Zachariah of Mitylene, Syriac Chronicle (1899).  Book 8.


THE eighth Book in the chapters, as given below, gives information, the first about the accession of Justin and about Amantius the provost, who was killed in the palace, and about Theocritus his domestic, and Andrew the chamberlain; in the second it treats of Vitalian the tyrant, who was killed in the palace, he and Paul his notary and Celer his domestic; in the third chapter it tells the story of the martyrs who were killed in Nagrin, in the royal city of the land of the Homerites, by the Jewish tyrant; in the fourth chapter it describes the flood of water which entered Edessa, and how the flow of the waters of Shiluho in Jerusalem was stopped, and how Antioch was overthrown by an earthquake, and the temple of Solomon in the city of Heliopolis was burnt; in the fifth chapter it gives an account of the negotiations which were held on the frontier, and of Mundhir, king of the Saracens, who invaded the Roman territory, and of the bishops who were banished; the sixth chapter, stating who were chief priests in the days of this king Justin ; the seventh chapter, concerning the prologue of Moro the bishop. |189 



In 1 the year eight hundred and twenty-nine according to the reckoning of the Greeks,2 on the tenth of July, when the year eleven was already drawing to an end, on the death of Anastasius, Justin 3 became king after him ; and he was an old man of a handsome presence with white hair and was cura palati, and he was illiterate. This man Marinus of Apamea, an able man, who was chartulary, depicted in the public baths, as he had come from the fortress of Mauriana in Illyricum to Constantinople with all the history of his entry into Constantinople, and how he had been advanced from step to step until he became king. And, when this same Marinus was accused on this ground and came into danger, trusting in his astuteness, he readily rendered an answer, saying, "I have represented these things in pictures for the consideration of the observant and the understanding of the discerning, in order that magnates and rich men and men of high family may not trust in their power and their riches and the greatness of their noble family, but in God, who raises the poor man out of the mire and places him as chief over the people, and rules in the kingdom of men to give it to whom He will, and to set the lowest among men over it, and chooses men of low birth in the world, and men that are rejected, and men that are not, that he may bring to naught men that are." And he was accepted, and escaped from the danger.

Now4 Amantius the provost, he and Andrew the |190 chamberlain, his associate, favoured and cherished Theocritus his domestic ; and after the death of Anastasius he gave a large sum of gold to this old man, the cura palati Justin, for the purpose of making largesses to the scholarians and the other soldiers, in order that they might make Theocritus king. But he by giving the gold to these men gained their favour, and they made him king, because the Lord willed it. And,5 because he shared the opinions of the inhabitants of Rome, he gave strict orders that the Synod and the Tome of Leo should be proclaimed. And this Amantius tried to prevent it, saying, "The signature of the three patriarchs and the principal bishops of your dominions, who have written and anathematised the Synod, is not yet dry." And,6 because he spoke with freedom, this same Amantius the provost was immediately put to death, and so were Theocritus his domestic and Andrew the chamberlain. Now a year afterwards John,7 the bishop of the city, died, and Epiphanius succeeded him. And, since Severus withdrew from Antioch for fear of the threats of the king, who 8 had ordered his tongue to be cut out, Paul succeeded him, who was called "the Jew." And, because he celebrated the memory of Nestorius, he was driven out, and Euphrasius succeeded him, who was burnt in a cauldron blazing with aromatic wax during the earthquake of Antioch.



Vitalian9 the tyrant was general in the days of Anastasius; and he was a Goth and a stout-hearted warrior, and barbarians followed him. Of him it was said that he |191 wished to raise a rebellion against Anastasius; and he exacted an oath from him, and he did not keep it, but rebelled and induced barbarian tribes to follow him, and made an attack upon the dominions of Anastasius, and took cities and their villages; and he marched forward as far as the royal city, and blockaded it, and he annoyed the king in many ways; and he caused him anxiety, because he had taken Hypatius, who had gone out against him, prisoner and routed his army, and carried him about with him, treating him with indignity and insult, and exposing him to contumely ; but for a large sum of gold which he received for him he sent him back. And, when Anastasius was dead, a letter was written to him by this old man Justin, entreating him and appeasing him,10 in order that he might not again act unjustly and rebel in his days, as he was accustomed to do. And then various tribes also followed him, and the Goth came confidently;11 and the king went out to the Martyr's Chapel of Euphemia at Chalcedon, and they swore oaths to one another and entered the city; and he became one of the generals-in-chief; and in the fulness of power he went in and out of the palace, and presided over the conduct of affairs. And he was united by a spiritual relationship to Flavian of Antioch, who was driven out; and he nursed great resentment against the holy Severus, who succeeded Flavian, but he was not able to injure him in the days of Anastasius. However, at the beginning of the reign of this old man Justin an order was issued that, wherever he was caught, his tongue should be cut out, they say, by the advice of Vitalian. |192 

Now it happened some days afterwards that, while Vitalian was bathing in the royal city, he received a command from the king to come to a banquet, he and Justinian the general, his colleague; and he was coming from the baths, he and Paul his notary and Celer his domestic, and, men having been posted ready to stab him as he was going from one house to the other, he was killed, he and his notary and his domestic ; and God requited him for the evil which he did in the days of Anastasius and the violation of his oaths; and his army did no injury.



