Dionysius (Cont.)Extant Fragments

Extant Fragments. (Cont.)

Part II. (Cont.)

Epistle X. – Against Bishop Germanus.200

1. Now I speak also before God, and He knoweth that I lie not: it was not by my own choice,201 neither was it without divine instruction, that I took to flight. But at an earlier period,202 indeed, when the edict for the persecution under Decius was determined upon, Sabinus at that very hour sent a certain Frumentarius203 to make search for me. And I remained in the house for four days, expecting the arrival of this Frumentarius. But he went about examining all other places, the roads, the rivers, the fields, where he suspected that I should either conceal myself or travel. And he was smitten with a kind of blindness, and never lighted on the house; for he never supposed that I should tarry at home when under pursuit. Then, barely after the lapse of four days, God giving me instruction to remove, and opening the way for me in a manner beyond all expectation, my domestics204 and I, and a considerable number of the brethren, effected an exit together. And that this was brought about by the providence of God, was made plain by what followed: in which also we have been perhaps of some service to certain parties.


2. Then, after a certain break, he narrates the events which befell him after his flight, subjoining the following statement: – Now about sunset I was seized, along with those who were with me, by the soldiers, and was carried off to Taposiris. But by the providence of God, it happened that Timotheus was not present with me then, nor indeed had he been apprehended at all. Reaching the place later, he found the house deserted, and officials keeping guard over it, and ourselves borne into slavery.


3. And after some other matters, he proceeds thus: – And what was the method of this marvellous disposition of Providence in his case? For the real facts shall be related. When Timotheus was fleeing in great perturbation, he was met205 by a man from the country.206 This person asked the reason for his haste, and he told him the truth plainly. Then the man (he was on his way at the time to take part in certain marriage festivities; for it is their custom to spend the whole night in such gatherings), on hearing the fact, held on his course to the scene of the rejoicings, and went in and narrated the circumstances to those who were seated at the feast; and with a single impulse, as if it had been at a given watchword, they all started up, and came on all in a rush, and with the utmost speed. Hurrying up to us, they raised a shout; and as the soldiers who were guarding us took at once to flight, they came upon us, stretched as we were upon the bare couches.207 For my part, as God knows, I took them at first to be robbers who had come to plunder and pillage us; and remaining on the bedstead on which I was lying naked, save only that I had on my linen underclothing, I offered them the rest of my dress as it lay beside me. But they bade me get up and take my departure as quickly as I could. Then I understood the purpose of their coming, and cried, entreated, and implored them to go away and leave us alone; and I begged that, if they wished to do us any good, they might anticipate those who led me captive, and strike off my head. And while I was uttering such vociferations, as those who were my comrades and partners in all these things know, they began to lift me up by force. And I threw myself down on my back upon the ground; but they seized me by the hands and feet, and dragged me away, and bore me forth. And those who were witnesses of all these things followed me, – namely, Caius, Faustus, Peter, and Paul. These men also took me up, and hurried me off208 out of the little town, and set me on an ass without saddle, and in that fashion carried me away.


4. I fear that I run the risk of being charged with great folly and senselessness, placed as I am under the necessity of giving a narrative of the wonderful dispensation of God’s providence in our case. Since, however, as one says, it is good to keep close the secret of a king, but it is honourable to reveal the works of God, (Tobit 12:7) I shall come to close quarters with the violence of Germanus. I came to Aemilianus not alone; for there accompanied me also my co-presbyter Maximus, and the deacons Faustus and Eusebius and Chaeremon; and one of the brethren who had come from Rome went also with us. Aemilianus, then, did not lead off by saying to me, “Hold no assemblies.” That was indeed a thing superfluous for him to do, and the last thing which d one would do who meant to go back to what was first and of prime importance:209 for his concern was not about our gathering others together in assembly, but about our not being Christians ourselves. From this, therefore, he commanded me to desist, thinking, doubtless, that if I myself should recant, the others would also follow me in that. But I answered him neither unreasonably nor in many words, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Act_5:29) Moreover, I testified openly that I worshipped the only true God and none other, and that I could neither alter that position nor ever cease to be a Christian. Thereupon he ordered us to go away to a village near the desert, called Cephro.


