates her knowledge and eloquence. She is honorably mentioned (Epist. 10, 15 16, 33—80, 124, 135, 153) by her friend and disciple the philosophic bishop Synesius. was initiated in her father's studies; her learned comments have elucidated the geometry of Apollonius and Diophantus, and she publicly taught, both at Athens and Alexandria, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. In the bloom of beauty, and in the maturity of wisdom, the modest maid refused her lovers and instructed her disciples; the persons most illustrious for their rank or merit were impatient to visit the female philosopher; and Cyril beheld, with a jealous eye, the gorgeous train of horses and slaves who crowded the door of her academy. A rumor was spread among the Christians, that the daughter of Theon was the only obstacle to the reconciliation of the praefect and the archbishop; and that obstacle was speedily removed. On a fatal day, in the holy season of Lent, Hypatia was torn from her chariot, stripped naked, dragged to the church, and inhumanly butchered by the hands of Peter the reader, and a troop of savage and merciless fanatics: her flesh was scraped from her bones with sharp cyster shells,57695769 Oyster shells were plentifully strewed on the sea-beach before the Caesareum. I may therefore prefer the literal sense, without rejecting the metaphorical version of tegulae, tiles, which is used by M. de Valois ignorant, and the assassins were probably regardless, whether their victim was yet alive. and her quivering limbs were delivered to the flames. The just progress of inquiry and punishment was stopped by seasonable gifts; but the murder of Hypatia has imprinted an indelible stain on the character and religion of Cyril of Alexandria.57705770 These exploits of St. Cyril are recorded by Socrates, (l. vii. c. 13, 14, 15;) and the most reluctant bigotry is compelled to copy an historian who coolly styles the murderers of Hypatia. At the mention of that injured name, I am pleased to observe a blush even on the cheek of Baronius, (A.D. 415, No. 48.)
Superstition, perhaps, would more gently expiate the blood of a virgin, than the banishment of a saint; and Cyril had accompanied his uncle to the iniquitous synod of the Oak. When the memory of Chrysostom was restored and consecrated, the nephew of Theophilus, at the head of a dying faction, still maintained the justice of his sentence; nor was it till after a tedious delay and an obstinate resistance, that he yielded to the consent of the Catholic world.57715771 He was deaf to the entreaties of Atticus of Constantinople, and of Isidore of Pelusium, and yielded only (if we may believe Nicephorus, l. xiv. c. 18) to the personal intercession of the Virgin. Yet in his last years he still muttered that John Chrysostom had been justly condemned, (Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 278—282. Baronius Annal. Eccles. A.D. 412, No. 46—64.) His enmity to the Byzantine pontiffs57725772 See their characters in the history of Socrates, (l. vii. c. 25—28;) their power and pretensions, in the huge compilation of Thomassin, (Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 80-91.) was a sense of interest, not a sally of passion: he envied their fortunate station in the sunshine of the Imperial court; and he dreaded their upstart ambition. which oppressed the metropolitans of Europe and Asia, invaded the provinces of Antioch and Alexandria, and measured their diocese by the limits of the empire. The long moderation of Atticus, the mild usurper of the throne of Chrysostom, suspended the animosities of the Eastern patriarchs; but Cyril was at length awakened by the exaltation of a rival more worthy of his esteem and hatred. After the short and troubled reign of Sisinnius, bishop of Constantinople, the factions of the clergy and people were appeased by the choice of the emperor, who, on this occasion, consulted the voice of fame, and invited the merit of a stranger.
