XXI. EUSEBIUS, Hist. Eccles. v. 4.
The Persecution at Lyons and Vienne
«Οἱ ἐν Βιέννῃ καὶ Λουγδούνῳ τῆς Γαλλίας παροικοῦντες δοῦλοι Χριστοῦ τοῖς κατὰ τὴν Ἀσίαν καὶ Φρυγίαν τὴν αὐτὴν τῆς ἀπολυτρώσεως ἡμῖν πίστιν καὶ ἐλπίδα ἔχουσιν ἀδελφοῖς· εἰρήνη καὶ χάρις καὶ δόξα ἀπὸ θεοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν».
«τὸ μὲν οὖν μέγεθος τῆς ἐνθάδε θλίψεως καὶ τὴν τοσαύτην τῶν ἐθνῶν εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους ὀργὴν καὶ ὅσα ὑπέμειναν οἱ μακάριοι μάρτυρες, ἐπ᾿ ἀκριβὲς οὔθ᾿ ἡμεῖς εἰπεῖν ἱκανοὶ οὔτε μὴν γραφῇ περιληφθῆναι δυνατόν. παντὶ γὰρ σθένει ἐνέσκηψεν ὁ ἀντικείμενος, προοιμιαζόμενος ἤδη τὴν ἀδεῶς μέλλουσαν ἔσεσθαι παρουσίαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ διὰ πάντων διῆλθεν, ἐθίζων τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ καὶ προγυμνάζων κατὰ τῶν δούλων τοῦ θεοῦ, ὥστε μὴ μόνον οἰκιῶν καὶ βαλανείων καὶ ἀγορᾶς εἴργεσθαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ καθόλου φαίνεσθαι ἡμῶν τινα αὐτοῖς ἀπειρῆσθαι ἐν ὁποίῳ δήποτε τόπῳ. ἀντεστρατήγει δὲ ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ τοὺς μὲν ἀσθενεῖς ἐρρύετο, ἀντιπαρέτασσε δὲ στύλους ἑδραίους δυναμένους διὰ τῆς ὑπομονῆς πᾶσαν τὴν ὁρμὴν τοῦ πονηροῦ εἰς ἑαυτοὺς ἑλκύσαι· οἳ καὶ ὁμόσε ἐχώρουν, πᾶν εἶδος ὀνειδισμοῦ καὶ κολάσεως ἀνεχόμενοι· οἳ καὶ τὰ πολλὰ ὀλίγα ἡγούμενοι ἔσπευδον πρὸς Χριστόν, ὄντως ἐπιδεικνύμενοι ὅτι οὐκ ἄξια τὰ παθήματα τοῦ νῦν καιροῦ πρὸς τὴν μέλλουσαν δόξαν ἀποκαλυφθῆναι εἰς ἡμᾶς. «καὶ πρῶτον μὲν τὰ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου πανδημεὶ σωρηδὸν ἐπιφερόμενα γενναίως ὑπέμενον, ἐπιβοήσεις καὶ πληγὰς καὶ συρμοὺς καὶ διαρπαγὰς καὶ λίθων βολὰς καὶ συγκλείσεις καὶ πάνθ᾿ ὅσα ἠγριωμένῳ πλήθει ὡς πρὸς ἐχθροὺς καὶ πολεμίους φιλεῖ γίνεσθαι, καὶ δὴ ἀναχθέντες εἰς τὴν ἀγορὰν ὑπό τε τοῦ χιλιάρχου καὶ τῶν προστηκότων τῆς πόλεως ἐξουσιῶν ἐπὶ παντὸς τοῦ πλήθους ἀνακριθέντες καὶ ὁμολογήσαντες, συνεκλείσθησαν εἰς τὴν εἱρκτὴν ἕως τῆς τοῦ ἡγεμόνος παρουσίας·