5. Hear also the words which were uttered by both of us as they have been put on record.210 When Dionysius, and Faustus, and Maximus, and Marcellus, and Chaeremon had been placed at the bar, Aemilianus, as prefect, said: “I have reasoned with you verily in free speech,211 on the clemency of our sovereigns, as they have suffered you to experience it; for they have given you power to save yourselves, if you are disposed to turn to what is accordant with nature, and to worship the gods who also maintain them in their kingdom, and to forget those things which are repugnant’ to nature. What say ye then to these things? for I by no means expect that you will be ungrateful to them for their clemency, since indeed what they aim at is to bring you over to better courses.” Dionysius made reply thus “All men do not worship all the gods, but different men worship different objects that they suppose to be true gods. Now we worship the one God, who is the Creator of all things, and the very Deity who has committed the sovereignty to the hands of their most sacred majesties Valerian and Gallienus. Him we both reverence and worship; and to Him we pray continually on behalf of the sovereignty of these princes, that it may abide unshaken.” Aemilianus, as prefect, said to them: “But who hinders you from worshipping this god too, if indeed he is a god, along with those who are gods by nature? for you have been commanded to worship the gods, and those gods whom all know as such.” Dionysius replied: “We worship no other one.” Aemilianus, as prefect, said to them: “I perceive that you are at once ungrateful to and insensible of the clemency of our princes. Wherefore you shall not remain in this city; but you shall be despatched to the parts of Libya, and settled in! a place called Cephro: for of this place I have I, made choice in accordance with the command of our princes. It shall not in any wise be lawful for you or for any others, either to hold assemblies or to enter those places which are: called cemeteries. And if any one is seen not to have betaken himself to this place whither I have ordered him to repair, or if he be discovered in any assembly, he will prepare peril for himself; for the requisite punishment will not fail. Be off, therefore, to the place whither you have been commanded to go.” So he forced me away, sick as I was; nor did he grant me the delay even of a single day. What opportunity, then, had I to think either of holding assemblies, or of not holding them?212


6. Then after some other matters he says: – Moreover, we did not withdraw from the visible assembling of ourselves together, with the Lord’s presence.213 But those in the city I tried to gather together with all the greater zeal, as if I were present with them; for I was absent indeed in the body, as I said,214 but present in the spirit. And in Cephro indeed a considerable church sojourned with us, composed partly of the brethren who followed us from the city, and partly of those who joined us from Egypt. There, too, did God open to us a door215 for the word. And at first we were persecute we were stoned but after a period some few of the heathen forsook their idols, and turned to God. For by our means the word was then sown among them for the first time, and before that they had never received it. And as if to show that this had been the very purpose of God in conducting us to them, when we had fulfilled this ministry, He led us away again. For Aemilianus was minded to remove us to rougher parts, as it seemed, and to more Libyan-like districts; and he gave orders to draw all in every direction into the Mareotic territory, and assigned villages to each party throughout the country. Bat he issued instructions that we should be located specially by the public way, so that we might also be the first to be apprehended;216 for he evidently made his arrangements and plans with a view to an easy seizure of all of us whenever he should make up his mind to lay hold of us.


7. Now when I received the command to depart to Cephro, I had no idea of the situation of the place, and had scarcely even heard its name before; yet for all that, I went away courageously and calmly. But when word was brought me that I had to remove to the parts of Colluthion,217 those present know how I was affected; for here I shall be my own accuser. At first, indeed, I was greatly vexed, and took very ill; for though these places happened to be better known and more familiar to us, yet people declared that the region was one destitute of brethren, and even of men of character, and one exposed to the annoyances of travellers and to the raids of robbers. I found comfort, however when the brethren reminded me that it was nearer the city; and while Cephro brought us large intercourse with brethren of all sorts who came from Egypt, so that we were able to hold our sacred assemblies on a more extensive scale yet there, on the other hand, as the city was in the nearer vicinity, we could enjoy more frequently the sight of those who were the really beloved, and in closest relationship with us, and dearest to us: for these would come and take their rest among us, and, as in the more remote suburbs, there would be distinct and special meetings.218 And thus it turned out.


8. Then, after some other matters, he gives again the following account of what befell him – Germanus, indeed, boasts himself of many professions of faith. He, forsooth, is able to speak of many adverse things which have happened to him! Can he then reckon up in his own case as many condemnatory sentences219 as we can number in ours, and confiscations too, and proscriptions, and spoilings of goods, and losses of dignities,220 and despisings of worldly honour, and contemnings of the laudations of governors and councillors, and patient subjections to the threatenings of the adversaries,221 and to outcries, and perils, and persecutions, and a wandering life, and the pressure of difficulties, and all kinds of trouble, such as befell me in the time of Decius and Sabinus,222 and such also as I have been suffering under the present severities be of Aemilianus? But where in the world did Germanus make his appearance? And what mention is made of him? But I retire from this huge act of folly into which I am suffering myself to fall on account of Germanus; and accordingly I forbear giving to the brethren, who already have full knowledge of these things, a particular and detailed narrative of all that happened.


Epistle XI. – To Hermammon.223

1. But Gallus did not understand the wickedness of Decius, nor did he note beforehand what it was that wrought his ruin. But he stumbled at the very stone which was lying before his eyes; for when his sovereignty was in a prosperous position, and when affairs were turning out according to his wish,224 he oppressed those holy men who interceded with God on behalf of his peace and his welfare. And consequently, persecuting them, he persecuted also the prayers offered in his own behalf.


