Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter XV
Chapter XV.—The Martyrdom of Marinus at Cæsarea.
1. At this time, when the peace of the churches had been everywhere 2288 restored, Marinus in Cæsarea in Palestine, who was honored for his military deeds, and illustrious by virtue of family and wealth, was beheaded for his testimony to Christ, on the following account.
2. The vine-branch 2289 is a certain mark of honor among the Romans, and those who obtain it become, they say, centurions. A place being vacated, the order of succession called Marinus to this position. But when he was about to receive the honor, another person came before the tribunal and claimed that it was not legal, according to the ancient laws, for him to receive the Roman dignity, as he was a Christian and did not sacrifice to the emperors; but that the office belonged rather to him.
3. Thereupon the judge, whose name was Achæus, 2290 being disturbed, first asked what opinion Marinus held. And when he perceived that he continually confessed himself a Christian, he gave him three hours for reflection.
4. When he came out from the tribunal, Theotecnus, 2291 the bishop there, took him aside and conversed with him, and taking his hand led him into the church. And standing with him within, in the sanctuary, he raised his cloak a little, and pointed to the sword that hung by his side; and at the same time he placed before him the Scripture of the divine Gospels, and told him to choose which of the two he wished. And without hesitation he reached forth his right hand, and took the divine Scripture. “Hold fast then,” says Theotecnus to him, “hold fast to God, and strengthened by him mayest thou obtain what thou hast chosen, and go in peace.”
5. Immediately on his return the herald cried out calling him to the tribunal, for the appointed time was already completed. And standing before the tribunal, and manifesting greater zeal for the faith, immediately, as he was, he was led away and finished his course by death.
The martyrdom of Marinus after the promulgation of Gallienus edict of toleration and after peace had been, as Eusebius remarks, everywhere restored to the churches, has caused historians some difficulty. It is maintained, however, by Tillemont and others, and with especial force by Görres in the Jahrbücher für prot. Theol., 1877, p. 620 sq., that the martyrdom of Marinus took place while the usurper Macrianus, who was exceedingly hostile to the Christians, was still in power in the East, and at a time, therefore, when the edicts of Gallienus could have no force there. This of course explains the difficulty completely. The martyrdom then must have taken place toward the beginning of Gallienus reign, for Macrianus was slain as early as 262. Of the martyr Marinus we know only what Eusebius tells us here.303:2289
τὸ κλῆμα. The centurion received as a badge of office a vine-branch or vine-switch, which was called by the Romans Vitis.303:2290
Achæus is an otherwise unknown person. That he was governor of Palestine, as Valesius asserts, is apparently a pure assumption, for the term used of him (δικαστής) is quite indefinite.303:2291
On Theotecnus, see above, chap. 14, note 9.
Next: Chapter XVI
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