μετέπειτα δὲ ἐπὶ τὸν ἡγεμόνα ἀχθέντων αὐτῶν κἀκείνου πάσῃ τῇ πρὸς ἡμᾶς ὠμότητι χρωμένου, Οὐέττιος Ἐπάγαθος, εἷς ἐκ τῶν ἀδελφῶν, πλήρωμα ἀγάπης τῆς πρὸς τὸν θεὸν καὶ πρὸς τὸν πλησίον κεχωρηκώς, οὗ καὶ ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον ἠκρίβωτο ἡ πολιτεία, ὡς καίπερ ὄντα νέον συνεξισοῦσθαι τῇ τοῦ πρεσβυτέρου Ζαχαρίου μαρτυρίᾳ· πεπόρευτο γοῦν ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ἐντολαῖς καὶ δικαιώμασι τοῦ κυρίου ἄμεμπτος καὶ πάσῃ τῇ πρὸς τὸν πλησίον λειτουργίᾳ ἄοκνος, ζῆλον θεοῦ πολὺν ἔχων καὶ ζέων τῷ πνεύματι· τοιοῦτος δή τις ὤν, τὴν οὕτως καθ᾿ ἡμῶν ἀλόγως γινομένην κρίσιν οὐκ ἐβάστασεν, ἀλλ᾿ ὑπερηγανάκτησεν καὶ ἠξίου καὶ αὐτὸς ἀκουσθῆναι ἀπολογούμενος ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀδελφῶν ὅτι μηδὲν ἄθεον μηδὲ ἀσεβές ἐστιν ἐν ἡμῖν. τῶν δὲ περὶ τὸ βῆμα καταβοησάντων αὐτοῦ, καὶ γὰρ ἦν ἐπίσημος, καὶ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος μὴ ἀνασχομένου τῆς οὕτως ὑπ᾿ αὐτοῦ δικαίας προταθείσης ἀξιώσεως, ἀλλὰ μόνον τοῦτο πυθομένου εἰ καὶ αὐτὸς εἴη Χριστιανός, τοῦ δὲ λαμπροτάτῃ φωνῇ ὁμολογήσαντος, ἀνελήφθη καὶ αὐτὸς εἰς τὸν κλῆρον τῶν μαρτύρων, παράκλητος Χριστιανῶν χρηματίσας, ἔχων δὲ τὸν παράκλητον ἐν ἑαυτῷ, τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ Ζαχαρίου, ὃ διὰ τοῦ πληρώματος τῆς ἀγάπης ἐνεδείξατο, εὐδοκήσας ὑπὲρ τῆς τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἀπολογίας καὶ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ θεῖναι ψυχήν· ἦν γὰρ καὶ ἔστιν γνήσιος Χριστοῦ μαθητής, ἀκολουθῶν τῷ ἀρνίῳ ὅπου ἂν ὑπάγῃ. «ἐντεῦθεν δὴ διεκρίνοντο οἱ λοιποί, καὶ φανεροὶ οἱ ἕτοιμοι ἐγίνοντο πρὸς τὸ μαρτυρεῖν, οἳ καὶ μετὰ πάσης προθυμίας ἀνεπλήρουν τὴν ὁμολογίαν τῆς μαρτυρίας, ἐφαίνοντο δὲ καὶ οἱ ἀνέτοιμοι καὶ ἀγύμναστοι καὶ ἔτι ἀσθενεῖς, ἀγῶνος μεγάλου τόνον ἐνεγκεῖν μὴ δυνάμενοι· ὧν καὶ ἐξέτρωσαν ὡς δέκα τὸν ἀριθμόν· οἳ καὶ μεγάλην λύπην καὶ πένθος ἀμέτρητον ἐνεποίησαν ἡμῖν καὶ τὴν προθυμίαν τῶν λοιπῶν τῶν μὴ συνειλημμένων ἐνέκοψαν· οἳ καίπερ πάντα τὰ δεινὰ πάσχοντες, ὅμως συμπαρῆσαν τοῖς μάρτυσιν καὶ οὐκ ἀπελείποντο αὐτῶν, τότε δὲ οἱ πάντες μεγάλως ἐπτοήθημεν διὰ τὸ ἄδηλον τῆς ὁμολογίας, οὐ τὰς ἐπιφερομένας κολάσεις φοβούμενοι, ἀλλὰ τὸ τέλος ἀφορῶντες καὶ τὸ ἀποπεσεῖν τινα δεδιότες. συνελαμβάνοντο μέντοι καθ᾿ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν οἱ ἄξιοι τὸν ἐκείνων ἀναπληροῦντες ἀριθμόν, ὥστε συλλεγῆναι ἐκ τῶν δύο ἐκκλησιῶν πάντας τοὺς σπουδαίους καὶ δι᾿ ὧν μάλιστα συνεστήκει τὰ ἐνθάδε· συνελαμβάνοντο δὲ καὶ ἐθνικοί τινες οἰκέται τῶν