2. And to John a revelation is made in like manner:225 “And there was given unto him,” he says, “a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemy; and power was given unto him, and forty and two months.”226 And one finds both things to wonder at in Valerian’s case; and most especially has one to consider how different it was with him before these events,227 – how mild and well-disposed he was towards the men of God. For among the emperors who preceded him, there was not one who exhibited so kindly and favourable a disposition toward them as he did; yea, even those who were said to have become Christians openly228 did not receive them with that extreme friendliness and graciousness with which he received them at the beginning of his reign; and his whole house was filled then with the pious, and it was itself a very church of God. But the master and president229 of the Magi of Egypt230 prevailed on him to abandon that course, urging him to slay and persecute those pure and holy men as adversaries and obstacles to their accursed and abominable incantations. For there are, indeed, and there were men who, by their simple presence, and by merely showing themselves, and by simply breathing and uttering some words, have been able to dissipate the artifices of wicked demons. But he put it into his mind to practise the impure rites of initiation, and detestable juggleries, and execrable sacrifices, and to slay miserable children, and to make oblations of the offspring of unhappy fathers, and to divide the bowels of the newly-born, and to mutilate and cut up the creatures made by God, as if by such means they231 would attain to blessedness.


3. Afterwards he subjoins the following: – Splendid surely were the thank-offerings, then, which Macrianus brought them232 for that empire which was the object of his hopes; who, while formerly reputed as the sovereign’s faithful public treasurer,233 had yet no mind for anything which was either reasonable in itself or conducive to the public good,234 but subjected himself to that curse of prophecy which says, “Woe unto those who prophesy from their own heart, and see not the public good!”235 For he did not discern that providence which regulates all things; nor did he think of the judgment of Him who is before all, and through all, and over all. Wherefore he also became an enemy to His Catholic Church; and besides that, he alienated and estranged himself from the mercy of God, and fled to the utmost possible distance from His salvation.236 And in this indeed he demonstrated the reality of the peculiar significance of his name.237


4. And again, after some other matters, he proceeds thus: – For Valerian was instigated to these acts by this man, and was thereby exposed to contumely and reproach, according to the word spoken by the Lord to Isaiah: “Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their own abominations in which their souls delighted; I also will choose their mockeries,238 and will recompense their sin.” (Isa_66:3, Isa_66:4) But this man239 (Macrianus), being maddened with his passion for the empire, all unworthy of it as he was, and at the same time having no capacity for assuming the insignia of imperial government,240 by reason of his crippled241 body,242 put forward his two sons as the bearers, so to speak, of their father’s offences. For unmistakeably apparent in their case was the truth of that declaration made by God, when He said, “Visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” For he heaped his own wicked passions, for which he had failed in securing satisfaction,243 upon the heads of his sons, and thus wiped off244 upon them his own wickedness, and transferred to them, too, the hatred he himself had shown toward God.


5.245 That man,246 then, after he had betrayed the one and made war upon the other of the emperors preceding him, speedily perished, with his whole family, root and branch. And Gallienus was proclaimed, and acknowledged by all. And he was at once an old emperor and a new; for he was prior to those, and he also survived them. To this effect indeed is the word spoken by the Lord to Isaiah: “Behold, the things which were from the beginning have come to pass; and there are new things which shall now arise.” (Isa_42:9) For as a cloud which intercepts the sun’s rays, and overshadows it for a little, obscures it, and appears itself in its place, but again, when the cloud has passed by or melted away, the sun, which had risen before, comes forth again and shows itself: so did this Macrianus put himself forward,247 and achieve access248 for himself even to the very empire of Gallienus now established; but now he is that no more, because indeed he never was it, while this other, i.e., Gallienus, is just as he was. And his empire, as if it had cast off old age, and had purged itself of the wickedness formerly attaching to it, is at present in a more vigorous and flourishing condition, and is now seen and heard of at greater distances, and stretches abroad in every direction.


6. Then he further indicates the exact time at which he wrote this account, as follows: – And it occurs to me again to review the days of the imperial years. For I see that those most impious men, whose names may have been once so famous, have in a short space become nameless. But our more pious and godly prince249 has passed his septennium, and is now in his ninth year, in which we are to celebrate the festival.250


Epistle XII. – To the Alexandrians.251

1. To other men, indeed, the present state of matters would not appear to offer a fit season for a festival: and this certainly is no festal time to them; nor, in sooth, is any other that to them. And I say this, not only of occasions manifestly sorrowful,252 but even or all occasions whatsoever which people might consider to be most joyous.253 And now certainly all things are turned to mourning, and all men are in grief, and lamentations resound through the city, by reason of the multitude of the dead and of those who are dying day by day. For as it is written in the case of the first-born of the Egyptians, so now too a great cry has arisen. “For there is not a house in which there is not one dead. (Exo_12:30) And would that even this were all!


