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Chapter XVIII.—Of Eudoxia’s Silver Statue. On account of it John is exiled a Second Time.

At this time a silver statue of the Empress Eudoxia covered with a long robe was erected881881    From Prosper Aquitamus and Marcellinus’ Chronicon, we learn that this was done in 403 a.d., or rather the consulship of Theodosius the younger and Rumoridius. upon a column of porphyry supported by a lofty base. And this stood neither near nor far from the church named Sophia, but one-half the breadth of the street separated them. At this statue public games were accustomed to be performed; these John regarded as an insult offered to the church, and having regained his ordinary freedom and keenness of tongue, he employed his tongue against those who tolerated them. Now while it would have been proper to induce the authorities by a supplicatory petition to discontinue the games, he did not do this, but employing abusive language he ridiculed those who had enjoined such practices. The empress once more applied his expressions to herself as indicating marked contempt toward her own person: she therefore endeavored to procure the convocation of another council of bishops against him. When John became aware of this, he delivered in the church that celebrated oration commencing with these words:882882    This discourse entitled ‘In decollationem Præcursoris et baptistæ Joannis’ is to be found in Migné’s Patrologia Græcia, Vol. LIV. p. 485, and in Savile’s edition of Chrysostom’s works, Vol. VII. 545. Savile, however, places it among the spurious pieces, and considers it unworthy of the genius of Chrysostom. ‘Again Herodias raves; again she is troubled; she dances again; and again desires to receive John’s head in a charger.’ This, of course, exasperated the empress still more. Not long after the following bishops arrived: Leontius bishop of Ancyra in Asia, Ammonius of Laodicea in Pisidia, Briso of Philippi in Thrace, Acacius of Berœa in Syria, and some others. John presented himself fearlessly before them, and demanded an investigation of the charges which were made against him. But the anniversary of the birth of our Saviour having recurred, the emperor would not attend church as usual, but sent Chrysostom a message to the effect that he should not partake of the communion with him until he had cleared himself of the crimes with which he stood impeached. Now as John maintained a bold and ardent bearing, and his accusers seemed to grow faint-hearted, the bishops present, setting aside all other matters, said they would confine themselves to this sole consideration, that he had on his own responsibility, after his deposition, again seated himself in the episcopal chair, without being authorized by an ecclesiastical council. As he alleged that sixty-five bishops who had held communion with him had reinstated him, the partisans of Leontius objected, saying: ‘A larger number voted against you, John, in the Synod.’ But although John then contended that this was a canon of the Arians, and not of the catholic church, and therefore it was inoperative against him—for it had been framed in the council convened against Athanasius at Antioch, for the subversion of the doctrine of consubstantiality883883    Cf. II. 8. 151the bishops would not listen to his defence, but immediately condemned him, without considering that by using this canon they were sanctioning the deposition of Athanasius himself. This sentence was pronounced a little before Easter; the emperor therefore sent to tell John that he could not go to the church, because two Synods had condemned him. Accordingly Chrysostom was silenced, and went no more to the church; but those who were of his party celebrated Easter in the public baths which are called Constantianæ, and thenceforth left the church. Among them were many bishops and presbyters, with others of the clerical order, who from that time held their assemblies apart in various places, and were from him denominated ‘Johannites.’ For the space of two months, John refrained from appearing in public; after which a decree of the emperor sent him into exile. Thus he was led into exile by force, and on the very day of his departure, some of the Johannites set fire to the church, which by means of a strong easterly wind, communicated with the senate-house. This conflagration happened on the 20th of June, under the sixth consulate of Honorius, which he bore in conjunction with Aristænetus.884884    404 a.d. The severities which Optatus, the prefect of Constantinople, a pagan in religion, and a hater of the Christians, inflicted on John’s friends, and how he put many of them to death on account of this act of incendiarism, I ought, I believe, to pass by in silence.885885    Some of these details presumably are given by Sozomen in VIII. 23 and 24.


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