"We 14 inform your affection that on the twentieth of January in this year eight hundred and thirty - five of |193 the Greeks 15 we left the camp of Nu'man in company with Abraham the presbyter, the son of Euphrasius, who had been sent to Mundhir by Justin the king to make peace, of which we wrote also in our former epistle; and here we, even all the believers, express our thanks to him for his assistance to our side; and he knows what we wrote formerly and what we are writing now. For we travelled ten days' journey through the desert towards the south-east, and we came upon Mundhir over against the hills called 'the hills of sand,' and in the Saracen language 'Ramlah.' And, as we were entering the encampment of Mundhir, some Saracens, heathens and Ma'doye, 16 met us, and said to us, 'What can you do? for, behold! your Christ has been expelled by the Romans and the Persians and the Homerites. And when we were insulted by the Saracens it distressed us; and in addition to the distress sorrow also fell upon us, because, while we were present, there came an envoy, who had been sent by the king of the Homerites to Mundhir, and gave him an epistle full of boasting; and in it he had written to him as follows: 'The king whom the Ethiopians set up in our country died; and, because the winter season had begun, they were not able to march out into our country and appoint a Christian king, as they generally do. Accordingly, I became king over the whole country of the Homerites, and I resolved first to slay all the Christians who confessed Christ, unless they became Jews like us. And I killed two hundred and eighty men, the priests who were found, and besides them also the Ethiopians who were guarding the church. And I made their church into a synagogue for us. And then with a force of 120,000 men I went to Nagrin, their royal city. And, when I had sat down before it for some days and was not able to take it, I swore oaths to them, and their chiefs |194 came out to me; but I judged it right not to keep my word to the Christians, my enemies. And I arrested them, and required them to bring their gold and their silver and their possessions; and they brought them to me, and I took them. And I asked for Paul their bishop; and, when they told me that he was dead, I did not believe them, until they showed me his grave: and I dug up his bones and burnt them, as well as their church and their priests and everyone who was found seeking refuge there. And the rest I urged to deny Christ and the Cross, and become Jews; and they would not, but, confessing that He is God and the Son of the Blessed, they even chose to die for His sake. And their chief said many things against us, and insulted us. And I ordered all their magnates to be put to death. And we fetched their wives, and told them, now that they had seen their husbands put to death for Christ, to deny, and have mercy on their sons and on their daughters. And we urged them, and they would not ; but the nuns strove hard to be put to death first; and the wives of the magnates were angry with them, and said, "We ought to die after our husbands." And they were all put to death by our order except Rhumi, the wife of the king who was to have reigned there, whom we would not permit to die ; but we kept requiring her to deny Christ and live, having mercy upon her daughters, and retaining everything which she possessed by becoming a Jew. And we bade her go and take counsel, attended by guards from our army. And she went out, going round the streets and squares of the city with her head uncovered, a woman whose person no one had seen in the street since she grew up. And she cried and said, "Women of Nagrin, my Christian companions, and the rest of you also who are Jews and heathens, listen! My |195 birth and my family, and whose Christian daughter I am, you know; and that I have gold and silver and slaves, male and female,' and many lands and revenues; and, now that my husband has been put to death for Christ's sake, if I wish to be married to a husband, I have 40,000 denarii, and gold ornaments, and much silver and pearls and raiment, splendid and magnificent, besides the treasures of my husband; and that these things have not been falsely spoken by me you know of yourselves; and that to a woman there are no days of joy like the days of her marriage; for from that time forward there are distresses and lamentation, at the birth of children, and when she is deprived of them, and when she buries them ; but I from this day forward am free from them all. And on the days of my first marriage I was full of joy, and now, behold! it is in the gladness of my heart that I have adorned my five virgin daughters for Christ. Look upon me, my companions, for, lo! you have twice seen me, at my first marriage, and at this second one; for it was with my face exposed before you all that I went to my former bridegroom ; and now it is with my face exposed that I am going to Christ, my Lord and my God, and the Lord and God of my daughters, even as He in His love humbled Himself and came to us and suffered for our sake.

" ' " Imitate me and my daughters, and consider that I am not inferior to you in beauty ; and, behold! I am going to Christ my Lord resplendent in that beauty, undefiled, as it is, by Jewish denial, that my beauty may be a witness before my Lord that it could not lead me astray to commit the sin of denial, and my gold and silver and all that I have may be witnesses that I did not love them as I loved my God. And |196 that rebellious king permitted me to deny and live. Far be it from me, my companions, far be it from me to deny Christ my God in whom I have believed! and I and my daughters have been baptized in the name of the Trinity, and I worship His cross, and for His sake I and my daughters joyfully die, even as He suffered in the flesh for our sake. Behold! I resign everything that is pleasant to the eyes and to the bodily senses on the earth and passes away, that I may go and receive from my Lord that which does not pass away. Blessed are you, my companions, if you will hear my words and know the truth and love Christ, for whose sake I and my daughters die. Then shall there be rest and peace to the people of God. The blood of my brothers and my sisters who have been slain for Christ shall be a wall to this city, if it hold fast to Christ my Lord. Behold, with my face exposed I pass away from this city, in which I have been as in a temporary tabernacle, that I may go with my daughters to an everlasting city, for it is there that I have betrothed them. Pray for me, my companions, that Christ my Lord may receive me and may pardon me for having remained alive these three days after my husband."