ἡμετέρων, ἐπεὶ δημοσίᾳ ἐκέλευσεν ὁ ἡγεμὼν ἀναζητεῖσθαι πάντας ἡμᾶς· οἳ καὶ κατ᾿ ἐνέδραν τοῦ σατανᾶ, φοβηθέντες τὰς βασάνους ἃς τοὺς ἁγίους ἔβλεπον πάσχοντας, τῶν στρατιωτῶν ἐπὶ τοῦτο παρορμώντων αὐτούς, κατεψεύσαντο ἡμῶν Θυέστεια δεῖπνα καὶ Οἰδιποδείους μίξεις καὶ ὅσα μήτε λαλεῖν μήτε νοεῖν θέμις ἡμῖν, ἀλλὰ μηδὲ πιστεύειν εἴ τι τοιοῦτο πώποτε παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἐγένετο. τούτων δὲ φημισθέντων, πάντες ἀπεθηριώθησαν εἰς ἡμᾶς, ὥστε καὶ εἴ τινες τὸ πρότερον δι᾿ οἰκειότητα ἐμετρίαζον, τότε μεγάλως ἐχαλέπαινον καὶ διεπρίοντο ἐφ᾿ ἡμῖν· ἐπληροῦτο δὲ τὸ ὑπὸ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν εἰρημένον ὅτι ἐλεύσεται καιρὸς ἐν ᾧ πᾶς ὁ ἀποκτείνας ὑμᾶς δόξει λατρείαν προσφέρειν τῷ θεῷ. ἐνταῦθα λοιπὸν ὑπεράνω πάσης ἐξηγήσεως ὑπέμενον κολάσεις οἱ ἅγιοι μάρτυρες, φιλοτιμουμένου τοῦ σατανᾶ καὶ δι᾿ ἐκείνων ῥηθῆναί τι τῶν βλασφήμων·
Ὑπερβεβλημένως δὲ ἐνέσκηψεν ἡ ὀργὴ πᾶσα καὶ ὄχλου καὶ ἡγεμόνος καὶ στρατιωτῶν εἰς Σάγκτον τὸν διάκονον ἀπὸ Βιέννης καὶ εἰς Μάτουρον, νεοφώτιστον μέν, ἀλλὰ γενναῖον ἀγωνιστήν, καὶ εἰς Ἄτταλον Περγαμηνὸν τῷ γένει, στῦλον καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῶν ἐνταῦθα ἀεὶ γεγονότα, καὶ εἰς Βλανδῖναν, δι᾿ ἧς ἐπέδειξεν ὁ Χριστὸς ὅτι τὰ παρὰ ἀνθρώποις εὐτελῆ καὶ ἀειδῆ καὶ εὐκαταφρόνητα φαινόμενα μεγάλης καταξιοῦται παρὰ θεῷ δόξης διὰ τὴν πρὸς αὐτὸν ἀγάπην τὴν ἐν δυνάμει δεικνυμένην καὶ μὴ ἐν εἴδει καυχωμένην. ἡμῶν γὰρ πάντων δεδιότων καὶ τῆς σαρκίνης δεσποίνης αὐτῆς, ἥτις ἦν καὶ αὐτὴ τῶν μαρτύρων μία ἀγωνίστρια, ἀγωνιώσης μὴ οὐδὲ τὴν ὁμολογίαν δυνήσεται παρρησιάσασθαι διὰ τὸ ἀσθενὲς τοῦ σώματος, ἡ Βλανδῖνα τοσαύτης ἐπληρώθη δυνάμεως, ὥστε ἐκλυθῆναι καὶ παρεθῆναι τοὺς κατὰ διαδοχὰς παντὶ τρόπῳ βασανίζοντας αὐτὴν ἀπὸ ἑωθινῆς ἕως ἑσπέρας, καὶ αὐτοὺς ὁμολογοῦντας ὅτι νενίκηνται μηδὲν ἔχοντες μηκέτι ὃ ποιήσωσιν αὐτῇ, καὶ θαυμάζειν ἐπὶ τῷ παραμένειν ἔμπνουν αὐτήν, παντὸς τοῦ σώματος περιερρωγότος καὶ ἠνεῳγμένου, καὶ μαρτυρεῖν ὅτι ἓν εἶδος στρεβλώσεως ἱκανὸν ἦν πρὸς τὸ ἐξαγαγεῖν τὴν ψυχήν, οὐχ ὅτι γε τοιαῦτα καὶ τοσαῦτα. ἀλλ᾿ ἡ μακαρία ὡς γενναῖος ἀθλητὴς ἀνενέαζεν ἐν τῇ ὁμολογίᾳ, καὶ ἦν αὐτῆς ἀνάληψις καὶ ἀνάπαυσις καὶ ἀναλγησία τῶν συμβαινόντων τὸ λέγειν ὅτι «Χριστιανή εἰμι καὶ παρ᾿ ἡμῖν οὐδὲν φαῦλον γίνεται».