2. Many terrible calamities, it is true, have also befallen us before this. For first they drove us away; and though we were quite alone, and pursued by all, and in the way of being slain, we kept our festival, even at such a time. And every place that had been the scene of some of the successive sufferings which befell any of us, became a seat for our solemn assemblies, – the field, the desert, the ship, the inn, the prison, – all alike. The most gladsome festival of all, however, has been celebrated by those perfect martyrs who have sat down at the feast in heaven. And after these things war and famine surprised us. These were calamities which we seared, indeed, with the heathen. But we had also to bear by ourselves alone those ills with which they outraged us, and we bad at the same time to sustain our part in those things which they either did to each other or suffered at each other’s hands; while again we rejoiced deeply in that peace of Christ which He imparted to us alone.


3. And after we and they together had enjoyed a very brief season of rest, this pestilence next assailed us, – a calamity truly more dreadful to them than all other objects of dread, and more intolerable than any other kind of trouble whatsoever;254 and a misfortune which, as a certain writer of their own declares, alone prevails over all hope. To us. however, it was not so; but in no less measure than other ills it proved an instrument for our training and probation. For it by no means kept aloof from us, although it spread with greatest violence among the heathen.


4. To these statements he in due succession makes this addition: – Certainly very many of our brethren, while, in their exceeding love and brotherly-kindness, they did not spare themselves, but kept by each other, and visited the sick without thought of their own peril, and ministered to them assiduously, and treated them for their healing in Christ, died from time to time most joyfully along with them, lading themselves with pains derived from others, and drawing upon themselves their neighbours’ diseases, and willingly taking over to their own persons the burden of the sufferings of those around them.255 And many who had thus cured others of their sicknesses, and restored them to strength, died themselves, having transferred to their own bodies the death that lay upon these. And that common saying, which else seemed always to be only a polite form of address,256 they expressed in actual fact then, as they departed this life, like the “off-scourings of all.”257 Yea, the very best of our brethren have departed this life in this manner, including some presbyters and some deacons, and among the people those who were in highest reputation: so that this very form of death, in virtue of the distinguished piety and the steadfast faith which were exhibited in it, appeared to come in nothing beneath martyrdom itself.


5. And they took the bodies of the saints on their upturned hands258 and on their bosoms, and closed259 their eyes, and shut their mouths. And carrying them in company,260 and laying them out decently, they clung to them, and embraced them, and prepared them duly with washing and with attire. And then in a little while after they had the same services done for themselves, as those who survived were ever following those who departed before them. But among the heathen all was the very reverse. For they thrust aside any who began to be sick, and kept aloof even from their dearest friends, and cast the sufferers out upon the public roads half dead, and left them unburied, and treated them with utter contempt when they died, steadily avoiding any kind of communication and intercourse with death; which, however, it was not easy for them altogether to escape, in spite of the many precautions they employed.261


Epistle XIII. – To Hierax, a Bishop in Egypt.262

1. But what wonder should there be if I find it difficult to communicate by letter with those who are settled in remote districts, when it seems beyond my power even to reason with myself, and to take counsel with263 my own soul? For surely epistolary communications are very requisite for me with those who are, as it were, my own bowels, my closest associates, and my brethren – one in soul with myself, and members, too, of the same Church. And yet no way opens up by which I can transmit such addresses. Easier, indeed, would it be for one, I do not say merely to pass beyond the limits of the province, but to cross from east to west, than to travel from this same Alexandria to Alexandria. For the most central pathway in this city264 is vaster265 and more impassable even than that extensive and untrodden desert which Israel only traversed in two generations; and our smooth and waveless harbours have become an image of that sea through which the people drove, at the time when it divided itself and stood up like walls on either side, and in whose thoroughfare the Egyptians were drowned. For often they have appeared like the Red Sea, in consequence of the slaughter perpetrated in them. The river, too, which flows by the city, has sometimes appeared drier than the waterless desert, and more parched than that wilderness in which Israel was so overcome with thirst on their journey, that they kept crying out against Moses, and the water was made to stream for them from the precipitous266 rock by the power of Him who alone doeth wondrous things. And sometimes, again, it has risen in such flood-tide, that it has overflowed all the country round about, and the roads, and the fields, as if it threatened to bring upon us once more that deluge of waters which occurred in the days of Noah.