" 'And, when we heard a cry of lamentation from the city, and those who had been sent came back and, when asked, told us that, as we have written above, Rhumi had gone round the city, speaking to the women her companions and encouraging them, and a cry of woe was being raised in the city, then we were enraged with the guards, so much so that, had we not been persuaded not to do so, we would have put them to death for allowing her to act in this manner. But at last she came out from the city like a madwoman, with her head uncovered, accompanied by her daughters; and she came and stood before me without shame, and holding |197 her daughters, who were attired as for marriage, by the hand. And she loosened the bands of her hair and turned them round with her hands, and stretched out her neck, and bowed her head, crying, "I am a Christian, and so are my daughters ; for Christ's sake we die. Cut off our heads, that we may go and find our brothers and our sisters and the father of my daughters." But after all this madness I exhorted her to deny Christ, and only to say that He was a man; and she would not, but one of her daughters insulted us for saying this. And, since I saw that it was not possible to induce her to deny Christ, for the sake of striking terror into the other Christians I gave orders, and they threw her to the ground, and her daughters' throats were cut, and their blood ran down into her mouth, and afterwards her head was cut off. And by Adonai I swear that I was much distressed because of her beauty and that of her daughters. Now the chief priests and I thought that in accordance with the purport of the laws children ought not to die because of parents; and I distributed them, both the boys and the girls, among the army to bring them up ; and, as soon as they are grown up, if they become Jews, they shall live ; and, if they confess Christ, they shall die. And these things I have described and related to your Majesty, and I beg you not to suffer a Christian among your people, unless he denies and stands on your side. Now, as for the Jews also, my brethren, who are in your dominions, treat them kindly, my brother, and write and send me word what you wish me to send you in return for this.'

"All these things were written to him after we had reached the place : and he assembled his army, and the epistle was read before him, and the envoy related how the Christians had been put to death and banished from the land of the Homerites. And Mundhir said to the Christians in his army, 'Behold ! you have heard what has happened. Deny Christ; |198 for I am no better than the other kings who have persecuted the Christians.' And a certain man of high position in his army, who was a Christian, was moved with zeal, and boldly said to the king, 'It was not in your time that we became Christians, that we should deny Christ.' And Mundhir was enraged, and said, 'Do you dare to speak in my presence?' And he said, 'Because of the fear of God I speak without fear, and no one shall stop me ; for my sword is no shorter than the swords of others, and I will not shrink from fighting unto death.' And because of his birth, and because he was a great and distinguished man and valiant in war, Mundhir was silent.

"And, when we returned to the camp of Nu'man in the first week of the fast, we found a Christian envoy, who had been sent by the king of the Homerites before he died. This man, when he heard about the people who had been slaughtered by this Jewish tyrant, immediately hired a man from the camp of Nu'man, and sent him to Nagrin to bring him intelligence of what he saw and learned as to the events which had happened there. And, when he returned, he also in our presence related to the former Christian envoy the things which are recorded above, and that three hundred and forty of the magnates had been put to death, who had come out to him from the city, and he swore to them, and perjured himself to them ; and as to their chief, Harith the son of Khanab, the husband of Rhumi, that the Jew insulted him, and said to him, 'Trusting in Christ, you have rebelled against me ; but have mercy upon your old age and deny Him, or else you shall die with your companions.' And he answered and said to him, 'Truly I am distressed for all my companions and my brothers, because they would not listen to me when I told |199 them that you were lying, and said that we should not go out to you nor trust your words, but fight with you. And I trusted in Christ that I should have overcome you, and the city would not have been taken, for there was nothing lacking in it. And you are not a king, but a perjurer: and I have myself seen many kings who are truthful and do not lie. And I will not deny Christ my God to become a Jew like you, and a liar. And now I know that He loves me; and I have lived long in the world, and have had children and grandchildren, and I have daughters and many kinsmen, and I have won renown in wars by the power of Christ. And I am sure that, even as a vine which is pruned and gives forth much fruit, so shall our Christian people be multiplied in this city; and the church, which has been burnt by you, shall increase and be built up, and Christianity shall have dominion and give commands to kings, and shall reign, and your Judaism shall be blotted out, and your kingdom shall pass away, and your dominion shall come to an end. Boast not that you have done anything, nor be puffed up with glorying.'

"And, when the great Harith the son of Khanab, the venerable old man, had said these things, he turned round and said in a loud voice to his believing companions who surrounded him, 'Did you hear, my brothers, what I said to this Jew?' And they said, 'We heard everything which you said, father ours.' And again he said, 'Is it true or not?' And they cried, 'It is true.' And he said, 'If any man fears the sword and denies Christ, let him be separated from among us.' And they cried, 'Far be it from us! Be of |200 good cheer, father ours: we are all like you, and with you will we die for Christ's sake, and no one amongst us will remain after you.' And he cried and said, 'Ye Christian people who surround me, and ye heathens and Jews, hear. If any man of my family and my relations and of my kin denies Christ and joins this Jew, he has no part with me, and he shall not inherit anything that is mine, but all that belongs to me shall go to the expenses of the church that shall be built. But, if any man of my kin does not deny Christ and survives me, he shall inherit my property ; but three fields, whichever the Church shall choose in my estate, shall go to the expenses of the Church.' And, when he had said these things, he turned to the king and said, 'You and everyone who denies Christ I deny. Behold! we stand before you.' And his companions were emboldened, and said, 'Behold! Abraham the patriarch will look upon you and us with you; but everyone who denies Christ and remains alive after you we deny.' And he ordered them to be taken to the gully called Wadiya, and their heads to be cut off and their bodies thrown into it. And they stretched out their hands to heaven and said, 'Christ, our God, come to our aid, and put strength within us, and receive our souls. And may the blood of Thy bondservants, which is shed for Thy sake, smell sweet unto Thee; and make us worthy of Thy sight ; and confess us before Thy Father, as Thou promisedst. And may the church be built, and may a bishop be appointed in the stead of Paul, Thy bond-servant, whose bones they burnt.' And they bade one another farewell; and the old man Harith made the sign over them, and he bowed his head and received the sword. And his companions rushed forward and crowded together and smeared themselves with his blood ; and they were all martyred.

