Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus.: Of Arsenius, and his Hand which was said to have been cut off.Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Chapter XXIX.—Of Arsenius, and his Hand which was said to have been cut off.
The special providence of God drove Arsenius also to Tyre; for, disregarding the injunctions he had received from the accusers who had bribed him, he went thither disguised to see what would be done. It by some means happened that the servants of Archelaus, the governor of the province, heard some persons at an inn affirm that Arsenius, who was reported to have been murdered, was concealed in the house of one of the citizens. Having heard this and marked the individuals by whom this statement was made, they communicated the information to their master, who causing strict search to be made for the man immediately, p. 31 discovered and properly secured him; after which he gave notice to Athanasius that he need not be under any alarm, inasmuch as Arsenius was alive and there present. Arsenius on being apprehended, at first denied that he was the person; but Paul, bishop of Tyre, who had formerly known him, established his identity. Divine providence having thus disposed matters, Athanasius was shortly after summoned by the Synod; and as soon as he presented himself, his traducers exhibited the hand, and pressed their charge. He managed the affair with great prudence, for he enquired of those present, as well as of his accusers, who were the persons who knew Arsenius? and several having answered that they knew him, he caused Arsenius to be introduced, having his hands covered by his cloak. Then he again asked them, Is this the person who has lost a hand? All were astonished at the unexpectedness of this procedure, except those who knew whence the hand had been cut off; for the rest thought that Arsenius was really deficient of a hand, and expected that the accused would make his defense in some other way. But Athanasius turning back the cloak of Arsenius on one side showed one of the mans hands; again, while some were supposing that the other hand was wanting, permitting them to remain a short time in doubt afterward he turned back the cloak on the other side and exposed the other hand. Then addressing himself to those present, he said, Arsenius, as you see, is found to have two hands: let my accusers show the place whence the third was cut off. 245
A full account of the circumstances narrated in this and the following chapters is given by Athanasius in his Apol. contra Arianos, 65, 71 and 72. Parallel accounts may also be found in Sozom. II. 25; Theodoret, H. E. I. 28; Rufinus, H. E. X. 17; Philostorgius, II. 11.
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