Nestorius,57735773 His elevation and conduct are described by Socrates, (l. vii. c. 29 31;) and Marcellinus seems to have applied the eloquentiae satis, sapi entiae parum, of Sallust. native of Germanicia, and a monk of Antioch, was recommended by the austerity of his life, and the eloquence of his sermons; but the first homily which he preached before the devout Theodosius betrayed the acrimony and impatience of his zeal. "Give me, O Caesar!" he exclaimed, "give me the earth purged of heretics, and I will give you in exchange the kingdom of heaven. Exterminate with me the heretics; and with you I will exterminate the Persians." On the fifth day as if the treaty had been already signed, the patriarch of Constantinople discovered, surprised, and attacked a secret conventicle of the Arians: they preferred death to submission; the flames that were kindled by their despair, soon spread to the neighboring houses, and the triumph of Nestorius was clouded by the name of incendiary. On either side of the Hellespont his episcopal vigor imposed a rigid formulary of faith and discipline; a chronological error concerning the festival of Easter was punished as an offence against the church and state. Lydia and Caria, Sardes and Miletus, were purified with the blood of the obstinate Quartodecimans; and the edict of the emperor, or rather of the patriarch, enumerates three-and-twenty degrees and denominations in the guilt and punishment of heresy.57745774 Cod. Theodos. l. xvi. tit. v. leg. 65, with the illustrations of Baronius, (A.D. 428, No. 25, &c.,) Godefroy, (ad locum,) and Pagi, Critica, (tom. ii. p. 208.) But the sword of persecution which Nestorius so furiously wielded was soon turned against his own breast. Religion was the pretence; but, in the judgment of a contemporary saint, ambition was the genuine motive of episcopal warfare.57755775 Isidore of Pelusium, (l. iv. Epist. 57.) His words are strong and scandalous. Isidore is a saint, but he never became a bishop; and I half suspect that the pride of Diogenes trampled on the pride of Plato.
In the Syrian school, Nestorius had been taught to abhor the confusion of the two natures, and nicely to discriminate the humanity of his master Christ from the divinity of the Lord Jesus.57765776 La Croze (Christianisme des Indes, tom. i. p. 44-53. Thesaurus Epistolicus, La Crozianus, tom. iii. p. 276—280) has detected the use, which, in the ivth, vth, and vith centuries, discriminates the school of Diodorus of Tarsus and his Nestorian disciples. The Blessed Virgin he revered as the mother of Christ, but his ears were offended with the rash and recent title of mother of God,57775777 Deipara; as in zoology we familiarly speak of oviparous and viviparous animals. It is not easy to fix the invention of this word, which La Croze (Christianisme des Indes, tom. i. p. 16) ascribes to Eusebius of Caesarea and the Arians. The orthodox testimonies are produced by Cyril and Petavius, (Dogmat. Theolog. tom. v. l. v. c. 15, p. 254, &c.;) but the veracity of the saint is questionable, and the epithet so easily slides from the margin to the text of a Catholic Ms which had been insensibly adopted since the origin of the Arian controversy. From the pulpit of Constantinople, a friend of the patriarch, and afterwards the patriarch himself, repeatedly preached against the use, or the abuse, of a word57785778 Basnage, in his Histoire de l'Eglise, a work of controversy, (tom l. p. 505,) justifies the mother, by the blood, of God, (Acts, xx. 28, with Mill's various readings.) But the Greek Mss. are far from unanimous; and the primitive style of the blood of Christ is preserved in the Syriac version, even in those copies which were used by the Christians of St. Thomas on the coast of Malabar, (La Croze, Christianisme des Indes, tom. i. p. 347.) The jealousy of the Nestorians and Monophysites has guarded the purity of their text. unknown to the apostles, unauthorized by the church, and which could only tend to alarm the timorous, to mislead the simple, to amuse the profane, and to justify, by a seeming resemblance, the old genealogy of Olympus.57795779 The Pagans of Egypt already laughed at the new Cybele of the Christians, (Isidor. l. i. epist. 