"And a child of three years old, whose mother was coming |201 out to be put to death and was holding him with her hand, ran up (and it happened that, when he saw the king sitting clad in royal apparel, he left his mother and ran up and kissed the king on the knees) ; and the king took hold of him and began to caress him and to say to him, 'Which would you like, to go and die with your mother, or to stay with me?' The boy said to him, 'By our Lord, I would like to die with my mother; and for this purpose I am going with my mother; for she said to me, "Come, my son, let us go and die for Christ's sake." But release me, that I may go to my mother, lest she die and I do not see her, because she says to me, "The king of the Jews has commanded that everyone who does not deny Christ shall die," and I will not deny Him.' And he said to him, 'Whence2 do you know Christ?' The boy said to him, 'Every day I see Him in the church with my mother, whenever I go to the church.' And he said to him, 'Do you love me, or your mother?' 3 And again he said to him, 'Do you love me, or Christ?' He said to him, 'Christ more than you.' And he said to him, 'Why did you come and kiss my knees?' The boy said to him, 'I thought that you were the Christian king, whom I used to see in the church, and I did not know that you were the Jew.' He said to him, 'I will give you nuts and almonds and figs.' And the boy said, 'No, by Christ, I will not eat the Jews' nuts; but let me go to my mother.' And he said to him, 'Stay with me, and you shall be a son to me.' And the boy said, 'No, by Christ, I will not stay with you, because your smell is foul and fetid, and not sweet like my mother.' And the king said to those that were standing by, 'Look at this evil root, whom from his boyhood Christ has deceived so as to make him love |202 Him.' And one of the magnates said to the boy, 'Come with me, and I will take you, that you may be a son to the queen.' And the boy said to him, 'You are smitten on the face. My mother, who takes me to the church, is more to me than the queen.' And, when he saw that they held him tight, he bit the king on the thigh, and said, 'Release me, you wicked Jew, that I may go to my mother and die with her.' And he gave him to one of the magnates, and said, 'Take care of him until he grows up ; and, if he denies Christ, he shall live; and, if not, he shall die.' And, while this man's slave was carrying him off, he struggled with his feet and cried to his mother, 'My mother, come and take me, that I may go with you to the church.' And, crying out before him, she said, 'Go, my son; you are intrusted to Christ's care; do not weep; wait for me in the church in Christ's presence till I come.' And, when she had said this, they cut off her head.

"And owing to this letter and the reports that have been received distress has fallen upon all the Christians here. And, in order that the things which have happened in the land of the Homerites may be made known to the pious believing bishops, and that they may celebrate the memory of the illustrious martyrs, we have written these things; and we beg your affection to let them be made known at once to the archimandrites and bishops, and especially to the chief priest of Alexandria, in order that he may write to the king of the Ethiopians to come at once and help the Homerites. But let the chief priests of the Jews in Tiberias also be arrested, and be compelled to send to this Jewish king, who has appeared, and tell him to put an end to the tribulation and persecution in the land of the Homerites." And so the rest, consisting of |203 salutations to the chief priests and bishops of that time and the believing archimandrites, which are contained in the epistle.



While Asclepius Bar Malohe,17 the brother of Andrew and of Demosthenes the prefect, held the see of Edessa, having become bishop there after Paul, who showed an outward appearance of being orthodox,18—(Now this man was ostentatious in his person, and polished. And, when he was a bishop in Edessa in the days of Flavian, before Asclepius, he drew up a written statement for him, which did not anathematise the Synod, because he had been his synkellos: and this book came into the hands of the holy Severus, who succeeded Flavian; and, when this Paul went up to salute him, he gave it him, and in divine love forgave him his offence, that is, on his assurance that he was a believer ; and this wise man, who kept knowledge hidden, as it is written,19 did not expose him. And in the days of this king he at first firmly refused to accept the Synod, while the people of Edessa supported him, and even suffered loss and outrage on his account every day; however, on being banished to Euchaita he conformed, and returned to Edessa; and after surviving a short time he was struck with shame and soon after died, and Asclepius succeeded him. And he |204 was a Nestorian; but he was just in his deeds, and showed kindness to the tillers of the soil, and was gentle towards them, and was not greedy after bribes. In his body he was chaste, and in outward matters he did much good to his church, and paid its debts. But he was active and violent against the believers ; and many were banished by him and outraged with every kind of torture, or died under the hard treatment inflicted on them at the hands of Liberius, a Goth, a cruel governor, who was called "the bull-eater.")

