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Epistle X.—Against Bishop Germanus.850850    Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., vi. 40, vii. 11.


1. Now I speak also before God, and He knoweth that I lie not: it was not by my own choice,851851    οὑδεμίαν ἐπ᾽ ἐμαυτοῦ βαλλόμενος. In Codex Fuk. and in the Chronicon of Syncellus it is ἐπ᾽ ἐμαυτῷ. In Codices Maz. and Med. it is ἐπ᾽ ἐμαυτόν. Herodotus employs the phrase in the genitive form—βαλλόμενος ἐφ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ πέπρηχε, i.e., seipsum in consilium adhibens, sua sponte et proprio motu fecit. neither was it without divine instruction, 104that I took to flight. But at an earlier period,852852    ἁλλὰ καὶ πρότερον. Christophorsonus and others join the πρότερον, with the διωγμοῦ, making it mean, “before the persecution.” This is contrary to pure Greek idiom, and is also inconsistent with what follows; for by the αὐτῆς ὥρας is meant the very hour at which the edict was decreed, διωγμός here having much the sense of “edict for the persecution.”—Vales. indeed, when the edict for the persecution under Decius was determined upon, Sabinus at that very hour sent a certain Frumentarius853853    There was a body of men called frumentarii milites, employed under the emperors as secret spies, and sent through the provinces to look after accused persons, and collect floating rumors. They were abolished at length by Constantine, as Aurelius Victor writes. They were subordinate to the judges or governors of the provinces. Thus this Frumentarius mentioned here by Dionysius was deputed in obedience to Sabinus, the præfectus Augustalis.Vales. to make search for me. And I remained in the house for four days, expecting the arrival of this Frumentarius. But he went about examining all other places, the roads, the rivers, the fields, where he suspected that I should either conceal myself or travel. And he was smitten with a kind of blindness, and never lighted on the house; for he never supposed that I should tarry at home when under pursuit. Then, barely after the lapse of four days, God giving me instruction to remove, and opening the way for me in a manner beyond all expectation, my domestics854854    οῖ παῖδες. Musculus and Christophorsonus make it “children.” Valesius prefers “domestics.” and I, and a considerable number of the brethren, effected an exit together. And that this was brought about by the providence of God, was made plain by what followed: in which also we have been perhaps of some service to certain parties.

2. Then, after a certain break, he narrates the events which befell him after his flight, subjoining the following statement:—Now about sunset I was seized, along with those who were with me, by the soldiers, and was carried off to Taposiris. But by the providence of God, it happened that Timotheus was not present with me then, nor indeed had he been apprehended at all. Reaching the place later, he found the house deserted, and officials keeping guard over it, and ourselves borne into slavery.

3. And after some other matters, he proceeds thus:—And what was the method of this marvellous disposition of Providence in his case? For the real facts shall be related. When Timotheus was fleeing in great perturbation, he was met855855    ἀπήντετό τις τῶν χωριτῶν. In Codices Maz., Med., Fuk., and Savil., ἀπήντα is written; in Georgius Syncellus it is ἀπηντᾶτο. by a man from the country.856856    χωριτῶν rendered indigenarum by Christophorsonus, and incolarum, “inhabitants,” by the interpreter of Syncellus; but it means rather “rustics.” Thus in the Greek Councils the τῶν χωρῶν πρεσβύτεροι, presbyteri pagorum, are named. Instead of χωριτῶν, Codices Maz., Med., and Fuk. read χωρικῶν; for thus the Alexandrians named the country people, as we see in the tractate of Sophronius against Dioscorus, and the Chronicon of Theophanes, p. 139. This person asked the reason for his haste, and he told him the truth plainly. Then the man (he was on his way at the time to take part in certain marriage festivities; for it is their custom to spend the whole night in such gatherings), on hearing the fact, held on his course to the scene of the rejoicings, and went in and narrated the circumstances to those who were seated at the feast; and with a single impulse, as if it had been at a given watchword, they all started up, and came on all in a rush, and with the utmost speed. Hurrying up to us, they raised a shout; and as the soldiers who were guarding us took at once to flight, they came upon us, stretched as we were upon the bare couches.857857    ἀστρώτων σκιμπόδων. For my part, as God knows, I took them at first to be robbers who had come to plunder and pillage us; and remaining on the bedstead on which I was lying naked, save only that I had on my linen underclothing, I offered them the rest of my dress as it lay beside me. But they bade me get up and take my departure as quickly as I could. Then I understood the purpose of their coming, and cried, entreated, and implored them to go away and leave us alone; and I begged that, if they wished to do us any good, they might anticipate those who led me captive, and strike off my head. And while I was uttering such vociferations, as those who were my comrades and partners in all these things know, they began to lift me up by force. And I threw myself down on my back upon the ground; but they seized me by the hands and feet, and dragged me away, and bore me forth. And those who were witnesses of all these things followed me,—namely, Caius, Faustus, Peter, and Paul. These men also took me up, and hurried me off858858    φοράδην ἐξήγαγον. The φοράδην may mean, as Valesius puts it, in sella, “on a stool or litter.” out of the little town, and set me on an ass without saddle, and in that fashion carried me away.

