History of the Arians

by Athanasius
From: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2815.h


Persecution IN Egypt.

64. Who would call them even by the name of Gentiles; much less by that of
Christians? Would any one regard their habits and feelings as human, and not
rather those of wild beasts, seeing their cruel and savage conduct? They are
more worthless than public hangmen; more audacious than all other heretics. To
the Gentiles they are much inferior, and stand far apart and separate from
them[1]. I have heard from our fathers, and I believe their report to be a
faithful one, that long ago, when


a persecution arose in the time[2] of Maximian, the grandfather of
Constantius, the Gentiles concealed our brethren the Christians, who were
sought after, and frequently suffered the loss of their own substance, and had
trial of imprisonment, solely that they might not betray the fugitives. They
protected those who fled to them for refuge, as they would have done their own
persons, and were determined to run all risks on their behalf. But now these
admirable persons, the inventors of a new heresy, act altogether the contrary
part; and are distinguished for nothing but their treachery. They have
appointed themselves as executioners, and seek to betray all alike, and make
those who conceal others the objects of their plots, esteeming equally as
their enemy both him that conceals and him that is concealed. So murderous are
they; so emulous in their evil-doings of the wickedness of Judas.

65. Martyrdom of Secundus of Barka.

The crimes these men have committed cannot adequately be described. I
would only say, that as I write and wish to enumerate all their deeds of
iniquity, the thought enters my mind, whether this heresy be not the fourth
daughter of the horse-leach[3] in the Proverbs, since after so many acts of
injustice, so many murders, it hath not yet said, 'It is enough.' No; it still
rages, and goes about[4] seeking after those whom it has not yet discovered,
while those whom it has already injured, it is eager to injure anew. After the
night attack, after the evils committed in consequence of it, after the
persecution brought about by Heraclius, they cease not yet to accuse us
falsely before the Emperor (and they are confident that as impious persons
they will obtain a hearing), desiring that something more than banishment may
be inflicted upon us, and that hereafter those who do not consent to their
impieties may be destroyed. Accordingly, being now emboldened in an extreme
degree, that most abandoned Secundus[5] of Pentapolis, and Stephanus[6] his
accomplice, conscious that their heresy was a defence of any injustice they
might commit, on discovering a Presbyter at Barka who would not comply with
their desires (he was called Secundus, being of the same name, but not of the
same faith with the heretic), they kicked him till he died[7]. While he was
thus suffering he imitated the Saint, and; said, "Let no one avenge my cause
before human judges; I have the Lord for my avenger, for whose sake I suffer
these things at their hands.' They however were not moved with pity at these
words, nor did they feel any awe of the sacred season; for it was during the
time of Lent[8] that they thus kicked the man to death.

66. Persecution the weapon of Arianism.

O new heresy, that hast put on the whole devil in impiety and wicked
deeds! For in truth it is but a lately invented evil; and although certain
heretofore appear to have adopted its doctrines, yet they concealed them, and
were not known to hold them. But Eusebius and Arius, like serpents coming out
of their holes, have vomited forth the poison of this impiety; Arius daring to
blaspheme openly, and[9] Eusebius defending his blasphemy. He was not however
able to support the heresy, until, as I said before, he found a patron[1] for
it in the Emperor. Our fathers called an Ecumenical Council, when three
hundred of them, more or less[2], met together and condemned the Arian heresy,
and all declared that it was alien and strange to the faith of the Church.
Upon this its supporters, perceiving that they were dishonoured, and had now
no good ground of argument to insist upon, devised a different method, and
attempted to vindicate it by means of external power. And herein one may
especially admire the novelty as well as wickedness of their device, and how
they go beyond all other heresies. For these support their madness by
persuasive arguments calculated to deceive the simple; the Greeks, as the
Apostle has said, make their attack with excellency and persuasiveness of
speech, and with plausible fallacies; the Jews, leaving the divine Scriptures,
now, as the Apostle again has said, contend about 'fables and endless
genealogies[3];' and the Manichees and Valentinians with them, and others,
corrupting the divine Scriptures, put forth fables in terms of their own
inventions. But the Arians are bolder than them all, and have shewn that the
other heresies are but their younger sisters[4], whom, as I have said, they
surpass in impiety, emulating them all, and especially the Jews in their
iniquity. For as the Jews, when they were unable to prove the charges which
they pretended to allege against Paul, straightway led him to the chief
captain and the governor; so likewise these men, who surpass the Jews in their
devices, make use only of the power of the judges; and if any one so much as
speaks against them, he is dragged before the Governor or the General.