And,20 while affairs in Edessa were in this position, in the year eight hundred and thirty-six of the Greeks, the year three,21 on the twenty-second of April, the river Scirtus, which enters and passes through the city, rose and overflowed, and overthrew two sides of the wall, and drowned many persons ; for it was supper-time, and while their food was in their mouth the waters rushed in upon them, the flooded Scirtus. But this Asclepius escaped, and so did Liberius. And 22 the flow of the waters of Shiluho, which are in Jerusalem, in the southern quarter of it, was stopped for fifteen years; and the temple of Solomon in the city of Heliopolis in the forest of Lebanon, as to which Scripture mentions that Solomon built it and stored arms in it 23 [was burnt]. And to the south of it are three wonderful stones, on which nothing is built, but they stand by themselves, joined and united together and touching one another; and all three are distinguished by effigies, and they are very large. And in a mystical sense they are set, as it were, to represent the temple of the knowledge of the faith in the adorable Trinity, the calling of the nations by the preaching of the gospel tidings. There came down lightning from heaven, while the rain fell in small quantities: it struck the temple and reduced its stones to powder by the heat, and overthrew its pillars, and broke it to pieces and destroyed it. But the three stones it did not touch, but they remain perfect; and now a |205 house of prayer has been built there, dedicated to Mary the Holy Virgin, the Theotokos.

And a year afterwards, in the year four,24 Antioch was overthrown by a great earthquake of unwonted severity, and countless myriads of people perished in it. For it was summer time ; and, while they were feasting, and their food was in their mouth, their houses were thrown down upon them, as upon the sons of Job in the proving of Satan. And Euphrasius was chief priest there, who succeeded Paul who was called "the Jew"; and he fell into a boiling cauldron of wax, and perished.

And his successor 25 was Ephraim of Amida, who was Comes Orientis at that time. And this man in the authority which he exercised in various countries was a man just in his deeds, and was not greedy after bribes, and was able and successful. And 26 for years he had been infected with the teaching of the Diphysites through some books which his mother Mako (?) had inherited from a certain Bar Shalumo of Constantia, of the school of Diodorus and Theodore; and he corrupted and won over many persons, some by subtilty and moderation, and some by the threats of the king, who was fond of him, and paid attention to what he wrote to him. |206 



Kawad,27 king of the Persians, kept making pressing demands for the payment of the tribute of 500 Ibs. weight of gold which was paid to him by the king of the Romans on account of the expense of the Persian force which guarded the gates facing the land of the Huns; and. for this reason he used from time to time to send his own Saracens into the territory of the Romans, and they plundered and carried oft captives. The Romans also invaded Arzanene, a country which belonged to him, and the district of Nisibis, and did damage. On this account negotiations were held, and the two kings sent envoys, Justin sending Hypatius and the old man Farzman, and Kawad Asthebid;28 and much discussion took place on the frontier, which was reported to the two kings by their magnates through couriers; and no peaceful message was sent by them, but they were hostile to one another.

And Mundhir, the Saracen king, went up into the territory of Emesa and Apamea and the district of Antioch on two occasions; and he carried off many people, and took them away with him. And four hundred virgins, who were |207 suddenly made captive among the congregation in the church of Thomas the Apostle at Emesa (?), he sacrificed in one day in honour of 'Uzzai. Dodo also the anchorite, an old man, who was made captive among the congregation, saw it with his eyes, and told me.

Now of the bishops of the East, and especially those in the jurisdiction of the learned Severus, some 29 were banished, and others withdrew to Alexandria and various other countries, walking in the footsteps of the chief priest, Severus the doctor. And Akhs'noyo30 of Hierapolis had been sent into exile at Gangra; and he was imprisoned over the kitchen in the hospital there, and was suffocated by the smoke, as he states in his epistle;31 and at last he died. And 32 Antoninus of Berrhoea, and Thomas of Damascus, and Thomas of Dara, and John of Constantia, and Thomas of Amrin (?), and Peter of Rhesaina, and Constantine of Laodicea, and Peter of Apamea, and others withdrew, and. lived in hiding wherever it was convenient for them. But the see of Alexandria had not been disturbed, and Timothy 33 succeeded Dioscorus ; and he did not withdraw nor accept the Synod in the days of Justin ; and the fugitive believing priests who sought refuge with |208 him he received affectionately, and honoured and encouraged them.

Now 34 Nonnus of Seleucia, who came from Amida, had withdrawn to his own city and taken up his abode in his mansion there, because he came of a wealthy family, and had been governor and great steward of the Church in his city in the days of John the bishop, who came from the monastery of Karthamin, a righteous man. He in his days blessed Nonnus, and said, "I am confident in my Lord that you will die as bishop in my see." And the event was delayed, inasmuch as after the captivity of Amida the gracious Thomas became bishop there, who built Dara. He, when the couriers came to seize him, in order that either he might accept the Synod or they might drive him out, fell ill in accordance with his prayer, and died suddenly and at once while in possession of his see, the couriers being in the city ; and this caused many to marvel. Accordingly, in order that the blessing of John might be fulfilled, the men of Amida seized Nonnus and appointed him bishop there; and he lived a few months, and departed.35