4. I fear that I run the risk of being charged with great folly and senselessness, placed as I am under the necessity of giving a narrative of the wonderful dispensation of God’s providence in our case. Since, however, as one says, it is good to keep close the secret of a king, but it is honourable to reveal the works of God,859859    Tobit xii. 7. I shall come to close quarters with the violence of Germanus. I came to Æmilianus not alone; for there accompanied me also my co-presbyter Maximus, and the deacons Faustus and Eusebius and Chæremon; and one of the brethren who had come from Rome went also with us. Æmilianus, then, did not lead off by saying to me, “Hold no assemblies.” That was indeed a thing superfluous for him to do, and the last thing which one would do who meant to go back to what was first and of prime importance:860860    τὸ τελευταῖον ἐπι τὸ πρῶτον ἀνατρέχοντι, i.e., to begin by interdicting him from holding Christian assemblies, while the great question was whether he was a Christian at all, would have been to place first what was last in order and consequence. for his concern was not about our gathering others together in assembly, but about our not being Christians ourselves. From this, therefore, he commanded 105me to desist, thinking, doubtless, that if I myself should recant, the others would also follow me in that. But I answered him neither unreasonably nor in many words, “We must obey God rather than men.”861861    Acts v. 29. Moreover, I testified openly that I worshipped the only true God and none other, and that I could neither alter that position nor ever cease to be a Christian. Thereupon he ordered us to go away to a village near the desert, called Cephro.

5. Hear also the words which were uttered by both of us as they have been put on record.862862    ὑπεμνηματίσθη. When Dionysius, and Faustus, and Maximus, and Marcellus, and Chæremon had been placed at the bar, Æmilianus, as prefect, said: “I have reasoned with you verily in free speech,863863    ἀγράφως. on the clemency of our sovereigns, as they have suffered you to experience it; for they have given you power to save yourselves, if you are disposed to turn to what is accordant with nature, and to worship the gods who also maintain them in their kingdom, and to forget those things which are repugnant to nature. What say ye then to these things? for I by no means expect that you will be ungrateful to them for their clemency, since indeed what they aim at is to bring you over to better courses.” Dionysius made reply thus: “All men do not worship all the gods, but different men worship different objects that they suppose to be true gods. Now we worship the one God, who is the Creator of all things, and the very Deity who has committed the sovereignty to the hands of their most sacred majesties Valerian and Gallienus. Him we both reverence and worship; and to Him we pray continually on behalf of the sovereignty of these princes, that it may abide unshaken.” Æmilianus, as prefect, said to them: “But who hinders you from worshipping this god too, if indeed he is a god, along with those who are gods by nature? for you have been commanded to worship the gods, and those gods whom all know as such.” Dionysius replied: “We worship no other one.” Æmilianus, as prefect, said to them: “I perceive that you are at once ungrateful to and insensible of the clemency of our princes. Wherefore you shall not remain in this city; but you shall be despatched to the parts of Libya, and settled in a place called Cephro: for of this place I have made choice in accordance with the command of our princes. It shall not in any wise be lawful for you or for any others, either to hold assemblies or to enter those places which are called cemeteries. And if any one is seen not to have betaken himself to this place whither I have ordered him to repair, or if he be discovered in any assembly, he will prepare peril for himself; for the requisite punishment will not fail. Be off, therefore, to the place whither you have been commanded to go.” So he forced me away, sick as I was; nor did he grant me the delay even of a single day. What opportunity, then, had I to think either of holding assemblies, or of not holding them?864864    Germanus had accused Dionysius of neglecting to hold the assemblies of the brethren before the persecutions broke out, and of rather providing for his own safety by flight. For when persecution burst on them, the bishops were wont first to convene the people, in order to exhort them to hold fast the faith of Christ; there infants and catechumens were baptized, to provide against their departing this life without baptism, and the Eucharist was given to the faithful.—Vales.

6. Then after some other matters he says:—Moreover, we did not withdraw from the visible assembling of ourselves together, with the Lord’s presence.865865    αἰσθητῆς μετὰ τοῦ Κυρίου συναγωγς. But those in the city I tried to gather together with all the greater zeal, as if I were present with them; for I was absent indeed in the body, as I said,866866    ὡς εἶπον. Codices Maz. and Med. give εἰπεῖν, “so to speak;” Fuk. and Savil. give ὡς εἶπεν ὁ ἀπόστολος, “as the apostle said.” See on 1 Cor. v. 3. but present in the spirit. And in Cephro indeed a considerable church sojourned with us, composed partly of the brethren who followed us from the city, and partly of those who joined us from Egypt. There, too, did God open to us a door867867    [Acts xiv. 27; Rev. iii. 8. If the author here quotes the Apocalypse, it is noteworthy. Elucidation, p. 110.] for the word. And at first we were persecuted, we were stoned; but after a period some few of the heathen forsook their idols, and turned to God. For by our means the word was then sown among them for the first time, and before that they had never received it. And as if to show that this had been the very purpose of God in conducting us to them, when we had fulfilled this ministry, He led us away again. For Æmilianus was minded to remove us to rougher parts, as it seemed, and to more Libyan-like districts; and he gave orders to draw all in every direction into the Mareotic territory, and assigned villages to each party throughout the country. But he issued instructions that we should be located specially by the public way, so that we might also be the first to be apprehended;868868    ἡμᾶς δὲ μᾶλλον ἐν ὁδῷ καὶ πρώτους καταληφθησομένους ἔταξεν. for he evidently made his arrangements and plans with a view to an easy seizure of all of us whenever he should make up his mind to lay hold of us.

