Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Apology to the Emperor. (Apologia Ad Constantium.): Want of room the cause, precedent the justification.
15. Want of room the cause, precedent the justification.
Believe me, Sire, and let Truth be my witness in this also, when I declare that in the congregations held during the season of Lent, in consequence of the narrow limits of the places, and the vast multitude of people assembled, a great number of children, not a few of the younger and very many of the older women, besides several young men, suffered so much from the pressure of the crowd, that they were obliged to be carried home; though by the Providence of God, no one is dead. All however murmured, and demanded the use of the great Church. And if the pressure was so great during the days which preceded the feast, what would have been the case during the feast itself? Of course matters would have been far worse. It did not therefore become me to change the peoples joy into grief, their cheerfulness into sorrow, and to make the festival a season of lamentation.
And that the more, because I had a precedent in the conduct of our Fathers. For the blessed Alexander, when the other places were too small, and he was engaged in the erection of what was then considered a very large one, the Church of Theonas 1332 , held p. 244 his congregations there on account of the number of the people, while at the same time he proceeded with the building. I have seen the same thing done at Treveri and at Aquileia, in both which places, while the building was proceeding, they assembled there during the feasts, on account of the number of the people and they never found any one to accuse them in this manner. Nay, your brother of blessed memory was present, when a communion was held under these circumstances at Aquileia. I also followed this course. There was no dedication, but only a service of prayer. You, at least I am sure, as a lover of God will approve of the peoples zeal, and will pardon me for being unwilling to hinder the prayers of so great a multitude.
S. Epiphanius mentions nine Churches in Alexandria. Hær. 69. 2. Athan. mentions in addition that of Quirinus. Hist. Arian. §10. [See the plan of Larsow, appended to his Fest-briefe.] The Church mentioned in the text was built at the Emperors expense; and apparently upon the Emperors ground, as on the site was or had been a Basilica, which bore first the name of Hadrian, then of Licinius, Epiph. ibid. Hadrian had built in many cities temples without idols, which were popularly considered as intended by him for Christian worship, and went after his name. Lamprid. Vit. Alex. Sev. 43. The Church in question was built in the Cæsareum. Hist. Arian. 74. There was a magnificent Temple, dedicated to Augustus, as ἐπιβατήριος, on the harbour of Alexandria, Philon. Legat. ad Caium, pp. 1013, 4. ed. 1691, and called the Cæsareum. It was near the Emperors palace, vid. Acad. des. Inscript. vol. 9. p. 416. [Vid. supr. note 5b, and cf. Apol. de Fuga 24.]
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