54;) a letter was forged in the name of Hypatia, to ridicule the theology of her assassin, (Synodicon, c. 216, in iv. tom. Concil. p. 484.) In the article of Nestorius, Bayle has scattered some loose philosophy on the worship of the Virgin Mary. In his calmer moments Nestorius confessed, that it might be tolerated or excused by the union of the two natures, and the communication of their idioms:57805780 The item of the Greeks, a mutual loan or transfer of the idioms or properties of each nature to the other—of infinity to man, passibility to God, &c. Twelve rules on this nicest of subjects compose the Theological Grammar of Petavius, (Dogmata Theolog. tom. v. l. iv. c. 14, 15, p 209, &c.) but he was exasperated, by contradiction, to disclaim the worship of a new-born, an infant Deity, to draw his inadequate similes from the conjugal or civil partnerships of life, and to describe the manhood of Christ as the robe, the instrument, the tabernacle of his Godhead. At these blasphemous sounds, the pillars of the sanctuary were shaken. The unsuccessful competitors of Nestorius indulged their pious or personal resentment, the Byzantine clergy was secretly displeased with the intrusion of a stranger: whatever is superstitious or absurd, might claim the protection of the monks; and the people were interested in the glory of their virgin patroness.57815781 See Ducange, C. P. Christiana, l. i. p. 30, &c. The sermons of the archbishop, and the service of the altar, were disturbed by seditious clamor; his authority and doctrine were renounced by separate congregations; every wind scattered round the empire the leaves of controversy; and the voice of the combatants on a sonorous theatre reechoed in the cells of Palestine and Egypt. It was the duty of Cyril to enlighten the zeal and ignorance of his innumerable monks: in the school of Alexandria, he had imbibed and professed the incarnation of one nature; and the successor of Athanasius consulted his pride and ambition, when he rose in arms against another Arius, more formidable and more guilty, on the second throne of the hierarchy. After a short correspondence, in which the rival prelates disguised their hatred in the hollow language of respect and charity, the patriarch of Alexandria denounced to the prince and people, to the East and to the West, the damnable errors of the Byzantine pontiff. From the East, more especially from Antioch, he obtained the ambiguous counsels of toleration and silence, which were addressed to both parties while they favored the cause of Nestorius. But the Vatican received with open arms the messengers of Egypt. The vanity of Celestine was flattered by the appeal; and the partial version of a monk decided the faith of the pope, who with his Latin clergy was ignorant of the language, the arts, and the theology of the Greeks. At the head of an Italian synod, Celestine weighed the merits of the cause, approved the creed of Cyril, condemned the sentiments and person of Nestorius, degraded the heretic from his episcopal dignity, allowed a respite of ten days for recantation and penance, and delegated to his enemy the execution of this rash and illegal sentence. But the patriarch of Alexandria, while he darted the thunders of a god, exposed the errors and passions of a mortal; and his twelve anathemas57825782 Concil. tom. iii. p. 943. They have never been directly approved by the church, (Tillemont. Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 368—372.) I almost pity the agony of rage and sophistry with which Petavius seems to be agitated in the vith book of his Dogmata Theologica still torture the orthodox slaves, who adore the memory of a saint, without forfeiting their allegiance to the synod of Chalcedon. These bold assertions are indelibly tinged with the colors of the Apollinarian heresy; but the serious, and perhaps the sincere professions of Nestorius have satisfied the wiser and less partial theologians of the present times.57835783 Such as the rational Basnage (ad tom. i. Variar. Lection. Canisine in Praefat. c. 2, p. 11—23) and La Croze, the universal scholar, (Christianisme des Indes, tom. i. p. 16—20. De l'Ethiopie, p. 26, 27. The saur. Epist. p. 176, &c., 283, 285.) His free sentence is confirmed by that of his friends Jablonski (Thesaur. Epist. tom. i. p. 193—201) and Mosheim, (idem. p. 304, Nestorium crimine caruisse est et mea sententia;) and three more respectable judges will not easily be found. Asseman, a learned and modest slave, can hardly discern (Bibliothec. Orient. tom. iv. p. 190—224) the guilt and error of the Nestorians.
