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An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

IN a letter to this same Fabius, who in some measure seemed to incline to this schism, Dionysius of Alexandria, amongst many other matters that he wrote to him on repentance, and in which he describes the conflicts which the martyrs had recently endured at Alexandria, with other accounts, relates one fact wonderful indeed. This we deem belonging to our history, and is as follows: “But I will give you one example that occurred with us. There was a certain Serapion, an aged believer, who had passed his long life irreproachably, but as he had sacrificed during the persecution, though he frequently begged, no one would listen to him. He was taken sick, and continued three days in succession speechless and senseless. On the fourth day, recovering a little, he called his grandchild to him and said, ‘O son, how long do you detain me? I beseech you hasten, and quickly absolve me. Call one of the presbyters to me.’ Saying this, he again became speechless. The boy ran to the presbyter. But it was night, and the presbyter was sick. As I had, however, before issued an injunction, that those at the point of death, if they desired it, and especially if they entreated for it before, should receive absolution, that they might depart from life in comfortable hope, I gave the boy a small portion of the eucharist, telling him to dip it in water, and to drop it into the mouth of the old man. The boy returned with the morsel. When he came near, before he entered, Serapion having again recovered himself, said, ‘Thou hast come, my son, but the presbyter could not come. But do thou quickly perform what thou art commanded, and dismiss me.’ The boy moistened it, and at the same time dropped it into the old man’s mouth. And he, having swallowed a little, immediately expired. Was he not, then, evidently preserved, and did he not continue living until he was absolved; and his sins being wiped away, he could be acknowledged as a believer for the many good acts that he had done?” Thus far Dionysius.








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