Blog Template Theology of the Body: Thus is the faith confessed

Monday, April 30, 2007

Thus is the faith confessed

"There is in that city a magnificent church, dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle, wherein, on account of the sanctity of the place, religious assemblies are continually held. The Emperor Valens wished to inspect this edifice; when, having learned (of) all who usually congregated there, he is said to have struck the prefect with his own hand, because he had neglected to expel them thence. The prefect, to prevent the slaughter of so great a number of persons, privately warned them against resorting thither. But his admonitions and menaces were alike unheeded; for on the following day they all crowded to the church.

When the prefect was going towards it with a large military force, a poor woman, leading her own little child by the hand, hurried hastily by on her way to the church, breaking through the ranks of the soldiery. The prefect, irritated at this, ordered her to be brought to him, and thus addressed her: 'Wretched woman, whither are you running in so disorderly a manner?' She replied, 'To the same place that others are hastening.' 'Have you not heard,' said he, 'that the prefect is about to put to death all that shall be found there?' 'Yes,' said the woman, 'and therefore I hasten, that I may be found there."And whither are you dragging that little child?' said the prefect. The woman answered, 'That he also may be vouchsafed the honour of martyrdom.'

The prefect went back and informed the emperor that all were ready to die in behalf of their own faith; and added that it would be preposterous to destroy so many persons at one time, and thus succeeded in restraining the emperor's wrath. Thus was the Christian faith confessed by the whole city of Edessa."

Socr. iv. 18, Sozom. vi. 18. Quoted Newman, On Consulting the Faithful