67. Arianism worse than other heresies, because

of Persecution.

The other heresies also, when the very Truth has refuted them on the
clearest evidence, are wont to be silent, being simply confounded by their
conviction. But this modern and accursed heresy, when it is overthrown by
argument, when it is cast down and covered with shame by the very Truth,
forthwith endeavours to coerce by violence and stripes and imprisonment those
whom it has been unable to persuade by argument, thereby acknowledging itself
to be anything rather than godly. For it is the part of true godliness not to
compel[5], but to persuade, as I said before. Thus our Lord Himself, not as
employing force, but as offering to their free choice, has said to all, 'If
any man will follow after Me[6];' and to His disciples, 'Will ye also go
away[7]?' This heresy, however, is altogether alien from godliness; and
therefore how otherwise should it act, than contrary to our Saviour, seeing
also that it has enlisted that enemy of Christ, Constantius, as it were
Antichrist himself[8], to be its leader in impiety? He for its sake has
earnestly endeavoured to emulate Saul in savage cruelty. For when the priests
gave victuals to David, Saul commanded, and they were all destroyed, in number
three hundred and five[9]; and this man, now that all avoid the heresy, and
confess a sound faith in the Lord, annuls a Council of full three hundred
Bishops, banishes the Bishops themselves, and hinders the people from the
practice of piety, and from their prayers to God, preventing their public
assemblies. And as Saul overthrew Nob, the city of the priests, so this man,
advancing even further in wickedness, has given up the Churches to the
impious. And as he honoured Doeg the accuser before the true priests, and
persecuted David, giving ear to the Ziphires; so this man prefers heretics to
the godly, and still persecutes them that flee from him, giving ear to his own
eunuchs, who falsely accuse the orthodox: He does not perceive that whatever
he does or writes in behalf of the heresy of the Arians, involves an attack[1]
upon the Saviour.

68. Constantius worse than Saul, Ahab, and Pilate. His past conduct to his
own relations.

Ahab himself did not act so cruelly towards the priests of God, as this
man has acted towards the Bishops. For he was at least pricked in his
conscience, when Naboth had been murdered, and was afraid at the sight[2] of
Elijah, but this man neither reverenced the great Hosius, nor was wearied or
pricked in conscience, after banishing so many Bishops; but like another
Pharaoh, the more he is afflicted, the more he is hardened, and imagines
greater wickedness day by day. And the most extraordinary instance of his
iniquity was the following. It happened that when the Bishops were condemned
to banishment, certain other persons also received their sentence on charges
of murder or sedition or theft, each according to the quality of his offence.
These men after a few months he released, on being requested to do so, as
Pilate did Barabbas; but the servants of Christ he not only refused to set at
liberty, but even sentenced them to more unmerciful punishment in the place of
their exile, proving himself 'an undying evil[2a]' to them. To the others
through congeniality of disposition he became a friend; but to the orthodox he
was an enemy on account of their true faith in Christ. Is it not clear to all
men from hence, that the Jews of old when they demanded Barabbas, and
crucified the Lord, acted but the part which these present enemies of Christ
are acting together with Constantius? nay, that he is even more bitter than
Pilate. For Pilate, when he perceived[3] the injustice of the deed, washed his
hands; but this man, while he banishes the saints, gnashes his teeth against
them more and more.