Ὁ δὲ Σάγκτος καὶ αὐτὸς ὑπερβεβλημένως καὶ ὑπὲρ πάντα ἄνθρωπον πάσας τὰς ἐξ ἀνθρώπων αἰκίας γενναίως ὑπομένων, τῶν ἀνόμων ἐλπιζόντων διὰ τὴν ἐπιμονὴν καὶ τὸ μέγεθος τῶν βασάνων ἀκούσεσθαί τι παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ τῶν μὴ δεόντων, τοσαύτῃ ὑποστάσει ἀντιπαρετάξατο αὐτοῖς, ὥστε μήτε τὸ ἴδιον κατειπεῖν ὄνομα μήτε ἔθνους μήτε πόλεως ὅθεν ἦν, μήτε εἰ δοῦλος ἢ ἐλεύθερος εἴη· ἀλλὰ πρὸς πάντα τὰ ἐπερωτώμενα ἀπεκρίνατο τῇ Ῥωμαϊκῇ φωνῇ «Χριστιανός εἰμι». τοῦτο καὶ ἀντὶ ὀνόματος καὶ ἀντὶ πόλεως καὶ ἀντὶ γένους καὶ ἀντὶ παντὸς ἐπαλλήλως ὡμολόγει, ἄλλην δὲ φωνὴν οὐκ ἤκουσαν αὐτοῦ τὰ ἔθνη· ...
«Μετὰ ταῦτα δὴ λοιπὸν εἰς πᾶν εἶδος διῃρεῖτο τὰ μαρτύρια τῆς ἐξόδου αὐτῶν. ἐκ διαφόρων γὰρ χρωμάτων καὶ παντοίων ἀνθῶν ἕνα πλέξαντες στέφανον προσήνεγκαν τῷ πατρί· ἐχρῆν δ᾿ οὖν τοὺς γενναίους ἀθλητὰς ποικίλον ὑπομείναντας ἀγῶνα καὶ μεγάλως νικήσαντας ἀπολαβεῖν τὸν μέγαν τῆς ἀφθαρσίας στέφανον. ὁ μὲν οὖν Μάτουρος καὶ ὁ Σάγκτος καὶ ἡ Βλανδῖνα καὶ Ἄτταλος ἤγοντο ἐπὶ τὰ θηρία εἰς τὸ δημόσιον καὶ εἰς κοινὸν τῶν ἐθνῶν τῆς ἀπανθρωπίας θέαμα, ἐπίτηδες τῆς τῶν θηριομαχίων ἡμέρας διὰ τοὺς ἡμετέρους διδομένης.
Καὶ ὁ μὲν Μάτουρος καὶ ὁ Σάγκτος αὖθις διῄεσαν ἐν τῷ ἀμφιθεάτρῳ διὰ πάσης κολάσεως, ὡς μηδὲν ὅλως προπεπονθότες, μᾶλλον δ᾿ ὡς διὰ πλειόνων ἤδη κλήρων ἐκβεβιακότες τὸν ἀντίπαλον καὶ περὶ τοῦ στεφάνου αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀγῶνα ἔχοντες, ὑπέφερον πάλιν τὰς διεξόδους τῶν μαστίγων τὰς ἐκεῖσε εἰθισμένας καὶ τοὺς ἀπὸ τῶν θηρίων ἑλκηθμοὺς καὶ πάνθ᾿ ὅσα μαινόμενος ὁ δῆμος, ἄλλοι ἀλλαχόθεν, ἐπεβόων καὶ ἐπεκελεύοντο, ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τὴν σιδηρᾶν καθέδραν, ἐφ᾿ ἧς τηγανιζόμενα τὰ σώματα κνίσης αὐτοὺς ἐνεφόρει. οἳ δ᾿ οὐδ᾿ οὕτως ἔληγον, ἀλλ᾿ ἔτι καὶ μᾶλλον ἐξεμαίνοντο, βουλόμενοι νικῆσαι τὴν ἐκείνων ὑπομονήν, καὶ οὐδ᾿ ὣς παρὰ Σάγκτου ἕτερόν τι εἰσήκουσαν παρ᾿ ἣν ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς εἴθιστο λέγειν τῆς ὁμολογίας φωνήν. οὗτοι μὲν οὖν, δι᾿ ἀγῶνος μεγάλου ἐπὶ πολὺ παραμενούσης αὐτῶν τῆς ψυχῆς, τοὔσχατον ἐτύθησαν, διὰ τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης ἀντὶ πάσης τῆς ἐν τοῖς μονομαχίοις ποικιλίας αὐτοὶ θέαμα γενόμενοι τῷ κόσμῳ·
