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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

AS I have advanced thus far in my history, and have given an account of the death of George and of Theodore, I deem it right to relate some particulars concerning the death of the three brethren, Eusebius, Nestabis, and Zeno. The inhabitants of Gaza, being inflamed with rage against them, dragged them from their house, in which they had concealed themselves, and cast them into prison, after having beaten them with unexampled cruelty. They then assembled in the theatre, and cried out loudly against them, declaring that they had committed sacrilege in their temple, and had used the power with which they were formerly invested to the injury and destruction of Paganism. By these declamations the general excitement was increased to such a pitch that they ran to the prison, and with unparalleled fury drew forth their victims, and dashed them on the ground; and in this position, sometimes with the face, and sometimes with the back upon the ground, the victims were dragged through the streets of the city, and were afterwards stoned and beaten. I have been told that even women quitted their work to add to their sufferings by personal inflictions, and that the cooks left their employment to pour boiling water on them, and to wound them with their culinary utensils. When the martyrs had been literally torn to pieces, and their brains scattered on the ground, their bodies were dragged out of the city, and flung on the spot generally used as a receptacle for the bodies of beasts; then a large fire was lighted, and their bones mixed with those of asses and camels, so that it might be difficult to distinguish them: but they were not long concealed, for a Christian woman, who was an inhabitant though not a native of the city, collected the bones at night, by the inspiration of God, and conveyed them in a vessel to Zeno, their cousin, even as God had commanded her in a dream; for she was previously unacquainted with Zeno, and he had narrowly escaped being arrested: but he had effected his escape while the people were occupied in the murder of his cousins, and had fled to Anthedona, a maritime city, about twenty stadia from Gaza, wholly addicted to superstition and idolatry. When the inhabitants of this city discovered that he was a Christian, they beat him violently, and drove him away. He then fled to Gaza, and concealed himself; and here the woman found him, and gave him the remains. He kept them carefully in his house until the reign of Theodore, when he was ordained bishop; and he erected a church beyond the walls of the city, and deposited the bones on the altar, near those of Nestor, the Confessor. Nestor had been on terms of intimacy with his cousins, and was seized with them by the people of Gaza, scourged, and imprisoned. But those who dragged him through the city were affected by his personal beauty, and struck with compassion, they cast him, before he was quite dead, out of the city. Some persons found him, and carried him to the house of Zeno, where he expired during the dressing of his wounds. When the inhabitants of Gaza began to reflect on the enormity of their crime, they trembled lest the emperor should take vengeance on them. It was reported that the emperor was filled with indignation, and had determined upon beheading them: but this report was false, and had no foundation but the fears and self-accusations of the criminals. Julian, far from evincing as much anger against them as he had manifested against the Alexandrians on the murder of George, did not even write to rebuke their conduct. On the contrary, he deposed the governor of the province, and represented that clemency alone prevented his being put to death. The crime imputed to him was, that of having arrested some of the inhabitants of Gaza who had been guilty of sedition and murder, and of having imprisoned them until judgment could be passed upon them in accordance with the laws. “For what right had he,” asked the emperor, “to arrest the citizens merely for retaliating on a few Galileans the injuries that had been inflicted by them and by their gods.” Thus, it is said, the affair was passed over.








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