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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

IN this manner the honourable life of Usthazanes was terminated, and when the intelligence was brought to Symeon in the prison, he offered thanksgiving to God on his account. The following day, which happened to be the sixth day of the week, and likewise the day on which, as immediately preceding the festival of the resurrection, the annual memorial of the passion of the Saviour is celebrated, the king issued orders for the decapitation of Symeon; for he had been again conducted to the palace from the prison, had reasoned most boldly with Sapor on points of doctrine, and had expressed a determination never to worship either the king or the sun. On the same day a hundred other prisoners were ordered to be slain. Symeon beheld their execution, and last of all he was put to death. Amongst these victims were bishops, presbyters, and other clergy of different grades. As they were being led out to execution, the chief of the Magi approached them, and asked them whether they would preserve their lives by conforming to the religion of the king and by worshipping the sun. As none of them would comply with this condition, they were conducted to the place of execution, and the executioners applied themselves to the task of slaying these martyrs. Symeon exhorted them to constancy, and reasoned concerning death, and the resurrection and piety, and showed them from the Sacred Scriptures that a death like theirs is true life; whereas to live, and through fear to deny God, is as truly death. He told them, too, that even if no one were to slay them, death would inevitably overtake them, for our death is a natural consequence of our birth, and that, after this short and transitory life, an account must be rendered of our actions; after which, we enter upon another life, wherein virtue receives eternal rewards, and vice is visited with endless punishment. He likewise told them that the most glorious of good actions is to die for the cause of God. The martyrs gladly listened to this discourse of Symeon’s, and went forward with alacrity to meet their death. After the execution of three hundred martyrs, Symeon himself was slain; and Abdechalaas and Ananias, two presbyters of his own church, who had been his fellow-prisoners, suffered with him.








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