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

THE time is now come to relate, also, that great and celebrated spectacle exhibited by those who, in martyrdom, were associated with Pamphilus, a name thrice dear to me. These were twelve, who were distinguished by a prophetic and apostolic grace, as well as number. Of these, the leader, and the only one among them with the dignity of presbyter at Cæsarea, was Pamphilus; a man who excelled in every virtue through his whole life, whether by a renunciation and contempt of the world, by distributing his substance among the needy, or by a disregard of worldly expectations, and by a philosophic deportment and self-denial. But he was chiefly distinguished above the rest of us, by his sincere devotedness to the sacred Scriptures, and by an indefatigable industry in what he proposed to accomplish, by his great kindness and alacrity to serve all his relatives, and all that approached him. The other features of his excellence, which deserve a more full account, we have already given in a separate work on his life, consisting of three books. Referring those that have a taste for these things and who wish to know them, to this work, let us now prosecute the history of the martyrs in order.

The second after Pamphilus, that entered the contest, was Valens, deacon of the church of Ælia, a man dignified by his venerable and hoary locks, most august by the very aspect of his great age, and well versed in the sacred Scriptures, in which he had no superior. For he had so much of them treasured up in his memory, that he did not require to read them, if he undertook at any time to repeat any parts of the Scriptures.

The third that was most illustrious among them, was Paul, of the city of Jamna, a man most fervent in zeal, and ardent in the spirit, who before his martyrdom had passed through the conflict of a confession for the faith, by enduring the tortures of searing with red hot iron. After these had been two whole years in prison, the occasion of their death was a second arrival of brethren from Egypt, who suffered martyrdom with them. These had accompanied the confessors in Cilicia to the mines, and were returning to their homes, when, like the former, at the entrance of the city of Cæsarea, being questioned by the guards stationed at the gates, men of barbarous character, as they did not conceal the truth, they were immediately seized as malefactors caught in the very act, and taken in custody. There were five in number. When brought before the tyrant, they declared themselves freely before him. and were immediately committed to prison. On the next day, being the sixteenth of the month Peritisis, and the fourteenth of the Calends of March, Roman style, these, according to the decree, together with the associates of Pamphilus, were conducted before the judge. He first made trial of the invincible firmness of the Egyptians by every kind of torture, and by new and various machinery invented for the purpose. And first he asked the chief of them, after he had practised these cruelties upon him, who he was; when, instead of his proper name, he heard him repeat some name of the prophets, which was clone by them, if they happened to have had names given them by their parents from some of the names of the idols, in which case you would hear them calling themselves Elias, and Jeremiah, and Isaiah, Samuel and Daniel; thus exhibiting the true and genuine Israel of God, as belonging to those who are the real Jews (spoken of by the apostle), not only in their works, but also in their proper names.

When Firmilianus had heard some name like this of the martyr, and yet did not understand the force or import of the name, he next asked him what was his country? He gave an answer allied to the former, saying that Jerusalem was his country, referring to that city of which Paul speaks, “but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all;” also again: “And ye have come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,” and it was this that the martyr meant to signify. But the judge, fixed in thought and cast down in his mind, anxiously inquired what country, and in what part of the world it was? Then he also applied tortures to make him confess the truth. But he, with his hands twisted behind his back, and his feet thrust into certain new machines, persevered in asserting that he had said the truth. Then, again, being frequently asked what and where that city was that he had mentioned, he said it was the city of the pious only, for none but these were admitted to it; That it lay to the east and the rising sun. And here, again, the martyr in this way philosophised according to his own sense, paying no regard to the tortures with which he was surrounded; and as if he were without flesh and blood, did not even appear to be sensible of his pains. But the judge at a loss, and greatly perplexed in mind, thinking that the Christians were collectively about establishing a city somewhere in opposition and hostile to the Romans, frequently inquired where this city was, and examined where the country lay towards the east. After he had sufficiently tortured the young man with scourging, and lacerated him with many and various tortures, perceiving his mind unchangeably fixed in his former purpose and declarations, he passed the sentence of death against him. Such was the scene exhibited in the martyrdom of this one. The rest he exercised with trials of a similar kind, and finally destroyed in a similar manner. Wearied at last, and perceiving that it was all in vain to punish the men, and having fully satiated his curiosity, he proceeded against Pamphilus and his associates. As he had learned that they had already displayed an unchangeable alacrity in the confession of religion under torture, and also asked them whether they were yet disposed to obey, and received only the same answer, the last confession of every one in martyrdom, he inflicted upon them the same punishment with the former. These things done, a young man, who had belonged to the family of Pamphilus, as one who had dwelt with and enjoyed the excellent education and instruction of such a man, as soon as he learned the sentence passed upon his master, cried out from the midst of the people, requesting that the body at least should be interred. But the judge, more brute than man, and if any thing worse than brute, making no allowance for the young man’s age, only inquired this one thing, and heard him confess himself a Christian. On this, as if he were wounded by a dart, swelling with rage, he ordered the tormentors to exercise all their force against him. When he saw him refusing to sacrifice according to his orders, he commanded that they should scrape and mutilate him, not as the flesh of a human being, but as stones and wood, or any other lifeless object, to the very bones, and the inmost parts and recesses of the bowels. This being continued for a long time, he at length perceived that he was labouring in vain, as he continued without uttering a sound or evincing any feeling, almost totally lifeless, his body was so dreadfully mangled with tortures. But as the judge was inflexible in cruelty and inhumanity, he condemned him in this condition to be committed to a slow fire; and thus the youth, although he had entered upon the combat last, yet received his dismission from this life before the decease of his master in the flesh, whilst those that rivalled the first were yet lingering on the way. One could then see Porphyry, for that was his name, with the courage of one who had already triumphed in every species of combat, his body covered with dust, yet his countenance bright and cheerful, and after this, with a courageous and exulting mind advancing on his way to death. Truly filled with the divine Spirit, and covered only with his philosophical garb thrown around him like a cloak, and with a calm and composed mind giving exhortations and beckoning to his acquaintance and friends, he preserved a cheerful countenance at the very stake. When the fire was kindled which was at some distance around him, he attracted and inhaled the flame in his mouth, and then most nobly persevering in silence, until his last breath, he uttered not another word after that which he uttered as soon as the flame reached him, calling upon Christ the Son of God, his helper. Such a wrestler then was Porphyry. Seleucus, one of the confessors of the army, brought the intelligence of his martyrdom to Pamphilus; and he, as the bearer of such intelligence, was immediately honoured with the same lot. For as soon as he had announced the end of Porphyry, and had saluted one of the martyrs with a kiss, some of the soldiers seized him and led him to the governor, who, as if to urge him to attach himself to the former, as his companion on the way to heaven, commanded him immediately to be put to death. He was from Cappadocia, but among the chosen band of Roman soldiers, and one who had obtained no small share of honours.