Yet neither the emperor nor the primate of the East were disposed to obey the mandate of an Italian priest; and a synod of the Catholic, or rather of the Greek church, was unanimously demanded as the sole remedy that could appease or decide this ecclesiastical quarrel.57845784 The origin and progress of the Nestorian controversy, till the synod of Ephesus, may be found in Socrates, (l. vii. c. 32,) Evagrius, (l. i. c. 1, 2,) Liberatus, (Brev. c. 1—4,) the original Acts, (Concil. tom. iii. p. 551—991, edit. Venice, 1728,) the Annals of Baronius and Pagi, and the faithful collections of Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv p. 283—377.) Ephesus, on all sides accessible by sea and land, was chosen for the place, the festival of Pentecost for the day, of the meeting; a writ of summons was despatched to each metropolitan, and a guard was stationed to protect and confine the fathers till they should settle the mysteries of heaven, and the faith of the earth. Nestorius appeared not as a criminal, but as a judge; he depended on the weight rather than the number of his prelates, and his sturdy slaves from the baths of Zeuxippus were armed for every service of injury or defence. But his adversary Cyril was more powerful in the weapons both of the flesh and of the spirit. Disobedient to the letter, or at least to the meaning, of the royal summons, he was attended by fifty Egyptian bishops, who expected from their patriarch's nod the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. He had contracted an intimate alliance with Memnon, bishop of Ephesus. The despotic primate of Asia disposed of the ready succors of thirty or forty episcopal votes: a crowd of peasants, the slaves of the church, was poured into the city to support with blows and clamors a metaphysical argument; and the people zealously asserted the honor of the Virgin, whose body reposed within the walls of Ephesus.57855785 The Christians of the four first centuries were ignorant of the death and burial of Mary. The tradition of Ephesus is affirmed by the synod, (Concil. tom. iii. p. 1102;) yet it has been superseded by the claim of Jerusalem; and her empty sepulchre, as it was shown to the pilgrims, produced the fable of her resurrection and assumption, in which the Greek and Latin churches have piously acquiesced. See Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 48, No. 6, &c.) and Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. tom. i. p. 467—477.) The fleet which had transported Cyril from Alexandria was laden with the riches of Egypt; and he disembarked a numerous body of mariners, slaves, and fanatics, enlisted with blind obedience under the banner of St. Mark and the mother of God. The fathers, and even the guards, of the council were awed by this martial array; the adversaries of Cyril and Mary were insulted in the streets, or threatened in their houses; his eloquence and liberality made a daily increase in the number of his adherents; and the Egyptian soon computed that he might command the attendance and the voices of two hundred bishops.57865786 The Acts of Chalcedon (Concil. tom. iv. p. 1405, 1408) exhibit a lively picture of the blind, obstinate servitude of the bishops of Egypt to their patriarch. But the author of the twelve anathemas foresaw and dreaded the opposition of John of Antioch, who, with a small, but respectable, train of metropolitans and divines, was advancing by slow journeys from the distant capital of the East. Impatient of a delay, which he stigmatized as voluntary and culpable,57875787 Civil or ecclesiastical business detained the bishops at Antioch till the 18th of May. Ephesus was at the distance of thirty days' journey; and ten days more may be fairly allowed for accidents and repose. The march of Xenophon over the same ground enumerates above 260 parasangs or leagues; and this measure might be illustrated from ancient and modern itineraries, if I knew how to compare the speed of an army, a synod, and a caravan. John of Antioch is reluctantly acquitted by Tillemont himself, (Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 386—389.) Cyril announced the opening of the synod sixteen days after the festival of Pentecost. Nestorius, who depended on the near approach of his Eastern friends, persisted, like his predecessor Chrysostom, to disclaim the jurisdiction, and to disobey the summons, of his enemies: they hastened his trial, and his accuser presided in the seat of judgment. Sixty-eight bishops, twenty-two of metropolitan rank, defended his cause by a modest and temperate protest: they were excluded from the councils of their brethren. Candidian, in the emperor's name, requested a delay of four days; the profane magistrate was driven with outrage and insult from the assembly of the saints. The whole of this momentous transaction was crowded into the compass of a summer's day: the bishops delivered their separate opinions; but the uniformity of style reveals the influence or the hand of a master, who has been accused of corrupting the public evidence of their acts and subscriptions.57885788 Evagrius, l. i. c. 7. The same imputation was urged by Count Irenaeus, (tom. iii. p. 1249;) and the orthodox critics do not find it an easy task to defend the purity of the Greek or Latin copies of the Acts. Without a dissenting voice, they recognized in the epistles of Cyril the Nicene creed and the doctrine of the fathers: but the partial extracts from the letters and homilies of Nestorius were interrupted by curses and anathemas: and the heretic was degraded from his episcopal and ecclesiastical dignity. The sentence, maliciously inscribed to the new Judas, was affixed and proclaimed in the streets of Ephesus: the weary prelates, as they issued from the church of the mother of God, were saluted as her champions; and her victory was celebrated by the illuminations, the songs, and the tumult of the night.
