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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

A NOBLE action of Acaeius bishop of Amida, at that time greatly enhanced his reputation among all men. The Roman soldiery in devastating Azazene, had taken seven thousand captives, whom they would on no account restore to the king of Persia: meanwhile famine began to rage among these unfortunates, a circumstance which greatly distressed that monarch. Their condition becoming known to Acacius, he thought such a matter was by no means to be trifled with; having therefore assembled his clergy, he thus addressed them: “Our God, my brethren, needs neither dishes nor cups; for he neither eats, nor drinks, nor is in want of any thing. Since then, by the liberality of the faithful, the church possesses many vessels both of gold and silver, it behoves us to sell them, that by the money thus raised we may be able to redeem the prisoners, and also supply them with food.” Having thus said, he ordered the vessels to be melted down, and from the proceeds paid the soldiers a ransom for their captives, whom he supported for some time; and then furnishing them with what was needful for their journey, sent them back to their sovereign. This extraordinary benevolence on the part of the excellent Acacius, so astonished the king of the Persians, that he declared the Romans were determined to conquer their enemies as well by their beneficence in peace, as their prowess in war. He is also said to have been very desirous that Acacius should come into his presence, that he might have the pleasure of beholding such a man; a wish which by the emperor Theodosius’s order was soon gratified. After so signal a victory had through Divine favour been achieved by the Romans, many who were distinguished for their eloquence, wrote panegyrics in honour of the emperor, which they recited in public. The empress herself also composed a poem in heroic verse: for she possessed a highly cultivated mind, being the daughter of Leontius the Athenian sophist, who had instructed her in every kind of learning. Atticus the bishop had baptized her a little while previous to her marriage with the emperor, and had then given her the Christian name of Eudocia, instead of her Pagan one of Athenaïs. Of the many, who, as I have said, produced eulogiums on this occasion, some were stimulated by the desire of being noticed by the emperor; while others were anxious to display their talents, being unwilling that the attainments they had made by dint of great exertion, should lie buried in obscurity.








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