Ἡ δὲ Βλανδῖνα ἐπὶ ξύλου κρεμασθεῖσα προύκειτο βορὰ τῶν εἰσβαλλομένων θηρίων· ἣ καὶ διὰ τοῦ βλέπεσθαι σταυροῦ σχήματι κρεμαμένη διὰ τῆς εὐτόνου προσευχῆς πολλὴν προθυμίαν τοῖς ἀγωνιζομένοις ἐνεποίει, βλεπόντων αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ ἀγῶνι καὶ τοῖς ἔξωθεν ὀφθαλμοῖς διὰ τῆς ἀδελφῆς τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἐσταυρωμένον, ἵνα πείσῃ τοὺς πιστεύοντας εἰς αὐτὸν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὑπὲρ τῆς Χριστοῦ δόξης παθὼν τὴν κοινωνίαν ἀεὶ ἔχει μετὰ τοῦ ζῶντος θεοῦ. καὶ μηδενὸς ἁψαμένου τότε τῶν θηρίων αὐτῆς, καθαιρεθεῖσα ἀπὸ τοῦ ξύλου ἀνελήφθη πάλιν εἰς τὴν εἱρκτήν, εἰς ἄλλον ἀγῶνα τηρουμένη, ἵνα διὰ πλειόνων γυμνασμάτων νικήσασα, τῷ μὲν σκολιῷ ὄφει ἀπαραίτητον ποιήσῃ τὴν καταδίκην, προτρέψηται δὲ τοὺς ἀδελφούς, ἡ μικρὰ καὶ ἀσθενὴς καὶ εὐκαταφρόνητος μέγαν καὶ ἀκαταγώνιστον ἀθλητὴν Χριστὸν ἐνδεδυμένη, διὰ πολλῶν κλήρων ἐκβιάσασα τὸν ἀντικείμενον καὶ δι᾿ ἀγῶνος τὸν τῆς ἀφθαρσίας στεψαμένη στέφανον. ...
Ἐπὶ πᾶσι δὲ τούτοις τῇ ἐσχάτῃ λοιπὸν ἡμέρᾳ τῶν μονομαχίων ἡ Βλανδῖνα πάλιν εἰσεκομίζετο μετὰ καὶ Ποντικοῦ, παιδαρίου ὡς πεντεκαίδεκα ἐτῶν, οἳ καὶ καθ᾿ ἡμέραν εἰσήγοντο πρὸς τὸ βλέπειν τὴν τῶν λοιπῶν κόλασιν· καὶ ἠναγκάζοντο ὀμνύναι κατὰ τῶν εἰδώλων αὐτῶν, καὶ διὰ τὸ ἐμμένειν εὐσταθῶς καὶ ἐξουθενεῖν αὐτοὺς ἠγριώθη πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὸ πλῆθος, ὡς μήτε τὴν ἡλικίαν τοῦ παιδὸς οἰκτεῖραι μήτε τὸ γύναιον αἰδεσθῆναι, πρὸς πάντα δὲ τὰ δεινὰ παρέβαλλον αὐτοὺς καὶ διὰ πάσης ἐν κύκλῳ διῆγον κολάσεως, ἐπαλλήλως ἀναγκάζοντες ὀμόσαι, ἀλλὰ μὴ δυνάμενοι τοῦτο πρᾶξαι. ὁ μὲν γὰρ Ποντικὸς ὑπὸ τῆς ἀδελφῆς παρωρμημένος, ὡς καὶ τὰ ἔθνη βλέπειν ὅτι ἐκείνη ἦν προτρεπομένη καὶ στηρίζουσα αὐτόν, πᾶσαν κόλασιν γενναίως ὑπομείνας ἀπέδωκεν τὸ πνεῦμα· ἡ δὲ μακαρία Βλανδῖνα πάντων ἐσχάτη, καθάπερ μήτηρ εὐγενὴς παρορμήσασα τὰ τέκνα καὶ νικηφόρους προπέμψασα πρὸς τὸν βασιλέα, ἀναμετρουμένη καὶ αὐτὴ πάντα τὰ τῶν παίδων ἀγωνίσματα ἔσπευδεν πρὸς αὐτούς, χαίρουσα καὶ ἀγαλλιωμένη ἐπὶ τῇ ἐξόδῳ, ὡς εἰς νυμφικὸν δεῖπνον κεκλημένη, ἀλλὰ μὴ πρὸς θηρία βεβλημένη· καὶ μετὰ τὰς μάστιγας, μετὰ τὰ θηρία, μετὰ τὸ τήγανον, τοὔσχατον εἰς γυργαθὸν βληθεῖσα ταύρῳ παρεβλήθη, καὶ ἱκανῶς ἀναβληθεῖσα πρὸς τοῦ ζῴου μηδὲ αἴσθησιν ἔτι τῶν συμβαινόντων ἔχουσα διὰ τὴν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐποχὴν τῶν πεπιστευμένων καὶ ὁμιλίαν πρὸς Χριστόν, ἐτύθη καὶ αὐτή, καὶ αὐτῶν ὁμολογούντων τῶν ἐθνῶν ὅτι μηδεπώποτε παρ᾿ αὐτοῖς γυνὴ τοιαῦτα καὶ τοσαῦτα ἔπαθεν.