On the fifth day, the triumph was clouded by the arrival and indignation of the Eastern bishops. In a chamber of the inn, before he had wiped the dust from his shoes, John of Antioch gave audience to Candidian, the Imperial minister; who related his ineffectual efforts to prevent or to annul the hasty violence of the Egyptian. With equal haste and violence, the Oriental synod of fifty bishops degraded Cyril and Memnon from their episcopal honors, condemned, in the twelve anathemas, the purest venom of the Apollinarian heresy, and described the Alexandrian primate as a monster, born and educated for the destruction of the church.57895789 After the coalition of John and Cyril these invectives were mutually forgotten. The style of declamation must never be confounded with the genuine sense which respectable enemies entertain of each other's merit, (Concil tom. iii. p. 1244.) His throne was distant and inaccessible; but they instantly resolved to bestow on the flock of Ephesus the blessing of a faithful shepherd. By the vigilance of Memnon, the churches were shut against them, and a strong garrison was thrown into the cathedral. The troops, under the command of Candidian, advanced to the assault; the outguards were routed and put to the sword, but the place was impregnable: the besiegers retired; their retreat was pursued by a vigorous sally; they lost their horses, and many of their soldiers were dangerously wounded with clubs and stones. Ephesus, the city of the Virgin, was defiled with rage and clamor, with sedition and blood; the rival synods darted anathemas and excommunications from their spiritual engines; and the court of Theodosius was perplexed by the adverse and contradictory narratives of the Syrian and Egyptian factions. During a busy period of three months, the emperor tried every method, except the most effectual means of indifference and contempt, to reconcile this theological quarrel. He attempted to remove or intimidate the leaders by a common sentence, of acquittal or condemnation; he invested his representatives at Ephesus with ample power and military force; he summoned from either party eight chosen deputies to a free and candid conference in the neighborhood of the capital, far from the contagion of popular frenzy. But the Orientals refused to yield, and the Catholics, proud of their numbers and of their Latin allies, rejected all terms of union or toleration. The patience of the meek Theodosius was provoked; and he dissolved in anger this episcopal tumult, which at the distance of thirteen centuries assumes the venerable aspect of the third oecumenical council.57905790 See the acts of the synod of Ephesus in the original Greek, and a Latin version almost contemporary, (Concil. tom. iii. p. 991—1339, with the Synodicon adversus Tragoediam Irenaei, tom. iv. p. 235—497,) the Ecclesiastical Histories of Socrates (l. vii. c. 34) and Evagrius, (l i. c. 3, 4, 5,) and the Breviary of Liberatus, (in Concil. tom. vi. p. 419—459, c. 5, 6,) and the Memoires Eccles. of Tillemont, (tom. xiv p. 377-487.) "God is my witness," said the pious prince, "that I am not the author of this confusion. His providence will discern and punish the guilty. Return to your provinces, and may your private virtues repair the mischief and scandal of your meeting." They returned to their provinces; but the same passions which had distracted the synod of Ephesus were diffused over the Eastern world. After three obstinate and equal campaigns, John of Antioch and Cyril of Alexandria condescended to explain and embrace: but their seeming reunion must be imputed rather to prudence than to reason, to the mutual lassitude rather than to the Christian charity of the patriarchs.