69. But what wonder is it if, after he has been led into impious errors,
he is so cruel towards the Bishops, since the common feelings of humanity
could not induce him to spare


even his own kindred. His uncles[4] he slew; his cousins he put out of the
way; he commiserated not the sufferings of his father-in-law, though he had
married his daughter, or of his kinsmen; but he has ever been a transgressor
of his oaths towards all. So likewise he treated his brother in an unholy
manner; and now he pretends to build his sepulchre, although he delivered up
to the barbarians his betrothed wife Olympias, whom his brother had protected
till his death, and had brought up as his intended consort. Moreover he
attempted to set aside his wishes, although he boasts to be his heirs; for so
he writes, in terms which any one possessed of but a small measure of sense
would be ashamed of. But when I compare his letters, I find that he does not
possess common understanding, but that his mind is solely regulated by the
suggestions of others, and that he has no mind of his own at all. Now Solomon
says, 'If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked[6].' This man
proves by his actions that he is such an unjust one, and that those about him
are wicked.

70. Inconstancy of Constantius.

How then, being such an one, and taking pleasure in such associates, can
he ever design anything just or reasonable, entangled as he is in the iniquity
of his followers, men who verily bewitch him, or rather who have trampled his
brains under their heels? Wherefore he now writes letters[6a], and then
repents that he has written them, and after repenting is again stirred up to
anger, and then again laments his fate, and being undetermined what to do, he
shows a soul destitute of understanding. Being then of such a character, one
must fairly pity him, because that under the semblance and name of freedom he
is the slave of those who drag him on to gratify their own impious pressure.
In a word, while through his folly and inconstancy, as the Scripture saith[7],
he is willing to comply with the desires of others, he has given himself up to
condemnation, to be consumed by fire in the future judgment; at once
consenting to do whatever they wish, and gratifying them in their designs
against the Bishops, and in their exertion of authority over the Churches. For
behold, he has now again thrown into disorder all the Churches of
Alexandria[8] and of Egypt and Libya, and has publicly given orders, that the
Bishops of the Catholic Church and faith be cast out of their churches, and
that they be all given up to the professors of the Arian doctrines[9]. The
General began to carry this order into execution; and straightway Bishops were
sent off in chains, and Presbyters and Monks bound with iron, after being
almost beaten to death with stripes. Disorder prevails in every place; all
Egypt and Libya are in danger, the people being indignant at this unjust
command, and seeing in it the preparation for the coming of Antichrist, and
beholding their property plundered by others, and given up into the hands of
the heretics.

71. This wickedness unprecedented.

When was ever such iniquity heard of? when was such an evil deed ever
perpetrated, even in times of persecution? They were heathens who persecuted
formerly; but they did not bring their idols into the Churches. Zenobia[9a],
was a Jewess, and a supporter of Paul of Samosata; but she did not give up the
Churches to the Jews for Synagogues. This is a new piece of iniquity. It is
not simply persecution, but more than persecution, it is a prelude and
preparation[10] for the coming of Antichrist. Even if it be admitted that they
invented false charges against Athanasius and the rest of the Bishops whom
they banished, yet what is this to their later practices? What charges have
they to allege against the whole of Egypt and Libya and Pentapolis[1]? For
they have begun no longer to lay their plots against individuals, in which
case they might be able to frame a lie against them; but they have set upon
all in a body, so that if they merely choose to invent accusations against
them, they must be condemned. Thus their wickedness has blinded their
understanding[2]; and they have required, without any reason assigned, that
the whole body of the Bishops shall be expelled, and thereby they shew that
the charges they framed against Athanasius and the rest of the Bishops whom
they banished were false, and invented for no other purpose than to support
the accursed heresy of the Arian enemies of Christ. This is now no longer
concealed, but has become most manifest to all men. He commanded Athanasius to
be expelled out of the city, and gave up the Churches to them. And the
Presbyters and Deacons that were with him, who had been appointed by Peter and
Alexander, were also expelled and driven into banishment; and the real Arians,
who not through any suspicions arising from circumstances, but on account of
the heresy had been expelled at first together with Arius himself by


the Bishop Alexander,--Secundus in Libya, in Alexandria Euzoius[3] the
Chanan'an, Julius, Ammon, Marcus, Iren'us, Zosimus, and Sarapion surnamed
Pelycon, and in Libya Sisinnius, and the younger men with him, associates in
his impiety; these have obtained possession of the Churches.

