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The Paradise Of The Holy Fathers Volumes 1 and 2 by Saint Athanasius Of Alexandria

AND we saw also the granaries of Joseph (i.e., the Pyramids of Gizah) wherein he collected grain in the time of famine. And there was there, in Thebes, a certain monk whose name was Apollo, and he made manifest many mighty deeds, and led a life of great works; he was held to be worthy of the office of deacon, and his works of spiritual excellence were as glorious and renowned as [those of] the famous monks of old. During the period of the persecution he made many martyrs by putting courage into the hearts of the confessors of Christ, but at length he himself was seized and put under ward in the prison-house, and the wickedest men among the heathen used to come to him and heap words of hatred and blasphemy upon him. Now one of those who behaved thus was a certain singer, who was a famous man, and was beloved by all the people; and this man drew nigh and reviled the blessed Apollo, and called him a wicked man, and a liar, and a hater of all mankind, and said that he was guilty of death before all the people. Then to him the blessed man Apollo made answer, and he said unto him, “O man, may God have mercy upon thee, and may the sin which hath been uttered by thee not be accounted unto thee as anything.”

Now when the man who was a singer, whose name was Philemon, had heard these things, he repented at the words of the blessed man, because he had gone into the place where he was, and caused him pain, and he went down immediately, and stood up before the throne of the judge, and in the presence of all the people said unto him, “O judge, thou art acting wickedly in tormenting the servants of God without a cause, for the Christians neither say nor do wicked things, on the contrary, they even bless their enemies.” Now when the judge heard the things which Philemon was saying, he thought at first that he had gone mad through his pride, and that having gone mad he had spoken; but as soon as the judge perceived that he persisted in his words, he answered and said unto him, “Thou art mad, O man, and hast suddenly become a fool.” And Philemon made answer to him and said, “I have not gone mad, O thou wicked judge, but I am a Christian, and I fear the God of heaven.” And the judge and all the people wished to persuade him [to be quiet] by means of flattering speeches, but, when they saw that he would not yield to them, they applied to him all kinds of wicked tortures. And after these things they seized the blessed and holy Apollo, and brought him [there], and they laid many stripes upon him, and they scourged him as men scourge those who are wicked and who lead the people into error.

Then the blessed Apollo spake unto the judge, saying, “I pray God that thou also, O judge, and all those who are here present with thee may follow after my error”; and when the judge perceived that he had spoken such words unto him, he commanded that both Apollo and Philemon should be delivered over to be burnt by fire in the presence of all the multitude. And when they were in the blazing fire before the judge the blessed Apollo cried out with a loud voice unto God, so that all the assembly and even the judge himself might hear, saying, “O Lord, give not to be broken the souls which confess Thee, but make us to see Thy deliverance boldly.” Then straightway a brilliant cloud, which was laden with dew, appeared, and it enveloped these men and quenched the flames of fire; and the crowds and the judge marvelled and cried out, saying, “One is the God of the Christians.”

And certain wicked men made known the things which had taken place to the governor of Alexandria, and he chose out from among his bodyguard some savage and merciless men, and sent them for all those who were with the judge, and for Philemon, and the blessed Apollo, and other confessors came with them. And as they were going along the road, the gracious gift of the Spirit lighted upon Apollo, and he began to teach the soldiers, and as he spake they hearkened unto him, and they repented at his words, and believed in Christ, and they all stood up with the prisoners before the throne. And as soon as the governor perceived and knew that they could not be changed from the faith of Christ, he commanded that they should be cast into the depth of the sea; and since they were drowned of their own will for Christ’s sake, this became unto them a sign of baptism. Now the sea refused to keep them, and it brought them together near the shore, and on the spot where they had lain a temple was built in their honour, and in it great miracles were wrought; and such grace was found with the blessed man, and he was so greatly honoured that he was heard by Christ in respect of the things for which he prayed and made supplication. And we ourselves saw the martyrium wherein he and those who had testified with him were laid, and we prayed and worshipped God, and also touched their dead bodies, for they were not as yet buried because of the inundation of the Nile, but lay embalmed upon their biers in Thebaïs, and for this reason we made ready to insert here the history of the man.

Here end the Triumph of Apollo, the Monk and Martyr, and the other Hostories of the Holy Men which were written by Hieronymus the Monk. Glory be to the father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, now, and always, and for and ever.








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