The Byzantine pontiff had instilled into the royal ear a baleful prejudice against the character and conduct of his Egyptian rival. An epistle of menace and invective,57915791 I should be curious to know how much Nestorius paid for these expressions, so mortifying to his rival. which accompanied the summons, accused him as a busy, insolent, and envious priest, who perplexed the simplicity of the faith, violated the peace of the church and state, and, by his artful and separate addresses to the wife and sister of Theodosius, presumed to suppose, or to scatter, the seeds of discord in the Imperial family. At the stern command of his sovereign. Cyril had repaired to Ephesus, where he was resisted, threatened, and confined, by the magistrates in the interest of Nestorius and the Orientals; who assembled the troops of Lydia and Ionia to suppress the fanatic and disorderly train of the patriarch. Without expecting the royal license, he escaped from his guards, precipitately embarked, deserted the imperfect synod, and retired to his episcopal fortress of safety and independence. But his artful emissaries, both in the court and city, successfully labored to appease the resentment, and to conciliate the favor, of the emperor. The feeble son of Arcadius was alternately swayed by his wife and sister, by the eunuchs and women of the palace: superstition and avarice were their ruling passions; and the orthodox chiefs were assiduous in their endeavors to alarm the former, and to gratify the latter. Constantinople and the suburbs were sanctified with frequent monasteries, and the holy abbots, Dalmatius and Eutyches,57925792 Eutyches, the heresiarch Eutyches, is honorably named by Cyril as a friend, a saint, and the strenuous defender of the faith. His brother, the abbot Dalmatus, is likewise employed to bind the emperor and all his chamberlains terribili conjuratione. Synodicon. c. 203, in Concil. tom. iv p. 467. had devoted their zeal and fidelity to the cause of Cyril, the worship of Mary, and the unity of Christ. From the first moment of their monastic life, they had never mingled with the world, or trod the profane ground of the city. But in this awful moment of the danger of the church, their vow was superseded by a more sublime and indispensable duty. At the head of a long order of monks and hermits, who carried burning tapers in their hands, and chanted litanies to the mother of God, they proceeded from their monasteries to the palace. The people was edified and inflamed by this extraordinary spectacle, and the trembling monarch listened to the prayers and adjurations of the saints, who boldly pronounced, that none could hope for salvation, unless they embraced the person and the creed of the orthodox successor of Athanasius. At the same time, every avenue of the throne was assaulted with gold. Under the decent names of eulogies and benedictions, the courtiers of both sexes were bribed according to the measure of their power and rapaciousness. But their incessant demands despoiled the sanctuaries of Constantinople and Alexandria; and the authority of the patriarch was unable to silence the just murmur of his clergy, that a debt of sixty thousand pounds had already been contracted to support the expense of this scandalous corruption.57935793 Clerici qui hic sunt contristantur, quod ecclesia Alexandrina nudata sit hujus causa turbelae: et debet praeter illa quae hinc transmissa sint auri libras mille quingentas. Et nunc ei scriptum est ut praestet; sed de tua ecclesia praesta avaritiae quorum nosti, &c. This curious and original letter, from Cyril's archdeacon to his creature the new bishop of Constantinople, has been unaccountably preserved in an old Latin version, (Synodicon, c. 203, Concil. tom. iv. p. 465—468.) The mask is almost dropped, and the saints speak the honest language of interest and confederacy. Pulcheria, who relieved her brother from the weight of an empire, was the firmest pillar of orthodoxy; and so intimate was the alliance between the thunders of the synod and the whispers of the court, that Cyril was assured of success if he could displace one eunuch, and substitute another in the favor of Theodosius. Yet the Egyptian could not boast of a glorious or decisive victory. The emperor, with unaccustomed firmness, adhered to his promise of protecting the innocence of the Oriental bishops; and Cyril softened his anathemas, and confessed, with ambiguity and reluctance, a twofold nature of Christ, before he was permitted to satiate his revenge against the unfortunate Nestorius.57945794 The tedious negotiations that succeeded the synod of Ephesus are diffusely related in the original acts, (Concil. tom. iii. p. 1339—1771, ad fin. vol. and the Synodicon, in tom. iv.,) Socrates, (l. vii. c. 28, 35, 40, 41,) Evagrius, (l. i. c. 6, 7, 8, 12,) Liberatus, (c. 7—10, 7-10,) Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 487—676.) The most patient reader will thank me for compressing so much nonsense and falsehood in a few lines.