2. But now it always flows onward, polluted with blood and slaughters and the drowning struggles of men, just as it did of old, when on Pharaoh’s account it was changed by Moses into blood, and made putrid. And what other liquid could cleanse water, which itself cleanses all things? How could that ocean, so vast and impassable for men, though poured out on it, ever purge this bitter sea? Or how could even that great river which streams forth from Eden,267 though it were to discharge the four hearts into which it is divided into the one channel of the Gihon,268 wash away these pollutions? Or when will this air, befouled as it is by noxious exhalations which rise in every direction, become pure again? For there are such vapours sent forth from the earth, and such blasts from the sea, and breezes from the rivers, and reeking mists from the harbours, that for dew we might suppose ourselves to have the impure fluids269 of the corpses which are rotting in all the underlying elements. And yet, after all this, men are amazed, and are at a loss to understand whence come these constant pestilences, whence these terrible diseases, whence these many kinds of fatal inflictions, whence all that large and multiform destruction of human life, and what reason there is why this mighty city no longer contains within it as great a number of inhabitants, taking all parties into account, from tender children up to those far advanced in old age, as once it maintained of those alone whom it called hale old men.270 But those from forty years of age up to seventy were so much more numerous then, that their number cannot be made up now even when those from fourteen to eighty years of age have been added to the roll and register of persons who are recipients of the public allowances of grain. And those who are youngest in appearance have now become, as it were, equals in age with those who of old were the most aged. And yet, although they thus see the human race constantly diminishing and wasting away upon the earth, they have no trepidation in the midst of this increasing and advancing consumption and annihilation of their own number.


Epistle XIV. – From His Fourth Festival Epistle.271

Love is altogether and for ever on the alert, and casts about to do some good even to one who is unwilling to receive it. And many a time the man who shrinks from it under a feeling of shame, and who declines to accept services of kindness on the ground of unwillingness to become troublesome to others, and who chooses rather to bear the burden of his own grievances than cause annoyance and anxiety to any one, is importuned by the man who is full of love to bear with his aids, and to suffer himself to be helped by another, though it might be as one sustaining a wrong, and thus to do a very great service, not to himself, but to another, in permitting that other to be the agent in putting an end to the ill in which he has been involved.



(Apocalypse, note 215, and note 226.)

The moderation of Dionysius is hardly less conspicuous than his fearlessness of inquiry in the questions he raises about the Apocalypse.272 He utterly refuses to reject it.273 He testifies to the value set upon it by his fellow-Christians. Only, he doubts as to (the John) the “inspired person” who was its author, and with critical skill exposes the inferiority of the Greek of the Apocalypse to that of the Gospel and Epistles of St. John. Obviously he accepts it as part of the canon, only doubting as to the author. Modestly he owns that it passes his understanding. So Calvin forbore to comment upon it, and owned to “headache” when he came to it. 





200 Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., vi. 40, vii. 11.

201 οὐδεμιαν ἐπ ̓ ἐμαυτοῦ βαλλόμενος. In Codex Fuk. and in the Chronicon of Syncellus it is ἐπ ̓ ἐμαυτῷ. In Codices Maz. and Med. it is ἐπ ̓ ἐμαυτόν. Herodotus employs the phrase in the genitive form – βαλλόμενος έφ ̓ ἑαυτοῦ πέπρηχε, i.e., seipsum in consilium adhibens, sua sponte et proprio motu fecit.

202 ἁλλὰ καὶ πρότερον. Christophorsonus and others join the πρότερον with the διωγμοῦ, making it mean, “before the persecution.” This is contrary to pure Greek idiom, and is also inconsistent with what follows; for by the αὐτῆς ωρας is meant the very hour at which the edict was decreed, διωγμός here having much the sense of “edict for the persecution.” – Vales.

203 There was a body of men called frumentarii milites, employed under the emperors as secret spies, and sent through the provinces to look after accused persons, and collect floating rumours. They were abolished at length by Constantine, as Aurelius Victor writes. They were subordinate to the judges or governors of the provinces. Thus this Frumentarius mentioned here by Dionysius was deputed in obedience to Sabinus, the praefectus Augustalis. – Vales.

204 οῖ παῖδες. Musculus and Christophorsonus make it “children.” Valesius prefers “domestics.”

205 ἀπήντετό τις τῶν χωριτῶν. In Codices Maz., Med., Fuk., and Savil., ἀπήντα is written; in Georgius Syncellus it is ἀπηντᾶτα.

206 χωριτῶν is rendered indegenarum by Chrystophorsonus, and incolarum, “inhabitants,” by the interpreter of Syncellus; but it means rather “rustics.” Thus in the Greek Councils the τῶν χωρῶν πρεσβύτεροι, persbyteri pagorum, are named. Instead of χωριτῶν, Codices Maz., Med., and Fuk. read χωρικῶν; for thus the Alexandrians named the country people, as we see in the tractate of Sophronius against Dioscorus, and the Chronicon of Theophanes, p. 139.

207 ἀστρώτων σκιμπόδων.

208 φοράδην ἐξήγαγον. The φοράδην may mean, as Valesius puts it, in sella, “on a stool or litter.”