Ἀλλ᾿ οὐδ᾿ οὕτως κόρον ἐλάμβανεν αὐτῶν ἡ μανία καὶ ἡ πρὸς τοὺς ἁγίους ὠμότης. ὑπὸ γὰρ ἀγρίου θηρὸς ἄγρια καὶ βάρβαρα φῦλα ταραχθέντα δυσπαύστως εἶχεν, καὶ ἄλλην ἰδίαν ἀρχὴν ἐπὶ τοῖς σώμασιν ἐλάμβανεν ἡ ὕβρις αὐτῶν· τὸ γὰρ νενικῆσθαι αὐτοὺς οὐκ ἐδυσώπει διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ἀνθρώπινον ἐπιλογισμόν, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐξέκαιεν αὐτῶν τὴν ὀργὴν καθάπερ θηρίου, καὶ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος καὶ τοῦ δήμου τὸ ὅμοιον εἰς ἡμᾶς ἄδικον ἐπιδεικνυμένων μῖσος, ἵνα ἡ γραφὴ πληρωθῇ· ὁ ἄνομος ἀνομησάτω ἔτι, καὶ ὁ δίκαιος δικαιωθήτω ἔτι. καὶ γὰρ τοὺς ἐναποπνιγέντας τῇ εἱρκτῇ παρέβαλλον κυσίν, ἐπιμελῶς παραφυλάσσοντες νύκτωρ καὶ μεθ᾿ ἡμέραν μὴ κηδευθῇ τις ὑφ᾿ ἡμῶν· καὶ τότε δὴ προθέντες τά τε τῶν θηρίων τά τε τοῦ πυρὸς λείψανα, πῇ μὲν ἐσπαραγμένα, πῇ δὲ ἠνθρακευμένα, καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν τὰς κεφαλὰς σὺν τοῖς ἀποτμήμασιν αὐτῶν ὡσαύτως ἀτάφους παρεφύλαττον μετὰ στρατιωτικῆς ἐπιμελείας ἡμέραις συχναῖς. καὶ οἳ μὲν ἐνεβριμοῦντο καὶ ἔβρυχον τοὺς ὀδόντας ἐπ᾿ αὐτοῖς, ζητοῦντές τινα περισσοτέραν ἐκδίκησιν παρ᾿ αὐτῶν λαβεῖν, οἳ δὲ ἐνεγέλων καὶ ἐπετώθαζον, μεγαλύνοντες ἅμα τὰ εἴδωλα αὐτῶν καὶ ἐκείνοις προσάπτοντες τὴν τούτων τιμωρίαν, οἱ δὲ ἐπιεικέστεροι καὶ κατὰ ποσὸν συμπαθεῖν δοκοῦντες ὠνείδιζον πολύ, λέγοντες· «ποῦ ὁ θεὸς αὐτῶν καὶ τί αὐτοὺς ὤνησεν ἡ θρῃσκεία, ἣν καὶ πρὸ τῆς ἑαυτῶν εἵλαντο ψυχῆς;» καὶ τὰ μὲν ἀπ᾿ ἐκείνων τοιαύτην εἶχε τὴν ποικιλίαν, τὰ δὲ καθ᾿ ἡμᾶς ἐν μεγάλῳ καθειστήκει πένθει διὰ τὸ μὴ δύνασθαι τὰ σώματα κρύψαι τῇ γῇ· οὔτε γὰρ νὺξ συνεβάλλετο ἡμῖν πρὸς τοῦτο οὔτε ἀργύρια ἔπειθεν οὔτε λιτανεία ἐδυσώπει, παντὶ δὲ τρόπῳ παρετήρουν, ὡς μέγα τι κερδανοῦντες, εἰ μὴ τύχοιεν ταφῆς».
