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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Life of Constantine with Orations of Constantine and Eusebius.: Chapter XIII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XIII.—Of Constantius his Father, who refused to imitate Diocletian, Maximian, and Maxentius, 3078 in their Persecution of the Christians.

At a time when four emperors 3079 shared the administration of the Roman empire, Constantius alone, following a course of conduct different from that pursued by his colleagues, entered into the friendship of the Supreme God.

For while they besieged and wasted the churches of God, leveling them to the ground, and obliterating the very foundations of the houses of prayer, 3080 he kept his hands pure from their abominable impiety, and never in any respect resembled them. They polluted their provinces by the indiscriminate slaughter of godly men and women; but he kept his soul free from the stain of this crime. 3081 They, involved in the mazes of impious idolatry, enthralled first themselves, and then all under their authority, in bondage to the errors of evil demons, while he at the same time originated the profoundest peace throughout his dominions, and secured to his subjects the privilege of celebrating without hindrance the worship of God. In short, while his colleagues oppressed all men by the most grievous exactions, and rendered their lives intolerable, and even worse than death, Constantius alone governed his people with a mild and tranquil sway, and exhibited towards them a truly parental and fostering care. Numberless, indeed, are the other virtues of this man, which are the theme of praise to all; of these I will record one or two instances, as specimens of the quality of those which I must pass by in silence, and then I will proceed to the appointed order of my narrative.



The author of the chapter heading means of course Galerius. Maxentius was not emperor until after the death of Constantius.


[Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius.—Bag.]


For account of these persecutions, see Church History, Bk. 8, and notes of McGiffert.


Compare the Church History, 8. 13, and Lactantius, De mort. pers. 15. The latter says he allowed buildings to be destroyed, but spared human life.

Next: Chapter XIV

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