And in succession to him again, in the presence of three bishops, as the canons require, Nonnus of Martyropolis, Arathu (?) of Ingila, and Aaron of Arsamosata, who were on the spot, they ordained Moro Bar Kustant, the governor, who was steward of the Church, an abstemious man and righteous in his deeds, chaste and believing ; and he was fluent and practised in the Greek tongue, having been educated in the monastery of St. Thomas the Apostle of Seleucia, which in zealous faith had removed and had settled at Kenneshre on the river Euphrates, and there been rebuilt by John the |209 archimandrite, a learned man, who was at that time an ex-pleader (?), a native of Edessa, the son of Aphthonia.36 And this Moro had been trained up in all kinds of right instruction and mental excellence from his boyhood by Sh'muni and Morutho, his grave, chaste, and believing sisters. And after remaining a short time in his see he was banished to Petra, and from Petra to Alexandria; and he stayed there for a time, and formed a library there containing many admirable books; and in them there is abundance of great profit for those who love instruction, the discerning and studious. These were transferred to the treasury of the Church of Amida after the man's death. And in every matter which I record, in order not to cause annoyance by blaming one man or praising another, I have related whatever the truth of the matter is without any falsehood. However, the man progressed more and more in reading in Alexandria, and there he fell asleep. And his body was conveyed, by his sisters, who were with him and ministered to him, comforting him in affliction, as it is written,37 and laid in his own Martyrs' Chapel in the village of Beth Shuro.38 And as a record of the eloquent expression of his love of instruction I will set down at the end of this Book the prologue composed by him in the Greek tongue and inserted in his Tetreuangelion.

Now 39 the believing cloistered monks in the East had also, moreover, been expelled and had withdrawn from the year three until the year nine,40 one week, that is, of years, from their cloisters in the district of Antioch and in Euphratesia, and also in Osrhoene and Mesopotamia. And the cloister of Thomas at Seleucia with the brotherhood came to Kenneshre |210 on the Euphrates, and was there settled by the learned John the archimandrite, the son of Aphthonia. And Cyrus, archimandrite of the Syrians in Antioch, was expelled, together with the brotherhood of the monastery  41 of Thel 'Addo, and the monastery of Romanus, and Simeon of L'gino, and Ignatius, archimandrite of the monastery of 'Akibo at Chalcis, and the monastery of S'nun, and John, archimandrite of Khafro d'Birtho, and the monastery of my lord Bassus, and John of the Orientals, and the monks of the Arches, and the monastery of Magnus (?), and Sergius of the Quarry, and Thomas of the house of Natsih, and Isaac of the house of ''bedyeshu', and the cloisters of 'Arab in Mesopotamia and Izlo and Beth Gaugal, and five metropolitan cloisters in Amida, Hananyo and Abraham called "the humble," a worker of miracles, and Daniel, visitor of the cloister of Edessa, and Elijah of the house of Ishokuni, and Simai and Cosmas of the foundation of John the Anzetenian,42 and Maron of the Orientals, and Solomon of the house of my lord Samuel, and Cyrus of Sugo, and the monks of the Watch-tower and of Thiri, near Rhesaina.

Now for this reason four or five communities of hermits also settled in the desert: at Ramsho Mori, a chaste man and of honourable character; and at Natfo Sergius, a plain and simple man, and after him Antony, a mild and peaceful man, and that kindly old man Elijah, our countryman, and Simeon of Chalcis, and Sergius, who has now rebuilt Sodakthe (?), and the community on the Harmosho (?),43 the |211 monastery founded by my lord John at Hauro.44 And Simeon, archimandrite of the monastery of my lord Isaac at Gabbula, which is now polluted 45 with the heresy of Julian the Phantasiast, was at that time zealous in the faith, he and those who were with him ; and Bar Hakino of the house of my lord Hanino, a worker of miracles, was similarly moved with zeal, insomuch as to go up to the royal city and in his own person admonish and reprove the king, although he was not received ; and this is witnessed by Akhs'noyo's epistle of thanks which he wrote to him from Gangra ; and similarly with the monks of the house of my lord Zakhkhai at Callinicus, and of the foundation of my lord Abbo, and of Beth R'kum.

And so the desert was at peace, and was abundantly supplied with a population of believers who lived in it, and fresh ones who were every day added to them and aided in swelling the numbers of their brethren, some from a desire to visit their brethren out of Christian love, and others again because they were being driven from country to country by the bishops in the cities. And there grew up, as it were, a commonwealth of illustrious and believing priests, and a tranquil brotherhood with them ; and they were united in love and abounded in mutual affection, and they were beloved and acceptable in the sight of everyone ; and nothing was lacking, for the honoured heads of the corporation, which is composed of all the members of the body, accompanied them, the pious John of Constantia, a religious and ascetic man, (he would not even partake of the desirable bread, "the foundation of the life of man,"46 and so he progressed in the reading of the Scriptures and became a gnostic and a theoretic;47 for he used to raise his understanding upwards by the study of spiritual things for the space of three hours, marvelling and meditating on the wisdom of the works of God ; and for three hours more, from the sixth to the ninth, he continued in joy |212 and peace with every man, in intercourse with those who came to him upon necessary business)—and Thomas of Dara again, while undergoing many labours, conversed much upon physics.

Now in the year nine,48 in the fifth year of the reign of this serene king, Justinian, the king of our day, being moved by God our Lord, who had foreknowledge of his deeds, he distributed justice, and ordered that all orders should return from exile and from the countries to which they had withdrawn in zeal for the faith, while he summoned the believing bishops to come up to him. And, after this had happened in the year nine, in the year ten 49 a multitude of Huns entered the Roman territory and massacred those whom they found outside the cities; and they crossed the river Euphrates, and advanced as far as the district of Antioch. Accordingly, under the direction of God, as he said, "My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and hide thyself until My indignation be overpast," 50 and by order of the king, the believers in the East again retired into hiding. But John the hermit of Anastasia, a man of honourable character, had been killed in the desert by the Huns; but Simeon the hermit, who was called "the horned," had not been hurt.  