72. Banishment of Egyptian Bishops.

And the General Sebastian wrote to the governors and military authorities
in every place; and the true Bishops were persecuted, and those who professed
impious doctrines were brought in in their stead. They banished Bishops who
had grown old in orders, and had been many years in the Episcopate, having
been ordained by the Bishop Alexander; Ammonius[4], Hermes, Anagamphus, and
Marcus, they sent to the Upper Oasis; Muis, Psenosiris, Nilammon, Henes,
Marcus, and Athenodorus to Ammoniaca, with no other intention than that they
should perish in their passage through the deserts. They had no pity on them
though they were suffering from illness, and indeed proceeded on their journey
with so much difficulty on account of their weakness, that they were obliged
to be carried in litters, and their sickness was so dangerous that the
materials for their burial accompanied them. One of them indeed died, but they
would not even permit the body to be given up to his friends for interment.
With the same purpose they banished also the Bishop Dracontius to the desert
places about Clysma, Philo to Babylon, Adelphius to Psinubia in the Thebais,
and the Presbyters Hierax and Dioscorus to Syene. They likewise drove into
exile Ammonius, Agathus, Agathod'mon, Apollonius, Eulogius, Apollos,
Paphnutius, Gaius, and Flavius, ancient Bishops, as also the Bishops
Dioscorus, Ammonius, Heraclides, and Psais; some of whom they gave up to work
in the stone-quarries, others they persecuted with an intention to destroy,
and many others they plundered. They banished also forty of the laity, with
certain virgins whom they had before exposed to the fires; beating them so
severely with rods taken from palm-trees, that after lingering five days some
of them died, and others had recourse to surgical treatment on account of the
thorns left in their limbs, from which they suffered tornments worse than
death[6]. But what is most dreadful to the mind of any man of sound
understanding, though characteristic of these miscreants, is this: When the
virgins during the scourging called upon the Name of Christ, they gnashed
their teeth against them with increased fury. Nay more, they would not give up
the bodies of the dead to their friends for burial, but concealed them that
they might appear to be ignorant of the murder. They did not however escape
detection; the whole city perceived it, and all men withdrew from them as
executioners, as malefactors and robbers. Moreover they overthrew monasteries,
and endeavoured to cast monks into the fire; they plundered houses, and
breaking into the house of certain free citizens where the Bishop had
deposited a treasure, they plundered and took it away. They scourged the
widows on the soles of their feet, and hindered them from receiving their

73. Character of Arian nominees.

Such were the iniquities practised by the Arians; and as to their further
deeds of impiety, who could hear the account of them without shuddering? They
had caused these venerable old men and aged Bishops to be sent into
banishment; they now appointed in their stead profligate heathen youths, whom
they thought to raise at once to the highest dignity, though they were not
even Catechumens[7]. And others who were accused of bigamy[8], and even of
worse crimes, they nominated Bishops on account of the wealth and civil power
which they possessed, and sent them out as it were from a market, upon their
giving them gold. And now more dreadful calamities befell the people. For when
they rejected these mercenary dependents of the Arians, so alien from
themselves, they were scourged, they were proscribed, they were shut up in
prison by the General (who did all this readily, being a Manichee), in order
that they might no longer seek after their own Bishops, but be forced to
accept those whom they abominated, men who were now guilty of the same
mockeries as they had before practised among their idols.

74. The Episcopal appointments of Constantius a mark of Antichrist.

Will not every just person break forth into lamentations at the sight or
hearing of these things, at perceiving the arrogance and extreme injustice of
these impious men? 'The righteous lament in the place of the impious[9].'
After all these things, and now that the impiety has reached such a pitch of
audacity, who will any longer venture to call this