7. Now when I received the command to depart to Cephro, I had no idea of the situation of the place, and had scarcely even heard its name before; yet for all that, I went away courageously and calmly. But when word was brought me that I had to remove to the parts of Colluthion,869869    τὰ Κολλουθίωνος, supplying μέρη, as Dionysius has already used the phrase τὰ μέρη τῆς Λιβύης. This was a district in the Mareotic prefecture. Thus we have mention made also of τὰ Βουκόλου, a certain tract in Egypt, deriving its name from the old masters of the soil. Nicephorus writes Κολούθιον, which is probably more correct; for Κολλουθίων is a derivative from Colutho, which was a common name in Egypt. Thus a certain poet of note in the times of Anastasius, belonging to the Thebaid, was so named, as Suidas informs us. There was also a Coluthus, a certain schismatic, in Egypt, in the times of Athanasius, who is mentioned often in the Apologia; and Gregory of Nyssa names him Acoluthus in his Contra Eunomium, book ii.—Vales. those present know how I was affected; for here I shall be my own accuser. 106At first, indeed, I was greatly vexed, and took very ill; for though these places happened to be better known and more familiar to us, yet people declared that the region was one destitute of brethren, and even of men of character, and one exposed to the annoyances of travellers and to the raids of robbers. I found comfort, however when the brethren reminded me that it was nearer the city; and while Cephro brought us large intercourse with brethren of all sorts who came from Egypt, so that we were able to hold our sacred assemblies on a more extensive scale, yet there, on the other hand, as the city was in the nearer vicinity, we could enjoy more frequently the sight of those who were the really beloved, and in closest relationship with us, and dearest to us: for these would come and take their rest among us, and, as in the more remote suburbs, there would be distinct and special meetings.870870    κατὰ μέρος συναγωγαί. When the suburbs were somewhat distant from the city, the brethren resident in them were not compelled to attend the meetings of the larger church, but had meetings of their own in a basilica, or some building suitable for the purpose. The Greeks, too, gave the name προάστειον to places at some considerable distance from the city, as well as to suburbs immediately connected with it. Thus Athanasius calls Canopus a προάστειον; and so Daphne is spoken of as the προάστειον of Antioch, Achyrona as that of Nicomedia, and Septimum as that of Constantinople, though these places were distant some miles from the cities. From this place it is also inferred that in the days of Dionysius there was still but one church in Alexandria, where all the brethren met for devotions. But in the time of Athanasius, when several churches had been built by the various bishops, the Alexandrians met in different places, κατὰ μέρος καὶ διῃρημένως , as Athanasius says in his first Apology to Constantius; only that on the great festivals, as at the paschal season and at Pentecost, the brethren did not meet separately, but all in the larger church, as Athanasius also shows us—Vales. And thus it turned out.

8. Then, after some other matters, he gives again the following account of what befell him: —Germanus, indeed, boasts himself of many professions of faith. He, forsooth, is able to speak of many adverse things which have happened to him! Can he then reckon up in his own case as many condemnatory sentences871871    ἀποφάσεις. as we can number in ours, and confiscations too, and proscriptions, and spoilings of goods, and losses of dignities,872872    Maximus, in the scholia to the book of Dionysius the Areopagite, De cœlesti hierarchia, ch. 5, states that Dionysius was by profession a rhetor before his conversion: ὁ γοῦν μέγας Διονύσιος ὁ ᾽Αλεξανδρεων ἐπισκοπος, ὁ ἀπὸ ῥητόρων, etc.—Vales. and despisings of worldly honour, and contemnings of the laudations of governors and councillors, and patient subjections to the threatenings of the adversaries,873873    τῶν ἐναντίων ἁπειλῶν. and to outcries, and perils, and persecutions, and a wandering life, and the pressure of difficulties, and all kinds of trouble, such as befell me in the time of Decius and Sabinus,874874    This Sabinus had been prefect of Egypt in the time of Decius; it is of him that Dionysius writes in his Epistle to Fabius, which is given above. The Æmilianus, prefect of Egypt, who is mentioned here, afterwards seized the imperial power, as Pollio writes in his Thirty Tyrants, who, however, calls him general (ducem), and not prefect of Egypt.—Vales. and such also as I have been suffering under the present severities of Æmilianus? But where in the world did Germanus make his appearance? And what mention is made of him? But I retire from this huge act of folly into which I am suffering myself to fall on account of Germanus; and accordingly I forbear giving to the brethren, who already have full knowledge of these things, a particular and detailed narrative of all that happened.

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