The chief priests 51 in the days of Justin are as follows :— Of Rome, Hormisda; of Alexandria, Timothy ; of Jerusalem, Peter, who succeeded John; and of Antioch, Paul the Jew, who was driven out, and after him Euphrasius, who was |213 burnt in the earthquake of Antioch in the year four,52 and after him was Ephraim of Amida; of Constantinople, Epiphanius. There is comprised in this space of time a space of nine years.



"In order 54 to gather together the sense of a long treatise a man stores up a knowledge of these things succinctly under a few heads in his mind and memory and understanding. And we may understand these things from the heads which are set down in this book ; and these again cause the inner meaning of all that is in them to pass rapidly and succinctly into the mind, when heard and considered in due order. For, if a man gathers together the record of the Gospels, he will learn from it that God became incarnate, and that divine as well as human properties are His, by which He made the |214 foundations of the world, which at His second coming He will make clearly to appear. And so everyone who examines these things severally will find first a notice of the census before His Incarnation, and then next the birth of John the Baptist for a testimony to the God of Israel, which happened in accordance with the previous annunciation of the angel ; and he will find that the supernatural birth of Jesus, who is God, took place in the Virgin Mary and from her, and that every man has his beginning from the earth according to the saying of the Baptist,55 but He who is not from the earth is Jesus from heaven.

"Now the testimonies to His Incarnation mentioned in the book of the Gospel are those spoken in the spirit by Elizabeth and by the angel to the Virgin and Joseph and the shepherds at the annunciation of His birth by the assembly of watching angels ; and again the prophecy of Zachariah, and the rising of the star, which betokened the indestructible reign of the Son of God, who was born; and the prophecy of Simeon the priest and Anna about the coming of Christ for the salvation of the world and of Israel; and besides these also the proclamation of the Baptist, who testified that he was from earth and our Saviour from heaven. And, further, in the Gospel-record a man will understand His divine dispensation, which was effected by infinite wisdom, and not through book-wisdom and the pursuit of learning; and His power of performing wonderful mighty works in deed and word, and His knowledge about everything, and that He did no sin ; and again that it was at His own pleasure to suffer in His own time and not to suffer when it was not time ; and that it was in His power 56 to destroy sufferings by His voluntary sufferings in the body, and to do away death by His Resurrection and to ascend to heaven. And the record plainly states that He became incarnate of the Virgin in flesh endowed with a soul and an intellect; it states His nine months' human conception, His natural and |215 supernatural birth, and that He was wrapped in swaddling-clothes and sucked milk, and was also circumcised according to law; and, further, that He fled before the threats of Herod into Egypt, carried by His mother, and that He came up: from Egypt for the renovation of Israel and after the manner of Israel; and again, that He increased in stature, and was subject to His mother and to Joseph her husband, and was baptized with water by John to signify the renovating birth of mankind, which is in him renewed in a figure, because His baptism bestowed upon us the holy birth of the Spirit; and He was tempted by the devil as a man, but as God easily overcame the tempter in the contest and the argument ; and He was ministered to by angels; and He gave peace to our race by restoring us to Paradise ; further, He associated with the disciples in human fashion, and withdrew at one time from the persecutors, and hungered and thirsted and was weary ; but He showed that He did not submit to these things merely from the necessity of nature in human fashion, as though He were not God, by the fact that it is testified that He verily fasted forty days and was afterwards hungry (in a similar manner He also slept; but, because He was on a mountain in quiet, He kept watch in prayer, and this prayer He made to the Father in human fashion on behalf of men ; but on the sea and in the storm He slept in the ship for the instruction of the disciples, that they might believe that it is He who stills the storms of the seas and the sound of their waves) ; and, further, that, when they sought to throw Him down from the brow of the hill they could not do so, but, while they stood all around Him, He passed through the midst of them and went His way; and, |216 when wounded by the lance on the Cross, His life did not pass away of necessity, but He bowed His head and gave up the ghost ; and in every respect divine and human qualities are His. But the reforms which Christ effected in the world are His rebuke of the deceiver, and the demons which He drove out, and the fiends which He ejected, and the sore diseases which He healed, and the dead which He raised, and the divers temptations which He thrust away, and certain passions which He brought to naught; which reforms were types and figures of the future world, which shall be far removed from evil, the world which is looked for by us with hope and faith and love. And the teaching of our Saviour draws men away from the passion of the love of money and the love of glory and pleasure, and raises them up that they may serve God in uprightness of will."

Now there was inserted in the Gospel of the holy Moro the bishop, in the eighty-ninth canon, a chapter which is related only by John in his Gospel, and is not found in other manuscripts, a section running thus: "It happened 57 one day, while Jesus was teaching, they brought Him a woman who had been found to be with child of adultery, and told Him about her. And Jesus said to them (since as God He knew their shameful passions and also their deeds), 'What does He command in the law?' And they said to Him, 'That at the mouth of two or three witnesses she should be stoned.' But He answered and said to them, 'In accordance with the law, whoever is pure and free from these sinful passions, and can bear witness with confidence and authority, as being under no blame in respect of this sin, let him bear witness against her, and let him first throw a stone at her, and then those that are after him, and she shall be stoned.' But they, because |217 they were subject to condemnation and blameworthy in respect of this sinful passion, went out one by one from before Him and left the woman. And, when they had gone, Jesus looked upon the ground and, writing in the dust there, said to the woman, 'They who brought thee here and wished to bear witness against thee, having understood what I said to them, which thou hast heard, have left thee and departed. Do thou also, therefore, go thy way, and commit not this sin again.' "

[Note to the online edition: footnotes have been moved to the end.  Footnotes concerned only with bits of Syriac and Greek have been omitted because of the time it would take to transcribe it.]

