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The prize was not unworthy of his ambition. At CHAP. a distance from the court, and at the head of an im- **** mense capital, the patriarch, as he was now styled, of. Alexandria had gradually usurped the state and au- Aious, thority of a civil magistrate. The public and private to do, charities of the city were managed by his discretion; his voice inflamed or appeased the passions of the multitude; his commands were blindly obeyed by his numerous and fanatic parabolani,” familiarised in their daily office with scenes of death; and the prefects of Egypt were awed or provoked by the temporal power of these Christian pontiffs. Ardent in the prosecution of heresy, Cyril auspiciously opened his reign by oppressing the Novatians, the most innocent and harmless of the sectaries. The interdiction of their religious worship appeared in his eyes a just and meritorious act; and he confiscated their holy vessels, without apprehending the guilt of sacrilege. The toleration, and even the privileges of the Jews, who had multiplied to the number of forty thousand, were secured by the laws of the Caesars and Ptolemies, and a long prescription of seven hundred years since the foundation of Alexandria. Without any legal sentence, without any royal mandate, the patriarch, at the dawn of day, led a seditious multitude to the attack of the synagogues. Unarmed and unprepared, the Jews were incapable of resistance; their houses of prayer were levelled with the ground, and the episcopal warrior, after rewarding his troops with the plunder of their goods, expelled
Ashmunein, in the xth century, who can never be trusted, unless our assent is
VOL. VI. C
chap. from the city the remnant of the unbelieving nation. * Perhaps he might plead the insolence of their pros
perity, and their deadly hatred of the Christians, whose blood they had recently shed in a malicious or accidental tumult. Such crimes would have deserved the animadversion of the magistrate; but in this promiscuous outrage, the innocent were confounded with the guilty, and Alexandria was impoverished by the loss of a wealthy and industrious colony. The zeal of Cyril exposed him to the penalties of the Julian law; but in a feeble government, and a superstitious age, he was secure of impunity, and even of praise. Orestes complained; but his just complaints were too quickly forgotten by the ministers of Theodosius, and too deeply remembered by a priest who affected to pardon, and continued to hate, the prefect of Egypt. As he passed through the streets, his chariot was assaulted by a band of five hundred of the Nitrian monks; his guards fled from the wild beasts of the desert; his protestations that he was a Christian and a Catholic were answered by a volley of stones, and the face of Orestes was covered with blood. The loyal citizens of Alexandria hastened to his rescue; he instantly satisfied his justice and revenge against the monk by whose hand he had been wounded, and Ammonius expired under the rod of the lictor. At the command of Cyril his body was raised from the ground, and transported, in solemn procession, to the cathedral; the name of Ammonius was changed to that of Thaumasius the wonderful; his tomb was decorated with the trophies of martyrdom, and the patriarch ascended the pulpit to celebrate the magnanimity of an assassin and a rebel. Such honours might incite the faithful to combat and die under the banners of the saint; and he soon prompted, or accepted, the sacrifice of a virgin, who professed the religion of the Greeks, and cultivated the friendship of Orestes. Hypatia, the daughter
of Theon the mathematician,” was initiated in her father’s studies: her learned comments have elucidated the geometry of Apollonius and Diophantus, and she publicly taught, both at Athens and Alexandria, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. In the bloom of beauty, and in the maturity of wisdom, the modest maid refused her lovers and instructed her disciples; the persons most illustrious for their rank or merit were impatient to visit the female philosopher; and Cyril beheld, with a jealous eye, the gorgeous train of horses and slaves who crowded the door of her academy. A rumour was spread among the Christians, that the daughter of Theon was the only obstacle to the reconciliation of the prefect and the archbishop; and that obstacle was speedily removed. On a fatal day, in the holy season of Lent, Hypatia was torn from her chariot, stripped naked, dragged to the church, and inhumanly butchered by the hands of Peter the reader, and a troop of savage and merciless fanatics: her flesh was scraped from her bones with sharp oyster-shells,” and her quivering limbs were delivered to the flames. The just progress of inquiry and punishment was stopped by seasonable gifts; but the murder of Hypatia has imprinted an indelible stain on the character and re
ligion of Cyril of Alexandria."
y For Theon, and his daughter Hypatia, see Fabricius, Bibliothec. tom. viii. p. 210, 211. Her article in the Lexicon of Suidas is curious and original. Hesychius (Meursii Opera, tom. vii. p. 295, 296) observes, that she was persecuted 312 ray origézxxovazy replay; and an epigram in the Greek Anthology (l. i. c. 76. p. 159. edit. Brodaei) celebrates her knowledge and eloquence. She is honourably mentioned (Epist. 10. 15, 16. 33–80. 124. 135. 153) by her friend and disciple the philosophic bishop Synesius.