Costyllius[10] a Christian, and not rather the image of Antichrist? For what
mark of Antichrist is yet wanting? How can he in any way fail to be regarded
as that one? or how can the latter fail to be supposed such a one as he is?
Did not the Arians and the Gentiles offer those sacrifices in the great Church
in the C'sareum[11], and utter their blasphemies against Christ as by His
command? And does not the vision of Daniel thus describe[1] Antichrist; that
he shall make war with the saints, and prevail against them, and exceed all
that have been before him in evil deeds and shall humble thee kings, and speak
words against the Most High, and shall think to change times and laws? Now
what other person besides Constantius has ever attempted to do these things?
He is surely such a one as Antichrist would be. He speaks words against the
Most High by supporting this impious heresy: he makes war against the saints
by banishing the Bishops; although indeed he exercises this power but for a
little while[2] to his own destruction. Moreover he has surpassed those before
him in wickedness, having devised a new mode of persecution; and after he had
overthrown three kings, namely Vetranio, Magnentius, and Gallus, he
straightway undertook the patronage of impiety; and like a giant[3] he has
dared in his pride to set himself up against the Most High. He has thought to
change laws, by transgressing the ordinance of the Lord given us through His
Apostles, by altering the customs of the Church, and inventing a new kind of
appointments. For he sends from strange places, distant a fifty days'
journey[4], Bishops attended by soldiers to people unwilling to receive them;
and instead of an introduction to the acquaintance of their people, they bring
with them threatening messages and letters to the magistrates. Thins he sent
Gregory from Cappadocia[5] to Alexandria; he transferred Germinius from
Cyzicus to Sirmium; he removed Cecropius from Laodicea to Nicomedia.

75. Arrival of George at Alexandria, and proceedings of Constantius in

Again he transferred from Cappadocia to Milan one Auxentius[6], an
intruder rather than a Christian, whom he commanded to stay there, after he
had banished for his piety towards Christ Dionysius the Bishop of the place, a
godly man. But this person was as yet even ignorant of the Latin language, and
unskilful in everything except impiety. And now one George, a Cappadocian, who
was contractor of stores[7] at Constantinople, and having embezzled all monies
that he received, was obliged to fly, he commanded to enter Alexandria with
military pomp, and supported by the authority of the General. Next, finding
one Epictetus[8] a novice, a bold young man, he loved him[9], perceiving that
he was ready for wickedness; and by his means he carries on his designs
against those of the Bishops whom he desires to ruin. For he is prepared to do
everything that the Emperor wishes; who accordingly availing himself of his
assistance, has committed at Rome a strange act, but one truly resembling the
malice of Antichrist. Having made preparations in the Palace instead of the
Church, and caused some three of his own eunuchs to attend instead of the
people, he then compelled three[1] ill-conditioned spies[2] (for one cannot
call them Bishops), to ordain forsooth as Bishop one Felix[3], a man worthy of
them, then in the Palace. For the people perceiving the iniquitous proceedings
of the heretics would not allow them to enter the Churches[4], and withdrew
themselves far from them.

76. Tyrannous banishment of Bishops by


Now what is yet wanting to make him Antichrist? or what more could
Antichrist do at his coming than this man has done? Will he not find when he
comes that the way has been already prepared for him by this man easily to
deceive the people? Again[5], he claims to himself the right of deciding
causes, which he refers to the Court instead of the Church, and presides at
them in person. And strange it is to say, when he perceives the accusers at a


loss, he takes up the accusation himself, so that the injured party may no
longer be able to defend himself on account of the violence which he displays.
This he did in the proceedings against Athanasius. For when he saw the
boldness of the Bishops Paulinus, Lucifer, Eusebius, and Dionysius, and how
out of the recantation of Ursacius and Valens[6] they confuted those who spoke
against the Bishop, and advised that Valens and his fellows should no longer
be believed, since they had already retracted what they now asserted, he
immediately stood up[7] and said, 'I am now the accuser of Athanasius; on my
account you must believe what these assert.' And then, when they said,--'But
how can you be an accuser, when the accused person is not present? for if you
are his accuser, yet he is not present, and therefore cannot be tried. And the
cause is not one that concerns Rome, so that you should be believed as being
the Emperor; but it is a matter that concerns a Bishop; for the trial ought to
be conducted on equal terms both to the accuser and the accused. And besides,
how can you accuse him? for you could not be present to witness the conduct of
one who lived at so great a distance from you; and if you speak but what you
have heard from these, you ought also to give credit to what he says; but if
you will not believe him, while you do believe them, it is plain that they
assert these things for your sake, and accuse Athanasius only to gratify
you?'--when he heard this, thinking that what they had so truly spoken was an
in-suit to himself, he sent them into banishment; and being exasperated
against Athanasius, he wrote in a more savage strain, requiring that he should
suffer what has now befallen him, and that the Churches should be given up to
the Arians, and that they should be allowed to do whatever they pleased.

