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Chapter XI.—On the Arrival of Gregory at Alexandria, tended by a Military Escort, Athanasius flees.

After these things, Syrian, the military commander, and the corps of heavy armed soldiers, five thousand in number, conducted Gregory to Alexandria; and such of the citizens as were of Arian sentiments combined with them. But it will be proper here to relate by what means Athanasius escaped the hands of those who wished to apprehend him, after his expulsion from the church. It was evening, and the people were attending the vigil there, a service276276    συνάξεως: literally ‘congregation,’ from συνάγω; but later applied to any service held in the church. In mod. Συναξάριον , ‘Prayer-book.’ being expected. The commander arrived, and posted his forces in order of battle on every side of the church. Athanasius having observed what was done, considered within himself how he might prevent the people’s suffering in any degree on his account: accordingly having directed the deacon to give notice of prayer, after that he ordered the recitation of a psalm; and when the melodious chant of the psalm arose, all went out through one of the church doors. While this was doing, the troops remained inactive spectators, and Athanasius thus escaped unhurt in the midst of those who were chanting the psalm, and immediately hastened to Rome. Gregory then prevailed in the church: but the people of Alexandria, being indignant at this procedure, set the church called that of Dionysius on fire. Let this be sufficient on this subject. Now Eusebius, having thus far obtained his object, sent a deputation to Julius, bishop of Rome,277277    So also Sozom. III. 7. But according to Valesius, both Socrates and Sozomen are here mistaken, and Eusebius sent the deputation before the council at Antioch, as is shown by the words of Athanasius in his Apol. contra Arian., 21. begging that he would himself take cog41nizance of the charges against Athanasius, and order a judicial investigation to be made in his presence.278278    See Hammond, Canons of the Church (notes on the Canons of Nicæa), for the prerogatives of the see of Rome recognized at this time.


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