In the vigour of age, strength, size, and firmness of body, he was greatly superior to his fellow-soldiers, so that he was noted among all for his appearance, and admired for the grandeur and the comeliness of his whole form. At the beginning of the persecution, lie was prominent in the trials of the confessors, by his patient endurance of the scourge, and after his renunciation of military life, he exhibited himself a zealous follower of those who led a life devoted to the exercises of piety, in which, like a provident father, he proved himself a kind of overseer (επισκοπος), and protector of destitute orphans and helpless widows, and of all those that were prostrated in poverty and sickness. Hence, also, he was honoured by that God who is better pleased with such charities than the fume and blood of sacrifices, to receive an extraordinary call to martyrdom. He was the tenth after those wrestlers mentioned that were perfected in one and the same day, on which, as is probable, the mighty portals of eternal life were opened to Pamphilus, in a manner worthy of the man, and presented to him and to others a ready entrance into the kingdom of heaven. Immediately after Seleueus, came the aged Theodulus, a grave and pious man who was of the governor’s family, and who on account of his age had been treated with more regard by Firmilianus than any of his domestics, as also, because he was now a father of the third generation, and had always evinced great fidelity and attachment to himself and family. He, pursuing the same course as Seleueus, when arraigned before his master, incensed him yet more than the former, and was condemned to endure the same martyrdom as our Saviour on the cross. One now remaining of those who constituted the number twelve, already mentioned; Julianus, after all the rest, came to complete it. He had just come from abroad, and had not yet even entered the city, when learning the death of the martyrs on the road, just as he was, he immediately hastened to the sight. There, when he saw the earthly tabernacles of the holy men lying on the ground, filled with joy, he embraced every one, and kissed them all. Upon this he was immediately seized by the ministers of death, and conducted to Firmilianus, who consistently with his character, consigned him to a slow and lingering fire. Then Julianus, also, leaping and exulting with joy, gave thanks to God with a loud voice, who had honoured him with a martyrdom such as these endured, and was crowned with the martyr’s death. He also was a native of Cappadocia, but in his manner he was most religious, and eminent for the sincerity and soundness of his faith. He was a devoted man in other respects, and animated by the Holy Spirit himself. Such was the band and the company that met with Pamphilus, and were honoured to encounter martyrdom with him. The sacred and holy bodies of these men, by the order of the cruel and impious governor, were kept and guarded for four days and nights to feed the wild beasts. But as, contrary to expectation, nothing would approach them, neither beast nor bird of prey, nor dog, by a divine providence they were again taken up uninjured, and obtaining a decent burial, were interred according to the accustomed mode. But when the cruelty exercised against these was noised abroad among all, Adrianus, and Eubulus, from the region called Manganæa, came to the other confessors as far as Cæsarea, and were also asked the cause of their coming at the gate of the city. They confessed the truth, and were brought before Firmilianus. He, as usual, without delay, after many tortures which he inflicted, by scourging and lacerating their sides, then condemned them to be devoured by the beasts. After the lapse of two days, on the fifth of the month Dystrus, the third of the nones of March, the day that was considered the birthday of the tutelary divinity of Cæsarea, he was cast before a lion, and afterwards slain with a sword. As to Eubulus, after another day and a half, on the very nones of March, which would be the seventh of Dystrus, when the judge had urged him much to enjoy that which was considered liberty among them, by offering the sacrifice, he preferred a glorious death in the cause of religion, and after being cast to the beasts like the former, was the last to close the list of the martyrs that wrestled for the faith at Cæsarea. It is also worth while here to state, how at length the providence of God overtook the wicked governors themselves, together with the tyrants. For the same Firmilianus that raged with such violence against the martyrs of Christ, after receiving with the others the most signal punishment inflicted on him, at length ended his life by the sword. And such, then, were the martyrdoms endured at Cæsarea, during the whole period of the persecution.

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