77. Constantius the precursor of Antichrist. Terrible indeed, and worse than
terrible are such proceedings; yet conduct suitable to him who assumes the
character of Antichrist Who that beheld him taking the lead of his pretended
Bishops, and presiding in Ecclesiastical causes, would not justly exclaim that
this was 'the abomination of desolation[8]' spoken of by Daniel? For having
put on the profession of Christianity, and entering into the holy places, and
standing therein, he lays waste the Churches, transgressing their Canons, and
enforcing the observance of his own decrees. Will any one now venture to say
that this is a peaceful time with Christians, and not a time of persecution? A
persecution indeed, such as never arose before, and such as no one perhaps
will again stir up, except 'the son of lawlessness[9],' do these enemies of
Christ exhibit, who already present a picture of him in their own persons.
Wherefore it especially behoves us to be sober, lest this heresy which has
reached such a height of impudence, and has diffused itself abroad like the
'poison of an adder[10],' as it is written in the Proverbs, and which teaches
doctrines contrary to the Saviour; lest, I say, this be that 'falling
away[11],' after which He shall be revealed, of whom Constantius is surely the
forerunner[1]. Else wherefore is he so mad against the godly? wherefore does
he contend for it as his own heresy, and call every one his enemy who will not
comply with the madness of Arius, and admit gladly the allegations of the
enemies of Christ, and dishonour so many venerable Councils? why did he
command that the Churches should be given up to the Arians? was it not that,
when that other comes, he may thus find a way to enter into them, and may take
to himself him who has prepared those places for him? For the ancient Bishops
who were ordained by Alexander, and by his predecessor Achillas, and by Peter
before him, have been cast out; and those introduced whom the companions of
soldiers nominated; and they nominated only such as promised to adopt their

78. Alliance of Meletians with Arians. This was an easy proposition for the
Meletians to comply with; for the greater part, or rather the whole of them,
have never had a religious education, nor are they acquainted with the 'sound
faith[2]' in Christ, nor do they know at all what Christianity is, or what
writings we Christians possess. For having come out, some of them from the
worship of idols, and others from the senate, or from the first civil offices,
for the sake of the miserable exemption[3] from duty and for the patronage
they gained, and having bribed[4] the Meletians who preceded them, they have
been advanced to this dignity even before they had been under instruction, And
even if they pretended to have been such, yet what kind of instruction is to
be obtained among the Meletians? But indeed without even pretending to be
under instruction, they came at once, and immediately were called Bishops,
just as children receive a name. Being then persons of this description, they
thought the thing of no great consequence, nor even supposed that piety was
different from


impiety. Accordingly from being Meletians they readily and speedily became
Arians; and if the Emperor should command them to adopt any other profession,
they are ready to change again to that also. Their ignorance of true godliness
quickly brings them to submit to the prevailing folly, and that which happens
to be first taught them. For it is nothing to them to be carried about by
every wind[5] and tempest, so long as they are only exempt from duty, and
obtain the patronage of men; nor would they scruple probably to change
again[6] to what they were before, even to become such as they were when they
were heathens. Any how, being men of such an easy temper, and considering the
Church as a civil senate, and like heathen being idolatrously minded, they put
on the honourable name[7] of the Saviour, under which they polluted the whole
of Egypt, by causing so much as the name of the Arian heresy to be known
therein. For Egypt has heretofore been the only country, throughout which the
profession of the orthodox faith was boldly maintained[8]; and therefore these
misbelievers have striven to introduce jealousy there also, or rather not
they, but the devil who has stirred them up, in order that when his herald
Antichrist shall come, he may find that the Churches in Egypt also are his
own, and that the Meletians have already been instructed in his principles,
and may recognise himself as already formed[9] in them.

