HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

AT the same period the inhabitants of Gaza sought for the monk Hilarion; but, aware of their sanguinary designs, he fled to Sicily. Here he employed himself in collecting wood in the deserts and on the mountains, which he carried on his shoulders for sale in the cities, and by these means obtained sufficient food for the support of the body. But as he was at length recognised by a man of quality whom he had dispossessed of a demon, he retired to Dalmatia, where, by the power of God, he performed numerous miracles, and through prayer repressed an inundation of the sea, and restored the waves to their proper bounds. No sooner, however, had these miracles excited the reverence of the people, than he quitted the country, in order that he might live unknown, and free from the praises and applauses of men. He sailed for the island of Cyprus, but. touched at Paphos, and at the entreaty of the bishop of Cyprus, fixed his residence at a place in that island called Charburis. Here he only escaped martyrdom by flight; for he fled in compliance with the divine precept which commands us not to expose ourselves to persecution; but that, if we fall into the hands of persecutors, to overcome by our own fortitude the violence of our oppressors.

The inhabitants of Gaza and of Alexandria were not the only citizens who exercised such atrocities against the Christians as those I have described. The inhabitants of Heliopolis, near Mount Libanus, and of Arethusa in Syria, perpetrated deeds of still greater cruelty. The former were guilty of an act of barbarity which could scarcely be credited, had it not been corroborated by the testimony of those who witnessed it. They stripped the holy virgins who had never been looked upon by the multitude, of their garments, and exposed them in a state of nudity, as public objects of insult and derision. After numerous other inflictions, they shaved them, ripped them open, and placed inside them the food usually given to pigs; and the animals thus devoured these human entrails in conjunction with their ordinary food. I am convinced that the citizens perpetrated this barbarity against the holy virgins from motives of revenge, on account of the abolition of the ancient custom of yielding up virgins to prostitution, when on the eve of marriage to those to whom they had been betrothed. This custom was prohibited by a law enacted by Constantine, after he had destroyed the temple of Venus at Heliopolis, and erected a church upon its ruins.

Mark, bishop of Arethusa, an aged and virtuous prelate, was put to a very cruel death by the inhabitants of that city, who had long entertained inimical feelings against him, because he had, during the reign of Constantine, resorted to violence rather than to persuasion in his attempts to lead them from Paganism to Christianity, and had demolished a costly and magnificent temple. On the accession of Julian, an edict was issued, commanding the bishop either to rebuild the temple, or to defray the expenses of its re-erection. Perceiving that the people had risen up against him, and reflecting that he had no means to pay for the re-erection of the temple, and that such an act was not lawful for a Christian, and still less for a bishop, he fled from the city. On hearing, however, that many were suffering on his account, that some were dragged before the tribunals and others tortured, he returned, and offered to suffer whatever the multitude might choose to inflict upon him. The people, instead of admiring this noble deed, conceived that he was actuated by contempt towards them, and rushed upon him, dragged him through the streets, and covered him with blows. People of each sex and of all ages joined with alacrity and fury in this atrocious proceeding. Some pierced his ears; the young men who frequented the schools made game of him, throwing him from one to the other; and they lacerated him cruelly with their knives. When his whole body was covered with wounds, they anointed him with honey, and placing him in a basket of rushes, raised him up on an eminence. It is said that while he was in this posision, and suffering from the attacks of bees and wasps, he told the inhabitants of Arethusa that he was raised up above them, and could look down upon them below him, and that this reminded him of the difference that would exist between them in the life to come. It is also related that the prefect, who, although a Pagan, was held in such estimation that his memory is still honoured in that country, admired the fortitude of Mark, and boldly uttered reproaches against the emperor for allowing himself to be vanquished by an old man, exposed to innumerable tortures, and he added, that such proceedings reflected ridicule on the emperor, while the names of the persecuted were at the same time rendered illustrious. Thus did Mark endure all the torments inflicted upon him by the inhabitants of Gaza with such unshaken fortitude, that even the Pagans were struck with admiration.








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com