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Chapter XXXIX.—Preservation of the Church of the Novatians from Fire.

A little while after this, Paul bishop of the Novatians acquired the reputation of a man truly beloved of God in a greater measure than he had before. For a terrible conflagration having broken out at Constantinople, such as had never happened before,—for the fire destroyed the greater part of the city,—as the largest of the public granaries, the Achillean bath,10261026    Rebuilt and rededicated, according to the Chronicon of Marcellinus, under the consuls Maximus and Paterius, i.e. 443 a.d. and ten years after the fire. and everything else in the way of the fire were being consumed, it at length approached the church of the Novatians situated near Pelargus. When the bishop Paul saw the church endangered, he ran upon the altar, where he commended to God the preservation of the church and all it contained; nor did he cease to pray not only for it, but also for the city. And God heard him, as the event clearly proved: for although the fire entered this oratory through all its doors and windows, it did no damage. And while many adjacent edifices fell a prey to the devouring element, the church itself was seen unscathed in the midst of the whole conflagration triumphing over its raging flames. This went on for two days and two nights, when the fire was extinguished, after it had burnt down a great part of the city: but the church remained entire, and what is more marvelous still, there was not the slightest trace even of smoke to be observed either on its timbers or its walls. This occurred on the 17th of August, in the fourteenth consulate of Theodosius, which he bore together with Maximus.10271027    433 a.d. Since that time the Novatians annually celebrate the preservation of their church, on the 17th of August, by special thanksgivings to God. And almost all men, Christians and most of the pagans from that time forth continue to regard that place with veneration as a peculiarly consecrated spot, because of the miracle which was wrought for its safeguard. So much concerning these affairs.


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