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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

THE following incidents prove the boldness of the bishop. A certain Scythian, named Gaïnas, who was of a ferocious, proud, and tyrannical disposition, ruled the military at this period, and had many of his own countrymen under him, and also large forces of Roman infantry and cavalry. He was feared by all, and even by the emperor, who suspected him of aspiring to the imperial dignity. As he had imbibed the infatuation of Arianism, he requested the emperor to give up a church for the use of those of the same persuasion. The emperor replied, that he would endeavour to give him satisfaction. He then sent for John, informed him of the request of Gaïnas, described the greatness of his power, intimated to him the ambitious projects which he was suspected of entertaining, and besought him to allay the fury of the barbarian by granting his request. The noble bishop replied, “Do not make this concession to him, O emperor; do not bestow the holy things on dogs. Nothing could induce me to eject those who preach the divinity of the Word, or to surrender the holy churches to those who blaspheme Him. Do not fear this barbarian, O emperor. Summon us both into your presence: do you remain silent, and listen to what we say, and I will so restrain his tongue, that he will no longer ask that which ought not to be accorded.” The emperor was much pleased with this proposal; and the next day summoned them both before him. Gaïnas having repeated his request, John replied, by saying, that it was not permitted to the emperor to do anything against the interests of the religion which he professed. Gaïnas replied, that it was necessary that some edifice should be allotted to him for prayer. “All the sacred edifices are open to you,” said John; “and if you desire to pray, the entrance of none is prohibited.” “But I,” said Gaïnas, “belong to another sect; and I desire that a building should be appropriated to me and to my party. The services I have rendered to the empire in many wars, render it but just that my request should be granted.” “The recompenses which you have received,” replied the bishop, “exceed in number the services which you have rendered. You have been raised to the command of the troops, and have been invested with the consular robes. It is right that you should consider what you were formerly, and what you now are. Contrast your former poverty with your present opulence. Compare the garments which you wore before you crossed the Ister, with the robes in which you are now arrayed: you must surely perceive that, as your services have been few, so have your rewards been great; and do not be ungrateful towards those who have advanced you to so much honour.” By these discourses, the doctor of the world closed the mouth of Gaïnas, and compelled him to be silent. Some time after, Gaïnas carried his long-formed projects of usurpation into execution; he collected some troops in Thrace, and raised the standard of revolt. When this intelligence was announced, all the people, both rulers and subjects, were filled with alarm. There was no one who would venture to take up arms against him, neither would any one undertake to go on an embassy to him, so greatly was the power of the barbarian feared by all.








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