The servants of Christ residing at Vienne and Lyons, in Gaul, to the brethren throughout Asia and Phrygia, who hold the same faith and hope of redemption, peace and grace and glory from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
The greatness of the tribulation in this region, and the fury of the heathen against the saints, and the sufferings of the blessed witnesses, we cannot recount accurately, nor indeed could they possibly be recorded. For with all his might the adversary fell upon us, giving us a foretaste of his unbridled activity at his future coming. He endeavoured in every manner to practise and exercise his servants against the servants of God, not only shutting us out from houses and baths and markets, but forbidding any of us to be seen in any place whatever. But the grace of God led the conflict against him, and delivered the weak, and set them as firm pillars, able through patience to endure all the wrath of the Evil One. And they joined battle with him, undergoing all kinds of shame and injury; and regarding their great sufferings as little, they hastened to Christ, manifesting truly that 'the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.' First of all, they endured nobly the injuries heaped upon them by the populace; clamours and blows and draggings and robberies and stonings and imprisonments, and all things which an infuriated mob delight in inflicting on enemies and adversaries. Then being taken to the forum by the chiliarch and the authorities of the city, they were examined in the presence of the whole multitude, and having confessed, they were imprisoned until the arrival of the governor.
Then all of us feared greatly on account of uncertainty as to their confession; not because we dreaded the sufferings to be endured, but because we looked to the end, and were afraid that some of them might fall away. But those who were worthy were seized day by day, filling up their number, so that all the zealous persons, and those through whom especially our affairs had been established, were collected together out of the two churches. And some of our heathen servants also were seized, as the governor had publicly commanded that all of us should be sought out. These, being ensnared by Satan, and fearing for themselves the tortures which they beheld the saints endure, and being also urged on by the soldiers, accused us falsely of Thyestean banquets and Oedipodean intercourse, and of deeds which are not only unlawful for us to speak of or to think, but which we cannot believe were ever done by men. When these accusations were reported, all the people raged like wild beasts against us, so that even if any had before been moderate on account of friendship, they were now exceedingly furious and gnashed their teeth against us. And that which was spoken by our Lord was fulfilled: 'The time will corne when whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.' Then finally the holy witnesses endured sufferings beyond description, Satan striving earnestly that some of the slanders might be uttered by them also.
But the whole wrath of the populace, and governor, and soldiers was aroused exceedingly against Sanctus, the deacon from Vienne, and Maturus, a late con vert, yet a noble combatant, and against Attalus, a native of Pergamos, where he had always been a pillar and foundation, and Blandina, through whom Christ showed that things which appear mean and obscure and despicable to men are with God of great glory, through love toward Him manifested in power, and not boasting in appearance. For while we all trembled, and her earthly mistress, who was herseif also one of the witnesses, feared that on account of the weakness of her body, she would be unable to make bold confession, Blandina was filled with such power that the men were weary and faint who were torturing her by turns from morning till evening in every manner, so that they acknowledged that they were conquered, and could do nothing more to her. And they were astonished at her endurance, as her entire body was mangled and broken ; and they testified that one of these forms of torture was sufficient to destroy life, not to speak of so many and so great sufferings. But the blessed woman, like a noble athlete, renewed her strength in her confession ; and her comfort and récréation and relief from the pain of her sufferings was in exclaiming, ' I am a Christian, and there is nothing vile done by us.'
But Sanctus also endured marvellously and super-humanly all the outrages which he suffered. While the wicked men hoped, by the continuance and severity of his tortures to wring something from him which he ought not to say, he girded himself against them with such firmness that he would not even teil his name, or the nation or city to which he belonged, or whether he was bond or free, but answered in the Roman tongue to all their questions, 'I am a Christian.' He confessed this instead of name and city and race and everything besides, and the people heard from him no other word. ...
