From the History of the Church. 2903
While the Godhead of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ was proclaimed among all men by reason of the astonishing mighty-works which He wrought, and myriads, even from countries remote from the land of Judæa, who were afflicted with sicknesses and diseases of every kind, were coming to Him in the hope of being healed, King Abgar 2906 also, who was renowned among the nations on the east of the Euphrates for his valour, had his body wasting away with a grievous disease, such as there is no cure for among men. And when he heard and was informed of the name of Jesus, and about the mighty works which He did,—for every one alike bore witness concerning Him,—he sent a letter of request by a man belonging to him, 2907 and besought Him to come and heal him of his disease.
But our Saviour at the time that he asked Him did not comply with his request. Yet He deigned to give him 2908 a letter in reply: for He promised him that He would send one of His disciples, and heal his sicknesses, and give salvation 2909 to him and to all who were connected with him. 2910 Nor did He delay to fulfil His promise to him: but after He was risen from the place of the dead, and was received into heaven, Thomas 2911 the apostle, one of the twelve, as by an impulse from God, sent Thaddæus, 2912 who was himself also numbered among the seventy 2913 disciples of Christ, to Edessa, to be a preacher and proclaimer of the teaching of Christ; and the promise of Christ was through him fulfilled.
Thou hast in writing the evidence of these things, which is taken from the Book of Records 2914 which was at Edessa: for at that time the kingdom was still standing. 2915 In the documents, then, which were there, in which was contained whatever was done by those of old down to the time of Abgar, these things also are found preserved down to the present hour. There is, however, nothing to prevent our hearing the very letters themselves, which have been taken by us 2916 from p. 652 the archives, and are in words to this effect, translated from Aramaic into Greek.
“Abgar the Black, 2920 sovereign 2921 of the country, to Jesus, the good Saviour, who has appeared in the country of Jerusalem: Peace. I have heard about Thee, 2922 and about the healing which is wrought by Thy hands without drugs and roots. For, as it is reported, Thou makest the blind to see, and the lame to walk; and Thou cleansest the lepers, and Thou castest out unclean spirits and demons, and Thou healest those who are tormented with lingering diseases, and Thou raisest the dead. And when I heard all these things about Thee, I settled in my mind one of two things: either that Thou art God, who hast come down from heaven, and doest these things or that Thou art the Son of God, and doest these things. On this account, therefore, I have written to beg of Thee that Thou wouldest weary Thyself to come to me, and heal this disease which I have. For I have also heard that the Jews murmur against Thee, and wish to do Thee harm. But I have a city, small and beautiful, which is sufficient for two.”
Copy of those things which were written 2923 by Jesus by the hand of Hananias, the Tabularius, to Abgar, sovereign of the country:—
“Blessed is he that hath believed in me, not having seen me. For it is written 2924 concerning me, that those who see me will not believe in me, and that those will believe who have not seen me, and will be saved. But touching that which thou hast written to me, that I should come to thee—it is meet that I should finish here all that for the sake of which I have been sent and, after I have finished it, then I shall be taken up to Him that sent me; and, when I have been taken up, I will send to thee one of my disciples, that he may heal thy disease, and give salvation to thee and to those who are with thee.”
“After Jesus was ascended, Judas Thomas sent to him Thaddæus the apostle, one of the Seventy. And, when he was come, he lodged with Tobias, son of Tobias. And, when the news about him was heard, they made it known to Abgar: “The apostle of Jesus is come hither, as He sent thee word.” Thaddæus, moreover, began to heal every disease and sickness by the power of God, so that all men were amazed. And, when Abgar heard the great and marvellous cures which he wrought, he bethought himself that he was the person about whom Jesus had sent him word and said to him: When I have been taken up, I will send to thee one of my disciples, that he may heal thy disease. So he sent and called Tobias, with whom he was lodging, and said to him: I have heard that a mighty man has come, and has entered in and taken up his lodging in thy house: bring him up, therefore, to me. And when Tobias came to Thaddæus he said to him: Abgar the king has sent and called me, and commanded me to bring thee up to him, that thou mayest heal him. And Thaddæus said: I will go up, because to him have I been sent with power. Tobias therefore rose up early the next day, and took Thaddæus, and came to Abgar.
“Now, when they were come up, his princes happened to be standing 2925 there. And immediately, as he was entering in, a great vision appeared to Abgar on the countenance of Thaddæus the apostle. And, when Abgar saw Thaddæus, he prostrated himself before him. 2926 And astonishment seized upon all who were standing there: for they had not themselves seen that vision, which appeared to Abgar alone. And he proceeded to ask Thaddæus: Art thou in truth the disciple of Jesus the Son of God, who said to me, I will send to thee one of my disciples, that he may heal thee and give thee salvation? And Thaddæus answered and said: Because thou hast mightily 2927 believed on Him that sent me, therefore have I been sent to thee; and again, if thou shalt believe on Him, thou shalt have the requests of thy heart. And Abgar said to him: In such wise have I believed on Him, that I have even desired to take an army and extirpate those Jews who crucified Him; were it not that I was restrained by reason of the dominion of the Romans. 2928 And Thaddæus said: Our Lord has fulfilled the will of His Father; and, having fulfilled it, has been taken up to His Father. Abgar said to him: I too have believed p. 653 in Him and in His Father. And 2929 Thaddæus said: Therefore do I lay my hand upon thee in His name. And when he had done this, immediately he was healed of his sickness and of the disease which he had. And Abgar marvelled, because, like as he had heard concerning Jesus, so he saw in deeds by the hand of Thaddæus His disciple: since without drugs and roots he healed him; and not him only, but also Abdu, 2930 son of Abdu, who had the gout: for he too went in, and fell at his feet, 2931 and when he prayed over him he was healed. And many other people of their city did he heal, and he did great works, and preached the word of God.
