Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen.: Unlawful Expulsion of John from his Bishopric. The Trouble which followed. Conflagration of the Church by Fire from Heaven. Exile of John to Cucusus.Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Chapter XXII.—Unlawful Expulsion of John from his Bishopric. The Trouble which followed. Conflagration of the Church by Fire from Heaven. Exile of John to Cucusus.
From this period the most zealous of the people guarded John alternately, stationing themselves about the episcopal residence by night and by day. 1612 The bishops who had condemned him complained of this conduct as a violation of the laws of the Church, declared that they could answer for the justice of the sentence that had been enacted against him, and asserted that tranquillity would never be restored among the people until he had been expelled from the city. A messenger having conveyed to him a mandate from the emperor enjoining his immediate departure, John obeyed, and escaped from the city, unnoticed by those who had been appointed to guard him. He made no other censure than that, in being sent into banishment without a legal trial or any of the forms of the law, he was treated more severely than murderers, sorcerers, and adulterers. He was conveyed in a little bark to Bithynia, and thence immediately continued his journey. Some of his enemies were apprehensive lest the people, on hearing of his departure, should pursue him, and bring him back by force, and therefore commanded the gates of the church to be closed. When the people who were in the public places of the city heard of what had occurred, great confusion ensued; for some ran to the seashore as if they would follow him, and others fled hither and thither, and were in great terror since the wrath of the emperor was expected to visit them for creating so much disturbance and tumult. Those who were within the church barred the exits still further by rushing together upon them, and by pressing upon one another. With difficulty they forced the doors open by the use of great violence; one party shattered them with stones, another was pulling them toward themselves, and was thus forcing the crowd backward into the building. Meanwhile the church was suddenly consumed on all sides with fire. The flames extended in all directions, and the grand house of the senatorial council, adjacent to the church on the south, was doomed. The two parties mutually accused each other of incendiarism. The enemies of John asserted that his partisans had been guilty of the deed from revenge, on account of the vote that had been passed against him by the council. These latter, on the other hand, maintained that they had been calumniated, and that the deed was perpetrated by their enemies, with the intention of burning them in the church. While the fire was spreading from late afternoon until the morning, and creeping forward to the material which was still standing, the officers who held John in custody conveyed him to Cucusus, a city of Armenia, which the emperor by letter had appointed as the place of residence for the condemned man. Other officers were commissioned to arrest all the bishops and clerics who had favored the cause of John, and to imprison them in Chalcedon. Those citizens who were suspected of attachment to John were sought out and cast into prison, and compelled to pronounce anathema against him.
Soc. vi. 18; Pallad. ibid. and Chrys. Ep. ad Inn.; Theodoret, H. E. v. 34. Soz. has distinct material. Cf. Zos. v. 24.
Next: Arsacius elected to succeed John. The Evils wrought against the Followers of John. St. Nicarete.
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