79. Behaviour of the Meletians contrasted with that of the Alexandrian

Such is the effect of that iniquitous order which was issued by
Constantius. On the part of the people there was displayed a ready alacrity to
submit to martyrdom, and an increased hatred of this most impious heresy; and
yet lamentations for their Churches, and groans burst from all, while they
cried unto the Lord, 'Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage
unto Thine enemies to reproach[1];' but make haste to deliver us out of the
hand of the lawless[2]. For behold, they have not spared Thy servants, but are
preparing the way for Antichrist.' For the Meletians will never resist him,
nor will they care for the truth, nor will they esteem it an evil thing to
deny Christ. They are men who have not approached the word with sincerity;
like the chameleon[3] they assume every various appear ante; they are
hirelings of any who will make use of them. They make not the truth their aim,
but prefer before it their present pleasure; they say only, 'Let us eat and
drink, for tomorrow we die[4].' Such a profession and faithless temper is more
worthy of Epicritian[5] players than of Meletians. But the faithful servants
of our Saviour, and the true Bishops who believe with sincerity, and live not
for themselves, but for the Lord; these faithfully believing in our Lord Jesus
Christ, and knowing, as I said before, that the charges which were alleged
against the truth were false, and plainly fabricated for the sake of the Arian
heresy (for by the recantation[6] of Ursacius and Valens they detected the
calumnies which were devised against Athanasius, for the purpose of removing
him out of the way, and of introducing into the Churches the impieties of the
enemies of Christ); these, I say, perceiving all this, as defenders and
preachers of the truth, chose rather, and endured to be insulted and driven
into banishment, than to subscribe against him, and to hold communion with the
Arian madmen. They forgot not the lessons they had taught to others; yea, they
know well that great dishonour remains for the traitors, but for them which
confess the truth, the kingdom of heaven; and that to the careless and such as
fear Constantius will happen no good thing; but for them that endure
tribulations here, as sailors reach a quiet haven after a storm, as wrestlers
receive a crown after the combat, so these shall obtain great and eternal joy
and delight in heaven;--such as Joseph obtained after those tribulations; such
as the great Daniel had after his temptations and the manifold conspiracies of
the courtiers against him; such as Paul now enjoys, being crowned by the
Saviour; such as the people of God everywhere expect. They, seeing these
things, were not infirm of purpose, but waxed strong in faith[7], and
increased in their zeal more and more. Being fully persuaded of the calumnies
and impieties of the heretics, they condemn the persecutor, and in heart and
mind run together the same course with them that are persecuted, that they
also may obtain the crown of Confession.

80. Duty of separating from heretics.

One might say much more against this detestable and antichristian heresy,
and might demonstrate by many arguments that the practices of Constantius are
a prelude to the coming of Antichrist. But seeing that, as the Prophet[8] has
said, from the feet even to the head there is no reasonableness in it, but it
is full of all filthiness and all impiety, so that the very name of it ought
to be avoided as a dog's vomit or the poison of serpents; and seeing that
Costyllius openly exhibits the image of the adversary[9]; in order that our
words may not be too many, it will be well to content ourselves with the
divine Scripture, and that we all obey the precept which it has given us both
in regard to other heresies, and especially respecting this. That precept is
as follows; 'Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean
thing; go ye out of the midst of them, and be ye separate, that bear the
vessels of the Lord[10]' This may suffice[11] to instruct us all, so that if
any one has been deceived by them, he may go out from them, as out of Sodom,
and not return again unto them, lest he suffer the fate of Lot's wife; and if
any one has continued from the beginning pure from this impious heresy, he may
glory in Christ and say, 'We have not stretched out our hands to a strange
god[12]; neither have we worshipped the works of our own hands, nor served the
creature[13] more than Thee, the God that hast created all things through Thy
word, the Only-Begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom to Thee the
Father together with the same Word in the Holy Spirit be glory and power for
ever and ever. Amen.'

The Second Protest[1].

81. The people of the Catholic Church in Alexandria, which is under the
government of the most Reverend Bishop Athanasius, make this public protest by
those whose names are under-written.

We have already protested against the nocturnal assault which was
committed upon ourselves and the Lord's house; although in truth there needed
no protest in respect to proceedings with which the whole city has been
already made acquainted. For the bodies of the slain which were discovered
were exposed in public, and the bows and arrows and other arms found in the
Lord's house loudly proclaim the iniquity.

