Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus.: The Saracens, under Mavia their Queen, embrace Christianity; and Moses, a Pious Monk, is consecrated their Bishop.Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Chapter XXXVI.—The Saracens, under Mavia their Queen, embrace Christianity; and Moses, a Pious Monk, is consecrated their Bishop.
No sooner had the emperor departed from Antioch, than the Saracens, 674 who had before been in alliance with the Romans, revolted from them, being led by Mavia their queen, whose husband was then dead. All the regions of the East therefore were at that time ravaged by the Saracens: but a certain divine Providence repressed their fury in the manner I am about to describe. A person named Moses, a Saracen by birth, who led a monastic life in the desert, became exceedingly eminent for his piety, faith, and miracles. Mavia the queen of the Saracens was therefore desirous that this person should be constituted bishop over her nation, and promised on the condition to terminate the war. The Roman generals considering that a peace founded on such terms would be extremely advantageous, gave immediate directions for its ratification. Moses was accordingly seized, and brought from the desert to Alexandria, in order that he might there be invested with the bishopric: but on his presentation for that purpose to Lucius, who at that time presided over the churches in that city, he refused to be ordained by him, protesting against it in these words: I account myself indeed unworthy of the sacred office; but if the exigencies of the state require my bearing it, it shall not be by Lucius laying his hand on me, for it has been filled with blood. When Lucius told him that it was his duty to learn from him the principles of religion, and not to utter reproachful language, Moses replied, Matters of faith are not now in question: but your infamous practices against the brethren sufficiently prove that your doctrines are not Christian. For a Christian is “no striker, reviles not, does not fight”; for “it becomes not a servant of the Lord to fight.” 675 But your deeds cry out against you by those who have been sent into exile, who have been exposed to the wild beasts, and who had been delivered up to the flames. Those things which our own eyes have beheld are far more convincing than what we receive from the report of another. As Moses expressed these and other similar sentiments his friends took him to the mountains, that he might receive ordination from those bishops who lived in exile there. Moses having thus been consecrated, the Saracen war was terminated; and so scrupulously did Mavia observe the peace thus entered into with the Romans that she gave her daughter in marriage to Victor the commander-in-chief of the Roman army. Such were the transactions in relation to the Saracens.
The name Saracen (Σαρακηνός , perhaps from the Arabic Sharkeen Orientals) was used vaguely at first; the Greek writers of the first centuries gave it to the Bedouin Arabs of Eastern Arabia, while others used it to designate the Arab races of Syria and Palestine, and others the Berber of North Eastern Africa, who later conquered Spain and Sicily and invaded France. The name became very familiar in Europe during the period of the Crusades. On Saracens, consult the interesting fiftieth chapter of Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.116:675
2 Tim. ii. 24.
Next: After the Departure of Valens from Antioch, the Alexandrians expel Lucius, and restore Peter, who had come with Letters from Damasus Bishop of Rome.
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