209 τὸ τελευταῖον ἐπι τὸ πρῶτον ἀνατρέχοντι, i.e., to begin by interdicting him from holding Christian assemblies, while the great question was whether he was a Christian at all, would have been to place first what was last in order and consequence.

210 ὑπεμνηματίσθη.

211 ἀγράφως.

212 Germanus had accused Dionysius of neglecting to hold the assemblies of the brethren before the persecution broke out, and of rather providing for his own safety by flight. For when persecution burst on them, the bishops were wont first to convene the people, in order to exhort them to hold fast the faith of Christ; then infants and catechumens were baptized, to provide against their departing this life without baptism, and the Eucharist was given to the faithful. – Vales.

213 αίσθητῆς μετὰ τοῦ Κυρίου συναγωγῆς.

214 ὡς εἶπον. Codices Maz. and Med. give εἰπεῖν, “so to speak;” Fuk. and Savil. give ὡς εἶπεν ὁ ἀπόστολος, “as the apostle said.” See on 1Co_5:3.

215 [Act_14:27; Rev_3:8. If the author here quotes the Apocalypse, it is noteworthy. Elucidation, p. 110.]

216 ἡμᾶς δὲ μᾶλλον ἐν ὁδῷ καὶ πρώτους καταληφθησομένους ἔταξεν.

217 τὰ Κολλουθίωνος, supplying μέρη, as Dionysius has already used the phrase τὰ μέρη τῆς Διβύης. This was a district in the Mareotic prefecture. Thus we have mention made also of τὰ Βουκόλου, a certain tract in Egypt, deriving its name from the old masters of the soil. Nicephorus writes Κολούθιον, which is probably more correct; for Κολλουθίων is a derivative from Colutho, which was a common name in Egypt. Thus a certain poet of note in the times of Anastasius, belonging to the Thebaid, was so named, as Suidas informs us. There was also a Coluthus, a certain schismatic, in Egypt, in the times of Athanasius, who is mentioned often in the Apologia; and Gregory of Nyssa names him Acoluthus in his Contra Eunomium, book ii. – Vales.

218 κατὰ μερος συναγωγαί. When the suburbs were somewhat distant from the city, the brethren resident in them were not compelled to attend the meetings of the larger church, but had meetings of their own in a basilica, or some building suitable for the purpose. The Greeks, too, gave the name προάστειον to places at some considerable distance from the city, as well as to suburbs immediately connected with it. Thus Athanasius calls Canopus a προάστειον; and so Daphne is spoken of as the προάστειον of Antioch, Achyrona as that of Nicomedia, and Septimum as that of Constantinople, though these places were distant some miles from the cities. From this place it is also inferred that in the days of Dionysius there was still but one church in Alexandria, where all the brethren met for devotions. But in the time of Athanasius, when several churches had been built by the various bishops, the Alexandrians met in different places, κατὰ μέρος και διῃρημένως, as Athanasius says in his first Apology to Constantius; only that on the great festivals, as at the paschal season and at Pentecost, the brethren did not meet separately, but all in the larger church, as Athanasius also shows us. – Vales.

219 ἀποφάσεις.

220 Maximus, in the scholia to the book of Dionysius the Areopagite, De caelesti hierarchia, Rev_5:1-14, states that Dionysius was by profession a rhetor before his conversion: ὁ γοῦν μέγας Διονύσιος ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεων ἐπισκοπος, ὁ ἀπὸ ῥητόρων, etc. – Vales.

221 τῶν ἐναντίων ἁπειλῶν.

222 This Sabinus had been prefect of Egypt in the time of Decius; it is of him that Dionysius writes in his Epistle to Fabius, which is given above. The Aemilianus, prefect of Egypt, who is mentioned here, afterwards seized the imperial power, as Pollio writes in his Thirty Tyrants, who, however, calls him general (ducem), and not prefect of Egypt. – Vales.

223 Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., vii. 1, 10, 23. Eusebius introduces this extract thus: “in an epistle to Hermammon, Dionysius makes the following remarks upon Gallus” the Emperor.

224 κατὰ νοῦν is the reading in the Codices Maz., Med., Fuk., and Savil., and adopted by Rufinus and others. But Robertus Stephanus, from the Codex Regius, gives κατὰ ῥοῦν, “according to the stream,” i.e., favourably.

225 Eusebius prefaces this extract thus: “Gallus had not held the government two full years when he was removed, and Valerian, together with his son Gallienus, succeeded him. And what Dionysius has said of him may be learned from his Epistle to Hermammon, in which he makes the following statement.”

226 ἐξουσία καὶ μῆνες τεσσαρακονταδύο. Rev_13:5. Baronius expounds the numbers as referring to the period during which the persecution under Valerian continued: see him, under the year 257 A.D., Rev_7:1-17. [See Introductory Note, p. 78, supra. Here is a quotation from the Apocalypse, to be noted in view of our author’s questionings, part i., i. 5, p. 83, supra.]

