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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

NOT only did the Jews continue in unbelief after this miracle, but many others also who were imitators of them persisted in their impiety, and rejected this evidence of Divine power. Among these was Sabbatius, of whom mention has before been made; who not being content with the dignity of presbyter to which he had attained, but aiming at a bishopric from the beginning, separated himself from the church of the Novatians, under pretext of observing the Jewish Passover. Holding therefore schismatic assemblies apart from his own bishop Sisinnius, in a place named Xerolophus, where the forum of Arcadius now is, he was guilty of an act deserving the severest punishment. Reading one day at one of these meetings that passage in the gospel where it is said, “Now it was the Feast of the Jews called the Passover,” he added what was never written nor heard of before: “Cursed be he that celebrates the Passover out of the days of unleavened bread.” When these words were reported among the people, the more simple of the Novatian laity, deceived by this artifice, flocked to him. But his fraudulent fabrication was of little avail to him, and issued in most disastrous consequences. For when shortly after, he in conjunction with many others kept this feast anticipatively of the Christian Easter, a supernatural panic fell upon them, while they were passing the night in the accustomed vigils, as if Sisinnius their bishop were coming with a multitude of persons to fall upon them. From the perturbation that might be expected in such a case, and their being shut up at night in a confined place, they trod upon one another, insomuch that above seventy of them were crushed to death. On this account many deserted Sabbatius: some however, holding his ignorant anticipative opinion, remained with him. In what way Sabbatius, by a violation of his oath, afterwards managed to get himself ordained a bishop, we shall relate hereafter.








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