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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

AFTER his deposition, John held no more assemblies in the church, but quietly remained in the episcopal dwelling-house. At the termination of the season of Quadrigesima, on the holy night on which the people were gathered together to commemorate the resurrection of Christ, the celebration of the mysteries was suddenly interrupted by the unexpected entrance of some soldiers, and the enemies of John. The baptistry was filled with tumult and disorder; the women wept and lamented, and the children screamed; the priests and the deacons were beaten, and were forcibly ejected from the church, in the priestly garments in which they had been officiating. They were charged with the commission of such disorderly acts as can be readily conceived by those who have been admitted to the mysteries, but which I consider it requisite to pass over in silence, lest my work should fall into the hands of the uninitiated.

The next day the church was, in consequence of this outrage, abandoned; and the people assembled at some public baths of vast extent, called the baths of Constantius, to celebrate the Passover, under the guidance of bishops and presbyters who espoused the cause of John. They were, however, driven hence, and then assembled on a spot without the walls of the city, which the emperor Constantine had caused to be cleared and enclosed with woods, for the purpose of celebrating there the games of the hippodrome. From that period, the people held separate assemblies, sometimes in that locality, and sometimes in another; and they hence obtained the name of Johnites. About this time, a man who was either possessed of a devil, or who feigned to have one, was seized with a poignard on his person, which he had concealed, with the intention of assassinating John; he was dragged by the people before the magistrate, but John sent some bishops to free him from custody before he had been questioned by torture. Some time afterwards, a slave of Elpidus the presbyter, who was an avowed enemy of the deacon, was seen running as swiftly as possible towards the episcopal residence. A passer-by endeavoured to stop him, in order to ascertain the cause of so much haste; but, instead of answering him, the slave plunged his poignard into him. Another person, who happened to be standing by, and who cried out at seeing the other wounded, was also wounded in a similar way by the slave, as was likewise a third bystander. All the people in the neighbourhood, on seeing what had occurred, shouted that the slave ought to be arrested; and, as he tried to escape, they pursued him. A man, who just then came out from the baths, strove to stop him, and was so grievously wounded that he fell down dead on the spot. At length, the people contrived to encircle the slave; they seized him, and conveyed him to the palace of the emperor, declaring that he had intended to have assassinated John, and that the crime ought to be visited with punishment. The magistrate allayed the fury of the people by putting the delinquent into custody, and by assuring them that justice should have its course against him.








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