227 The text is, και τούτων μάλιστα τὰ πρὸ αὐτοῦ ὡς ουτως ἔσχε συννοεῖν εως ἤπιος, etc. Gallandi emends the sentence thus: και αὐτοῦ τὰ μάλιστα πρὸ τούτων, ὡς οὐχ ουτως ἔσχε, συννοεῖν, εως ἤπιος, etc. Codex Regius gives ὡς μὲν ἤπιος. But Codices Maz. and Med. give εως ἤπιος, while Fuk. and Savil. give εως γὰρ ἤπιος.

228 He means the Emperor Philip, who, as many of the ancients have recorded, was the first of the Roman emperors to profess the Christian religion. But as Dionysius speaks in the plural number, to Philip may be added Alexander Severus, who had an image of Christ in the chapel of his Lares, as Lampridius testifies, and who favoured and sustained the Christians during the whole period of his empire. It is to be noted further, that Dionysius says of these emperors only that they were said and thought to be Christians, not that they were so in reality. – Gallandi.

229 ἀρχισυνάγωγος.

230 Baronius thinks that this was that Magus who, a little while before the empire of Decius, had incited the Alexandrians to persecute the Christians, and of whom Dionysius speaks in his Epistle to Fabius. What follows here, however, shows that Macrianus is probably the person alluded to.

231 εὐδαιμονήσοντας. So Codices Maz., Med., Fuk., and Savil. read: others give εὐδαιμονήσαντας. It would seem to require εὐδαιμονήσοντα, “as if he would attain;” for the reference is evidently to Valerian himself.

232 By the αὐτοῖς some understand τοῖς βασιλεῦσι; others better, τοῖς δαίμοσι. According to Valesius, the sense is this: that Macrianus having, by the help and presages of the demons, attained his hope of empire, made a due return to them, by setting Valerian in arms against the Christians.

233 ἐπι τῶν καθόλου λόγων. The Greeks gave this name to those officials whom the Latins called rationales, or procuratores summae rei. Under what emperor Macrianus was procurator, is left uncertain here.

234 οὐδὲν εὔλογον οὐδὲ καθολικός ἐφρόνησεν. There is a play here on the two senses of the word καθολικός, as seen in the official title ἐπι τῶν καθόλου λόγων, and in the note of character in οὐδὲ καθολικόν. But it can scarcely be reproduced in English.

235 οὐαι τοῖς προφητεύουσιν ἀπὸ καρδίας αὐτῶν καὶ τὸ καθόλου μὴ βλέπουσιν. The quotation is probably from Eze_13:3, of which Jerome gives this interpretation: Vae his qui prophetant ex corde suo et omnino non vident.

236 Robertus Stephanus edits τῆς ἑαυτοῦ ἐκκλησίας, “from his Church,” following the Codex Medicaeus. But the best manuscripts give σωτηρίας.

237 A play upon the name Macrianus, as connected with μακράν, “at a distance.” [This playfulness runs through the section.]

238 ἐμπαίγματα.

239 Christophorsonus refers this to Valerian. But evidently the οὗτος δέ introduces a different subject in Macrianus; and besides, Valerian could not be said to have been originally unworthy of the power which he aspired to.

240 τὸν βασίλειον ὑποδῦναι κόσμον.

241 ἀναπήρῳ.

242 Joannes Zonaras, in his Annals, states that Macrianus was lame.

243 ὧν ἠτύχει. So Codex Regius reads. But Codices Maz., Med., and Fuk. give ηὐτύχει, “in which he succeeded.”

244 ἐξωμόρξατο.

245 Eusebius introduces the extract thus: He (Dionysius) addressed also an epistle to Hermammon and the brethren in Egypt; and after giving an account of the wickedness of Decius and his successors, he states many other circumstances, and also mentions the peace of Gallienus. And it is best to hear his own relation as follows.

246 This is rightly understood of Macrianus, by whose treachery Valerian came under the power of the Persians. Aurelius Victor, Syncellus, and others, testify that Valerian was overtaken by that calamity through the treachery of his generals.

247 προστάς. But Valesius would read προσστάς, adstans.

248 προσπελάσας is the reading of three of the codices and of Nicephorus; others give προπελάσας.

249 [Rom_13:4, Rom_13:6. St. Paul’s strong expressions in this place must explain these expressions. A prince was, quoad hoc, comparatively speaking, godly and pious, as he “attended continually to this very thing.” So, “most religious,” in the Anglican Liturgy.]

