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A History Of The Church In Six Books by Evagrius

NEXT in succession, Gregory is elevated to the episcopal see: “wide whose renown,” according to the language of poetry; a person who had devoted himself from the earliest period of life to the monastic discipline, and had wrestled therein so manfully and stoutly, that he arrived at the highest elevation when scarcely past his boyhood, and became superior of the monastery of the Byzantines, in which he had assumed the bare mode of life, and subsequently, by the orders of Justin, of the monastery of Mount Sinai. Here he encountered extreme danger, having sustained a siege by the Scenite Arabs.

Having, nevertheless, secured the complete tranquillity of the spot, he was thence summoned to the archiepiscopal dignity. He was unrivalled in every excellence of intellect and virtue, and most energetic in accomplishing whatever he resolved upon, uninfluenced by fear, and incapable of shrinking before secular power. So noble was his expenditure of money, in a general system of liberality and munificence, that whenever he appeared in public, crowds, besides his ordinary attendants, followed him; and all gathered round him who saw or heard of his approach. The respect shewn to so high a dignity, was but second to the honour bestowed upon the individual, in the generous desire of persons to obtain a near view of him and to hear his words; for he was possessed of singular power to inspire with attachment towards himself all who held converse with him, being a person of most imposing aspect and sweet address, especially quick of perception and prompt in execution, a most able counsellor and judge, both in his own matters and in those of others. On this account it was that he accomplished so much, never deferring any thing till to-morrow. By dealing with matters with unfailing promptitude, according as either necessity required or opportunity favoured, he filled with admiration not only the Roman but the Persian sovereigns, as I shall set forth the particulars in their proper place. His character was strongly marked by vehemence, and at times by indications of anger; while, on the other hand, his meekness and gentleness were not confined, but were exceedingly abundant; so that to him was admirably fitted the excellent expression of Gregory Theologus, “austerity tempered with modesty,” while neither quality was impaired, but each rendered more striking by the other.








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