Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: Of the Holy Martyrs Juventinus and Maximinus.
Chapter XI.—Of the Holy Martyrs Juventinus and Maximinus.
Now Julian, with less restraint, or shall I say, less shame, began to arm himself against p. 101 true religion, wearing indeed a mask of moderation, but all the while preparing gins and traps which caught all who were deceived by them in the destruction of iniquity. He began by polluting with foul sacrifices the wells in the city and in Daphne, that every man who used the fountain might be partaker of abomination. Then he thoroughly polluted the things exposed in the Forum, for bread and meat and fruit and vegetables and every kind of food were aspersed. When those who were called by the Saviours name saw what was done, they groaned and bewailed and expressed their abomination; nevertheless they partook, for they remembered the apostolic law, “Everything that is sold in the shambles eat, asking no question for conscience sake.” 634 Two officers in the army, who were shield bearers in the imperial suite, at a certain banquet lamented in somewhat warm language the abomination of what was being done, and employed the admirable language of the glorious youths at Babylon, “Thou hast given us over to an impious Prince, an apostate beyond all the nations on the earth.” 635 One of the guests gave information of this, and the emperor arrested these right worthy men and endeavoured to ascertain by questioning them what was the language they had used. They accepted the imperial enquiry as an opportunity for open speech, and with noble enthusiasm replied “Sir we were brought up in true religion; we were obedient to most excellent laws, the laws of Constantine and of his sons; now we see the world full of pollution, meats and drinks alike defiled with abominable sacrifices, and we lament. We bewail these things at home, and now before thy face we express our grief, for this is the one thing in thy reign which we take ill.” No sooner did he whom sympathetic courtiers called most mild and most philosophic hear these words than he took off his mask of moderation, and exposed the countenance of impiety. He ordered cruel and painful scourgings to be inflicted on them and deprived them of their lives; or shall we not rather say freed them from that sorrowful time and gave them crowns of victory? He pretended indeed that punishment was inflicted upon them not for the true religion for sake of which they were really slain, but because of their insolence, for he gave out that he had punished them for insulting the emperor, and ordered this report to be published abroad, thus grudging to these champions of the truth the name and honour of martyrs. The name of one was Juventinus; of the other Maximinus. The city of Antioch honoured them as defenders of true religion, and deposited them in a magnificent tomb, and up to this day they are honoured by a yearly festival. 636
Other men in public office and of distinction used similar boldness of speech, and won like crowns of martyrdom.
1 Cor. x. 25101:635
Song of the Three Children v. 8, quoted not quite exactly from the Septuagint, which runs παρέδωκας ἡμᾶς…βασιλεῖ ἀδίκῳ και πονηροτάτῳ παρὰ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν. The text is, παρέδωκας ἡμας βασιλεῖ παρανόμῳ ἀποστάτῃ παρὰ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη τὰ ὄντα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς101:636
cf. St. Chrysostoms homily in their honour. The Basilian menology mentions Juventinus under Oct. 9.
Next: Of Valentinianus the great Emperor.
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