250 Who ever expressed himself thus, – that one after his seven years was passing his ninth year? This septennium (επταετηρίς) must designate something peculiar, and different from the time following it. It is therefore the septennium of imperial power which he had held along with his father. In the eighth year of that empire, Macrianus possessed himself of the imperial honour specially in Egypt. After his assumption of the purple, however, Gallienus had still much authority in Egypt. At length, in the ninth year of Gallienus, that is, in 261, Macrianus the father and the two sons being slain, the sovereignty of Galleinus was recognised also among the Egyptians. And then Gallienus gave a rescript to Dionysius, Pinna, and Demetrius, bishops of Egypt, to re-establish the sacred places, – a boon which he had granted in the former year. The ninth year of Gallienus, moreover, began about the midsummer of this year; and the time at which this letter was written by Dionysius, as Eusebius observes, may be gathered from that, and falls consequently before the Paschal season of 262 A.D. – Pearson, p. 72. Gall.

251 Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., vii. 22. Eusebius prefaces the 21st chapter of his seventh book thus: “when peace had scarcely yet been established, he (Dionysius) returned to Alexandria. But when sedition and war again broke out, and made it impossible for him to have access to all the brethren in that city, divided as they then were into different parties, he addressed them again by an epistle at the passover, as if he were still an exile from Alexandria.” Then he inserts the epistle to Hierax; and thereafter, in ch. xxii., introduces the present excerpt thus: “After these events, the pestilence succeeding the war, and the festival being now at hand, he again addressed the brethren by letters, in which he gave the following description of the great troubles connected with that calamity.”

252 οὐχ οπως τῶν ἐπιλύπων is the reading of Codices Maz., Med., and Savil.: others give, less correctly, ἐπιλόπων.

253 The text gives, ἀλλ ̓ οὐδ ̓ εἴ τις περιχαρὴς ὃν οίνθεῖεν μάλιστα, which is put probably for the mere regular construction, ὃν οἴοιντο ἀν μάλιστα περιχαρῆ. Nicephorus reads, εἴ τις περιχαρὴς ὢν οἰηθείη. The idea is, that the heathen could have no real festal time. All seasons, those apparently most joyous, no less than those evidently sorrowful, must be times void of all real rejoicing to them, until they learn the grace of God.

254 Dionysius is giving a sort of summary of all the calamities which befell the Alexandrian church from the commencement of his episcopal rule: namely, first, persecution, referring to that which began in the last year of the reign of Philip; then war, meaning the civil war of which he speaks in his Epistle to Fabius; then pestilence, alluding to the sickness which began in the time of Decius, and traversed the land under Gallus and Volusianus. – Vales.

255 ἀναμασσόμενοι τὰς ἀλγηδόνας. Some make this equivalent to mitigantes. It means properly to “wipe off,” and so to become “responsible” for. Here it is used apparently to express much the same idea as the two preceding clauses.

256 μόνης φιλοφροσύνης ἔχεσθαι.

257 The phrase περίψημα πάντων refers to 1Co_4:13. Valesius supposes that among the Alexandrians it may have been a humble and complimentary form of salutation, ἐγώ ειμι περίψημά σου; or that the expression περίψημα πάντων had come to be habitually applied to the Christians by the heathen.

258 ὐπτίαις χερσι. [See Introductory Note, p. 77.]

259 καθαιροῦντες.

260 ὁμοφοροῦντες.

261 [Compare Defoe, Plague in London.]

262 Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., vii. 21. The preface to this extract in Eusebius is as follows: “After this he (Dionysius) wrote also another Paschal epistle to Hierax, a bishop in Egypt, in which he makes the following statement about the sedition then prevailing at Alexandria.”

263 Or, for.

264 μεσαιτάτη τῆς πόλεως. Codex Regius gives τῶν πόλεων. The sedition referred to as thus dividing Alexandria is probably that which broke out when Aemilianus seized the sovereignty in Alexandria. See Pollio’s Thirty Tyrants.

265 ἄπειρος. But Codices Fuk. and Savil. give ἄπορος, “impracticable.”

266 ἀκποτόμου. It may perhaps mean “smitten” here.

267 Ἐδέμ.

268 Written Γηών in Codex Alexandrinus, but Γεών in Codex Vaticanus.

269 ιχῶρας.

270 ὠμογέροντας.

271 ἐκ τῆς δ ̓ ἑορταστικῆς ἐπιστολῆς. From the Sacred Parallels of John of Damascus, Works, ii. p. 753 C, edit. Paris, 1712. In his Ecclesiastical History, book vii. Joh_20:1-31, Eusebius says: “In addition to these epistles, the same Dionysius also composed others about this time, designated his Festival Epistles, and in these he says much in commendation of the Paschal feast. One of these he addressed to Flavius, and another to Domitius and Didymus, in which he gives the canon for eight years, and shows that the Paschal feast ought not to be kept until the passing of the vernal equinox. And besides these, he wrote another epistle to his co-presbyters at Alexandria.”

272 P. 84, note 18.

273 P. 82, note 13.