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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

ATHANASIUS, bishop of Alexandria, died about this period, after having governed the church during the space of forty-six years. The Arians having received early intelligence of his death, Euzoius, bishop of the Arians at Antioch, and Magnus, the chief treasurer, lost no time in seizing and imprisoning Peter, whom Athanasius had appointed to succeed him in the bishopric; and they forthwith transferred the government of the church to Lucius. Thence resulted a cruel persecution in Egypt: for as soon as Lucius presented himself in Alexandria, and attempted to take possession of the churches, he met with opposition from the people; and the clergy and holy virgins were accused as the originators of the sedition. Some made their escape, as if the city had fallen into the hands of an enemy; others were seized and imprisoned. Some of the prisoners were afterwards dragged from the dungeons to be torn with iron nails, while others were burnt by means of flaming torches. It seemed wonderful how they could possibly survive the tortures to which they were subjected. Banishment, or even death itself, would have been preferable to such sufferings. Peter, the bishop, made his escape from prison; and, embarking on board a ship, proceeded to Rome, the bishop of which church held the same sentiments as himself. Thus the Arians, although not many in number, remained in possession of the churches. At the same time, an edict was issued by the emperor, enacting that as many of the followers of the Nicene doctrines should be ejected from Alexandria and the rest of Egypt, as might be directed by Lucius. Euzoius, having thus accomplished all his designs, returned to Antioch.








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