Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen.: Sedition of the People against Theophilus; and they traduced their Rulers. John was recalled, and again came to the See.Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Chapter XVIII.—Sedition of the People against Theophilus; and they traduced their Rulers. John was recalled, and again came to the See.
The people of Constantinople were made acquainted with the decree of the council towards the evening; and they immediately rose up in sedition. 1608 At the break of day they ran to the church, and shouted, among many other plans, that a larger council ought to be convened to take cognizance of the matter; and they prevented the officers, who had been sent by the emperor to convey John into banishment, from carrying the edict into execution. John, apprehensive lest another accusation should be preferred against him, under the pretext that he had disobeyed the mandate of the emperor, or excited an insurrection among the people, when the multitude was dispersed, secretly made his escape from the church at noon, three days after his deposition. When the people became aware that he had gone into exile, the sedition became serious, and many insulting speeches were uttered against the emperor and the council; and particularly against Theophilus and Severian, who were regarded as the originators of the plot. Severian happened to be teaching in the church at the very time that these occurrences were taking place; and he took occasion to commend the deposition of John, and stated that, even supposing him guiltless of other crimes, John deserved to be deposed on account of his pride; because, while God willingly forgives men all other sins, he resists the proud. At this p. 411 discourse the people became restive under the wrong, and renewed their wrath, and fell into unrestrainable revolt. They ran to the churches, to the market-places, and even to the palace of the emperor, and with howls and groans demanded the recall of John. The empress was at length overcome by their importunity; and she persuaded her husband to yield to the wishes of the people. She quickly sent a eunuch, named Briso, in whom she placed confidence, to bring back John from Prenetus, a city of Bithynia; and protested that she had taken no part in the machinations that had been carried on against him, but had, on the contrary, always respected him as a priest and the initiator of her children.
When John, on his journey homeward, reached the suburbs belonging to the empress, he stopped near Anaplus; and refused to re-enter the city until the injustice of his deposition had been recognized by a larger synod of bishops; but as this refusal tended to augment the popular excitement, and led to many public declamations against the emperor and the empress, he allowed himself to be persuaded to enter the city. The people went to meet him, singing psalms composed with reference to the circumstances; many carried light wax tapers. They conducted him to the church; and although he refused, and frequently affirmed that those who had condemned him ought first to reconsider their vote, yet they compelled him to take the episcopal throne, and to speak peace to the people according to the custom of the priests. He then delivered an extemporaneous discourse, in which, by a pleasing figure of speech, he declared that Theophilus had meditated an injury against his church, even as the king of Egypt had contemplated the violation of Sarah, the wife of the patriarch Abraham, which is recorded in the books of the Hebrews: he then proceeded to commend the zeal of the people, and to extol the emperor and the empress for their good will to him; he stirred the people to much applause and good acclaim for the emperor and his spouse, so that he had to leave his speech half ended.
Soc. vi. 16; Pallad. Dialog. ibid., and Chrysostoms Ep. ad Innocentem; Chrys. Sermones antequam iret in Exsilium; Sermo cum iret in Exsilium; orationes et sermones post Reditum ab Exsilio, iii. 427–448. Soz., while guided by the order of Soc., works the material in a different form. Cf. Zos. v. 25.
Next: Obstinancy of Theophilus. Enmity between the Egyptians and the Citizens of Constantinople. Flight of Theophilus. Nilammon the Ascetic. The Synod concerning John.
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