* Orrezzous avuxov, xz Azsan?oy blazorarzvorus, &c. Oyster-shells were plentifully strewed on the sea-beach before the Caesareum. I may therefore prefer the literal sense, without rejecting the metaphorical version of tegulae, tiles, which is used by M. de Valois. I am ignorant, and the assassins were probably regardless, whether their victim was yet alive.
* These exploits of St. Cyril are recorded by Socrates (l. vii. c. 13, 14, 15); and the most reluctant bigotry is compelled to copy an historian who coolly styles
§: Superstition, perhaps, would more gently expiate * the blood of a virgin, than the banishment of a saint; No, and Cyril had accompanied his uncle to the iniquitous
tonstanti- synod of the Oak. When the memory of Chrysostom nople, **i. 428, was restored and consecrated, the nephew of TheoApril 10. philus, at the head of a dying faction, still maintained the justice of his sentence; nor was it till after a tedious delay and an obstinate resistance, that he yielded to the consent of the Catholic world.” His enmity to the Byzantine pontiffs" was a sense of interest, not a sally of passion: he envied their fortunate station in the sunshine of the imperial court; and he dreaded their upstart ambition, which oppressed the metropolitans of Europe and Asia, invaded the provinces of Antioch and Alexandria, and measured their diocese by the limits of the empire. The long moderation of Atticus, the mild usurper of the throne of Chrysostom, suspended the animosities of the eastern patriarchs; but Cyril was at length awakened by the exaltation of a rival more worthy of his esteem and hatred. After the short and troubled reign of Sisinnius, bishop of Constantinople, the factions of the clergy and people were appeased by the choice of the emperor, who, on this occasion, consulted the voice of fame, and invited the merit of a stranger. Nestorius," a native of Germanicia, and a monk of Antioch, was recommended by the austerity of his life, and the elo- CHAP. quence of his sermons; but the first homily which “*
the murderers of Hypatia woes; ro peovnaz svásgool. At the mention of that injured name, I am pleased to observe a blush even on the cheek of Baronius (A. D. 415, No 48).
* He was deaf to the entreaties of Atticus of Constantinople, and of Isidore of Pelusium, and yielded only (if we may believe Nicephorus, l. xiv. c. 18) to the personal intercession of the Virgin. Yet in his last years he still muttered that John Chrysostom had been justly condemned (Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xiv. p. 278—282. Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A. D. 412, No. 46–64).
* See their characters in the history of Socrates (l. vii. c. 25–28); their power and pretensions, in the huge compilation of Thomassin (Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 80–91).
* His elevation and conduct are described by Socrates (l. vii. c. 29.31); and Marcellinus seems to have applied the loquentiae satis, sapientiae parum, of Sallust. |
he preached before the devout Theodosius betrayed the acrimony and impatience of his zeal. “Give me, O Caesar!” he exclaimed, “give me the earth purged of heretics, and I will give you in exchange the kingdom of heaven. Exterminate with me the heretics; and with you I will exterminate the Persians.” On the fifth day, as if the treaty had been already signed, the patriarch of Constantinople discovered, surprised, and attacked a secret conventicle of the Arians: they preferred death to submission; the flames that were kindled by their despair soon spread to the neighbouring houses, and the triumph of Nestorius was clouded by the name of incendiary. On either side of the Hellespont his episcopal vigour imposed a rigid formulary of faith and discipline; a chronological error concerning the festival of Easter was punished as an offence against the church and state. Lydia and Caria, Sardes and Miletus, were purified with the blood of the obstinate Quartodecimans; and the edict of the emperor, or rather of the patriarch, enumerates three and twenty degrees and denominations in the guilt and punishment of heresy." But the sword of persecution, which Nestorius so furiously wielded, was soon turned against his own breast. Religion was the pretence; but, in the judgment of a contemporary saint, ambition was the genuine motive of episcopal warfare."
In the Syrian school, Nestorius had been taught His heresy,
to abhor the confusion of the two natures, and nicely *
to discriminate the humanity of his master Christ
* Cod. Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. v. leg. 65. with the illustrations of Baronius (A. D. 428. No. 25. &c.), Godefroy (ad locum), and Pagi Critica, tom. ii. p. 208).
* Isidore of Pelusium (l. iv. Epist. 57). His words are strong and scandalous— q’s Szvozzous, &a zoo yo/y w86. area)(ca. 9suoy 20.4 Aoyov zéarrow 2124 ovtly orgozzolovyra bro pixaoxia; exézzzsvogsvol. Isidore is a saint, but he never became a bishop; and I half suspect that the pride of Diogenes trampled on the pride of Plato.