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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

ARSACIUS, brother of Nectarius the predecessor of John, was, not long afterwards, ordained over the church of Constantinople. He was of a very mild disposition, and possessed of great piety; but the reputation he had acquired as a presbyter was diminished by the conduct of some of the clergy to whom he delegated his power, and who did what they pleased in his name, for their evil deeds were imputed to him. Nothing, however, operated so much to his disadvantage as the persecution that was curried on against the followers of John. They refused to hold communion, or even to join in prayer with him, because the enemies of John were associated with him; and as they persisted, as we have before stated, in meeting together in the further parts of the city, he complained to the emperor of their conduct. The tribune was commanded to attack them with a body of soldiers, and by means of clubs and stones he soon dispersed them. The most distinguished among them in point of rank, and those who were most zealous in their adherence to John, were cast into prison. The soldiers, as is usual on such occasions, went beyond their orders, and stripped the women of their ornaments, their golden girdles, their earrings, and their jewels. Although the whole city was thus tilled with trouble and lamentation, the affection of the people for John still remained the same, and they refrained from appearing in public. Many of them absented themselves from the market-place and public baths, while others, not considering themselves safe in their own houses, fled the city.

Among the zealous men and excellent women who adopted this latter measure was Nicarete, a lady of Bithynia. She belonged to a very illustrious family, and was celebrated on account of her perpetual virginity, and her virtuous life. She excelled all women that we have ever seen in modesty and circumspection, and throughout her life she invariably preferred the service of God to all earthly considerations. She bore with invincible fortitude the calamities which befell her; she saw herself unjustly despoiled of the greater part of her ample patrimony without manifesting any indignation, and managed the little that remained to her with so much economy, that although she was advanced in age, she contrived to supply all the wants of her household, and to contribute largely to the relief of the poor. To great charity she added so much ingenuity, that she was able to compound medicines for the poor who were suffering from sickness, and she frequently succeeded in curing patients who had derived no benefit from the skill of the physicians. To sum all in a few words, we have never known a religious woman endowed with so much modesty, gravity, and virtue: but her great qualifications were concealed by her humility. She would not accept of the office of deaconess, nor of instructress of the virgins consecrated to the service of the church, because she accounted herself unworthy, although the honour was pressed upon her by John.

After the popular insurrection had been quelled, the prefect of the city appeared in public, as if to enquire into the cause of the conflagration, and to bring the perpetrators of the deed to punishment; but being a Pagan, he exulted in the destruction of the church, and ridiculed the calamity.








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