1. 1 vii. 14.

2. 2518.

3. 3 vii. 14; Mich. fol. 161 r; cf. Jo. Mal. p. 410.

4. 7 Cf. Jo. Mal. pp. 410, 411.

5. 2 Mich. loc. cit.

6. 3 Cf. Jo. Mal. loc. cit. 

7. 4 Cf. Theoph. A.M. 6012.

8. 5 Cf. Evag. iv. 4.

9. 6 vii. 13.

10. 2 Cf. Jo. Mal. p. 412 ; Evag. iv. 3.

11. 3 Cf. Evag. iv. 4.

12. 2 There is probably some mistake in the heading, as a bishop could not be an apokrisiarios. Jo. Eph. (ap. "Dion.") omits the word, ...

13. 3 This chapter is contained in Cod. Rom. Mai's text is, however, not taken from the MS. but is a copy of that of Assemani (B. 0. vol. i. p. 364 ff.), taken not from our author, but from John of Ephesus (ap. "Dion."). The letter also exists in a much longer form in Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 14,650, fol. 155, and in a MS. in the Museum Borgianum at Rome, which has been edited by Prof. Guidi (Atti dell' Accademia de' Lincei, Ser. 3, Tom. 7, 1881). It exists also in Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 14,641, fol. 157, where the text is not a copy of 14,650, as Guidi states on the authority of Wright, but is similar to that in our author and in Jo. Eph., and, being followed by the later history of the little boy, as in Jo. Eph., is plainly derived from that author. A Greek account of the same events, derived in part from this letter, is contained in the Martyrium Arethae (Boissonade, Anecd. Graec. vol. v.), and a slightly different one in Simeon Metaphrastes (Migne, Patr. Graec. 115, p. 1249 ff.).

14. 4 Jo. Eph. ap. "Dion." (Assem., B. O. p. 364 ff.); Mich. fol. 166 ff.

15. 1 524.

16. 4 I.e. emigrants or nomads, a name applied to certain Arab tribes : Ar. Ma'addiyya.

17. 1 I.e. "son of sailors."

18. 3 Here the sentence breaks off, being taken up again lower down.

19. 5 Prov. x. 14.

20. 1 Mich. fol. 161 r, 164 v.

21. 2 525.

22. 3 Mich. fol. 164.

23. 4 1 Kings ix. 18, 19.

24. 1 526.

25. 4 Mich. fol. 165 v; Greg. H. E. i. p. 201.

26. 6 Two leaves in the MS. have here been transposed. I pass on from p. 244, 1. 26 (Land) to p. 246, 1. 16. The intermediate portion has nothing to do with the subject of this chapter, but belongs to the next. This is also evident from a comparison with Michael and Gregory.

27. 2 Mich. fol. 164 r; Greg. p. 78,

28. 5 The name meant is Spahpat ... , the title of the Persian commander-in-chief (Josh. Styl. 59, and Wright's note). Cf. also 9. 4.

29. 3 Mich. fol. 162 r.

30. 4 Jo. Eph. ap. Mich. fol. 161 v, Greg. H. E. pp. 195, 197, from Philox. Ep. ad Man. Sen. (Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 14,597, fol. 35 ff.).

31. 7 Cf. 7. 12.

32. 8 Cf. Jo. Eph. I.e.

33. 10 Mich. fol. 162 r.

34. 1 Jo. Eph. ap. "Dion." (Assem., B. O. 2, pp. 48, 49) ; Mich. l.c.

35. 6 At this point we go back to fol. 140 (see p. 205, note 6).

36. 2 Not Aphthonius ; see John's life in Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 12,174, fol. 84.

37. 5 2 Cor. i. 4(?); I Thess. iii. 7 (?).

38. 6 In Jo. Eph. (Land, Anecd. Syr. ii. p. no, 1. 3) "Beth Shuro." "Dion." "in the temple of Beth Shilo."

39. 7 Mich. fol. 163.

40. 8 525-531.

41. 1 Mich. " was expelled together with the brotherhood, and the monks of the monastery ..."

42. 6 See bk. 7, ch. 4 (p. 156, note 2).

43. 7 Or, "near Harmosho." I find no trace of either of these names, and suspect both to be corrupt. Mich. omits both, writing merely "Sergius, and the monastery . . . Hauro."

44. 1 At this point we return to fol. 142.

45. 2 Mich. has the masculine, " who is now polluted."

46. 4 Sir. xxix. 21.

47. 5 I.e. learned in the inner or allegorical meaning.

48. 1 531.

49. 2 531-2.

50. 3 Isa. xxvi. 20.

51. 4 Cf. Mich. fol. 167 v.

52. 1 526.

53. 3 This chapter is contained in Cod. Rom., where the heading is, "The prologue composed concisely under heads by the holy Moro, bishop of Amida, a man deserving of blessed memory, upon the Gospel and the dispensation of Christ in the flesh."—Cf. p. 221.

54. 4 Mich. fol. 162 ff.

55. 1 John iii. 31.

56. 4 Cod. Rom., "that it is now in His power."

57. 2 John viii. 1-11.

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