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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

ABOUT the same period, Macedonius, Theodulis, and Tatian, who were Phrygians by birth, courageously endured martyrdom. A temple of Meros, a city of Phrygia, having been re-opened by the governor of the province, after it had been closed many years, these martyrs entered therein by night and destroyed the idolatrous images. As other individuals were arrested, and were on the point of being punished for the deed, they delivered themselves up, and avowed themselves the actors in the transaction. They might have escaped all further punishment by offering sacrifices to idols; but the governor could not persuade them to accept acquittal on these terms. His persuasions being ineffectual, he subjected them to a variety of tortures, and finally extended them on a gridiron, beneath which a fire had been lighted. While they were being consumed, they said to the governor, “Amachus (for that was his name), give orders that our bodies may be turned on the fire, if you do not desire to be served with meat cooked only on one side.” Thus did they die courageously, in the midst of torments.

It is said that Busiris also obtained renown at Ancyra, a city of Galatia, by his noble confession of the faith. He belonged to the sect denominated Eucrates, and it was reported to the governor of the province that he had ridiculed the Pagans. The governor, inconsequence, commanded that he should be put to the torture. Busiris raised his hands to his head so as to leave his sides exposed, and told the governor that it would be useless for the executioners to take the trouble of attaching him to the instrument of torture, as he was ready to receive on his sides as many blows as might be adjudged him. The governor was surprised at this proposition; but his astonishment was increased by what followed, for Busiris remained firm and immoveable with his hands on his head, while his sides were being torn with nails, according to the governor’s direction. Immediately afterwards Busiris was consigned to prison, but was released not long subsequently, on the announcement of the death of Julian. He lived till the reign of Theodosius, renounced his former heresy, and joined the Catholic church.

It is said that about this period, Basil, presbyter of the church of Ancyra, and Eupsychus a native of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, who had but just taken to himself a wife, terminated their lives by martyrdom. I believe that Eupsychus was condemned in consequence of the demolition of the temple of Fortune, which, as I have already stated, excited the anger of the emperor against all the inhabitants of Cæsarea. Indeed all the actors in this transaction were condemned, some to death, and others to banishment.

Basil had long manifested great zeal in defence of the faith, and had opposed the Arians during the reign of Constantius; hence the partizans of Eudoxius had prohibited him from holding public assemblies. On the accession of Julian, however, he travelled hither and thither, publicly and openly exhorting the Christians to cleave to their own doctrines, and to refrain from defiling themselves with Pagan sacrifices and libations: he urged them to account as nothing the honours which the emperor might bestow upon them, such honours being but of short duration, and leading to eternal infamy. His zeal had already rendered him an object of suspicion and of hatred to the Pagans, when one day he chanced to pass by and see them offering sacrifice; he sighed deeply, and uttered a prayer to the effect, that no Christian might be suffered to fall into similar delusion. He was seized on the spot, and conveyed to the governor of the province; many tortures were inflicted on him, and in the manly endurance of this anguish, he received the crown of martyrdom.

Although these cruelties were perpetrated contrary to the will of the emperor, yet they serve to prove that his reign was signalized by many martyrdoms. For the sake of clearness, I have related all these occurrences in consecutive order, although the martyrdoms really occurred at different periods.








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