“After these things Abgar said to him: Thou, Thaddæus, doest these things by the power of God; we also marvel at them. But in addition to all these things I beg of thee to relate to me the story about the coming of Christ, and in what manner it was; and about His power, and by what power He wrought those things of which I have heard.
“And Thaddæus said: For the present I will be silent; 2932 but, because I have been sent to preach the word of God, assemble me tomorrow all the people of thy city, and I will preach before them, and sow amongst them the word of life; and will tell them about the coming of Christ, how it took place; and about His mission, 2933 for what purpose he was sent by His Father; and about His power and His deeds, and about the mysteries which He spake in the world, and by what power He wrought these things, and about His new preaching, 2934 and about His abasement and His humiliation, and how He humbled and emptied and abased Himself, and was crucified, and descended to Hades, 2935 and broke through the enclosure 2936 which had never been broken through before, and raised up the dead, and descended alone, and ascended with a great multitude to His Father. 2937
“Abgar, therefore, commanded that in the morning all the people of his city should assemble, and hear the preaching of Thaddæus. And afterwards he commanded gold and silver to be given to him; but he received it not, and said: If we have forsaken that which was our own, how shall we accept that of others?”
These things were done in the year 340. 2938
Properly Urrhoi, or Orrhoi (***). It seems probable that the word is connected with Osrhoene, the name of the province in which Edessa held an important place, the correct form of which is supposed to be Orrhoene. The name Edessa (***) occurs only once in these Documents, viz., in the “Acts of Sharbil,” sub init.—Tr.651:2906
“By this title all the toparchs of Edessa were called, just as the Roman emperors were called Cæsars, the kings of Egypt Pharaohs or Ptolemies, the kings of Syria Antiochi.” Assem., Bibl. Or., vol. i. p. 261. Assemani adds: “Abgar in Syriac means lame.” Moses of Chorene, however, with more probability, derives it from the Armenian Avag-aïr, “grand homme, à cause de sa grande mansuétude et de sa sagesse, et de plus, à cause de sa taille.” See below the extract from his History of Armenia, book ii. ch. 26.651:2907 651:2908 651:2909 651:2910 651:2911 651:2912 651:2913 651:2914
These were kept in the archives of the kingdom, which were transferred by Abgar from Nisibis to Edessa when he made it the capital of his dominions. See Moses Chor. B. ii. ch. 27, infra. The archives appear to have been still kept at Edessa in a.d. 550. [Compare this fact with Tertullians statement, vol. iii. p. 164.]651:2915 651:2916 652:2917 652:2918 652:2919
Gr. ταχυδρόμου. But the post held by Hananias must have been one of more dignity than that of a courier. He was probably a Secretary of State. In The Acts of Addæus (infra) he is called, in connection with the name Tabularius, a sharir, or confidential servant.652:2920 652:2921 652:2922
Comp. Matt. iv. 24; “And His fame went throughout all Syria,” etc. See also Moses Chor. B. ii. c. 30.652:2923 652:2924 652:2925
Cureton, “were assembled and standing;” nearly as Euseb.: παρόντων καὶ ἑστώτων. But in 2 Sam. xx. 1, the only reference given by Castel for the word *** is used for the Heb. ארקנ, “he chanced.”—Tr.652:2926 652:2927 652:2928 653:2929
In another piece, The Teaching of Addæus, i.e., Thaddæus, we have a portion of the original Syriac from which Eusebius translation was made. The only portions that correspond are: in the present piece, from this place to “—accept that of others,” near the end; and, in the following one, from the beginning to “—that which is not ours.” Some of the variations are worthy of notice.653:2930 653:2931
This answers sufficiently well to the Greek: ὁς καὶ αὐτὸς προσελθὼν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ ἔπεσεν; but, as the original Syriac, p. 12, reads “he too brought his feet to him, and he laid his hands upon them and healed him,” the Greek translation must have been at fault.653:2932 653:2933 653:2934
More probably with ***, “newness (of his preaching),” which was freely translated by him (περὶ) τῆς καινῆς αὐτοῦ κηρύξεως; and this, again, was by the Syrian re-translator rendered literally, as in the text.653:2935 653:2936 653:2937
Comp. Matt. xxvii. 52.653:2938
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