The rash and obstinate Nestorius, before the end of the synod, was oppressed by Cyril, betrayed by the court, and faintly supported by his Eastern friends. A sentiment or fear or indignation prompted him, while it was yet time, to affect the glory of a voluntary abdication:57955795 Evagrius, l. i. c. 7. The original letters in the Synodicon (c. 15, 24, 25, 26) justify the appearance of a voluntary resignation, which is asserted by Ebed-Jesu, a Nestorian writer, apud Asseman. Bibliot. Oriental. tom. iii. p. 299, 302. his wish, or at least his request, was readily granted; he was conducted with honor from Ephesus to his old monastery of Antioch; and, after a short pause, his successors, Maximian and Proclus, were acknowledged as the lawful bishops of Constantinople. But in the silence of his cell, the degraded patriarch could no longer resume the innocence and security of a private monk. The past he regretted, he was discontented with the present, and the future he had reason to dread: the Oriental bishops successively disengaged their cause from his unpopular name, and each day decreased the number of the schismatics who revered Nestorius as the confessor of the faith. After a residence at Antioch of four years, the hand of Theodosius subscribed an edict,57965796 See the Imperial letters in the Acts of the Synod of Ephesus, (Concil. tom. iii. p. 1730—1735.) The odious name of Simonians, which was affixed to the disciples of this. Yet these were Christians! who differed only in names and in shadows. which ranked him with Simon the magician, proscribed his opinions and followers, condemned his writings to the flames, and banished his person first to Petra, in Arabia, and at length to Oasis, one of the islands of the Libyan desert. 57975797 The metaphor of islands is applied by the grave civilians (Pandect. l. xlviii. tit. 22, leg. 7) to those happy spots which are discriminated by water and verdure from the Libyan sands. Three of these under the common name of Oasis, or Alvahat: 1. The temple of Jupiter Ammon. 2. The middle Oasis, three days' journey to the west of Lycopolis. 3. The southern, where Nestorius was banished in the first climate, and only three days' journey from the confines of Nubia. See a learned note of Michaelis, (ad Descript. Aegypt. Abulfedae, p. 21-34.) * Note: 1. The Oasis of Sivah has been visited by Mons. Drovetti and Mr. Browne. 2. The little Oasis, that of El Kassar, was visited and described by Belzoni. 3. The great Oasis, and its splendid ruins, have been well described in the travels of Sir A. Edmonstone. To these must be added another Western Oasis also visited by Sir A. Edmonstone.—M. Secluded from the church and from the world, the exile was still pursued by the rage of bigotry and war. A wandering tribe of the Blemmyes or Nubians invaded his solitary prison: in their retreat they dismissed a crowd of useless captives: but no sooner had Nestorius reached the banks of the Nile, than he would gladly have escaped from a Roman and orthodox city, to the milder servitude of the savages. His flight was punished as a new crime: the soul of the patriarch inspired the civil and ecclesiastical powers of Egypt; the magistrates, the soldiers, the monks, devoutly tortured the enemy of Christ and St. Cyril; and, as far as the confines of Aethiopia, the heretic was alternately dragged and recalled, till his aged body was broken by the hardships and accidents of these reiterated journeys. Yet his mind was still independent and erect; the president of Thebais was awed by his pastoral letters; he survived the Catholic tyrant of Alexandria, and, after sixteen years' banishment, the synod of Chalcedon would perhaps have restored him to the honors, or at least to the communion, of the church. The death of Nestorius prevented his obedience to their welcome summons;57985798 The invitation of Nestorius to the synod of Chalcedon, is related by Zacharias, bishop of Melitene (Evagrius, l. ii. c. 2. Asseman. Biblioth. Orient. tom. ii. p. 55,) and the famous Xenaias or Philoxenus, bishop of Hierapolis, (Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. ii. p. 40, &c.,) denied by Evagrius and Asseman, and stoutly maintained by La Croze, (Thesaur. Epistol. tom. iii. p. 181, &c.) The fact is not improbable; yet it was the interest of the Monophysites to spread the invidious report, and Eutychius (tom. ii. p. 12) affirms, that Nestorius died after an exile of seven years, and consequently ten years before the synod of Chalcedon. and his disease might afford some color to the scandalous report, that his tongue, the organ of blasphemy, had been eaten by the worms. He was buried in a city of Upper Egypt, known by the names of Chemnis, or Panopolis, or Akmim;57995799 Consult D'Anville, (Memoire sur l'Egypte, p. 191,) Pocock. (Description of the East, vol. i. p. 76,) Abulfeda, (Descript. Aegypt, p. 14,) and his commentator Michaelis, (Not. p. 78—83,) and the Nubian Geographer, (p. 42,) who mentions, in the xiith century, the ruins and the sugar-canes of Akmim. but the immortal malice of the Jacobites has persevered for ages to cast stones against his sepulchre, and to propagate the foolish tradition, that it was never watered by the rain of heaven, which equally descends on the righteous and the ungodly. 58005800 Eutychius (Annal. tom. ii. p. 12) and Gregory Bar-Hebraeus, of Abulpharagius, (Asseman, tom. ii. p. 316,) represent the credulity of the xth and xiith centuries. Humanity may drop a tear on the fate of Nestorius; yet justice must observe, that he suffered the persecution which he had approved and inflicted.58015801 We are obliged to Evagrius (l. i. c. 7) for some extracts from the letters of Nestorius; but the lively picture of his sufferings is treated with insult by the hard and stupid fanatic.
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