But whereas after our Protest already made, the most illustrious Duke
Syrianus endeavours to force all men to agree with him, as though no tumult
had been made, nor any had perished (wherein is no small proof that these
things were not done according to the wishes of the most gracious Emperor
Augustus Constantius; for he would not have been so much afraid of the
consequences of this transaction, had he acted therein by command); and
whereas also, when we went to him, and requested him not to do violence to
any, nor to deny what had taken place, he ordered us, being Christians, to be
beaten with clubs; thereby again giving proof of the nocturnal assault which
has been directed against the Church:--

We therefore make also this present Protest, certain of us being now about
to travel to the most religious Emperor Augustus: and we adjure Maximus the
Prefect of Egypt, and the Controllers[2], in the name of Almighty God, and for
the sake of the salvation of the most religious Augustus Constantius, to
relate all these things to the piety of Augustus, and to the authority of the
most illustrious Prefects[3]. We adjure also the masters of vessels, to
publish these things everywhere, and to carry them to the ears of the most
religious Augustus, and to the Prefects and the Magistrates in every place, in
order that it may be known that a war has been waged against the Church, and
that, in the times of Augustus Constantius, Syrianus has caused virgins and
many others to become martyrs.

As it dawned upon the fifth before the Ides of February[4], that is to
say, the fourteenth of the month Mechir, while we were keeping vigil[5] in the
Lord's house, and engaged in our prayers (for there was to be a communion on
the Preparation[6]); suddenly about midnight, the most illustrious Duke
Syrianus attacked us and the Church with many legions of soldiers[7] armed
with naked swords and javelins and other warlike instruments, and wearing
helmets on their heads; and actually while we were praying, and while the
lessons were being read, they broke down the doors. And when the doors were
burst open by the violence of the multitude, he gave command, and some of them
were shooting; others shouting, their arms rattling, and their swords flashing
in the light of the lamps; and forthwith virgins were being slain, many men
trampled down, and falling over one another as the soldiers came upon them,
and several were pierced with arrows and perished. Some of the soldiers also
were betaking themselves to plunder, and were stripping the virgins, who were
more afraid of being even touched by them than they were of death. The Bishop
continued sitting upon his throne, and exhorted all to pray. The Duke led on
the attack, having with him Hilarius the notary, whose part in the proceedings
was shewn in the


sequel. The Bishop was seized, and barely escaped being torn to pieces; and
having fallen into a state of insensibility, and appearing as one dead, he
disappeared from among them, and has gone we know not whither. They were eager
to kill him. And when they saw that many had perished, they gave orders to the
soldiers to remove out of sight the bodies of the dead. But the most holy
virgins who were left behind were buried in the tombs, having attained the
glory of martyrdom in the times of the most religious Constantius. Deacons
also were beaten with stripes even in the Lord's house, and were shut up

Nor did matters stop even here: for after all this had happened, whosoever
pleased broke open any door that he could, and searched, and plundered what
was within. They entered even into those places which not even all Christians
are allowed to enter. Gorgonius, the commander of the city force[8], knows
this, for he was present. And no unimportant evidence of the nature of this
hostile assault is afforded by the circumstance, that the armour and javelins
and swords borne by those who entered were left in the Lord's house. They have
been hung up in the Church until this time, that they might not be able to
deny it: and although they sent several times Dynamius the soldier[8], as well
as the Commander[9] of the city police, desiring to take them away, we would
not allow it, until the circumstance was known to all.

Now if an order has been given that we should be persecuted we are all
ready to suffer martyrdom. But if it be not by order of Augustus, we desire
Maximus the Prefect of Egypt and all the city magistrates to request of him
that they may not again be suffered thus to assail us. And we desire also that
this our petition may be presented to him, that they may not attempt to bring
in hither any other Bishop: for we have resisted unto death[10], desiring to
have the most Reverend Athanasius, whom God gave us at the beginning,
according to the succession of our fathers; whom also the most religious
Augustus Constantius himself sent to us with letters and oaths. And we believe
that when his Piety is informed of what has taken place, he will be greatly
displeased, and will do nothing contrary to his oaths, but will again give
orders that our Bishop Athanasius shall remain with us.

To the Consuls to be elected[11] after the Consulship of the most
illustrious Arbaethion and Collianus[12], on the seventeenth Mechir[13], which
is the day before the Ides of February.