After these things, finally, their martyrdoms were divided into every form. For plaiting a crown of various colours and of all kinds of flowers, they presented it to the Father. It was proper therefore that the noble athletes, having endured a manifold strife, and conquered grandly, should receive the crown, great and incorruptible.
Maturus, therefore, and Sanctus and Blandina, and Attalus were led to the amphitheatre to be exposed to the wild beasts, and to give the heathen public a spectacle of cruelty, a day for fighting with wild beasts being specially appointed on account of our people. Both Maturus and Sanctus passed again through every torment in the amphitheatre, as ifthey had suifered nothing before, or rather, as if, having already conquered their antagonist in many contests, they were now striving for the crown itself. They endured again the customary running of the gauntlet and the violence of the wild beasts, and everything which the furious people cailed for or desired, and at last, the iron chair in which their bodies being roasted, tormented them with the fumes. And not with this did the persecutors cease, but were yet more mad against them, determined to overcome their patience. But even thus they did not hear a word from Sanctus except the confession which he had uttered from the beginning. These, then, after their life had continued for a long time through the great conflict, were at last sacrificed, having been made throughout that day a spectacle to the world, in place of the usual variety of combats.
But Blandina was suspended on a stake, and exposed to be devoured by the wild beasts who should attack her. And because she appeared as if hanging on a cross, and because of her earnest prayers, she inspired the combatants with great zeal. For they looked On her in her conflict, and beheld with their outward eyes, in the form of their sister, Him who was crucified for them, that He might persuade those who believe on Him, that every one who suffers for the glory of Christ has fellowship always with the living God. As none of the wild beasts at that time touched her, she was taken down from the stake, and cast again into prison. She was preserved thus for another! contest, that, being victorious in more conflicts, she might make the punishment of the crooked serpent irrevocable; and, though small and weak and despised, yet clothed with Christ the mighty and conquering Athlete, she might arouse the zeal of the brethren, and, having overcome the adversary many times might receive, through her conflict, the crown incorruptible.
After all these, on the last day of the contests, Blandina was again brought in, with Ponticus, a boy about fifteen years old. They had been brought every day to witness the sufferings of the others, and had been pressed to swear by the idols. But because they remained steadfast and despised them, the multitude became furious, so that they had no compassion for the youth of the boy nor respect for the sex of the woman. Therefore they exposed them to all the terrible sufferings and took them through the entire round of torture, repeatedly urging them to swear, but being unable to effect this; for Ponticus, encouraged by his sister so that even the heathen could see that she was confirming and strengthening him, having nobly endured every torture, gave up the ghost. But the blessed Blandina, last of all, having, as a noble mother, encouraged her children and sent them before her victorious to the King, endured herself all their conflicts and hastened after them, glad and rejoicing in her departure as if called to a marriage-supper, rather than cast to wild beasts. And, after the scourging, after the wild beasts, after the roasting-seat, she was finally enclosed in a net, and thrown before a bull. And having been tossed about by the animal, but feeling none of the things which were happening to her, on account of her hope and firm hold upon what had been entrusted to her, and her communion with Christ, she also was sacrificed. And the heathen themselves confessed that never among them had a woman endured so many and such terrible tortures.
But not even thus was their madness and cruelty toward the saints satisfied. For, incited by the Wild Beast, wild and barbarous tribes were not easily appeased, and their violence found another peculiar opportunity in the dead bodies. For, through their lack of manly reason, the fact that they had been conquered did not put them to shame, but rather the more enkindled their wrath as that of a wild beast, and aroused alike the hatred of governor and people to treat us unjustly; that the Scripture might be fulfilled: 'He that is lawless, let him be lawless still, and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still.' For they cast to the dog's those who had died of suffocation in the prison, carefully guarding them by night and day, lest any one should be buried by us. And they exposed the remains left by the wild beasts and by fire, mangled and charred, and placed the heads of the others by their bodies, and guarded them in like manner from burial by a watch of soldiers for many days. And some raged and gnashed their teeth against them, desiring to execute more severe vengeance upon them ; but others laughed and mocked at them, magnifying their own idols, and imputed to them the punishment of the Christians. Even the more reasonable, and those who had seemed to sympathize somewhat, reproached them often, saying, 'Where is their God, and what has their religion, which they have chosen rather than life, profited them? ' So various was their conduct toward us; but we were in deep affliction because we could not bury the bodies. For neither did night avail us for this purpose, nor did money persuade, nor entreaty move to compassion; but they kept watch in every way, as if the prevention of the burial would be of some great advantage to them.
A. N. L.
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