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A History Of The Church In Six Books by Evagrius

AT an interval of four months from the return of Gregory, in the six hundred and thirty-seventh year of the era of Theopolis, sixty-one years after the former earthquake, a crash and concussion shook the entire city, about the third hour of the night, on the last day of the month Hyperberetæus, at the time when I was celebrating my marriage with a young maiden, and the whole city was making rejoicings and holding a festival at the public cost, in honour of the nuptial ceremony. This convulsion levelled by far the greater part of the buildings, their very foundations being cast up by it, and all the portions of the most holy church were thrown to the ground, with the exception of the hemisphere, which, after its injury by the earthquake in the time of Justin, had been secured by Ephraemius with timbers from Daphne. By the subsequent shocks, it received an inclination in a northerly direction; so that the timbers were thrown by it into a leaning position, and fell, when the hemisphere had returned, by the force of the shock, exactly into its original situation, as if it had been adjusted by a rule. Nearly the entire quarter named Ostracine was ruined, and Psephium, of which I have made previous mention, as well as all the parts called Brysia, and the buildings of the venerable sanctuary of the Mother of God, with the sole exception of the central colonnade, which was singularly preserved. All the towers of the plain were also damaged, though the other buildings in that quarter escaped, with the exception of the battlements, of which some stones were thrown backwards, though they did not fall. Other churches also suffered injury, and one of the public baths, namely, that which had separate divisions according to the seasons. An incalculable number of persons were involved in the destruction, and, according to an estimate which some persons drew from the supply of bread, about sixty thousand perished. The bishop experienced a most unexpected preservation in the midst of the fall of the entire habitation where he then was, and the destruction of every individual except those who were near his person. These took up the bishop in their arms, and lowered him by a cord, after a second shock had rent an opening, and thus they removed him beyond the reach of danger. Another preservation was also granted to the city, our compassionate God having mitigated the keenness of His threatened vengeance, and corrected our sin with the branch of pity and mercy: for no conflagration followed, though so many fires were spread about the place, in hearths, public and private lamps, kitchens, furnaces, baths, and innumerable other forms. Very many persons of distinction, and among them Asterius himself, became the victims of the calamity. The emperor endeavoured to alleviate this visitation by grants of money.








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