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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: Of Theodorus the Confessor.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VII.—Of Theodorus the Confessor.

Julian could not endure the shame brought upon him by these doings, and on the following day ordered the leaders of the choral procession to be arrested. Sallustius was prefect at this time and a servant of iniquity, but he nevertheless was anxious to persuade the sovereign not to allow the Christians who were eager for glory to attain the object of their desires. When however he saw that the emperor was impotent to master his rage, he arrested a young man adorned with the graces of a holy enthusiasm while walking in the Forum, hung him up before the world on the stocks, lacerated his back with scourges, and scored his sides with claw-like instruments of torture. And this he did all day from dawn till the day was done; and then put chains of iron on him and ordered him to be kept in ward. Next morning he informed Julian of what had been done, and reported the young man’s constancy and added that the event was for themselves a defeat and for the Christians a triumph. Persuaded of the truth of this, God’s enemy suffered no more p. 99 to be so treated and ordered Theodorus 624 to be let out of prison, for so was named this young and glorious combatant in truth’s battle. On being asked if he had had any sense of pain on undergoing those most bitter and most savage tortures he replied that at the first indeed he had felt some little pain, but that then had appeared to him one who continually wiped the sweat from his face with a cool and soft kerchief and bade him be of good courage. “Wherefore,” said he, “when the executioners gave over I was not pleased but vexed, for now there went away with them he who brought me refreshment of soul.” But the demon of lying divination at once increased the martyr’s glory and exposed his own falsehood; for a thunderbolt sent down from heaven burnt the whole shrine 625 and turned the very statue of the Pythian into fine dust, for it was made of wood and gilded on the surface. Julianus the uncle of Julian, prefect of the East, learnt this by night, and riding at full speed came to Daphne, eager to bring succour to the deity whom he worshipped; but when he saw the so-called god turned into powder he scourged the officers in charge of the temple, 626 for he conjectured that the conflagration was due to some Christian. But they, maltreated as they were, could not endure to utter a lie, and persisted in saying that the fire had started not from below but from above. Moreover some of the neighbouring rustics came forward and asserted that they had seen the thunderbolt come rushing down from heaven.



“Gibbon seems to confuse this young man Theodorus with Theodoretus the presbyter and martyr who was put to death about this time at Antioch by the Count Julianus, the uncle of the emperor, (Soz. v. 8., Ruinart’s Act. Mart. Sinc. p. 605 sq.) for he speaks in his text of ‘a presbyter of the name of Theodoret,’ and in his notes of ‘the passion of S. Theodore in the Acta Sincera of Ruinart,’” Bp. Lightfoot. p. 43.


“Gibbon says, ‘During the night which terminated this indiscreet procession, the temple of Daphne was in flames,’ and later writers have blindly followed him. He does not give any authority, but obviously he is copying Tillemont H. E. iii. p. 407 ‘en mesme temps que l’on portant dans la ville la châsse du Saint Martyr, c’est à dire la nuit suivante.’ The only passage which Tillemont quotes is Ammianus, (xxii. 13) ‘eodem tempore die xi. Kal. Nov.,’ which does not bear him out. On the contrary the historians generally (cf. Soz. v. 20, Theod. iii. 7) place the persecutions which followed on the processions, and which must have occupied some time, before the burning of the temple.” Bp. Lightfoot.


νεωκόρους νεωκόρος is the word rendered “worshipper” in Acts xix. 35 by A.V. The R.V. has correctly “temple-keeper,” the old derivation from κορέω = sweep, being no doubt less probable than the reference of the latter part of the word to a root KOR = KOL, found in colo, curo.

Next: Of the confiscation of the sacred treasures and taking away of the allowances.