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

THE first of the martyrs of Palestine was Procopius, who, before he was tried by imprisonment, was immediately at the beginning arraigned before the tribunal of the governor. When commanded to sacrifice to those called gods, he declared that he knew but ONE, to whom it was proper to sacrifice, as He himself had commanded; and when he was ordered to make libations to the four emperors, he uttered a sentence which did not please them, and was immediately beheaded. The sentence was from the poet: “A plurality of sovereigns is not good; let there be but one prince and one sovereign Lord.” This happened on the eighth of the month Desius, or as one would say with the Romans, the seventh before the Ides of June, the fourth day of the week. This was the first signal of persecution that was given at Cæsarea in Palestine. After him many bishops in the same city, of the provincial churches, cheerfully struggled with dreadful tortures, and exhibited noble specimens of mighty conflicts. Some indeed, from excessive dread, broken down and overpowered by their terrors, sunk and gave way immediately at the first onset, but each of the rest experienced various kinds of torture. Some were scourged with innumerable strokes of the lash, others racked in their limbs and galled in their sides with torturing instruments, some with intolerable fetters, by which the joints of their hands were dislocated. Nevertheless they bore this, as regulated by the secret determinations of God. One was seized by the hands, and led to the altar by others who were thrusting the polluted and unhallowed victim into his right hand, and then suffered to go again as if he had sacrificed. Another, though he had not even touched, when others said that he had sacrificed, went away in silence. Another was taken up half dead, and cast out as already dead, and was released from his bonds, and ranked among the sacrificers. Another crying out, and asserting that he did not assent to these things, was struck on the mouth; and, thus silenced by the many blows of those that were suborned for this purpose, was thrust away by violence, although he had never sacrificed. So much was it valued by them, for one upon the whole only to appear to have performed their desire. Of these, therefore, so many in number, only Alpheus and Zaccheus were honoured with the crown of the holy martyrs, who after scourging and scraping with iron hooks, and severe bonds, and the tortures consequent on these, and other different tortures on the rack, having their feet stretched a night and a day, to the fourth hole of the stocks, were at length beheaded on the seventeenth day of the month Dius, the same that is called the fifteenth of the Calends of December. Thus, for confessing the only God and Jesus Christ the only king, they suffered martyrdom with the former martyr, just as if they had uttered some dreadful blasphemy.








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